11 October 2011
George Elerick - Author
George Elerick is an author. Besides writing books, he speaks on, among other things: cultural theory, multiculturalism, interfaith development, and human rights development. He was adopted at the age of five, knows what it feels like to be rejected and an outsider. He climbs rocks and reads poetry.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Everything. I can't remember wanting to be one thing in specific. I do remember though that the roles I used to play were either as outlaw or good guy. The in-between pedestrians were never my forte. It was always the cop or the robber. I think I simply lived through life waiting to see what I would want to be. I am still waiting for that moment to arrive...
How did you end up being a journalist?
I think for me it started with a passion for the written word. I pursued an internship with a local newspaper and through my experience came to realise that journalism is not merely writing information but cultivating story in such a way that readers connect with the truth of the event(s). I now write for several international newspapers and am the editor of two online magazines.
What is the best and worst thing about being an author?
Writing. I hate writing. Because I feel like I never say what I want to say, as if the words themselves apologise for not being enough. Then when I finish a book or article I feel like I could have said a whole lot more.
The best is that when someone gets your message, when they actually directly connect with what's being said and it changes their lives.
So, what does a cultural theorist contribute to the wellbeing of society?
At the heart of our society is the hope for a better world. The hope that we can somehow have a hand in creating better people and so on. Cultural theory seeks to get to the heart of why we believe what we believe and also shows the idiosyncrasies in-between. It is one thing to simply go through life without ever engaging with life itself, the hope in cultural theory is to not simple demonstrate through theory that sometimes what we believe and what we say don't line up but also how to apply these newfound discoveries in transformational ways.
What outcome would you like to see in our recent media scandal?
Maybe I am too much of an idealist, but an outcome where the media can actually feel good about telling the truth, and somehow not feel like truth has to be something that can only be reacted to through scandalous exposure. Also, that the general public doesn't need to be entertained by scandal, but can find life itself to be something quite inviting and interesting.
Which biblical text or story motivates you in your work?
Job. I think Job is a metaphor for reality. That everything is falling apart, albeit not in the apocalyptic sense, but reality is on the edge of something and that life is a lot more about loss then it is gain. And that is why it requires tenacious people, people who are defiantly hopeful that something can and will change, that somehow God is present in the midst of this rebuilding and that knowledge is enough to get us through.
Remarkable cultural event so far this year?
The London riots. There was a moment in the riot when a rioter attempted to strike a police officer. Right there is a crack in the social order. It's the desire that somehow the systems in place (most represent some sort of authority) need change. It is not that we advocate violence or evil, but that we listen to what is between said in the silence between such acts. Society needs to change, and we're just the ones to do it.
What is your dream for society?
Trust. That we trust each other. That we believe we can work together and make the world a better place. The ancient Jews believed in this practice called 'Tikkun Olam' which loosely rendered means 'healing the world'. That somehow in the midst of our trust we can be reminded of the responsibility for our neighbour. That somehow this philosophy will filter the whole of reality.
Has the credit crunch affected your work at all, either for good or bad?
Yes. It seems the credit crunch has made me more frugal in life choices, but necessarily creative in my approach to journalism and writing; in some sense it has reminded me of the joy I have for writing that goes beyond money. It's a reminder that the Word became flesh. That words, not money, can change the world.
What would you advise anyone aspiring becoming a journalist?
Dream big. Dream impossible. And don't stop fighting until you get what you want.
Tell us a joke
Q: Is it true that the Soviet prime minister has reached an official agreement with the pope?
A: Basically, yes. But there is still a dispute about the preamble. The pope wants it to say that "God created man", the PM wants the addition "as per the Party's instructions".