‘One of the unfortunate minions held hostage by their own ideas’

“It was a time of my life when I was frequently “named.” I was named godmother to children. I was named lecturer and panelist, colloquist and conferee. I was even named, in 1968, a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, along with Mrs. Ronald Reagan, the Olympic swimmer Debbie Meyer, and ten other California women who seemed to keep in touch and do good works. I did no good works but I tried to keep in touch. I was responsible. I recognized my name when I saw it. Once in a while I even answered letters addressed to me, not exactly upon receipt but eventually, particularly if the letters had come from strangers. ‘During my absence from the country these past eighteen months,’ such replies would begin.” Joan Didion


“We are constantly underestimating capitalism’s extraordinary ability to come up with new bullshit jobs, and that could go on for quite a while. I think that basic income is much more than just another policy, it’s a complete rethink of what work actually is that will have quite radical effects. For the first time in human history, everyone will have the power to say no to a job they don’t want, which will mean that people with lower incomes will have much more bargaining power, wages will have to rise…it will be a radical redistribution of power. Rutger Bregman

“An audible groan went up from a portion of the gathering, implying, “fuckin’ stupid hippie asking that ridiculous question again.” So there they were accepting…
Raising people from the dead
Becoming more or less immortal
Making intelligences many times more powerful and capable than our own
Individual earth humans privately owning big chunks of the galaxy
…but they could not imagine that the local (local in time, perhaps, more that space) currency and the nuances of its valuation and growth would be irrelevant in that envisioned world.

This, it seemed to me, represented a stunning and peculiar kind of stasis sitting at the heart of radical technological change or the imaginings of same, a clinging to the most trivial and boring sort of continuity by the very sort of people predicting extreme “disruption” and radical discontinuity. The Singularity then, if any, would present before us as an unthinkably complex quantum accountant, as — figuratively speaking — a godlike 1950s bespectacle nebbish, a bean counter (literalized already by the fashion for ‘quantified life.’)” R. U. Sirius

“Here is how it will go. Men with no fewer than four boats and at least as many divorces, whose monetary interests are best served by going entirely unreported on, will continue to purchase existing media properties, either gutting them, running them into the ground, or rendering them effectively toothless, as we’ve seen with numerous alt-weeklies and newspapers throughout the country in the past few years.Sometimes we won’t even know whose hand it is pulling the lever on the guillotine. The publications who would’ve reported on who bought the publications won’t exist anymore. … There’s a trope in dystopian fiction and apocalyptic films where it’s almost worse to have survived for just a little longer than everyone else wiped out in the original disaster. Better to be consumed in the nuclear blast than to live rummaging among the ruins. Those of us still left in the business are the poor survivors. We’ve peered into the cannibals’ cellar.What’s worse is that we are still pretending it didn’t happen. We’re fighting over pools of shit-water that have settled into the craters and bartering with dog meat under the mistaken impression we’re carrying the fire.” Luke O’Neill

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. Dr. Johnson

As 2017 is coming to an end it is possible to take part in the tradition that has people post their best-of lists for all to see. What you’re about to see isn’t anything like that. Instead I’m taking this time to boorishly run out everything I said in the previous 12 months because I have nothing better to do this weekend.

BTW – what follows isn’t anything doom-y and/or goloomier that most of what you saw last year and in case you need to turn away here’s a list of 99 things that went well in 2017.

And with that –

“Emotionally speaking, Shoney’s is my home”

What follows are some fine points about various revealed factoids that concern the use of social media.

1. OK first thing – you need to watch the first 12 minutes of this specifically the parts with Rick and the bug.

I’ll wait here.

The parts with the bug resemble my current relationship with social media. I know Zuckerberg wants my info and that’s why I keep feeding him shit. Not that it does any good. For all my efforts all I get in return are ads asking me if I want to sign up for the AARP or meet women of a certain age.

2. You mean like Jenna Abrams?

Jenna Abrams, the freewheeling American blogger who believed in a return to segregation and said that many of America’s problems stemmed from PC culture run amok, did not exist. But Abrams got very real attention from almost any national news outlet you can think of, according to a Daily Beast analysis of her online footprint. Abrams, who at one point boasted nearly 70,000 Twitter followers, was featured in articles written by Bustle, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, several local Fox affiliates, InfoWars, BET, Yahoo Sports, Sky News, IJR, Breitbart, The Washington Post, Mashable, New York Daily News, Quartz, Dallas News, France24, HuffPost, The Daily Caller, The Telegraph, CNN, the BBC, Gizmodo, The Independent, The Daily Dot, The Observer, Business Insider, The National Post, Refinery29, The Times of India, BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and, of course, Russia Today and Sputnik.

All good and fine, but what was the best line in that article?

Her account was the creation of employees at the Internet Research Agency, or the Russian government-funded “troll farm,” in St. Petersburg.

And how did “she” worm her way into our lives?

Kardashian jokes.

That means over the course of the last 70 or so years we’ve gone from asking who lost China to worrying about a missile gap, to discovering our soft white underbelly belongs to a Kardashian.

