I mentioned a couple of days ago that was a minor kerfuffle about the teacher on my Portuguese history course.
It seems there’s was more to it than I thought. Some of her scholarship students have complained about her having abused power, apparently, and in one case even claimed she had plagiarised a big chunk of one of her books from a student essay. Blimey!
I don’t know what to make of this, and I’ll tell you why my cluelessness is interesting: when I’m online in my normal guise, reading about scandals in English speaking countries, I tend to have a pretty good idea of who is where on a sort of graph where one of the axes is ideology (where they are likely to come down in an argument between different points of view) and the other is honesty (whether they are prepared to bend the facts to fit their narrative, whether they fight dirty). Crucially, I can usually spot sarcasm, shitposting , spitefulness and attention-seeking when some British ideologue (Owen Jones say) or American (Candace Owens, maybe) is doing what they do, but I am absolutely unable to read it in most Portuguese tweets. Unless people are very obvious, I don’t really know what’s fake and what’s real. This one seems reputable but really, I’m a hopeless naive and maybe he’s a well-known partisan hack, shilling for some very Conservative paper that has targeted her for her opinions.
And I suppose it’s worth pausing at this point and asking who we trust online and why? I know there are a lot of sources I’d basically trust all the way. Like the BBC. They aren’t always right but they’re always trying. They’re not Fox News or Infowars and I trust their basic integrity as a source of facts. But there are other sources I’ve sort of grown to trust over the years but how well do I really know them? Are they just the people who have told me what I want to hear for so long that I’ve become blind to their biases? Yeah and not just me, reader. What about you, eh? I’m waving my finger at you as I type this. What about you, eh? How sure are you that the people in your social media feed are trustworthy?