Literary Journals & the Age of Spin

To put it bluntly, we live in an age of spin.

2 years ago

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To put it bluntly, we live in an age of spin.

Despite the advent of information-communication technologies, a free worldwide Web, and more information at our fingertips than at any point in human history, we are drowning in information and misinformation. People, no matter the age, have trouble differentiating facts, opinions, deceptions, and inferences from one another. This isn't the only troubling aspect of our age of spin.

I teach at a local community college, where students are tasked with trying to understand the utterly confusing world and the Internet. We use tools like whois, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, and specialized databases provided by our library, in order to find the very best sources of information. Amidst the chaos, students give in. They look to the easier sources (Think: easier to find, easier to access, and easier to read and comprehend). I don't blame them. Their peers do the same thing. Their elders do too. This is a troubling development, and something needs to be done about it. We have become information fatigued, and it's starting to hurt us, both politically and intellectually.

How might journals like Palabras help students and members of the literary community overcome this chaos and avoid giving in to the temptation to use problematic sources like Wikipedia, Fox News, and so many others? I believe that journals like Palabras can offer readers a sanctuary, a place to witness civil discourse, and, more importantly, discover constructive (not destructive) conversations concerning the nature of a particular subject/topic. Although Palabras attempts to publish articles and essays that are factual, well-written, and well-researched, we are not perfect. Some things do push past our gatekeepers. Nevertheless, we can offer readers something to start their own conversations. As a starting point, we are simply pointing readers to those various directions that might benefit their understanding of a given topic or conversation in the long-term. Palabras and its published cohort do not pretend to be the ultimate authorities on any given subject. In fact, Palabras operates on the assumption that one cannot be a true expert in a field. It is impossible to do so and trying to be the end-all expert in a field is quite antithetical to academic discourse. Academic discourse is all about the conversation, the exchange of ideas and words between two or more parties. In the end, this is something that Palabras can offer its readers as well: a place of exchange, where all ideas can be fully (and truly) explored, without the spin, without the information fatigue.

G. Michael Rapp

Published 2 years ago


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