- “Democracy vs. the Algorithm” by Clara Henrickson:
Conversely, Facebook’s obsession with social connection, rather than democratic self-government, has empowered actors who are interested in dismantling democracy. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie described the psychological profiling of voters using Facebook data as an effort to “[whisper] into the ear of each and every voter” and a way of coaxing voters through “informational dominance.” The campaign, Wylie argued, was responsible for the populist upheavals of 2016 that have shaken Western liberal democracy.
Color is essential to these transfigurations. When Adnan sees Tamalpais topped with snow, she muses that “white is the color of terror in this century: the great white mushroom, the white and radiating clouds, the White on White painting by Malevich, and that whiteness, most fearful, in the eyes of men.” Color is energy, a visionary pathway linking the earth and the universe. In that space, she gathers prophesy and myth, Arab mystics and Soviet cosmonauts, Friedrich Nietzsche and Eleni Sikélianòs. In a gouache and ink painting made in the eighties, she encircles the names of writers and artists she admires in bubbles rising against a loose grid of color, like a cultural solar system.
- Gothamist is back.
- IKEA is reputedly in talks to convert the empty brutalist Pirelli Tire Building in Connecticut, which was designed by Marcel Breuer, into a hotel:
IKEA neither confirmed nor denied the reports when asked for comment. “IKEA has not announced any new plans for the New Haven Pirelli building,” spokesperson Lethisa Bracy told the Independent. “We do not have any additional updates at this time.”
- “When Did Geek Culture Get so Angry?” Good question:
Along with the assumption that the default geek is male, this idea that women “spoil the fun” is one of the most basic and pervasive forms of sexism I observed in geek culture. Women, people of colour, and sexual minorities as outsiders trying to meddle with or impose some nefarious “agenda” on geek culture owes something to this rhetorical tradition.
The Nazis were not wrong to cite American precedents. Enslavement of African-Americans was written into the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson spoke of the need to “eliminate” or “extirpate” Native Americans. In 1856, an Oregonian settler wrote, “Extermination, however unchristianlike it may appear, seems to be the only resort left for the protection of life and property.” General Philip Sheridan spoke of “annihilation, obliteration, and complete destruction.” To be sure, others promoted more peaceful—albeit still repressive—policies. The historian Edward B. Westermann, in “Hitler’s Ostkrieg and the Indian Wars” (Oklahoma), concludes that, because federal policy never officially mandated the “physical annihilation of the Native populations on racial grounds or characteristics,” this was not a genocide on the order of the Shoah. The fact remains that between 1500 and 1900 the Native population of U.S. territories dropped from many millions to around two hundred thousand.
- Is Instagram “over”? Well, some stats may be cause for concern:
A 2017 study showed that Instagram was the worst social media site for the mental health of young people, who said it made them feel loneliness, insecurity, and a negative body image.
- The takedown of pundit Ian Bremmer we’ve all been waiting for. Thank you, Baffler:
Of course, Bremmer is far from the only CEO-whisperer out there shilling bad takes on politics. A whole industry has emerged since the turn of the century to help big corporations understand what’s tremulously referred to as “political risk.” Flip over to the acknowledgments page of Bremmer’s book and you’ll find a roll call of that industry’s brightest stars. There’s Jared Cohen, the former Condoleezza Rice protege who first got the grayheads of D.C. hip to the early 2000s online vibe and now runs an unprofitable subsidiary of Alphabet while doing crunches at Equinox with Jeff Koons. Neocon-at-all-costs Bob Kagan snuggles up next to Parag Khanna, whose 2011 book How to Run the World included a tip to the leaders of African nations to “make safari, not war.” A little further along you’ll find celebrity collector of plastic vaginas Nouriel Roubini and then, right at the end, sits the godfather of the gang: Fareed Zakaria, the CNN plagiarist-in-residence for whom the answer, no matter the question, is always “Singapore.”
- Are Superhero tales myths or anti-myths? Noah Berlatsky has an insightful take:
The superheroes of anti-myth, though, experience setbacks only to make their ultimate, inevitable victory all the sweeter. The justice of God was insufficient; the justice of Captain America will be better and more satisfying. Superheroes promise: “God is dead—we will save you!” That’s a relief. But only if you believe the myth that your fellow humans are kinder and wiser than the gods.
- You know the genre of image, so this one is pretty good:
This is like a painting from the Renaissance. pic.twitter.com/nhmxYxD0vC
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) April 22, 2018
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