|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Arizona Shootings Reaction|
Stewart displays the same exclusive binary to which I object below in this nonetheless heartfelt piece: either we can show a straight line causality or we can't make any sense out of a "complex ecosystem." So it's either a coherent ideological act (message – belief – action) or it's "senseless," it's "lunacy." But there are other forms of causation than straight line efficient causality, for example, the sort of environmental pressure causing increased phenotypic variance that Schmalhausen's Law describes. I hope we can say something analogous about the relation between the Giffords shooting and the extreme political rhetoric and images of Tucson Arizona without it being mere correlational "hand-waving." And actually I think Stewart's "toxic environment" trope is a good place to start.
UPDATE, T 11 Jan, 12:50 CST: William Connolly and Jairus Grove of Johns Hopkins have nicely invited me to contribute to their blog, The Contemporary Condition. Jairus has compiled a great photo essay to accompany this piece of mine on the Giffords case.