Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chattering class

In my country of Australia, you are part of the "chattering classes" if you are slightest bit left and not following the "end of history" ideology of the right (I think in the US you'd be accussed of being a communist). This usually means one must decry political correctness, multiculturalism and all the bandwagons of the left - the things that apparently lead to the race riots in Australia, France and elsewhere. Or so suggests Miranda Divine in the Sydney Morning Herald (I take it a slightly right leaning newspaper?)

It's funny you know, how labels can silence debate. Being part of the "chattering class", it is easy to be dismissed by everyone from opinionated columnists (yes, irony from a blogger) to our own Prime Minister. The issue of Divine's column aside (race issues and multiculturalism), it is a shame that opinion pieces and other articles passing as news (read opininion pieces, when not advertisements, political or otherwise), always seem to degrade to name calling. The best way to objectify someone is to make them "OTHER" with a capital "O". This seems to have happened in the race riots in Sydney, as the barrier of other separates what I guess are narrowly culturally conditioned eastern youth from the rest of Sydney (easy pickings for the media, their own fault at least in part). This seemed to be a big part of what happened to Jews in Europe - they were made the other.

Not that I am comparing exactly treatment of Jews by Nazis and Europeans with media treatment of Muslim youth, but with the way stereotypes build quickly with a label. Of course, more than de-labelling is required, and perhaps this is where political correctness is both right and wrong, right in trying to avoid unhelpful labels (unless about white males?) but wrong in not letting some things be said. But PC or not, nuance seems to often avoid all sides of the political spectrum, even Miranda Divine.

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