Did we know (and understand) more when we knew less? | Street Jazz

Monday, September 25, 2017

Did we know (and understand) more when we knew less?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 4:06 PM

When I was a young sprout in Missouri, we subscribed to two newspapers, a morning edition and one that came out in the afternoon. We also had the morning and evening news on television. When we were stationed in Germany in the early 70s we had the Stars and Stripes newspaper, Time, Newsweek and LIFE magazines to keep us abreast of life back in the sates and around the world. We also had the news on American Forces TV and radio. On Sunday we’d grab a copy of the international edition of the New York Herald Tribune.

And no, for the ill-informed who just love a good cliche to round out their day, neither Stars and Stripes or the news of Armed Forces radio/TV were propaganda services. Still, I suppose that simple declaration won’t convince those who find comfort in cliches, whether they know anything about the subject or not.

Today, in addition to newspapers, magazines and the nightly newscast on the major networks, we have cable outlets devoted to the 24 hour news cycle - basically repeating stuff over and over and over again. Often, what is labeled as “Breaking News” is merely coverage of something that may well have happened yesterday.

Indeed (as as the philosopher Teal’c of Chulak was wont to say) the text banner running along the bottom of the screen often simply regurgitates yesterdays’s news.

The rest of the time? Analysis of the news, all too often from purely partisan points of view. Many viewers swear emotional allegiance to these outlets because of the partisan analysis.

And then we get online news.

News geared towards liberals.

Conservatives.

Libertarians.

Freedom lovers.

News for vegetarians.

News for Second Amendment advocates.

News for atheists.

News from a religious point of view.

News for people who feel nothing but contempt for anyone who doesn’t see the world as they do.


Lots of news, and yet, just a glance at Facebook and many online forums shows that we are less informed than ever. We don’t know an awful lot about the world in general, and with more and more people proudly proclaiming that they don’t read the local newspaper or watch TV news, we have all too many activists whose knowledge about their own community wouldn’t fill a thimble.

Such “activists” are not to be depended upon.

At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, I remember a time when folks were surprisingly well-informed about the world around them, considering the amount of information we got, compared to what we receive now. Today we drown in a sea of trivia, opinion, and ignorant online comments from those whose grasp of anything approximating actual knowledge of history or world events is laughable.

Want to know more about the world? My advice would be to limit yourself to a handful of sources that you trust, and tune out most of the noise.

Especially online.

******

Today’s Soundtrack

Punching the keyboard today along with Bill Conti’s soundtrack to “Rocky III,” which is the best, bar none, of the Rocky movies.

You want to make a difference in the world? Gotta have the eye of the tiger, baby . . .

*****

Quote of the Day

The most unrealistic thing I've ever read in comics is when some group of characters calls themselves the Brotherhood of Evil or the Masters of Evil. I don't believe any character believes their goals to be truly evil. - Len Wein

rsdrake@cox.net


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