“Most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action.”
― Neil Postman
Nuance is the subtle shades of feeling, context, and tone that color our world. Nuance is essential for individuality because predictable, planned responses hollow out our uniqueness and destroy free thought.
Black and white thinking devoid of nuance requires a person to only see something by one color, by the single exterior layer of a complex collection of intersecting issues. Nuance requires diving past our accepted ideas, considering the "sides" of an issue (HINT: there are more than two sides to almost anything), and seeking understanding instead of confirmation.
Of course, it's practically impossible to eliminate our bias on every issue and start from scratch each time we read something. But it's a practice worth engaging in, as it takes us out of our endless rage cycles to potentially arrive at something resembling clarity instead of anger.
This is certainly true when it comes to the media we consume in 2020.
“Reading the news" has devolved into headline-scanning, bias-confirmation, and quick scrolls through our personalized echo-chambers. Throw in an unhealthy dose of outrage addiction and a heaping of identity politics, and you've got a recipe for never understanding the depth of any issue but still mustering up an emotional response.
The truth is, most people don't want to commit the time and energy to think critically and peel back the layers of the world they inhabit.
I'm sure you're probably considering scrolling past this text right now, wondering when I'm going to get to the juicier morsels of info worth savoring.
Hey, I do it too. We all do, to some degree. Products of our environment, they say.
Nuance is being discouraged and shunned
As the Sinclair Media montage of mockingbird reporters illustrated a few years back: "This is incredibly dangerous to our democracy."
Without nuance, we not only lose a large spectrum of the truth, we also lose the ability to even discuss it in the first place. Trigger words, programmed responses, and pithy critiques are the short-circuits for our critical minds.
Instead of inviting debate and a reasoned discussion of the issues, we seek to determine whether someone is on our “side” and if they are worth canceling instead of conversing with.
Are you going against my firm ideology? Yeah, you’re probably an alt-right, neo-nazi conspiracy theorist who is a sub-human, mouth breathing basement dweller.
Instead of educating you on why I disagree with your opinion in a calm, coherent, and reasoned way...fuck that, I can just write off your words as hateful, violent, and ignore you ever existed. Or worse, I can use you as an example of why we can’t allow any further discussion as it only fuels the “intolerance”.
Because if a debate might actually convince onlookers, it’s better not to have it at all and simply state that the time for debate has ended and the matter is settled.
The result of putting ideology before intellectual honesty
In a recent article for the Public Relations Journal O’Dwyers, John Berard writes about how companies should communicate their position regarding current events in 2020:
“And as people have taken to the streets to demand an end to racial injustice, being out there with them or not is no longer an intellectual choice driven by a list of pros-and-cons, but a requirement for companies. This is what I mean by the end of nuance.”
This explains perfectly why every company in the universe is falling over themselves to virtue signal to the masses. There is no room for debate, nuance, or taking a measured approach. Apparently, that’s bad for the bottom line.
In 2020, it’s all or nothing, you’re with us or against us. And if you decide to remain silent, well, that’s violent too.
The wisdom of an angry mob cannot be questioned because the mob’s anger is justified and its will must be submitted to and obeyed.
This is why you see a rash of companies and individuals falling over themselves to prove their adherence to the new religion of thought, one that uses justice and equality as a shield from any criticism.
We all want to be a good person and champion the cause of social justice and uplift the oppressed among us.
We don’t want to be labeled as a suppressive person empowering evil entities. Just tell us what we can do to atone for our original sin so we know we’ve done our part, or "done the work" as the cult-like language implies.
Whatever good intentions are associated with woke culture, they are frequently washed away in a sea of slipshod generalizations that strip our individuality and stifle dissent.
Nuance is shunned because it humanizes those we disagree with. Nuance is the enemy of all ideology because it reinforces the idea that we’re individuals at our core level, not merely our group associations.
And that’s certainly not something many of those preaching tolerance are capable of allowing at this point.
Nuance may not be fully dead yet, but if we continue to allow it to become a cultural taboo, we may be installing the headstone before we know it.
Note: This was a repost from earlier, as I didn't get it to the right tags. Previous post deleted.