Friday, 12 November 2021

I read it in the Daily Mail so it must be true

We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent This week saw yet another report of university students banning a speaker for remarks made during a debate. It was a perfect opportunity for John Cleese (Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star) to gain some publicity for his upcoming documentary on "cancel culture". Many other outraged voices condemning "woke rules" use such instances for their own advantage too, and we should take care to question what the motives are. We Need New Stories shines a light on a number of such assertions often made in the media.

These are the sorts of things you'll hear over a pint, on the TV, on facebook. The bloke who can't understand why women are making such a fuss. They've got the vote haven't they? And the law now says they're equal, so why are they still fighting for women's rights? And what about all this "woke" stuff? It's political correctness gone mad. You can't say anything these days. What's happened to free speech? What's all this about "black lives matter"? Surely "all lives matter". I read it in the paper so it must be true.

Nesrine Malik calls out these stories as myths "that divide and instil a sense of superiority over others" and asserts that they're responsible for our current "age of discontent". She dedicates a chapter to each myth and exposes the "argumentative technique that advances it". At the end of the book she offers strategies and tools that can be used to challenge the myths "without falling into the traps laid by all the argumentative techniques laid out earlier".

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