So, is this a case of ignorance? Or do these beliefs tell us something more? I think the rumors reveal something about the nature of the state here and people’s so-called contract with it. The state has acted in just such a vampiric fashion in the past, feeding off of the misery of its citizens, and likely will continue to do so. They are not responding out of ignorance, but again I would argue, out of long experience.
There’s been a lot of reporting on Sierra Leonean and Liberian skepticism around Ebola. Patients getting broken out of quarantine by family members, and the belief that Ebola is a government ruse to get more donor money is presented as the sentiment of ignorant people. Obviously there’s more to it than that. As Susan Shepler explains quite well here, people don’t trust the vampire state and they shouldn’t.
Civil society has become so anti-politics, because of course politics is so evil, so toxic. But politics is what you do to make the world better, not “spreading awareness to communities”. It’s in the political that these things happen. The utter cynicism of it [aid/development] is that there’s no politics in Africa so you simply bypass it.
I flew Jet Blue this week which meant six hours of basic cable television. Probably more television than I’ve watched in half a decade. It’s not a stretch to say the majority of people I know under thirty three haven’t paid for television in years and we all live in this media bubble totally disconnected from what’s going on in the wider culture.
I saw Fox and Friends for the first time and it was about as expected. CNN has gone downhill in ways I didn’t know were possible. Wolf Blitzer interviewing Benjamin Netanyahu? Please. In fact, all the news was complete nonsense. Like, utterly false.
Even MSNBC was just mushy partisan nothingness. Evan Osnos talking about the charm of Joe Biden; a look inside Michelle Obama’s children’s cooking competition. On the History channel, a documentary about Islam turned out to be about how ancient extra-terrestrials built the Kabbah, creating a portal into another dimension.
Actual things on TV these days include: an all nude dating show; Carson Daly working as a news anchor; David Remnick on a morning show discussing Vladimir Putin; an MTV show consisting of a naked guy getting kicked repeatedly in the balls and then jacking off in front of people.
I ended up watching bicycle racing. I guess this makes me old.
Donald Gillies, a former president of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, told a stunned audience that he had examined three well-known Nobel Prize–winning papers in economics and could find nothing in them that he could call scientific. Rather, he said, they utilized sophisticated mathematics to hide the fact that they were not saying anything remotely relevant about the real world that could be proved or disproved.
Yoko Ono is delightful and every time somebody over 35 or 40 makes a joke about how Yoko stinks, or Yoko’s bad at singing, or Yoko’s crazy, or Yoko broke up the Beatles… Every time that happens, a child is born and that child will help to overthrow the baby boomer hubris-fueled patriarchal institution that perpetuates jokes that aren’t funny and that just come from false premises SUCH AS ‘Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles’, SUCH AS ‘The Doors were good’, SUCH AS ‘Eric Clapton seemed like a good guy you’d just want to hang out with and hear his tunes and his stories.’ And that’s all FIDDLE FADDLE!