Article > I'm thinking in plaid!
Description :: We strive to make sure our editorials are as trendy as we can.
I realized when I created the "knee-jerk" folder that I was doing more than just creating a folder for articles about particularly time-critical topics. I was, more globally, acknowledging that which should already be obvious: most of our articles were written because something came up in "the media" that caught our attention and maybe even got us riled up.

I've been watching this for the last few months, and it's really quite funny. From one week to the next, the "hot topic" of all editorials and front-page news can go from "gay marriage" to "weapons in Irak" back to "abortion" and then on to sports of some sort. Newspapers, television stations, websites all move together in a sort of flocking manner. Even if a single newspaper manages to be the only one carrying a story on a particular topic on a given morning, they'll likely get little recognition for it. By that evening, most television stations will be carrying some sort of report, interview, or opinion on the topic. Within a week, everyone will have moved on. It doesn't even matter if the problem is solved or the question answered -- topics are there to talk about, not resolve.

With our own articles, you might notice the timing of articles on things like homosexuality, terrorism, etc. and see that we follow the same pattern. There are a few exceptions -- we occasionally wax a bit more idealistic and talk about what we wish we were seeing. Still, we're event-driven thinkers when it comes to politics, the economy, or matters of a social nature. We react to our environment with writing the same way we do when walking down the street -- we see a colorful sign, a pretty girl, and our mind wanders to that topic for a moment.

It's not an entirely bad thing for our society to do this. It helps our every-day conversations make sense: many of us will have seen the same articles on websites or the same televised newscast, and we'll already be in the mood for a given topic, already have the questions framed in a given context, maybe even given it some thought so it can go faster. We could even dream of solving problems like this -- flocking to a problem, solving it, and moving on, having put our collective energies into the problem simultaneously. Or we could remember that nine women can't together have a single baby in only a month.

This reminds me of a story I heard from my girlfriend a while back -- a foreign exchange student was at her school. One of the kids in class asked her "so, what words in English do you not know?" The kid wanted to be helpful, but missed the point: you don't know what you're missing. We don't know, on any given day, how many topics are left untouched, how many rocks unturned. I wish I could say "let us strive to think more individually." I can't. We can't. Even our dreams at night are permeated from images of that day's activities!

Maybe in this way are we not so different from our computers: machines that solve problems when they arrive, but never seem to think ahead unless told how to do so. We see ourselves as imaginative, adapative creatures far beyond the abilities of machines, yet our daily thinking reveals us to be input-driven, just waiting for the next problem, the next oddity, the next glitch.

So here's the deal: if you're too lazy to think about an issue yourself, but think it's important or interesting, tell us and let us think about it for you (and everyone else, of course.) An email address is posted on the welcome page of the site.