On the dangers of attacking the media in a democratic republic

‚ÄúThe most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying–always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon‚Äôs‚ÄĚ
Carl Bernstein, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal  


“These systematic attacks on the media accomplish two things. First, they fire up the base, which believe that traditional media do not represent their interests or concerns. Second, they provoke the media itself, which feeling threatened, adopts a more oppositional posture. This in turn further fuels the polarization on which the leaders depend and paves the way for the government to introduce legal restrictions.

The most dramatic example was in Venezuela, where elements in the media embarked on a campaign of open warfare, engaging in overtly partisan coverage intended to undermine Ch√°vez‚Äôs rule. Some media owners were alleged to have conspired in a 2002 coup that briefly ousted the president. Once Chavez returned to power, he rallied his supporters behind a new law imposing broad restrictions on what the media could and could not cover under the guise of ‚Äúensuring the right to truthful information.‚ÄĚ Across the hemisphere, other restrictive legal measures were adopted, including Ecuador‚Äôs notorious 2013 Communications Law, which criminalizes the failure to cover events of public interest, as defined by the government. In the first year, approximately 100 lawsuits were filed under the law, stifling critical reporting.”
Columbia Journalism Review


“Brian Stelter, in his Reliable Sources newsletter, rounds up elite-media Twitter reaction:

  • NPR’s Steve Inskeep: “A journalist is a citizen. Who informs other citizens, as free citizens need. Some are killed doing it …” NYT’s Maggie Haberman: “He is fighting very low approval ratings. Gonna be interesting to see how congressional Rs respond to this tweet”
  • Joe Scarborough: “Conservatives, feel free to speak up for the Constitution anytime the mood strikes. It is time”
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I would hope that our leaders would never believe that any American desires to make another American an enemy. Let’s dial it back.”

At the same time, understand that this is partly a game to Trump. His confidants tell us he intentionally exploits the media’s inclination to take the bait and chase our tails.”
Axios


John McCain:
“… slammed President Donald Trump‚Äôs attacks on the media this week by noting dictators ‚Äúget started by suppressing free press.‚ÄĚ
It was a startling observation from a sitting member of Congress against the President of the United States, especially considering McCain is a member of Trump’s party.

‚ÄúI hate the press,‚ÄĚ the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News‚Äô Chuck Todd on ‚ÄúMeet the Press.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúI hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It‚Äôs vital.‚ÄĚ

But he continued, ‚ÄúIf you want to preserve ‚ÄĒ I‚Äôm very serious now ‚ÄĒ if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,‚ÄĚ McCain said in the interview. ‚ÄúAnd without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That‚Äôs how dictators get started.‚ÄĚ


Evan McMullin:
“Authoritarians routinely attack checks on their power and sources… Donald Trump does exactly that.”
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2017/02/05/are-trumps-attacks-on-media-authoritarian.cnn

Activists: How (and why) to avoid issue policing (especially on Twitter)

It’s heartening to see many new faces and hear many new voices who may in the past have not explicitly¬†considered themselves “activists,” or who have felt a greater call to stand up against a political administration whose ideologies show every indication of running counter to a constitutional democratic framework.¬†

If that describes you: THANK YOU! You are awesome. And if you’re an Old Hat at this sort of thing, this post is for you too — by way of initiating a civil dialogue with some of the fresh faces you see in your timeline or in your local community who may be exhibiting the following behavior:

Making claims that issue X, Y, or Z is “not important” or “not as important” as issue A, B, or C — which is what we should really be discussing right now.

Here’s why this behavior tends to do more harm than good:

Continue reading “Activists: How (and why) to avoid issue policing (especially on Twitter)”

The bubbles we inhabit

are not merely empowered to separate us from discerning fact and fiction.
They separate us from debate; civic discourse; meaningful conflict;
From coalition-building; compromise; concession.
They separate us from each other.

