Why is everything—from website to cafes—suddenly starting to look exactly the same? And is it even a problem if it does?
Let’s dig into “gravitas,” because it’s an ambiguous word, selectively applied. Ever wonder how expression that’s feminine, working-class, queer, or POC isn’t deemed as having “gravitas”, but talking like an Aaron Sorkin character does? Men have “gravitas,” women get “likeable.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on words.
Ocasio-Cortez is specifically namedropping Sorkin here because she’s saying this in response to some of his dipshit comments. Also, The West Wing is still a bad show and that’s a take I will now and forever stand by.
But I’m struck by how one primary reason a fiasco like Fyre Festival could happen, or indeed how many of the worst aspects of influencer culture can happen, is because of the very real emotional effect of the Fear of Missing Out. It’s especially true because FOMO is a designed, intentional result of using most modern social media apps.
The stakes are so much higher now then back when we just worried that social media would make us feel bad about missing a party. Yes, that’s still a cause of stress, but far worse is social media enabling grifters to profiteer off of innocent people’s credulity. How can we fret about missing our friends when the emotional manipulation of social apps has warped every institution in our entire culture?
Anil Dash on missing out.
Interesting look into the neuroscience of learning, specifically evidence that points to people learning significantly better from teachers they like, rather than teachers they hate or fear.
If you come to believe that you know the truth about someone or that you know their “real” self, then there is nothing else to learn. There is no need to listen or to observe. You can assume that every argument is conducted in bad faith. There can, in fact, be no dialogue at all. Conversation is altogether precluded.
We are thus tempted simultaneously, and somewhat paradoxically, to believe that those we encounter online are necessarily involved in an inauthentic identity game and that we are capable of ascertaining the truth about them, even on the slimmest of evidence. […] Or, to put it another way, we believe we know the truth about everyone and the truth we know is that there is no truth to be known. So our public sphere takes on not a cynical quality, but a nihilistic one.
L. M. Sacasas on the Discourse.
I’m somewhat torn about this article, as well as the essay that it references about “the unmasking style” in arguments.1 On the one hand, I think understanding “the unmasking style”—understanding that it’s even A Thing—is really critical in understanding certain manifestations of Arguing On The Internet and okay I’m going to say fandom antis. I mean I think it’s useful in understanding fandom antis (among others).
But, on the other hand… a lot of Arguing On The Internet really is conducted in incredibly bad faith. And assuming good faith in those situations isn’t just futile but can be actively dangerous. So… yeah.
I don’t really have a pithy conclusion or an action list or whatever to solve this apparent paradox, incidentally. Just… these things. They exist.
- Which, again, I think is interesting reading but have issues with on… numerous grounds, really, not the least being the author is one of the sorts of people who’d unironically put scare-quotes around the word “microaggressions” while simultaneously utterly failing to comprehend what they actually are. [↩]
[H]ave you ever been to a straight parade or festival? Because let me tell you, the first time I ever attended Seattle’s Torchlight Family Seafair Parade I was shocked at how just how many skimpy bikinis were being worn by women on the floats and how many sexual innuendoes other floats were designed to embody. The only reason why LGBT Pride Parades appear to be outrageous and not-family-friendly to people is because none of the sexuality on display is aimed at white straight men.
fontfolly on Pride.
Our local Straight Pride Parade is called Summernats and it’s pretty much an annual argument about exactly how much booze, sexual harassment, and public urination are appropriate for kids. It’s so notorious, in fact, that it currently operates under a lock in policy—that is, once you’re on the grounds, you can’t just arbitrary leave—mostly to stop drunken attendees from wandering out of the parade grounds in order to vandalize and defecate on nearby homes. I’ve only been to Mardi Gras once,1 and it was like ten thousand times tamer, even with2 all the kinky queens and leatherdykes…
(Incidentally, as an aside, when I was growing up Mardi Gras was pretty much an annual televised event, and I used to watch it every year with my parents. Yes, including all the kinky floats. I didn’t spontaneously combust, and neither did Mum or Dad when they had to explain to me why, for example, people were walking around wearing latex nun habits and very little else. So, like. Seriously. Miss me with all that “think of the children!” bullshit.)