culture

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Someone else’s computers.

cloud, the (n) – Servers. A way to keep more of your data off your computer and in the hands of big tech, where it can be monetized in ways you don’t understand but may have agreed to when you clicked on the Terms of Service. Usually located in a city or town whose elected officials exchanged tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks for seven full-time security guard jobs.

From how to speak techbro.

2019-12-18T09:52:56+11:0030th December, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

Adult children.

Just as a society in general we really need to stop getting grown-ass adults to play children in media because I’m starting to think it’s fucking us the hell up…

Also: Because I am Ancient™ I remember what a huge drama this was when shows like 90210 started doing it back in the 90s. Like… there are definitely examples that predated that, but that stable of Aaron Spelling shows seemed to be the main primetime drivers of the whole “just cast a 30-year-old to play a 15-year-old it’s fine” shtick, pretty blatantly to get the crossover audience appeal (i.e. when I was a kid I didn’t notice adults-cast-as-kids so much, but now I am Ancient™ and everyone under the age of like 20 looks like a tiny baby it is an extremely noticeable flag that a show is Not For Me, whereas shows with “adult teens” are more like “this show will probably have sex and/or violence in it and is not actually intended for a young audience despite the supposed ages of the cast”).

2019-09-03T13:23:50+10:0030th December, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture|

Kafkynchian.

Just as the American employment picture became more dystopian around the turn of the millennium, so too have books on careers divested themselves of the optimism of [Richard Bolles’s 1970 book, What Color Is Your] Parachute. Or so it seems to me. For example, in 2007, Stanford professor Robert Sutton wrote a little book about creating civil workplaces and gave it a memorable title — The No Asshole Rule. It was, he says in the introduction, at least in part inspired by his personal experiences. As he puts it, he wished to find ways of avoiding “the petty but relentless nastiness that pervades much of academic life.” (After that book became a bestseller, he found, as he notes in his 2017 book, The Asshole Survival Guide, that he suddenly went from being known within academia as a scholar of the psychology of business and management to international recognition as “the Asshole Guy” — that is an expert on the bullies and jerks who abound in office settings.) Another perennially popular title (also from 2007), Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek caters to disillusioned workers who have ceased to believe that there is any hospitable workplace. It jettisons the idea of work as vocation, and instead encourages people to spend as little time and energy as possible earning a paycheck.

The whole world of career books, then, seems to reflect a sense among readers that a “dream job” is not a realistic goal.

Rachel Paige King on work.

2019-09-03T11:53:12+10:0029th December, 2019|Tags: business, culture, work|

:)

Another study found that “in order for the performance of black service providers to be rated equivalent to whites, blacks had to amplify and fake positive emotions to override those negative racial stereotypes. In other words, to be seen as good as white employees, black employees need to perform more “emotional labor”, a concept introduced by sociologist Arlie Hochschild.”

“Though putting on a smile might seem like a small price to pay to get ahead at work, research shows that keeping up a friendly façade is a path to job burnout, a state of complete exhaustion linked to a desire to quit and health issues. Recognizing this situation is a first step to improving conditions for black employees and customers alike.”

Are we as digital professionals designing a service-based world where huge numbers of mentally stressed service workers are forced to fake-smile their way through the day while they beg for ratings from their rich, pampered customers?

Gerry McGovern on smiling gigs.

(I mean. Yes, yes we 100% are…)

2019-12-18T09:52:56+11:0027th December, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

False neutrality.

[W]hat does it mean for the American boys—trans, black, femme, and so on—who can’t even pretend to play the part? What they see on the cover of Esquire is pure exclusion: This is the kind of boy who matters, and boys like you do not. At the same time, the boys who do fit the mold—white, straight, and uninterested in the lives of others—are reminded that America loves them and will protect them at all costs, including costing those other boys their lives.

Patrick Nathan on American boys.

This is in reaction to an Esquire cover article a while ago that was one of those “but won’t someone think of the affluent white conservative boys?” hand-wringing nonsense pieces, which—if you had the fortune to not read it—was pretty much the exact same extruded garbage you’re imagining it was.

2019-08-28T15:40:40+10:0020th December, 2019|Tags: culture|

Eat the rich (not your neighbors).

The truth is that lying works. That’s one of many truths currently dawning like the morning after a war. Lying works, and lying outrageously and repeatedly in the face of blatant evidence to the contrary works even better. Integrity and decency are no longer seen as leadership qualities. Boris Johnson is a liar. Everyone knows it. In one of the TV debates, there was a studio audience selected for as close to balance as could be managed these days (when a schematic of objectivity that involves assembling an “even number of people from both sides” in one room means you need to know your escape plans). They all laughed at him. And they still voted for him.

Nobody trusts Boris, and that’s exactly what they like about him. Corbyn went at Johnson like a damp flannel, limply refusing to make personal attacks. Corbyn is clearly a person of principle and integrity. Some people don’t like his principles, but he at least has some. Not only was that not enough, it was an active impediment. The tabloids called him a raving terrorist every week for three years, and someone on his team thought it was a good idea not to argue. Corbyn promised to tax the rich and reinstitute social democracy. That’s not how I’d define terrorism, but someone was certainly scared.

Laurie Penny on anger.

See also this.

2019-12-19T08:41:56+11:0019th December, 2019|Tags: culture, politics|

Building.

So I was thinking about how building my website feels like building myself, and I thought… hasn’t this been true since I first started building websites in 1995? I got my first personal domain in 2001, and building an online space to represent myself has always meant choosing what I want the world to know about me, who I want to seem to be, and by defining who I want to seem to be, am I not defining who I want to actually be?

Kimberly Hirsh on the self.

Identity construction is a trope that pops up again and again and again in my own work, and to read Hirsh linking it to the late ’90s/early ’00s personal web scene is… illuminating.

2019-08-28T15:03:07+10:0018th December, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

Having no kids in capitalism is wild.

HIM: (discussing buying an Aeron chair) They’re so expensive, though…

ME: (happy owner of said chair) To be fair, we don’t have kids. We could buy, like, twenty Aeron chairs and it still wouldn’t cost as much as a year of childcare.

HIM: (dying inside)

2019-12-18T10:31:55+11:0016th December, 2019|Tags: culture, economics|