Saturday, May 18, 2019

Weave Got to Try

Not that there's anything wrong with it. Mayan weaver in San Jorge, Guatemala, via TES Blendspace.

Shorter David Brooks, "The Big Story You Don't Read About", New York Times, 16 May 2019:
I can't understand why news media keep focusing on stories about awful things that just make people feel anxious and depressed when they could be writing about the conference I did last week for my Aspen Institute gig which got 275 people to DC to talk about weaving. And I don't mean basket weaving, buster, I mean my metaphor I'm personally in charge of, are the news media even aware of my metaphor sweeping the nation?
Or in his own words,

many of our colleagues don’t define local social repair and community-building as news. It seems too goody-goody, too “worthy,” too sincere. It won’t attract eyeballs.
That’s wrong.
I’ve spent the past year around people who weave social fabric, and this week about 275 community weavers gathered in Washington, for a conference called #WeaveThePeople, organized by the Weave project I’ve been working on at the Aspen Institute.
It's "wrong"? He's proving that it's wrong by writing a column about it? Is this some kind of social psychology experiment where he writes a column about local social repair and community-building (or as we say in Giridharadas-speak about plutocrats and an attractive selection of their beneficiaries gathering in Washington, which may or may not be the same thing) and somebody else writes a column about something scary and we'll see who gets the most eyeballs?

Well, Tuesday's column, mainly about those white workers and their careless attitudes toward organized religion and sanctified sex ("The Rise of the Haphazard Self")—
“I treat church just like I treat my girlfriends,” one man said. “I’ll stick around for a while and then I’ll go on to the next one.”
—had four paragraphs previewing the #WeaveThePeople conference, and has attracted 784 comments so far, while Jamelle Bouie worrying ("What the Democrats Can Learn About Impeachment From the Civil War") that Trump is treating Pelosi the way the Confederates treated General McClellan in early 1862 has 641; on Friday, Dr. Krugman's horrified response ("Killing the Pax Americana") to Trump's trade war—it's even worse than it looks, because the economics of trade policy is its least important aspect—has attracted 762 comments so far, and Brooks's all-Weaving column has 493, so by that measure at least it looks as if scary is on the rise while support for Weaving is collapsing, but who knows. The Bouie piece is really great, by the way.

But a search for #WeaveThePeople under Google's News rubric finds that but for Brooks's two columns nobody in the news media has covered the conference at all, making this one sound mostly like a petty and self-dealing gripe.

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