A World of Strange Errors by David Morgan. He looks at the crisis in world politics, the collapse of the left and the rise of a dangerous populism.
“Just a few decades ago the public intellectual still enjoyed an important social status and was taken extremely seriously as a respected thinker. Intellectuals were courted by quality newspapers to offer commentaries on current affairs and in those bygone Reithian days they were often signed up by television producers to front programmes. Jacob Bronowski, Kenneth Clark, AJP Taylor, Jonathan Miller and John Berger all produced widely admired popular television series in the decades from the Sixties right up until the Nineties of the last century. But in the last two decades there has been a massive sea change as programme planners sought to fight the ratings war and opted for documentaries fronted by celebrities or academic who imitate celebrities. Expertise gave way to reality TV and amateurism as the mission to inform was replaced by entertainment whose success depended on escapism and sensationalism. The publishing industry reflected the same trend. The prime reason for publishing a book is to become a bestseller rather than create a work of genuine quality that is valid in its own right and will stand the test of time. Intellectuals and their traditional outpourings have been largely discarded. To achieve a degree of success in this climate an intellectual must become a celebrity or adopt the pose of a contrarian ready to voice outrageous opinions, such as the biologist Richard Dawkins. The process is one where populism has become deeply pervasive in the media dominated culture.” – David
David is a London based journalist with interests in politics, human rights, international relations, history and cultural issues. He has been working in journalism as an editor and writer for three decades after he studied literature and history at university. He has edited several titles for the Socialist History Society (SHS) of which he is the Secretary. He writes regularly for the SHS Newsletter, occasionally for the Morning Star newspaper and for a range of other online and printed publications. He is active in the Peace in Kurdistan campaign.
© David Morgan