The church of the savvy

Jay Rosen on “the church of the savvy” is great; thanks to Physicalist in comments for pointing him out.

Though they see themselves as the opposite of ideological, the people in the national press actually share an ideology: the religion of savviness.  Since it differs from both liberal ideology and conservative ideology and from political thought itself, savviness often eludes description, or even recognition as a set of beliefs.

Oh is that what it’s called – the way they’re always talking about the process at the expense of the policy. “How will this affect the November elections?” is always the point, after a perfunctory and unenlightening glance at the substance. So that’s savviness.

The savvy do know how things work inside the game of politics, and it is this knowledge they try to wield in argument…. instead of argument. In this sense savviness as the church practices it is the exemption from the political that believers think will come to them because they are journalists striving only to report on politics or conduct analysis, not to “win” within the contest as it stands.

And that’s what makes them so boring and depressing – they report as if the process were an end in itself as opposed to…the process. They report as if winning were the only aim and as if all of us should be as enthralled by the contest as they are, when in fact most of us don’t give a flying fuck about the process, we want to know how they expect us to cough up thousands of dollars for health insurance every month.

Prohibited from joining in political struggles, dedicated to observing what is, regardless of whether it ought to be, the savvy believe that these disciplines afford them a special view of the arena, cured of excess sentiment, useless passon, ideological certitude and other defects of vision that players in the system routinely exhibit…[T]he savvy don’t say: I have a better argument than you… They say: I am closer to reality than you. And more mature.”

And that explains why they think they get to lecture people who are much older and wiser and cleverer than they are; it’s because they’re savvy. Yes that does explain a lot.

17 Responses to “The church of the savvy”