Keep Perspective

Via the Ranting Professor, I came across a bit in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (registration required, but go ahead and tell them you’re Bud Selig) about how the coastal upperclass media types view members of their audiences who are not from those silly little states across which you can drive in an hour.

Yummy bits:

Questions are not being asked. Meanings are not being interpreted. Certain neighborhoods are not being visited. Certain lives are not being explored in a meaningful way. And, through the prosecution of basic journalism, agendas are being set that do not reflect the way the other half, without the bulging 401ks, lives.

For instance, how many people on air or in print came from families that had walked a picket line? How many know how to bait a hook or gut a deer? (I’m bad at both.) How many have felt the economic insecurity that stalks the working poor? (And I’m not talking about the few weeks at college on the Ramen noodles diet.)

How many have had real experience with the criminal justice system, who have had home visits from social workers, who have scrambled to call the probation office, who know the awful taste of government cheese?

My feeling about the growing social distance was reinforced most personally during the investment of Wisconsin by the national press. I traveled with the Howard Dean camp, and there saw again how the elite media outlets employ people who, when they dip into smaller places away from Dupont Circle in Washington or the Lower East Side in New York, treat it as some sort of anthropological adventure.

It’s not just the media who do this; it’s any condescending person who thinks that New York, D.C., or Boston is the center of the whole universe, not just the condescender’s. By the same token, we must remember, too, that our Midwestern experience is not the end-all be-all, even if it’s down to earth and touch with physical reality. As individuals, we should keep some open minds toward all kinds of experience, even if it’s Ivy League education; just recognize that each experience offers perspective which might provide insight into different situations. It’s always a good idea to mix a cleric in with your fighters and magic user when you go dungeon-crawling.

And another point: USDA cheese doesn’t taste awful. It tastes like cheese.

Thank you, that is all.

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