The consequence of all this is that serious thinking is considered a pastime, an exercise of dubious value primarily for students in university. Beyond that, serious intellectual effort is only respected when it is tactical, applied in the context of a specific short-term task, towards achieving a known, practical goal. In a world of immense scarcity, in which time is the scarcest commodity of all, this vicious cycle of anti-intellectualism is perfectly understandable. It explains why Michael Jackson's trial hogs all the news headlines, and the lion's share of social discourse, while global warming and Darfur are substantially ignored. And when we are inclined to think about things we don't want or like to think about, we find we are seriously out of practice (present company accepted, of course).
There was a time when people were motivated to invest in serious thinking and thoughtful social discourse. That was a time when people made more time for serious thinking and discussion, when people did most things for themselves, and when great ideas were respected and talked about. But today we are entrained with learned helplessness, convinced that understanding and sharing and coming up with great ideas and thinking seriously about them is a largely useless activity. And why would we want to invest a lot of precious time to study and understand something merely interesting?
The legacy media seem determined to abrogate their responsibility to inform and engage the public on matters that are important,especially when they are complicated and make the public uncomfortable. So it falls on our shoulders, as the alternative media, to be the advocates for the truth, and to assume that responsibility. I believe it is essential that we bloggers tone down the jargon and the 'in' conversations, and the rhetoric and partisanship, and ratchet up the information and thought leadership and conversation and debate in our online journals, to reach a much wider and under-served audience, and hence to fill that void.
Bold is my emphasis.
A number of times when cruising through the blogosphere, I come across arguments about fine points/big issues that suddenly become down and dirty. Many of the bloggers fall into the personal attack instead of taking the high ground and dealing with the issue not the person. It is irksome to me. I get turned off by this when writers I follow take this path.
Maybe I am idealistic. Maybe I am hopeful (and not hopeless).
I do believe we have more in common than not, that sharing this common ground in a respectful way will take us a whole lot further long the road. The road is long and hard. It makes sense to have some one by your side to help.
What do you think?