No Numbskulls on This Blog

In this, the second tome of the blog, I want to talk about what will become my policy of not writing big, long think pieces about some total numbskull who just so happens to have grabbed the attention of the broader community of the internet or the media at a specific point in time. That means no writings specifically about Milo Yiannopoulis, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, Lena Dunham, Mike Rowe…or any other largely irrelevant personality who takes a lack of talent in life and turns it into a media empire (apologies to Lena Dunham, who at least produces creative content). Sure, I might mention any one of these or other numbskulls, but I will do it talking about a particular issue.

I am setting this policy because we have very severe problems to talk about, and if it weren’t Milo Yiannopoulis, it’d be someone else. Times bring about certain types of people, and it is the conditions of the time which must be addressed before you can banish that sort of odiousness from the world. Also, I don’t find attacking these people to be particularly productive.

When I do delve into politics, it’s going to be about issues, and it’s going to be about issues facing real life people. I do not even remotely care if some multi-millionaire is denied a speaking opportunity at a university, or a television show on MSNBC. They can buy websites and produce their own propaganda to generate wealth and to further ram a wedge down the body politic. Their speech will not be censored, because they can buy their platform. They want to talk in a university town? They can pay to rent out the local theater that every college town has next to the university campus. Talking about them is a waste of our energy and effort.

will talk about working conditions and pay in the United States, I will talk about the abdication of responsibility of our government to infrastructure and public health, I will talk about the bipartisan disaster being visited upon our so-called territories like Puerto Rico, I will talk about labor unions and rights, race, gender, crime policy, and a whole host of topics. Numbskulls ranging from Donald Trump to Barrack Obama will probably pop up here and there, but I’ll be talking about issues.

You’ll also see discussed here some more controversial topics – Antifa, right-wing militias, anarchism, socialism, fascism. Soon, I will also post links to a podcast done by myself and a fellow anarchist – a podcast whose purpose is to demystify the left, and provide a radical leftist voice for today’s political realities. A disclaimer – I am a leftist generally, and a part-time anarcho-syndicalist. That is the perspective you will see here. It may change.

If you’ve stumbled here from the center (hello, liberals), or the right (hello, libertarians), or the far-right (hello, white nationalists), or from the I-don’t-care (hello, mostly everyone), I encourage you to stick around. The overall goal here is to reclaim the civic sphere from the dictatorial control of cyber-moguls and their algorithms, and to carve out a space for my own voice.

Ultimately, I am here to do my part to upend the neoliberal project. I – and you – are not just a consumer. Our identity is not our work, or what we buy, or how much money we make. We are not the people whose loyalty we have inadvertently sworn to. We don’t need to defend the indefensible, and we don’t need to fixate our opposition on individuals.

Next time I’ll talk about my own efforts to break out of “the algorithm” – how in just a couple days I have realized how difficult it is to read a diverse array of opinion without social media’s curated news feeds. What news websites and blogs have I started to follow – and from there, what interesting revelations have come from it.



Digital Exodus

In this inaugural post, I want to talk a moment about my recent decision to leave social media – and Facebook in particular. If anyone reads this blog, the first will probably be folks from my Facebook page in the days before it is finally closed (Friday, May 19, 2017). I did not want to engage with the subject on Facebook itself, and anyone who cares will be here.

My decision to leave social media has to do primarily with time, privacy, and focus. It has been 10 years since I first joined Facebook, and about 12 years since I first joined MySpace. I have been on social media for almost half of my life, and in the years since I began college it grew into an ever larger part of my daily routine. In January, I purged my ancillary social media profiles – Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter – with the ultimate aim to remove Facebook. Facebook, however, has become a part of digital infrastructure. In an ideal world Facebook would be the town square of the internet. I do not think that is what it is.

The biggest driver of my decision is purely personal – I just want my time back. For much of the past year I have been thinking over the idea of intentional living – filling my life with things which I intentionally am trying to cultivate, rather than just take the world in as it comes. Many hours – likely weeks – of my life have been taken up passively haunting news feeds and dashboards, and it has left me feeling more disconnected from friends and family than any time before I used social media heavily. It invades my work, it invades my practice, and it keeps me from listening, watching, reading, talking, or enjoying in entirety.

With discipline, these are things I could manage and balance on my own. There are many out there who can both use social media and set it aside when needed. I know myself, I know my limitations, and I know from years of experience that is not how I do business.

Continue reading “Digital Exodus”