petej + insults   52

How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump - MIT Technology Review
Rather, the problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts.
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august 2018 by petej
Politics doesn’t need a brick through the window, or civility. It needs basic fairness | Abi Wilkinson | Opinion | The Guardian
In the rush to condemn such toxic behaviour, however, I think a subtle distinction has been lost. Actions can certainly be morally unacceptable. In my opinion, emotions cannot. Really, it’s a manifestation of extreme privilege to insist that people engage with politics in a calm and emotionless way. The further you are from experiencing any negative effects of the policy you’re debating, the more cushioned and secure your social position, the easier it is to adhere to the Oxford Union norms of cool detachment and skilful argument.

MPs might only be human, but they also hold a power over the lives of 70 million fallible, vulnerable human beings. Telling people that they’re wrong to feel anger towards an individual who voted to restrict housing benefit and place them at risk of homelessness is patently absurd. Similarly, journalists hold an unusual level of social power that makes them a reasonable target of scrutiny. If we think social media discourse can influence behaviour, why would that not also be true of mainstream media?

The question isn’t about the level of anger that is acceptable, it’s about the forms of expression of that anger that should be condoned. Obviously, physical violence isn’t justified. Similarly, racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice don’t become more or less acceptable depending on the specific target of the slurs. What about other insults, though? Is it OK to describe a politician as “evil”, for instance, or is a blanket condemnation of an individual always toxic? Does it make a difference whether comments are addressed to politicians rather than made about them?
politics  emotion  anger  power  violence  insults  harassment  threats  dctagged  dc:creator=WilkinsonAbi 
july 2016 by petej

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