Making Sense instead of Sensation

Austin Bay gives an example:

Establishing a democracy in a predominantly Arab Muslim Middle Eastern country is the most astonishing news since the Berlin Wall cracked. If only historians with Thucydides’ grander understanding of time are astonished by this then we’re damned, if for no other reason than “seeing the big picture” is absolutely vital to waging a victorious war.

Here’s a thought not in the essay. Does a billionaire historian exist, a bucks-up wiseman prepared to underwrite the Astonishing News Network, a television channel willing to take The Oath of Thucydides? (The Oath– no, there’s no oath per se, but Thucydides said he wasn’t writing for an immediate audience.) ANN merges The History Channel and C-SPAN, then goes a step further and puts vision into television. Challenging the tyranny of The Sensational Now, ANN editors and producers would examine current events from the perspective of a historian at least fifty years in the future. ANN programming for the 2003 to 2013 decade would ask this question: How do we make modernity work? Answering it would necessitate detailed coverage of sputtering, flailing, suffering, struggling, but evolving Arab, African, and Asian democracies interspersed with stories on nano-tech and genetic engineering.

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