A Mere Shadow-Play on the Wall

Newspapers are the second hand of history. This hand, however, is usually not only of inferior metal to the other two hands, it also seldom works properly. The so-called ‘leading articles’ in them are the chorus to the drama of current events. Exaggeration in every sense is as essential to newspaper writing as it is to the writing of plays: for the point is to make as much as possible of every occurrence. So that all newspaper writers are, for the sake of their trade, alarmists: this is their way of making themselves interesting. What they really do, however, is resemble little dogs who, as soon as anything whatever moves, start up a loud barking. It is necessary, therefore, not to pay too much attention to their alarms, and to realize in general that the newspaper is a magnifying glass, and this only at best: for very often it is no more than a shadow-play on the wall.

– Arthur Schopenhauer. Taken from ‘Arthur Schopenhauer Essays and Aphorisms‘ published by Penguin Classic, translated by R. J. Hollingdale.

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