petej + fakenews   46

Mean mad white men: the allure of Jordan Peterson | Overland literary journal
To be sure, Peterson is no clownish firebrand in the vein of Yiannopoulos. Rather, he is urbane and respectable, emblematic of what British writer Olivia Laing has called ‘the endless malice of the polite right’. It is this, I think, that goes a long way to explaining the mass appeal of his writings and lectures: ‘just crazy enough’, in Jon Ronson’s phrase, to ensure media interest, but sufficiently intellectual-sounding to attract an audience for whom a brazen bigot like Yiannopoulos would be on the nose. For all those fan-made YouTube clips in which Peterson ‘destroys’ various interlocutors, in interviews he sounds, above all, reasonable. ‘I’m just laying out the empirical evidence,’ Peterson says to Newman at one point during their interview. It’s a rhetorical strategy shared by many stars of the New Atheist and alt-right firmaments: dressing up old-fashioned prejudice as civilised discourse while seeming to disavow ideology altogether.
Annapolis  RamosJarrod  shooting  journalism  YiannopoulosMilo  vigilantism  TrumpDonald  MuskElon  fakeNews  PetersonJordan  alt-right  NewmanCathy  masculinity  weakness  strength  fascism  mythology 
july 2018 by petej
Post-Authenticity and the Ironic Truths of Meme Culture
What I’ve sought to argue in this essay, then, is that we are indeed living in an a strange, surface-centric moment in popular, digital culture right now — where the original ‘essence of things’ has indeed become somewhat unfashionable (or just less entertaining). Social and media technologies, optimised for the diffusion of highly emotive, reaction-generating content, encourage a rapid trade in attention-grabbing ideas, over slower-burning systematic, contextualised thinking.

Yet, even as ‘authenticity’ as a claim and as an aesthetic feels outdated, deeper forms of ‘realness’ in our communications still persist. People are still seeking to communicate their deepest personal truths: their values, hopes and fears with each other. Through sharing media, we’re still creating community.

Nonetheless, the kind of truth in play is changing form: emotional and moral truths are in ascendance over straightforwardly factual claims. Truth becomes plural, and thereby highly contested: global warming, 9/11, or Obama’s birthplace are all treated as matters of cultural allegiance over ‘fact’ as traditionally understood. “By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half,” Kurt Andersen posits. Electorates in the US and Europe are polarising along value-driven lines — order and authority vs. openness and change. Building the coalitions of support needed to tackle the grand challenges we face this century will require a profound upgrade to our political and cultural leaders’ empathic and reconciliation skills.
Internet  news  media  misinformation  fakeNews  communication  TrumpDonald  PetersonJordan  boyddanah  trust  truth  authenticity  technology  fashion  culture  post-authenticity  identity  digitalIdentity  performance  stress  anxiety  competition  socialMedia  youth  memes  dctagged  dc:creator=OwensJay 
april 2018 by petej
No Alternative — Real Life
"Online interactivity has been limited to a few large sites oriented toward advertising and shopping. Scrolling through your feed — the word itself conjures a pig’s trough — feels more like flipping through channels than surfing the web of yore. What once seemed like the birth of an interactive and participatory new media environment has shifted to an ostensibly more consumer-friendly (and more scrutinized) method of watching television, and today’s cultural critics, rather than condemn television, help us use our high-speed connections to select which shows to “binge” on."

"But the rush back into the arms of establishment media seems like another kind of problem. It speaks to another simple solution, that the solution to Trump’s careening demagoguery is a return to the neoliberal technocracy and its officially sanctioned ideologies. It is a desire for a narrower world where corporations promise to, once again, produce a stable sense of shared reality through mass culture. If the world cannot be better, it can at least be predictable, the way television was. The new alternative is no alternative, again."
Internet  culture  subcultures  alternative  subsumption  irony  irreverence  transgression  consumerism  socialMedia  identity  control  alt-right  fakeNews  misinformation  media  newspapers  NewYorkTimes  WashingtonPost 
january 2018 by petej
Coders of the world, unite: can Silicon Valley workers curb the power of Big Tech? | News | The Guardian
The name Tech Workers Coalition contains two provocations. The first is to recognise that what engineers do is work. Many aspects of life in Silicon Valley, from casual dress codes to horizontal management structures, are designed to discourage white-collar employees from seeing themselves as workers. Tech campuses offer the conveniences, and atmosphere, of a privileged childhood: cafeterias and cleaning services and gym classes; candy dispensers and dinosaur sculptures and even indoor jungle gyms. These perks encourage employees to spend more and more of their time at work, or even to erase the boundaries between life and work altogether. They also encourage people to think of themselves as potential founders or venture capitalists investing in their futures, rather than workers performing tasks in order to draw a wage.

The second idea is that white-collar professionals are not the only tech workers. According to the advocacy group Silicon Valley Rising, for every engineer who gets hired, three to four more lower-wage jobs get created. Large tech campuses separate their white-collar workers from the blue-collar workers who cook and serve their food, clean their floors and stand guard outside their doors; the latter are usually brought in by independent contractors. But they are all part of the same industry.
SiliconValley  CalifornianIdeology  technoUtopianism  privatisation  politics  misinformation  platforms  fakeNews  manipulation  regulation  TrumpDonald  DemocraticParty  TheLeft  TechLeft  work  labour  TWC  developers  programming  CeglowskiMaciej  TechSolidarity 
november 2017 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
Platform Capitalism and the Government of the Social. Facebook’s ‘Global Community’ | TRU
To sum it up, for me this letter makes it even more clear how Silicon Valley is formulating what Foucault would describe as a new ‘political rationality’ which takes on the legacy of liberalism and neoliberalism in identifying as the main problem the government of populations (billions of users), the maximisation of their social, political and cultural life, and the protection from ‘’risks’, ‘harms’ and ‘errors’ inherent in the circulation of information (false news, sensationalism, polarization, divisiveness, terrorism, climate change and pandemics). This is accomplished within a market economy that never questions ownership or accumulation. Together with the smart city movement, platform capitalism intensifies its vocation to become a new form of social government.
ZuckerbergMark  Facebook  socialMedia  platformCapitalism  filterBubble  misinformation  fakeNews  TrumpDonald  globalisation  politics  government  platforms 
february 2017 by petej
People blame Facebook for fake news and partisan bile. They’re wrong. - The Washington Post
It is not clear that social media platforms like Twitter have constructed a divisive and offensive polity any more than the telegraph, telephone, radio or television did before them. Like social media, these technologies were also widely criticized for undermining democracy when they first appeared. Rather than creating divisions, however, these technologies might instead be uncovering the fissures that already exist within the American public.

What the rhetoric surrounding the 2016 election highlights, in other words, is a breakdown in democratic habits of accountability. It is clear that we do not acknowledge one another as equal partners in the shared work of self-government. We should not focus solely on the DNA of the institutions — whether political, social or technological — that guide our politics. As many political theorists would argue, the civic DNA of the people is just as important.
TrumpDonald  Twitter  Facebook  socialMedia  news  misinformation  polarisation  democracy  accountability  cooperation  USA  politics  fakeNews 
december 2016 by petej

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