Monday, December 05, 2011

It's complicated

I'm so old I remember when TV news couldn't do live on the scene reporting and it could take three days to get video footage from China. Punditry was more reflective then. Now, it takes about 3 seconds for any breaking news to travel around the world on the social nets and everybody is an instant pundit and/or a trend spotter. It's changed the way we process information, and not, I think, for the better.

At Balloon Juice, Kay voices my frustration with the current state of our political discourse.
...I get so impatient with broad national theories or studies on politics. I find them reductive and ultimately, narrowing. ...

When I look at “politics”, now or at any other time, I’m looking at what seems to me to a very complex, layered, shifting picture. Maybe I’m wrong about that, and it all can be reduced to a formula, but that isn’t how I see it or approach it. Honestly, if I did see it like that I don’t know that I would bother with it, because if I did see it like that I would eventually decide I probably can’t have any effect on it.

... So if I read or hear something reductive and final and national…I find myself yelling “it’s more complicated than that!”
Amen to that. I've been watching politics long enough to think it's so fluid, you can't get boxed into statistical probabilities and fixed narratives. The tiniest unforeseen event can, and has, changed everything at the last minute.

And adding, I get impatient with the incessant clamoring for instant results. When did we forget change is incremental and you can't necessarily see it happen? It's like watching your kids grow. You see them every day so you don't really notice the differences. Someone who only sees them once a year marvels at how much they've changed.

In the explosion of information that bombards us every minute of every day, it's seems all too easy to get hysterical about the instant developments and lose sight of the big picture. Don't think that serves us well over the long haul.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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