As I have observed a few times on this blog before, things that other people find shocking are not shocking to me but are rather a wholly predictable event. It may one that may be alarming and a cause for concern but they are not shocking, not least to me anyways. What is shocking, however, is that other people find the same wholly predictable event shocking and that this fallacious opinion becomes a truism by dint of the media deeming it as such.
The events at the US Capitol buildings the other day are but the latest example of what might be charitably called ‘reaction inflation’ inasmuch as the reaction to the event is much greater than the event warrants. Of course the storming of the US Capitol building by protesters was deeply concerning, but was it shocking? Really? I mean shocking in an unexpected, unforeseen way, in a before-it happened-you-never-thought-it-would way. Like a piano falling off a building and crushing someone to death way or a spear of frozen urine flushed from a plane impaling someone, ‘The Omen’ style? That’s shocking. Donald Trumps supporters running amok, causing mayhem? Not so much.
Is it shocking or just one more in a long line of wholly inevitable consequences of us living in a digital echo chamber. The age of confirmation bias, one where opinions and beliefs, no matter how risible, misleading or offensive they are – are widely shared amongst others who think the same.
So really, what is the difference between the US protesters who caused so little damage but so many headlines and the murderer of Jo Cox MP? Of Donald Trump claiming that there was fraud and irregularities in the US presidential election count and Gina Millers’ legal actions to try to prevent the UK government from carrying out the will of the people? Or of the UK Supreme Court ruling that the UK government had acted unlawfully in trying to do just that and Donald Trump, on his 2016 presidential campaign, threatening to ‘lock her up’, her being Hilary Clinton.
Apart from the effects of these actions, they are all I believe on the same spectrum. Each at different points, granted, but on there nonetheless, part of the growing refusal to accept that others have beliefs, that while different from ones own, are as equally valid and deserving of defence. That’s what democracy is about fundamentally, because, as Voltaire wrote, “I may not agree with your opinion, but I’ll defend to the death your right to have it’.
Anyway, enough of that, and onto this, something I heard on an Radio One’s ‘Essential Mix’ late last year, only to find out it had been recorded in 1979! It sounds a bit like Goldfrapp, well it does to me
Oh, that roast beef dinner I had last night? My stomach wants you to know it was fantastic.