Do you have a “Luminato” festival in your town? A urban art festival full of light sculpture and insomniacs?
I’m starting to wonder if it might be time to introduce a ‘Fulminato’ festival as well – one night every year dedicated to the free and full volume airing of the grievances! Too soon? Unwise? Perhaps both – but I can think of very few events which would be more popular across all lines of politics, culture, class and education.
What with shrill tribalism and a maelstrom of finger-pointing theories, the one thing that we all seem to share today is an irrational and barely controllable fury. The theories and targets vary, but the rage is everywhere.
Problem is, none of us think properly when we’re angry. We look for things to justify our anger, instead of stepping back and judging fairly – we take pleasure in stories that allow us to accuse others of creating our frustrations, instead of looking for ways to overcome our challenges – even though recrimination keeps us stuck in pain, and only practical plans can improve the situation we find upsetting. Anger isn’t thinking, or debate, or inquiry. But it is starting to push every one of those crucial principles off of the public stage.
Popular media isn’t helping – they are actually making money by making things worse – but ultimately, just as with recriminations, if we really want to do better as a society, we have to stop listening to interpretations and theories, and start actually getting to know one another as people. You know – do the work.
Please tell me that we aren’t so foolish now that we actually prefer fury and deadlock to learning and advance.
One of the best and most memorable bits of writing advice says “Murder your darlings!” That is, never let a pretty phrase, sentence, paragraph or section get in the way of the overall story flow and purpose of your book – no matter how much you like that bit, it cannot be worth lowering the quality of the overall work as a whole.
I murdered more darlings on this one than I have in years – ever since I deliberately wrote a long overwrought philosophy book, never intended for publication, just to clarify my own thinking and challenge it’s consistency.
The reason I threw out so many cute zingers and nifty characterizations is that I think this one is especially important – or at least, I think the intention I hope to realize here, is one we must strive for more often.
We keep talking about how bad the divide is – how necessary it is, for us to begin to create a bridge – but so far we’re still stuck in the phase where a committee is created to investigate why there are so many committees.
Instead of talking about talking to one another, I’m trying to figure out how to actually do it. I recognize that as a lifelong leftie and a silly art-type to boot, I will definitely put my foot wrong in many places – but I am making the conscious attempt to speak fairly to everyone, instead of just one tribal faction, to prove principle still works, and hopefully inspire others on both sides to add their own voices, in a divide-bridging sort of way.
My thanks and apologies to all who lend me their time and listen – I sincerely hope the eye openers and unexpected hopeful ideas, are worth those offences which I was not wise enough to spot and amend.
Here is that Munk debate. My younger friends might find most of Taibi’s points obvious, but I was amazed to find him articulating so clearly, ideas that I’ve been trying to assemble for many years, as media revenues plummeted and standards of objectivity, principle and clarity disintegrated simultaneously.
This podcast was recorded yesterday, before this story by Taibi, about worrisome developments in the once-skeptical media was posted – but he arrives at many of my key points in a very sharp and relevant way.
Should you suspect I was exaggerating how insane that whiteness ‘infographic’ really was – check it out yourself.
In case you still think there is no way to think which isn’t rooted in one hard tribal polarity, here’s a rather nifty list of authors with a wide range of views, doing their best to argue both sides of many relevant ideas.
And lest you think Kendi and Coates, who are the bandwidth dominant black theorists, are the only ones working on the big societal questions, do yourself a favour and have a listen to Coleman Hughes. Proof that universal compassion, courage and incisive brilliance can still coexist in one person – an inspiration for all of us.