There is a lot of nastiness around this week. I can fully understand politicians being upset when their election posters are burned or worse they appear on bonfires as hanging effigies. But if we step back a bit the 12th has actually been fairly quiet the past few years compared to the riot fest it used to be.
Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think there were any controversial parades this year. The ever-larger bonfires are a real concern but the main damage there is to their own communities (Not that destroying your own community is a good thing).
The difference is now everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. They are able to film every eijit doing something stupid and within the hour the video pinballs its way around WhatsApp, Reddit and Twitter. Admittedly some of this stuff is very funny, like the cops arresting the bin, but a lot of it is quite malicious.
I think the point of Mick’s post was lost on a lot of people. If you avoided social media then you would have a completely different view of the week than if you had been following every twist and turn on social media.
At this point, you are ready to hit the comments and point out that the mainstream media gives an overly rosy view of events and glosses over a lot of the dark stuff. Only social media gives a true picture of what is happening. But does every utterance and imbecilic act need to be broadcast to the world?
We are going down a very dark path. Very soon your smartphone will be able to continuously record and transcribe everything you say and every conversation you have. Whatever you say down the pub one night with a few drinks on your could be broadcast to the world. Your joke or remark will be taken out of context and you could be cancelled. There will be a righteous purge of all deviant behaviour and thoughts that do not meet the standards of the Twitter mob.
To be clear I am not excusing any behaviour but making the point that these acts are designed to shock and get a reaction. By giving them attention are we just fueling the cycle? Burning an effigy of someone is obviously more than a slight, it is a hate crime but where would the cops even begin to investigate a crime like that? Ultimately the damage is to Loyalism and Unionism. The middle ground are the people who will decide the result of a border poll, burning effigies of the people they vote for is not doing much to win their hearts and minds.
Any whataboutery comments that just feed the grievance machine will be deleted. Instead, take a breath for a minute and consider is all this righteous indignation getting us anywhere? Is the amplification of every slight and grievance helping us?
I help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not that interested in daily politics, preferring to write about big ideas in society. When not stuck in front of a screen, I am a parkrun Run Director.