ye olde echo chamber
January 9, 2014
I always find this notion really… idk, interesting. This and the related tech notion of ‘filter bubbles”. Because to the extent that such things are true and exist, they really seem to apply to a certain class of people, rather than representing a universal experience.
Similarly, whenever people laud the wonderfulness of opening yourself up to diverse worldviews/experiences/people or whatever, they make it pretty clear that they are really only talking about an already fairly privileged group of people.
What actually is an echo chamber? perhaps the biggest example is something like fox news and all the other stuff that accrues around it. all these babbling voices and nothing new is being said nor is any real effort being made at sincere, critical discussion or exploration of any of the sorts of things they talk about. it is a chamber of echoing lies (so much so, that fox news isn”t allowed to operate in canada because, well, they don”t actually tell the truth about anything or not enough to meet canadian broadcasting/news standards).
Or maybe reddit. the site of a million white d00dbros fapping to their hegemonic values and social positions.
some might say that tumblr is also an echo chamber. or twitter. and maybe there are… for some people.
echo chambers exist so that people are never challenged on their beliefs or values. they are the refuge of the intellectually lazy. so, yes, echo chambers can exist anywhere that people decide that dogmatism than critical thought.
this does not represent my experiences online.
it is partially by choice, but also it is a reality that there are certain viewpoints/ppl/ideologies that i simply must engage with, grapple, and address. because i do exist in an oppressive system. and one part of this oppressive system is to continuously bombard me and everyone esle”s minds with lies, bullshit, and other filth so that we remain compliant and ignorant.
echo chambers are a luxury of the privileged, since only they weild enough power to actually systematically shutdown and shutout any discussion or challenges of their beliefs, values, and ideologies. a conservative white person literally can go through their entire life believing all the lies they”ve been told because, well, they don”t have to learn anything else. they don”t. white supremacy insulates them from the screams of all the people whose backs they are standing on. white supremacy as earplug.
wanting to carve out a safe-ish discursive space in which i can discuss certain things with people i know and trust not to derail the conversation isn”t the same thing as an echo chamber.
not even close. saying otherwise erases all the critical contributions all the participants have made. i don”t think i”ve been a part of many discussions wehere everyone involved believed all the same things.
and it is weird. for all that us ‘social justice” types get harangued for being ‘super aggressive” ‘angry” ‘irrational”, actually manage to have so many discussions where people are not only listening to bloodless and abstract ~ideas!
but also listening to each other”s pain. our feelings.
carving out a single, temporary discursive space and sharing it with other people is actually resistance to hegemonic discourse. we aren”t supposed to be having these conversations.
we aren”t suppposed to share stories and pain and begin noticing all these patterns, commonalities, differences, nuances.
we are constructing an image, a notion, a description of the man behind the curtain so that we can expose him for the fraudalent liar that he is.