This evening, as I ruminated in a Twitter-like haze (better than an alcohol-ridden one anyhow), I fairly humbly tweeted the following:
I wish the trade of journalism involved telling the truth before engineering an angle. #justobservin
I’ve never worked professionally as a journalist – but then perhaps that’s what attracted me to blogging in the first place. During my eye-opening experiences with mental ill health, I was attracted to the underbelly of humanity – especially that area of life which surrounded the process of telling lies to voters about war. I was fascinated by how journalists – good men and women all, I’m sure – became involved and wrapped up in so many half-truths that reality was no longer the consideration on the table. As bankers did less than a decade afterwards, so journalists and their editors both fell into the terrible trap of wanting to be so different and therefore quite remarkable, instead of – simply – wanting to tell and do the truth.
To be honest, the desire – essentially – to be original above all is the curse of humanity. It drives us – yes, me too, just like you and you – to say the daftest things on occasions. We want to go that bit further because that is what being read demands of us. If we say what we believe is the truth, this may not be enough to satisfy the thirst and hunger of those readers with so much choice out there: a thirst for the latest and firstest over the lasting on the one hand, and a personal reaffirmation of dearly-held prejudices on the other. Any writer who does not finally see it their responsibility to kow-tow to all that will become a writer who writes particularly for him- or herself quite before the audience which ends up crying foul.
Twitter, its failings, our own too, are but a symptom. The rot set in with the introduction of 24-hour rolling news channels. Without a proper time to reflect, and to learn to properly value the skill of reflection, it is hardly surprising we get the awful sociopolitical environment we’re now living. I would even venture to say that this government, a government I’ve berated enough in the recent past, is not primarily to blame for this state of affairs. We simply have politicians on all sides of the political pyramid, battling to make themselves heard when no one really cares to listen – and when all prefer, governed and governors both, to shout down the megaphone.
Yes, it is true. Those who shout loudest have triumphed over us all. Not because their views are getting pride of place on the political mantelpiece but for another, quite different, reason: we too have learnt that the way to do latterday business is to shout just as loud as our voices can bear in the vain and idiotic hope that something will constructively stick.
Careful and considered examination of matters to hand? When, really, of late, did that ever happen? Even in matters as serious as immoral tax avoidance by popular corporations on industrial scales deserves it would seem the open scorn and jeering of our elected representatives.
Everything – our politicians, our software, our communities, our neighbourly habits – has crept down to the level of the medieval stocks of old. You think the problem is Twitter and those “nuke ‘em” buttons that destroy reputations and debate in a second’s worth of virtual fission? You’re sadly mistaken. Whilst Twitter and its like will slowly be brought under control, the madness that discards the greatest human customs of reflecting on issues of the day with care, thought, perception and gentle understanding … well, it’s clear where it’s now leading us – and it’s clear that our good old friend Twitter is but a stepping-stone on a journey to hell.
I started out by bemoaning the pursuit of angles over the pursuit of truth. To want to differentiate oneself from another can be a noble exercise, I don’t deny. But to want to differentiate because difference brings recognition where agreement simply brings … well … agreement is about the most destructive device our society could possibly have invented. And I fear that if we do not learn that this is the case in time to forge a society of common interest in this early 21st century, then there won’t be much of a late 21st century left for the children of our children.
So must we really accentuate what brings notoriety?
Must we really construct an organisational world on the back of “nuke ‘em” instincts?
I really don’t think it’s a viable way forward – but I really don’t see too may people agreeing with me at the moment.
Wrong century or wrong species? Maybe I’m simply not cut out for noise.
Maybe that’s what it is.
Maybe silence is my angle.