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Quote of the week: Adam Gopnik

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"There are sins of omission but there are also virtues of patience. Many of the wisest things we do, in life and in politics, are the things we don’t. Affairs not started, advice not given, distant lands left uninvaded—the null class of non-events is often more blessed than the enumerated class of actions, though less dramatic."

-Adam Gopnik, writing in the The New Yorker August 29, 2016, "Learning from the Slaughter in Attica: What the 1971 uprising and massacre reveal about our prison system and the liberal democratic state." Gopnik is an American writer and essayist, best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism since 1986.

The Stunning Ease of The Politics of Outrage

Sina Odugbemi's picture

The world has been witnessing a scary new political communication/mobilization phenomenon: the routine deployment of the politics of outrage by tiny groups of individuals...but  with epic consequences. And what is amazing is how stunningly easy it is to get this going. Consider, if you will, the emerging structure of the phenomenon:

  1. Somebody living in one of the liberal democracies of the West decides to test the limits of free speech by deliberating insulting the Holy Prophet in some way. They don't need to write an entire novel or make a full length movie.  A cartoon is enough or the trailer of a movie.
  2. These days, the Internet does the rest: the provocation acquires the capacity to go  global.
  3. Within the great Islamic community of the faithful are those just watching out for these provocations, rubbing their hands, and saying with Clint Eastwood: 'Make my day!' They take the largely obscure provocation and bring it to the attention of the entire community of the faithful.