Communities seem quaint
Common ground, a shifting place
Quicksand beneath one’s feet
We are all swamp things now
The eyes ogle, waiting for us to falter — for sport

Our shelf lives grow ever shorter
While billionaires transfuse the blood of the young
The youth don’t want my mid-life crisis
It bores them so
My tone grates on America’s next greats

Ideologies wage the fifth world war out on the vast placeless social media savannah 
Faux fantastical beasts feast upon felled paper tigers
One can only hope the most outsized egos
Are the biggest dinosaurs
When the meteor comes

My soul is going to starve

Without the doing of some thing brand inappropriate 
Something unmonetizable
Unclickable
Untraceable
Untradeable  
|
If i don't rend the cloth of this Culture Fit soon
i will die
Like the coral
Like two-thirds of the wild
Like the humans on the edge of a rising shoreline
In a ceaseless world
With iceless poles
And icy proles  
|
As the planet heats,
Civilization chills;
Swallowing our red or our blue pills;
Interned into camps of grievers and shills
|
Grieve i do and for the West
Our president the Bigly Best!
We'll come and go at his behest
Put down your Freedom of Info Requests
Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet
|
Joe Walsh got his balls out, and his musket too
The Lefties dream of Saskatoon
We're all gonna get that Change real soon
You'll see when fascism hits High Noon
|
We'll finish tearing ourselves apart
In the streets and in the dark
Can no longer recreate in this park
Leslie Knope didn't fit the part
|
She had the mighty audacity
To take purview over Benghazi
Once Bush and Blair left Qaddafi
Those GOP goons would never get off me
|
My God, all the emails
The Chaffetz' anemic security details
At least we're swaddled by all this retail
Black Friday's never been so beyond the pale
|
Pale as a ghost
White as a sheet
Our New Balance host
Circle jerks its meat
|
Of all the PUAs and all the Teas
Even the most mundane of these
See the female as a tease
Hang the browns up in the trees
We're all strange fruit upon our knees
|
Ain't no more reason to appease
Already done killed off all them bees
Turnt up the thermostat a few degrees
TVs blaring back our postmodern sleaze
|
Found ourselves a favorite scapegoat
And a good long length of real strong rope
The corruption will be all excised
By the 'tubes chock full of Russian spies
This revolution will be televised
As America just dies and dies

British filmmaker Adam Curtis explains what’s going on

The creator of the also excellent Century of the Self film series released his latest film in October, 2016. Dubbed HyperNormalisation, it offers both a history lesson of the complicated relationship between the West, the Middle East, and Russia, as well as an unflinching look at the roles played by technology, surveillance, and the media on our modern condition of general confusion, destabilization, and surrealism.

Soylent running

There are a lot of Silicon Valley engineers guzzling soylent in dark holes who ought to get out more and read a book that has lots of words in it and hasn’t been published by O’Reilly.

More people should stop and ask themselves if they even truly believe they’re “creating value,” or just furiously constructing Rube-Goldberg devices to fleece the last remaining dollars from the formerly middle class.

Culture is collective neurosis

There’s a popular and somewhat understandable misperception of culture as a vehicle of reproducing “normalcy” throughout society. However, each historical era makes the cognitive mistake of assuming its particular version of Normal is, well, Normal. And that all eras which came before — that were obviously ruled by stupid people who could not understand the kind of objective truths we are now privy to in the New Modern era — were a series of mass delusions in which people fooled themselves into thinking they had The Answers, when they so clearly didn’t. Because The Problems continue apace.

The twisted social psychological paradox we have not yet managed to escape is our abject failure to understand that we Moderns, too, are trapped within an enormous cultural projection of our current set of utopian delusions. We are no different, nor more special, than all the well-intentioned optimists and sad charlatans of bygone eras we love to thumb our elitist noses at. But our cursed cross to bear is the historically inescapable belief in our own Exceptionism — that we are The Smartest Guys in the Room, and that our newfound flavors of scientific rationalism will allow us to Save The Day and prop ourselves up as the hero gods of humankind we deep inside know that we must be.

