Frank Bruni. (AP Photo)
My Nation column is called “Frank Bruni, the Plutocrats’ Pundit.” But happily for Mr. Bruni, and unhappily for everyone else who might like to read it but is not a subscriber to The Nation, under a new and in my view, deeply misguided new Nation policy, it is presently behind a paywall. Personally, while I am philosophically pro-paywall, I do not understand the logic of having a press column hidden from the rest of the press—along with everyone else save subscribers—but of course such decisions are made well above my paygrade.
I had a lot of music and theater to review this week, but I’m in a bad mood about the above, so here’s Reed:
Well, no, not quite yet. I do want to give props to the Playwrights Horizons Theater Company, together with the Wooly Mamouth in Washington, together with author Anne Washburn, composer Michael Friedman and director Steve Cosson, for their insanely audacious “Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play,” which manages to combine The Simpsons, Cape Fear (both versions), the apocalypse, Gilbert and Sullivan and Grease into one unholy mess. Well, it’s a lot more than a mess. Much of it is brilliant. All of it is over the top. The Times’s rave is here. Mr. Brantley is apparently a lot smarter than I am, or a much bigger fan of Messrs. G and S, and so enjoyed the third act far more than I did. But the first two were brilliant.
How the Media’s Process Obsession Stifles Liberalism and Undermines our Democracy
by Reed Richardson
In our democracy, where we depend upon a free exchange of ideas and information, definitions matter. They act as an invaluable cognitive tool to help frame the polity’s thinking about issues in a broader context. When done right, they can also enable a better understanding of a complex problem confronting our country and help guide public debate toward a range of practical solutions. Settle for an imprecise or lazy description, however, and an important issue can be quickly hijacked by demagogues or bogged down in mindless minutiae. And since journalism remains our primary mechanism for dialogue between the governing and the governed, it’s incumbent upon those who practice it to think closely about how they define the issues and the context that follows.