And now this person, who was about to be a pupil, this stripling, who was going to begin his education, had all the desires of a matured mind, of an experienced man, but without maturity and without experience. He was already a cunning reader of human hearts; and felt conscious that his was a tongue which was born to guide human beings.
Benjamin Disraeli - Vivian Grey (1826)
It is a common observation that many a middle class viewpoint is easily described as nothing more than a simple guide borrowed from the editorial policies of big media, from a cunning reader of human hearts. Viewpoints held with a comfortable confidence paying no heed to the complexities of evidence and quite immune to sceptical analysis.
Familiarity is key, familiarity is comfortable. As if the social world is a morass of official guides where the unofficial is unwelcome, alternatives are never demanded and nothing beyond bare assertion is required to defend whatever is familiar and therefore trusted. The world is as the guides say it is.
It is hardly surprising that mainstream media foster a comprehensive guiding role as the core of their editorial policies. Click on the BBC website and guides are what we see, from how to cook pasta to interpreting football matches to fixing the climate to celebrity culture. Ours is also a world where terrible things happen but the BBC is there to act as guide and interpreter. Or so it says.
The editorial policies of big media lead to numerous parables too. Disturbing stories which emphasise how uncomfortable it must be without a guide, beyond the familiar reach of editorial interpretation. The UK pandemic guide was one such interpretation played on a huge global stage. Hide, hide and stay inside said the official guides - so many did.
The climate narrative is a guide to becoming poorer, less free and even less significant within the familiar and comforting fog of Something Is Being Done. Disaster is coming we are told, but guides are available. Cycle, recycle, consume less and most importantly of all follow the guides and pay the price...
The price? Don't look for it in the guides.