Suspending Disbelief

Everyone has the experience at some time.  You’ve read a book or seen a movie that you absolutely loved, and you want to tell the world about your new obsession.  You might even know someone that you’d love to share this new world with.  So you start telling them about the intricate details of the plot and characters and after rambling on and on … and then you see their eyes slowly glaze over. What went wrong?  Often it’s that you had suspended your disbelief in something that sounds too absurd to tell easily.  It makes sense to you, but the retelling leaves you sounding a bit crazy.

This doesn’t just happen with fiction.  A  disconnected world requires a lot of suspension of disbelief.

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Nate Silver

Nate Silver has left the biz.  The most celebrated political reporter in a long time jumped from the New York Times to become a sports reporter at ESPN.  It’s not really a mystery, given Silver’s love for sports and outsider status at the fossilized Times.  As Public Editor Margaret Sullivan put it, “A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. … They were also tough on me for seeming to endorse what he wrote, since I was suggesting that it get more visibility.”

Not long ago that political reporters were more or less the top of the journalistic heap and sports writers were at the bottom.  Silver’s new gig turns that upside down.  It’s not a mystery given how much political writing is horserace driven and sports reporters have become the true celebrities of the biz.  But there is much more to it than that.  I believe Silver’s popularity brilliantly displays what journalism must be for a new generation.

Here is my obituary praising Silver’s career as a political journalist, written not as the end of Silver but as the end of good political reporting – for now.

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Suspension of Disbelief

Everyone has the experience at some time.  You’ve read a book or seen a movie that you absolutely loved, and you want to tell the world about your new obsession.  You might even know someone that you’d love to share this new world with.  So you start telling them about the intricate details of the plot and characters and after rambling on and on … and then you see their eyes slowly glaze over. What went wrong?  Often it’s that you had suspended your disbelief in something that sounds too absurd to tell easily.  It makes sense to you, but the retelling leaves you sounding a bit crazy.

This doesn’t just happen with fiction.  A  disconnected world requires a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Continue reading