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THB SuperTweet: No Crushing, Please
I have a lot of respect for conceptual arguments.
I have a lot of respect for breaking away from conventional thinking.
Most days of my life, I read a majority of “journalism” that is just log rolling… and the log was made by corporate publicists.
It is the basis of my success and my failure that I will not just roll the log uphill or accept being rolled over by the log on the way back down the hill.
There are big ideas - and I am sure its true in every area, not just the entertainment industry - which are just plain false. They get repeated over and over and over again and smart people often end up repeating the deeply misleading non-facts as fact for long periods of time.
It pains me. I do not spend my life in pursuit of being right. I spend my life in the pursuit of factual truths that should be as fundamental as the sun rising in the east, even if the New York Times (just an example) has a habit in some departments of claiming it rises in the southwest.
Anyway… too much explaining myself…
I also have a lot of respect for people who are actually on the front lines, doing the work every day.
This status does not make them right all the time.
This status does not make them experts of perfect knowledge in the world or even the very narrow business world in which they work and live.
But dismissing them as bullshitters because you disagree with your dogma - however well supported - is foolhardy and arrogant.
If you have facts to argue, argue the facts before you get to the personalities.
I understand how exhausting and frustrating this can be.
But what is so scary about this moment in time is how people - from all perspectives - have taken up the position of absolutism about what others have to say.
It’s not enough to suggest a corrective. It is “shut the f*** up, you lying piece of scum” in response to everything, it seems.
The goal of this is not to bring insight or facts to someone with whom you disagree, whether directly on the fact or in context. The goal is to crush discourse. Slam it to the ground and create shame around what was said so that it may never be broached again.
And in my experience, the excuse for this is usually the same. “I’m right.”
The subtext is that we should all offer thoughts only if we are sure they can clear the minefield of some who are just so happy to explode all over anything that sets their self-righteousness off.
And believe me (you’re reading me… you know), I understand the tendency being overly self-righteous.
Today, there were two examples on social media that I think illustrate a sane response and an a CRUSH YOU response. I am not going to write too much on either… don’t be afraid.
Keke Palmer, brilliantly charming in NOPE, drew a comparison to Zendaya. Both were kid actors. Both are sexy young adults. Both are Black.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to be offended that the first person someone compares her to is another young black actress. They are not the same in so many ways. But even more, I think it is ok for her to be offended by comparing her to any specific actor (without some serious effort to create context).
The other fight was over this tweet by Joyce Carol Oates…
12 hours later, responding to some of the noise, she tweeted…
A rage came from various directions. The scary tweet that got me looking into it was this one, from a film critic in Denver…
Vicious… Dangerous… White... Widely Held White View In EVERY Creative Field.
He followed up…
Not surprisingly, Chaw suggests here that he doesn’t want equality. He seems to want reparations.
Then he attacks the writer who repeated what she has heard by devaluing her work and suggesting that she is peddling a corruption that can’t help by to lead to more racism by white America.
He eventually calmed down a bit and ran a series of tweets giving perspective on his perspective, starting with this one…
Follow him. Read him. Like so many these days, he goes wildly off the rails out of a conviction that the damage done to non-White culture in America requires bomb throwing. But he is an interesting voice.
Also… she didn’t write or suggest what he says. But that’s what he heard/read.
It is completely legit, in my view, to add to the conversation by expressing that white industry, enjoying its centuries of privilege, thoughtless overstates things like this. That even if this feels true to them, that the majority of first novels being published are still by white men. (I don’t know this to be true… or false.) Or that if half of the first-time novelists who used to be white men in a clear majority in the past should not complain as the balance changes, even if it is “against” them now. Agree or disagree, it’s a thoughtful, respectful discussion.
That said, what scares me is when people who have something passionate to say about most things offer something like…
To go all Aaron Sorkin, I need Glenn on that wall. I need Walter on that wall too. I need Joyce Carol Oates on that wall. I even want murderously criminal idiots like Donald Trump on that wall.
I’m a grown person. I can manage a wide and eclectic mixture of voices.
What I can’t handle is a refusal to consider everything possible before closing the door on anything.
Consider. I don’t need to watch the assassin load their gun and aim and decide to act just as I think the trigger is about to be pulled. We all develop strong ideas and are less open to challenge than we should be. But we should aspire.
And I am sure that I have overreacted out of habit to arguments in area that I consider of my expertise that are more complex than I imagine they will be.
But I want every idea I have challenged by someone/many someones who are smart and knowledgeable and serious about that idea (however frivolous that idea). I can take the heat. I can process the information.
It is only when we stop listening that we become dangerous. It is only in our chosen ignorance that we can be racists and sexist and nationalist, etc.
On the flip side, arguing that as a culture, we should want everyone in our country to be fed, have somewhere to live, and to have healthcare is an idea, not a dismissal. Someone may disagree. Someone certainly might argue about how to finance this and where priorities should be. But wanting equality for all as a standard for our country is not an exclusionary idea based on fear.
Of course, the Republican Party is shrinking and they would argue that the desire for equality is, in some cases, an imposition of ideas on them. But I will leave that there. It’s a lot of heavy lifting.
Anyway… it’s 2:12 am… but the social media “MUST SHUT YOU UP!” thing really makes me sad. It scares me, really. It avoids the issues instead of seriously addressing them.
More ideas is always better.
Until later today…
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