I read this article by James Butler(it comes with audio), one of the Oxbridge boys whose social network was so delighted with austerity, given a reason to justify their hobbies and attacks on people outside their class, until they are grown up enough to move into a the media politics world in the way they choose, and hone these skills(Novara is one such vessel, elite post grads above criticism is it’s motto).
The article explores the use of ‘radical journalists’ by mainstream media, and the audio is essentially a chat between friends about their right to use the media they occupy the fringes of as a perk of the uni they chose, how power is passed down to a new generation of a caste, and the building and maintenance of social capital. How their class keeps a grip on power with bitches within the social network fulfilling the role of casting judgement on their friends to maintain the status quo, like the Mean Girls of a US teen comedy. Where the interviewer believes himself to be in that role, and the journalists involved are expected to seek his approval as he infers the journalist whose light he needs is feeding off him. The voices in the audio as likely to be have been round a kitchen table at uni 5 years ago, as at a studio in 5 years time. It is interesting but only as an example of the type of discussion which maintains privilege within a social and ‘professional’ order which relies on the politics of civility and flattery.
It is an article about the complicity not just of columnists, but of a very small elite social network who decided the deaths of many were fine as long as they could maintain and exploit the position they deserved by right because they earned it at uni. The right to impose their fantasies on a working class being savaged in an undiscussed reality. The right of the few to disenfranchise the many. A social network of no more consequence or size, than this years HND in Furniture Making students at Burnley College, and a social network with much less benefit for society.
Then I want you to look at this article by Laurie Penny, which is subbed as an article about death threats, and how to deal with them and carry on, but which is actually a beautiful description of the disintegration of that social network. She describes a conflict between an editor who is a friend, who uses smears, exploits vulnerable women and puts others at risk, to protect the Labour trough of the New Statesman ergo her career, arguing with an ex girlfriend of Laurie’s whose modus operandi is swarming and bullying women because she is entitled to, especially those with children, using words like scab, cis and intersectionality. The advice of a media ‘feminist’ Roz Kaveney, who has long since asserted the male privilege media gives her to declare it her right to bully, attack and swarm and impose identities on other women just because they fall outside her expectations, convincing Laurie that bullying and silencing women, is acceptable when she chooses it,
Understanding this is a tiny social network makes reading left wing media output very easy. It’s no more interesting than the musings of any other group of uni mates and they hold no more qualification and no insight into the world outside their very odd walls. The differences they claim as their own in a left wing media hierarchy, are the narcissism of small difference between friends deciding where at the top of the tree they would like to sit. From the same cohort from Oxford is Owen Jones, and Adam Ramsay who penned this little missive guiding his elite friends on how to make sure noone challenges their right to impose their career needs on anyone who disagrees.
These articles are important, because they detail the breakdown of a culture of silencing women and maintaining whitem elite privilege at everyone elses expense and that breakdown gives hope of something new. Laurie may be upset at her friends falling out, but the rest of us should be grateful this social network is disintegrating because we need it to.