Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
In the context of the recent troubles of race/religion/violence a couple of analysts doing the rounds on 24 hour news channels are going with the story that France stands apart from the rest of the world. Apparently it’s a place so divided and racist that there are simply no people of non-French origin in positions of power.
Hmmmm… Now let’s see. The name Sarkozy, as in former President Sarkozy, doesn’t sound terribly French. And how about prime minister Valls? I do believe he was born in Barcelona.
And then we have:
That’s just off the top of my head; and only including the political world. The entertainment or sports industries, for example, are much more diverse. That’s not to say prejudice and divisions don’t exist, they do. But in a much more complex way than what Jon Snow described on Channel 4 News as wealthy French elites living in splendour while the rest live in misery in the banlieue…
This highlights the problem with “expert analysts” and how the news is currently produced. For the sake of ratings people are expected to sit in front of a camera and tell an interesting/juicy story even if it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality.
We’re then left with the myth problem. Just as in the case of religion it means people accept a narrative that has no basis in reality or evidence. And once people latch onto that explanation it means the search for real answers is over. If you believe the cure to cancer is in prayer and lighting candles to the virgin- then why study the disease? If you believe Mexican immigration to the USA (which stands at a net 0% at the moment) is the root of all problems in society, then why examine how to improve the living standards of the population? And if you believe the primordial cause of the recent terror attacks in France is social exclusion then we can’t have a real conversation about the factors that contribute to these tragedies.