From Howard Jacobson in Spiked:
"... I’m not worried about a tyranny of the state like Nineteen Eighty-Four - I don’t think that will happen. But we’ve got the tyranny of like-mindedness. We’re living it.’
The creeping conformism of the present clearly bothers Jacobson. He frequently peppers our conversation with entertaining criticisms of today’s cultural recession, the absence of different voices, be they past or present. ‘Like-mindedness is the killer. Where ever three people agree, what they’re agreeing about will almost certainly be wrong. Agreement is terrifying.’ The reasons for this tyranny of like-mindedness are manifold for Jacobson, drawing as it does on the unifying nature of social media – ‘what happened, if it happened’ was partly facilitated by something he calls ‘Twitternacht’ – and a culture of forgetting, of wilful ignorance, of historical amnesia, of presentism. The past is a foreign country that more and more view with disdain.
‘I’m a visiting professor at AC Grayling’s New College of Humanities, and I was telling the students there about the programme I was making about Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer, Clive James and Barry Humphries, all of whom arrived in England at the time I went to Australia. And some of the girls had heard of Germaine Greer. But that was it. Major cultural figures. Forgotten. No one’s made them forget. There is a culture of forgetting to do with an absorption in now, a throwaway sense of now ..."