Power of the Powerless, Vaclav Havel (1978)

“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo.”

—Vaclav Havel, “Power of the Powerless.”

The Great Lost John Malkovich Interview

“I remember once doing some auditions with an actress, and I remember her telling me, sort of during the audition, when the director had stepped out for a minute, her reaction to having watched a film I was in [Dangerous Liaisons], which she passed in the ladies’ room three times during the film, and I thought, ‘Wait, what?’ She had gone to masturbate. All I could think was, ‘Thanks for sharing.'”

—John Malkovich in on interview with Erik Hedegaard, “The Great Lost John Malkovich Interview.” Rolling Stone. April 2, 2019.

Why do people want to be famous? Although, I guess this kind of situation could happen to anyone.

Also, try imagining this scenario from different identities. How does the dynamic change if the woman is a gay man? Or the genders switch?

Or what about slightly different situations, like a wife sharing a fantasy with her spouse? Is it only weird because she’s saying it to John Malkovich?

Such a weird little detail.

Children are the Permanent Social Media Underclass

“As Facebook turns fourteen, with Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat following closely behind, it’s a pivotal time to be thinking about children’s rights online. Over the years, parents around the world have shared posts about their children, from first steps to tantrums to hilarious moments (“Charlie bit my finger!”). Kids who are now old enough to have their own social-media accounts—the minimum age for a Facebook is thirteen—have likely had most of their lives documented and curated online, largely without their permission or input…

Becoming social-media savvy—and developing their own set of rules that help them control their online identity—is par for the course for many teenagers today.”

—Alex Mlynek. “Stop Mom, You’re Embarrassing Me.” TheWalrus.com. May 13, 2018.

Open, Closed, and Privacy – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

“That gets at the more important way that the relationship between open/closed and encryption is relevant to data and privacy: just as encryption at scale is only possible with a closed service, so it is with privacy. That is, to the extent we as a society demand privacy, the more we are by implication demanding ever more closed gardens, with ever higher walls. Just as a closed garden makes the user experience challenge of encryption manageable, so does the centralization of data make privacy — of a certain sort — a viable business model.”

—Ben Thompson. “Open, Closed, and Privacy.” Statechery.com. April 25, 2018.

It’s an interesting comment. However, there are a number of technologies being developed that solve the problem of identity and seamless public key transfer in different ways, e.g., Autocrypt (email), Conversations with OMEMO (chat), Keybase (chat), etc. It is possible to have user-friendly, decentralized and private communications. But, it’s hard to do without state or corporate funding, and increased privacy doesn’t serve those interests. Still, it’s possible. We just might have to wait for it.

Secondhand Lonely

“‘Show? To who? Girl, I got my mind. And what goes on in it. Which is to say, I got me.’

‘Lonely, ain’t it?’ Nel’s question sticks out in my mind like the point of an index finger toward a shameful secret unfurled before a judgmental public. Lonely, ain’t it.

‘Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.'”

—Toni Morrison, Sula. New York: Knopf, 1976, parts quoted in Zoë Gadegbeku, “My Secondhand Lonely,” Slice. Spring/Summer 2017. Reprinted on Longreads.com.

Much worth thinking about in Zoë Gadegbeku’s piece. For me, the deeply personal account obscures some points that could be made about the presentation of self, moving beyond romantic love and including alienation within larger communities, and so forth. But, I empathized with much that was said here even though I have a much different background.