A few days ago, a bunch of journalists at the Economist got together and decided, like kindergarten teachers doling out their ‘best student’ award, which of the world’s countries has ‘most improved’ in the last calendar year. In an article brimming with cynicism, they selected Armenia.
It appears the rise of Trump and Brexit have left an indelible mark on journalists in the West. As what were once dominant colonial powers become increasingly irrelevant in the geopolitical sphere—their social fabrics deteriorating to reveal the insidious foundations upon which their modern-day nation states were built—it must be difficult to watch small, unimportant nations like Armenia (and Malaysia, also a ‘contender’) reveal themselves to be modern day beacons of progress.
Or perhaps writers at the Economist need a break from their daily coverage of lit’rally everything. This article is a great reminder as to the nonsensical role modern, globalized journalism has the potential to play in our daily lives. Lacking a unified community, writers for international publications write for seemingly everyone and yet, in an odd sort of way, for no one but themselves. Today, so much journalism is noncommittal, jaded, self-centered, and divorced from the collective and local human experience. Wasn’t this profession once born out of the need for communities to see themselves represented in pieces penned by those who understood them? Who or what community, one wonders, is the Economist representing?
The issue is not the idea of international coverage. It’s that the robust circuit of local news which once supplemented that coverage is disappearing. Today, one is more likely to find cities and towns teeming with folks more concerned with saving hungry children in countries they’ll never visit than with fixing their own disintegrating local food economies. (Rural communities, it’s worth mentioning, are not so transfixed on what is occurring on an international scale, and they are condemned for it by their urban counterparts.) Oxford, where I went to school, is home to some of the world’s brightest individuals, many of whom are in training to ‘solve’ the world’s problems on a global scale. Meanwhile, the city is racked with poverty. On my last visit, I saw four separate instances of unconscious homeless individuals on the street being carted off by ambulances. Local problems are invisible in and to a globalist agenda. We are losing our innate and historical ability to discern that which is and isn’t within our sphere of influence, and journalists at major publications are responding by fabricating arbitrary and cynical awards out of thin air (which Alexis Ohanian, at least, appears thrilled about).
In any case, read the article for yourselves, and determine what is a suitable reaction. But for the record, when it comes to nations with the ‘tastiest food’ (which it was decided Armenia is not)… perhaps, rather than ranking the world’s cuisines, the Brits should just stick to stealing them.