After the infamous Chauvin verdict AmRen contributor Gregory Hood told us about the George Floyd sob story making this astute observation:
Statistics can’t compete with sob-stories, and stories give people meaning. I believe many Americans get their moral purpose for life from them.
Right-wing media favors an agenda of outrage, for example pointing out that the Left told a sob story and therefore, conned everyone into supporting their insanity. However this, too, is a sob story, because it gives us cause to lament, throw up our hands, shrug, and then settle back into our armchairs before going out tomorrow to earn more taxes to pay for the diversity entitlements.
Mr. Hood shows us how anecdotal news stories have no meaning precisely because his observation is true: these are moral judgments, not factual retellings. To understand the meaning of the concept of sob stories and why it is more meaningful than statistics is a better story to tell.
For example, pure statistics do not tell a story. But if one were to take historic data, put it in informative graphics from which some future can be predicted, then statistics will become “meaningful” as opposed to just another a sob story.
The reason effort is required to make statistics meaningful is that it can be used to inform policy formation serving as legal input for politicians. However, it is important to understand why sob stories gain so much traction amongst the precariat as well. This requires going back to school where some of us were taught the difference between summarizing and synthesizing
Why is summarizing difficult for students? For starters, it requires students to apply the skill of determining importance in text and then express the important ideas in their own words. Many times, as students learn to summarize, their first attempts are a collection of details, rather than the main ideas of the passage. Other student-produced summaries are too vague and do not include enough detail. Teachers need to devote time to explicit instruction and modelling on both determining importance and summarizing to help students become proficient with both strategies.
Note that this is taught to children in grades three through six because a more refined technique called synthesizing is taught in secondary school.
Synthesizing takes the process of summarizing one step further. Instead of just restating the important points from text, synthesizing involves combining ideas and allowing an evolving understanding of text. Into the Book defines synthesizing as “[creating] original insights, perspectives, and understandings by reflecting on text(s) and merging elements from text and existing schema.
It is obvious that above techniques can be further developed during adult life most likely to the point where a well-developed person can write without referring to history in essence providing an entire argument from scratch. In doing so, that will then become, itself, history which would allow others to track a new genre or discipline.
When a school student is barely capable of summarizing events, let alone synthesizing it, that student (such as teenager Darnelle Frazier), will spread a video of a specific event (such as of George Floyd) to tell a “story” that allows every single person watching it to attach their own unskillful importance to details that has nothing to do with the main story.
If one wonders how the death of a criminal caused a media orchestrated sensation which turned the video into a sob story on purpose (to get clicks), then this is one synthesized answer. There is no doubt though, that this line of thought can be expanded exponentially.
I wonder if the media is liable for such childish behavior.