And Now a Word from a Fanatic? The title of David Brook’s column today. The Comments are actually more interesting than the piece, but in line with yesterday’s post, here’s a quote from the column: “Catastrophizing is my mind-set. Catastrophizing is pure: Society is totally corrupt. The “system” is totally rotten. I am terrified by ambiguity and ambivalence, the idea that the glass might be only half full. I seize on the extreme example of anything and take it to be the typical case. In this way I create my truth. An immigrant committed murders, so immigrants are murderers. “
Here’s another line from his column; I’ll start my discussion from this one:
“To know anything about me you have to understand the chaos at the core of my innermost being. “
So now we have another ‘thought leader’ describing these characters who are ‘catastrophizing’…is that a word? With chaos – there’s that word again – at the core of his innermost being. Yes, his. A fair number of these individuals are like mass shooters – disaffected, under or unemployed males. That’s the picture being painted. So the comments on the piece? They fall into two categories: First – The Russians are Coming..no! The Russians are Here!! They’re the ones posting this scary stuff. Second: those of us on the left can’t be included with the trolls from the right, because we’re all good and they’re all bad. Jeez – kinda reinforces his point, eh?
But no. The world of internet commentary is binary and simple, but more like a reality tv show than real life. So much of this is made up, and because he can be anonymous on the ‘net, he’ll say most anything. Why? Because for a brief moment, he can be the star of his own little reality show.
The real radicals right now are the folks – young and old – filling the streets of Hong Kong. You wouldn’t be likely to find any of these internet commentators doing such a radical thing – it would interfere with their on-line gaming and commentary time. The citizens of Hong Kong protesting what they consider overreach by Beijing through Carrie Lam, the administrator, are defending their little island in a sea of repression. I’m confident the central committee back on the mainland would describe these individuals as equivalent to the person Brooks and the Danish/Philadelphia authors describe. But the protesters are just trying to be left alone to live their lives, distanced from the overreach and control of the Chinese Communist authorities. Hail Hong Kong protesters – may you be spared another Tiananmen Square fate.
This is what I believe to be true. When the chips are down, so to speak, when the issues are real and meaningful, internet rants will turn into action. But my question is: when does a group decide the issues are real? Who is the group? It could be anybody about anything. It makes for a fascinating time to be alive, eh?