The Neurology Of Football Fandom, Cont.

More

As expected, there was a great deal of (legitimate) pushback toward investigating football fandom via neurobiology. You can see some of it in comments, but there's more in my inbox. Message received. We will not be pursuing that line of questioning.


As an aside, one of the unfortunate things about solutionist journalism overtaking the best-seller list, is that people get the impression that that is what journalism and writing must be, that those of us who are not scientists\historians\anthropologists\political scientists\ philosophers are in the business of boiling the world down to a few bullet points, easy answers, and essential fables. Ambiguity is our avowed enemy. Simplicity our God. And ultimately we want the world rendered as "Insert Tab A into Slot B" or some such. I can't really fault academics for thinking this. When I see a Malcolm Gladwell blurbing the work of a Jonah Lehrer by claiming that Lehrer "knows more about science than a lot of scientists" I recoil a bit. And given subsequent events, I can't imagine how an actual scientist must feel.

All I can say is this--journalism and writing, in general, are tools. I would ask that they not be judged by their flashiest employers. The fact that some people make a cottage industry out of selling unambiguous simplifications is a statement on their work, not the limits of the craft. Even in this time, there's no rule that says "journalism must give easily digestible answers." If there were I'd give up the field.

I'm going to keep asking for help as I go along. I hope you'll keep answering. That is really all journalism is. 
Jump to comments

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author