I’m not sure about how to start this one.
I might say communication is important. Somebody will mock this, for being so ridiculously obvious. It should indeed be obvious, yet so many problems happening now are about communication failures. Somebody might mock such a statement for not really saying anything about what sort of communication failure there might be, and maybe say “tell me an example”.
Then, if you describe an example of communications failure, with all its confused and even bizarre twists and turns and diversions and non sequitur nonsense, the very nature of the problem is going to be a bit convoluted, and somebody will criticize it as long winded, even though it might be a radically condensed version of some long epic of confusion. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to convey the gist of some sort of epic of confusion and evasion, and found somebody complaining that it takes too long, and saying- give me the short version. That’s a bit annoying, to put it mildly, and makes me want to scream at people “that is the fucking short version!”.
I’ve encountered this is a variety of situations, and it’s a real problem. It’s a serious problem that compounds whatever the main issue at hand happens to be. There’s a difficult dilemma in this. It should not be difficult, it should not be a dilemma.
Give people “the short version”, and very often they don’t actually get what you’re trying to tell them, because there’s no context. Some things need some background, some things require some detail, or they’re useless. You might as well say nothing. Give people the full story, and too many people start complaining “too long! long winded! get to the point! cut to the chase! what’s the bottom line!”. Sometimes, for extra irony, they’ll miss the point you’re trying to get across, because you’re trying to be brief, and they’ll still complain that it’s too long.
There are a few really good examples of this problem from my experience I could tell you about, to illustrate the problem, but I think I’ll skip them now. Guess why.
There is probably quite an essay to be written about why and how this happens, never mind the examples of how these things play out, but, then, the irony that comes with it is that the people who probably need to read, digest, and reflect upon such a note would be exactly the people who are probably most likely to ignore it, or give it a half minute skim and miss much of it, while complaining that it’s too long, and I should let them know when I’ve knocked it down to one or two sentences.
It’s easy to understand how some of this happens. For many people, circumstances find them simply overloaded, and the results are often such that they end up giving many things a quick cursory glance, not really absorbing and digesting it. Given direct spoken communication, or writing, they want everything knocked down to some 20 seconds of speaking or one written paragraph summary, give it a few seconds of half assed attention, some snap assessment, some quick decision, and off they go. Got it! And they haven’t got it. Worse than that, they might think they do, which leads to problems far worse than not knowing, not understanding, and at least realizing that.
I have in mind an assortment of circumstances, some in the public realm, some in the realm of people’s private and personal lives, where complex problems are made far worse by people essentially having an attitude of “I don’t have time for this shit” if it comes to spending a little bit of time on focusing on things and getting some directly relevant important information, and then operating on the basis of ignorance and confusion, while thinking they know what’s going on.
People looking for simplicity where there may not be much can be prone to operate in lingo, in jargon, in cliches and stereotypes, thinking it’s useful, that they’re understanding and communicating, when it’s probably making things worse more often than not.
Sometimes it’s a case of inexplicable misuse of a word, using the wrong word and confusing things, such as the case of people yapping about “economic inequality” or “income inequality”, when we’re really talking about imbalance, and the results that triggers, having people babbling about communism.
For that matter, we can have episodes like the recent unintentional comedy of a particular obnoxious character sticking his mouth into political matters and getting attention for saying unflattering things about the current president, including the main attention getter, calling the president a “mongrel”. What was less noticed by people was the guy in question yapping about the president using the word “communist” repeatedly. That should have made it obvious that we were being subjected to the noisy barking of an idiot, a burst of noise and fury signifying nothing. I’ve pointed this out before more than once, but it’s worth repeating what should be apparent, but isn’t, to many people, and that is that despite all the incessant rattling about Obama supposedly being some sort of left-wing radical socialist/communist, the actual historical record of reality of Barack Obama as president over the past five years has shown Obama as being about as left-wing radical communist as Richard Nixon.
Evidently many Americans are simply ignorant enough to happily swallow all the nonsense and fiction fed to them, about the current president, and many other things. This is not a trivial problem, and could prove to be tragic. That word is not used casually, I should point out.
Right now, drama continues to play out in the area between the bulk of the European continent, Asia, and the Middle East, in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine. I mentioned this stuff in my last note. Turn on the TV news or check around the general American infotainment news media, and we’re all getting mass doses of the same usual narrative: the Ukrainian people rose up against a corrupt dictator and Russian domination to embrace freedom and democracy and links with the EU and United States. Now, as things get more heated and dramatic, with the Ukrainian president in exile in Russia, an “interim government” having executed a coup d’état, and all kinds of action like reported Russian military forces in the Crimea region, we get all kinds of dramatic chatter about a Russian invasion, with the predictable pompous pronouncements of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, about lines being crossed, and costs and consequences and warnings.
Look around a little more, and the situation there is evidently much more complex and ugly, including what is reportedly quite a bit of covert subterfuge and meddling in the affairs of Ukraine by the US government, trying to push Ukraine into some sort of revolt that would replace the existing government with a more “EU and US friendly” government. It was no surprise to come across cable TV news chatter with people saying that, naturally, aligning with the EU and “the west” should naturally include Ukraine joining NATO as a full member, and there we are, surprise, surprise, a new NATO base or two in Ukraine, on the southwest border of Russia.
The supposed forces of “revolution and freedom and democracy” in Ukraine are, it seems, a much more unsavory and benevolent bunch than some people would have us believe. It should be said, on that note, that it’s certainly not looking anything like a simple case of Good Guys versus Bad Guys there anywhere you look, as apparently the now-exiled president who made an escape was, indeed, a corrupt bastard.
It’s not simple, it’s not black and white.
Meanwhile, as news reports chatter about “Russian invasion”, as what is apparently a Russian military movement into the Crimea region is happening, it’s worth noticing that the Russians have a naval base in the Crimea under a long term lease from Ukraine, and apparently much of the population in that region is Russian, and the people of that area, and local government, feel close ties with Russia, not particularly happy about the “revolt and revolution” in Kiev.
Writing this on Sunday, March 2, when I turned on CNN now and then over the course of the day, it was nonstop “BREAKING NEWS” there, all kinds of urgent drama, keeping people on the edge of their seat waiting for full out war and maybe the start of World War III, which actually is not an idea to dismiss. But, then, at some point that switched, because it was time for Piers Morgan live from the red carpet at the Academy Awards!
That seems like a good indicator of something, somehow.
As all this plays out, with all I mentioned above and more (you should read the items in the links at the end here), many Americans seem to buy right into the whole “Ukrainian revolution for freedom” meme. That seems to be playing out with some people going along with the idea of “the US must act and defend freedom”, with some of the usual farce of American politics now manifesting itself in the form of Republican politicians and Fox News chatter. There, the “opposition” to President Obama’s posing and pronouncements, as if the US government rules the world, consists of Republican politicians and cronies criticizing Obama as being weak and ineffectual and just failing to show those darned Russians who’s boss.
There isn’t much of people stopping and saying “wait a minute, this is none of our business”.
It might be a bit of a thought exercise to imagine what the US government would be doing and saying if Willard Romney had been elected president in 2012, but it would have been the same stuff, really. It might have been a bit more different if John McCain had been elected in 2008 and then re-elected in 2012. In that case, I think World war III would already be about ready to start with McCain going apeshit and corralling all available US military forces. The interesting catch there would have been when he realized that the US military was already spread all over the world, and it was all already bankrupting the nation.
Either way, even while people might dismiss the very thought, everything revolves around the neocon domination of our own government and their mad notions of ruling the entire world.
But let’s not let that interrupt the showbiz festivities, shall we?