OUTCRY Magazine Book Review I, 1997
Lara Publications, St. Louis MO..800-599-7313
Mission of OUTCRY'S Literary Journal: To share with you the exciting stories of real people, their experiences, thoughts, ideas, and the ways they feel about the world around them. Sadly, the world of literary promotion is dominated by well known names pushing common people aside.
So, who is telling the stories of everyday people? We believe by sharing stories of people like you and me, giving these authors opportunities to share their stories through talk show programs or newspaper articles, they can stretch forth their hands and touch people's passions and hearts. Through the touch of others, hopes can be raised, faith can be restored, depression can be lifted, sorrows can be wiped away, forgiveness can be embraced, minds can be educated, souls can be entertained and those in despair may find healing grounds because the stories are told by everyday people like you.
"Rarely has anybody failed in trying to help others. If failure comes, so be it! Such ideas with good intentions are always immortalized inside the minds of those who will carry on the batons. Even if confronted with accidental death while helping others, success is celebrated by those left behind who appreciate the person giving up his/her life for the good of others. And a life without a good purpose has no meaning." 'Yinka Vidal.
Questioning Power of the Media's Influence
Many people unskeptically accept news presentation as facts. However, most of the time sensationalism, embellishment, exaggeration, and misleading information have been incorporated into the process of news reporting. The intention is to grab our attention, rock our emotions, and sometimes fire people up to react in a way that may not be civilized. The Oklahoma bomb which killed many innocent people is a reminder of what people can do when goaded up by anti-government rhetoric based on their own misguided ideologies.
Death by Media by Tony Vercillo (Commonwealth Publications, Edmonton, Canada., 422 pages, paperback, $4.99) wrote an amazing educational piece about the power of manipulation by the media. In this book he relates story upon story regarding the movement away from reporting to sensationalizing, and in some situations misrepresenting the news. For example, he cited a case where the media got the attention of animal rights activists by staging a dog fight; in another situation, a television station reported teenage drinking after the station bought beer and invited the kids to drink just to report a story. The book goes on to report stories about media's distortion of the truth from O.J. Simpson's trial, to Gulf War sensationalism, to the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding story which was hyped to the stature of the JFK Assassination plot, to the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill sexual harassment hearing, and many more interesting stories.
Tony Vercillo dissects and evaluates the present roles and affects of media styles on society. He indicated that some reporters present both sides of a story while others prefer sensationalism to generate an audience. The book is not designed to abolish freedom of the press, but to express frustration over the abuse of the freedom of press. (Tony Vercillo's contact: Jolinda Cochrane, (909)-393-0855)
Men Behind the Badges
Police officers are generally portrayed as those dangerous looking men in government uniform with flying hats, scary guns on the hips, and shining shoes appreciated by few people beyond their senior officers. They appear as rugged looking men, who hardly ever smile, even when waved at by civilians appreciative civilians. Besides not responding to greetings, some of them appear like programmed robots without emotions. The television news report shows police chasing suspects, raiding a drug house, beating down suspects and handcuffing people. What a scary group!
These are the misconceptions about law enforcement officers. In reality, they are not robots, but people like us. They have wives, children, relatives and friends just like everybody else. They go through emotions like everyday people. Sadly, the nature of their work sometimes put them in a world of isolation. That's one of the major reasons why their job is very tough and should be highly respected because they are the ones who prevent criminals from taking over society.
The Real Police: Stories from the Crescent City by James S. Prine ( Prine Books, Chalmette, LA., 142 pages, $12.95) is a collection of short true stories of police officers' experiences on duty. The book starts with hilarious moments on duty--- pranks officers play on each other --- and will make you laugh your head off. Later the stories get more serious with dangerous moments when officers have to deal with blood, crumbling human flesh torn apart by guns, mashed skulls with protruding human brain tissue and many more gory incidents.
According to the author, more police officers die by their own hand than by the acts of criminals. Policemen by nature of their work and personalities often internalize stress. "The world of policemen is a brutal reminder of the futility of human endeavor; street police work is immersed in despair, dirt, degradation and death," said Prine.
This book is not just a collection of entertaining stories, it is an educational tool to help people know the realities of the men behind the badges and the hell involved in the job they do. Finally, people get to see the truth about the tough-looking men in government uniforms called police officers. (James S. Prine, (504)-277-7938).
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