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Noga Sklar

Honestly, I don’t remember another year in which I lost so many friends. Oh, well. Not do death, oh no (although I’m certainly getting old enough for that): to Facebook. It all started in my native Brazil, where this was the time of a radical political turnover: The party in power for the last… hmm… 14 years, give or take, was proved corrupt, and worse, totally, undoubtedly unfit for office. I’m sure you don’t know what I mean when I say “corruption in office. ” Or, for that matter, “unfit for office. ” We were quite lucky that we could preserve the country.

Look at what happened, or is happening, in Venezuela, for example. Yet, Brazil was radically split. And the community in which I should fit — but I surely don’t, never did — that of writers and intellectuals, was heavily invested in denying reality. They still are. And this must speak volumes about the current “intelligentsia. ” In the end, those enlightened minds didn’t have a say, and the truth prevailed. Let me remind you that, in Brazil, it was far easier than it is here in the US to spot the “ultimate” truth, as it was as obvious as our shrinking jobs, income, and infrastructure.

And yet… I don’t know why, but my deepest instincts tell me, have been telling me for a while, that Brazil is a kind of “case study” — in this case, fortunately, a pretty successful one — of what is happening in a world in which the glorious left is progressively (I apologize for the pun) being transformed into the “regressive left. ” I’ve seen the term for a while, but this week I was happy to realize that is has been adopted by one of my “gurus” from a long time ago, Michael Schermer, the editor and publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and a Scientific American monthly columnist.

I started to read the “official debunker” in a phase of my life in which I was totally and convincingly involved with the supernatural and spiritual truths; I even called myself a “shaman,” figure that. Nevertheless, I kept myself healthily doubting, open to envision my truth as “pure myth. ” I suppose I always needed to have something, or someone, pushing me in the opposite direction, to avoid getting carried away too easily, flown to the dubious realm of self-fulfilling fantasies — a task nowadays perfectly performed by my husband Alan, on a daily basis.

Therefore, this week, Schermer tweeted what he qualified as “the best one-paragraph summary of the problem with the regressive left, victim feminism, and political correctness he had read. ” And I identified with it, thus feeling less “alone in the world” for a while. Such is the power of “sharing your thoughts. ” This year, a lost a number of friends, including a few new American ones, to “victim feminism,” one among many misleading ailments that have been plaguing us in this era of intense, opinionated sharing by people who, not so long ago, would never risk to make their voice heard.

Or spoken. Is this good? Is this “freedom of speech”? I don’t think so. A vast majority of these new “owners of the truth,” elected and vested in public manipulation through willingly participating in social media, barely know what they’re talking about. Their “line of research” is basically hearsay — wrong, or, at least, incomplete information that will, eventually, and quite often, be debunked before the end of the day. It is the perennial manipulation of the manipulators in a mental environment which is highly biased, and changeable, and, quite frankly, almost incestuous.

I don’t know why this word, in particular, came to mind. But it did. Now, here in the US, a brand-new opinion-exchanging environment, in which I had the rare opportunity to present myself in a totally new and never-experienced view, since nobody here knows me, it didn’t take long for me to position myself in the wrong camp, naturally against my obvious “intellectual” peers. This time in a much more dangerous environment, and with much more serious consequences than in my native Brazil.

After all, it is about not only the American future, but also about the future of the western civilization as we’ve known it. Yes, I’m talking about the 2016 American elections, in which I positioned myself in favor of Donald Trump, the horrible, disgusting, stupid, ignorant, misogynist, racist, bigot, dishonest, tax-evading and pussy-grabbing Donald Trump. Did I forget something? One of my biggest, most shocking and regrettable “losses” during the present “friend-losing” season happened when I criticized one of them concerning his explicit adoration for Michelle Obama.

He cut me off immediately, mercilessly, without granting me a chance to explain myself. Okay, I know, I’m playing with fire here. Michelle Obama is a forbidden territory, an all-acclaimed national saint, a sacred icon. But I couldn’t blame myself, since the person in question was a classic, widely-known (in Brazil, of course) celebrity, actively invested against the status quo, a social critic and an acerbic artistic beacon… who has now turned himself into a regressive leftist, as did so many of our most incensed icons.

Except that he does not know it yet. Like millions like him, he firmly believes to be on the side of the just, fighting, not only for the common good, but also for the highest good. Another manipulator turned manipulated, highly praised and widely amplified by mainstream social media. Pity. Ironically, by “voting” for Donald Trump (as you all know, I don’t vote, although in the current “rigged” environment I could, if I truly wanted), I keep myself in the firmer terrain of “being against.

Ironically, everything I praised when I was against the status quo in my younger years — a feminist, not in slogans and words, but in actions, as I made my way as a woman who is completely and undoubtedly independent from any man, except, maybe, in the relationship aspect, as I’ve been proved tremendously “square” and old-fashioned in our “brave new gender world” — is now the exact same status quo I’m against. Once again.

A few weeks ago, I must admit, I was feeling truly discouraged, not by the facts, but by the “deconstructive media facts”; that is, as I believed Donald Trump to be a factor of change, and he was doing quite poorly, with his endless stock of hidden (and belated) personal scandals. But not anymore. We have finally reached the “homestretch” week in this present electoral season. Fortunately, as everyone seems exhausted, fed up with it.

And, notwithstanding some equally hidden “Brexit effect,” I now know that everything we stand for actually has some real effect. We just happen to ignore what it is going to be. Out of curiosity, I just wonder who, in this social adventure more widely influenced by “narratives” than I’ve ever seen (let’s face it, even the term “narrative” has acquired new meaning), will in fact occupy the highest “home” in the land.

No matter what happens in the end, I trust we will be wise enough to handle it, and change whatever does not favor us — as humans, in the longer range. What can we do but hope, right? Coincidentally, on a more personal note, I also find myself in a kind of “homestretch. ” And although ignoring exactly where I’m heading, at least I now know where my home is: in the house I’m building on top of a mountain, with potentially deficient internet connections, far from this ever-madding social media crowd. So help me God, and God help the United States of America.

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