March 31, 2015
Twitter & Pretend Democracy
Following the Jeremy Clarkson Saga, I did think of writing a little blog about him. In this imaginary blog, I was going to dare to consider that maybe, just maybe, his departure was not a Major Tragedy. The draft was funnier than that, of course. But, as I read it over, and showed it to some passing and amused chums, I remembered that Trolls do exist, and thought better of it.
Now that an election is upon us, I got to thinking harder about this (admittedly minor) act of self-censorship. The sad fact is that Twitter has created Pretend Democracy, where a very narrow range of opinions are tolerated. Going back to my trivial example: there are individuals out there, who were (and are) prepared to make Death Threats to those who dared to hold a view of the Top Gear Saga at odds with their own. And that was only about a view concerning a TV Programme.
Back in the day, eclectic, varying viewpoints lived in pubs and intelligent newspapers. Thanks to hash-tags, nowadays they can be sought out and punished by a new breed of Thought Police. It’s a worry. Transparency may well not be the best thing that ever happened to free speech. And Twitter may turn out to aid fascists more than it aids genuine democrats. I hope I am wrong. But I think I may not be.