I’ve spent the past four years paying more attention to national news than I had in the 33 years prior. I am ashamed of this. It took a mystifying (but perhaps not actually so) cultural disaster to bring me out of the cocoon of psychological comfort I’d wriggled into. I am intentionally being vague, avoiding names ~ my political and social leanings are obvious. It may feel like we are out of the woods, or nearing the light. If I’ve learned anything it is that this sense is false. The work begins now, it continues indefinitely, and we are still very much in the woods.
I’ve spent the time since the moment of realization exasperated, like many friends and family, by a person and innumerable ~ seemingly infinite ~ surrounding acts and behaviors I could not process. Overwhelmed by the sense that something wicked isn’t just coming but has been here so long many of us had begun pretending it wasn’t. All the while it gained the boldness, the voice, the validation to become ever-present on a new scale.
I have been trying to approach this from an analytical perspective and I’ve realized that to do just this is inadequate. To varying degrees the progressive mass ~ myself included ~ and with the possible exception those with high awareness of all internet corners, or high finance awareness, is gripped by two primary:
“Why and how this person?”
“What is happening?”
I have collected a web of readings and podcasts which begin to approach these whys and whats. Many of the below helped inch my brain toward a semblance of clarity. New strands will be added as I continue seeking, reading, thinking ~
Books dealing with these issues directly ~
Anti – Social by Andrew Marantz ~ Comprehensive in regard to this particular topic, one of the most simultaneously entertaining and disturbing reads of the past decade. I’ve been through it twice. Andrew is also quite listenable if you enjoy audio versions.
Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin ~ Talia dives deep into white supremacist subculture on the web and finds it invading her real world life. This book is spectacular, spectacularly terrifying, and full disclosure, I am still in the midst of it.
Podcasts dealing with these issues directly ~
The Reply All Podcast on 8 Chan and the creation of QAnon
The Rabbit Hole Podcast – 8 Episode Series
The Daily Podcast Episode on 8 Chan
The Daily Podcast on the Electoral College
The Daily Podcast on Religion and Politics
Books within the reasonable radius of these questions ~
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Bring the War Home by Kathleen Belew
Dark Money by Jane Mayer
Bonus reading ~
The writings of Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Richard Rorty
Pick up the entirety of James and Angela ~
I’d start with Richard’s Essays ~
Our least controversial daily practice should be recognition and acceptance of one another as mutual, worthy, lucky, inhabitants of the earth. As an aspect of the precious randomness of existence, there is a responsibility to contribute and avoid wasting precious space and time. No pressure. I am gripped by the sense that I, and truly we, should apply ourselves toward unifying in the interest of solving issues together. Toward getting to know our world, our people, and ourselves. We are far more similar than we are different.
Hold on tight all, see you next week.