Social Media. Tyranny. And the Genius of the Crowd

‘Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance’
Albert Maysles


Second on a short list of phrases that have coerced me into a lazy belief in Divinity has been the ‘genius of the crowd’. While crowds have always been dangerous, they still cannot compete with the finality of police brutality, reigning supreme atop my list forth the thirty-fourth year in a row. Moving forward, imagine throngs of faceless incurious armchair activists prepared to rush forward to unmitigated conclusions without pause for reflection or a deconstruction of context, in order to be offended on behalf of others. The untrained eye might confuse this as a vehement advocacy or an aggressive social justice. Yet nevertheless, virulent condemnation without regards to either nuance or context has always amounted to tyranny.

Those best at intolerance not only preach tolerance, but they implore others to assume it as a cause. Is there a difference between a sanctimonious online mob viscerally reacting (quite aggressively) to whatever brings them out of the safety of their comfort zone and activists using the internet as a means for message advocating certain social reform?

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own


Yes! To further illustrate, Evan Agostini’s reported recently that “angry white people were threatening to boycott Red Lobster, in response to Beyoncé giving a shout-out to the restaurant chain in her new politically charged song “Formation.” If this boycott were to materialize could it hold a candle to 1955’s Martin Luther King Jr. Montgomery bus boycott?

The Red Lobster protesters aren’t seeking to have a conversation on the current state of police brutality against minorities. They aren’t for ameliorating the egregious lack of social discourse crossing racial and class divides. Rather, they seek compensation for challenges made to their comfortable existence. The genius of this crowd can be seen in their activities since with one sheriff blaming Beyonce’s video for inciting violence against law enforcement and declaring the Black Panthers to be a Negro version of the KKK. Consequently, these actions only exacerbate the social concerns alluded to in Beyonce’s video.

The greatest threat to progress is the all too human desire to abscond from reality until forced, by the immediacy of an impending calamity, to reap the fruit of neglect and callousness. Kierkegaard in his famous essay argues that the ‘Crowd is Untruth’. Given the state of our majority rules democracy with politicians like Trump paying no regards to truth, is there a place for the individual, especially those maligned and marginalized?

and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art



One comment

  1. I live under a rock and didn’t watch Superbowl OR halftime show. I finally looked it up. The clips of Whitney and Michael made me tear up. I liked the message at the end – “We’ve got to get it together.” I found it hopeful. We CAN get it together. We can.

    People will raise a great ruckus just to distract from truth. Because truth is hard.


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