Thursday, July 12, 2007
Rise of the Mockers
I like to read the Chicago Tribune since I find that the print news media tends to be at least somewhat more intelligent and in-depth than the "no-spin" spin and info-tainment of the television news outlets. And I often like to start with the editorial page to find out what are the big issues that columnists and the general public seem most concerned about.

However, lately it seems that even the print media has sunk to the immaturish level of cable news. Reading the editorial columns today, I came across conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg's scornful commentary on the Live Earth concert. I read the whole article waiting for a solid argument, but was disappointed to find that it contained nothing but half a page of mockery and ridicule - not even clever satire, but just straight out insults.

Granted, it's not just the conservative columnists that have started pandering to the Junior High mentality. Liberal columnist Garrison Keillor, a storyteller and writer whom I usually quite enjoy, has also recently become more and more forthright (and correspondingly less cleverly satirical) with his ridicule of the "Current Occupant".

I want good commentary and thoughtful opinions from a respected newspaper like the Tribune - not adolescent namecalling. If I was looking for that I'd tune into Fox News (or the Daily Show or the Colbert Report - at least then it'd be funny and clever). What has happened to our forums for public discussion? Is there any place left where we can have substantial, thoughtful conversations about the issues facing our world? I realize that snarkiness probably sells more newspapers, but it can't be good for the health of our national discourse.

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posted by Mike Clawson at 6:45 PM | Permalink |


2 Comments:


At 7/13/2007 08:20:00 AM, Anonymous Kullervo

I enjoy a good bit of mockery as much as the next guy, but it's certainly no substitute for serious discourse. In fact, it is precisely those areas where serious discourse is important where mockery should be restrained.

Simply put, mockery distracts from the message. I'm not talking about humor or real satire, but mockery. Mockery panders to the people who already agree with you, and it hardens the resolve of the people who disagree with you.

Sneering, bitter mockery is a weapon- it says I'm not willing to give ground or talk about this, I'm not willing to enter into discourse. I'm just opening fire; prepare to return fire.

Finally, mockery makes the other side stop listening to you. When you finally have something serious to say, they're not going to listen, because they're going to lump it in with the large body of unproductive mockery that you've already produced. It distracts from the real issues.

 

At 7/13/2007 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Julie

but don't you know that the mockery levels increase (as the intelligence levels decrease) the close we get to an election? We have a long way to go and a lot more stupidity to endure.

and is it mocking for me to call mockery stupid...? :)

 

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