Manjoo 1-3

I’m really, really trying to understand Manjoo for what he seems to be wanting to get at and not what he’s saying at the surface level. I’m struggling, though, because while he’s presenting a lot of issues with information dispersal and synthesization in American society right now, he’s not stating where these issues originate, or how to go about fixing them.

I assume he’ll get to the latter towards the conclusion, but I really wish he would stop dancing around individual events and dive deeper into why these things happen. Does Manjoo believe it’s because Americans are disaffected and disinterested (lazy, as some claim)? Is it because of accessibility to information and media conglomerates shaping stories with no check to power? Perhaps he’ll get to this later too, or at least I hope he does.

In the meantime, I’m going to try and understand what he wants us to get out of it. It seems like Manjoo is presenting the idea that people have bias and seek information that confirms said bias. Because of this predilection towards confirmation bias, people are then more wont to believe wild conspiracies over conflicting information.

I just don’t really get why this a particularly new or controversial thing. Perhaps this book, having been written in 2008, was more revolutionary when it came out then now (I wouldn’t know firsthand, I was 11 and barely knew how the government functioned much less how politics and daily life interplayed). But sometime (probably within the last two years if we’re being honest) it’s become all too clear to me and many of the people I surround myself with or who I meet around the same age as I am that the things Manjoo is talking about are issues.

Every day we find ourselves drained by these things Manjoo is writing, and it’s not something I am able to, or can afford, not to think about. I think the idea that we live in a “post-fact society” is a bold one, though, and it’s yet to be seen whether I agree with the way in which he’s choosing to define that as of now.

There’s an especially wild conspiracy theory that’s gained popularity over the last few years on the internet that goes something like this: because a large amount of people remember Nelson Mandela dying in the 90s (unsure why or if this is quite the right date), at some point an alternate reality where things like this, or Berenstain of bears fame being spelled “Berenstein,” or the movie Kazaam with Shaquille O’Neal actually being a movie titled Shazam with Sinbad instead, switched places with our own, leaving some of us from Universe A and moving some people from Universe B here to explain these false memories. It’s called the Mandela Effect, and it has an entire Reddit board on different things people feel are examples of this phenomena.

Image result for mandela effect

here’s a fun little chart for you just in case you want to check which reality you’re currently residing in

Quite literally, instead of accepting their wrongness, hundreds of these people are instead choosing to believe in alternate realities, where the only differences are small and inconsequential things that could just as easily be explained by human memory being riddled with error. Now, I don’t know that this is evidence of a “post-fact society,” or simply yet another example of centralized spaces like social media making crazy things that have always existed louder by virtue of bringing all the chaff to the surface, instead of the underbelly, of society.

I’m definitely vaguely annoyed with Manjoo so far, but intrigued to see if he’s ever going to stop talking about the swift boat veterans and start giving us solutions to the problems he’s hashing out. I really, really want him to.

One comment

  1. jessicahackett · November 15, 2018

    Hey Kylie– you’re good at criticizing and questioning text. That’s something I really struggle with as a reader. I often read things and believe what the writer is doing and very rarely do I question it. After reading your posts though, I find myself thinking “yeah yeah that’s right” anyway your posts are helpful and challenging for me (I think I’ve already told you that but it’s so true). I also was wondering about the time period this book was published and how different it was received back then, which was fairly recent in the scheme of things. I think there’s been so much written since 2008 about this specific subject so we’re almost desensitized, that’s my opinion atleast. I do think it was more impactful when it was published. Thanks for sharing Kylie!


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