A Modest Proposal Review

Will you look at this?! Twitter has recreated the WordPress Gutenberg editor interface into their web product. Currently it only has a few blocks for text, photos, gifs, video, embeds, and polls, but it’s not completely horrible and it’s relatively fast and convenient.

The Gutenberg editor in WordPress:

The title of the pending post is "Hello to the New Editor"
Screen capture of the new Gutenberg interface

In fact it appears that they’ve pared the editor down substantially. A few more tweaks and it might be as clean as the Medium editor experience.

Want to add a video, just drop a youtube link:

Want to embed a blog post from somewhere else? Add the link in your tweet and get a spiffy Twitter Card (just like oEmbed!)

An Introduction to the IndieWeb

I can see people getting awfully tired of clicking that “plus” button interminably though. Maybe if the interface could algorithmically choose where to break text the same way it determines what tweets I’m going to see?

Now they just need an edit button and they’ve got a “real” blogging experience, but one that’s editable in tiny 280 character chunks. Who has the attention span for more content than this anyway?

I can already tell that newspapers and magazines are going to love this. Just imagine the ease of doing shareable pull quotes this way?!

I can see journalistic institutions rebuilding their entire platforms on Twitter already!

Old CMS -> Tumblr -> Medium -> Twitter!

What is your favorite editing experience?

  • The Tweetstorm-o-matic
  • WordPress’ Gutenberg
  • WordPress Classic Editor
  • Medium

Uh oh! I’m noticing that they’ve neglected to put a block in for a title area. Maybe we could just do a really short tweet up at the top of the thread instead? If only we could drag and drop tweets to reorder them? At least you can add new tweets into the middle of the stream.

Besides, who’s going to read anything but the headline tweet anyway. No one is ever going to read this far into a tweetstorm. Maybe a blog post where they at least know what they’re getting into, but never a 20+ card tweetstorm.

And would you look at that? They almost jumped ahead of Medium on inline annotations by allowing people to reply to very specific pieces of the text. I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t have the pretty green highlighter colors though.

Screencapture from Medium.com with an example of an inline response.
An inline annotation on the text “Hey Ev, what about mentions?” in which Medium began to roll out their @mention functionality.

Now if only I could register a custom domain on their service and have control over the CSS, Twitter could be a first class open web CMS.

#​I​CanOnlyDream

*Sigh* I suppose until then I’ll just stick with my humble little website that allows me to own and control my own data on my own domain name and communicate with others using simple web standards.

#​​IndieWebForever

🎧 The Myth of Meritocracy | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to The Myth of Meritocracy from On the Media | WNYC Studios

"Meritocracy" was coined as satire; the messaging for and against Medicare for All; and Dutch economic historian Rutger Bregman.

A college admissions scandal has highlighted what people refer to as "the myth of meritocracy." But actually, meritocracy itself is a myth. This week, On the Media looks at the satirical origins of the word and what they tell us about why the US embraces it. Plus, the messaging for and against Medicare for All, as well as a historical look at why we don't have universal healthcare. And economic historian and Tucker Carlson antagonist Rutger Bregman.

1. John Patrick Leary [@JohnPatLeary], professor at Wayne State University, on the history of the satirical origins of the word "meritocracy". Listen.

2.  Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1] of The Washington Post on the messaging war over Medicare for All and what the media is getting wrong about the proposal. Listen.

3. Jill Quadagno of [@floridastate] on the history of why the U.S. has shunned universal healthcare. Listen.

4. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman] on the myths about wealth and who creates it. Listen.

Loved hearing about the early origins of the meaning of meritocracy. Obviously we haven’t come close to helping level the playing field.

Watched W1A (Season 2, Episodes 1-4) from BBC | Netflix
Ian Fletcher, formerly the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, has taken up the position of Head of Values at the BBC.
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Monica Dolan, Jessica Hynes

Continuing on to finish off the second season. Some of the characters are beginning to feel weary to me, but they’re also such over-the-top caricatures that this would have been better to watch in smaller doses rather than two seasons at a time.

Watched W1A (Season 1, Episodes 1-4) from BBC | Netflix
Ian Fletcher, formerly the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, has taken up the position of Head of Values at the BBC.
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Monica Dolan, Jessica Hynes

Quirky characters and biting satire. Sadly I’m probably missing a lot of the “in” jokes, though I did pick up what looked like Alan Yentob arm wrestling Salman Rushdie in a short cameo appearance. A lot of the comedy revolves around the premise of people who are paid professionally to be communicators are some of the absolute worst communicators on the planet.

