Whereto Is Debating Heading?

I am even older than Derksen and an ex-professor into the bargain. Yesterday I saw three things that confused me: a CNN report on Trump in Tulsa, a chapter from Wild Swans about the cultural revolution, and an episode of Veronica Inside. There is serious interest in all three. Trump drew over 10,000 fans to Tulsa, Wild Swans sold over 24 million copies and VI drew 1.7 million viewers yesterday. There was reason for that, as the week before Derksen’s performance had sparked a firestorm in the black lives matter movement that was just starting to gain momentum and generate hope. I think we owe it to Natacha Harlequin to have had a debate that may have been less entertaining than usual, but that did not degenerate into prebaked gossip or stirring up contradictions that preclude listening to one another. It is necessary to speak. Excluding each other does not help. Everyone should be able and willing to participate in that conversation, including Akwasi and Derksen.

Not Akwasi but Natacha was there, which is worrying. We live in a time when social media have made news become ubiquitous and unreliable. What Trump shows in 2020 with fake news accusations, for example when counting the numbers of fans in Tulsa and at his inauguration, defies description. Even worse, it is very similar to the tricks Mao used for claiming the successes of the cultural revolution in 1972. In 1972, Mao had the machinery of the party behind him that made it possible to take out opponents. That led to all news coverage becoming fake news and all debates becoming fake debates. Current social media are developing similar pressure-generating mechanisms. I fear that VI-like journalism is indispensable for protecting authentic public debates against this threat. In short: Derksen must stay!

And I have a new ceterum censeo: Furthermore, I believe that Natacha Harlequin should succeed Rutte.