Geoffrey Goodell on Fri, 27 Sep 2019 18:41:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Wash Post: Greta Thunberg weaponized shame in an era of shamelessness

Hi lizvlx

Responding to your third paragraph ('less intellectualizing and more personal

The sad truth is that most reasonable adults (with a few exceptions, such as
the comfortable, the contented, and the activists) would not opt to sacrifice
the privileges you describe.  This is for two reasons.  First, the Tragedy of
the Commons: Although the marginal cost to the individual who makes such a
decision is huge, the marginal benefit to society is small and usually cannot
be realised by the actor.  Second, these sacrifices are not borne evenly within
the population.  Quick trips and cheap foodstuffs are even more important for
the poor than they are for the rich.  Time and money beget more time and money,
and sacrificing it is not for the downtrodden, either as individuals or at

To be plainer still: Just as some Brexiters would gladly sacrifice 20% of their
net worth if they could be promised that wealthy Londoners would lose 80% of
theirs, people would quite understandably not give up a competitive advantage.
Maybe people can be convinced to give up sugary beverages without government
nudging (it's debatable).  But this is a bridge too far.

Best wishes


On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 05:52:59PM +0200, lizvlx wrote:
> Hi
> I hardly ever post - but I need to say that I find it a bit weird to call Greta Thurnberg a work of art - she is a regular human being and just doing what she needs to do. Neither do I see any similarity between Assange and her. Also I dont see why Greta is doing anything directly to the US (but maybe I didn???t quite get what you were wanting to say there).
> Btw, as a fellow Aspie - I can tell you that it is customary all over the world to call autistic ppl mentally ill (which is not a derogatory term by itself but in this context a terrible misnomer) - what you are hearing being directed at her, I can hear all the time directed at me and my daughter. So I am not surprised.
> Also I do not find the whole movement interesting at all, what I would find interesting, if somebody amongst the adults would mind to sell their car, stop buying preprocessed foods, eat less meat and go organic, stop using air travel when trains are available etc etc, whoa, that would be super interesting.
> So maybe less intellectualizing and more personal action.
> I say this from the perspective of somebody who used to be an autistic teenager who was usually called a radical eco-communist - because I used to really traumatize ppl because I would recycle our family???s trash, refuse to ride in the car and pick up trash in the park. I understand that these my actions were very hard on other ppl???s feelings - I just didn???t know at the time that ppl are such fragile beings that break when confronted with a liveable truth.
> lizvlx
> > On 27. Sep 2019, at 05:41, Molly Hankwitz <> wrote:
> > 
> > Dear Ted and Felix, 
> > 
> > Thank you these links. I have been following Ms. Thunberg with a mix of rapt interest, admiration, and fabulous disbelief at her courage for some time. I have picked up, now, on some of the bile that Monica Hesse bites into which is being directed at Greta by such patrons of insanity as FOX and Breitbart and their White House cohort, Mr. T. 
> > 
> > What totally fascinates, and I???d agree with Felix here about some of the reasons and the ???threat??? itself as it???s perceived, is this absolutely stellar decade we are living in that we should find ourselves amidst the likes of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Greta Thunberg. 
> > 
> > How is it that from out of today???s heady mix of problems - perpetual war, lying government, climate change ignorance ???come these public figures who have swum upstream to surface and call out the lack of truth and justice? 
> > 
> > I find this so interesting ???this age of networked publics, and social media and the advance of issues into a never-before witnessed - in the same mix of feedback loop ??? weird -tactical-media event (to borrow Wark???s phrase) that creates a critical outside - in globalized terms - Thunberg and Assange both from other countries yet directly energy to US. Is it correct to think of these persons as similar? They are almost like performance art. Spectacular but also sincere. No one wants or likes them. They may succumb to too harsh a light. 
> > 
> > Molly
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > On Thu, Sep 26, 2019 at 7:49 AM tbyfield < <>> wrote:
> > [a little collaborative text-filtering]
> > 
> > < 
> > <>>
> > 
> > Greta Thunberg weaponized shame in an era of shamelessness
> > 
> > By Monica Hesse
> > Columnist
> > September 25 at 11:24 AM
> > 
> > A vocal cohort of fully grown human adults seems unable to deal with 
> > Greta Thunberg.
> > 
> > The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, as you might have heard, gave 
> > a scorching speech at the United Nations on Monday. "We are in the 
> > beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and 
> > fairy tales of eternal economic growth," she admonished a crowd of world 
> > leaders. "How dare you."
> > 
> > Oh, but they hadn't even *begun* to dare.
> > 
