By an odd chain of thoughts not worth repeating because of the extensive, uninteresting context required to make it intelligible, I’ve begun to wonder about the nature of punditry itself, especially in the Internet age. Can a man continually comment on current events and keep his soul?
I should qualify the above question with a pundit who wishes to remain popular; obviously one can keep an equilibrium if one’s comments on today’s outrage are effectively a reprint of one’s comments on yesterday’s outrage; repeating the same thing endlessly poses, I think, little danger, but it also comes with almost no prospects of being frequently read or listened to.
It’s rather the necessity which people who wish to be frequently read or listened to, to be always saying something new, which seems to me to pose the problem, for the simple reason that most outrages of the day don’t matter. It’s a simple thing to verify; just pick a year in the last 20 and without looking try to give an exhaustive list of the extremely important things which happened in that year. If you’ve got an especially good memory, your list might have a half dozen things on it.
Yet during that year, there was a new outrage which everyone was talking about (on the internet) every day or two. These things clearly matter very little, and the danger to one’s soul comes, I think, from having to constantly pretend that they’re important.
(I should note that there’s a sense in which all things are important—God loves beetles, after all—but in that sense the weather today, what a child did at school, and how a sports team did in their match yesterday are also important and not obviously less deserving of attention.)