Saturday, December 22, 2018

"The more extreme we become, the more people believe it"

As was pointed out widely on Twitter (perhaps ironically), this Washington Post article is a terrifying read - an insight into how social media is distorting and corrupting reality and how people can quickly become trapped in an echo chamber without realising it.

What is most significant, however, is that the stories posted by Christopher Blair aren't fake news in the sense that they're written by a Trump supporter intent on manipulating people into sharing his bigoted views; on the contrary, they're written by a lifelong Democrat voter whose objective is to bait gullible right-wingers. That much indicates what many (myself included) have felt for a while now: that left-wing satire is effectively dead, both outstripped by the ludicrous nature of real-life events and a dangerous game to play when people seem prepared to lap up pretty much anything that chimes with their own attitudes and prejudices, no matter how unbelievable.

Alarmingly, though, Blair doesn't seem to see this. He continues to churn out spoof stories so that he and his liberal chums can mock those who swallow them hook, line and sinker, despite occasionally acknowledging that in so doing he's not actually changing any hearts and minds. For him, there is evidently a thrill in pranking people - but also a thrill in attracting lots of online traffic, wielding lots of influence and earning a healthy amount in advertising revenue.

Where does that leave us, then? A world in which left wingers actively fuel the flames of right-wing outrage for personal gain and amusement. In other words, a world going to hell in a handcart.

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