Surrealpolitik

The News in a Surrealist Mode

Updated: January 11, 2018 12:10:43 AM

By John Schoneboom

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I'm a writer with an interest in all aspects of how we construct, filter, protect, and subject ourselves to reality. My first novel Fontoon was published...

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John Schoneboom
January 12, 2018 07:03:55 PM
Thanks for commenting, Anonymous Friend. I think you're exactly right about journalism being increasingly faith based, as is news readership. This is one of the things that got me going on "surrealpolitik" in the first place, the realisation that everybody thinks we're living in the post-Enlightenment age of science and reason, yet so many of our fundamental views, not least our political views, are based on the same myth, superstition, and faith that we thought we had gotten past a few hundred years ago.

I've been reading a lot of the young Walter Lippmann lately. Everybody should read his stuff from 1919, 1920. A good collection is Liberty and the News. Practically every sentence, from 100 years ago, rings true like it was written this morning. I personally doubt that a Luke Harding is intentionally trying to soften us up for war with Russia as some sort of con, like he's an operative in a secret scheme. That's what he's *effectively* doing, but I think it's more because of the culture of journalism. Here's Lippmann's take on news editors:

"Though the editor is ever so much more sophisticated than all but a minority of his readers, his own sense of relative importance is determined by rather standardised constellation of ideas. He very soon comes to believe that his habitual emphasis is the only possible one. Why the editor is possessed by a particular set of ideas is a difficult question in social psychology, of which no adequate analysis has been made. But we shall not be far wrong if we say that he deals with the news in reference to the prevailing *mores* of his social group."

In other words, groupthink. A prevailing acceptable view emerges, and all the social pressures affirm it and none of them counter it. To go against it would take uncommon courage and integrity. We know it's uncommon because look around.
I'm a writer with an interest in all aspects of how we construct, filter, protect, and subject ourselves to reality. My first novel Fontoon was published...

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Paul Larudee
January 16, 2018 02:00:21 PM
Utterly brilliant and sorely needed. In total agreement that it is a tour de force, or would be if widely noticed and honestly appreciated. But of course the answer to why this is unlikely is in the piece itself.

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