I was talking with Loren Feldman tonight. I had a business question, and it was something I knew he had direct experience with, so I dropped him a line, and he called me tonight.
After that, we talked about all the things going on in Loren’s world. ( The backstory is summed up here). And there are lots of opinions all the way around. I don’t normally get into this side of the conversation. To be honest, it’s partly because I have friends on all sides of the argument. Further, I guess I have my own very private opinions on everything, but I don’t use my site as a platform for discussing the larger issues. Just my take. But I want to talk about something that came out of the conversation with Loren tonight.
(And this post will have nothing to do with taking sides. I understand most people’s take and opinion on Loren’s body of work. This isn’t that. It’s what started my head moving.)
There are MUCH WORSE things on the way soon from others.
The intent of this cover from the New Yorker magazine was intended as parody. Blogs like Ta-Nehisi Coates have covered this in great detail, including the sentiment that this kind of attempt at parody didn’t go over well with the black community. (By the way, this is the first echo of the Loren Feldman story. His satire went over poorly.)
But this is what’s out there. This is the surface. This isn’t the secret campaigns that will (are?) spread through social networks, across back channels, hidden in some other kind of FriendFeed that we haven’t seen. Or maybe it’ll be out in the open, as Louis Gray reported on a short while back.
All Is NOT Shiny
For a moment, we need to consider the larger implications of how social media can power some really negative experiences. Flash mobs are fun. But what else could they be?
This isn’t one of those “film at 11″ shocker posts. Instead, it’s something I wanted to write to say that if you think that beating Loren Feldman down because his video broke away from satire and fell into racism, then you’ve lost. The fight is, I believe, a lot more sinister, running deeper under the radar than that, and with names that aren’t in the blogosocialmediacirclefishbowl sphere.
Fight racism. Fight hatred. And be damned sure you’re looking for the scarier threats that trawl those waters.
But how? And where? And what will be the way we see this all come to light? That I’m not so sure about, and further, when you think about how one might patrol for such, I think free speech (not hate speech, but the other stuff that will get sucked into the nets) might get caught up, too.
And, as Clarence might say, “Marinate.” Because I sure have been, and I’m wondering just how scary America might be revealed to be on the way up to the US elections in November.