Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 21, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 14

THE CONVERSATIONS.. Talking About The Things That Are On Our Mind


 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 21, 2020 


All Things By Jeff Brown

The presidential election 4 years ago was a Facebook free-for-all, a veritable festival of 
manipulation and disinformation with no fact checking and no guardrails. Not only 
critics but the social media companies themselves said “never again.” You can argue 
whether this time Facebook and its peers did enough to combat disinformation. But 
they did do a lot. And yet days after the election, with 64% of Republicans still convinced, 
with no evidence, that the election results can’t be trusted, why don’t things feel any 
better? I would posit that’s because social media was never the essence of the problem. 
Demagogues and conspiracy mongers are always proficient in the cutting edge media of 
their time-broadsheets, radio, television, and now Facebook. What they do is amplify 
social breakdown, using any means at hand. People turn to lies when they feel dislocated, 
isolated, and mistrustful, and those who seek power by corroding faith in institutions 
play on that, whatever the medium. What keeps democracy going are the norms created 
by shared facts. There where people who wished that we could restore these norms by 
fixing social media. We found that’s not enough. But I remain optimistic. Reporting on 
business news over the years, I gained some familiarity with the stock market. Markets 
develop bubbles in which irrational ideas take hold. These can last much longer than 
you’d expect; as one adage in finance has it. “The market can stay irrational longer than 
you can stay solvent.” In the selection cycle, we’ve seen a bubble in destructive ideas. Who 
would have believed that the currency of QAnon would rise as high as it has? Invariably, 
though, bubbles do burst-often at the point at which things seem to reach a new plateau 
of insanity. I have a surprising amount of hope that we are at that kind of stage now, 
with a bubble in destructive ideas, cynically circulated, bursting-and that we have stayed 
solvent enough that we have the social capital to rebuild.

Mark Gimein, Managing Editor “The Week” 


 Please look at the accompanying 
picture. This is Bri Krantz-Schaffer and 
her two children, 7 year old Lumen 
and 14 month old Zeo. Aren’t they 
all beautiful, aren’t they all typical; or 
as I learned, is there really not such a 
thing? First you might notice that the 
children’s’ names are a little unexpected. 
After all I am 53 years older than Bri 
and, for me at least, it was a lot like 
talking to someone from another planet 
and hoping the other person doesn’t 

 First the names. Why Zeo? 
Bri nonchalantly explained that Zeo 
was the name of one of her favorite 
galaxies and that Lumen is a perfect 
name because it belongs to no one else. 
I asked how the father of the children 
felt about the names and she explained 
that the two separate fathers were not 
involved in the naming. At the time 
of both of the children’s birth she was 
unmarried and certainly in the case 
of Lumen, the idea of marriage to her 
father “presented itself as a terrible idea 
as the relationship was not intended for 
cohabiting.” By the way she and her 
present husband are still great friends 
with Lumen’s father and had them over 
for dinner yesterday. I asked about Bri’s parents reaction to the first pregnancy when she was 
eighteen and she explained that “if my parents had any input I wasn’t interested.” In fact she 
later confided that her parents’ divorce in her teenage years had perhaps an influence in her 
becoming pregnant. She granted me a “perhaps” but I believe she had discussed that possibility 
with her therapist. I want to emphasize that Bri is always sweet, sincere, and smiling but happens 
to be quite comfortable in saying what she thinks and expecting the conversation to end there.

 Her mother is part Black, part Mexican, and part Native American. Certainly not the 
typical grandmother in our secret hideaway in the hills. Bri is used to being somewhat of an 
outsider but has not allowed that feeling to stop her from being an organizer and a leader. I 
commented that since her arrival about a year ago, there seem to be children running around 
freely in the canyon in a kind of unsupervised way. She explained to me that she has created 
a group text with other mothers in the canyon such that all the moms are kept informed as to 
the whereabouts of their children. Right on sister! Trying to gain a little more understanding 
of Bri I asked about her high school experience and she said it was your typical Art High 
School where many kids were transsexual, tattooed, pierced—you know the usual stuff. She 
had shaved her head at fifteen and had tattoos at 13. I mentioned that I found it difficult to 
accept that a kid within our canyon had decided to change his/her gender at the age of two and 
that the mother had facilitated the change. Bri asked simply why I thought that any individual 
should accept the gender they had been assigned at birth? I’m still thinking about that one.

 At this point I began to wonder about my lack of acceptance of changing attitudes. I 
wondered if Bri’s husband had similar to my mind offbeat attitudes. She described him as a 
person nine years her senior who supports the family and gets home at 4:30 and cooks all the 
dinners. Not surprisingly she described her husband as “everything wonderful like someone 
conjured up in a spell.” Nevertheless, she was very clear that “she calls all the shots” and her last 
surprise was describing how much she has enjoyed the restrictions imposed by the virus as it 
has given her more time to work with her kids and observe them playing with other children. 
It’s also nice that her husband has a secure well-paying job as the head-psychologist at a not 
distant High School. Everything about Bri and her husband is surprising to me. They are 
cordial, easily approachable, and live within a belief system quite contrary to my own. I have a 
lot to learn; perhaps their therapists can help me.

 No that’s not fair. The world and its attitude has changed and sometimes it’s very hard 
to understand. Do you now 71,000.000 people voted for Donald Trump? I just hope the world 
keeps changing.

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