Wednesday, October 20

A horror of error | The weekly country

A few weeks ago, the novelist Nuria Labari published an article in EL PAÍS entitled ‘Why we like Kate Winslet more fat and old than as a muse of the Titanic‘. I read online and I loved it, so when I saw that I had hundreds of comments I assumed they were praiseworthy. But not; to my amazement, it was a fierce beating. They reproached him for thinking that Winslet was fat and old, which made me suppose that people had stayed in the mere headline and had not read the text. Because what Labari was saying was that the film industry considered Kate, and normal and real women like her, fat and old, which unfortunately is totally true: we do not usually see ladies of that age, at least without being retreaded until they are eyebrows, of Hollywood stars. In fact, the article ended with this phrase: “Beauty and truth were always the same thing,” indicating that Winslet’s authenticity was exactly what made her so beautiful. Anyway, for me, and I think that for the majority who read it in full, the meaning of the text was evident. What does not prevent that it could be confusing to someone, because reading is to translate to your personal moment, to your vision of the world; But what really worries me is all that crowd that limited themselves to seeing the title and with that they already thought they knew everything (a horror of error), so that the phrase, decontextualized and boneless, danced its own thing through the networks and reaped a nice lynching for Labari.

That same week I posted on my Facebook, as always, my collaboration in this Sunday. A reader who writes on the page often with a hilarious sense of humor, Mrs. Bamba, commented: “I hope this article is a scheduled entry, a lady in your category cannot be at 7.30 uploading things to Facebook.” I laughed and answered: insomnia things. But a handful of people, believing that Dona Bamba was attacking me, came to my defense and nibbled on her ankles for a while. Even the fact of using a pseudonym seemed suspicious to them, which on the other hand I understand, because the internet is full of madmen crouching behind anonymity. Although the protective affection of my champions moved me greatly (thank you, friends), the bites received by the delicious Dona Bamba seem to me a devastating misunderstanding. I believe that the violence that runs through the internet like a tornado encourages these misunderstandings: we are all always thinking the worst and to which it jumps.

But this pervasive state of confusion may have an even more disturbing cause. I’ll put it in a nutshell: we’re going dumb. Or at least we are losing the subtlety. Linear thinking triumphs and that wonderful kaleidoscopic capacity of the human mind that allowed us to handle ourselves in ambiguity, in the double sense, in irony and metaphor deteriorates. We live in the realm of literality, as the lovable Asperger Sheldon Cooper, the character of the series The Big Bang Theory, who is a physics genius unable to understand the simplest joke.

And the worst thing is that the origin of all this may be neurological, because, apparently, multitasking, which consists of doing things like chatting or surfing the internet while watching television or listening to music, is roasting our brain (I I must confess, horror, that I do it all the time). A 2014 study by the University College London on the influence of multitasking on the structure of the brain indicates that the more time you spend doing this simultaneous nonsense, the lower density of gray matter you have in the cortex of the anterior cingulate, a corner of the brain. brain with a pistonudo name and great relevance, because it is essential to process information and to detect errors and conflicts (it is told by the great Nuria Oliver, a world authority on artificial intelligence, in the collective book Digital natives don’t exist). And that is precisely all that is now failing us: the ability to understand the complex, the wisdom to discover manipulations and lies. A tragedy, because the domain of ambivalence and irony are values ​​so essentially human that it is what machines have yet to reproduce. The more donkeys, the more unnecessary we will be, the more obsolete, the fewer people.


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