Advertisement

Knowing What Really Matters

I’m with Ta-Nehisi Coates in finding the way Mad Men deals — or, perhaps, doesn’t deal — with the civil rights movement to be both somewhat refreshing and also dramatically interesting. There’s a telling irony in the fact that the participants in the drama don’t have any awareness of what we in retrospect see as the most important issue of the day.

One of the things I wrestle with as someone who blogs about public affairs is the awareness that it’s hard to know which of today’s debates are going to look important in the long run. I don’t want to spend my time emphasizing issues that nobody cares to read about, but I also don’t want to spend my time emphasizing issues that only seem important in a very transient sense. Obviously it’s impossible to tell what the future will hold or exactly what will seem important in fifty years. But I do try to keep in mind that our perspective will probably only grow more international over time and that what’s most important will probably be political and economic developments in places like China, India, and Brazil rather than the 2010 US Senate elections.

Advertisement