It is always intellectually challenging to a “thinker” to describe a complex idea or concept in terms simple enough so that the average thinking audience/reader can comprehend. When one simplifies complexity, one runs the risk of oversimplification. It is indeed a tough dance, one that requires artistry and much introspection before delivery of such explanation.


This is where “journalists” and “media pundits” claim to have the upper hand versus “academics.” They (media professionals) simplify and use layperson’s language to send their message across, and in turn make the audience “understand” the topic at hand. However, the “academics” complain that the media folk take the reductive/disjunctive approach and in the process the real meaning of the concept is lost. Consequently, we end up with much sensational form and very little substance.


To be sure, journalists and academics have had a long history of antagonism towards each other. It is however quite an interesting phenomenon when one crosses over and enters the foreign paradigm. The media is a much more powerful animal than the academia, hence form usually winning over content. Once in a while though there are those journalists who, like a private dick in a Dashiell Hammett novel, can go from one place to the other with ease – and acceptance.


Case in point, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Curtis White, Naomi Klein, Normon Solomon! They know how to dance with complexity gracefully. 




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