Sunday, September 26

John Batchelor and the shape of our world

Sunk in gloom about the state of your nation's economy? Despairing that your society is going to hell in a breadbasket? Feeling overwhelmed by the scope and complexity of the problems that humanity faces today? Driven nearly to distraction by the inane decisions of your political leaders?

If any or all of the above apply to you, then do yourself a kindness and click on this link, which takes you to the archive at John Batchelor's website for his radio show schedules for this September. Then simply scroll down the page, taking in the photographs that John has found to accompany each schedule, and glance at the photograph captions.

You'll immediately note that each photograph is a work of art, or (as in the case of David Cameron with his wife and their newborn) an iconic photo portrait. In some cases you'll need to glance through the text of a daily schedule in order to understand a photograph's connection to the news of the day. Yet when you're finished with the tour you'll find that your view of our world is not quite the same as when you embarked on it.

It is easy to get lost in the horrors that make up the warp and woof of the days news events, to see in these the measure of our world. But beyond the weave is the weaver, and this is the interaction of the vast universe, oblivious to the strivings of Earth's creatures; Earth's natural world; the history of our race; and the pageantry of humanity's struggles.

You can intuit the weaver by scrolling through the program schedule for just one month; to look at the schedules for an entire year of the John Batchelor Show is to find an overwhelming portrait of the weaver.

The show is the only news program I follow on a regular basis, so I never fail to find disagreement with John about one social- or foreign-policy issue or another. And invariably the views of a guest on his show will irritate and even anger me. Yet these complaints are trifles when viewed against the sweep of the show, which over the years has helped give me resiliency in the face of tragedies that the march of the day's headlines too often reveals.

So I find that to describe John Batchelor as a conservative radio news talk show host is akin to saying Leonardo Da Vinci was a painter. The John Batchelor Show is far more than a discussion of the day's news; it reveals the shape of our world. As such it has made art from the prosaic enterprise of reportage.

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