For how can it be otherwise?

Whether God created us or we Him, it hardly matters — both narratives serve our deep-seated psychological ends: to prop ourselves up as the Platonically pure forms of human perfection we are eternally striving to be, despite all available evidence to the contrary. Whether mere mini-Gods or True Gods ourselves, we puff ourselves up with the pride of our uniquely gifted creationism vs. other species (and when it suits us, Other races, genders, ethnicities, or other demographical lenses that may be wielded to set The Best among us apart), which (in our minds) serves as the supremely obvious evidence of our planetary — and possibly (hopefully!) galactic — supremacy over natural reality.

All of this has happened before

But even a shallow skim through history could easily produce ample evidence in support of the opposing idea: that all such delusions of grandeur are false — which is part of the reason we (technologists, especially) love to avoid consulting history regarding such matters. The social proof of accolades in the Here and Now is far more exhilirating and, of course, less depressing.

And why look to the past, when all that is accessible can only lie before us? Yet both perspectives are false — neither the past nor the future are truly accessible to us. We live ever fixed within a singular bubbling moment of spacetime we have only barely begun to comprehend. In fact, all that our intellectual and scientific machinations have managed to reveal to us is the staggering lack of edgeness at the edges; and that the more deeply we pursue any sort of objective insight into any subject, no matter how narrowly defined, the more we only find an ever-widening gulf of ignorance opening up as if to swallow us.

Such is the fractal nature of reality, that it seems to slip further from our grasp the harder we struggle to know it — like flies in a vast inky darkness of transfixing ointment. Take for example two of the most theoretically “objective” fields known to modern scientific inquiry, and ask for their practitioners’ opinions on how the imaginary “coefficient of certainty” in their domains (that I am just now making up; bear with me — for you see, I too am a mini-God with powers of creation! Voila!) has fared over recent decades. They’re liable to tell you that physics only seems to be getting stranger, while mathematics may be brushing up against the limits of computational irreducibility, leaving a host of fundamentally unsolvable problems (although Stephen Wolfram does nonetheless leave us with ample hope of an infinite amount of discoveries to be made within the remaining territories of computationally reducible systems that we can continue to practically soldier on in. PHEW!). ¬† ¬†

Where shall we look for the Normal?

Outside of heady intellectual computational theory and the often esoteric pursuits of hard science, there is still a planetary majority of people who simply aren’t interested in this particular method of asking questions about the deep mysteries of life. Far from being irrational clods who lack the cognitive capacity to understand engineering and complex equations, they are seeking — and many have found — their answers to the profound mysteries of the meaning and purpose of life elsewhere, in other domains.

Whether it be hearth and home, creative pursuits, caretaking of others, careers and/or inquiries into other fields, or any of a dizzying variety of alternatives to the purely scientific-relational approach to values: these people are not wrong. ¬† They are not misguided, or necessarily simplistic in their searches for meaning — and neither is a simplistic approach itself objectively worse than a complicated one. In fact, as the economist-turned-philosopher Nassim Taleb so compellingly argues for via the concept of antifragility, our modern, rationalized, (predominantly) Western tendency to hyper-complexify matters often only ends up making things worse. We can’t resist the urge to meddle, and insert ourselves into the micromanagement of many processes that ought to be left well enough alone, such that the natural, organic forces of time and randomness can perform their mysterious acts of self-healing.

Instead, we exhaust ourselves with frantic over-interventionism in our quest to “smooth everything out,” eradicate the uncertainties of risk, and tamp down the erratic edges of non-conformity into the kind of straight lines and perfect curves that makes it easier for us to manipulate them within our clever mathematical models. We embark on ever more ambitious projects of forcing people to fit the models we create, so that we may pat ourselves on the back for our obvious brilliance and sophistry with prediction (and, of course, justify the collection of enormous financial rewards for being so clever).

