Categories
Political Commentary

Democracy requires truth; lies grow insurrection

Bookmarked Life as a Lie by Timothy Snyder (Thinking about…)

Big Lies demand violence, since they command the faith of some, but cannot overcome the common sense or lived experience of others. The smaller lies within the Big Lie, by generating distrust of institutions, create a sense that only violence can restore the righteous order of things.

[T]he deliberate generation of an alternative reality is itself incompatible with democracy.

The internet can repeat, but it cannot report.  We speak about the news all day, but pay almost no one to get out and report it.  This rewards people who lie as a way of life.

Categories
Activism Comics History

Read On Tyranny – Graphic Edition

Read On Tyranny: Graphic Edition

A graphic edition of historian Timothy Snyder’s bestselling book of lessons for surviving and resisting America’s arc toward authoritarianism, featuring the visual storytelling talents of renowned illustrator Nora Krug.

Timothy Snyder’s New York Times bestseller On Tyranny uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow; an urgent reminder to research everything for yourself and to the fullest extent; a point to use personalized and individualized speech rather than cliched phrases for the sake of mass appeal; and more.

In this graphic edition, Nora Krug draws from her highly inventive art style in Belonging–at once a graphic memoir, collage-style scrapbook, historical narrative, and trove of memories–to breathe new life, color, and power into Snyder’s riveting historical references, turning a quick-read pocket guide of lessons into a visually striking rumination. In a time of great uncertainty and instability, this edition of On Tyranny emphasizes the importance of being active, conscious, and deliberate participants in resistance.

Chapter one title page from On Tyranny, with an illustration and a few explanatory sentences that regular people tend to give authoritarians what they want without even needing to be asked
Do not obey in advance.

Continuing my education in resistance, I picked up the graphic edition of On Tyranny. I’m not sure how much has changed from the prose edition, but this acknowledges the pandemic and has a lot to say about the previous president and his tactics. We are deeper down the path of totalitarianism than any American who thinks democracy is a foundational value wants to believe. History has shown the final tipping point can happen extremely quickly.

On a meta level, this is the format I want philosophical works: short and graphic. Another graphic non-fiction work I particularly enjoyed this year was Seek You. Using a graphic format forces the author to pare down to the most essential information, and find the simplest, briefest way to explain their point. Well-chosen photographs and graphics illuminate the message, adding emotion, visual evidence, and tangible memory markers for me to tie new ideas to. I’d say mixed success in the design and illustration of this particular work — some readability challenges in the placement of words.

page from graphic version of On Tyranny showing a collage piece of a 'storm trooper' style fighter, face composed of folded paper and black body adorned with skeletal remains of dead clover
For violence to transform not just the atmosphere but also the system, the emotions of rallies and the ideology of exclusion have to incorporated into the training of armed guards. These first challenge the police and military, then penetrate the police and military, and finally transform the police and military.