Thursday 20 June 2024

Tolstoy on clickbait and Princess Kate

Many years ago, when I was just a guest blog-curator on C@W, during CU's hols I ran a short series: Schopenhauer on blogging.  Yep, nothing changes: and I now find Tolstoy had some views on social media and clickbait too.

... it has now come to pass that as soon as any event, owing to casual circumstances, receives an especially prominent significance, the organs of the press immediately announce this significance.  As soon as the press has brought forward the significance of the event, the public devotes more and more attention to it.  The attention of the public prompts the press to examine the event with greater attention and in greater detail.  The interest of the public further increases, and the organs of the press, competing with one another, satisfy the public demand.  The public is still more interested; the press attributes yet more significance to the event.  [OK, we get the point - EdSo that the importance of the event, continually growing like a lump of snow, receives an appreciation utterly inappropriate to its real significance, and this appreciation, often exaggerated to insanity, .... etc etc (1906)

He always was a wordy bugger. 

It's clear enough: since the dawn of the printing press, reactionary forces have lamented whenever the layperson gets a new opportunity to self-publish their nasty little thoughts that depart from whatever wisdom the priesthood of the age seeks to guard.  I have a suspicion a well-read classical scholar could find something from Cicero or Aristotle along the same lines.   Reading?  We can't have the peasants doing that.  Bible in the vernacular?  No no no!

That's technology for you.  And the human spirit, etc.



Anonymous said...

Who holds the megaphone is very important, which is why we've all heard of Stephen Lawrence but few know who Kriss Donald was.

In the years after the Lawrence murder, the Home Office/DOJ/whatever announced they would be monitoring and publishing interracial killings on an annual basis. I assume (though could they be so uninformed?) they thought this would illuminate the avalanche of racism by the natives.

They stopped it after a few years, or hid it very deep somewhere, after the figures showed that for every black person killed by a white one, two or three whites were killed by black people.

dearieme said...

"Bible in the vernacular?"

I've never seen anyone make the point so I do so now. The great majority of Moslems can't read Arabic. So for them the Koran might as well be in Latin, eh?

Wildgoose said...

Good point dearieme. It also illustrates the difficulty of rote memorisation of the Koran in madrassas when the sounds have no meaning to the student.

There is also the interesting distinction in Islam between those (Arabs, in Arabic) to whom God revealed himself and those who are merely converts.

Yet another "chosen" people in the same area.

Anonymous said...

Clickbait ... Princess Kate ... saw what you did there

Anonymous said...

You leave my Royal Babe Kate alone you lot.

Miles better than the dog biscuit selling failed actress across the water.