👓 Seashells Transform Suburban Bathroom Into Tropical Hideaway | The Onion

Read Seashells Transform Suburban Bathroom Into Tropical Hideaway (The Onion)
WOODMERE, OH—-A wicker basket filled with seashells and placed on top of a toilet tank has magically transformed Dale and Paula Watson's suburban bathroom into a serene tropical oasis, sources reported Thursday.

I’d have had more respect for the article if they’d mentioned how much additional tropicalness the half inch of dust added to the display six months later.

📺 "Black-ish" Black Like Us | ABC

Watched "Black-ish" Black Like Us from ABC
Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield. With Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown. Dre and Bow are furious after Diane isn't lit properly in her class photo; Junior claims there is unspoken colorism within the family.

I often appreciate these non-comedic episodes that don’t seem to fit thematically into the broader series that I signed up to watch, but I’m typically conflicted into thinking I ought to give up on the series at the same time. I’m glad that they’re putting some of these ideas into the series and in some sense force feeding their audience ideas they should be aware of. 

In this case, the ideas, while certainly interesting and worthwhile aren’t very new or unique to me, so I feel like they’re standing on a soap box and pontificating down to me. Perhaps worse, most of the cast of the show is very light skinned, and as a result the topic they’re presenting feels a bit white-washed as a result. I have to wonder if the cinematographers are lightening the characters on the show itself?  While this show doesn’t often have guest stars, it would be nice to see some additional diversity on it so that it felt like the producers are occasionally practicing what they’re preaching. As a result, this particular episode, while gripping in parts, felt a bit stilted to me.

I also can’t help but notice that the “white” Greek chorus at Dre’s workplace don’t appear in this episode, and that actually makes the more specific point of how classically stereotyped those characters are in contrast. I’m left wondering why there are no positive portrayals of “white” people for the segment of viewers to know who to hold up up as potential role models. I’ve heard about studies of satire relating to politics that people too often see what they want reflected back to them, so those who are borderline (or even excessively) racist aren’t going to see this show and necessarily change their viewpoints because they won’t see the awkward boss or co-workers and actually think that they’re acting inappropriately. This may mean that the show’s producers aren’t having the impact that they might otherwise be out to have when doing these more dramatic, social change focused episodes.

This show has now got me thinking of things three levels deeper than any of the issues it was trying to more overtly raise… and then I find myself wondering where is the comedy and satire I actually sat down to experience here?!

As I read Zeynep Tufekci’s book Twitter and Tear Gas while watching Chopped Jr., I can’t help but thinking that it would be an interesting satirical take to have a Chopped: Dictator’s Edition where oligarchs, dictators, and strongmen competed against each other to see who could best repress and control their countries.

I can just imagine the over-the-top descriptions the dictators could give in the recap interviews as we watched their half-assed handiwork. The chipper, but critical judging rounds could provide some serious satirical jabs. And after the commercial break, Ted Allen could pull back the cloche to reveal the severed head of the “chopped” dictator from that round.

“Judges I have prepared for you today, a jack-booted storm-trooper crowd suppression replete with hollow-point bullets, sides of cell phone jammers, armored tanks, and blood-spatter-proof anti-riot shields.”

Passingly I’ll note that unwittingly, Tufekci’s book might also serve as a useful playbook for dictatorial regimes.

👓 Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist? | The Spectator

Read Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist? by Rod Liddle (The Spectator)
I have spent the morning trying to draw a cartoon of a black person without it being racist. It’s bloody difficult. Especially the lips. Make them too big and anti-racist people will accuse you of being a white supremacist peddling, in their words, the old ‘sambo’ myth. But too small and they don’t look like the lips of very many black people. It’s the same with the colour. At first, on my cartoon, I used a black felt-tip pen and so the figure came out very black indeed. ‘Sambo’ territory again, especially when I added big red lips and very white teeth. In the end I used cross-hatching with a pencil but this was, to my mind, unsatisfactory.

