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I listen to a lot of podcasts at work. I try to get them from a number of places and find perspectives that I’m not well-equipped to see. I do this for two reasons: first, the cultural default in the United States is white, and as a white person this is going to give me blind spots. I feel it’s important to try to overcome those blind spots. Second, I feel that it’s going to make me a better human in general to work at getting outside my own realms of experience – my own white, middle-aged, female skull – and see other points of view. So I subscribe to The Daily Zeitgeist and 2 Dope Queens and Ridiculous History and Stuff You Missed in History Class and Ethnically Ambiguous and The Gay Power Half Hour and etc etc etc.
Today while I was listening to The Daily Zeitgeist, the two hosts (Miles Gray and Jack O’Brien) and their guest (Ify Nwadiwe) were talking about fake news online and seemed to put a lot of the problem of fake news at the feet of older people (and Miles, I cannot believe you told your grandmother Jurassic Park was real.) The conversation went something like, “Well, young people know better but older people are credulous.”
I get the impression that these gentlemen are much younger than I am – Jack maybe is in his early 30s? – and for a minute I was angry, and then I was a little sad, and then I was worried because while Internet citizens (of all ages) might have a problem with critical thinking, I don’t think that’s where the essential problem lies. And if these folks (who in my opinion are smart and sharp) think that we’re having a fake news problem because older people are gullible, then we might get into the history repeating itself game. And I don’t want that to happen.