Saturday, January 15, 2005

"And when force is gone, there's always Mom..."

Thoreau made a comment somewhere in Walden about the news, and why he didn't follow it closely. Essentially, he said, it's all the same: the story doesn't change, only the names of those involved are different.

The story of CBS and Dan Rather proves, once again, that most news is merely gossip. Atrios has covered it well, and it's now down to the silly stuff: an endless repitition of an invented story line that is impervious to analysis or correction, and as such virtually divorced from reality.

If that isn't gossip, what is?

And when everything in the public discourse is gossip, what portion of the public discourse gets taken seriously? And if we can't have a public discourse that is serious, what do we do? Seek an alternative path to power? Or abandon the struggle for power altogether?


The "blogosphere" is like a drumhead: touch it at any point, and soon the whole thing is resonating to the same pitch. And right now it is ringing enough to give some of us a headache.

What is happening now is "framing," which is back to "gossip." What "really happened" is always, finally, "what people say happened," be those people journalists, bloggers, historians, or neighbors over the back fence. But, just like gossip, does it help to contribute to the story, to try to add your version? Or is it better to stand apart from it? Is engaging in the struggle for power, engaging in the struggle for truth?

Or is it really all just about power? Which, like luck, is always fickle, and seldom leaves the party with the one who brought it....

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