HEWN, No. 284

"They seem to have confused consciousness of purpose with conspiracy" -- William Appleton Williams

This was a very bad week — another very bad week in a long string of very bad weeks. The news cycle is relentless, and this week’s has been especially painful. I say this to all survivors of sexual assault and to everyone who has been re-traumatized listening to powerful people justify and dismiss attempted rape: I believe you.

And I will also say: I did not have “Fabian Society” on my conspiracy theory bingo card. Was this part of The Da Vinci Code? Because it does feel like we are all trapped in a very, very stupid story.

Speaking of fictions (some good, some bad, some dangerous), Robin Sloan has one about how The Rock becomes President. danah boyd writes about “Media Manipulation, Strategic Amplification, and Responsible Journalism.” And David Karpf explores how Wired is so terrible at predicting the future. Shame: he doesn’t really ask why. (Also a shame: one of my favorite terrible predictions that Wired’s published — that in fifty years time, there will only be ten universities in the world and Udacity has a shot at being one of them — didn’t make it into his analysis.) There’s a mention or two of Wired’s mythmaking in Jill Lepore’s NYT op-ed on the relationship between political and technological disruption: “The Hacking of America.” I hope she’s writing a book about this because the article doesn’t really do justice to what I think she’s trying to say about the anti-democratic machinery that some folks are so excitedly building. Speaking of which, this Australian Broadcasting article on China’s social credit system and its impending digital dictatorship is probably one of the most frightening things I read this week. And that is really saying something…

(Image credits)

Anyway. “No, I will not debate you.”

Yours in struggle,