The Dominance of Mendacity

Blink, and you’ll miss it. If anyone’s optimism needed a final nail in its coffin that White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ relationship with the press – and with the truth – could represent a break with that of the virtually self-parodying PressSec Sean Spicer himself, let this be it. Continue reading

No-Platforming and the Fourth Estate

Earlier today, The Raw Story and several other media outlets reported that American news broadcasters CNN were in the process of considering banning President Donald Trump’s counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, from its Sunday talk show “State of the Union” – possibly on a permanent basis – citing credibility issues, a reference to her ongoing creative interpretation of reality. (Her references to “alternative facts” to defend Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s outright lies regarding Trump’s inauguration crowd size, and to the “Bowling Green Massacre” – which never actually happened – to defend President Trump’s odious Muslim travel ban, have by now achieved a measure of both on- and off-line infamy.)

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The Muzzling of Satire?

It was Australian actor, author, and comedian extraordinaire, Barry Humphries (whose gifts to the world include the larger-than-life Dame Edna Everage, among others), who made the following pithy observation:

It is this shared sentiment – one of despair at the misapprehension of satire, its importance in calling out demagoguery and ills in general, and the ever-present possibility of its erosion in the face of popular obtuseness – that got me in a bit of a rage this week, on discovering the palliative efforts of an American academic in combatting public credulity. Relevant, particularly, in the wake of the muck-fest of misinformation that was the 2016 US presidential race. Continue reading

Microreflections on US Patriotism

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As a European, I find the ideas expressed in this meme fascinating. We have our anthems and so forth over here, but I know of no country in Western Europe where reciting such things is virtually compulsory. Other than the US, if you were to ask me to name a country with mandatory displays of patriotism, quite honestly, I’d probably say North Korea. Continue reading