I tweeted about this Smithsonian Magazine article about Buffalo Bill this week:
“The reality was more complicated” could be said about lots of news/issues. In this case, applied to Buffalo Bill https://t.co/ekH2dlBkkD
— Karen Richardson (@witchyrichy) January 13, 2017
The headline for the article is pretty sensational: Murder, Marriage and the Pony Express: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Buffalo Bill. But the subtitle undercuts that sensationalism: His adventures were sensationalized in print and the Wild West show, but reality was more complicated—and compelling.
Isn’t reality always more complicated than can be presented in even an extensive report? We mostly get short sound bites that provide little historical or social context. I thought about it when I listened to the Code Switch podcast talking about the Obama administration’s education legacy. The commentators mention Urban Prep, a charter school in Chicago often held up as an exemplar with 100% graduation rate. But that rate doesn’t take into account attrition. At about 7:46 in the podcast, they say, “It’s complicated.” Later in the program, one of the guests discusses the complicated web of home, school and poverty that makes educational problems so difficult to solve.
Real problems do not yield to easy solutions.