Wednesday, April 25, 2007
A Great Quote
A great quote, that comes by way of the New York Times, as said by David Halberstam, who died recently at 73 in an auto accident in California while on his way to interview Y. A. Tittle. Tittle was the New York Giant quarterback in 1948 for what is considered one of the greatest football games ever.
In a recent interview Mr. Halberstam offered his approach to work by quoting one of my favorite players from my youth. Mr. Halberstam said, "There's a great quote by Julius "Dr. J." Erving, that went, 'Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them.'"
Halberstam wrote great books about a lot of things, the corruption that existed in South Vietnam predicting an inelegant end to that conflict to books on sports about great games and individuals. Make no mistake, he wasn't anti-war, the title of one of his books on Vietnam was called "The Best and the Brightest." He simply reported things as he saw them and had respect from every area he covered.
One famous exchange regarding Vietnam had him accuse a war department administrator of "lying". He didn't say "you aren't giving me the truth." This was a man who went directly to the heart of the matter. "You're lying." And he was right. The lie had to do with how successful Vietnam was going and the recognition that the completely corrupt South Vietnamese government was no match for their North Vietnamese Communist counterparts. History shows, he was right, "the best and the brightest" were lying to us and themselves.
To work hard, earn broad respect for it, to cover topics from your favorite pastimes to hard world journalism, to knowing and defining the truth historically is how he spent his life. We all should be so lucky. At least we were lucky enough to have David Halberstam.