It’s Friday, and while the marketers would suggest I write something about the weekend (Weekend=good. Happy?), I’m going to just bring to your attention this wonderful tidbit I discovered while reading Timothy Crouse’s ground-breaking book about the press corp who covered the 1972 presidential campaign, The Boys on The Bus (1972, Ballantine Books).
At one point, Crouse interviews Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein–just Google “Watergate,” for all my non-history-obsessed readers…oy–and they say, very matter-of-factly, that when they got assigned to cover the Watergate break-in, it was perceived as a small, local story. Almost a non-story, if you will. If anyone at the Washington Post, had understood the implications of the story, there’s no way Woodward and Bernstein would have gotten it. Their respective careers at the Post, at the point, were going nowhere fast; they both felt like they were stuck, covering meaningless stories, and neither of them saw much possibility for advancement.
Also, Woodward was divorced, and Bernstein was separated from his wife, so they were both lonely and able to work 15, 16, 17 hour days.They were both hungry. In fact: they were both desperate.
And because of that desperation, they were able to develop those articles into, you know, history-making journalism that won the Pulitzer, got made into this great movie (http://youtu.be/vLt6djxhNe8) and re-created themselves as the journalists, the men, that they had dreamed they could be. Their desperation changed history, for good or for ill.
Oh, and for a bonus, we got to see Tricky Dick cry and talk about his “sainted mother.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfNjpHAMy2E&feature=colike) Yeah well, my mom is also a saint, as moms go, but if I had done half of the stuff Tricky and his Plumbers did, she’d give me something to cry about! But I digest.
Here’s why I bring this up: Woodward and Bernstein succeeded because they could not fail. Their desperation gave them the energy, the courage and the resources to do what many would have thought impossible. So maybe this weekend, maybe you at home will think for 5 minutes…what am I desperate for? What am I hungry for? What is that important to me?
If you know, I’d love for you to share it with me, either in the comments section or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org!