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Tycho / on Mon, Oct 26 2020 at 12:01 am

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Our Time Of Need

The threshold of my mind, the point where thoughts are converted into shapes others can perceive, performs a number of helpful services. It's essentially a programmable gate. Right now, and I hadn't intended to write this before, it really wants me to make sure that's how you spell the word "perceive."

One of the other things it does is convert the internal concepts I have for things into the ones more people are likely to recognize. That's one of the funnier things about all this, to me: the things I write in here are not attempts to be baroque and ornamental but are in fact legitimate attempts to be understood! It would be funny if it weren't all the things it actually is. This is all to say that the internal language for the term Social Media is not Social Media. It is "The Weapon."

It's more or less a cursed D&D item laden with all the classic monkey's paw standbys. Typically the effects of a cursed item are localized, either because they annihilate the owner too swiftly or the radius of their destruction is limited. This is a cursed item almost everyone has and a portion of society's cognition seems to take place in its haunted sigmoid colon so I'm not a hundred percent sure how optional it is. We seem to be outsourcing nontrivial portions of our consciousness to some opaque algorithms that are designed to honor whatever will make you keep looking at it.

To arrive at the portion of today's excursion which is "ripped from the headlines," I think it's pretty dumb to start talking about how streamers need to pay developers and publishers in exchange for making and broadcasting free commercials about their products. I'm aware of the ambiguous legality, but there's a reason this detente exists and it's connected to the sentence before this one. Also - purely as an intellectual exercise - consider what happened here when the Clear Legal Position about these properties was relaxed, even for a second. It created an industry out of thin fucking air, one that manufactures an incredible amount of serendipitous success for creators entirely outside the Understood Model. This smart man was drafting off the DMCA shit that made it an easier bet for streamers to delete their channel's backlog, just in case, than risk their livelihoods in Plague World. Set aside for a minute the fact that no streamer should be thinking about this for even a second - Amazon already has business arrangements with the rights holders in most of these cases, and could offer their creators what TikTok does if they gave any kind of a shit. That this enforcement devolved somehow down to the streamer level boggles the mind. Anyway, the original tweet was a stupid take about a stupid situation that only exists because everything is fucking stupid.

But there is always some human part of me that recognizes what it must feel like whenever The Weapon is deployed, and if I do say a prayer it's not because they're some martyred paragon of virtue. It's that I reflexively model the weight of it on my ribcage, pushing out my breath.

(CW)TB out.


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