Teju Cole, who is a writer and poet and photographer I much admire, put up the names of children killed by drone strikes on his Twitter feed. He wrote them down and then erased them to make them almost unreadable. And then he was explaining that this would force us to try to read names we would otherwise pass over. Am I wrong to feel offended by this? It seems like grandstanding to me.It's not as if I am going around pretending people aren't being killed by the actions of our military, over which I have little control.
The Other doesn't have to be clear. This idea of illegibility I link to Édouard Glissant's notion of opacity. http://frieze-magazin.de/archiv/features/opazitaet/?lang=en …
Some of the many many names he posted, partly erased:
I think Cole might want to follow Eric Waldo Wilbur's advice. I'd rather see him twerk than pontificate, any day. Funny how that incongruous tweet from Chris showed up on my feed just at the height of this noble project. Honestly, how pretentious can Cole get? This is Twitter for god sake!
I admire Medea Benjamin, who puts herself on the line about all this, but anyone (like me) who does not have that kind of courage really needs to do what she can but not through playing these games with people who already know how terrible the situation is and are working through whatever channels they have to put a stop to the injustice. And in that context it seems disrespectful to the dead children to use their deaths to draw attention to oneself as an artist and right thinker.
We all know it's awful. How does this sort of artsy and creative and attention grabbing approach to drone warfare help anyone? I was tempted to take him off my feed but I do like most of what he does. If he does this or something like this again, out he goes (not that he would care or notice).
I am increasingly annoyed by Facebook activism too. Of course Malala is right! No one needs to tell me that! But we're the ones who know it. Why rail away at us? We're doing what little we can. Whoever put this up is implying that he or she is as brave as Malala. I know I'm not. I admire her of course, terrifically.
But stuff like this aggravates me. It's a little dumb and not clever, which makes it more tolerable, I guess than Cole's clever-clever stunt. I suppose I could look at Ban Weaponized Drones. org but I probably won't.
I've been modifying my Twitter and Facebook feeds in line with my increasing annoyance at all this Internet guilt tripping. Yes, Auntie Hattie is annoyed and not ashamed to show it! I am glad I have a blog, because I can control what appears here. I'm not at the point of dumping Twitter and Facebook, but I find myself spending less and less time on them.