If anyone wanted an encapsulation of the screwiness of our times just consider the following straight question being asked of an interview subject.
‘How does being a communist impact your view of the US presidency, whether it’s Obama or Trump?’
And then consider that this pleasant question was being asked by Teen Vogue.
It was posed to a young woman called Ash Sarkar who writes for an obscure blog named Novara Media. Last week Sarkar had her 15 seconds of fame when she managed the impossible and appeared to out-arrogant Piers Morgan in a television shouting-match ostensibly about Donald Trump’s visit to the UK. The exchange finished with Sarkar telling Morgan repeatedly that she wasn’t a supporter of President Obama because she is ‘literally a communist’. The fact that she added the words ‘you idiot’ meant that sections of the internet went doolally for her. And Teen Vogue decided that she was a suitable subject for puffery, and presumably young female emulation.
Television ding-dongs come and go, of course. But it is worth mulling on this otherwise unenlightening exchange. Because where other people felt joy or just enjoyed the ruckus, some of us feel an unutterable and unforgiveable horror.
The most obvious comparison – which many people online have rightly made – is to ask whether the internet would have had quite such a delirious meltdown if an equally obscure figure from the far-right had similarly argued with Morgan. Would the Twittersphere have gone so moist with excitement if Morgan’s interlocutor had, by way of rider, finished their argument with the explanation ‘I’m literally a fascist, you idiot’.
For some people it is too obvious a point to make. But it is perhaps the most important point on political ethics that still needs making.
Sarkar’s equivalent from the far-right would not have been lauded, and nor would they – however female, ethnic or entitled – have ever been the subject of such gleeful elevation.