Wednesday, October 05, 2011
A Smell Test for Better Communications
In reviewing a newly published book on newspaper columnists this morning on MSNBC, the conversation turned to the disintegration of real writing and commentary in the past twenty years. As one participant put it, we tend to write today about “what we think” rather than “what we see.” The insatiable twenty-four hour news cycle pushes writers and/or media personalities to cough up new opinions every quarter hour in order to stay current. There is no time to tell a story and then reflect on what it means; there it only that “X” happened and I do or don’t like it.
Under the pressure of producing clicks or eyeballs for advertisers all comments must be extreme and strident. The commentator must be positioned on the outer edge of any argument and then illustrate it with booming denunciations that echo like a drum in a canyon of tall buildings. Each new proposal or idea from someone else is automatically “dead on arrival” or “idiotically stupid.” Fellow citizens whose only crimes are a different view are immediately compared to Hitler. Is there no such thing anymore as an opponent on another team who is simply trying to win the game for his side rather than attempting to strip you naked and herd you into a gas chamber. Think musician and Monday Night Football.Verbal vomit projects wildly in all directions and does not care who or what it bespatters. All I know is it stinks and our atmosphere and our country would be better off with less of it.