A light at the end of the tunnel
“It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” -Karl Popper, philosopher
“Sod off, swampy.” -some Brit, responding to a protester
I. Symbolism has its limits
The problem with undertaking symbolic actions, no matter how meticulously planned, is that the moment they take place you immediately lose control over their interpretation.
This is a consequence of human individuality.
What’s more, the problem with attempting to justify the narrative you intended, whether before or after the fact, is that people are now quite tired of being earnestly lectured to, ALL THE TIME, about what they should be feeling or thinking.
This is a consequence of ubiquitous social media.
II. What does it all mean?
Just as with the constant output of Marvel movies, the constant media drip-drip of symbolic acts and their narrative justification, both social and otherwise, is over-saturating its intended market audience, the body politic.
The content of pushed messages is being tuned out entirely. The annoyance arises before the content has even been considered, from the fact of the attempt itself. Nothing is being heard.
This is why messaging attempts have been getting steadily more extreme over the years (“those idiots aren’t understanding us, so we need to message harder!”), and also why they aren’t having nearly as much effect (“sod off, swampy!”).
And so the political temperature rises.
III. So what happens next?
What we are privileged to be witnessing, in real time, is the natural growth of civic antibodies to Outrage Culture.
Through their own tactics, the message shouters are losing three or more for every one they convert. Their losses are feeding a growing, hopeless fear that everyone is against their ideals, which in turn feeds more shouting, which feeds more fear.
But the ideas aren’t the problem, so much as the shouting.
Relax. Stay calm. Let the fever run its cultural course, and have faith in your fellow human beings. Use social media to talk each other down from the ledge, instead of talking down to one another. Smile. Breathe. Contemplate the virtues of civility.
And stop looking for newer, bigger places to send messages, okay? Hang in there, folks. We’re not there yet.