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The Fractured Social Narrative

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Here are the videos and discussion questions for this hangout: SNL Gameshow Common Knowledge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0HGEZXTy8Y A TEDtalk on cultural literacy and tolerance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Xnkp4o6nU An interview with an educator on the necessity of instilling common culture in children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H097vPnDpkI Neil Postman discusses his book on trivialized information in two interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRabb6_Gr2Y&t=64s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHd31L6XPEQ 1. What contributes to a common social narrative? What is most responsible – e.g. news media, schools, family etc.? 2. In the past, there were fewer choices in media, whether for entertainment or for information. Some people think societies were more uniform because of larger segments of society were sharing the same media than we see today. What are your thoughts? 3. Postman says, "Thinking is not a performing art." Do you agree that visual mediums like TV, cinema and, to a large extent, the internet are not well-suited to provoke thoughtful exchange? 4. Is it easier to convince somebody of a false narrative or prove a true one? 5. How do you know your own narrative is “true”? What sources do you trust? 6. Who benefits from a fractured/un-shared narrative? 7. Reg Stewart puts forth the idea that we should learn about other cultures (and sub-cultures) without assimilating to them. E.D. Hirsch insists that assimilation is essential for a coherent and functional society. Which view are you closer to? 8. Are the forces that push people to embrace different sets of “facts” working as a conspiracy, or are they more like a collection of selfish, short-sighted actors with no formal connection between them? 9. Is information overload really to blame for our lack of trust in authority? How can we make the jump from just seeing leaders and experts as “believable” to understanding what they are saying? 10. How do we escape the echo chamber/info bubble of Google, Youtube and social media algorithms? Please remember to watch at least a few videos before you arrive since we’ll be discussing them when we begin. Once the hangout begins, everyone will introduce each other and then take turns asking the provided questions in order to keep the discussion on topic. Hangouts typically last 90 minutes, and once the hangout is over you will have the opportunity to add people to your buddytree to organize private hangouts and develop friendships. As always, these hangouts provide the opportunity for a thoughtful, respectful and engaging discussion in a safe space where disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated.

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Dave

Sorry, can’t make it. A family thing will have me on the bus to Vancouver. Too bad; it looked to be a great topic.

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Dave

Hang on, looks like I can make it after all. The family thing has been postponed.

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