“Never ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for you”
The Ministry of the Interior and the Department of the Generalitat sounded the alarm, they raised the alarm, they have sounded the bells to alert us that there are individuals who are left behind to attack others because of their sexual orientation. If they did so driven by a specific case, they rushed but if they wanted to visualize a contrasted reality, that of the increase in attacks on homosexuals in our country, especially in cities that have always been extremely friendly to the collective, then maybe they were late. A false report discovered only shows that false reports rarely pass the police and judicial filter and, therefore, that those that do pass are overwhelmingly true and also rare. The estimated under-complaint percentage is over 80%, according to figures provided by the minister himself. It is relevant enough for a Prime Minister to take care of it in person – it would be ridiculous to suspend it – although I once again remind governors and politicians that the rush is not good and that since the problems are so real and so complex, they are not they have no need to move without the slightest caution of waiting for data and facts.
Homophobia is only a part of violent and criminal behaviors that target other human beings because of their condition. It is very important to point out that increase in attacks on homosexuals that disgusts us as free and respectful citizens of the freedom of others, but also to realize that the core of the problem lies in the mere fact that young men are able to go out to the street. street with the explicit desire to harm someone by being or thinking differently from them. I write men and young people because it is the result of the statistics. The percentage of violent hate crimes committed by women is almost negligible.
The latest survey on hate crimes published by the Ministry of the Interior (referring to the 2019-2020 comparison) in June of this year shows a huge increase in crimes against the disabled (+ 69.44%), against the sick (+62 ‘ 5%) and anti-Gypsyism (+ 57.1%). It is evident that our society is moving towards greater intolerance, lack of respect for diversity and uncontrolled social aggressiveness, although the most victimized groups are not always the ones most represented by the media. The underreporting of this type of aggression is also a constant, which makes the outlook even worse. 22.8% of these aggressive behaviors are produced due to ideology, 35.47% due to sexual orientation and 20% due to racism and xenophobia.
What is happening to us or what is happening to society? How and where did the idea of a group of young people go out to beat beggars, homosexuals or gypsies? What social pathology is it that we have not just diagnosed and treated?
I see some easy trigger in the answer. Some attribute it directly to the political discourse of the extreme right that, indeed, cultivates in its assertions sexual normativism, the criminalization of different ethnic groups, contempt for the foreigner or the different and the rise of the good right-wing Spanish male. I would like to join the bandwagon but I am afraid that the phenomenon may not be so direct and, on the contrary, it may be reversed. It is possible that Vox is only collecting and fanning and fertilizing something that it has already detected as a voting center but that is part of society.
I am led to consider this possibility by the conviction that Laswell’s old theory of the hypodermic needle has long been outdated, just like that of the magic bullet. They are the theories of the direct impacts of messages on the audience, which at the beginning of communication sciences thought that massively injecting a specific message into the population would cause concrete, homogeneous and immediate effects in broad layers of the population. population. This is, schematically, what is basically defended by those who postulate that the Vox message is the cause of these behaviors and not the reflection, which is what I suggest. That does not exempt them from responsibility. Nobody who tries to take advantage by giving wings or even tolerating the most abject social behaviors is.
Laswell formulated his theory in light of the phenomena he had observed with propaganda in world wars, but he forgot to take into account many factors that play a role in a process of communication, propaganda or political instigation. It was Lazarsfeld who studied the phenomenon a posteriori and sifted a lot the possibility that the media, and those who use them, could achieve immediate response effects on audiences. According to him neither the effect is so clear nor so easy nor so direct. The reception of stimulus is not so automatic nor the reactions of the different publics and audiences so homogeneous. Lazarsfeld forced us to ask ourselves: who said what, to whom, by what channel and with what effects, because in each of these steps of the act of communication there are variables that can alter the final effect.
It is difficult to believe that the mere hypodermic injection of messages from the ultra-right agenda, even if they have had too much public exposure, can achieve such direct effects. There is no one who has that power of message. If so, it would be enough to counteract with more powerful hypodermic injections of human rights, tolerance, coexistence, anti-violence.
I think the problem is more complex.
The disgusting messages identified as the seed of hatred may not be so much the cause as the effect of a social transformation that the left should keep an eye on, allowing it to dissect it in order to know it and better combat it. It is true that a political group giving a letter of nature to intolerant speeches can serve as a catalyst to convert execrable behavior into normative and until recently marginal and little less than anecdotal. I do not deny that Vox and the normalization of its discourse may be serving for the emergence and exacerbation of behaviors and discourses that respond to a social pathology that has already been with us for a few decades. It is not Le Pen who makes the Calais workers xenophobic. Le Pen is going to seek revenue from a misery that had already been implanted in them. The same is true throughout Europe.
I am not going to comment on the absurd response of a mayor who considers that targeting problems is “criminalizing or stigmatizing” or of those who blame left-wing groups for hate crimes. It is the other turn of the screw and it only shows how the PP is willing to do almost anything to dispute the garbage area with Vox.
The bells that Marlaska rings ring for him too. The bells are ringing for all of us and I would not like those who call to ring with them to end up becoming intolerant executioners in their turn. The bells of intolerance and violence, repeated Hemingway speaking precisely of Spain, ring for all of us. One after another we will fall – homosexuals, feminists, leftists, creators, heterodox, humorists … – if we do not manage to identify and annihilate the seed of Cain.
It is time to face the truth but we will be late.