Thursday, 24 November 2016

Outside the bubbles - UPDATED

No doubt you are all busily peering outside your bubbles to see what is happening in other people's. I'm here to help you.

First, you've got to do this properly. Don't just go to the Guardian for a guide: "It looks like Jason Wilson assumes that all religious people are some form of conservative — and nobody in The Guardian's editorial chain of command knew enough about religion to counter him." Oh dear. The Guardian's guide to the Dark Side goes awry.

This article says it is about Steve Bannon, who is well outside your bubble, but it's not really so you can safely read it whatever bubble you are in. The article is about the contrast between Zionism and the diaspora Jewish identity, and is interesting. It would also be interesting to know more about other disapora groups: what do NRIs in Silicon Valley think of Hindutva? What about émigré Kurds or Iranians? The traditional British Costa del Sol-type diaspora has been caricatured as (ironically) not very internationalist. But everyone thought the majority of the modern British diaspora would be pro-EU. Anecdotally, that seems right, even in Hong Kong.

If you really want to know about Steve Bannon then read his actual words here, from a talk given at a conference focused on poverty hosted by the Human Dignity Institute at the Vatican. What a weird bubble he must be in to be interested in that kind of thing.

Here's Slavoj Žižek, in an interesting bubble of his own. I'm not quite sure whether he would be happy with Europeans giving very large amounts of money to refugees so long as they stayed at home. I think he would have been happy with Saddam Hussein running the Congo. Possibly. Possibly that's a multi-bubble preference.

While you are surfing these new bubbles, please do keep an educated sense of proportion. "This mass forgetting leaves us with few analogies for any new event, save those provided by pop culture; when a populist demagogue is propelled into power, Americans can only debate whether they will be a.) Hitler, or b.) not Hitler, without asking whether they could be Peisistratus, or Sulla, or Justinian, or Komnenos, or Andrew Jackson." Or Berlusconi. Or Peron. Or Chavez.

UPDATE: but in fact, it looks pretty nice inside the Bubble (SNL sketch).

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