This week in Curiosities: The darker impulses of the Dirt-bag Left, Sarah Z on the infiltration of Doomer ideology into leftist and activist spaces, and Ezra Klein interviews Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows.
On the Red Scare podcast
While this article is about the podcast Redscare, it’s ultimately an excellent analysis of some of the darker tendencies of the online left, particularly a corner I find particularly resonant: the “dirtbag left.” The entire article is excellent, and worth reading.
The author writes:
In a truism of our age, @steak_ham recently tweeted, “One of the harder parts of online leftism is making sure everyone knows you’re too cynical and jaded to give a shit about anything, while also displaying that you care deeply about everything, and in fact are the only fucking one getting off ur ass and doing something about it.” This is a savvy encapsulation of the problem with Red Scare: the hosts try to hold the moral authority of their professed class consciousness in tension with a suffuse irony and nihilism, but the two are incompatible. Their provocations are not jokes so much as a way to suggest that both politics and political speech are meaningless, a posture that precludes earnest advocacy for anything.
Read the full article here.
Sarah Z released a video called OK Doomer several weeks ago that I’ve been completely unable to get out of my head. In the video she talks about the rise of the Doomer meme – the image of a hopeless, nihilistic young man – and how doomerism is creeping into leftist and activist spaces. The video is so good and personally resonant that I’m planning on sitting down with my journal and taking notes on her insights.
Her most crucial insight, for me, is how social media blurs the line between “panic time” and “leisure time.” When our timelines are filled with cute kitten pictures and human rights atrocities simultaneously, our ability to practice genuine, restorative leisure and effective activism is corroded.
This insight is one more nail in the coffin of my social media use. Excessive social media use is making me bad at rest and activism.
Speaking of social media, Ezra Klein had a fantastic conversation with Nicholas Carr, author of the The Shallows. In The Shallows, Carr argues that the internet is permanently changing the way humanity thinks, and that this might not be %100 good. He argues that we are losing the capacity for Deep Reading and Deep Thinking. While his argument might initially sound classist, nostalgic, and elitist, I think he has a point. Give the podcast a listen and let me know what you think.
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