Inkshares Book Club - November: These Are My Friends on Politics

Created about 2 years ago by Elan Samuel with 4 comments
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Elanprof sq Elan Samuel · Reader · added about 2 years ago
It’s really interesting that you bring up the way elections are treated as a sport or zero-sum game. It has irked me deeply that so much of the reporting is about how much money was raised and spent and how to sway voters, rather than the actual content of candidates’ platforms.

There’s no indicator that raising money and convincing people of your supposed intentions equates to strong leadership and effective policy, yet that’s all we see... It’s really messed up.

Another thing that’s really fascinating (and horrible) about this election is the power of social media over public opinion. The more that comes out about fake news stories (from Macedonia) winning thousands of clicks (earning their writers thousands of dollars) and having a measurable impact on the election, the worse I feel.

What’s crazier is that we’re still taking to Facebook and Twitter to air these concerns about facebook and twitter. Because where else is there a public forum these days? Also, they’re explicitly not public forums—corporate entities can do whatever the hell they want with our info streams.

The internets, man. 

Img 1188 Billy O’Keefe · Author · edited about 2 years ago · 3 likes
Super mega thanks to Elan and the book club for making this their newest pick. 

Just a little background (which piggyback’s on that catch in Elan’s introductory post): This book was born out of (and written as a response to) my primary frustration with the way people discuss like it’s sports or a game or some zero-sum showdown between absolute right and absolute wrong. When I introduced the book to people, one of the most common questions I heard (besides "Is Trump in it?") (Spoiler: No) was about which side it took. When I explained that it didn’t take a side or bash a side, most were relieved, but some were genuinely perplexed how a book making fun of political arguments could stay neutral while doing so and still venture to be funny. 

So in that vein, I’d love to hear how the book’s perspective compares to your own (both leading up to Election Day and the tumultuous week — can you believe it’s only been a week? — since). Speaking personally, my FB/Twitter feeds are burning hotter after the election than before, and I’ve got enough material for a trilogy now. How about you? 
Img 20160806 023915 Luke Fellner · Author · edited about 2 years ago · 1 like
I haven’t checked out the book yet, but I definitely feel during these times everyone lets the emotions influenced by political ads and propaganda get in the way of our logic and reasoning. Both sides do this all of the time, it’s easier have people let their feelings drive them towards one individual then to logically explain their own policies and ideas.
Elanprof sq Elan Samuel · Reader · edited about 2 years ago · 3 likes
Greetings, inksharesians!

Given the continuing intensity of political discourse this year, I thought it’d be particularly relevant to discuss @Billy O’Keefe ’s These Are My Friends on Politics, but there’s a catch. And it’s an important one.

I’d like to us to avoid talking about the political situation directly. There’s more than enough of that on social networks all over the web, and it is rather vicious. Rather, I’d like us to talk about Billy’s poignant observations about political discourse itself.

So, to start, I’d like to say that Billy’s book couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite the vicious acts of hatred and evil taking place all over the country, he’s got a great point: our conversations often become derailed, dealing less with policy and more with the lack of admirable behavior in our candidates. We talk more about morality than economic policy. And we’re obsessed with our newsfeeds.

Let’s talk! I look forward to reading your thoughts on Billy’s book!