Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Something I have thought about a lot recently is the difficulty of getting anything into the media that isn't simplified to a dualistic argument between the two extremes. I don't like that, because I believe, with some justification, that the world, the universe and its meaning are all quite complex matters. Trying to find a simple solution is usually a waste of time.
But that attitude is scorned as too nuanced, too whiny and so on. And also, of course, as too complicated. One is supposed to say something clear and rigid, and if one does not, then one is called a fence-sitter or something nastier. But seeing the nuances is not a bad thing at all. It could sometimes be that very ability which allows us to correct a terrible problem. And seeing nuances does not mean the kind of "he-said-she-said" vacuity that much of the media discussion on politics has become.
Why so much on something that might sound like hair-splitting? Perhaps because of the book reviews I just finished. I don't think the kind of books I'd like to write would ever be published. A book has to have a simple main thesis and all the evidence must be arranged to support that main thesis. Then someone else writes a different book, equally simplistic, but with different evidence, and THEN we are supposed to have a debate about the issues. This is boring and inefficient, I think, but it's also not quite reflective of reality. It's also quite likely to leave people believing that one of the two simplistic theses is the correct one.