Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Simple Case of Bias (Review of Newsweek under T. Brown)

Chanced onto a two-months-old Tina Brown columnin her own Newsweek magazine. The key word/phrase in the article is "morally porous." What persons such as Rick Santorum do not like, she implies, is the (or: a) "morally porous" world. More precisely Brown was discussing faith and she makes the claim that for some persons faith "condemns the world for being so morally porous..." Whether she means it is today's world that is so porous is not altogehter clear. It seems, at any rate, that she and the other Newsweek dignitaries are fond indeed of the modern world in which they live, and work.
     OK, then, Tina, let us proceed to talk about "Saint" Santorum and stuff. The "Saint", we are led to believe, dislikes it if the world is morally porous. But what does morally porous mean? Theodore Adorno was saying in 1928 that the world can absorb any view or idea. Anythingany criticism that you throw at it, at the new "science" world (scientism)it just accepts and absorbs; thus weakening the practice of philosophy, as it is known (in Europe, actually, which is a pity).
    What does it actually mean to say "morally porous"? Tina Brown is sitting there congratulating herself for being meaningful. And this is precisely the problem. The phrase "morally porous" means that nothing really exists. So she is defending a world where nothing really exists. What is the point?

     There is nothing there to defend. It is a hagiography for her version of stuff. That is precisely what the rest of the article is. It's just a love song to this week's version of modernism.

                      (Newsweek, February 20, 2012)

     In terms of the content, of the column, that is to say, not to mention the content of her whole magazinethere is a "my version of the world is so great" or "I'm loving it" kind of trope. This is a magazine for the general reader. And articles need to make their point. There seem to be (in this magazine that I picked up so very casually) a pantheon of columnists/writers whom are biased in this manner. What they like is the modern experience they are having. This is bias. By "bias," I mean to say distorted. They are angry. The default example of what we should be against and what is detestable is always this thing we call "racism." I, personally, am suspicious of the term. However, "we" is appropriate, as no one anywhere seems to share this position that I have developed about that word. Is there any difference?-between this kind of bias, and the dreaded and justifiably-hated "racism"? I think the writers for Newsweek are being equally distorted and biased as anybody else. They are for the current flavor of bourgeois life. They are, therefore, against those that do not share in those hallowed values. Their values are the ones that guide them, day-to-day, as they send their copy up the chain of command, which is to say to people like Tina herself and I think  that persons such as Tina Brown are an elite who are just as biased as anybody else, which is to say that they are "racist" too. The word fits the Newsweek writers perfectly well to my ears. Racist? Yes, it is essentially the same thing! There is anger there, for sure. Bias. At root, liberal bias. There is hatred, there is fear. It is a fearful, liberal hatred. And, to their credit, it comes out and is not concealed, not to me. There is distortion. There is a bias against anyone that does not agree with their cutting-edge lifestyles. (She chooses to co-opt a Chrysler commercial, of all things, in the same column, featuring Clint Eastwood. A person like Clint Eastwood, as seen in this car ad that Brown apparently is all in favor of, also would not agree with this kind of self-absorbed paranoid modernityI am quite certain about that.)
     Since it is a magazine for the general reader, and since Newsweek does not have the time to make the full philosophical argument, all of these statements in favor of the current New York and L.A. lifestyle have to be bias. What else could it be? It is not official "racism." But Tina and Co. are the same as the persons they criticizeafter it's all said and done.


  1. I very much enjoyed how you gave background and broke this issue down into its components. My opinions about bias have taken a new twist due to your thoughts. Have you considered sending this in to a newspaper editorial section somewhere?

  2. Great. How do I get the addresses of some influential people?