Sunday, June 12, 2005

Context is everything

Reporters are often told in so many words: "You took what I said out of context!" Sometimes these complaints are viable, but usually, we shrug them off as sour grapes or naive, because technically all journalism is out of context to some degree. If it weren't, articles would be mere transcripts.

Well, I suppose it's my turn to take the same stance. But this version's kind of fun.

Yes, it's true that I wrote this line in a recent story about Robert Sullivan's book, "Our Red Sox," but it was meant to explain that he has written about topics other than baseball. Not appearing in this "review" is a subsequent explanation that Sullivan, a deputy managing editor for Life magazine, has profiled Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra, among others. In short, the book publishers plucked a line I intended to be objective and made it mildly subjective.

Still, it's fun to see my words next to an "Our Red Sox" review posted in Sports Illustrated. And I do like Sullivan and his book, so I suppose it's a win/win for everyone involved.