Somebody Said The Wrong Thing On The Internet

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Somebody recently misspoke on the internet: using an incorrect term, making a problematic joke, expressing an opinion that did not fit in closely enough with official societal norms.

Perhaps it was an off-hand comment impulsively tweeted without close scrutiny of the political implications, or perhaps the person in question meant well, but did not have a full enough understanding of the issue at hand.

Maybe they meant every word they said and are unrepentant.

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Online Reality IS A Reality (It’s Just Not “Reality”)

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I’m reading with interest the saga of “Nicole Mincey”—the namesake of a self-described “black conservative” pro-Trump Twitter account that the President recently thanked. The avatar on the account turned out to be a stock photo. The person attached to the account was tracked down and was verified to indeed be “a” Nicole Mincey (with a slightly different name)…but almost everything else about the account was fake—all apparently part of a “bot” scheme.

As the Twitter “friends” of the ersatz Nicole Mincey were examined…many turned out to be fakes and stock photos as well.

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Jumanji 2.0: Are Our Avatars Realer Than We Are?

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If you haven’t seen the 1995 movie Jumanji, you probably should. I can describe it best as a true “children’s horror movie,” despite the fantasy elements. Basically, a child gets sucked into a jungle-based game, disappears off the face of the Earth and lives in another dimension for like a long time, and then returns as a haggard traumatized adult. Meanwhile, all the scary stuff from the game—mostly animals, but also a crazy game hunter—enter “our” world through the portal (and that’s exactly what it is, a portal) of the game board itself.

Now that I’ve described the original Jumanji to you, let’s move on to the upcoming (reboot?) Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.

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Fun With Facebook

I’m so bad with stuff like Facebook that I signed up for FB Messenger and I don’t even understand it. Right after I signed up they sort of congratulated me for having like 102 Instagram followers and I didn’t even sign up for Instagram and I was like:

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All I wanted was to check my FB messages on my phone. That’s it. Telling me I have 30, 60 people ready to talk to me RIGHT NOW!!!! is like:

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Revenge Of The “Nerds” And The Shaming Of Shia LaBeouf

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I’m going to tell you a tale about fight radar, and performance art, and frogs, and the President of the United States, and somebody who used to run around with these robots that turned into trucks, and like the future of humankind.

Once upon a time, there were these movies called The Transformers. They were made by a gentleman named Michael Bay and they starred the hottest young actor (so we were told by the media) at the time, Shia LaBeouf. They were supposed to be about how this “geek” (who was actually really really cool) befriended the most popular toy line from the 1980s, and got smokin’ hot babes. Plus: Optimus Prime.

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Modern Journalism And Its Discontents

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What if what we want the most—what we crave—is not the content of the news itself, with its inevitable biases towards or against one’s personal point of view? What if, instead, we merely want to know that new content has arrived, shortly followed by the Pavlovian ecstasy of clicking? Something that lights up in our brains: “just in,” “breaking news,” “exclusive,” “shocking.”

And then: the automatic reaction, the raw reaction. We might not have read most of the story. We might not have even clicked through the story, choosing instead to glance at the headline and perhaps an image on our feed.

How many times has the headline been enough—and yet we were to learn, in the hours and minutes that follow, that we misinterpreted said story, or merely that the entire thing was invented from whole cloth?

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