The Tyranny of Narratives in Journalism

I ran across Cowen’s talk recently, and I thought of this thread. I don’t have a lot of time now, but here’s a brief description of the thread. My sense is that journalists, and maybe more specifically publishers and editors, require news to occur within a narrative. Indeed, “stories” in the context of journalism is essentially synonymous with a newsworthy event or information. This is the reason I use the word tyranny. Must a narrative framework dominate the approach of journalists? What’s the downside and upside of that? Cowen touches on the downside–and he’s touching on many of the points I want to bring up. (I do want to push back on some of his points, too, though.)

If I Went Back and Rated Movies I’ve Watched, Here’s the System I’d use.

I’ve been using a 100 point rating system, but I just realized a better system–and I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this much earlier. The system I have in mind is a 50 point rating system. Here’s the breakdown:

50 = all time great/favorite

45 = great/beloved film

40 = very good/like a lot

35 = good/liked

30 = good, but flawed/problematic

25 = just OK

20 = not good/disliked

15 = bad

10 = very bad

0 = all time worst/disliked

A Discussion About Mainland Athletes Representing UH and the State of Hawai’i

I found this discussion between Micah Christenson, Micah Ma’a, and Gage Worsley. If you don’t know, the first two are volleyball setters from Hawai’i, both Native Hawaiian, while Worsley is from California and is the former libero for UH men’s volleyball. Worsley ask Christenson’s about his thoughts on UH men’s volleyball–specifically, the way the players, who are mostly not local, represent UH, Hawai’i, and Hawaii or even Native Hawaiian culture. I thought his and answer the discussion was interesting and also made me chuckle at some points, partly because I think I understood his answer and his reactions, even though I don’t think his answer was necessarily clear, especially to someone who wasn’t from Hawai’i. I post the clip below, and later give my “translation” of what I think Christenson is saying. (Note: The topic pertains not just to athletes from the continental U.S., but foreign athletes as well–basically, anyone not from Hawai’i.)

Some Recent Thoughts on Liberals and Conservatives

Two books I’ve recently encountered (The Captive Mind and To the Finland Station) have got me thinking about the roots of liberalism. I don’t really have thoughts on the roots of conservatism (I wish I did), but I want to write some conclusions I’m arriving at with regard to American conservatism. In this thread, I want to jot these thoughts down, and use this space as a way of working out these ideas.

Notes on To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson

This book surveys the development of Socialism by summarizing and analyzing various thinkers, starting with Michelet and ending with Lenin. I became interested in the book after reading about it on NPR’s You Must Read This series, which has provided me several good recommendations over the years. This book, so far, looks like it will be added to that list.

As other threads like this one, I’m going to use it to jot down rough thoughts and impressions.

One more thing, for what it’s worth: Wilson is a good writer, both in terms of his prose and insights.

Notes on The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz

Along with Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism, this was one of the books that individuals I respect recommended during Trump’s presidency. I finally got around to reading it.

Milosz, a Polish poet and writer, wrote this in 1950, and he draws on his experience living in a Soviet controlled country. I came into this wanting to learn about authoritarianism and the way individuals psychologically accept or even embrace this. The book does address this by profiling four writers, describing the (mostly psychological) path they took to work for the Soviet-controlled government.

But their journey’s didn’t stand out to me. What stood out more is what I learned about Soviet-style Marxism, which I guess could be described as Stalinism? (Or Leninism?) While I don’t know enough about Marx, Communism, or Socialism to make precise distinctions between them, some differences did come to light, and this interested me the most.

I want to use this thread as a way to crystallize my thoughts and absorb the book.