janan.ganesh@ft.com on ‘To curse social media’ and it’s political context. Political Observer comments.

The reach of Mr. Ganesh’s latest essay, from ‘Social Media’ , ‘The Contract With America’, Frank Capra, to the fate of ‘mature democracies’, might cause the reader to wonder how he will construct this rhetorical being?

Mr. Ganesh’s cynicism about ‘Social Media’ is shop-worn, but self-congratulatory. Never a surprise to the regular readers of his political interventions.

Mr. Ganesh’s historical reach is an expression of his ignorance of American History. His search might have begun with the Post-War attacks by the Republican on The New Deal as a ‘Generation of Treason’, with attacks against Social Security, The Tennessee Valley Authority*.

In 1994, the right swept Congress with new cadres who were shrill in both anti-government creed and partisan style. Mark Zuckerberg was 10 years old. When Sarah Palin played the proto-Trump on a presidential ticket in 2008, Twitter was still budding. What the scholar Richard Hofstadter called the “paranoid style” of politics was nearing escape velocity before social media gave it, at most, a last kick.


While 1994 and the un-named Contract With America might have a certain historical attraction: the whole political career of Ronald Reagan, that began in California, was the occasion for him to use his tag line ‘Government is the Problem’. That defined the whole of his toxic political career. His attacks on the Berkley Rebels of 1964’s ‘Free Speech Movement’ led by Mario Savio, was the beginning of his career. Except for his role as GE’s spokes person. Obama called him a transformational president.

On Frank Capra, Mr. Ganesh missed Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success By Joseph McBride of 1993, that exposed Capra as a self-creation, in sum a liar: the perfect Hollywood creation.

On the pressing question of the fate of ‘mature democracies’ Mr. Ganesh links to a Financial Times news story by Victor Mallet and David Keohane,  in Paris November 13, 2019

Headline: Year of ‘gilets jaunes’ leaves angry mark on France

Sub-headline: The marches may have dwindled but Macron was forced to give ground


In 2021 The Rebellion Against The Elites, the active resistance to the Neo-Liberalization of France, continues unabated, even though this newspaper doesn’t report the story. Twitter is the social media platform, to view that continuing expression of resistance. The reader need only consider, that the Jupertarian Politics of énarque Macron, have been discarded as excess baggage, mere pose, as a return to greatness of France, that lost its ability to ensorcell the voters.

On the question of Macron, and his admiration for Napoleon see :

Une part de nous

Emmanuel Macron’s admiration for Napoleon

By Sudhir Hazareesingh

*Elia Kazan made a film, ‘Wild River‘ in 1960 about the TVA: how telling, that Mr. Ganesh, as a cinéaste, should have missed this Kazan film and the biographical expose of Capra.

Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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