Category Archives: General

Announcements, comments, sideswipes, whatever

weapons of mass distraction

Geoff Manaugh / knows the score*. Your outrage is exactly what they want:

… an endless landslide of trivial distractions has been steadily eliminating the ground needed for systemic political change. People who might once have been an opposition—or, even better, people who might once have been leaders capable of articulating a clear way forward, rather than a muddled, shy, often weirdly apologetic way to resist someone else’s initiative—are left genuinely believing that if only Mike Pompeo could be forced to admit that an NPR reporter knows where Ukraine is, then some sort of symbolic, magical goal will be achieved.

Remix as necessary for non-USian contexts. Note that he’s not saying you shouldn’t get angry; he’s saying that taking your anger to the birdsite and performing it to your siblings-in-anger is not just useless, but actively counterproductive.

Note also that he’s right.


BLDGBLOG is of the blogs I’m gladdest to see fire back into life this year; Manaugh was always something of a blogging hero to me back in the day, someone to emulate. He has a deceptively simple “beat” or home topic, often approached from a more-or-less science-fictional angle; he writes clearly and regularly; and he can be quite concise. I am much better at two of these things than the third one yes ok no prize for pointing that out thankyouverymuch. Prolixity is my signature move; other blogs are available!

[ * There is a prize for identifying this cultural reference in the comments, but receiving the prize is contingent on your managing not to make me feel old in the manner of your mentioning it. So good luck with that! ]

Albion reimagined, blogosphere rebooted

Paul Watson (ov thee Lazarus Corporation) has been reading vintage anarcho-utopias:

Despite the clumsiness of info-dumps and/or other literary faults, fiction — or any other artform — is far better at describing, and igniting the imagination aboutdifferent potential futures than any dry political tract (or indeed blogpost) filled with jargon, references, and footnotes. That’s why even frothing right-wing libertarians spend more time trying to get people to read Ayn Rand’s terrible novels rather than pushing people to read a formal socio-economic treatise on the subject.

Something wonderful appears to be happening: blogs long dormant are firing furtively into signs of new life in the dusty reaches of my RSS reader, making me very glad I didn’t hoover out all of the much-loved number stations that had seemingly stopped for good. (Joanne McNeil thinks it’s a (qualified) good idea, though Jeffrey Moro has some concerns.)

Sadly not all of them have comments fields (which I guess I can forgive, remembering how that all went down), and others are using third-party horrors like Discus (folks, if Farcebork is a log-in option, you’re spreading Zuckerbot’s cookie-cooties for him); hell knows who’s still got pingbacks running, or has any reliable way of clocking incoming links other than G**gle’s analytics package. But perhaps we can nonetheless find a way not to rebuild the old blogosphere, but build a new one — one wiser to its own weaknesses, more mindful of its strengths. Watson again:

The way to start to change society is to just do it, not to wait for an election (or revolution), nor to wait for someone else to do it. There’ll be no Big Event that signals your permission to start making the world better, and even if there was you wouldn’t be able to afford a ticket anyway, as most of them would have been given to VIPs via corporate hospitality before they went on general sale.

Be the change you want to see, innit?

Blogs were born from sharing stuff you thought worth sharing, be it links or thoughts or whatever else. If you’re reading this and you think there’s a chance that I’m not reading you, or not reading something else you think I might appreciate, drop a comment below (by clicking through to the site from the feed). I want to know what’s on your mind.