Thursday, November 17, 2011

NabloPoMo Day 17: Cute Tea and Journalism

If tea can ever be considered cute, this would be it. I wasn't planning on buying more tea, but when I stopped in at the store to see if they had the Chrismas/Winter teas like they do in Japan, I found this tea for fall.

In Japanese, the name of the tea is "Imo Kuri Kabocha", which translates to "Potato, Chestnut, Pumpkin" - the bounties of fall. But the best thing about this tea is, the "cha" in "kabocha" is written using the Chinese character for "tea" - so it's a pun, crossing the name of the squash (kabocha) with tea (cha). Oh my gosh, I about died. I love puns like this. With that and the cute animals and veggies on the box, I couldn't resist, I had to buy this.

Today's Reading
I wanted to read and think aloud about the Progressive Tax but I don't think I'm going to be able to finish reading this today. I started to read it at work but sheesh, I actually to do some work today. Imagine that. I do appreciate Brad DeLong for thinking highly enough of his readers just to provide the link. I'm sure all the rest of his readers are just fine with it but for the non-academics, or rather, non-rigorous readers like me, I wish he could just summarize? :P I promise I'll finish reading it someday, because this passage is just too rich and I want more:
For example, a policy prescription such as taxing height (Mankiw and Weinzierl, 2010) is obviously not socially acceptable because it violates certain horizontal equity concerns that do not appear in basic models.
But then, I saw his latest post about the future of journalism education and was intrigued. He cites three examples from the New York Times, which I have held in high regard, at least among the daily print papers. In all three examples, until he pointed out the "hidden" information behind what the reporter actually wrote, I completely took the reporters words at face value. That is, in Mr. DeLong's words, I am the typical "low-information voter" or reader.

I admit I'm not an engaged consumer of news. I don't listen to NPR regularly anymore since I often don't drive to/from work, I don't read mainstream news outlets online on a regular basis, not all the blogs I read report the latest news (they're more analysis and snark). I certainly don't hear or read something and think much beyond what's reported.

So I've been led to believe that the Occupy movement is not cohesive and just disruptive. Or that Obama is being soft on policies about the economy, health care, deficit, etc. I did at times feel like I wasn't getting the whole story, that there must be something else out there, but I haven't until recently given thought to seeking out more. But then, how different am I from hundreds of thousands of voters in America?

I'm lucky I have a job where I sit in front of a computer with a fast internet connection much of the day so that whenever I want to take a break, I can read up on news or blogs and such. But if I still worked all day at the Japanese restaurant I used to 20 years ago, I couldn't afford such time. How are people then supposed to get fully informed?

It is a little scary to think that an esteemed journalistic organization like the New York Times can lend different shades of truth to the news. What about the people who only get their "news" from clearly-biased sources like Fox News? I feel like there is so much burden placed on the general public to suss out what's real, what's a cover-up, what's misleading. In a way, this information age is a blessing and a curse.

I also feel like these days, there's very little room for debate. People form their opinions based on what they read or hear and it just doesn't seem like they are willing to see other perspectives or consider changing their minds. Although I suppose this isn't really a new thing. And I'm not even saying this is a conservative or liberal thing, I've seen it on both sides. I feel like I've tried to keep an open mind, but then I feel like I've been wishy-washy of late. I guess the lesson is, it's hard to be objective.

I hope those in power to affect the future of journalism is spurred to think and act by Mr. DeLong's piece today.

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