Thursday, November 8, 2012

Expertise and Politics

The shadow contest of the 2012 election was waged between two elements of the American news media.  On one side stood a pundit class, whose currency has always been oracular.  On the other stands a new class of data-based prognosticators, whose currency is empiricism.  The arguments between these two classes in the last weeks of the election, for me at least, have framed an important subtext of recent American politics as a whole.  It is not, as defenders of Nate Silver will say, a question of math.  It is, rather, a question of expertise--finding real, empirical answers to real, empirical problems through innovative, empirical methods.  This shadow contest is meaningful because it underscores in dramatic fashion a division between a traditional way of doing politics that is grounded in rhetoric, and one that address broad political problems unencumbered by those political narratives that would deny the reality of problems and solutions.

So, it was nice to see Rachel Maddow calling this election what it is--the failure of an ideological bubble that would mistake science for rhetoric, and expertise for punditry.  Problems beget paranoia--easy to sustain in the short term, but a clear underdog in any contest with the real.

Skip to 12:50:

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Monday, November 5, 2012

I dream of hidden doorways

Mostly in bookcases.  Everything about Secret Bookcases is a Tumblr to just that. Via BB.