New deprogramming.

I’m really… not sure what I feel about this story of an ex-Mormon using targeted Facebook ads to try and subtly de-convert other church members. I mean, on the one hand I always vaguely approve of all religious de-conversion but, on the other hand—and more strongly—I super-duper disapprove of targeted advertising, especially targeted advertising that’s being used covertly by individuals against their immediate friends and family. Which is… yeah. Welcome to our brave new dystopian future, I guess!

2019-02-20T10:35:38+10:0017th August, 2019|Tags: advertising, facebook, privacy, social media|

That Which Shall Not Be Named.

Americans still have a problem saying the word “capitalism” even though it’s literally killing them. That’s not strange — it’s predictable. Nobody says the name of the gods or the demons. Nobody calls out the boogeyman. Just doing so raises the spectre of panic and terror and fear that our bruised, battered psyches are working so hard to defend us against, just so that we can pretend we function at something resembling a normal level. What we can’t say reveals more than what we do.

Umair Haque on bogeymen.

I mean, I think Americans have a problem with ascribing capitalism as being at fault for anything—they tend to be great at throwing the word around when the connotation is positive—but the point still stands.

2019-04-29T12:06:45+10:0016th August, 2019|Tags: culture|

White elephant.

A brief history of the Millennium Dome.

This is absolutely 100% one of those “this should’ve been a blog post, not a Twitter thread” but… an interesting retrospective look at the turn of the century nonetheless.

2019-02-20T09:11:02+10:0015th August, 2019|Tags: culture|

Fixed positions.

We are encouraged—and we often encourage each other—to wear our politics and our analysis like badges, as markers of distinction. When politics becomes something that one has, like fashion, it always needs to be visible in order to function. Actions need to be publicized, positions need to be taken, and our everyday lives need to be spoken loudly to each other. One is encouraged to make calculations about political commitments based on how they will be seen, and by whom. Politics becomes a spectacle to be performed. This reaches its height online, where sharing the right things and speaking the right words tend to be the only ways that people can know each other. Groups need to turn inward and constantly evaluate themselves in relation to these ideals and then project them outward, proclaiming their intentions, values, programs, and missions.

But since one can only have good politics in comparison to someone else who lacks them, rigid radicalism tends towards constant comparison and measuring. Often the best way to avoid humiliation for lacking good politics is to find others lacking in militancy, radicalism, anti-oppression, or some other ideal. One’s politics can never quite match these perfectionist ideals, so one is subjected to constant shame and fear.

 carla bergman and Nick Montgomery on outward patterns.

This is from a longer essay, taken from bergman and Montgomery’s book (Joyful Militancy) and pretty much all of it is pull-quotable so, y’know. Go read it.

2019-02-18T10:43:59+10:0013th August, 2019|Tags: culture|

Tumblrmattic.

So apparently, of all companies, Automattic are the ones who’ve bought Tumblr. Huh.

Automattic are, of course, the parent company of WordPress.com and the company that pretends it doesn’t own the WordPress.org version of WordPress so that it can continue to benefit from the free labor of open source contributors, a la the Standard FOSS Company Business Model. They are… probably not the worst people who could’ve bought Tumblr? They certainly don’t (or at least, historically haven’t) have quite the hardcore exploit-the-users-with-advertising revenue model of most other social media companies, so… eeeh?

Also, if it means some of the Tumblr-standard features (post queues!) get worked into the WordPress codebase… hey. I would not be complaining.

EtA: Also, re. the purchase price:

Tumblr’s original sale to Yahoo! was for $1.1 billion.

Also:

2019-08-13T09:23:51+10:0013th August, 2019|Tags: social media, tumblr, wordpress.com|

Rub the money on the skin.

As someone who spent most of her life with terrible skin, it was eye-opening to finally step into the world of luxury beauty products and realize that, uh. Yeah. Actually rubbing $400 worth of creams on your face every day1 really does do wonders for the skin.

  1. I mean, like. The sum total of said creams is about $400. Not that the amount I put on every day is worth $400. Although I’m sure there are people whose daily routines do total at least that much, so…
2019-02-18T10:07:14+10:0013th August, 2019|Tags: culture, makeup|

A history of dance.

Beyond the theft alone, appropriation tends to be ruthlessly destructive to the original performance being absconded with. Why? Because it reimagines the act, the dance, the song, or piece of art as a solitary, disconnected moment in time. Dance is joy in the shadow of oppression. “Constructing the black male body as a site of pleasure and power, rap and the dances associated with it suggest vibrancy, intensity, and an unsurpassed joy in living.” [bell] hooks writes, “It emerged in the streets—outside the confines of a domesticity shaped and informed by poverty, outside enclosed spaces where young male bodies had to be contained and controlled.” This rebellious spirit lives on in the form and motion of the dance, even if it is never displayed on the surface.

But when these dances are turned into to Emotes, their connections with poverty and racism are elided and they are reduced to nothing more than a funny dance, cut off and erased, made vanilla and palatable. This is not simply bad luck, it is the latest in a long trend of omission. In his book, “Everything But The Burden,” Greg Tate points out that “The black body is a desired taboo, something to be possessed and something to be erased…” Shoot becomes Hype, Milly Rock becomes Swipe It. Blackness becomes a grey area, becomes bundles of mocap data, and is made ultimately invisible.

Yussef Cole on rebrand, resale.

From an article about the appropriation of African American dance moves in the videogame Fortnite. Very specifically, it’s about the appropriation and sale of dance moves, in a way that profits the white establishment (i.e. Epic Games), rather than the unremunerated creators…

2019-07-31T09:39:48+10:0012th August, 2019|Tags: culture|

Amazon is bad, actually.

So probably about two years ago, I made a quiet-but-conscious choice to, in as much as possible, stop shopping at Amazon. This isn’t entirely difficult, since Amazon isn’t nearly as embedded in the retail market in Australia as it is in the US—and it ironically got even worse once it opened onshore operations—but I’ve still found I’ve had to use it as a vendor-of-last-resort in those few situations where I can’t buy something via another channel.

Which is a lot of puff to basically say I very wholeheartedly agree with this article’s premise that, uh, actually Amazon is kind of garbage. Like, as a store. It’s garbage. People forget, because they don’t use other retailers but… damn, is it.

2019-02-18T09:16:06+10:0011th August, 2019|Tags: amazon, tech|