When some people begin to rationally feel spiritually and emotionally lost within this framework, scientific rationalization once again comes to the “rescue,” via medicalization of a vast and growing array of commonly routine experiences and phenomenological traits. From the most trivial and mundane “disorders” such as “inadequate or not enough eyelashes” to the more Orwellian “oppositional-defiant disorders” that tend to land the less obsequious amongst our children on a regimen of expensive drug cocktails, Big Pharma has got The Cure for YOU!¬†

Whatever malaise afflicts the less engaged portion of the population that isn’t quite sure about the necessity of all this excessive (and fabulously profitable) interventionism, there is sure to be ample pharmaceutical “assistance” available in pursuit of learning to appreciate the New Normal — whatever the New Normal becomes at the behest of powerful corporations and the political minions who serve them via armies of lobbyist Slugworths whispering self-serving plans into the ears of the global elite whilst writing dark money checks in smoky back rooms (of course in my imagination, the global elite have flouted society’s pathetic insistence on protecting the plebes from the dangers of inhaling the carcinogens that afford sociopathic business “leaders” with their well-deserved profits — they retain the right to smoke indoors, goddammit!!).

In other words, Normal is merely what we decide it to be, whether by collective decision or by imposition from a cabal of powerful forces whose colossal self-interest bias has created one of the largest systematic exploits of the principal-agent problem heretofore witnessed in history.

We no longer even recognize the war we’re fighting

Our spoken or unspoken desire to dominate all of civilization through the manipulation of ideologies is no longer even a thinly-veiled attempt — we’re too sophisticated now and, in the common parlance of the often-discredited Youth, “like, totally over it.” We’re more liable to either be bored of the game and tune out altogether, leaving the fate of civilation largely in the hands of the elite forces who have only their own best interests at heart; or to make the seemingly logical decision that the best course of action is to play it, and play it well — in the hopes of making it into the upper echelons of elitedom, by which to survive Whatever May Come.

So: if we do collectively hold some deeply-seated love for Actual Reality, and seek to enjoy the pleasures of each other’s company in a more peaceably sane pursuit of gratitude at the wonders of existence (or at least, a tongue in cheek self-deprecating awareness of our utterly infinite lack of ability to directly do so), then we ought to resist more forcefully the current project we are collectively on — whether by choice or, more commonly, by being caught up in the accidental lottery of birth which placed us into this particular era at this particular time: full of self-important drudgery, decadent hedonism, pomp and circumstance, and neurotic self-obsession.

We cannot, as human beings imprisoned within the distortions of perception and cognition, in any objective sense “know” the world that is Out There. But the illusion is so compelling that we find ever more seemingly obvious ways to convince ourselves that the knowledge is ever just out of reach — if we could only move a little bit faster towards it, we will surely catch it.

Meanwhile the individuals most drawn to the pursuit of wealth and power — the most arguably useful symbols one can wield in one’s pursuit of planetary domination via ideological colonization — have us zealously convinced of the above fallacy throughout every age. Playing on our deepest psychological weaknesses, it gets easier and easier to do so via application of all the modern tools in the toolbox of propaganda at our disposal, that only increase in number under the guise of the “progress” that curiously seems to benefit the wealthy and powerful in an asymmetrical way, versus providing promised benefits more broadly.

This is why we can’t have nice things

Or rather, why we can only have nice Things, and we can’t seem to find a way to enjoy the suspiciously elusive things which are not Things. The simple and ephemeral joys that only well up from In Here, from love to joy, empathy to compassion, are simply not measurable by the sophisticated rational-scientific methods we have thus far been able to invent. Not indexable, not capturable by market predictions or mathematical modeling, they teeter on the edge of a steep precipice inside of an aggressively advancing value system that resists being unhinged from the comforting certainty of statistical analysis — left flapping out in the harsh, unpredictable winds of uncertainty and risk.

