Horrors of the Night category archive
The Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen follows an Alice down the Trumpian rabbit hole.
No excerpt or summary can do this report justice.
Just read it. It is–er–disquieting.
David discusses a truly disturbing campaign ad and what it implies about the state of our can-you-still-call-it-a polity. (Warning: Short commercial at the end.)
Psychologist Michelle Druin is less that optimistic about the effects of the internet on dis coarse discourse (and, by “the internet,” I think, based on the examples she cites, that she refers primarily to “social” media). She cites five negative effects that she has observed; follow the link for a detailed discussion of each.
- It’s pushing us towards inauthenticity . . . .
- It may be increasing our paranoia . . . .
- It’s making us care too much about what other people think . . . .
- It’s pressuring us to create stage-worthy moments . . . .
- It’s making us want the impossible
I think David misses the point. (Warning: Short commercial at the end.)
I disagree with David that the tax exemption of churches is the issue here. The issue is the simmering brew of manipulative, gullible, and stupid masquerading as faith, of self-styled shepherds whose only purpose is to sheer their flocks.
For a reasonably unbiased discussion of why churches are tax exempt in the U. S., see this article from the archives of the Los Angeles Times.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Belgium’s Ghent University’s Learning and Implicit Processes Lab takes a deep dive into “deep fakes.” A snippet:
Although this new technology has many beneficial uses, it’s also ripe for abuse. Deepfakes are increasingly being used to harass and intimidate political activists, and harm those in the business, entertainment, and political sectors. Female celebrities are being Deepfaked into highly realistic pornographic scenes, while worry grows that politicians could be made to “confess” to bribery or sexual assault. Such disinformation may obviously distort democratic discourse and election outcomes.
*Follow the link for the link.
The Zuckerborg is implementing a new Ministry of Truth.
Once again, we are reminded that “social” media isn’t.
David analyzes the latest COVID vaccine FUD from Fox News. (Short commercial at the end.)
Frontiers in Psychology presents a study of those who participate in hate-full conduct on line and finds a common trait. The full report detailing the study’s methodology and findings is at the link; here’s a bit (emphasis added).
In the present study, we sought to investigate whether certain psychological characteristics can predict posting hating comments online. Our results showed that high scores on the Psychopathy subscale was a significant predictor of posting hating comments online; whereas age, sex, high scores on Frustration, Envy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Satisfaction with Life scales were non-significant predictors. Interestingly, high scores on the Scale of Envy almost reached a statistical significance (on the level of a strong trend).
One man saw it coming.
He even foresaw “influencers.”
An excerpt from Charlie Warzel’s article about him in last Sunday’s New York Times (emphasis added):
In subsequent obscure journal articles, Mr. Goldhaber warned of the attention economy’s destabilizing effects, including how it has disproportionate benefits for the most shameless among us. “Our abilities to pay attention are limited. Not so our abilities to receive it,” he wrote in the journal First Monday. “The value of true modesty or humility is hard to sustain in an attention economy.”
In June 2006, when Facebook was still months from launching its News Feed, Mr. Goldhaber predicted the grueling personal effects of a life mediated by technologies that feed on our attention and reward those best able to command it. “In an attention economy, one is never not on, at least when one is awake, since one is nearly always paying, getting or seeking attention.”