June 17, 2011

The Heroic Graphic Me

One of the first things I wrote for The Rhetorica Network almost ten years ago was the Media/Political Bias page. It’s still a work in progress, yet it has brought me and this weblog more attention that anything else I’ve written.

You will find the latest mention in Brooke Gladstone’s new book The Influencing Machine. It is a graphic, non-fiction book about the media. Here’s one of my panels in the chapter about bias:

Last fall I did a segment with Ms. Gladstone for On The Media about crisis reporting. We were chatting before the recording began, and she told me that I was in her forthcoming book. I made some wisecrack about hoping the artist drew me in a properly heroic fashion. And now you can see the results.

Now compare to the real things. Pretty close I guess :-)

I’ll start reading the book soon and write a review. A quick flip through it demonstrates that despite its graphic approach the book is thoroughly serious. Hmmmmm… do I have an anti-graphic book bias?

Oh, never. There’s nothing about a graphic approach that suggests a lack of seriousness. We’re still talking words here. But more, just take a look at the panel above. Notice what you can read in drawing. The hunch of my shoulders and the tilt of my head suggest that I think I’m stating the obvious but am baffled why no one seems to get it. I’ve got a steady hold on that rocking boat of bias and a steady gaze because, by gum, I just know I’m kinda sorta in the ballpark with this whole bias thing. And, perhaps, the hunch of my shoulders also betrays my being disconcerted that my little gem of obviousness — everyone’s little gems of obviousness in a rolling sea of motivated obviousness — is making Ms. Gladstone hurl.

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4 Responses

  1. Sven 

    This is the height of keen. I was desperately looking forward to reading that, and now even more so.

  2. acline 

    Sven… Just came today from Amazon. Will be diving in later this evening. Yes, very cool :-)

  3. Sven 

    Whelp, I read the book in one setting. It quickly loses sight of the central thesis about how media is more mirror than master – but this is fine by me since that’s battling a straw man anyway.

    The format also sacrifices depth. But what’s brilliant is how the it and more particularly the whimsical Brooke narrator/character perform the real argument: pretenses of objectivity aside, for better or worse human communication is infused with humanity.

  4. acline 

    Sven… I think that’s a good, general read of it.