But don’t look for [help navigating these uncertain waters] from Tumblr. In the Tumblrverse, you don’t actually have to pay attention to the debate at all. Just giggle at the weirdoes on stage. Pat yourself on the back and remind yourself how much hipper you are than they are — all from the security of your local coffee shop or residence hall room.
If I may contrast this with a quote from the great political theorist Douglas Adams:
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its covers.
Live GIFFing is a bit … silly. But it’s not going to topple any ivory towers. It’s not taking the place of learned discourse. (Side note: Could somebody do me a favor and turn Raphael’s School of Athens into an animated GIF? It’s important that Plato keep pointing up and that Aristotle keep pointing down, but beyond that, everything’s fair game.)
If we want widespread participation in politics, we should encourage anything that makes it more accessible. Maybe the GIFFers can do that. It probably incites more interest in political discourse than our long-winded text posts.