Scene in Passing: Sip moonshine and ignore all hemlock |

Scene in Passing: Sip moonshine and ignore all hemlock

John Barrette

A good-news junkie runs the risk of people thinking he or she is a Pollyanna.

So words from my mother, a good-looking pit bull of a news writer whose career at newspapers predated the 1950s, still ring in my ears. She used to say, “There is no bad publicity, except an obituary.” In other words, news short of death isn’t bad news. Nor is it necessarily good. Facts and pertinent analysis of events are, generally speaking, just what is. What you’d like is irrelevant.

“We are here and it is now,” said the late writer and controversialist H.L. Mencken. “Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.”

Mencken, prone often to overstate his case to challenge thinking, was on target in the philosophical realm with this assertion. But, despite knowledge being as ephemeral as moonshine, it must be said that moonshine packs a punch due to chemistry of people’s brains and spirits they consume. So such spiritual fare has a factual base rooted in said chemistry.

Trends also have a factual basis. Like the effect of spirits, people’s reactions to trends can push psychological mass thinking into emotional cul de sacs or down roads that lead somewhere. So let’s take a quick gander at the latest news on joblessness and jobs in Nevada, two other areas of the state, and the community in which we live.

It isn’t bad or good news that the Silver State’s jobless rate dropped to 9.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, 9.1 percent when you consider the raw numbers. It’s just what is. The rate is still higher than officials would like, but it shows a trend downward and those same officials like that. Though it is just what it is, it also may be a psychological uplift. Not as heady as moonshine, but better than hemlock or Kool-Aid.

Now to Carson City. We may know more Friday, but things seem uplifting on the local scene as well. Colleague Geoff Dornan reported Tuesday that in September, Clark County lost 7,600 jobs and the Reno-Sparks area lost 600 jobs, but Carson City gained 200 jobs. The latter is a small number, but it’s a small city.

Your analyst in this space tries to avoid getting excited over small numbers, short periods of time, and either dour or excitable interpretations of what transpires. Facts are facts and trends are trends, but it takes many facts over much time to make a trend into longer term reality. That’s why, while others decry the slow recovery elsewhere and in Carson City, a slow recovery makes sense to this non-Pollyanna news junkie.

The rest is moonshine; it’s neither bad nor good publicity. Carson City lives to thrive another day.