Last week was the biggest and most cult like morning with The School of Life as Alain De Botton the schools founder took to the stage an shared his view of the news as part of the Sunday Sermon Series.
I love a fake intellectual cult. The atmosphere is zingy and almost always (the good ones anyway) have some form of singing. For the Topic of News of course we sang Gaga – Paparazzi. So many levels of genius.
As with every good cult, it has also made me look at the world completely differently since. Specifically looking at many of our news station as copping-out when it comes to really help change the world with the news.
Two truths really resonated and I think are both powerful for news but also to anyone who ultimately wants to ‘spread the news’.
One we are all empathetic and emotional creatures, yet we happily (probably easily is a better word) watch stories of 1,000′s of people being killed whilst eating dinner, we then have a glass of wine in the bath then go to bed. Not a tear shed.
Not because we are bad people but because nobody thought to tell us before the event that these people even existed or whats missing from the world now they are gone. And being told they have suddenly died, well we just don’t know what we are supposed to do with that information. So we don’t jump from our seats and set about making a change, or have an emotional breakdown every evening at 10pm, we just don’t really care.At the most we feel dependent and pour a little more wine into our glasses, tut and move on. Even though we are highly emotional beings and most of us are very nice very empathic people. We do nothing.
So point one is that actually a no brainier but we really do always need to let people understand why they should care. Not intellectually but emotionally – if we want people to engage or even change they must be able to feel moved.
The second thing that struck and upset me was the ‘good news’ (not actual good news but the kind intellectuals are drawn to), the BBC for example, see the best kind of news as fact and not opinion. They hero facts. They put the facts on the pedestal and guess what, yet again we have no idea what to do with them (so sip of wine/move on). The BBC is so scared of giving an opinion they would probably bring Jimmy Savile supporters on their show when debating paedophiles – just so its fair and unbias. Cant we just say paedophiles are scum?
De Botton asks why should this be the best form of news? Do you take us all as idiots that will blindly follow the opinions we are told. Regardless of whether we agree with it or not. PLEASE GIVE US MORE CREDIT. In fact if you give me an opinion you are demanding that I create one of my own, you’re demanding I engage – for or against you.
Opinions are hard, especially in the world of minute-to-minute news (but also life in general) because you gave to commit and stick your neck out. But maybe the more we do it the less we fear it.
That’s my opinion anyway.
You can see the full talk here and I highly recommend it as, although you dint get my beautiful singing you do get De Botton’s super sharp whit and wisdom in spades.
Also check out http://www.philosophersmail.com/ as during the week the Daily mail gets pulled apart and spliced back together using philosophy.
And my favorite magazine Delayed Gratification from the Slow Journalism Company. A beautiful quarterly look at the what was really important vs. what was just TV fodder. http://www.dgquarterly.com/