from the world's big
Antisocial is a deep dive into the extremist views.
- The New Yorker's Adam Marantz spent three years embedded with leading alt-right voices.
- His book, Antisocial, carries you deep inside the mindset and motivation behind online trolling.
- To get back on track, Marantz believes we need a "new moral vocabulary."
Inside the bizarre world of internet trolls and propagandists | Andrew Marantz<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="242633e374cd2b8987ea5f1946d2e6ea"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2ix8JEqCJ1s?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>If you think there's a coherent plan behind this overrepresented minority broadcasting on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, and YouTube, rethink that assumption. Marantz begins his book at the DeploraBall, an unofficial inaugural celebration organized by alt-right conspiracy theorists and internet trolls in 2017. Commenting on the movement from the bird's-eye view, Marantz sums up the motivation behind the political momentum that placed Donald Trump into office. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They took for granted that the old institutions ought to be burned to the ground, and they used the tools at their disposal—new media, especially social media—to light as many matches as possible. As for what kind of society might emerge from the ashes, they had no coherent vision and showed little interest in developing one. They were not, like William Buckley, standing athwart history, yelling 'Stop'; they were holding liberal democracy in a headlock, yelling 'Stop or I'll shoot!'" </p><p>Marantz does his best to sympathize with the characters he writes about, a commendable feat in itself. He approaches reporting in what is now considered an old school style: credibility. He didn't accept gifts (including Uber rides or coffee), allowed his subjects to speak their voices, and asked pointed questions while letting them speak their grievances. Indeed, the strongest parts of the book, and ironically the most frustrating, occur when you're in the living room of one of these aspirational provocateurs as they play with their children. </p><p>Frustrating because, as with Twitter fights and trolling in general, you're reminded that all of us share one nation. We have the capability to be so much better than this. Yet debatable policy disagreements are regularly broadcast as existential threats for clickbait to drive ad revenue. The real focus of our collective anger, corporate leaders and the politicians they purchase, own much of the blame for this polarization. It just seems impossible to remember that fact while scrolling on a six-inch screen. </p><p>That said, Marantz does not give a free pass to the white nationalist movement. Being Jewish, he recognized the personal danger he placed himself in. Marantz also considers the role of the modern journalist. He might pay for breakfast to avoid conflicts of interest, but that doesn't make supporting leaders of this movement easy. Some ideologies simply do not bend toward justice.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"To treat these as legitimate topics of debate is to be not neutral but complicit. Sometimes, even for a journalist, there is no such thing as not picking a side."</p>
Andrew Marantz (via Twitter)<p>King's quote is a recurring theme throughout the book; so is the Overton window. Named after Joseph P. Overton, a former senior VP of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, this window is the range of policies a politician can discuss without appearing too extreme or biased. The window shifts as we become inoculated to more extreme ideas. What seemed impossible a decade ago becomes common. You get an open discussion of racist and xenophobic policies that would have once seemed unthinkable.</p><p>Don't mistake this window for critical thinking. If, at times, it feels like social media is ruled by emotionally incompetent and intellectually stymied adults who never took the opportunity to mature from grade school, you're not far off. Sometimes all Marantz has to do is stick a microphone in front of their mouths and let them speak. It's maddening, listening to them shrug off thoughtfulness and honest debate. Defaulting to "free speech," which they all do, is to forget (or be ignorant of) the fact that with free speech comes responsibility.</p><p>We cannot troll our way out of this mess. As Marantz concludes, we need a "new moral vocabulary" to address the scourge of anti-Semitic, racist, and xenophobic garbage being lightly disguised (or not at all) in our national discourse. I purposely avoided naming the figures in his book because they already receive too much oxygen. One high point is that many have been de-platformed in recent years, cutting off their precious revenue streams. </p><p>No book has captured the alt-right as powerfully and honestly as <em>Antisocial</em>. It is a reminder of how badly we need to redefine the Overton window with a new vocabulary. Teaching everyone this language will be one of our greatest challenges in this new decade. <span></span></p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is </em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy.</p>
Study identifies predictors of which students are likely to do well in education.
- Researchers looked at data from 5,000 students and found 2 factors that were strongly linked to academic success.
- Students with genetic predisposition towards academics were much more likely to go to University.
- Equally important was having well-educated parents with wealth.
How can we best help students? Cultivate their love for learning.<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="TgNt03ck" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="f677c0e6cef50e09d6131d19cc289de8"> <div id="botr_TgNt03ck_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/TgNt03ck-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/TgNt03ck-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/TgNt03ck-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Transformation of big companies is really important if we want to create a system that is fairer, more sustainable and less unequal.
- Large companies can and should ask themselves "Where can we collaborate? Where can we pre-compete?"
- Both collaboration and competition can help big business be the force for good.
- B Corp certifications can lead to companies being more purposeful and transparent.