Paradoxically (and somewhat hilariously), we often wonder why we’re so terribly bored and full of ennui at the whole otherwise astonishing business of life (once unmoored from the over-interventionism of the Business of Life). We cannot seem to grasp that all of our efforts at stamping out variability and disorder work precisely against us — distancing ourselves from the organic, unplanned diversity of the natural world that did just fine on its own, thank you very much, before it perhaps made the mistake of running into the set of random conditions that proved hospitable enough to produce our tragedy of a species: so well-intentioned, so brilliant and well-meaning, yet so horribly, pathologically, depressingly Quite Lost.

No one knows more about diversity than old white dudes

For every thoughtful, measured perspective on the gigantically thorny problem of Diversity in the Valley, there has to be at least 10 angry white dudes who feel entitled to take a shit all over the idea that being more inclusive has to involve, like, actually learning to be inclusive — or really, making any changes at all.

There are “values” far more pressing than equality, they say — EFFICIENCY! ALPHA ELITISM! SHAVING OFF ANOTHER 5 MINUTES OF SOME FULL STACK ENGINEER’S TIME (by outsourcing it to someone poor who should feel lucky to have the opportunity to schlep around the dirty laundry and fetch the burritos of Today’s World-Saving Heroes — preferably someone brown) so that someone, somewhere else (outside of the Valley, one presumes) can do all the theoretical Morally Good activities that serve as the philosophical prop that is supposed to justify the tech industry’s frantic, breakneck pursuit of getting filthy fucking rich the mission critically important “time-saving efficiency” that has literally the rest of the world economy scrambling to catch up in its wake.

Ergo, in response to an interview with Slack engineer Erica Baker — whose 20% work-time role in contributing to company diversity strategy later in the thread apparently renders completely invisible her 80% role Writing Code with the Big Boys — this fellow feels he has an obligation to weigh in:

Yes, Kevin. TELL ME MORE about how I would be treated in an interview with you as hiring manager. One thing’s for sure, I could be completely confident that you lack a shred of skepticism about whether my qualifications make me “The Best” candidate in the self-fulfilling prophecy of your own perception.

Nevermind all the actual data that is finally beginning to show what the reality of nature already knows: DIVERSITY WINS. Being inclusive of a multiplicity of experience and perspective (which come along as a byproduct of the heuristic we can make use of — demographical appearance — as a rough approximate solution to our complete inability to objectively measure anything meaningful about the internal complexities of real people) makes companies stronger and more resilient.

Diversity makes companies moreantifragile by embracing the comparative disorder that is counterintuitive to the homogenous systems and societies we keep inanely trying to collectively build despite all the evidence of their abject failure throughout history. Our friend in Idaho is proof of this point: the dominant assumption that diversity definitionally reduces efficiency, thereby reducing profit.

Beyond being flat out wrong when you look at the data (which, curiously, diversity always seems to be a special case where otherwise ruthlessly data-driven engineers don’t dare to tread), this carries with it the hidden assumption which is the self-fulfilling prophecy that actually proves Erica’s point: the fundamental skepticism that people who aren’t white and male can possibly be The Best. That the only way they ever get a seat at the communal, lunch-ordered-by-bot-and-hand-delivered-by-poor-non-alpha-elite-coder-people table is by the magnanimous grace of some Do Gooder hiring manager or recruiter slavishly following regulatory orders from the government — and not by their own merit.

The plank in our own eyes

Part of this has to do with the historically definitional white male privilege that, for some reason, we’re still arguing about in our supposedly enlightened and modernized society whose blinders prevent the deep self-examination of our human past required to truly make progress. As if the human tendency to Other were somehow wiped away with the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) Fourteenth Amendment (1868) Brown v. Board of Education (1954) Civil Rights Act (1964) Voting Rights Act (1965) Loving v. Virginia (1967) Fair Housing Act (1968) Community Reinvestment Act (1977) end of the¬†carceral state (TKTK).

Having grown up a person saddled with two X chromosomes my whole life with almost no choice but to wrestle with this reality from every single angle intellectual and emotional, I at least finally understand the fundamental psychological biases that lead to this kind of abject refusal to deal with our own skewed perspectives — opting instead for ratcheting up ever more impressive shouting matches to peacock about how our dizzying intellectual prowess is surely proof enough of our obvious objectivity.

We are all wrong. And I’m no different.

I know that we desperately want to believe in our own superiority, both to everything that came before us throughout history (the “illusion of progress” we cultivate — despite no such guarantee existing in the natural world — only adds to this effect) and to our fellow humans. Elitism is the ultimate -ism.

It subsumes racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism, and all forms of tribalism that each have, at their roots, the core premise that whatever group I’ve chosen to join up with (or been allotted to by random lottery) is clearly and objectively The Best Group. It’s the undeniable tautology of naive realism that leaves us trapped in the pathetically, perennially distorted view that “I know best, and by the transitive property of awesome, all the groups I consider myself a part of are therefore clearly also The Best (else, why would I be part of them?!).” This automagically relegates all the groups with which we don’t identify to the bottom of the heap: obviously inferior, as anyone can see!

Combine this native human bias with the delirious modern cocktail of vicious neoliberalism and aggressive techno-utopian libertarianism, and it’s a formula in which People Who Don’t Appear White and Male are definitionally suspect because of the statistics we’re blanketed with ever day that tell us they are under-represented in fields like technology.

“If this is so,” says the mind of a brilliant and inarguably logical engineer, “it can only be because their Rugged Individualism hasn’t endowed them with the skills to pass muster. It’s a shame, really — at least Other People, somewhere else who care about human beings more than machine learning are concerned with this dilemma (so I don’t have to be: after all, I’m really fucking busy saving the world so STOP BOTHERING ME with this irrelevant claptrap distraction already! AND WHERE IS MY GODDAMN BURRITO?!?! It’s my Soylent off day!!!) — but honestly I have no choice but to treat The Next Brown or Curvy Data Point I See with some measure of statistical skepticism.”

Lack of diversity is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Therein lies the rub. When we take an observation about the “way things are” and leap to the moral conclusion that this is rightly so — that things ought to be this way, because clearly they are this way for some reason — we commit the logical fallacy that so consumed Hume: the idea that we can derive what ought to be from what is, also known as the fact/value problem.

I don’t think most white male engineers would go quite so far as to claim that their industry must remain homogenous to succeed (although clearly some do, like our friend Kevin, who apparently believes that diversity is definitionally both inefficient and a straight ticket to the business failure shitter — and that our only moral interest in the problem is spurred by the meddlesome interference of that old bugaboo The Government). Instead, in Silicon Valley it tends to take the form of justifying inaction: they might provisionally admit (over an artisanally-prepared, locally-sourced (from a Tenderloin window box herb garden) cocktail at Bar Crudo, or perhaps a Blue Bottle americano) that the problem of diversity may warrant some moral scrutiny, but not by them. They are just way too busy swimming for the shores of a Better World (so long as a Better World enriches them and their investors, natch) to be bothered with this issue that they perceive as not having the slightest effect on them. In times like these (which seems to be All Times), we simply can’t afford the moral luxury of anything but lifeboat ethics.

Right? Well, wrong — unless we’re not troubled by the absurd logical paradox of making ourselves subject to both the zero-sum philosophy this requires and the free market ideology of infinitely available value creation that is supposed to be driving the entire economic party bus (with karaoke) we’re riding in. So, we have to decide: which is it? Is there economic opportunity for all, or do the pathetic losers who fail to become startup founders get left at the curb? And if so, who will sing the songs of their people?!

Our own worst enemies

A reference to the old saw that “attitude is everything” is appropriate here. Because one of the few things more exasperating than the unexamined privilege of ignoring the issue is the endless infighting that those of us in marginalized groups do with each other over what the solution should be.

…where to even start? Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up: this comment from some random white dude who loves extreme sports begins and ends with the outrageously outsized entitlement of trying to tell Slack how to run its own goddamn business, from atop his lofty perch of Somewhere That Is Not Anywhere Even Remotely Near being an actual employee of Slack with some potentially arguable skin in the game, much less a leader or decision-maker within the company.

I mean, Jesus. This is what we’re dealing with. A worldview so vehemently opposed to the idea of apparently even discussing the matter of diversity (in case some terminology or phrase or godforsakenly challenging idea might be construed as controversial and somewhere, someone might possibly be offended — like the entire LGBT community he tries to lump me in with and in a follow-up comment — without a shred of irony! — attempts to claim he was only “speaking for himself” when demanding both a public apology and insinuating that Erica Baker the Slack engineer should literally lose her job for daring to state an opinion while black (p.s. we’ve truly come full fucking circle now, haven’t we?!)) that people feel compelled to spend their time offering free, unwarranted, and undoubtedly unwanted “business advice” to the company THAT PRESUMABLY KNOWS BETTER ABOUT WHAT IT IS DOING than Richard Fucking Burton The Third of His Name!

How can you even hold such a logical paradox in your head, much less lay it out in a single paragraph: the idea that somehow, bizarrely, Slack itself not only lacks the control over whether or not Erica Baker may be “let go for similar remarks” (I mean, who would be doing the firing in this case?! Is there some vigilante regulatory-required Anti-Social-Justice-Warrior in tights and a cape flying around Silicon Valley waiting for bat signals sent from comments on TechCrunch to swoop in from outside the company and authorize her termination?!), but may also be on such shaky ground from some available success metric (I assure you it’s not. It’s one of the few blindingly amazing success stories of recent memory and continues to be one of the fastest growing enterprise startups Of All Time) that they might just have to resort to taking the advice of some Totally Irrelevant Troll about what their fucking brand should be?!?

I. JUST. CAN’T. EVEN!!! (can you?! if so, better abandon all ye hope of ever working at Slack.)

Just goes to show: we’ll cling to whatever flimsy life raft of privilege we think we’re on, even as the Leaky Lifeboat (not to mention the Queen Friggin’ Mary) sails past, breathing a sigh of relief that we don’t seem eager to hop on and capsize it.

Everyone calm down. But be prepared to leave through the eastern gate

Let’s all dial down our Adderall drips for just one minute (but that’s all we can afford — the lifeboat awaits and all) and take a chill pill (feel free to take this as literally as you like). Do some soul-searching reflection, consult our Headspace apps, meditate in VR, or whatever the frak we need to do to enter the Tao Space.

Now let’s ask ourselves: if we believe we’re striving ever more harriedly toward a Better World, then what the heck does that world even look like? Close your eyes and picture it: what do you see? Are people happy in this world? Do they seem to go about their lives effortlessly and with graceful purpose in the human-connected face of god (for lack of a better term… so far), or are they still scurrying to and fro in the franticness of Trying To Get There?

Do people treat each other well, and with respect despite their differences, and in the face of overwhelming obstacles and risks we will have an impossible time solving from within isolated bunkers — or are they still spewing vitriol at each other over their gleefully intentional mischaracterizations of each other’s intentions?

Do they exhibit peace in the struggle, or are they still trying to shout each other down inside of every comment thread and social media exchange on the internet just to win a tiny provincial shadow of an urgently important argument about who has The Best Idea on how we can live in peace and harmony with each other, and how to impose it on the rest of those poor, lazy suckers who simply aren’t as gifted as the elite leaders who so grudgingly bear the wearisome heavy burden of Saving The World whilst being rewarded ever-so-handsomely with Real Non-Inflation Eaten Wages, lucrative stock options and liquidation preferences, artisanal cocktails, and Magically Appearing Burritos?

If we don’t even know what it looks like, then how will we know what values we should be working for, or recognize if and when we’ve arrived?

