I've reached that point of being an anarchist where I don't want to consume or make hammy agitprop but stuff that's complicated and stimulating. I wonder if this is good or bad. All I do know is that I think hammy propaganda and agitprop in media arts insults people's intelligence. I feel like learning the rhetoric and behavior of leftists doesn't do as much as challenging a person to think about it. People want to pursue something that's not so clear cut or simple I think
The problem therein lies is how does one make or identify a work of art as helping people understand their agency, individuality, position to make things in society better, understand society has a myriad of problems and hostile actors.. The more loose it is, the less likely it is going to read as something radical or forward thinking potentially. After a certain point it could just sound like academic drivel. Or it could be fake woke crap that doesn't actually say anything, like black mirror
I've been workshopping a dungeonpunk setting and have been doing my best to challenge peoples expectations and critical thinking skills in regards to the fantasy genre and of society itself without giving them leading questions, assuming they understand nothing, without plainly telling people what I think. But I still have made very big steps to make a stand on certain things, like directly attack the idea of a race essentialist fantasy setting.
I dont think agitprop and hamfisted leftist media is necessarily bad.. But I do think it doesn't exist for the audience you would think. Hamfisted leftist fiction is explicitly for an audience of people who already agree with what that propaganda is saying. The uninitiated don't like or care about and don't even notice things where they get talked down at or confused by jargon. They feel an emptiness, a disenfranchisement and they look to entertainment to be uplifted, not essays.
I have had a very weird history of leftist thought. My patterns of my ideologies I've shed and picked up since I was a young teen have bounced around so much and there isn't necessarily a clear cut reason for why if you solely look at the pol literature and contact with other leftists. I went from a baby ussr socialist at 14 to a stirner reader at 17 to a socdem liberal at 19 to a blood raving Marxist at 21 to an ancom individualist. It wasn't the books. It was a feeling I picked up from art
I had s really shitty childhood. I was treated like a gifted kid and overworked at school, and I was abused at home in a broken marriage, on the precipice of learning my gender I would be pushed away from it. Nothing was fair and I felt like society was designed to be this way. I wanted an escape in media to where people could be history want and could change society, what I found in various fictional stories is that those feelings are completely normal and can be channeled into a greater good
I don't know, I just think that leftists can do better than give people a prescriptive work of prose that tells them what is right and what is wrong, when you can make a creative world based on your feelings about what is right and wrong, that puts people through an emotional journey, that gets them curious and invested in a way essays don't. Ursula LeGuin probably helped more people become leftists than Peter Kropotkin in this respect.
@alraune This is true, and a perennial complaint. George Orwell was saying it in 1940:
“Now suppose that at this moment somebody started a left-wing paper deliberately aimed at boys of twelve or fourteen... Inevitably such a paper would either consist of dreary uplift or it would be under Communist influence and given over to adulation of Soviet Russia; in either case no normal boy would ever look at it. Highbrow literature apart, the whole of the existing left-wing Press, in so far as it is at all vigorously ‘left’, is one long tract.”
@ghost_bird ah dang an author I hate said something i like
@alraune Valid to hate Orwell, especially with the calibre of his fans and the way he gets pushed in schools.
@ghost_bird also he had a snitch list and some of his work was pretty insulting
@alraune And he was a dreadful prig too. Plenty of reasons why he’s the only lefty conservatives have time for.
@ansugeisler @kittybecca @ghost_bird the British government purges people too. They're horrible tyrants and the number one obstacle to socialism, and Orwell snitched to an organization of the state specifically to eliminate leftist organization. They weren't just targeting stalinists but leftists in general. When did the British government become the good guys
I am not saying it's great to snitch on Stalinists.
But I am saying there can be situations where it will be the least bad option.
So if someone has chosen to do so, one should look at the results.
Were the targets murdered? Were they disappeared?
Or were they professionally inconvenienced in a way that reduced their usefulness to Moscow handlers?
@alraune @kittybecca @ghost_bird A labor government set up a propaganda unit, and a friend of his worked there.
He gave his opinion, based on his long-term notes, to his friend, clearly designating that it's all inferential, guesswork.
Is it naive to think a labor government group is better than any other? Sure. Especially with what we know now.
But a lot of leftists at the time were fighting on two fronts: Against antisocialist censure, and against Moscow.
he was naive to trust the British government as much as he did, also, and it wasn't exactly OK what he did, but the people on his list who he shared with the government were only people he suspected of being Stalinists, and did not include e.g. Wells who was part of his private notebook that was only revealed in 2002
@alraune @ansugeisler @ghost_bird orwell made important points though and literally went to spain in order to fight fascism, so i'm not going to cancel him over these things because he told a propaganda department "don't hire these people"
people still get far less shit on the left for quoting lenin than for quoting orwell
@ansugeisler @kittybecca @ghost_bird this is a good point but from my understanding it wasn't an art committee but the British foreign office and it wasn't a Stalinist but was many leftists, celebrities who were vaguely socialist, and labour MPs. I'm not a fan of stalinists either, but this is bigger than the scope of just stalinists
Spain is central here.
A whole generation of leftists went to Spain to fight the fascists.
And were traumatized by the Stalinist militias' purges.
From that time on, they were constantly thinking, how can we make sure we don't get caught in a crossfire between fash and tankie again.
Not all results were wise.
@alraune When Godwin wrote Political Justice, he knew it would probably be inaccessible to a great many (it was so long that the government never bothered censoring it) so he wrote Caleb Williams as a companion piece, a novel that demonstrated those same ideas in a narrative format.
I think people really underestimate the power of fiction in conveying political ideas (least of all because we see it done badly a lot, like with Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein)
@GreenandBlack @alraune The enemy don't doubt the power of fiction:
Side effect of this "Show, Don't Tell" maxim, whether it was CIA in origin or not: minority worldviews are incompatible with it because the reader needs to understand the unwritten worldview in order to be "Shown, not told": https://uncannymagazine.com/article/let-me-tell-you/
Fiction can open vistas and new thought-patterns while being metaphorically removed enough not to trigger knee-jerk rejection. It's very powerful. Good & bad.
@alraune people lie to themselves that they feel certain way because they understand it is right but in reality you need to feel it first and then understand why and what to do. I agree absolutely.
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