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The media’s obsession with conflict means that we’re confronted with it so relentlessly that we’ve stopped questioning why it’s there in the first place. We ask: “Which side is right? Who do I support?” but not: “Do they really need to be arguing about this? Why is it so much of our time taken up by listening to small minorities who are incensed by other small minorities, rather than to the vast majority who just want to rub along OK?”
When watching the news, it’s so easy to forget what most of us are like: pleasant, polite, socially shy. We don’t want rows, we want a quiet life. We feel inadequate because we don’t protest and argue more – we don’t stand up for ourselves. And, in feeling that, we forget that the sort of people who do stand up for themselves are cut from the same cloth as the sort of people you have to stand up to.
It’s a tyranny of the argumentative, an unholy alliance of the unholy and the holy, of the extreme right and the extreme left, of Stars-and-Stripes-burners and Qur’an-burners – people who define themselves by their mutual hatred, have a jolly good time doing it and leave the acquiescent majority running around in circles trying to pick up the pieces.
— David
Mitchell, Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse and Other Lessons from Modern

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