Monday, January 30, 2017

Hyper Panic

For what seems my entire life, the Simpsons have always provided me with the context to be able to bridge and understand the complexities of real life events. To be honest, this goes beyond the Simpsons and spans almost every form of pop-culture and entertainment I have consumed in my life, even to this day. So, given how things are going and fires are being lit left and right, causing all this disarray, I got to thinking about which Simpsons episode best sums up what's going on right now. "Much Apu About Nothing" is the 23rd episode of the 7th season, back when the show was still golden. It's the one about immigration. The episode still holds up and the fact that I'm older only helps me pick up on things I missed previously, like how the episode was inspired by the fallout of Prop 187. Everything comes around in circles.

I mention this episode because I dug the analogy Lisa used when explaining the faulty logic behind the line of thinking that how believing in one thing will/won't necessarily have an effect on something else. You know, like building a wall to keep immigrants out or banning people from coming to the US from specific countries. To the same effect, everything that pendejo has done up to this point has had the same result on those who would be impacted and those in solidarity. What has been tripping me out over these last few days as I've been chewing on the fat, is that while all these different situations seem to be repeating themselves more or less, I can see everything playing out, more or less.

Last time this kinda panic took a hold over people was in 2006 when there was a potential change undocumented immigrants presence into a federal offense. The fear as real and it spurred folks into action. Over the years, other similar events have taken place, varying in size and impact, but this latest turn of events got everyone and their mom thinking about their worst case scenarios. This is also the first time shit has gotten twisted with social media being more common than in previous years. Literal tweets are sending folks into panic attacks like a rock thrown in a pond, the waves hitting folks at different times with different intensities. At times, I feel like I'm re-reading a book I'm visiting again out of nostalgia.

I look back to all the stuff I was a part of in the early 2000s, blogging about Boyle Heights and running around with others trying to pass the Federal Dream Act. I think back on those times and chuckle in the realization that I've grown because of those experiences, but I also recall on those times because apparently, I'm old enough now for a new crop of folks are doing similar work and in some ways repeating the same errors. Part of me wants to be like hey, I see what you're trying to do, lemme share my experiences so you don't have to repeat them. The other part of me holds back with the reasoning that I'm no one to thrust myself into that kinda role. Let them do their thing and if they ask for help, be there to support without trying to be some kind of movement celebrity. Not a day goes by that I don't have that line of thinking cross my mind, especially when I'm on social media.

While I'm not actively involved in the immigrant rights movement as I use to be, I've kept tabs on who are the individuals, groups, orgs etc. who have the eyes and ears of folks. Given the urgency and panic sweeping folks all over the place, everyone has been playing damage control and at times, sharing information that contradicts their own. Folks are confused enough as it is, so they reach out to these folks for answers, only to get talking points and an ask to wait and see what'll happen. That's understandable, the immigrant rights movement aren't the only ones in the dark, reacting to things as they happen. I see content being shared/posted with the intention of instilling hope or just sharing general information to the masses, but I also see the subtle dick moves being made.

It's one thing to be all humble brag about something, it's another to turn the same humble brag into full on exploitation worthy of some of the best advertising companies around. Don't get it twisted, likes don't pay the bills and the brand has to be built, but at what cost? Authenticity? Respect? The only answer I have to that is of my experiences and my values, can't speak for everyone else. That's on them, but I question the responsibility placed on them by their supporters and followers. As much as social media and instant/constant communication has made things easier, it has also made them just as hard, if not harder. It's incredibly easy to put something out there and create havoc, but it's a thousand times harder to make amends once the damage is done.