Gentry, and the problem of the internet's collective willingness for blood
Writing about the viral “Diane in 7A” story — a “Bachelor” producer’s story, told on Twitter, of his dealing with a rude airplane passenger on Thanksgiving by harassing her via passed notes — Salon previously noted “Nothing about Gale’s story passes the smell test.”
And, indeed, Elan Gale has admitted that he made Diane in 7A up.
So concludes a saga that “won Thanksgiving” even despite the creepy, sexist valences of a man telling a woman, via repeated notes, “Eat my dick”; Gale tweeted, last night, a picture of “Diana [sic] sitting in a chair.” The chair was empty.
Though Gale’s been praised for “brilliant writing and execution” even in spite of the fact that the long, convoluted saga of Diane would seem not to have happened, there’s very little substance behind the story that caught the imaginations of Twitter users over the Thanksgiving holiday. All the reader had to go on to presume Diane deserved a series of notes telling her off was Gale’s own point of view. The follow-up story by an anonymous commenter that Diane was real — and she had cancer! — complicated unduly what had been a cut-and-dried story of a woman who needed to be put in her place, and the man who did so. The internet’s collective willingness to call for blood because a woman was alleged to have been rude was only the latest sign of how internet users simultaneously abandon skepticism and embrace absolutism when surfing. In the era of viral “wins,” the entire world, now, is one carefully massaged, edited, and satisfying episode of “The Bachelor” — just don’t think too hard about the implications. (Daniel D’Addario, Rude airline passenger “Diane in 7A” was a hoax, Salon.com)
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The question is, Daniel, who do you displace your mother's worst aspects onto in order to keep her pristine? My whole sense of you is as someone who wants to see most of society clamped down, with a genteel overclass benefiting from everybody else's frozenness (i.e. “Frasier”). This is mom at the center of court, with a bunch of effete "kids" making sure no one ever shows a true mirror to her, by applying a thousand different strictures to make everyone feel that anything off the cuff might be deadly to them. They'll just learn to smile nervously and shut down—better for making that much more territory available for genteel play!
Noam Chomsky just had an article here at Salon where he said liberals were partly to blame for a broken working class, for evil — something about them applying rules that would rightly infuriate and frustrate working class communities while just being amenable good play for themselves. This was pretty close to Chris Hedges' view of liberals over the last 30 years as well—whom he accuses as actually hating everybody not their own, and for purposes of class definition, foisting the importance of manners, of "boutique issues", so that those who with ease navigate all the complex particularities regarding race, gender + just seem evolutionarily superior to all the clumsyies out there who with dismaying ease ruin any good effort they might put out there with any of a number of outrageous remarks and gestures.
Just thought I'd point out that there is another Left out there, and they're essentially calling you guys treason ... ultimately for worse, however hard it is right now to spot.
Vail Beach@Emporium I wish you'd take another stab at making this point. I think you are saying something profound, but you have expressed it incoherently.
Thanksgiving has us thinking family. If we had a mom we could barely just deal with, the drew us to frustration, rage, we often end up displacing these qualities so that they apply to someone else — in this case, this fictional maternal lady that Gale dreamed up, whose crime is to obscenely presume upon the "little people". That way our rage gets vented at our moms for presuming upon and humiliating us when we were young — but elsewhere. And we can be good sons and daughters in the company of our wonderful, self-sacrificing moms again.
That's the first part anyway.
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The second part is that we're living in a time when growth has to be restricted and repressed. Every century has them, with Linda Colley talking about how in the latter half of the18th-century the aristocracy consolidated itself, how moving into their ranks became more difficult, and how there became that much more many tells to see if someone possessed an aristocratic "polite vision." The result was that the educated pastor couldn't pass, for the aristocrat could see multiple levels where he was limited to foreground—the result, really two different species of people, a la Jane Austin's vision. In the 19th, you had really Romantic growth until the end of the 1850s, where as James Wolcott says, "gentility rolled in and laid out the doilies." And now, with Wolcott again pointing out how, compared to the "spread-eagle" 70s, "the meritocracy has fully sunk its Vulcan death-grip on journalism, the culture." And also Richard Brody, explaining how "Gravity" shows how liberals prefer a complacent, self-congratulatory world view, where anything really wild/different/aberrant gets filtered out. People are to be trained into decency.
So though we're all talking this ninety nine vs. one percent split, what we at least as much have is a split between those with an intrinsic "polite" vision and those not trained since birth into it ("Berkeley", Iowa Workshop, New Yorker, twitter but never post in comment sections). Liberals like Daniel and his friends are very much okay with that, because however much they would wish them better wages and health care, they really don't want them too much part of their picture—gross! And they're the now. However, on the horizon, are these other left voices that keep on wanting to associate with the working class, create some kind of folk union with them, and are suspicious of those of their ostensible peers who are forever harking at all the prejudiced attitudes.
I'm guessing we're going to hear a lot more from these kind of leftists, and the age of minority promotion and suspicion of the mass, will be turfed, in favor of collective nationalism. This won't be better.
Emporium / Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Link to Salon article: