Patriarchal Storytelling and how it killed journalism

Us versus Them. It seems that is the only story we are capable of telling. Good guys (us, of course, you wouldn’t say we were the villains), and bad guys (the people who disagree with us, and aren’t applauding our every thought).

People these days are attacking all sorts of other people, with even death threats because someone’s life requirements do not line up perfectly with theirs.

It is a sick, sick way to view the world.

Yet good luck finding reportage that challenges that obnoxious, childish, self-serving narrative.

But that is the way of patriarchal narratives. It is all about The One: how the One was right/better/superior than the mindless hordes. Offer a different way of solving a problem that goes against The One, you must automatically be some sort of usurper out to do horrible things to people.

It would be nice to see a more constructive way of seeing things, you know, like Us with Them. How do we coordinate so that both sides can understand there may not be a better in the equation, and that both sides have rights?

But the second you offer that structure, people bring up Hitler as proof that in every single situation, there is a super-bad evil-doer, and should we have worked with the Nazis, too?

Please, do not be stupid — and binary.

Cue in Matriarchal storytelling.

In the Matriarchal,  we are always aware that it is not always Us versus Them. Sometimes it is, but other times, it Us With Them, or Us going our independent way from Them, or Us Versus Us, or Them versus Them and it’s none of Us’s business. There is no One Rule That Explains Everything. You cannot memorize a single rule and then apply it to everything — or worse, think you must always go a little more extreme to prove you are a better follower of the rule than someone else.

Journalism was always about following rules, from Inverted Pyramids to news pegs. So it should be no wonder that the Patriarchal style of telling stories was highly appealing.

But then came social media and people having a chance to be their own PR hacks, spinning and justifying their every action, jockeying to be The One.

Journalism became lost in that game, and instead of questioning their own structures, they went to the extreme version of it.

We can see it in the coverage of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, the latter who can be easily characterized as a villain. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was also an easy target. It should be no wonder that in the death throes of the profession, journalists are sticking to their own patriarchal ways of telling stories. You need us! is the subtext of these yarns, Because look at all the bad guys out there!

Well, of course there are evil people, but when you have but a single lens to see the world, guess what? You lose focus. You begin to see every person who is not kissing your feet as they put you on a pedestal as a villain, instead of a righteous, fed-up person who is standing up to your cancerous ego as they put you and your self-entitled self in your place.

And if you ever wanted to know how the Harvey Weinsteins of the world are created, just go back and read the news stories about him before the truth came out. He was placed on a pedestal. Reporters were writing fawning stories about the Great Man, and what a cultured and brilliant visionary he was. He owned the Oscars. He ruled Hollywood, yes sir, because he was The One.

He was on the positive side of the Patriarchal paradigm.

And now he is on the negative.

Had journalists taken a more sensible matriarchal approach, no one would be going in thinking he was some cinematic deity. They would be digging and looking at all sides of the story, not the tripe bored Middle-class people look for so they know what to rave about at the backyard barbecue party to look hip and in the know.

The Patriarchal is all about designating angels and demons, and no one wants to be a demon — and even if people pretend they want to be a badass “demon”, they want to be a Mary Sue demon who is, in fact, an angel with an attitude who happens to be better than the angels.

The Matriarchal goes in knowing that people are people — and too much praise has always been a surefire way of making good people bad ones in short order.

Journalism lost its common sense with the Patriarchal, and it became irrelevant, always chasing after villains, instead of just looking for facts. Just the facts. Had facts been put out there, the predators of the world would lose much of their tyrannical clout. There would be no need for hatchet jobs, because when there were the first signs of trouble, that information would be out there when it counted — before people got hurt and had the course of their lives altered forever.

And people would be held accountable early on, and would be too busy to have to time to work on their image — or harming other people.

We are in an age of sophistry and extreme arrogance. Everyone is convinced they are The One.

No, you’re not.

You are one of an Infinite.

It is not always about hunting, but gathering as many grains as you can to see the big picture.

And only when reporters grasp that grain of truth can journalism ever get that resurrection it has longed for.