How’d We Get Here, Again?

A whirl of endless disinformation…60% of Republicans variously committed to insurrection supporters or the Big Lie…endless filter bubbles…”pink slime” in place of local journalism… The wonders do not cease. It didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t caused by the neoliberal conviction that we didn’t need no steenking Fairness Doctrine. It took much more to get us this deep into hell. The grounds for obliterating Fairness was the vaunted multiplication of channels wrought by cable as it rolled out in urban centers in the late Eighties. Surely every voice could find a channel? (Er, um, no.) Then came the Internet and the World Wide Wobble – the Nineties brought real proliferation of channels: you can have yours, I have mine…They call this “filter bubbles.” I hear no Fox News voices. Ever. And that’s how I’ve avoided having a stroke. But the web wasn’t enough; we needed mobile infinitudes — and now we have them. Web2.0 and all its warped progeny brought us yet more “news” and more surveillance capitalism and more bubbles. But wait — there’s more! Now we are poised for yet deeper immersion in our filtrated version of once-consensual “reality.” Can this be what linguistic philosophers were dreaming of back in the Sixties, when they turned from those trivial matters that once concerned philosophers — ethics, truth, the Summum Bonum, proof of the existence of God — and got down with their bad lingo parsing selves? Whether intended or not, that was the start of the I-can-pick-my-own-facts movement. And here we are. Can anyone see the light up there? And how in the name of “Truth” do we dig out of this pit?

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