being in Time

days go by

  What’s important?
“Here is the news” (again): the alien as welcomed

gary e. davis
August 22, 2021
Journalism in principle writes to promote what’s presumably important (in auspices of reporting or analysis). Or journalism reviews what postures itself as worth extended attention.

But analysis of importance as such belongs to academic leisure, which doesn’t sell (though you can pay $30 for an article on the matter from a journal that is read largely by its specialist guild—or find a university library with online access).

The Point is, generally, to promote focus on—to spotlight—what matters beyond casual interest.

Matters to whom? Very often, journalism provides free public relations for self-interested parties (e.g, politicians, publishers, products, entertainers) seeking consumers. Modern politics often regards the voter as a consumer—a marketing target—because validity is turned into a polling trend. You can vote for whatever reason you choose—or for no reason at all (or “Why vote?”).

A complex society expresses a vast range of interest and capability, making educational commitments easily seem Sisyphean in a market society, partly because there’s always some new generation displacing aging experience which is easily regarded “newly” as alien (outdated) because validity belongs to what makes easy sense for one’s generational cohort.

In the market, the boundary between, say, the New York Times and Vanity Fair can fade in the interest of building audience and catering to subscriber taste (or click-bait prospects).

The market most loves those with discretionary cash: youth, established wealth, neither of which care much beyond themselves.

That’s not news! It’s part of the landscape with social media duplicity, induced virality, and the like. The business of journalism is its own kind of marketing. Politics becomes just doing the business (which might be the perverted truthiness of nihilist Trumpism).

Erving Goffman’s “impression management” psychology of the 1950s (forgotten) became Jean Baudrillard’s “simulacrum” of the 1970s (forgotten) which is now “virtual reality” turned into natural attitude.

Poof! “Nothing really matters.”

Shall we engage in a phenomenology of life and world where “is” becomes “as”?: Our planet as not caring whether or not humanity disappears (but not really: That’s just figurative expression).

In the pandemic, health care professionals risk their lives to save the life of an obese neighbor who never much cared about their own health—which is dramatic news! (“when we come back” from the commercial)—while deaths from voluntary carelessness (cars, guns) are not “really” news.

How about an excursion into virtue?

When everything is uncanny, one is easily numb to what’s less than spectacle.

No wonder, then, that some sensibilities withdraw into art or arcane research,
not caring whether or not they’re seen or read.

They go their own way because being there (in heights of some kind) is better than available valleys. They may be never known, except to a few, who are rare—but not as elitism. It’s just how life happened.

I share this with you. “I share this with you,” while I understand (I believe) why some sensibilities seem to address the ether, personified as future audience: their sometime presence while they’re alive as a hermeneutic of too-vulnerable feeling: “literature” as holistic (holism implied in sensitive focality of) writing—being as flourishing life, conceptual appeal as creative intimacy, humanity as evolving mind, futuring as reason to conceive.



  Be fair. © 2021, gary e. davis