Saturday, 23 July 2016

Support your local curmudgeon

...for they were either politicians or reporters, which, of course, comes to the same thing.
Ford Madox Ford – The Good Soldier (1915)

Almost every morning I use the  iPad to run a quick check on news headlines. I used to rely on Ceefax for my daily fix but those days are gone forever. I don’t usually read past the headlines apart from an occasional yen to get some detail, but an outline is usually enough.

I also find myself skipping from headline to comments and if there are no comments I move on. In other words, I’m hardly ever interested in what the average journalist has to say about a story. Only if the story is written by a tough-minded curmudgeon am I likely to read it and there aren’t many of those around, especially in the mainstream media.

Which finally leads to the point of this post, because in my experience there is something important about unyielding scepticism. We are stuck with a major social dilemma where mainstream opinion has to be – well mainstream. Otherwise it could not fulfil its social function, its need to suck up to the establishment and foster political correctness. Fear shapes behaviour, which is why the news is mostly alarmist. Doom and gloom rules the newsroom. Always has.

As a species we are not particularly intelligent and accept the most absurd garbage if it is socially acceptable to do so. A sharply critical outlook is required to detect the garbage but here’s the rub. Detecting garbage ought to be a positive and respected social skill, a welcome addition to the tools of social discourse. Unfortunately it isn’t, because it can’t be, because socially cohesive consensus would flounder if critical analysis were to be valued as a welcome corrective to the garbage and to the establishment viewpoint.

Support your local curmudgeon.


Sam Vega said...

How much are you asking for, AKH?

Mark Wadsworth said...

I would like to disagree, but that post is somehow depressingly accurate.

James Higham said...

Ceefax, yes, remembered.

Demetrius said...

Garbage in, garbage out, as my young ones (well in their 50's) keep telling me.

Anonymous said...

Very true.

Most newspapers are fodder for the masses but the elite need one or two newspapers that speak more or less the facts if only the better to manipulate the masses. You know the titles...

Michael said...

With so many very small-minded kids glued to their little screens, it doesn't seem that there is any hope, apart from their 'friends' telling them all what they've just eaten, which may help Tesco.

My mobile phone contract expires in September, and that's when Scrobs pulls out - except for a fiver kept in for emergencies!

A K Haart said...

Sam - jokes about Corbyn will do.

Mark - it certainly depressed me.

James - it's Red Button now, but looks much the same.

Demetrius - and garbage in the middle to let it all through.

Roger - I don't trust any of them enough to accept what they say without filing under "Maybe".

Scrobs - my mobile only does calls and texts. Enough for me.