• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • On Oct. 23, 1958 the Nobel committee informed Soviet writer Boris Pasternak that he had been selected for the Nobel Prize in literature. Ever since Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago had been first published the previous year (in Italy, since the writer could not publish it at home) the Communist Party and the Soviet literary establishment had their knives out for him. To the establishment, the Nobel Prize added insult to grave injury.

      Within days, Pasternak was a target of a massive public vilification campaign. None of those who joined the chorus of condemnation, naturally, had read the novel—it would not be formally published in the USSR until 30 years later. But that did not stop them from mouthing the made-up charges leveled against the writer. It was during that campaign that the Soviet catchphrase “didn’t read, but disapprove” was born: Pasternak’s accusers had coined it to protect themselves against suspicions of having come in contact with the seditious material.

      Twitter has been used as a platform for exercises in unanimous condemnation for as long as it has existed. But it wasn’t until the past couple of weeks that the similarity of our current culture with the Soviet practice of collective hounding presented itself to me with such stark clarity.

      Anyone wants to comment on this article?

    • The interesting concept relevant to this is context collapse. Whenever you get enraged about something on the internet by seeing a couple of tweets, Facebook post or such, usually you're not getting a full context of the situation. You only get a view from one perspective, possibly giving you a lopsided insight and just enough information to confirm your existing ideas and beliefs and give you a permission to go into righteous outrage, which is damn addictive.

      The situation that crystalised that for me was when Quinn Norton got signed on as an opinion writer for the NYT. She would have been great as an opinion writer. He could have contributed greatly to the conversations about tech, the internet, equality, race, US today and a host of other topics. But, thanks to the context collapse of a few selected tweets and an angry mob, she got fired before she even started.

      Here's her account of it:

    • So whenever you see a story that pushes all your buttons, pause, reflect, and then seek out the hidden context before you run to join the mob.

    • Also, David Brin wrote a couple of articles regarding the addiction to outrage that were very helpful in my personal struggle with it. Here's a talk he gave about it:

    • Another attack by a vocal minority group.

      Major writers including the Booker prizewinner Marlon James and the bestselling novelist Sarah Perry lined up to condemn Nicholson’s position with the Booker prize.

      Since 2009 she has no role in the governance or operations of the foundation, yet some writers demand here complete removal from the foundation.

      Former winner Marlon James, also slammed the Booker’s response. “While we’re at it, as a Booker prize winner myself, lets talk about your shitty response to having a hate monger on your board,” he said on Facebook. “It’s not enough to distance yourself from her views, you have to distance yourself from her and condemn HER.

      Marlon James needs good lashing.