👓 The price of relevance is fluency | Anil Dash

Read The price of relevance is fluency by Anil Dash (Anil Dash)
“You can’t say anything anymore! You can’t even make jokes!” There’s a constant complaint from people in positions of power, mostly men, who keep making the ridiculous assertion that they’re not able to speak in public. What they actually mean is they no longer understand the

An awesome little essay. I highly recommend this for a useful lens into our current culture and particular with reference to fame, politics, and social media.

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👓 How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million | New York Times Magazine

Read How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (nytimes.com)
Inside the growth of the most controversial brand in the wellness industry.

It took a few sittings to slog my way through this. It feels like the author is attempting to bash Paltrow, but somewhere in the middle she over-idolizes her before going back to bashing her a bit. It’s an interesting viewpoint on the credulity of celebrity in modern culture.

C’mon people! Celebrities are people too. They crap just like everyone else. The one difference I’ve found more often than not though is that they’re painfully insecure, regardless of what you may read or see. I suspect most people would be far better off reading the Greek philosophers to find eudaimonia rather than buying Goop from Gwyneth.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The minute the phrase “having it all” lost favor among women, wellness came in to pick up the pieces. It was a way to reorient ourselves — we were not in service to anyone else, and we were worthy subjects of our own care. It wasn’t about achieving; it was about putting ourselves at the top of a list that we hadn’t even previously been on. Wellness was maybe a result of too much having it all, too much pursuit, too many boxes that we’d seen our exhausted mothers fall into bed without checking off. Wellness arrived because it was gravely needed.  

August 05, 2018 at 11:59AM

Whom exactly were we trusting with our care? Why did we decide to trust them in the first place? Who says that only certain kinds of people are allowed to give us the answers?  

Part of the broader cultural eschewing of science as well? Is this part of what put Trump and celebrities in charge?
August 05, 2018 at 12:03PM

She reached behind her to her bookshelf, which held about a dozen blue bottles of something called Real Water, which is not stripped of “valuable electrons,” which supposedly creates free radicals something something from the body’s cells.  

I question her credibility to market claims like this. I suspect she has no staff scientist or people with the sort of background to make such claims. Even snake oil salesmen like Dr. Oz are pointedly putting us in hands way too make a buck.
August 06, 2018 at 01:40PM

Her feet were bare now, and they had a perfect, substantial arch, just as the Romans intended, engineered to support her statue body. I bet they were a Size 8. People make shoes so that feet like those can wear them. We blew smoke up the chimney.  

I feel like she’s taken an interesting article and flushed it in the preceding several fawning paragraphs.
August 06, 2018 at 02:34PM

Goop wanted Goop magazine to be like the Goop website in another way: to allow the Goop family of doctors and healers to go unchallenged in their recommendations via the kinds of Q. and A.s published, and that just didn’t pass Condé Nast standards. Those standards require traditional backup for scientific claims, like double-blind, peer-reviewed studies.  

Nice that they come right out and say it.
August 06, 2018 at 03:42PM

I thought about my children, one of whom plays the flute, but unwillingly, and therefore won’t practice. Yes, I thought about my children, only one of whom might shake your hand while the other would sooner spit on it, though they will both reliably do an elaborate orchestration of armpit farting while I’m trying to hear myself think. I thought of my mother and father, and an earlier conversation I had with my sisters that day about where to arrange our parents in a room for one of our kids’ bar mitzvahs so that they wouldn’t interact, so raw still are the wounds 35 years after their divorce.  

No mention of the difference between how we act at home with family versus with strangers. She’s set up a false dichotomy to accentuate a point that’s probably not worth making. Or if she wants to make a point it should be this one that I’ve just highlighted. If course she’s feeling inadequate. I’ll bet G. P. does too, particularly after the writer leaves and she doesn’t have to put her best face on.
August 06, 2018 at 03:46PM

After a few too many cultural firestorms, and with investors to think about, G.P. made some changes. Goop has hired a lawyer to vet all claims on the site. It hired an editor away from Condé Nast to run the magazine. It hired a man with a Ph.D. in nutritional science, and a director of science and research who is a former Stanford professor. And in September, Goop, sigh, is hiring a full-time fact-checker. G.P. chose to see it as “necessary growing pain.”  

But only to protect investors… Not customers that they’ve been duping all along.
August 06, 2018 at 03:52PM

I once went to an internist twice, complaining of preternatural exhaustion, only to be told that I was depressed and sent home. On the third visit, she begrudgingly took my blood and called me later to even more begrudgingly apologize and tell me I had a surprising case of mononucleosis. I know women who’ve been dismissed by their doctors for being lazy and careless and depressed and downright crazy. Was it any wonder that they would start to   

Sample size of one in an anecdote is just rubbish.
August 06, 2018 at 03:54PM

I heard a rumor that she  

Don’t these types of things happen to EVERY celebrity?
August 06, 2018 at 03:58PM

People think they want celebrities to speak honestly, but we’re not really that happy when they do.  

Definition of celebrity: one who is coddled and rarely said no to.
August 06, 2018 at 03:59PM

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👓 The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger | Quinn Norton | The Atlantic

Read The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger by Quinn Norton (The Atlantic)
I saw the internet create and destroy a bizarro version of myself.

I’ve been reading some pieces from my archive on context collapse and people losing jobs/opportunities as the result of online bullies digging up old social media posts which has become a bigger issue as of late. Many people have been wanting to leave social media platforms for their toxic cultures, and this seems to be a subset of that in that it has people going back and deleting old social posts for fear of implications in the present.

