Quid Novi

Quid Novi

I know I’ve been missing in action again, but work has me busy at the moment. More later. Here’s a quick story about the fleeting nature of journalism. Is it a worthy profession. The article is from the New Criterion. An interesting paragraph:

Journalistic consciousness is imperialistic. It invades every sphere of life and takes it over. Consider the world of scholarship, in which men and women dedicate themselves to exploring some area of reality in terms of a particular mode of inquiry—as historians, scientists, or literary scholars, for example. Scholarship is hard, focussed work, continually retracing its steps to check on its validity as scholarly discussion proceeds. It knows nothing of the urgency of the deadline. The scholars who practice this art are often pedantic and stuffy, and certainly impatient with those who think they can master the subject in question without a lengthy apprenticeship. And for centuries scholars used to defend themselves against the contempt of practical men for what is “academic” with an entrenched disdain for journalism and popularization. The Cambridge English don F. R. Leavis detested nothing so passionately as Sunday newspaper reviewing. The Oxford historian A. J. P. Taylor never got the chair to which his abilities entitled him because (so it is plausibly said) he brought scholarship low by writing for newspapers.

It’s hard to read some of this story, working in journalism as I do. (But, I work in magazines, which is much better … right?) I like this part: “A journalist is the master of the gist of things, and gist is king of the world. The way it dominates contemporary politics might perhaps help to explain why in our time so much legislation has so frequently to be amended, corrected, and replaced.” Ouch. For the record, I don’t agree with the article’s cynicism or the connection of the fate of journalism and liberalism. I certainly don’t like the way the author denounces interdisciplinary education (and its connection to journalism). But an interesting article nonetheless–food for thought and discussion.

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