Sunday, 12 January 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

I think I admitted here on this blog that I became addicted to posting comments on Huffington Post Canada. Since they now insist that people who can post comments also have to be facebook users I've stopped posting. I think I'm better for it.

Most of the posted comments on media websites give a very wrong impression that people are basically idiotic, vitriolic and uninformed right-wing Limbaughians. Balance, for me, is an elusive homeostatic condition at the best of times, and participating in such activity as posting comments on media websites does not help. I know most people are nice, thoughtful, intelligent and caring.

I'm a political junkie (actually a news junkie). But there is a difference between credible journalists and columnists like John Ivison, Chantal Hubert, Bill Moyers, etc. or serious political talk shows like CTV's Question Period and CBC's Power&Politics, and pundits and hacks whose only credentials seem to be that they hold a semblance of a political view (actually these types are the neo version of the famous feuilleton writers so beautifully satired by Hermann Hesse in his novel, Magister Ludi or The Glass Bead Game).

There is a novel by Umberto Eco called, Foucault's Pendulum (1989 for the English translation), about three employees in a self-publishers' publishing house (Belbo, Diotallevi and Casaubon) who decide on a whim to create their own conspiracy to mock the clientele of the publishing house who are mainly into occult conspiracies (hollow earth-, ancient astronaut-,  Opus Dei-, holy grail- theorists - you know the type). They call this constructed conspiracy "The Plan". But like all conspiracy theories, this game takes a disturbing turn in that the clientele of the publishing house (and secret societies) take the whole thing seriously. Actually, the three characters themselves get caught up in the game...

There is something of "getting caught up" in regularly reading and posting comments on media websites that I think is made very easy by this "tribal sympathies" gene hard-wired in our brains (if such a thing exists). At the very least, our need for a sense of belonging to a group is exploited and indulged to the hilt by such websites as the Huffington Post because such a users' list makes money; linking it to data-mining websites as facebook was just too much for me.


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