About me
Bookshop

Get new posts by email.

About me

The “right” and the “pragmatic”

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

This is (slightly modified) from a blog post by Marco Arment, writing about the entertainment industry:

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach to take. It’s unrealistic and naïve to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is easier, faster and cheaper for so many of them. The pragmatic approach is to address the demand.

I came across this quote via Jonathan Rothwell’s blog post, and, in truth, I’m fairly ambivalent about the entertainment industry.

Yet the sentiment of the quote (perhaps better expressed in the full article) – the importance of marrying the “right” with the “pragmatic” – is applicable in so many areas of life, not least public health. And yet, it strikes me as an often forgotten, or perhaps often ignored, tenet.

It’s easy to say “lose weight”, “drink less”, or “stop smoking”, and we all know that such messages are right. But all have a multitude of maintaining habitual behaviours and causal factors, and maintaining the status quo is all-to-often “easier, faster and cheaper”. The secret of great public health interventions is to turn the “right” choice into the “pragmatic” choice – and, in truth, we’re not always great at doing that.

Marrying “right” with “pragmatic” can be hard, and requires seeing a problem from multiple points of view. It’s easier to concentrate on the “right”, but it rarely works. We all need to get better at making out solutions pragmatic, even if it means approaching problems in unfamiliar, unusual ways.

Here endeth the lesson.

This post was filed under: Health, Quotes, , .

Recently published posts

Weeknotes 2022.02 / 16 January 2022

Weeknotes 2022.01 / 09 January 2022

Five links worth clicking / 07 January 2022

31 things I learned in December 2020 / 31 December 2021

What I’ve been reading this month / 27 December 2021

30 things I learned in November 2020 / 30 November 2021




Random posts from the archive

Community notice board / 25 February 2019

G24: What a brilliant idea! / 29 July 2006

Photo-a-day 24: Road sign / 24 January 2012

Tynemouth Longsands / 06 January 2019

Blair’s apology / 22 June 2005

West Virginia mining disaster / 04 January 2006





The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.