Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Err Imbalance

In a more or less flip comment on Scott Barrett's latest contribution on the yet-to-prove-itself blog Climate Policy, I wrote "Maybe the American people will rise above parochial obsessions to face the challenges of climate change".

The comment could apply to people almost everywhere else of course, but one could make a case that this is an area in which America leads the word. I recall being surprised and a little shocked quite a few years ago when staying with a good friend in San Francisco who was something of a poet and writer that he was glued day after day to coverage of the O.J. trial. I recalled this today when reading an extract of Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason including the following:
At first I thought the exhaustive, nonstop coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial was just an unfortunate excess—an unwelcome departure from the normal good sense and judgment of our television news media. Now we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time...

While American television watchers were collectively devoting 100 million hours of their lives each week to these and other similar stories, our nation was in the process of more quietly making what future historians will certainly describe as a series of catastrophically mistaken decisions on issues of war and peace, the global climate and human survival, freedom and barbarity, justice and fairness.
For an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of The Assault on Reason see Michihko Kukatani's review.

P.S. All is not lost if Citizens for a Better America get their way!

No comments: