Push a button for your response.

We are all guilty

We are all guilty

Every day it seems my social media news-feeds are fed a batch of images with messages of hate for the poor, disabled, immigrants, those on benefits or just a bit different and an invitation to hit the like button and share if I agree/love my country/believe in freedom, democracy etc. Push button and execute. Many contain lies about the luxurious life that awaits the immigrant to these shores,the level of benefits different groups are receiving, the laziness of the poor; nonsensical statements that were they true it would be hard to disagree with, but they’re not. Hate hate hate all at the push of a button, hit like if you agree – and people do.

It is sometimes hard for me to understand how, in an age where access to truths such as benefit levels, numbers of unemployed immigrants, crime figures etc are so easy to obtain, ignorance is so easily perpetrated. I see friends and acquaintances hitting the like button rather than checking the facts. Indeed one post purporting to show a huge disparity in benefits available to those arriving on our shores for refuge, rather than being a member of the indigenous population, resulted in questions in parliament. Needless to say, the DWP was quick to reassure the House that they were indiscriminate in their miserly allocations, but the fact that members of the UK parliament were taken in by the provocative statement is itself worrying. The report issued by the DWP is not as easy to find as the statement that it was a response to, one that seems to have originated in Australia, and had also been posted in America. Change the numbers, change the currency, hit share and wait, but not for long – a lie these days will travel round the world before the first search for the truth  has left the modem.

Of course there is nothing new in this. Word-of-mouth whispers, some bloke down the pub making nasty comments, the newspapers, they have all been the means whereby we have been encouraged to turn against each other, often in the interests of whichever group hold all the power/wealth/resources, and want to keep them. Divided we are easier to manage, and perhaps because our small group mentality welcomes a justification for our prejudices, easy to divide. We live in the age of the soundbite – short, snappy, easily digested statements supposed to sum up complex issues that deserve deeper inspection – and we respond appropriately, we are complicit. The internet is like a vast public house. We sit in it like drunks nodding uneasily in the face of authoritatively stated hate messages, not bothering to challenge because we want to get back to our own circle of friends, and lack the instant knowledge to say ‘no, that’s wrong’. Hate and ignorance spread easily in these conditions, and we are all guilty of perpetrating it. 

Hit like if you agree.

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6 thoughts on “Push a button for your response.

    • Cheers Joseph, yes is it. I have a great love of the developments in Russian and British art during the 1910’s and 20’s, and this is my take on a rayonnist/vorticist approach to my industrial theme as I seek to develop it. The rendering of people as automata seemed appropriate to the subject. I’m working on a few more in this style for my solo show in September. Thanks for the comment, good to know that the painting’s appreciated 🙂

  1. I see many people every day at my work who are punished for being poor and vulnerable: people on 2 week benefits sanctions for ringing in sick for work programme interviews and not told that their housing benefit is also stopped – before they know it there’s an eviction notice to add to their hopeless mountain of debt; people kicked of ESA and waiting weeks for JSA to come through, not eligible for assistance because they’re not currently in receipt of benefits, or told they can’t have JSA because they are too ill to work. These are the measures that are supposed to encourage people back into work by kicking them further into debt and despair and having to spend the day trailing round to find a food bank that will take them on. The more the poor are punished the more we hear about scroungers and wasters, the people that are ‘other’ to ourselves. So yes, let’s question the so-called facts behind the headlines and take a moment to think that there but for the grace…..

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