movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Fri Dec 11 2015, 01:14pm | 6 comments
When I read about these things I find myself wondering who these people are, and then it occurs to me that they could be anybody I run into, anywhere. Sitting next to me on the bus. Making my coffee. Taking my blood pressure at the doctor’s office. The woman next door. (Yeah, I assume they’re all female.) The bicyclist on the street. The college kid I see on campus. And I wonder how they keep themselves hidden. They don’t preach their convictions – why not? Do they know the “normal” people would shrink away from them? – because they’d be misunderstood? Is it a huge conspiracy? Will they one day band together with torches and pitchforks, and storm the homes of the fake spouses and fellow travellers?
Watch out, you fanatics! We know you’re out there, and we will find you and put you down.
If you work in public service, the craziest fanatics will come directly to you and tell you all their conspiracy theories. I’m a librarian, but some days I feel like a therapist, or a bartender.
Oh, and if you run a film discussion website, apparently, people send you paragraph after paragraph of wild ravings, usually in the middle of the night.
Ah, I know whereof you speak! I was a circulation clerk, and heard many such things myself, although the librarians, since their role is direct information, do get the brunt of it – and my experience was before the Internet, too. My sympathies, Dan’l.
The “conspiracy” mindset is pretty self-fulfilling too; it’s impervious to reason because any counter-argument can be dismissed as coming from the forces trying to deceive you (media, government, etc) — and they’re ALL trying to deceive you.
And this complete lack of caring about whether opinions are tied to reality is bleeding over into some serious stuff. The reason Trump can say things like “thousands of Muslims were cheering in New Jersey on 9/11,” and not suffer in the polls after being definitively debunked, is because his supporters are pretty much like the unhinged fanatics in the article.
It’s true if it FEELS true, and that’s all that matters. It’s Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” playing out in very grim ways.
Maybe that’s a good thing, once in a while. It’s possible that the worst conspiracy theorists–including some of Trump’s supporters–will become so crazy that they prevent the rest of the population from taking their cause seriously.
I was just reading this article, which is sort of relevant to the topic:
I just read that too. It’s good to be reminded that not a single vote has been cast yet. Hopefully truth wins out over truthiness in time.
On the other hand, it’s not a good thing that Trump has essentially moved the Overton window on what’s acceptable in political discourse, to the point where “not as bad as what Trump’s saying” is considered good enough.
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