Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So stupid [and again] As if newspapers have ever been reliably serious (any more reliably serious than people). If the US press is terrible it's because of the US model for the press is terrible: Americans are always looking for someone to trust. Murdoch gave us right-wing news and left-wing entertainment: The Simpsons. Democracy is vulgar and needs to be, but here the indignant intellectual elite still lectures the masses, without realizing how things have changed, for the worse and for the better.

Interesting to note that Watchmen and the aspirations behind it made Battlestar Galactica possible, and that the second surpasses the first not because the intellectualisms are superior -they're not- but because of the focus on human relationships and responsibilities. The maturity is in the details. What's central as well is that it's not made by geniuses or by those who want to imagine themselves geniuses but by professionals (and a fashion model who became one over the course of the job.)
The fictional Galactica is manned by a crew of hacks happy to have something interesting to do and smart enough to see the possibilities. And even the occasional or even the many false notes didn't overshadow the effort: they were paid to conjure up the complexities of human feeling and they worked hard and well at it. You learn to respect the characters but more importantly you learn to respect the actors. I'm thinking of Tarantino.

Roger Cohen has been good recently on on Iran. But compare him with Elaine Sciolino (also here). And look what she writes about most of the time. Cohen, like Baer, takes himself seriously as a man of ideas, but ideas aren't details they're glosses, and for Sciolino, like the actors of Galactica, the details are the point. Cohen is at least looking for them.

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