Friday, May 8, 2009

Speaking Words of Wisdom

If you haven’t noticed, newspapers and magazines have been dropping like flies, leaving reporters and freelance writers with fewer and fewer outlets to hawk their written wares. Just ask Jonathan Tilove, a long-time Washington DC beat reporter who has been hustling between bureaus for the last several months. According to this email he sent to Poynter Online, it was all of his shuttling around the capital going from cubicle to cubicle that resulted in him discovering this likeness of the Virgin Mary. In his words: “On Monday evening, May 4, I went back to the Cox office to pack the rest of my boxes and clean out my cubicle. And there it was, on my desk, a coffee stain in the image of the Virgin Mary. I was a little surprised. Why me? I'm Jewish.”

Tilove answers his own question: religion aside, this guy has a lot of Mary in his life. He and his wife honeymooned in Fatima, Portugal, location of a very famous Mary visitation in 1917; Tilove also admits that he and his wife have lots of Mary art in their home.

Leave it to a hard-nosed journalist, however, to push speculation aside and stick with the facts:

Perhaps, most crucially, I provided the medium for the appearance of the coffee-stain Madonna by allowing the remains of a cup of coffee to slowly leak out of a paper cup and then only casually blotting up the spill with an old notebook. I am still not sure what it means, but I confess that amid all the layoffs and furloughs and forced relocations, seeing the image comforted me. As it has been written, "When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me ..."

Let it be, Jonathan, let it be . . .

The form actually looks more like a mushroom-capped fairy. But it's not about what I see.

What do you see?

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