Aaron Brady compares the distortions of truth, or outright fabrications, of Mike Daisy, the #StopKony campaign and Gay Girl in Damascus to McNulty’s hoax in the final season of The Wire:
If there’s a certain radicalism to this gesture, we should also note that the most he can do is make the system do what it always does anyway: in this case, throw police at a crime it thereby propagates and reproduces. […]
Perhaps more importantly, because such stories are derived from their audience – and its imaginative capabilities – they will for that reason demand and privilege reactions to the problem that are maddeningly simplistic in their very imaginable practicality. Kony is bad and so he must be killed by the military, because that’s something we can picture, can visualize; fundamentally restructuring the Central African system of political economy and governance is impossibly and unthinkably remote. Apple is bad and must be regulated (or shunned or something), because, again, that’s something simple we can imagine happening (as opposed to any alternative to the advanced industrial capitalism that makes Foxconn all but inevitable). And MacMasters later admitted that he had given his story an ending, an ending that is striking by its plausible realism: “I was going to end the story with having her be free, and get out of country — end of story.” But this ending is necessary precisely because individual escapes happen every day (while a real solution to the Syrian crisis is unthinkably complicated). Each of these outcomes are imaginable, in part, as a direct consequence of the fact that they do not trouble the status quo. We can imagine those reforms, because they are essentially superficial adjustments of a system that not only remains intact, but which we – in our thinking about what is and isn’t possible – rely on and presume.
The New Inquiry: The Jimmy McNulty Gambit
(via Josh Ellis)
A Born-Again Christian Ex-Outlaw Biker and His Hunt for the Leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda