Friday, May 26, 2023

Working Title

(I started writing this post back on April 15, 2022. Over a year later I thought it was worth revisiting the ideas that I was working through, and combining them with what's going  on with me right now.)

"I'm not a biter / I'm a writer / For myself and others / I say a B.I.G. verse I'm only biggin' up my brother / Biggin' up my borough / I'm big enough to do it / I'm that thorough / Plus I know my own flow is foolish" 

 ~ Jay-Z "What More Can I say"

Elon Musk is probably the closest thing to Tony Stark or Lex Luthor that we'll ever have in the real world. Of course, like everyone else, I've been watching what it is that Musk is doing and also how people are reacting to everything that he does. Twitter, Space X, Telsa... These are all companies that are supposed to change the world. Of course I've been following the tweets and the discourse surrounding his business exploits, Musk himself can't help but make waves, I'm sure that he does it on purpose. 

"There is no such thing as bad publicity."

 ~ Phineas T. Barnum.

(Morgan Wade doesn't really have much to do with the rest of the piece, but I have been listening to her a lot lately. This song in particular has had a profound effect on my thoughts as of the past couple of days. It's a song about contemplating suicide. I like her music so I'm just happy that she was able to channel that energy into sharing music with the world.

Someone ended up linking to a Nation article in a reply to a tweet talking about Musk's offer to purchase Twitter, essentially stating that: if we wanted to understand where leftist intellectuals and elites stood on the matter, we would need to give the article a read. I agree, it's a good starting point, and I think reading the article from the Nation will give you a good understanding of where leftists are on the issue. It was a concise and metered argument even... But, unfortunately it was still full of all the dogmatic bullshit that keeps people from going full socialist (or, in my case, what drove me away). This is something that the left and the right need to learn; we cannot keep demonizing how people feel or what they think. Instead we need to address their fears and concerns in a way that validates their feelings but offers concrete solutions which aren't destructive to society.

It appears that Musk’s allegiance to free speech applies only to powerful people like himself, while those working under him are forced to settle for quiet obedience.

Regardless of Musk’s dubious principles, any move to relax content moderation standards warrants legitimate concern. For example, changing the policies by which Twitter restricts or suspends accounts that cause social harm could yield more harassment, hate speech, incitement to violence, and dangerous misinformation about voting and vaccines. Twitter’s uneven adherence to its own rules has been rightly criticized, but having no rules would be a troll’s paradise—a Hobbesian hellscape of all against all, with the most vulnerable having the most to lose.

The examples chosen to set up the argument that Musk wants to silence everyone who disagrees with him, but they chose examples that are isolated incidents and not widespread patterns of behavior. Since he's taken over I don't feel like the service has really changed all that much. I lost the ability to authenticate with SMS and the ads that are served up to me now are actually shit that I would buy.

First, I think it's important to recognize that "Hobbesian hellscape" is a fucking brilliant phrase, and I may end up stealing it for use in my everyday conversations. Second though, the importance that is placed on sites like Twitter seems to be devoid of how the user base was grown in the first place. There's a lot of theorizing about how the platform should be handled now that it exists in it's mega-evolution form, but there's very little thought given to how it got here. If Twitter ascended naturally and acquiesced it's billions of users through a fit of absent mindedness, then it has to be acknowledged that it did so through market forces and not by regulatory intervention. This is important because Section 230 is being looked at again.

As an aside; that bit about "a fit of absent mindedness" comes from a speech/lecture that Michael Parenti gave regarding his book The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Rome.

I go back and listen to it quite often, actually. I'm fascinated by the Late Republic, but I also think the speech itself is really eloquently given and Parenti's delivery of the talk is quite impeccable.

But what's true about empire is true for business and the moguls that run them as well. It's not that these people are reluctantly thrown on to the global stage, they choose and strive for their position in life. So you do have to take that into account when either criticizing or praising these people. Surely there are arguments to be made that 

Bread and circuses!

We've sort of been living in the end-times since Jesus died. That's what I remember being taught anyway. It's a very small town and rural pattern of thought, and there's nothing wrong with that, just like there's nothing wrong with having the opposite opinion because you grew up in a more urban environment... Maybe you had both. I've met guys who grew up in Long Beach that spent time in the church choir. Seriously, it's absolutely okay for people from two walks of life to have shit in common. Yes. That's fucking normal.

That kind of talk is dangerous though, a lot of people don't understand it because it's not what they know or what they've grown up with. Even if it's true prophecy, the thought of it tends to fuck with people's minds in very public ways, some people make decisions they wouldn't have otherwise made. See Ruby Ridge and Waco. So I don't really subscribe to that. One thing that you have to understand though is that the tradition of the Roman Empire still exists. 666 was code for Nero. But what Nero represents in the modern era is not what our puritan forefathers cared for. The Victorian era really screwed us up as far as I'm concerned.

None the less, it's interesting to me that it's the happy for Jesus crowd that seem to be pulling for free speech these days. I've never felt that Christian views were ever being censored, but I also keep politics and religion separate. As long the happy for Jesus crowd is fine listening to what others have to say, then I think they're fine to be the ones to stand up for free speech. It's not just the cause of a certain group of people, free speech is the cause of every human on this Earth.

Free speech requires us to listen to other people. It's really the only requirement. But listening to one another seems to be hard for us these days, so you have millionaire assholes dumping money into a bird app all for our amusement and benefit. I'm fucking down for it.

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Working Title

( I started writing this post back on April 15, 2022. Over a year later I thought it was worth revisiting the ideas that I was working throu...