One of my favourite journalists Matt Taibbi finally articulated a core concept I’ve been circling but haven’t fully been able to express. He’s writing about journalism…in newspapers and on tv and he says in his book Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another (on page 137):
That’s It! The media doesn’t explain or say educate all the important issues from pollution to the 2008 Financial Crisis to you name it.
After 9/11 happened we were told it’s because they hate us and our freedom. That’s an incredibly glib summation of American foreign policy. But what’s easier they hate us; they’re the bad guys or having to account and document for America’s overseas sins and oil dependence (especially considering General Motors was working on electric cars since the 70s. We had viable alternatives. I mean did people really think the Lunar Roving Vehicle NASA used during Apollo 15 was oil based?! There’s no oil on the moon!! That was 1971. Come on man. We put an electric car on the moon…we were good at science and engineering!).
Like I don’t have a strong Brexit stance because of the complexity of the issue.
I saw a post earlier this month from a comic book shop explaining how American comics like Marvel Comics would be shipped delayed, cost more…due to an added VAT tax…a handful of key issues related to the UK leaving the EU. It was a good post and it made a number of issues I haven’t considered at all much more clear. But that’s just comics…that’s not food or medicine; other businesses will clearly be impacted; I just don’t have the knowledge to comprehend how much less suggest viable solutions. I abstain and hope they can work it out.
There’s this constant refrain in response to large incidents: “we need to have a conversation…” We need to have a national conversation about gun control/safety. We need to have a global conversation about sexual harassment and #MeToo.
No. We don’t.
We’re not capable of those conversations (anymore? I dunno if we were capable back in like the 70s or something.). We’re not good at these “conversations” because we’re not informed enough. Or at all. Can you imagine living outside the UK with no connections or family to Britain yet having strong loud opinions on Brexit?! Uninformed opinions are not productive; they’re narcissism.
Same thing with politicians: A.I. is coming/here, self-driving cars…robots…you gotta start making decisions NOW and start figuring these things out NOW. A President’s job isn’t to keep the economy chugging and keep unemployment low not anymore. This is 2020 not 1920.
Sadly the problem is…we don’t have many strong and intelligent politicians: deft individuals who can balance the present needs while developing a compelling future.
I bet this is partly what’s fueling the rise of documentaries (and podcasts) because you get a couple of hours to properly explore a topic. Ignorance is a choice just as much as intelligence. With a suitcase the handle is fairly obvious and you can pick it up quickly and go on your way. Many topics and the issues we’re currently facing do not have a readily presented handle: it can be difficult to properly get a handle on them. That’s just to start.
Just because you can name the planets doesn’t make you good at astronomy nor should it give you the confidence to rap battle Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Anyways I thought that quote was insightful. Like the Miranda Rights begin: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. To willingly choose to be silent would actually make you…for once: right.