April 10, 2006

Facts don't matter

Protectionism and xenophobia (link via India Uncut.)

Read the article! Ridiculous baseless insinuations and intolerance being spouted; playing on people's fears, stereotypes and xenophobia. Following the recent Dubai-ports deal saga (had heard a NPR snippet deeming the whole saga as a 'globalization meets xenophobia' example), the trend for spewing more xenophobic nonsense continues freely even on mainstream TV, even outside of Fox News (CNN, in this case)!! These media whores do not care about facts - journalistic honesty be damned; their sole purpose has become to sensationalize, twaddle on senselessly, and rabble and rouse. Like politicians, even so-called journalists are stooping to saying the same falsities and half-truths a few times, knowing that hearing this a few times people believe them and perceive things in a new light!

On a related note, I am reading my first book by the very erudite Amartya Sen - no, not reading The Argumentative Indian, though that is also on my 2-read list but am reading Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. You can read a good writeup about the book by Jai Arjun.

So far only got through the book-cover excerpts and the preface...but love what I read so far. Here is an excerpt from the preface, which I have cut-n-pasted from the above blog entry.

Civilisational or religious partitioning of the world population yields a ‘solitarist’ approach to human identity, which sees human beings as members of exactly one group…This can be a good way of misunderstanding nearly everyone in the world. In our normal lives, we see ourselves as members of a variety of groups – we belong to all of them. The same person can be, without any contradiction: an American citizen, of Caribbean origin, with African ancestry, a Christian, a liberal, a woman, a vegetarian, a long-distance runner, a historian, a schoolteacher, a novelist, a feminist, a heterosexual, a believer in gay and lesbian rights, a theatre lover, an environmental activist, a tennis fan, a jazz musician, and someone who is deeply committed to the view that there are intelligent beings in outer space with whom it is extremely urgent to talk (preferably in English). Each of these collectivities, to all of which this person simultaneously belongs, gives her a particular identity. None of them can be taken to be the person’s only identity or singular membership category.

Its an intelligent premise but I also had a gloomy thought reading the preface. In the end, why do all these great arguments put forth matter? Who reads all these intellectuals and who even thinks of implementing these into policies and human enterprise? Almost seems like a self-indulgent waste of time for intellectuals like Amartya Sen to write about all these philosophies, concepts, and thoughts and for fellows like me to read and appreciate them if in the end these remain trapped in mere books and in the heads of a few people like me who read them and nod their heads in agreement and write a few blog posts and emails about them! The common man, politicians, and other powers that be continue with their dissociative, divisive, ways... the above example of Lou Dobbs rant is only a very mild example of such insanity. Fox News does far worse every day and religious leaders spreading intolerance through their dogma is the other common divisive force in society.

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