The News

Like a flock of birds we tend to follow whatever events the culture spews out at us. Somehow, various central powers of observation decide that an event is what we should be thinking about – it might be Pat Robertson this week for example – and when they have determined this, the entire food chain of media pivots and fixates on that event.

Newspapers write articles, bloggers on all sides chip in their take, talk radio rants about it, and TV covers it 24/7. The sources of information that actually follow the beat of their own drum and talk about something else (such as the writing of Borges for example) are few. Most websites and other media, down to Facebook user’s status updates are ALL ABOUT THE SAME STUFF. I tune it out and ignore it. If everyone is talking about Pat Robertson it makes me want to avoid the topic. Why is it like this? Who decided that everything that happens in Washington D.C. needs to be in the news on a daily basis? I could care less at this point. The implicit message of this focus on DC and Hollywood is that they are the places which matter to the exclusion of others. The similar lack of any meaningful coverage of church affairs, for example, implies that what happens in the church is of no import to the broader society, unless of course a Sodomite gets ordained.

Anyway, let’s talk about something other than what the tag cloud of the culture says is important.

5 thoughts on “The News”

  1. I mostly agree Andrew. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I do think that the decision to allocate resources to covering DC is a product of a system that thinks DC matters more than your local town or whatever. These value judgments probably reflect the power of the State to influence our lives and many other factors.

  2. Yeah, there’s such a cultural focus on the few centers that we also trace so many of our problems and solutions to those centers. National elections, and especially presidential elections, become the solutions to all problems rather than local elections and activity outside the political system (whether local or national). Since I first heard it, I’ve liked Andrew Bacevich’s quote about the modern presidency:

    “the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably, the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda settler. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation’s charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one.”

    This nationalized consciousness also leads us to locate our problems in national phenomena like Hollywood, Wall Street, etc. Those things have their place in our problems, but we really need a rebirth of local commitment, I think.

    You probably saw Doug Wilson’s recent post about loyalty to the things that God has given us (http://www.dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7303:earthly-clay-on-our-heavenly-boots&catid=87:politics). He makes the point about caring for things in our sphere of influence really well. And his criticisms of the mindset that doesn’t love the local but rather wants to subject it to abstractions is pretty penetrating.

  3. Right on, that’s a great quote Scott.

    I read that Wilson piece today. It jives well with the localism advocated by my favorite, Thomas Fleming.

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