How America Went Haywire

Filed in National by on August 10, 2017

If you didn’t take the time to read El Som’s link to “How america Went Haywire” by KURT ANDERSEN, maybe give it a look today.

For most of the 20th century, national news media had felt obliged to pursue and present some rough approximation of the truth rather than to promote a truth, let alone fictions. With the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, a new American laissez-faire had been officially declared. If lots more incorrect and preposterous assertions circulated in our mass media, that was a price of freedom. If splenetic commentators could now, as never before, keep believers perpetually riled up and feeling the excitement of being in a mob, so be it.

Bill Clinton, Terry McAuliffe

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Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (12)

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  1. Paul Hayes says:

    I think America’s media always presented a right of center (establishment) point of view. Add to that older left leaning media sources (Mother Jones) and right wing sources and you have the American media landscape. In that regard, little has changed. Don’t forget “yellow” journalism dragged us into the Spanish American War. Guys like William Randolph Hearst thought his newspapers were his own personal sandbox. Fox seems to have been a game changer. Its wholesale departures from objective truth probably echo the Hearst newspaper chain. Americans have proven to be less than critical readers and viewers.

  2. mouse says:

    We are not in a good place. These could be the dark ages of modern America all over again. With 40% of the population easily fooled by reality game show mentality, lacking any concept of critical analysis, lacking the ability and desire to verify what they believe and full of visceral tribal hate, we could be in for a big decline

  3. RE Vanella says:

    I posted in the comments of the Open Thread. Sorry if I missed it the first time.

    It’s a very bleak picture and something people don’t want to hear, but here we are.

    Reason and reality are only for “elites” now who can’t be trusted. Post modern philosophy and relativism prepared the ground for this so the initial blame sits squarely on the shoulders if the left.

    Unfortunately, what the right has done with it is far more dangerous.

  4. alby says:

    Give people more freedom and they’re sure to fuck things up, because they’re humans. So eventually more control is exerted, which builds up pressure until it explodes into freedom. It’s a pendulum that’s been swinging for a long time.

    Interesting read full of nostalgic nuggets. It’s been a long time since I thought about “The Greening of America.”

  5. RE Vanella says:

    I’ve been out to Big Sur around Esalen. I can see how that would inspire people, but when you lose rationality it’s nothing but trouble.

    When I read this essay I though about two things.

    1.) The story arc of Mad Men. Don Draper ended up meditating at Esalen.

    2.) The major theme of Infinite Jest. Commentary on the post-modern. Addiction to entertainment. When everything is ironic we lose touch with what is true. And the president in the novel was a famous singer, Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner).

  6. mouse says:

    Beautiful place, looks like it’s landscaped but it’s natural

  7. Paul Hayes says:

    The more I think about it, this article is a scattershot attempt to explain el cheeto. “How did he win?” is the question asked over and over again. But let’s tease the article apart a little. Now is the time people abandoned reason for superstition? Really? Start with religion. Most religions exist to “fill in” “facts” we lack. What is happening now across the country is anything by new. It is old. When you lack facts, fill in with whatever magical thinking serves your purpose. We live in a time that has lots of “facts”. So many facts, in fact, that we cannot possible be expected to process them all. Many people try, and throw up their hands in frustration. Whom do we believe? What do we believe? Too many to choose from, so we guess, and pick our favorites and choose that way. What about using reason? We may have developed a rational center of thinking, but that doesn’t mean we use it. We have a handy dandy “easy” way to decide, the amigdala. Fast, efficient and tragically, wrong a lot of the time. What creates this surfeit of “information”? The article inexplicably fails to assign any blame to Madison Avenue and the constant stream of propaganda for the sake of commerce. It isn’t reviled, it is celebrated by ad professionals and lay people alike. Just think about the ads for the Super Bowl. Reason dominates our culture? When? Reason is our biological step child, strong but requiring self-discipline. When have we demonstrated that kind of self-discipline? 1933 Germany? 1918 Treaty of Versailles, which virtually created and nurtured the demand for WWII? Trump happened. It’s terrible, but he happened. He won’t last. His legacy might last. We don’t really know. We’re all just guessing in the dark. The Atlantic piece may be thought provoking, but in the end, it misses too many important points to be taken seriously. Personally, I like fishing.

  8. alby says:

    I liked fishing better when there were actual, you know, fish. Nowadays you can catch more fish in your bathtub than in Delaware Bay.

  9. mouse says:

    all of Earth’s biomes are in decline

  10. Paul Hayes says:

    My friend Sam had luck at the pier at Cape Henlopen this spring, especially blue fish. He also caught a keeper grade flounder recently. As for the bay, well, we had good luck on the open water with captain Ed, of the Lucky Strike, when it sailed out of Milford. If you’re listening, Ed, thank you.

  11. Paul Hayes says:

    Yes. The fish are plagued with toxins. Let’s not suck the joy out of EVERYTHING.