Friday, January 28, 2011

Backlash And Tourette's

It has been noted (my me, at least, but I'll bet others also) that the mere mention of Sarah Palin sets off reflexive responses, pro and con. They just burble out. In sports, the mention of Michael Vick has the same effect.

This now occurs in a new context of instant news and analysis. Though analysis may be a kind way to put it. As communication has gotten quicker and quicker over my lifetime, we hear moaning at every turn about how fast lies can spread, while the truth lags. That's always been the case, BTW. (Mark Twain: "A lie can go around the world while truth is putting its boots on.") It just seems shocking to us as all new speed is shocking. By the lag-time for truth has probably always been the same when calculated as a ratio.

But recently something new is emerging. People being so quick to judge has produced instant backlash. The Tucson shootings were played politically, but ended up at a net loss for the spinners. NFL players jumped all over Jay Cutler largely on appearances, and many are now backpedaling so they don't look like jerks. All very quick, and the quickness of the original tweets may be what set off the backlash tweets.

Perhaps it's not new. Perhaps backlash has always occurred as often and at proportionally the same speed but it just feels faster.


Gringo said...

The Tucson shootings were played politically, but ended up at a net loss for the spinners.

In the sense that more than half do not agree with the spinners, you are correct. But there is still a substantial minority,of around a third of the populace [and a substantial majority of our German friends],who believe that rhetoric emanating from the likes of Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh was to blame for the shooting.

Would that third of the populace have considered Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh to blame if the spinmeisters had not done their spinning?

james said...

For a substantial fraction of the population, one's political enemies are responsible for almost all social problems. Famine in Africa? Bush's legacy is to blame, or the Pope, if you're a leftist; or the socialists if you're on the right. (OK, bad example--the right has something of a case here)