Monday, January 27, 2020

But Thinking is So Much Work!

Misinformation and misunderstanding and misreporting are going to be the death of us. From news sources reporting who was in the plane with Kobe Bryant before details were released to the families to an old article about Ebola resurfacing as if it's about Coronovirus, it's now up to Joe Public to read and scrutinize and think. That's a lot to ask in our busy lives of continuous news feeds! And it's clearly not happening. The Ebola article, introduced by a semi-popular Twitterer as if a couple in Canada, who immigrated from China, created the new virus in order to kill us all, elicited a ton of shocking (or, these days, to be expected) racism and anti-immigration sentiment so vile that it makes me more worried about a the creation of containment camps for anyone with Chinese ancestry popping up everywhere than about actually getting sick.

So this final example might seem trivial next to those two. But it's all part and parcel of the same mess.

Journalist Vicky Spratt wrote an article that was very unfortunately titled, "Dangerous Rise of Men Who Won't Date "Woke" Women."  Her concerns in the article are not remotely about her own dating life, a fact unacknowledged by, literally, hundreds of commenters.

What the article does say is that Laurence Fox, specifically, (an actor - I had to google him) is saying some very racist and sexist things. The dangerous part is that he has a huge platform now. Her point:
"There's nothing funny about the things Fox is saying. . . . It's dangerous. He is just one very privileged man and, as a result of said privilege, has been given a platform. And he has used that platform to legitimise a bigger backlash against diversity and progress which is unfolding every single day."
She does mention dating apps and how many men want women to "drop their obsession with 'social justice.'" She explains,
"Men are being "radicalised by anti-feminism. As the saying goes: 'When you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.' . . . a hostility towards feminism is feeding directly into far-right movements online. . . . [Fox] is legitimising hatred and division." 
He's part of what Angela Nagle might call the Alt Light. I'm on the side that believes this is a legitimate concern as this line of thinking can lead towards either acceptance of, provocation for, or actual involvement in murder sprees of the likes of El Paso, Poway, and Christchurch, as Spratt argues. She quotes Susan Faludi: 'When the enemy has no face, society will invent one." Nagle suggests that it's a tiny group of people online, but they both agree it has the potential to spread when they get an audience. Spratt explains,
"Make no mistake, the far right is already capitalising on Fox's words, gassing him up and turning him into an icon. He has added to their backlash and given it oxygen. Every time he is invited onto a TV or radio show to talk about it, that oxygen will cause the backlash to burn hotter and faster, irrespective of whether we're watching or not. It's important no to trivialise this anti-woke, anti-women backlash."
I've mentioned this before, but this conversation always reminds me of Chris Hedges's story about an elderly Jewish man humiliated in the market place in the mid 1930s. The fact that some in the crowd laughed and that nobody stopped the humiliation was enough for the viewer, Marek Edelman, the last survivor of the group that led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, to predict that something far worse would happen next.

Graham Dockery doesn't see it this way. He responded in RT, arguing that Spratt is taking a huge leap to suggest these types of racist and sexist comments cause murders: "That's quite the jump. And quite the accusation to make, considering Fox's statements aren't controversial." His proof that racist and sexist comments are uncontroversial is statistics about how few men and women support feminism.

That these aren't uncommon ideas, doesn't prove - in the least - that they aren't portending later destruction to the groups being slammed. In fact, quite the opposite. If these comments are commonplace, now, then how do we see clear of the damage except to rally against this ideology.

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