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Eureka: On writing philosophy
by Jay Gutman
2018-07-22 09:49:30
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What is writing? In an era of fake news, where the press is getting bad press, and the bad press the press is getting is getting bad press, here are a few thoughts that will hopefully make the press great again.

-Realism and writing

Every author has his or her own biases, background, personal life, opinions, aspirations etc. Some writers eat well and sleep well; others have trouble finding food and don't sleep well. Some have stable personal lives and are comfortable with their beliefs; others have complicated lives and doubt their beliefs. Some writers can lead happy lives and then face tragedy in their life, while others have stress-free lives. Writing is in large part what the author makes of it, and his or her personal life and beliefs will affect writing a great deal.

write01_400-Positivism and writing

All things being equal, I know more stuff in 2018 than I knew in 2016. It's not like I knew the stuff all along but was saving my ideas for a sunny day. Writers read, research, have conversations, watch the news, and have personal events that make or break their writing. So writers know more today than they knew ten or twenty years ago, and that is sometimes reflected in their writing.

-Free writing

Some writers are free to write what they want, others have vague guidelines but a large degree of freedom when they write their stories. Their writing is not constrained by their family, tribe or boss, and they are free to express their ideas.

-Tribal writing

Some writers are constrained by their tribe and cannot write anything that would offend the tribe. Writers are members of a tribe, and their writing represents their tribe. So they tend to slip in a great deal of hints about their tribe's superiority, and would not write anything that would offend the tribe.

-Militarized writing

Some writers write not only for their tribe, they also write for their boss. That is the books or articles they write will be aimed at their boss, and will be letters in disguise for their boss. If they're hinting at someone's flaws, they're really talking about their boss and his or her flaws.

-Writing and emotions

Some writers are very emotional, and make sure they play with the reader's emotions. They write to elicit anger, fear, resentment, lust, love or other feelings that may be aroused in their reader.

-Writing and factualism

Some writers focus exclusively on facts. Their writing is a long enumeration of facts that are taken from here and there, and the writing is meant to share a series of facts.

-Writing and narration

Some writers are narrators. They try to tell a story, mixing a little bit of emotions and a little bit of facts, but the whole ends up being a story for the writer to enjoy. The story can have activist overtones, can have tribal overtones, can have militarized overtones, or can be aimed for the general public to enjoy.

-Writing and activism

This is when writers try to promote a cause forward, usually a tribal cause. They write about women, the LGBT community, oppressed minorities, or endangered animals. But it is often their personal opinions and in some cases interests that they put forward. 

-Writing and altruism

Some writers like to help people or nations move forward and write articles or books full of advice for people or groups so those people or groups can move forward.

-Writing and narcissism

Finally, some writers try to brand their names and themselves and write about themselves and their accomplishments, often writing biographies that resemble hagiographies, often where they exaggerate their past accomplishments. 

-Writing about objects, people, events, ideas

Some writing focuses on objects, be it accessories and fashion items, or furniture, sports equipment, luxury products and so on. Other writers prefer to focus on people, and can be positive or negative about people or groups of people. Some writing deals with events and what happened at such events, while other writers can prefer to focus on ideas.

-Conclusion: what is good writing? What is fake news? Why is the press getting negative press?

I read somewhere that the articles that get most views are obituaries, letters to the editor and advertisements. Now I know some people in newsrooms can start multiplying the numbers of obituaries, letters to the editor and advertisements just to make extra cash.

What is fake news? Shocking news tends to get more clicks and more views. So the news has tended to focus on pornstars and spies and corruption and anything negative about leaders, because put a leader's name and add pornstar or corruption to it and you get millions of clicks.

Why are ultra nationalists winning elections in Europe and North America? Well you had people take advantage of the leadership's generosity, the tendency to say “yes” to any plea for help and to make very generous concessions, and those who benefited from concessions took those concessions for granted. So Europe and North America are no longer the nice guys they used to be.

Why is the press getting negative press? Some of the global events we are witnessing defy logic and common sense. But there's a tendency for the press not to talk about the elephants in the room. There's also a tendency for events to be cancelled with or without notice, people who were supposed to show up to interviews not show up or show up drunk or high on drugs, science is being challenged by people who have three Ph.D.s and bribed their way to those Ph.D.s but never read a book in their life, and consumer trends are changing faster than the weather. I don't like to complain too much, never complain about my job, but given these facts, damn is it hard to be a journalist.


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