Sunday, June 1, 2014

ranchers vs. tortoises

Given the intractable slide of journalism into the cheap-date sincere-outrage-is-a-credible-substitute-for-veracity, it is really nice to read something that is well-researched and well-written and not full of self-referential pomposity. I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts because it seems unlikely it will last long....

Jonathan Allen's story for Reuters about the faceted conflict between Nevada ranchers and tortoises banged my chimes. Kudos to Allen; kudos to his editors; and kudos to Reuters. It may be too long for the Tweet-minded, and the topic may be off anyone else's radar, but I really enjoyed it.

The lead reads:
(Reuters) - When the U.S. government declared the Mojave desert tortoise an endangered species in 1989, it effectively marked the cattle ranchers of Nevada's Clark County for extinction.


  1. TLDR is the modern response seen on boards these days, the short hand for too long didn't read. We live in a time of sound bites made needful by the shrinking education dollar and an idiot box that shrinks our attention span to 30 seconds and a few minutes between commercials. I'm reminded of a short story by Kornbluth called The Marching Morons.

    Not that intelligence isn't out there, but that it's becoming a minority in a booming population that resents intelligence as elitist and is easily manipulated by snazzy sound bites they can shout and misspell on placards. Outrage is a real motivator and deserved generally, but the placement of blame is often and sadly misdirected.

  2. At my age, I have a good deal of sympathy for the too-long-didn't-read reaction. As long as anyone is up-front about it, it offers a context for judging the diatribes and other rejoinders that may follow. Let's admit it: Conciseness and clarity are not everyone's forte -- or perhaps the topic is just plain boring -- so perhaps it is forgivable that others are unwilling to plow through the dross. But saying, "I don't know, but I believe ..." is certainly a considerate intro.

  3. Yes, but it can also cut a needful conversation short. Along the lines of you're republican/democrat/christian/atheist/black/white/rich/poor/whatever else i can't think of so you're wrong and i'm ending this conversation so nobody else will investigate it.