Thursday, June 12, 2014

Confirmation Bias: The Musical

I was chatting with my friend and occasional co-author Bill Ayres (no, not Bill Ayers) about what to do about our 2008 book and the surge of irredentism of late (mostly Russia but now also ISIS's desire to remake the maps of the Mideast), and, of course, I got distracted by popular culture via this question:

Is "Let It Go" a theme song for irredentists or those fighting irredentism?  Let's look at the tape:

The answer is: it could be used by either side.
I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!
That sounds like an irredentist saying: to heck with the costs, let's unite our lost territory with our homeland!
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!
Sounds like Putin, yes?  To heck with the Helsinki Accords and the Budapest Agreement.

On the other hand,
It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!
Which makes the concerns about the kin abroad to be almost inconsequential.  Most importantly,
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!
If the past is in the past, then claims to lost territory are to be left behind as well, eh?

What this obviously shows is that people see what they want to see--confirmation bias essentially.  I wanted to see this song speak to both sides of an irredentist conflict, and viola!

It also indicates that I miss teaching large undergrad classes, as I could have had some fun with Frozen.

Finally, this is a recognition that we (Bill and I) need to figure out why some of the irredentist conflicts remain frozen (Armenia, Serbia, Croatia) while others (Russia, Hungary) have gotten warmer and even quite hot.  Good thing we now have a new assignment--writing an intro to the paperback version of For Kin or Country.

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