50 shades of greyest gardens‚Ź≥

i relied on you  
as the harbinger of truth 
and you never gave me my due 

wanted to dance 
and sail off to France 
but you called me back here from the blue

i understand now 
it was all just a row 
we were slated to have from the start 

if i followed that path 
its inexorable math 
would lead me closer too far to my heart

cheated with coin 
like most prone to join 
we can't turn away from the chrome 

left on our own 
we haunt pursuit of our bones 
never expecting we'd end up alone

did what you said 
ended up in bed
with all the white ghosts of my youth 

i should have gone far 
drove away in some car 
than come back and face this truth

that we're all just a friend 
who'll be left in the end 
always to fend for oneself 

if you're nice to what made you 
some grace then may fade you 
else then you're left out on your own 
your own 
your own

if you can climb out of there 
find some nearby stair 
you've got a clean shot at the throne 

but miss your chance 
to strike out & dance 
you too could be left so alone

i cling fast to you 
like drowning men do 
when they're desperate to suck in some air 

but we'll both go down 
with spectacular frowns 
preventing each other's aware

it don't matter now 
been too long anyhow 
since anyone cared what we do 

i'll just stick here for now 
in this fantastical row 
'til i see a path out of this gloom

was meant for much more 
but got lashed to the door 
could never pass Go! once that took, 

try as i might 
through each horrored night 
i could never get free of that hook

it sticks in your mind 
won't believe what you'll find 
the truth spills out plainly one day 

when we least expect 
some camera crew leapt 
at the chance to reveal what we say

it wasn't my fate 
& i'm still super late
in taking my place on the stage 

hold back the crowd 
they're cheering so loud 
& i'm on my way still from this cage

let the spotlight so shine 
on what's yours & what's mine 
it hardly makes sense anymore 

but they told us we're cool 
& deserve to still rule
& they still come around to our door

don't leave us now 
we're OK anyhow 
don't need that whole world for our due 

i'll just use what i have 
and we'll be depraved 
but i'll love to be stuck here with you

#bandnames

  • Devilish Function
  • math rock band: Central Tendency
  • Prisoners of Precedent
  • Utah Electric Thundersleet
  • Missouri Gaslight Hurricane
  • New Writers of the Purple Sage
  • Utility Monsters
  • Semantic Aphasia
  • Ban Bannon Band
  • Broflakes
  • Joyless Orwellian Bureaucracy
  • the gregarious hermits
  • fabulous confabulation
    • The Confabulists
  • Living Constitution
  • Teutonic Shifts
  • Thirst¬†parlor
  • Magnetic¬†unicorn¬†—¬†violent¬†viola¬†(first¬†single¬†or¬†album)
  • Sauteed¬†mistakes¬†—¬†Bulgarian¬†prog¬†rock,¬†obv!
  • Video¬†warriors
  • Addlepates
  • Content¬†Farmers
  • Earthshine
  • People¬†Familiar¬†With¬†The¬†Matter ‚ÄĒ we would tour with the People Under the Stairs, obviously
  • Silly¬†Bandz
  • Super¬†Centarians
  • Colorful¬†Despots
  • Prune¬†&¬†Morph¬†
  • Jetpack¬†brothel
  • bifurcation
  • Spinster¬†Society
  • Squid¬†in¬†a¬†box
  • Slutty¬†penguins
  • Budgie¬†smugglers
  • Elephant¬†Strippers
  • Polyamorous¬†penguins
  • Cute¬†Ginas
  • Spy¬†hopping¬†—¬†what¬†whales¬†do
  • Aphasia
  • Asymptote
  • Cats¬†on¬†the¬†Internet
  • Blue¬†Screens¬†of¬†Doom
  • Red¬†Shift
  • Trash¬†spoons
  • The¬†late¬†sleepers
  • Facebook¬†police
  • Muffin¬†police
  • Merlin’s¬†Beard
  • Danger Bend
  • Phallacy