A Weird Brain

In the midst of three kids running around, screaming their heads off, and being kids and a bunch of adults running around and being very Ukrainian, Hispanic and Jewish, I wrote 800 words of my new book today.

I work a lot better in a pandemonium than in silence. If everybody left me alone to write in peace, I might do 300 words, if that. Maybe I should hire a circus to come to my house and make noise when I get home.

FB and Trump

I pressed on the link in the FB ad for Trump just to see what would happen. This is what happened:

Pressed 5 times in a row, always with the same result.

Then I pressed the Gillibrand ad, and it worked just great:

I don’t want to donate to either but this is really weird.

Another FB Explanation

And I also just saw an ad for Trump in my FB feed. It turns out that two of my Canadian colleagues are fans. The way FB explains it is that “he want to reach people ages 18 and older living in the US.”

At least, the explanation is not offensive.

I’m really into these FB rationales today.

The Death of Solitude

Zuboff also discussed the ways in which children are robbed of even knowing what solitude means.

There is this toy called Barbie’s Dream House. It’s like a connected house but for a doll. Everything in the house is voice-activated: the lights, the bed, the disco ball. The purpose of the toy is to prepare children to the idea that being constantly observed is normal:

Children learn the principles of the One Voice—a run time, a new interface. It is available everywhere to execute their commands, anticipate their desires, and shape their possibilities. The omnipresence of the One Voice, with its fractious, eager marketplace-of-you concealed under its skirts, changes many things. Intimacy as we have known it is compromised, if not eliminated. Solitude is deleted. The children will learn first that there are no boundaries between self and market. Later they will wonder how it could ever have been different.

I’m not going to go on a rant about the importance of solitude for a child’s development because I’m assuming everybody is an educated person and understands why the capacity to be alone is a crucial step in the development of the human subjectivity. Neither am I going to talk about the importance of boundaries for that process. Instead, I will quote Zuboff again:

The prediction imperative makes boundaries and borders intolerable, and surveillance capitalists will do almost anything to eliminate them. This pursuit transforms “connection” into a commercial imperative and transforms individual autonomy into a threat to

surveillance revenues.

Once again, I want to point out that weakened governments are still fighting against this. Germany recalled the notorious Cayla dolls that spied on kids and asked parents to destroy them. There are still efforts to resist. It’s not hopeless.

More Snowflakery

One after another, the headlines in my newsfeed go:

For the record: Trump acknowledges Russian help put him in the White House

Obviously, it’s just as dumb as “Trump confessed to sexual assault on tape,” but whatever. People will now write endless screeds on this absolutely meaningless tweet or whatever it was and feel like they are doing something important.

As Shoshana Zuboff explains it, the wounded narcissists of late modernity will give anything for a recognition of their specialness. Which is precisely what makes them identical to everybody else. They let their privacy, selfhood and will to decide get stolen but they don’t care as long as they get a chance to feel like they are battling true evil.