The thing is I’m tired of everything that seems to get ‘freshly pressed’ or commonly discussed. In the last several years, I’ve noticed two changes in journalism that are increasingly annoying me. The first is that nobody writes professionally anymore, except maybe in source material like AP reports and medical journal articles. If it’s in a newspaper, magazine, or especially online or on TV, expect there to be a tone as if the story is coming from somebody you went to high school with, not a professional who takes pride in balanced, fact-based reporting. Also expect cuss words or at least slang than would never have made it into a mainstream paper five or ten years ago. And you know what else? I’m sure a lot of writers think it’s totally cute and clever, too–but I’m seeing this really common thing where people who are getting paid to write news are using made up words. I see it a lot on NPR articles (because yeah, I have to admit the NPR news app is my favorite news source on a daily basis). Aren’t writers paid to write because they majored in English and know all the words that the rest of us don’t (but can understand from context)? Do they not teach the values of “concise” or “succinct” writing in journalism classes anymore? The “pyramid” writing scheme?
Anyway, the second thing I’ve noticed a lot lately is this need to discuss the things we think we need to discuss. We’re writing about discussing things. Maybe we’re not writing about actual things, but we’re writing that there was a conference for this issue, or a protest over that one. A bunch of bloggers wax passionate and hope they’re going to get Internet-famous, slacktivism accomplishes zero change, and… eh, it’s just all so boring to read anymore.
I like dialogue and all. I mean, I’ve taken a lot of discussion-based classes with emphasis placed on cross-cultural
arguing understanding appreciation endless talking discussion. But the bottom line is that it’s pointless. We can talk all day about how the U.S. needs to discuss race issues, but that’s really not what the U.S. needs. Black people don’t need to be discussed, they just need to be treated fairly. There are practical steps to take to make that happen–same for gay people–and I’m all about marriage equality, affirmative action, and all kinds of things–but I’d like to read more about people actually doing good and making these things happen, and less about some intellectuals’/professors’ over-analysis of dreadlocks or Aunt Jemima. Long story short: discussion is good, but only if it leads to action; discussion is not, except perhaps inside a classroom, a worthy end itself.
There are just so many topics I’m tired of seeing. Let’s discuss breasts, and how they should be viewed this way and not that. Let’s discuss gender, and how you think it’s malleable and I don’t. Let’s discuss gas prices. Let’s discuss Van Gogh. Let’s discuss the obstacles that [insert favorite minority or women] face in [insert favorite field]. Let’s discuss the latest product that wouldn’t be even slightly interesting if it weren’t just 3D printed for the first time! I don’t know, is this just what the Internet is now? I remember 10+ years ago, when I’d go online with my mom’s AOL dial-up account, and there was so much to discover. I found people, friends, I’d never have been able to connect with otherwise. So much information! So much imagination! But now I feel like there’s just a ton of repetition and clickbaits. Whereas a Google search used to come up with reputable .edu pages back in the day, now I get Huffington Post and dozens and dozens of pseudoscience crap websites.
Honestly, it’s because everyone is online nowadays. Back then, it was only geeks–and it was not cool to be a geek yet!
But I guess if I have a point, it’s that all of these pointless discussion-based articles and blog-posts rarely lead to any real, thoughtful, continuing dialogue. They don’t lead to friendships. They don’t lead to change. They don’t lead to understanding. They lead to arguments in the comments section, and a cheapening of what “discussion” really means.
I miss the old Xanga days.