I spent my entire life not caring about The New Republic, or The National Review, or whatever it was called. But now something or other has happened to it, and that’s upset a lot of journalists, and my feedly has been full of ponderous posts about it for a week. I know that journalists are a topic dear to the heart of journalists, but after deleting the twentieth article about TNR from news outlets that I really hoped would send me y’know, news, I enter a state of AARRGGHH!
It’s like when you want to take a picture of something outside, but your camera keeps focusing on the cat nose prints on the window.
Because I always overthink things and stretch them out to cover way too much of human experience, this has made me think about shop talk in general and how much it gets in the way of the thing it’s about. And I think this is one reason everything gets to feeling alike on the internet. The same internal shop-talk dynamic seems to surface no matter what the topic being discussed: romances, feminism, social justice, knitting. People are often more interested in ourselves being interested in the topic than we are in the topic. Whatever the view outside the window, we end up focused on the flyspecks.
Something that makes me love my day job is that by no stretch of the imagination can I make it all about me, or even about why I’m interested in it. Plus, of course, what’s outside the pathophysiology window will kill us all eventually. That puts flyspecks into perspective.