“If you aren’t aware of this knowledge, this problematic morsel, you are woefully out-of-date.”
I really couldn’t care less. To me, nothing important happens on Twitter or Tumblr. It’s all just talk, often heated, extreme and unnuanced talk that is designed to whip people up into ideological frenzies. It is the opposite of the scientific approach.
And I liken these people who scour everyone’s backgrounds looking for a reason to denounce them NeoPuritans. This seeking after ideological purity is to me disingenous, puritanical, and not constructive. Those who try to find any chink (is someone going to call me out for this word even though it has nothing to do with the slur?) in someone’s armor in order to declare them tainted have both a reactionary and reductivist approach to the world. You’re either pure or tainted. If we can find one connection to you that is not pure, then you are not pure, and everything that comes from you is now tainted and impure. That is how I see the Neil Gaiman example. Why would I judge a book he had written based on the unrelated actions of his wife? In fact, why would I judge a book he had written even if he had failed the same purity tests the kneejerks had set for his wife? He could have horrendous politics in some other realm and still write an excellent book.
One caveat is I don’t actually know of the circumstances of any of these referenced ‘controversies.’ I am a perfect illustration of the person who is not au fait with these judgments. The difference is I don’t care. And even if I had known about all of the purity accusations noted here I still wouldn’t care. These are all judgments, opinions, spin. People who fancy themselves truth-telling warriors forget that there are nuances to truth. People and ideas are a lot more complex than that. The person who passes every tiny ideological test that the NeoPuritans set in front of them seems to me more like a cyborg, or at least a fictional construct. People all bring their own biases, experiences, education, era they were raised in, and emotional complications with them. They perceive things in a way that is different and complex, and to take a surface interpretation of those things, e.g., “We can now officially declare JK Rowling a TERF” is absurd to me. These people are literally policing what famous people click “like” on. Can anything be less of a commitment or a real measure of who we are than the thousands of informational tidbits that bombard us every day and ask us to “like” them? If I looked at every thing I every “liked” online it would not only take me forever, but would probably be a total mess. Anyone using it to derive who I am at my core would be dreadfully out to sea. But we magnify these trivial moments in a famous person’s life and accord them vast significance. I couldn’t care less what JK Rowling or anyone else on this planet clicked “like” on.
If you read the article linked to about the Ezra Miller documentary (again I don’t even know who Ezra Miller is) you’ll find that author’s conclusion is that it wasn’t sympathetic to Darren Wilson. I don’t know. I haven’t watched it. But I’m not going to take some self-appointed NeoPuritanical pundit’s declaration that Ezra Miller has now been denounced.
In Maoist China and other totalitarian societies any neighbor who had a grudge or jealousy was encouraged to spy on their neighbors and coworkers, looking for non-Maoist behavior that they could then publicly denounce. Everyone went around terrified of stepping over the line of ideological purity.
To me Twitter and Tumbler have now enabled the same type of witch hunt. It tells me more than ever not to rush to judgment, to look deeper, to try to approach everyone with empathy.
And yes, we really should look into why the Darren Wilsons do what they do. Not understanding why they do what they do will keep us from knowing how to defuse and disable those impulses in our training of LEOs. Understanding his mindset is not the same thing as sympathizing with or “centering” (the latest buzzword) his experience.
“Everyone is incentivized to keep up with the latest news and developments so they can avoid the media and remain relatively pure. you might become tainted by association.”