And that should alarm you.

Why?

Very early in the year I got to rub elbows and drink warm soda pop with the social media “editors” from two of the largest tv ownership groups in the country. What followed was an evening of discussion so light and thought free that you’d think the speakers should have been tied to the table lest they float away on the breeze. Most of the conversation revolved around ‘What color is that dress?” and whether or not a zoo animal was pregnant.

What’s problematic about all this is that local tv news is the least hated and most consumed form of media. Roll that up with the fact that – as far as I can tell – these “editors” have no editorial checks as no one thinks what they run out is important enough to look over their shoulders.

Which is OK if you’re wondering what color that dress is, but how do you go about spotting the next Jenna Abrams?

3. Around the start of October some kid sends email which I mark as spam. Undaunted he follows up with a phone call. Having no need for his services I tell him the reason he hasn’t heard back from me is that I think his product is bullshit and I’d be grateful if he hung up and forgot all about me, but the little punk wouldn’t let it go. He was going to keep me on that phone until I gave in.

What he was selling are those ads you see around the side and bottom of lots and lots of web pages. You’d know them as the ones usually slugged with, “You won’t believe what (character) from (beloved old tv show) looks like now!”

The most perfidious of these came along in the summer of 2016. It was a small box that showed Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson being taken away in handcuffs. None of it was true and you could assume it harmless until you realize that this box appeared on The Hollywood Reporter. That meant that a perfectly reasonable person could see the box and rightly assume that if The Rock was arrested then The Hollywood Reporter would know.

What The Hollywood Reporter probably doesn’t know is that ad was on their site.

Oh, forgot mention one small hitch – if you accept those little boxes onto your site you have no control over what appears in them.

Conclusion?

Jenna went the convention route of eventually stirring up somebody’s gut while The Rock is strictly reality swindled. Meanwhile you’re left to sit in front of the screen while others weaponize your emotions and loose havoc upon your ability to associate cause and effect with no third party “editor” to help navigate a way forward.

The kid on the phone?

I told him my current age which is divisible by 2, 12, and 5. He said I did not sound that old on the phone and I told him he wasn’t the first guy who had to make one more phone call before the week was out to placate the the bosses. I told him flat out – I had jobs like yours once and sooner or later you have to turn in the paperwork to prove you did … something…

What followed was a short silence as it sunk in that I was old and mean and emotionally speaking Shoney’s is my …

I said that already didn’t I?

“And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.”

What follows isn’t so much New Year’s resolutions, but a list of shit that’s gotta stop.

– Stop using the word “community.”

OK – slight amendment to that – it’s OK if you use the word as part of an established name, you know, like The Frostbite Falls Community Center and Natatorium. Otherwise the word has gotten out of hand. Yesterday we discovered a web page that lets the owners of those video doorbells post video to the others in their video doorbell community.

God knows, and stranger things have happened, but is it really possible to come together as citizens by uploading 30 seconds of the Fed-Ex guy adjusting “himself” before he drops off all those yummy goodies from Harry and David?

The specific use of the word hit home when the new tv wouldn’t fire up until I gave it an email address. (Luckily I have a bullshit one just for such things.) A day or so later there at the top of the stack in my crap-catcher account was an email welcoming me to The Samsung Community.

Can’t wait to see what that secret handshake looks like.

– Let’s try to purge the term “virtue signaling” from regular use. It now points both ways and a better definition of the term I stumbled on recently involved Nietzsche’s definition of humans’ herd nature or how you can lose yourself to the point where you are no longer self aware of what you are saying.

– Lastly let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1968, the year where everybody lost their shit, by no longer using the phrase, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Why we have no reasonable dialog is that too many of us were directly affected by the 1960s in this one way – we don’t so much talk past each other as we’re walking confident in the belief that we are possessed of no end of Revealed Truths and we’re not going to be happy until our Revealed Truths supplant your Revealed Truths. Otherwise the statement only pertains to deconstructing the other guys’ talking points. Put another way we bring chainsaws to prune the rose bush.

And there you go – Mom said social media is little more than emotional quicksand that you voluntarily let yourself sink in and what just proceeded her statement was proof that you’re on your own with fake news and most of what we know isn’t as solid as we think it is.

Welcome to 2018 and I promise to be in a better mood when you next stop by.

Going outdoors now.

As you can tell – the fresh air might do me some good.

2 Comments

  1. Cripes Suzette

    I’ve had the feeling all year long that i wasn’t quite in the full swing of things. This confirms it – I never heard of Jenna Abrams. I have heard of Russian troll farms, though so there’s still hope that I can be fully revived and engaged in 2018. Hope for who, I don’t know.

  2. Fearless Lieder

    2018 marks my final year a member of “the political establishment”. It’s been a great ride, including a number of accomplishments I take great pride as well as an interview by the US Department of Justice for suspected discrimination against a “protected group”.

    I’m here to tell you that most of your suspicions are correct.

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