Quinn Norton has some relatively sage advice about the internet in this piece. Of course it’s no coincidence that The New York Times editorial board wanted to hire her.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

History doesn’t ask you if you want to be born in a time of upheaval, it just tells you when you are.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

I have a teenage daughter, and I have told her all her life that all the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

This taught me that not everyone worthy of love is worthy of emulation. It also taught me that being given terrible ideas is not a destiny, and that intervention can change lives.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:02AM

Not everyone believes loving engagement is the best way to fight evil beliefs, but it has a good track record. Not everyone is in a position to engage safely with racists, sexists, anti-Semites, and homophobes, but for those who are, it’s a powerful tool. Engagement is not the one true answer to the societal problems destabilizing America today, but there is no one true answer. The way forward is as multifarious and diverse as America is, and a method of nonviolent confrontation and accountability, arising from my pacifism, is what I can bring to helping my society.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:03AM

I am not immune from these mistakes, for mistaking a limited snapshot of something for what it is in its entirety. I have been on the other side.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:04AM

I had been a victim of something the sociologists Alice Marwick and danah boyd call context collapse, where people create online culture meant for one in-group, but exposed to any number of out-groups without its original context by social-media platforms, where it can be recontextualized easily and accidentally.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:05AM

I had even written about context collapse myself, but that hadn’t saved me from falling into it, and then hurting other people I didn’t mean to hurt.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:06AM

It helped me learn a lesson: Be damn sure when you make angry statements.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Don’t internet angry. If you’re angry, internet later.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Context collapse is our constant companion online.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

I used to think that showing someone how wrong they were on the internet could fix the world. I said a lot of stupid things when I believed that.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:08AM

I am not, and will never be, a simple writer. I have sought to convict, accuse, comfort, and plead with my readers. I’m leaving the majority of my flaws online: Go for it, you can find them if you want. It’s a choice I made long ago.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:09AM

If you look long enough you can find my early terrible writing. You can find blog posts in which I am an idiot. I’ve had a lot of uninformed and passionate opinions on geopolitical issues from Ireland to Israel. You can find tweets I thought were witty, but think are stupid now. You can find opinions I still hold that you disagree with. I’m going to leave most of that stuff up. In doing so, I’m telling you that you have to look for context if you are seeking to understand me. You don’t have to try, I’m not particularly important, but I am complicated. When I die, I’m going to instruct my executors to burn nothing. Leave the crap there, because it’s part of my journey, and that journey has a value. People who came from where I did, and who were given the thoughts I was given, should know that the future can be different from the past.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:13AM

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👓 The viral #PlaneBae story is raising some serious questions about how creepy social media can be | Business Insider

Read The viral #PlaneBae story is raising some serious questions about how creepy social media can be (Business Insider)
An unlikely couple became unlikely internet celebrities overnight in the #PlaneBae saga, and their experience raises some serious questions about privacy and social media.
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👓 We Are All Public Figures Now | Ella Dawson

Read We Are All Public Figures Now by Ella Dawson (Ella Dawson)
A woman gets on a plane. She’s flying from New York to Dallas, where she lives and works as a personal trainer. A couple asks her if she’ll switch seats with one of them so that they can sit together, and she agrees, thinking it’s her good deed for the day. She chats with her new seatmate and ...

This story brings up some interesting questions about private/public as well as control on the internet. Social media is certainly breaking some of our prior social norms.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

To summarize his argument, the media industry wants to broaden our definition of the public so that it will be fair game for discussion and content creation, meaning they can create more articles and videos, meaning they can sell more ads. The tech industry wants everything to be public because coding for privacy is difficult, and because our data, if public, is something they can sell. Our policy makers have failed to define what’s public in this digital age because, well, they don’t understand it and wouldn’t know where to begin. And also, because lobbyists don’t want them to.  

We actively create our public selves, every day, one social media post at a time.  

Even when the attention is positive, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your mind reels at the possibility of what they could find: your address, if your voting records are logged online; your cellphone number, if you accidentally included it on a form somewhere; your unflattering selfies at the beginning of your Facebook photo archive. There are hundreds of Facebook friend requests, press requests from journalists in your Instagram inbox, even people contacting your employer when they can’t reach you directly. This story you didn’t choose becomes the main story of your life. It replaces who you really are as the narrative someone else has written is tattooed onto your skin.  

What Blair did and continues to do as she stokes the flames of this story despite knowing this woman wants no part of it goes beyond intrusive. It is selfish, disrespectful harassment.  

Previously this was under the purview of journalists who typically had some ethics as well as editors to prevent this from happening. Now the average citizen has been given these same tools that journalists always had and they just haven’t been trained in their use.

How can we create some feedback mechanism to improve the situation? Should these same things be used against the perpetrators to show them how bad things could be?  

A friend of mine asked if I’d thought through the contradiction of criticizing Blair publicly like this, when she’s another not-quite public figure too.  

Did this really happen? Or is the author inventing it to diffuse potential criticism as she’s writing about the same story herself and only helping to propagate it?

There’s definitely a need to write about this issue, so kudos for that. Ella also deftly leaves out the name of the mystery woman, I’m sure on purpose. But she does include enough breadcrumbs to make the rest of the story discover-able so that one could jump from here to participate in the piling on. I do appreciate that it doesn’t appear that she’s given Blair any links in the process, which for a story like this is some subtle internet shade.

But Blair is not just posting about her own life; she has taken non-consenting parties along for the ride.  

the woman on the plane has deleted her own Instagram account after receiving violent abuse from the army Blair created.  

Feature request: the ability to make one’s social media account “disappear” temporarily while a public “attack” like this is happening.

We need a great name for this. Publicity ghosting? Fame cloaking?

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