The Message of the Medium Why the left loves Twitter(HT: S. T. Karnick)
It is not the sequence of adoption, or as Gibson suggests the intellect of the users but rather the nature of the medium that makes Twitter so beloved of the left. You see to write a political blog post you generally have to take an idea and develop it in some detail. It wouldn’t be enough to simply report the news with your spin on it, as this is well covered by the traditional media organizations. And because these blogs are usually open to comments from readers you tend to find that huge leaps or flawed logic are challenged. Although high profile commentators have blogs, most bloggers tend to be hobbyists writing about what interests them.
Then along comes Twitter a running commentary on events as they happen, in 140 characters of fewer. Not enough of course to actually develop a point or idea, and because it’s fast moving little room to challenge fallacious ideas.
I blogged on this a while back:
So true. The Twitterverse is dominated by people who refuse to heed Mencken’s warning that “There is always an easy solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong.”
On Twitter, ideas succeed [not] on their merit but on their instant appeal.
Maybe I should tweet Mecken’s quote as a warning three times a day.
From Robert Conquest’s Reflections on a Ravaged Century:
The message of this banal medium is ‘Don’t think, we’ve done that for you. Don’t analyze as that’s all been done. Like Retweet. And show the world that you’re trendy and with it.” A message made by and for the left.
Stephen Koch on Stalinist propaganda in the Thirties:
The Australian poet James McAuley wrote penetratingly of the pro-Communist phenomenon: 'During the thirties and forties Australian intellectual life became subjected to an alarming extent to the magnetic field of Communism. All sorts of people who would regard themselves as being non-Communist, and even opposed to Communism, in practice were dominated by the themes and modes of discussion proposed by the Communists, danced to the Communist tune, and had serious emotional resistances to being identified with any position or institution which was denounced by the Communists as "reactionary".' He adds that 'one reason for all this was that schools of thought genuinely independent of and opposed to Communist suggestion were in this country not well organized and publicly present. They lacked prestige, that magical aura which captures the minds of the young in advance of argument and establishes compelling fashions'
Munzenberg wanted to instill the feeling, like a truth of nature, that seriously to criticize or challenge Soviet policy was the unfailing mark of a bad, bigoted, and probably stupid person, while support was equally infallible proof of a forward-looking mind committed to all that was best for humanity and marked by an uplifting refinement of sensibility.
+++++++ Munzenberg provided two generations of people on the left with what we might call the forum of righteousness. More than any other person of his era, he developed what may well be the leading moral illusion of the twentieth century: the notion that in the modern age the principal arena of the moral life, the true realm of good and evil, is politics. He was the unseen organizer of that variety of politics, indispensable to the adversary culture, which we might call Righteousness Politics. 'Innocents Clubs': The very phrase suggests how the political issues Munzenberg manipulated came for many to serve as a substitute for religious belief. He offered everyone, anyone, a role in the search for justice in our century. By defining guilt, he offered his followers innocence, and they seized upon it by the millions.