👓 Montessori School Of Dentistry Lets Students Discover Their Own Root Canal Procedures | The Onion

Read Montessori School Of Dentistry Lets Students Discover Their Own Root Canal Procedures (The Onion)
NEW YORK—Inside the Montessori School of Dentistry, you won't find any old-fashioned cotton swabs, or so-called periodontal charts, or even any amalgam fillings. That's because at this alternative-learning institution, students are being encouraged to break away from medical tradition and discover their very own root canal procedures.

👓 Dear Marketing by Email “Experts” I’m Serious About Messing With You | CogDogBlog

Read Dear Marketing by Email “Experts” I’m Serious About Messing With You by Alan Levine (CogDogBlog)
Hi, Hello. I was wondering whether you’d be interested in selling advertising space on Does the phrase “No, not even after hell freezes over” mean anything to you? The advertiseme…

This is pretty hilarious. I definitely need something like this for my site.

👓 Lifefaker

Read Lifefaker.com makes faking perfection easy (lifefaker.com)
Lifefaker.com is a new tech startup with a mission: to help you fake a perfect social profile, whoever you are. Life isn't perfect, your profile should be.

I once heard someone say “Live an Instagrammable life” by which I think they meant live an impossibly beautiful professionally shot magazine-syled life that will make all your friends jealous.

As a result, I’m thinking about buying the “I Can Be Arty And Deep” package or the “I Own All The Things” package. Maybe both at the same time? They’re so cheap and simple… Surely this will make my life better and happier!

🎧 Episode 10 The Satire Paradox | Revisionist History

Listened to Episode 10 The Satire Paradox by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In the political turmoil of mid-1990s Britain, a brilliant young comic named Harry Enfield set out to satirize the ideology and politics of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His parodies became famous. He wrote and performed a vicious sendup of the typical Thatcherite nouveau riche buffoon. People loved it. And what happened? Exactly the opposite of what Enfield hoped would happen. In an age dominated by political comedy, “The Satire Paradox” asks whether laughter and social protest are friends or foes.

An interesting dissection of satire and the effects it does (or doesn’t) have on society. Sadly, a lot of the best biting satire doesn’t have the effect that many of us would like it to have. How can we subtly change this to create more desirous effects? I’d like to delve more deeply into the paper he references.1 [pdf]

Some of this reminds me of the ideas relating to doublespeak that I’ve written about in the past, but here, it’s actually comprehensible and understandable.

References

1.
LaMarre HL, Landreville KD, Beam MA. The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report. T. 2009;14(2):212-231. doi:10.1177/1940161208330904

📺 Michelle Wolf complete remarks at 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner | C-SPAN (YouTube)

Watched Michelle Wolf complete remarks at 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner from C-SPAN (YouTube)
From C-SPAN coverage, Michelle Wolf remarks at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Watch the complete video here: https://cs.pn/2JxzkC2

After having finally seen this, I don’t see anything wrong or problematic about Michelle Wolf’s act. In fact, she gave a generally solid roast that dished it around to almost everyone. If we want to take someone to task, why not Trump for being a “poor” coward? Was he worried he wouldn’t be the richest person in the room? Was Jeff Bezos RSVP’d?

Some have said that Wolf took Sarah Huckabee Sander’s appearance to task; the sad fact is that they’re just apparently not up enough on popular culture to have gotten some of the jokes. If anything Wolf was complimenting Sanders’ makeup technique.

On the other hand, if we want to beat someone up over taking people’s appearances to task, perhaps we should go back and do some better reporting on the President who says these things on a regular basis and not as part of an obvious comedy and satire routine? A real ad hominem appearance attack would sound something more like “With crazy hair, orange complexion, and bizarre makeup, I often wonder if Trump isn’t attempting to prove that he got just enough talent and votes to hold the office of “First Clown.” Apparently he wasn’t rich enough to buy the popular vote, but just like the sham of Trump University, he was able to afford the Electoral College. Can the voters get a settlement too?

At the end of the day it’s really Wolf who should be the most upset. The worst part of the whole performance was a painfully bad and poorly placed microphone that continually gave me nightmare flashbacks of Howard Dean’s Yahhh!! moment. Her material would have definitely done better with a more solid audio set up.

Now if the WHCA really wants to get righteously upset, maybe they should invite Jeffrey Ross to come? Perhaps he could toss off something tame along the lines of “I wouldn’t f@*k Trump with Sarah Huckabee Sander’s dick!” Maybe it would at least buy his redemption in Bea Arthur’s eyes?