> > That evening, pundit Michael Knowles went on Fox News and referred to 
> > Thunberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, as "a mentally ill Swedish child 
> > who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left."
> > 
> > On the Fox show "The Ingraham Angle," host Laura Ingraham compared 
> > Thunberg's physical appearance to a character from a horror movie, then 
> > quipped, "I can't wait for Stephen King's sequel, 'Children of the 
> > Climate.'???"
> > 
> > "I can't tell if Greta needs a spanking or a psychological 
> > intervention," tweeted Breitbart columnist John Nolte. And, actually, if 
> > you're in the mood to be unsettled, then I'll wait here while you search 
> > Twitter for "Thunberg" and "spanking" and see how many middle-aged men 
> > are eager to corporally punish a teenage girl.
> > 
> > Finally, as Monday evening drew to a close, the president of the United 
> > States sarcastically rang in: "A very happy young girl looking forward 
> > to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
> > 
> > By Tuesday morning, as a cheeky rejoinder, Thunberg had changed her 
> > Twitter bio to President Trump's description.
> > 
> > Thunberg does not keep to the model of how we expect fresh-faced child 
> > activists to behave. She is not interested in delivering a message of 
> > hope or in standing behind a bill-signing politician in a chorus of 
> > beaming youths. She is not interested in offering incremental solutions 
> > for individual households, in urging consumers to switch to reusable 
> > grocery bags or buy stainless-steel drinking straws.
> > 
> > She also does not seem particularly interested in using her activism to 
> > make you like her. At one point in her U.N. speech, the audience 
> > interrupted to applaud. Thunberg looked mildly irritated by the 
> > interruption; she just wanted to get on with it.
> > 
> > What was she getting on with? With ruthlessly explaining just how badly 
> > older generations have ruined things for her own. With castigating 
> > politicians for focusing more on keeping power than heeding science. 
> > With calling out liberals, too, like Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who 
> > benevolently told her at an event last week that young people would soon 
> > have the chance to run for office themselves.
> > 
> > "We don't want to become politicians, we don't want to run for office," 
> > she responded. "We want you to unite behind the science."
> > 
> > At every turn, in every appearance, what she's interested in is making 
> > her listeners feel shame.
> > 
> > We live in an era that has become impervious to shame. An era defined by 
> > a president who views it as a weakness. Shame has become an antiquated 
> > emotion and a useless one. It's advantageous, we've learned, to respond 
> > to charges of indecency with more indecency: attacks, misdirection, faux 
> > victimhood.
> > 
> > When Thunberg's noxious treatment began to get attention -- Fox News 
> > apologized for Knowles's statement, calling it "disgraceful" -- some of 
> > her defenders suggested that she drew so much scorn because she was 
> > female. I'm sure that's part of it. The past few years have produced a 
> > rash of books explaining how women's anger is historically belittled 
> > while men's is seen as worthy of empathy. We have "effectively severed 
> > anger from 'good womanhood,'" wrote Soraya Chemaly in "Rage Becomes 
> > Her."
> > 
> > But I don't think that explains all of the reactions. Thunberg hasn't 
> > been treated any more appallingly than Parkland student David Hogg, who, 
> > in the course of lobbying for gun control, was labeled a shill and a 
> > "crisis actor." He received death threats.
> > 
> > What Thunberg and Hogg have in common, along with others like Hogg's 
> > classmate Emma Gonz??lez, is their utter lack of regard for our 
> > feelings. They do not care if they make us feel bad; their entire point 
> > is to make us feel bad. They don't need our votes; they're not elected 
> > officials. They don't need our money; many of them live at home with 
> > their parents.
> > 
> > With every public appearance, they are saying: This is what it would 
> > look like, to be free to do the right thing. This is what you would say, 
> > too, if you weren't beholden to donors or viewers, if you didn't have to 
> > muster the right sound bites for your next reelection campaign, if you 
> > weren't afraid of sacrificing some of your personal comfort for the 
> > greater good.
> > 
> > Thunberg is saying: *Aren't you ashamed of yourself?*
> > 
> > And deep down, way deep down, in the place that stores unfamiliar 
> > emotions, many of her audience members are.
> > 
> > This is the uplifting way to interpret the grotesque response to 
> > Thunberg.
> > 
> > She is a small, slight child wearing braids and using the best science 
> > available to beg the adults in the room not to let her die. Not to let 
> > animals die. Not to let the Earth die. Not to let everyone die. Anyone 
> > who listens to all of that and immediately wants to punish or attack 
> > Thunberg -- they're not having that reaction because they think she's 
> > wrong, but rather because, deep down, they fear she is right.
> > 
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> > molly hankwitz 
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