Thursday, September 5, 2019

Evanston: the mob

        Perhaps the worst unintended consequence of the Internet is the deification of the mob.  One might say fake news or rigged elections, but they are only manipulation of the mob.
        I have never believed in the mob, which is no more than a madding herd ready blindly to stampede at the first bolt of lightning, real or imagined.  I have been reading history a long time and I see no evidence that ignorance multiplied infinitely results in wisdom.  
        This morning I chanced across a reference to Hurricane Dorian social media hysteria aided by sensationalist TV coverage.  I see some of the TV.  I could have imagined, but otherwise would not have known of the social media because I don’t view any. 
        In 1990 Jill and I were anchored off the Royal Suva Yacht Club in Suva, Fiji.  We routinely rowed ashore in late afternoon to shower and have a cold drink at the yacht club bar.  I was then between my third and fourth circumnavigations.
        I recall that one evening we were there when an early tropical storm was forecast to pass about a hundred miles to the south.  At another table ten or twelve cruisers—I hesitate to call them sailors—all of whom were making their first ocean crossing, were excitedly talking about what they should do about the storm, which in fact posed no threat to Suva.  Fear and ignorance reenforced one another, bringing some nearly to tears.
        I have at least twice before posted an excerpt from HUCKLEBERRY FINN about the mob.  Here is a link to the earliest post, dating back more than a decade.  It needs an addendum.  We now know that Buddhists kill, too, as they have Muslims in Myanmar.
       The girl stoned to death has long been forgotten, except probably by her self-righteous family and I hope by the man she loved.