Trending Along

I’ve been told that if I want anyone to read my blogs I should write about what’s “trending,” which I think means writing about what other people are writing about.

Like lemmings, are we?

Seems a little unimaginative to me, but I’m willing to give it a try. There’s a lot out there trending like crazy, Most of it, though, is stuff I don’t know enough about to issue a serious opinion or contribute meaningfully to the conversation. If it is a conversation, which I sincerely doubt. Mostly, it seems to be people who’ve already made up their minds writing to other people who have also made up their minds. Either they agree or disagree with each other. Their comments don’t give the impression that they are open to the possibility of altering their own position, come hell or high water.

So let’s see what’s trending this week. Google News, which decides what’s news by what gets clicked on the most (the ultimate in trending), describes itself as “a computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together and displays them according to each reader’s personalized interests…Our articles are selected and ranked by computers that evaluate, among other things, how often and on what sites a story appears online.”

OK, let’s dive right in. Here’s my Gang of Four:

Trump! Of course. Fun for some, an embarrassment to others. Hardly the stuff of serious discussion, though. Never mind that we are talking about the leader of the free world. We’re so cynical and disaffected that we’ve reduced the US presidential race to a periodic entertainment. Actually, I think there’s some truth in that—the US presidency isn’t nearly as powerful a position as maybe we thought it was.

Computer glitches galore. This was the week where the New York Stock Exchange had to shut down because of software malfunction. Ditto America Airlines. Ditto the Wall Street Journal’s online site. Could be viewed as entertainment as well, but I can’t help seeing it as complexity beyond complexity. And all those federal employees whose data was hacked. Do we see a pattern here? We should.

And Greece. But it’s not just Greece. It’s the bullying IMF and Germany. I have a soft heart for the idea of European unity and it saddens me to see it foundering here. But do I know enough to have a constructive comment? Piketty, yes, for sure read his comments

But me? Not so much.

The confederate flag. Sorry, I’m not going to touch that one. Let’s focus on guns instead of flags.

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