A few years ago now, I wrote about how people are simply overwhelmed with the amount of tragic news presented 24/7. While still maintaining this positions, I am increasingly concerned and frustrated by clichéd responses.
Where there is a mass shooting, for example.
When Donald Trump says anything, for example.
When Barack Obama says anything, for example.
When storms cause flooding, for example.
Irrespective of the event, everybody expresses almost identical reactions again and again, each and every time.
Where there is a mass shooting, one side reminds people of history, calls for regulations, announces that “guns kill people,” while the other side screams “terrorist” or “mentally ill” (depending on their racialization), buys more guns, and screams back “people kill people!” One side offers thoughts and prayers; the other side offers actions and changes.
While specific details of the event (usually) change, the discourse itself never changes or evolves. History repeats itself. Existing rhetorical strategies, therefore, remain ineffective.
Current political conversations too have become highly predictive. In most cases, when a person deemed liberal says something about current issues, you know exactly how a person deemed conservative will respond. Personally, I grow especially exhausted and frustrated when a group opposing Queer rights or denying global warming, for example, espouses propaganda they have heard somewhere that has been disproven time and time again.
My own interest in social media–whether in the form of Facebook or Twitter conversations or in the form of articles on my blog–has declined, in part, because of this phenomenon. I try to avoid repeating myself. And because other parties en masse continue to repeat the same information, there is a dearth of new material available for conversation.
I generally only blog when I have original ideas to share.
People need to think. People need to demand change, change that also subverts clichéd conversations and responses.
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda