Punditry in motion

The commotion around a new book by Great Historian Slotkin caused me to notice something. Perhaps you noticed it too.

Every so often a writer comes up with a single insight that might possibly pan out into one 600-word newspaper column. Rather than test the insight, he writes an entire non-fiction book bending the light of truth so as to surround his sliver of punditry with an extended and colored account of events.

Pop culture outlets, feasting on punditry as they do, pounce on such a book and deliver to the author air time, interviews and other expressions of interest because in their world, a single insight is about all their simplified presentations can deliver.

After a time, the tiny insight loses its sparkle. If we are unlucky, it becomes a general meme ("team of rivals"). If we are lucky, the insight and its Major Author fade away.

That, today, seems to be the working of our marketplace of ideas.