Friday 23 March 2018

Radio: 'White people' nonsense makes me Wanna Cry

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Oh, this is just getting ridiculous. The amazingly prophetic powers of this column are now seemingly being proven on a weekly basis.

As is standard OP, let me begin with: "Only last week"… I mused on how sentient computer intelligence might one day lay waste to humanity. I believe I also expressed the fear/hope that these AIs would have sexy Scarlett Johansson-type voices.

Lo and behold, one day after that was published, the global media is full of news on "cyberattacks", as the Wanna Cry virus infects millions of computers. See? Without wishing to sound alarmist… the rise of the machines has begun, and we're all doomed.

Sure, as Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) heard from Cheryl Baker - head of UCD's Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Unit (is that the coolest job-title ever?) - this is actually a thing called ransomware. In short, done for money by greedy/lazy humans.

But come on. We all know the real string-pullers here are the machines. Today, they come for our bitcoins, tomorrow our lives.

In related news, we heard on Morning Ireland (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7am) that the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie had been pirated. Hackers threatened to release the film - which is guaranteed to be terrible - unless Disney pays a ransom. The joke, of course, being that Disney are also threatening to release this stinker, boom boom.

Anyway, my Nostradamus-esque superpowers have clearly grown to the point where it's scary, but also strangely thrilling. I wonder what's next? (Prediction: Tipp to win the All-Ireland from now until 2050.)

I'm a big fan of The Green Room (Newstalk, Sat 8pm), but really didn't like the interview with Iranian-American comedian Negin Farsad. Surprisingly for a broadcaster as likeable and down-to-earth as Orla Barry, this had all the hallmarks of those annoying love-ins you tend to get in modern media.

You know what I mean: two self-styled "liberals" (or "progressives" or whatever) make predictable jibes about Donald Trump, tut-tut about those horrible conservatives, condescend to people outside their little bubble, and feel good about themselves for being morally superior to the great unwashed.

Even if they're right about most of this stuff - and they probably are - it's a bit smug and sanctimonious, isn't it? I'm not even sure who this is aimed at, or what they hope to achieve: your side already agrees with you, the other side will feel insulted and patronised.

Worse, Ms Farsad peddles identity politics. She describes herself as - shudder - a "social justice comedian", and wrote a book called How to Make White People Laugh.

The implication in all this is that racism, violence and the other ills of life are solely caused by, quote-unquote, "white people" - this giant, amorphous mass, in which every constituent part apparently behaves and thinks the exact same way. Like the Borg.

At one point Farsad said wars are caused by "white people". Which is maybe true, in part, if you're completely unaware of anywhere beyond the US, and any time before the 20th century. And even then… nah.

I despair at this stuff. Race-baiting, idiotic, reductive, divisive, hypocritical, literally and figuratively ignorant… and, of course, nadir of the dismal mind: dragging ideology into everything. Ugh.

And I don't get why an Irish radio show would indulge it: this means nothing to most people here. Hell, it probably means nothing to Americans either, outside colleges and the media/arts industries. On the other hand, this is just the view of "white people". (That's right, I'm speaking for all one billion of us. Does that sound stupid to you? Yep, me too.)

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