It’s interesting that we have decided shaming and yelling are the easiest ways to change people’s minds. Which is not to say I do not think there are people in this world who deserve to be shamed and yelled at: people who use the term ‘cancel culture’ sincerely, people who are deeply invested in the marriage and divorce cycles of celebrities, Meryl Streep. But do I think yelling at Ms Streep will accomplish what I fervently wish for, which is for her to stop ruining perfectly fine movies with her barely adequate performances? No.
Every issue in our cultural lives is politicised right now. Just searching through various podcasts I see episodes titled ‘The Politics of’ followed by ‘sex’, ‘meat’, ‘video games’, ‘work’, ‘Covid’, ‘race in American film’, ‘McDonaldland’, ‘the Oscars’, ‘truth’, and then a whole podcast called The Politics of Everything. Every issue in our lives that we used to be able to take for granted must now be analysed through a lens of justice, fairness and politics. (Yes, I am a hypocrite. Yes, I do this on my own podcast all the time.)
And because we only understand politics as an arena of yelling and screaming (some call it debate, I guess), that’s how we go about most of this. By yelling at people who disagree with us. When I turn on one of these episodes, someone is almost always holding forth, lecturing and ridiculing those people (real or imagined) who dare to disagree. Thinking of not wearing a mask outdoors now that you’ve received your Covid vaccine? Well, then, you are a dangerous lunatic who cares not for your fellow human, you want the most vulnerable members of our population to die, off to the stocks with you!
This is part of the reason why I like the Roaring Earth podcast so much.