Friday 7 June 2013

The savage triviality of modern media morality


As yet another of my friends and colleagues (this is now happening annually, or more often, in my circle) gets into a vicious media firestorm over an utterly trivial remark, I reflect on the horrific combination of causal non-offense with consequential unrestrained condemnation and vengefulness that is characteristic of modern 'morality'.


This stuff is not going away, on the contrary it is getting worse - with the advent of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like such narratives have, indeed, become a mass media daily staple.

It is impossible to exaggerate the mismatch between the alleged (non-) offence and the scale and fervour of condemnation - which can lead, nowadays (at least in the UK) to sanctions up to and including prison - since (in a bizarre variant of the butterfly-causing-a-hurricane story) it is argued that any remark on any topic which 'offends' anybody can be extrapolated to some possible catastrophic conclusion.


So, on the one hand, nothing is too trivial to dominate world media discussion; yet on the other hand no truly abhorrent moral offense is so serious that it cannot be ignored, hidden or re-framed into either victimhood or even a virtue.


It is a despicable, shameful state of affairs.

It reveals the utter evil of modern morality as initiated and sustained by the mass media and those who consume it and allow it to dictate their world view (which is, in practice, almost everyone).

And that's about all I can say on the topic.



The Crow said...

That's all you can say on the topic.
Which is more than anybody else, by the lack of comments.

The media is deranged, and so far out of balance, it has no way to regulate its performance.
A manipulative machine that has become so powerful it has lost all track of any purpose it originally had.

JP said...

A serious person has no business being on Facebook and Twitter in any event.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - Well, maybe - but the same could probably be said about blogs...

JP said...

There are more serious thoughts on this particular blog than one could find in, say, just about any given academic "refereed" journal.

I am glad you are blogging, and I hope you keep it up!

Randall Parker said...

I find Twitter to be quite a useful way of finding good articles to read. It depends on who you follow.

Anyone who takes a big dose of the Red Pill is going to find mass media and much of academia to be a big propaganda machine.

Randall Parker said...

I found this post to read from a Twitter tweet.

I think there is a need for better organization of Red Pill information.

Bruce, here is how you can help new readers: write a post for beginners that gives them a long list of key articles to read.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RP - This is an anti-blog blog - no blogroll, no linking (hardly any), non-topical. Also I am lazy, and cannot be bothered to classify blog posts. Also what this blog is 'about' is whatever is on my mind.

I guess from your 'Red Pill' statement that you are a secular Right, Moldbug kind of person - if so, then you will probably find most to interest you in my 2011 book Thought Prison, which was about political correctness and is now available free online via the link to my other blogs, on the left.

That book was written from a Christian perspective, but the fact is only explicitly mentioned in the introduction so secular Right people often find it acceptable.

ajb said...

"A serious person has no business being on Facebook and Twitter in any event."

Well, Socrates ...

Most of Facebook and Twitter use is unserious, trivial, and involves time that could be spent better elsewhere - where the people who are spending their time are getting a short-term boost at a longer-term cost.

The same is true of most blogs.

The same is also true of most books.

There is no medium where this does not apply. The relevant question facing an individual isn't such generalities. Can Facebook be used to advance important interests one has? Yes. Twitter? Yes. Blogs. Yes. Books? Yes.

The important thing is to figure out how.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I am much more negative about the media - it is on the whole bad; and a media as large as the one we now have is inevitably bad in a very, very powerful - indeed lethal, fashion.

There are counter-currents in something as big as this - we depend heavily on good books so that medium seems essential. Twitter is probably 99.99999 percent bad, but even there...

The point is that if our society is ever to repent and return to God, the media will need to be cut down to a fraction - less than one percent - of what it is now - so we must not become too attached to it, or that attachment will prevent repentance.

Anti-Democracy Activist said...

In a comment on some thread about the Richwine affair, one clever commenter coined a good term for this sort of event by saying that Richwine had been "Galileoed". Whatever the truth of what happened to Galileo might have been (likely something closer to the idea that he was an colossal jerk who ended up under house arrest after he finally ran himself out of friends), the atheo-leftist/science-worshipper narrative of what happened to him is the currently-dominant one, and using that term illustrates what is now undeniable: that the left will attempt to destroy those who challenge its dogma - regardless of whether they are factually correct or not - just as stridently, ruthlessly, and thoroughly as those who they accuse of being vicious tyrants and ignorant suppressors of truth ever did.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ADA - Speaking as someone who has twice had this experience of PC media firestorming (the first in May 2008 about class and IQ, the second time I was sacked from a lucrative position editing Medical Hypotheses due to publishing a paper disagreeable to a PC lobby) - these matter of naming and framing the phenomenon cuts no ice at all and makes no difference.

There is no solution to this stuff except to resist as best possible on a case by case basis - this is something that will only improve after repentance and what follows.