Thursday, August 27, 2009

Way down in the hole

Now I’ve heard it all! The Tories quoting the Wire as their authority in arguing that British society is “broken” is just fabulous. Just where has Chris Grayling been if he thinks that anywhere in the UK approximates to life (and death) in the projects in West Baltimore? He has of course missed the whole point of the show whose central point is that the so called “War on Drugs” is corrupting and defiling US inner cities from the top to the bottom. Sadly this is a thesis that the Tories are unlikely to put their name to. Actually the Wire is a more sensible metaphor for where the Tories might take us if/when they come to power. If they continue to push their selfish and privatised view of society on us and increase even further the gap between those who have and those who have not then something like the Hobbesian world of Baltimore with its war of all against all could come to pass. Lets keep this devil way down in the hole

Monday, August 3, 2009

Giles Fraser on this morning's Thought for the Day (Today Radio 4) commented on the Catholic church's rather silly condemnation of social networking sites like Facebook and My Space. He introduced an interesting distinction between what he called "thick" communities and "thin" communities. Noting that the type of community prioritised in the Church and government's thinking is "thick" community - highly homogenous and exclusive "congregations"- he explicitly compared these to a rural village communiuty with a pub and a church where the village worships together. He saw cities as places with a thinner notion of community but where a much wider and more diverse population could still fit in, find their place and feel at home. Quite rightly he highlighted the need for both types of interaction with virtual communities and social networking sites being vital as part of the thinner type of interaction especially for those who feel excluded or who seek to interact with others in ways that do not centre on geograhical space or "neighbourhood" but rather on other facets of people's identities.