Remember the Arab Spring? “Revolution 2.0”? Remember how we imagined, full of triumphal optimism, that social media would become the web that knit the oppressed masses better, would empower them to join together and overthrow their oppressors and stride shoulder-to-shoulder together into a better world?
Yeah, those were the days. But now — “disillusioned” hardly begins to describe it. I write to you from Tunisia, the Arab Spring’s poster child, now a secular democracy; but even here, in this lovely country full of hospitable people, whose downtown hipsters and students thronging the Carthage Film Festival could be teleported to Brooklyn or the Mission and not look one whit out of place, today’s headlines inform me that the nationwide state of emergency has been extended yet again.
Elsewhere of course the revolutions ended utterly disastrously. Egypt ultimately just replaced an iron-fisted dictatorship with iron-fisted military rule. Syria and Libya descended into…