Nobodies vs. Somebodies


When I was in grade school, we studied a poem by Emily Dickinson entitled “Nobody.” It went, “I’m Nobody, who are you? Are you Nobody, too?” I didn’t like that poem because I wanted to be Somebody. I’ve since changed my mind.

I don’t know how many people have been arrested for DUIs since 2006. I don’t know how many of these have said stupid, hateful things in anger to the arresting officer under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But having served as a juror on a DUI case, I’m quite sure that nothing the defendant said when being booked was brought up in the trial or written up in the newspapers. You see, this defendant was Nobody.

How differently a Somebody is handled. Something a celebrity, under the influence, said in 2006 is so important to our press that it is given more space (including photos) in our papers than the facts of the case, i.e. a police officer believes he has been passed over because of his religion. Some points might have been looked into by “real” reporters: i.e., do other officers who share this man’s faith report that they have been unfairly treated?

I’m sure each of us can come up with some promotion we thought we should have had, or some award that was given to someone less deserving. Perhaps we’ve even voiced our displeasure publicly, but if no Somebody can be embroiled in the matter, we wouldn’t rate a word in the press.

Just a Nobody

Agnes Peterson