Master of this realm

There’s a post on a UFO book where the reviewer discusses the uses of belief in the paranormal, cryptids & conspiracies.

By treating the iconography of the weird as an equal-opportunity bin of elements to be combined with postmodern abandon, the artist of the weird rebels against what passes for expertise in cryptid and UFO research. What results is a collage that cheerfully announces the meaninglessness of its subject. Sontag’s response to Greenberg was that he missed the fact that, well, kitsch can be fun, especially when rendered as camp. True enough, but we should nonetheless be careful: all bumper stickers purport to offer equivalent truth claims.

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft: Why look at flying saucers

In the end, the camp eats itself and is presented as non-camp. At some point you’ll start to actually enjoy italy-disco, the initial irony forgotten. It doesn’t take more than to read the comments to the above post.

It’s like a Darwinian fiction lab, where the best stories and the most engaging and satisfying misinterpretations rise to the top and are then elaborated upon for the next version. […] The theories that didn’t work, disappeared while others got up-voted. It’s ingenious. It’s AI with a group-think engine. The group, led by the puppet masters, decide what is the most entertaining and gripping explanation, and that is amplified. It’s a Slenderman board gone amok.

Reed Berkowitz: A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon

The analysis of how Q is similar to an ARG, and the process by which ideas are generated and used/discarded rings true, and it makes a compelling case for why it’s easier to drive a conspiracy forward than dispelling it – the driving force is a stream which will simply flow around any objections you put in its way.

In the hours following the Arizona call, a paranoid conspiracy theory spread rapidly on Parler and in other right-wing online forums: Voters in conservative counties had been given felt-tip pens that supposedly made vote-counting machines reject the ballots that they marked for Trump. The following night, Trump supporters protesting what came to be called #SharpieGate gathered outside the Maricopa County ballot-counting facility in Phoenix. In a development previously unthinkable to liberals who have long dismissed Fox as state media for the Trump administration, the Arizona protesters began chanting, “Fox News sucks!”

Renée DiResta: Right-Wing Social Media Finalizes Its Divorce From Reality

The worlds fascination with the Trump government and US elections is odd. Granted, Trump is a walking insult to humanity and the intellectual trainwreck that is US politics has reached new lows, but I’m uncertain what the takeaway is. A warning of things to come? A sliding into authoritarianism or even fascist world politics? The balkanization of discourse?

The fallout of Wednesday’s events will continue to echo for months, perhaps years to come. For all their seeming partisan difference, the center-left and center-right of US politics have a shared response for dealing with the crisis: it is to demand a greater number of cops and the removal of the social media accounts of the worst perpetrators. But neither strategy is in the interests of the majority of Americans or in particular of the US left.

[…]

In the face of a growing far-right, these are going to be the issues that will dominate the next four years: whether to depend on the state and social media platforms to take on Trump’s supporters, or whether we as anti-fascists need to build our own strength.

David Renton: More cops, fewer platforms: the risky fallout of the Capitol riot

Back when I was living in London, collaborating on the periphery with Indymedia, there was a guy who’d made a name for himself by using his personal wealth to travel the world helping progressives/revolutionary orgs setting up online infrastructure. Back then most homepages were cobbled together by people in the movements – there was no social media beyond bulletin boards and such – but once we got smartphones, the mobile ecology lowered the threshold to connect and we got complacent: If I’m tossed from Facebook I’ll just sockpuppet myself back, no biggie. But what to do when most of your movement is banned? How do you get in touch with folks when your address book is full of nonexistent street names?

I’m more and more coming down in a tech negative camp, where I’m unsure if the past 15 years of Internet developement is a net good or not. Sean Carrol had Cory Doctorow on his podcast a while back, and while Doctorow is partial to purple hyperbole, he is knowledgeable and makes good points – the episode is worth listening to if you’re thinking about the world as envisioned by monopolistic tech and the rise of authoritarian states as functioning alternatives to democratic rule.

1. (THREAD) So, it seems like the deplatforming debate is once again kicking off, so I thought I would introduce some of the earlier work that was done in this area back when ISIS was buck wild on social media. What have we learned over the last six years might be useful today:

Amarnath Amarasingam Twitter thread

Amarasingams thread is a good resource on the discussion on deplatforming in general, with how it affected ISIS efforts. But deplatforming isn’t necessarily a good practice in itself, even if the effects in this case are good – it basically changes the progressive struggle to be one of wielding the Twitter TOS as a banhammer; but that hammer is only as useful as Twitter chooses to make it, and the step from banning extreme right-wing speech to extreme speech in general doesn’t seem very large nor difficult; just look at the chilling effect of Patriot Act on radical environmental groups which suddenly are bunched together.

Deplatforming might be a good thing, but for the wrong reasons: The act of being thrown out of polite society might radicalize you. From my point of view it might be good for creating more militant progressive movements; but that goes both ways and will radicalize fascists and religious nuts as well.

Getting suspended is also an important way for members of the Baqiya community to know that you are trustworthy, that you have paid your dues. “There was a time when everybody wanted to get suspended. Even I thought, ‘ah must be cool to get suspended and receive all that support from friends,’” Umm Hafida tells me. “When I got suspended, lots of people were saying, ‘welcome to the Baqiya family!’” She went on: “It is considered as a kind of shahada [martyrdom]. That’s why we say, my Twitter account just got shahada, Alhamdulillah! Suspensions show others that we are on the right path, and spreading the truth.”

Amarnath Amarasingam: What Twitter Really Means for Islamic State Supporters

It’s not the main point of the article, but in the quote above the Twitter TOS has become the arbitrer of what is fought against. “If Twitter banned me I must be right” as a substitution of “If voting changed anything it’d be illegal.”

Facebook has shut down the accounts of one of the biggest left wing organisations in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (1). The Socialist Workers Party Facebook page – as well as account of local pages – have been removed from Facebook with no explanation given. Those targeted say it amounts to a silencing of political activists.

swp.org.uk press releaseHackernews discussion
MateuszMaster of this realm