Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fractured Narratives

Lately, the local independent radio station has been playing the single from the brand-new Death Cab for Cutie album, which is named for a Japanese art of piecing together broken pottery to reveal a history of an object's history and use.

In a comment on my last post, short woman linked to a Think Progress article detailing the deaths of five African-American women in police custody this month. Piecing together various local news stories reveals a sinister pattern. Similarly, the endless incidence of police killings of African-Americans (and, it must be added, Native Americans)can now be connected, local news story to local news story, through the use of the internet, resulting in a narrative of a slow civil war on minorities.

The history of the United States has long been characterized by fractured narratives, the unseemly aspects of American society buried, necessitating the unearthing of fragments which had to be carefully assembled to form a counterbalance to the sanitized, comforting legend. Currently, a true view of American society has to be pieced together from the narrow columns of local news outlets. In the case of gun violence, the GOP-dominated congress has extended a ban on CDC studies on gun violence statistics. Any broad narrative about gun violence has to be pieced together from local news stories, those narrow columns in low-circulation, narrowcast newspapers. The true extent of gun deaths, the majority of them suicides, is obscured by the difficulty in compiling the data.

A healthy democratic society depends on the compilation of accurate information, laboriously piecing together various shards to discern a true picture of our nation is simply not good enough. kintsugi is a charming approach to pottery conservation, but it's a really bad approach to assessing the health of a culture.


mikey said...

A healthy democratic society depends on the compilation of accurate information

Indeed. But I would take this opportunity to point out that, whatever else in America we may be, we are a very long way from being a 'healthy society'...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'd say we're currently trending away from health and democracy, too.