Saturday, June 21, 2014

Journalism, of course, is a matter of interpretation of events open to interpretation.  There is data, there are sources, perspectives, different sides.  Bergdahl sends a letter home with his thoughts on Afghanistan, how one country treats another country.

And one wonders, why does the worst interpretation of human nature win out for the most part?  Is it direct experience that all of group X are terrorists and murderers?  Yes, there is the shining example of a few, the Hitlers, the Genghis Kahns, the group of a few mentally limited creeps who stole airplanes and did their best to ruin the world according to their creepy vision, who don't present much positive in the way of human nature.

Respectable morality of the most thoughtful sort warns against intoxication.  A bad thing if it fosters the illusions, the basest part of our rude nature, bends us toward pleasure.  But what about group behavior? What about the tendency of the human being to band into exclusive groups, insulating themselves even as they think they are engaging, and quietly letting a kind of mold grow, of 'here's our politics, here's what we think of X group of people, here's what we think we are, etc. etc.'

Yes, how could we live without shorthand, without 'this is what we think, and since you are one of us, or want to be, this is what you should basically agree to.'  So, a lot of people own cars and have certain kinds of jobs, and promote by participation a certain economy to which pretty people who seem with it belong, so why don't you belong?

Before you know it, people become adult, so they think, set in their ways, and the ability of have conversations that go beyond the accepted tone and tenor and view of the world's politics are pushed further to the side.  And even, because of this basic model of how people find that they should be functional and participatory, even the journalists must have a basic preset of agreed view really all that not far away from the talk of cocktail parties, influenced as cocktail parties are by believable sounding people who look respectable, who are, in some ways perhaps respectable, but maybe quite manipulative, like Dick Cheney was in accordance with years of training in PR.  Who, at the cocktail party, could stand up to old Dick's WMD, with even General Powell agreeing?  That essence of all political bad things, the great shouting down of anyone who might say, 'hey, wait a minute.. maybe it's not quite so, and this, rather, is what I hear from another source, the intelligent cabdrivers who drive me home, who said, ten years ago, "this is stupid, Iraq will fall into three antagonistic factions and the whole region will fall apart into permanent instability."'  Did Cheney or Rummy ever inquire with such a trusty source so readily available in the nation's capitol?  No, because they lead perfectly isolated and ass-kissed jerked-off media-posed lives of fantastic security, which is, of course, unfortunately, a great recipe for disaster.

But the fault of people is, maybe, the narrow look at morality.  The bartender who goes home late at night, surely an idiot, listens to cab drivers from different parts of the world, parts that have experienced colonialism.  The great respectable people who work the Stratego board game of the world, who focus on the difference of humanity, miss something in the potential.

It takes sometimes being alone, with taking a break, with thinking independently, creatively, maybe off the map in a way.  And what journalist, on a payroll, would want to do that?  That journalist, rather than trusting instincts in the old Edward R. Murrow way of watching London blitzed, feeling the ground shake and bricks fall, would want to master all the information in the information world has created in its great cocktail party of belonging, and not stepped back, like a human being, and meditated on Buddhist meaning, on the suggestion that all is in flux, that people change, that evil can be removed in its base.

Find one person of peace.  Fine one person rising above clichés, above party divisions, above ethnic hatred...  And that might be a good story.

Christ, we've got enough bad examples for a whole treatise on natural history, so why not project from all that some good way that might work to open up, to realize, the better peaceful easy going potential of humanity, channeled chastely away from materialism and into the life of all living (and non living) things.

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