Everything simple is false. Or turning everything into Us versus Them.

We are back to Paul Valéry’s maxim: “Everything simple is false. Everything complex is unusable.” In the world of computer modeling, this is known as Bonini’s paradox: The more realistic a model is, the more it becomes as complex and difficult to understand as the real world; the simpler and more user-friendly a model becomes, the less accurately it represents the underlying system. Mass democracy and mass media on the American model work to impose on the complex reality of American public life the simplest possible model of politics, aggregating all of political reality into two variables: Us and Them.

Another way of putting this is that the unstated task of cable-news journalism on the Fox/MSNBC model — along with practically all political talk radio, 99.44 percent of social media, and a great deal of inferior writing about politics — is transmuting intellectual complexity into moral simplicity. Even that isn’t quite right: The moral simplicity offered by the “Everybody Who Disagrees with Me Is Hitler” school of analysis is a false simplicity — simplicity for the truly simple, as opposed to what Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. described as “the simplicity on the far side of complexity.”

Reality is complex. But it isn’t only the cable-news mouth-holes that are engaged in the reverse alchemy of turning the gold of genuine inquiry into the dross of political rhetoric. We — we the media, and We the People — commit the same sin.

from the National Review Can We Talk?








The theory of a free press


Dr Mahathir baits the press…

Prime Minister, what do you like best about coming back?

I like my press conferences best… You have asked me a lot of nasty questions which I try to answer and because I can’t answer any more, this press conference is over. Thank you.

Without further ado, he then left the podium, followed by his entourage sporting huge grins; some even giggled, as they walked away. | » WHAT DOES DR MAHATHIR LIKE BEST…

Dress code snags BFM reporter at prime minister’s office

Photos that bring dignity to the battlefield


I felt no sense of mission as a combat photographer. I just felt maybe the guys out there deserved being photographed just the way they are, whether they are running scared, or showing courage, or diving into a hole, or talking and laughing. And I think I did bring a sense of dignity to the battlefield.

David Douglas Duncan, war photographer, 1916-2018


Royalty and sedition: Kadir article heats up the debate

Dr Mahathir Mohamad receives the instrument of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V

Dr Mahathir Mohamad receives the instrument of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V. [Bernama photo]

Three police reports filed after snide posting about Agong and sultans

Police reports have been filed against highly-connected political commentator A Kadir Jasin, former chief editor of New Straits Times Press, for his blog posting about the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and royalty on Monday.

Investigations are to begin under criminal provisions for sedition, criminal defamation and misuse of network facilities. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, said: “An investigation paper has been opened. Once it is completed, we will hand it over to the deputy public prosecutor for further action.”

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