mike + internet   9

Why Have We Soured on the ‘Devil’s Advocate’? - The New York Times
It’s often argued that this makes our conversations increasingly polarized, dogmatic, intolerant of complexity and logically sloppy. It’s less often pointed out that this might be because they aren’t really “conversations” in the first place.
internet 
10 weeks ago by mike
Busy and distracted? Everybody has been, since at least 1710 | Aeon Essays
Some people think that our willpower is so weak because our brains have been damaged by digital noise. But blaming technology for the rise in inattention is misplaced. History shows that the disquiet is fuelled not by the next new thing but by the threat this thing – whatever it might be – poses to the moral authority of the day.

The recent decades have seen a dramatic reversal in the conceptualisation of inattention. Unlike in the 18th century when it was perceived as abnormal, today inattention is often presented as the normal state. The current era is frequently characterised as the Age of Distraction, and inattention is no longer depicted as a condition that afflicts a few. Nowadays, the erosion of humanity’s capacity for attention is portrayed as an existential problem, linked with the allegedly corrosive effects of digitally driven streams of information relentlessly flowing our way. ‘The net seizes our attention only to scatter it,’ contends Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Read, Think and Remember (2010). According to the US neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, the distractions of the modern world can literally damage our brains.

The sublimation of anxieties about moral authority through the fetish of technologically driven distraction has acquired pathological proportions in relation to children and young people. Yet as most sensible observers understand, children who are inattentive to their teachers are often obsessively attentive to the text messages that they receive. The constant lament about inattentive youth in the Anglo-American world could be interpreted as a symptom of problems related to the exercise of adult authority.
technology  history  internet 
10 weeks ago by mike
William Davies · Reasons for Corbyn · LRB 13 July 2017
This cultural epoch introduces a distinct set of problems. Which event from the past will pop up next? How can a clear narrative be extracted from the deluge of messages and numbers? What does my data trail say about me? Can past judgments of oneself or others be revised or revoked? It can seem as if there are only two options: to immerse oneself entirely, or to not give a damn.

It is also telling that these successful populists are significantly older than your average 1990s ‘third way’ politician. Where the latter was a man in his early forties (now re-enacted by the even younger Emmanuel Macron), in the last two years we have witnessed the unforeseen rise of Bernie Sanders (75), Jeremy Corbyn (68) and Donald Trump (71), the oldest man ever to become president. These men have lurked on the margins of public life for decades, and a stockpile of images and stories has accumulated around them.

One event that did a great deal to push the ‘big data’ sensibility into UK politics, yet had little to do with the internet (it was triggered by a newspaper freedom of information request), was the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009. Its significance for our subsequent democratic upheavals hasn’t been fully appreciated.

One of the striking results of this new media ecology is that traditional smears no longer seem to work as effectively as they did. Both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Theresa May in 2017 sought to do down their opponents by drawing attention to their past behaviour.
politics  uk  usa  internet  socialmedia  news 
march 2018 by mike
@20 (Ftrain.com)
I'm in the middle right now. Young company, young kids, unfinished book, 40s, sore back, facing bariatric uncertainties and paying down the mortgage. 20 years is arbitrary nonsense. A blip. Our software is bullshit, our literary essays are too long, the good editors all quit or got fired, hardly anyone is experimenting with form in a way that wakes me up, the IDEs haven't caught up with the 1970s, the R&D budgets are weak, the little zines are badly edited, the tweets are poor, the short stories make no sense, people still care too much about magazines, the Facebook posts are nightmares, LinkedIn has ruined capitalism, and the big tech companies that have arisen are exhausting, lumbering gold-thirsty kraken that swim around with sour looks on their face wondering why we won't just give them all our gold and save the time. With every flap of their terrible fins they squash another good idea in the interest of consolidating pablum into a single database, the better to jam it down our mental baby duck feeding tubes in order to make even more of the cognitive paté that Silicon Valley is at pains to proclaim a delicacy. Social media is veal calves being served tasty veal. In the spirit of this thing I won't be editing this paragraph.
internet  culture  politics  business  writing 
october 2017 by mike
Track Changes Podcast #38: Put Your Phone Down (Transcript)
Paul: I, I have a little term that I use for these pieces, which I call them “The Bark of the Fox” pieces, because there’s often like a paragraph where they’ll be like, you know, people who use the phone aren’t really having the experience of…
Rich: Life.
Paul: Listening to the bark of the fox out a bay window in their country home. [laughter] I feel that there’s a kind of a subtext there. Like, you know…
internet  culture  phone 
november 2016 by mike
No Offense
by Jia Tolentino
There’s a large gap between “this is bad” and “you should be offended” that seems to vanish on the internet, and the harder we try to widen it on this website, the more we are constrained by that lingering expectation: that Jezebel exists, as some have always imagined it to, for the infantilizing purpose of telling women when they should get mad.
As a formula, it relies on offense being viewed as politically valuable, a tool that will unite people with similar interests and make them do something other than type, complain, and type.
But at the end of 2015, it should be clear: offense doesn’t work that way. The offense model has failed, and dramatically.
There’s also no question that Gawker and Jezebel are staffed with combative people who may not aim for cruelty but occasionally achieve it through our steady love of rudeness
Decidedly unhelpful in this dilemma is the fact that the internet visually flattens the peaks and valleys of importance; the platforms we use every day make all ideas look more or less the same. A tweet about something you care about deeply is the same size as a tweet about something you’ll never think about again
feminism  journal  internet 
january 2016 by mike

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