Sam Floy Newsletter (July 2021)

samfloy~3 July 2021 /Newsletter/Personal

Happy July!

In Denmark things are basically back to normal regarding Covid, especially as one only needs to show a negative Covid test (or vaccination certificate) to return from most foreign countries. Though the furthest we’ve managed to exercise this new freedom is an afternoon trip to Malmø – a city in Sweden literally 25 mins on the train from where we live.

Work stuff has been ticking over nicely with a couple of new podcast clients, though I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break (a combination of being self-employed + limited travel options has meant I’ve not really had a “proper holiday” this year). Or if I have, I could do with another one.

Hope you are enjoying these summer (assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere) months and are generally keeping well!

🤔 Thinking

Things I’ve been thinking about last month

I’ve been enjoying following the Euro championships this month.

When I was younger I was an avid follower of the Premier League, and could tell you the results of most matches throughout the season, had an up to date opinion on who was going to win/ lose, and updated my fantasy team most weeks.

Since going to university I haven’t been able to keep up the investment required to maintain that level of involvement, and so end up picking up fragments of what’s going on.

International tournaments are different though.

Their finite nature, and the fact that more people take an interest means that it is possible to have an opinion on who is doing well/ not so well, and it becomes quite fun again to have a common talking point to have when speaking with people.

It obviously helps that England (and Denmark) are still involved (my friend shared this video which accurately captures the feeling of non-England fans…).

Both England and Denmark play this evening and, if they both win, would meet in the semi finals on Wednesday. This could be my most uncomfortable day living in my new host country…

 ̶L̶i̶b̶e̶r̶a̶l̶i̶s̶m̶ Illiberalism
Much has been said in the past few years how the traditional political spectrums have begun shifting. It’s no longer safe to assume that someone from a manufacturing town will vote for the left wing party as it was in years gone by.

The concept of “left” and “right” still feels here to stay, but other ways of encapsulating people’s political views in a single word seems more tricky.

One word which has seemed synonymous with “left wing” is liberal.

For me, this is has always meant a certain tolerance and open-mindedness towards new ideas and different opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.

The last few years have seen a big surge in activist movements to overcome various injustices/ inequalities that exist around the world (Black Lives Matter; Climate Change; Trans Rights). These fights have almost all been led by people “on the left”.

Barring a few extremists, I think most people would agree that a world with less inequality/ injustice is a good thing. The thing that seems to grate on people (and fuel “the culture war”) is that absolutism often features in the “liberal” cause.

This can manifest as “cancel culture” whereby if someone holds a controversial opinion (e.g. JK Rowling saying trans men shouldn’t use female toilets) then they are disinvited to appear in public debates.

I certainly don’t know the specifics of each instance of this “cancel culture”, but my general rule of thumb is that less demonising and more level-headed conversation is the way to change people’s minds rather shutting off the option of dialogue. A group of vocal (left wing) activists pressurising a public institution to fire an employee with an opinion they deem to be wrong leaves less space for the nuance of a topic to be discussed.

As a result, people who don’t care so much about the specifics just see someone being fired for an expression of their opinion, which seems at odds with a liberal view of the world that they most likely grew up with.

Anyway, this is a massive topic, but the thing that strikes me at the moment is that there needs to be a new word for people who believe that it is wrong for public institutions to feature speakers whose opinions they believe are wrong (see this study).

It could well be legitimate to “deplatform” in many instances, but deciding to not allow people of different opinions to talk about multiple views on a topic doesn’t seem consistent with the notions of “liberalism”.

🎧 Listening

A selection of podcasts etc. I’ve enjoyed recently

📖 Reading

📼 Watching

I rarely find the time/ inclination to go on Youtube, but spent a few hours searching through some videos that were pretty high quality. These were the ones I remember most:

In terms of films, my girlfriend and I watched The Father (Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman) which felt like a really good portrayal of how dementia affects the lives of people and those around them.