SDF42: 2020 Caught in the Gaslights

Last week, we published the 42nd episode of the Small Data Forum podcast.

As this is December, this is our Christmas Special that, in previous years, we have recorded live from the Olivelli restaurant in south London where Sam, Thomas and I enjoy some outstanding Italian cuisine and wine, during which we put the world to rights, analysing and dissecting the uses and abuses of data big and small that have dominated politics, business, and public life in 2020.

This year, the pandemic put paid to a physical get-together. And so we resorted to that virtual standby, Zoom, and combined an online discussion with real pizza and wine.

And a jolly time we had as you may notice as you listen to the recording!

Let Thomas introduce our Christmas special in the show notes we published on the SDF blog:

2020: Caught in the Gaslights

Gaslight - 1944

“Are you trying to tell me I’m insane?” asks Ingrid Bergman’s character Paula of her husband Gregory (Charles Boyer) in George Cukor’s 1944 film noir classic, Gaslight. To which he responds “Now, perhaps you will understand why I cannot let you meet people.”

An emotional manipulation which makes the target doubt their own memory, perception or judgment, gaslighting is a very real and serious form of domestic abuse – and as such has been exacerbated through the periods of lockdown, like all forms of abuse.

It has also become something of a media buzzword, so it is no surprise to see it being liberally appropriated (to avoid for once the martial imagery of ‘weaponized’) for political purpose on all our favourite fronts, from Brexit (for and against) to COVID and Trump (in liberal propaganda outlet Stylist(!), as well as The IndependentForbes , Washington Post, to name but a few).

The SmallDataForum’s fifth Xmas special was, of course, a socially responsible, zoomy affair – with the three of us in our respective WFH HQs, rather than sat around a table in our favourite Italian restaurant, Ristorante Olivelli by the Old Vic in South London, feasting on fine Italian foods and beverages, and recording to the clattering chattering sound of a busy lunchtime service (and afterwards testing Neville’s thankfully advanced audio editing skills) …

Listen to Episode 42:

Enjoy the show and we look forward to entertaining you in 2021 – we’re back with episode 43 to be published on 18 January.

(Dilbert cartoon at top via Scott Adams.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.