Life isn’t easy. Unfortunately, the difficulty of life isn’t always evenly distributed among people everywhere. Some people have it particularly bad. The individual tragedies that we suffer from end up shaping us pretty severely, and end up having resounding impact throughout our lives. Being reflexive of this is not always easy. Many of us never realize how that one event that happened decades ago continues to effect us. Some fortunate others, or perhaps unfortunate, do see it, only in that these reverberation of experience follow him around like a group of undead corpses.
That’s kind of the impression I got while reading Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge.
Without getting into the pissing contest of whose life should be considered trying or not, Anderson Cooper grew up with some difficult personal tragedies. He does not shy away from recounting them. Nor does he shy away from recounting all the tragedies that followed, almost all of them being tragedies that he himself elected to put himself in the middle of. From when Anderson decided to go into journalism, his career path was that of a tragedy chaser, going from when horror-stricken place to the other. It could be argued that it was done for a valid end, in that Cooper was out to report the facts regarding what was going on.
I get that Cooper was trying to juxtapose the tragedies he suffered in his life and the tragedies that he covered as a reporter. However, it all did feel a little disjointed in the book. If there was a through-thread linking it all together, I couldn’t really piece it together. Vaguely speaking, it felt like a suggestion about handling tragic events. But what of it? I am not sure the link is there.
When one watches TV one doesn’t really walk away with a good impression of who the person on the other side of the camera is. They often seem like exuberantly normal people, almost painfully so. We tend to question with what credentials the person speaking to us even have for the sample task of reporting what happened. I have no idea if most reporters have the credentials that Anderson Cooper does. I as well have no idea to what extent any of what he did really qualifies him to read the news. It does give him an interesting perspective on certain world affairs, and it may in a respect personalize the stories for him.
Or perhaps it is that he has proven himself to be good at dealing with that which is the nature of news – dealing with that which is anomalous. His life too has been fairly odd.