Monday, February 11, 2013

Burst Your Bubbles

Many Leftists seem to do nothing -- or at least nothing publicly -- but dispute teeny-tiny points of theory with other Leftists, points which hardly add up to a flea-fart. They've been living in Leftist bubbles. As opposed to, oh, say, observing capitalists and conservatives, their ostensible opponents, for years they've hardly ever heard or read a word which wasn't spoken or written by other Leftists, many of whom have been living in similar bubbles. The reason I can't find the connection between what they say and McConnell or Merkel is because there is no connection. They'd say: Mitch who? Angela who? and snarl at me for interrupting their tirade against what they assert is a laughably inconsistent description of the deconstructionist challenge to synoptic analysis brought forth by another inhabitant of their bubble. What smart grid? What demonstrations? What brown coal? Fracking, what's that? What minimum wage? Where was I? Now, as LaCapra has asserted...

There's a Leftist blog whose only theme seems to be that a certain Leftist publishing house is corrupt and capitalist. The accusation is contained in the name of the blog. I wonder whether the publisher did anything to anger the blogger besides refuse to publish his or her work.

It's not just Leftists who inhabit bubbles, of course, although it was a look around the Leftist blogosphere which got me thinking about bubbles over the course of the past few days. And of course not all Leftists are bubble-dwellers: some observe non-Leftists, and get out of doors now and then and look around and what have you -- which of course makes them targets of hasty and horrified dismissal by the bubble-dwellers, who have no idea what they're talking about. (What agrarian uprising?) I lived in New York City for a few years, and was struck by the number of people I found who very rarely went more than two or three blocks away from their homes -- with the exception in some cases of a subway ride to and from work, but in other cases their jobs were within the three-block-square bubble as well. I rarely left the city, which you might think of as bubble-dwelling as well, but I roamed all over that city, finding fascinating things all over and being appalled at the thought of living there and never wanting to roam more than three blocks from home.

And of course there are all sorts of Internet bubbles: people who log time on one social-network site or among the comments of one news outlet or on a forum or discussion group as if it were a full-time job. I've done a little bit of that -- and fled a few such sites when I saw what I was doing.

A news-and-analysis TV show on which the host will every day ask several questions of the "Don't you agree that [long involved assertion] ?" format, asked of a small group of regular guests chosen because they will reliably almost always, in fact, agree -- that's a bubble. And it's one-half to three-quarters or more of a lot of news-and-analysis shows, even some of the better ones. And it's boring, even if I agree. An hour's worth of that with six people all agreeing could be done much more efficiently and usefully, in my opinion, by the host by him- or herself in about 5 minutes -- 5 minutes, I could agree or disagree, or even -- imagine such a thing! -- be uncertain and induced to ponder, while I get on with whatever's next.

But it wouldn't satisfy the craving for the bubble, the neighborhood, the cadre, the party within the party, the tribe.

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