Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Divide of the Considered Response

Is there a better way to think about social divides?

Blame my humanities background, but I was struck today by two articles, one by Felix Salmon on 
 titled "Teaching Journalists toReadand one by  titled "How to Be a GoodCommenter."

The articles got me wondering if the REAL divide is not digital, or class-based, or any of the usual suspects, but is instead the divide of the considered response. We might be engaged in some way with the revolutionaries in the streets--or, as is the case with many of the 
 crew, on our glowing screens--but we know that they won't make for good governance.

Instead, perhaps we should shift our attention toward those who are capable of offering a considered response...


Boring only if you're on the wrong side of that divide.

More than just a call for an intellectual class, which we already have globally, this shift would address issues current to many of us: curation of ideas, devotion of time, consideration of what's important. Trust. Validation. The proper use of our time and energy.

Scalzi and Salmon's ideas were once taught in schools--I learned them, and I taught them to my university students--but as part of the day's malaise, we seem to have stopped that and so are denying them to others. Thus, the divide: those who learn how to construct a considered response will have the advantage over those who are capable of articulation only through chaos and reaction.

For my part, I plan to do two things: follow Scalzi's 10 points in areas beyond commenting, and be that critical reader of which Salmon reminds us. 

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