Friday, August 17, 2012

No answers. Just questions.

How does the old expression go: “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Or some-such.

Let me mangle that thought into this: “That which does not enlighten me makes me dumber.”

We’re talking the Internet and the slow gurgle from dying newspapers. I am becoming more and more convinced the Internet is aiding and abetting the polarization of America. Not “causing” but certainly “helping.”

Quick, easy test: check your browsers. How many liberal sites to you plumb on a daily basis? How many conservative? Full disclosure: I have six liberal and two conservative aggregates.

Seriously, how often do you read stuff from the other side that you dig up on your own?

Switch to newspapers and how we read them. I’m no longer active in sports, don’t have a favorite team and (heresy!) could give a damn whether the Longhorns win or lose. But I glance at the sports section every day just to keep my testosterone tank topped off. Lots of men pay the same cursory homage to the sports pages.

Now, switch back to the Net. Research shows that once you switch to online readership, you rarely – if ever – click through the sports news again. (Hat tip to Dr. Brad Wilson for that nugget.)

Same logic applies to politics. Once online, most of us get comfortable reading what our good guys have to say and nothing from those evil bastards across the divide.

Ergo, the Net isolates us. Entrenches us. Enrages us.

Is it worth it?

Sure, our nation has always entertained differing viewpoints. But this stuff is getting serious. The gunfire is both literal and figurative.

Really – is it worth it?

I don’t have the answers. Just questions.


The South Plainsman said...

Your best post ever.

We all tend to live in our own cocoon, and we all suffer from it to the extent we do. Like you, I try to cover the spectrum, but, of course, I tend to like articles that I agree with. However, I know we both get a real good dose of the other side, because we exchange articles.

A very big problem in our country is the fact that most have decided which "tribe" they want to belong to, and shut out consideration of things that that "tribe" opposes politically.

The result is that instead of debate, we have competing sound bites that meaan nothing. And the country's business is subsumed in the partisan fight.

I have always kind of liked what Rodney King said way back then, "Why can we all just be friends?"

I do make a regular stop at the UT Football bulletin board for the latest info. lol

Anonymous said...

I don't have a newspaper in the house. too expensive. I read them online. I have made up my mind on the election, of course, and yet I have to watch endless karl rove negative ads because I live in a so-called 'swing' state. exhibition football is really hard to watch, with all the scrubeenies playing. more and more, I find myself watching documentories on hitler and sucking my thumb. what does this mean?

Anonymous said...

This is really good. I think you are exactly right about the internet. People believe everything that's out there and just use it to fuel their own bias. It's getting dangerous.

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