Arduous Interfaces & Abrasive Situations

“However, such a move seems to imply the utopian view that you can bring people into close virtual proximity and have everyone simply get along splendidly. McLuhan was closer to the truth: we will face arduous interfaces and abrasive situation regardless of how benign the companies and how ethical the design.”

—L.M. Sacasas, “No. 17: Arduous Interfaces.” The Convivial Society. May 18, 2019.

Going Critical

What I learned from the simulation above is that there are ideas and cultural practices that can take root and spread in a city that simply can’t spread out in the countryside. (Mathematically can’t.) These are the very same ideas and the very same kinds of people. It’s not that rural folks are e.g. “small-minded”; when exposed to one of these ideas, they’re exactly as likely to adopt it as someone in the city. Rather, it’s that the idea itself can’t go viral in the countryside because there aren’t as many connections along which it can spread…

…In an urban center, each person could see upwards of 1000 other people every day — on the street, in the subway, at a crowded restaurant, etc. In a rural area, in contrast, each person may see only a couple dozen others. Based on this difference alone, the city is capable of sustaining more fashion trends. And only the most compelling trends — the ones with the highest transmission rates — will be able to take hold outside of the city…We tend to think that if something’s a good idea, it will eventually reach everyone, and if something’s a bad idea, it will fizzle out. And while that’s certainly true at the extremes, in between are a bunch of ideas and practices that can only go viral in certain networks…

…Finally, we can apply this lens to the internet, by choosing to model it as a huge and very densely networked city. Not surprisingly, there are many new kinds of culture flourishing online that simply couldn’t be sustained in purely meatspace networks. Most of these are things we want to celebrate: niche hobbies, better design standards, greater awareness of injustices, etc. But it’s not all gravy. Just as the first cities were a hotbed for diseases that couldn’t spread at lower population densities, so too is the internet a breeding ground for malignant cultural forms like clickbait, fake news, and performative outrage.”

-Kevin Simler, “Going Critical.” May 13, 2019.

Interesting throughout.

Who Cares? : On Nags, Martyrs, the Women Who Give Up, and the Men Who Don’t Get It

“Then I came into the living room at the moment we had to leave and realized that my six-year-old had been wrong. His homework hadn’t been done or checked. His lunch hadn’t been packed. He didn’t have a snack or fresh water. He didn’t have an electronic device to bring to school for their special day. Now not only was I suffering the guilt of not getting him ready, but he would have to suffer the consequences of no one helping him. He would have to stay in at recess to complete his homework. He wouldn’t get the thirty minutes of electronic time his friends would have. I was able to grab an orange and throw it in his backpack for a snack, but it was too late for the rest of it. Even though my husband had been the one on duty for the morning, I was the one left with the guilt of taking my son to school ill prepared.”

—Gemma Hartley, “Who Cares? : On Nags, Martyrs, the Women Who Give Up, and the Men Who Don’t Get It.” November 2018.

I do most of the traditional gender role jobs of a woman. I cook, clean, wash dishes, do the laundry, buy groceries, etc.

One difference that I notice is that I don’t care how something gets done. If the goal is to make sure everyone eats, then a weekly soup or take out food are perfectly acceptable options.

But, I’ve known women that add further requirements. The food needs to be fresh. It needs to be healthy. They don’t believe in eating leftovers. A lot of these requirements are good ideas, in the main, but need to be thought of as guidelines rather than an absolute rule. Men do this as well, but it is more common among women. I think a lot of it is about control.

Take the example above, I think the child not being prepared and having these imagined negative outcomes might be a catalyst for the child taking more responsibility for themselves. Maybe next time they’ll remind the parent or remember to bring the electronic device themselves. You learn responsibility by having it and coming up short. This is true for children, husbands and wives. If someone can get to 80% of how you would do it over time, why would you want to continue doing it yourself?

You wouldn’t unless you just want to exert control. In which case, you’re not performing emotional labor. You’re merely someone who isn’t a good delegator.

Sure, there are men, likely a majority, that do a bad job of housework to get out of it. But, it’s like managing colleagues, bosses, and subordinates in the work place. You train, eliminate unnecessary requirements, and fire the ones that can’t get the work done. It’s why we need to live with someone before taking on a long-term commitment.

Men need to do more “emotional labor.” Most need to do more around the house. But, on the other side, if you were to hire someone, you would do so knowing that it isn’t going to get done exactly your way, if for no other reason because it’ll take more time and cost more. Same is true for partners, except instead of currency you pay in caring. Pay less.

Don’t Let People Enjoy Things | Kate Wagner

“As the day-to-day misery of this lucid nightmare wears people down to stumps, and the last refuge of joy and escapism is sought in mass culture, it may appear somewhat cruel to take entertainment to task. But the far worse alternative would be a world without criticism—a world well-wishing people are now working to build for their bosses, one where monopolistic media conglomerates cater to our simplest desires and most superficial political awareness. Until we are all forced to communicate with memes from pods wholly owned by Disney, we’re just going to have to Let People Dislike Things.”

—Kate Wagner, “Don’t Let People Enjoy Things.” The Baffler. May 9, 2019.

Gardener’s Vision

“Without communication, connection, and empathy, it becomes easy for actors to take on the “gardener’s vision”: to treat those they are acting upon as less human or not human at all and to see the process of interacting with them as one of grooming, of control, of organization. This organization, far from being a laudable form of efficiency, is inseparable from dehumanization.”

—Os Keyes, “The Gardener’s Vision of Data.” Real Life. May 6, 2019.

45 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

“Always be networking. Always.”

—”45 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog – Which You Can Use to Grow Yours to 225,000 Visits / Month, Like We Eventually Did.” April 27, 2019.

Good advice if you want to drive traffic to your site, become an “influencer,” make money off your blog, or be Internet famous.

Or, if you are like me, use it as a guide of things to avoid doing. Except have great content, that’s good advice for everyone.