Waiting to Inhale

What the heck is going on? The news environment, the raw material that blog posts are formed from, is remarkably fallow these days. It’s not as though there’s nothing going on. Thailand, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Sudan, and Libya are all coming apart at the seams. We’ve got “boots on the ground” in Chad (remember: the Viet Nam War metastasized from a handful of military advisors over the period of a decade).

The president has added yet another scandal to his pile. This time it’s people dying waiting to get treatment from the VA and an apparent cover-up of the actual results. That’s something that should be familiar to any Chicagoan: massage the statistics rather than address the problem.

Far from being in anything resembling a robust recovery, the economy is supine.

It’s not as though there’s nothing to write about. Are they waiting for something?

13 comments… add one
  • Ben Wolf

    Fatigue, maybe. I recall the old debates between science fiction authors on what sort of future we would have, and it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that dystopists won out. Virtually every social and environmental indicator is in decline; as someone who blogs regularly do you ever feel that you just don’t want to deal with it any more? At least for a time?

  • In general, no. I usually have more ideas than I have time or energy to write them in.

    I can’t help but wonder if journalism is suffering from a combination of monoculture, white guilt, and Obama fatigue.

  • ...

    They’re running out of squirrels to report about, so they’re slacking all the way ’round. They need at least a Donald Sterling a week in order to distract from all the crap that’s going on.

  • ...

    Remember how much press a bridge closing in New Jersey got?

  • Guarneri

    “I can’t help but wonder if journalism is suffering from a combination of monoculture, white guilt, and Obama fatigue.” + “Remember how much press a bridge closing in New Jersey got?”

    I prefer simpler and, yes, more cynical, explanations. They have all the energy in the world when it fits their narratives, and can’t seem to find their laptops, common sense or self respect if not. I mean, the unemployment rate really is way down, right?? All the wayward IRS agents reside in Cincinnati, right? Right??

    Shorter: they are garden variety lapdogs. All apologies to dogs.

  • jan

    I think Drew has it just about right, in pointing out the selectiveness that so many in MSM journalism seem to adhere to. They seem to ultimately follow the current president’s lead as to what comprises real news and what does not, especially issues that are labeled by the WH as passe or, worse yet, “phony.” Redacted documents, hearings having little substance except stonewalling from the WH, and dems calling some members of the public liars, and the oppositional party “obstructionists” is all that is needed in order to justify sidelining real journalism from what should be innate curiosity in this profession.

  • Andy

    This is why I get almost all of my “news” from twitter and blogs, especially twitter.

  • steve

    Since when has foreign policy been a big topic in the news? At best, Africa exists for only a couple of news cycles every now and then unless something really awful is happening. Thailand? Is that next to Cravatland?


  • michael reynolds

    No one’s writing much because it’s all so boring and mundane. How long are we supposed to go on pretending that health insurance is some existential crisis? And seriously just how much of a fuck do we not really give about Crimea? My God, we waste thousands of hours of media on the fate of a single plane. That’s not a world on the edge of dystopia, that’s a world on the edge of falling asleep.

    We are in an unnaturally pleasant time. Eerily stable. I’m not saying it’ll last forever, nothing does, but show me a better time in human history. Complete the sentence, “Life was so much better in ____.”

    You want some dystopia? Ypres 1, 2 or 3. The Armenian genocide. Leningrad. Auschwitz. The Great Leap forward. The Killing Fields. Rwanda. Sudan. 7% unemployment and general malaise is not the Great Potato Famine or the Black Plague or the Mongol invasions or the Bataan Death March. Issues with health insurance reform isn’t even Watergate serious let alone “Look out, it’s Godzilla!” serious.

    Boring. Boring times. Chickenshit issues. We evolved to kill mastodons and die of simple tooth decay. We are the descendants of people who on a daily basis endured privation and threats and violence that would reduce any one of us to whimpering in a corner. We’re loaded up on adrenalin and testosterone with our bifocal vision ever on the look-out for threats, our muscles forever tense, and our brains constantly working out flight-or-fight algorithms — and we’re Tweeting and drinking Chai no foam lattes.

    The 21st century so far? Dull.

    How do I make my living? Making up more interesting lives for people who are bored to tears by reality. You think Hebrews sitting around waiting to be run down by Assyrian chariots were reading about dystopia? Hell no, they were inventing magic storm gods who would save them from being disemboweled and left out as a nosh for lions.

  • There are at least two “Armenian genocides” going on right now.

  • ...

    I love it when rich guys tell the poor and unemployed that we need to shut up because we’re boring them with our inconsequential problems. Liberal compassion, in all it’s glorious indifference to everything but power.

  • Cstanley

    I wonder (especially after reading comments like Michael’s ) if it isn’t a matter of supply and demand. Real journalism, especially for foreign bureaus, is expensive, I’m sure, and the domestic audience is either too caught up in their own problems or among the lucky few who prefer to live in a bubble.

  • Michael Reynolds

    A story requires a hero or a victim with whom people can easily identify. Kidnapped blond girls fit the bill, far off events with no video do not.

    Once news became about profit it ceased to be news and became a search for eyeballs. The news us whatever generates the most eyeballs for the lowest cost.

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