Digital, Paper, Notes, Bits.
The final symptom is dread. Dread as a physical sensation—like the onset of a sneeze or a vomit. Dread as a certainty that tomorrow will be worse than today. That there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Or rather, that the end of the tunnel is actually behind me—I remember feeling happy in the past, although I cannot imagine it in the future.
This is the worst part: the conviction that every day of all the days left will be full of nothing but pain and despair.
One individual day can be lived through, but the mind can’t help calculating: fourteen hours to live though every day, 140 days left in the year. 365.25 days every year after that. How many years left? How many hours does that add up to? You’re going to have to live through every second of it. Tick. Tick. Tick.
If you listen to that part of your mind, it’ll kill you. And the hardest part is, knowing that doesn’t always help.
“Militarized” police equipment didn’t shoot Michael Brown, or kill Eric Garner in a chokehold.
We are being taught right now that this hypermilitarized police response to citizens exercising their Constitutional rights is a new normal…When police order reporters to turn off cameras and go home, one can safely assume it’s not because there is no more news to report.
— Xeni Jardin, journalist in Ferguson. (via mysharona1987)
Even at age twelve I could tell that Jimmy Carter was an honest man trying to address complicated issues and Ronald Reagan was a brilcreemed salesman telling people what they wanted to hear. I secretly wept on the stairs the night he was elected President, because I understood that the kind of shitheads I had to listen to in the cafeteria grew up to become voters, and won. I spent the eight years he was in office living in one of those science-fiction movies where everyone is taken over by aliens—I was appalled by how stupid and mean-spirited and repulsive the world was becoming while everyone else in America seemed to agree that things were finally exactly as they should be. The Washington Press corps was so enamored of his down-to-earth charm that they never checked his facts, but if you watched his face when it was at rest, when he wasn’t performing for anyone, you could see him for what he really was—a black-eyed, slit-mouthed, lizard-faced old son-of-a-bitch. He was a bad actor, an informer for McCarthy, and a hired front man for a gang of Texas oilmen, fundamentalist dingbats, and right-wing psychotics out of Dr. Strangelove. He put a genial face on chauvanism, callousness, and greed, and made people feel good about being bigots again. He likened Central American death squads to our founding fathers and called the Taliban “freedom fighters.” His legacy includes the dismantling of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the final dirty win of Management over Labor, the outsourcing of America’s manufacturing base, the embezzlement of almost all the country’s wealth by 1% of its citizens, the scapegoating of the poor and black, the War on Drugs, the eviction of schizophrenics into the streets, AIDS, acid rain, Iran-Contra, and, let’s not forget, the corpses of two hundred forty United States Marines. He moved the center of political discourse in this country to somewhere in between Richard Nixon and Augusto Pinochet. He believed in astrology and Armageddon and didn’t know the difference between history and movies; his stories were lies and his jokes were scripted. He was the triumph of image over truth, paving the way for even more vapid spokesmodels like George W. Bush. He was, as everyone agrees, exactly what he appeared to be—nothing. He made me ashamed to be an American. If there was any justice in this world his Presidential Library would contain nothing but boys’ adventure books and bad cowboy movies, and the only things named after him would be shopping malls and Potter’s Fields. Let the earth where he is buried be seeded with salt.
I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand under the weight.
— Malcolm X | The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1964)
After all, you are just not the person they’re comfortable with. You are your own person. Tell me, what the hell is wrong with that? They fuck with your head and it’s true. You fuck with your head as well but that’s another story. You have every right to do so. They don’t. They are terrified of their own insufficiency and would gladly take it out on anyone around them. Why should you be concerned with that? You will now, quite predictably, sit down and overthink it. God damn it, just don’t. Be perceptive. Know what your heart is about. Mind your own business. Let them go drown in plain stupidity. But do your thing. You can handle this.
— Albert Camus, Notebooks (via whyallcaps)
Phones can only work when they know where they are and are telling the phone company that. It’s not surveillance, it’s how radio waves work. This is the first reason for the network to work the way it does. The second? Billing. In fact, most of the surveillance networks in the world weren’t built to surveil at all, but to make things work at a fundamental level, and to bill people. Surveillance and intrusion are opportunistically inserted into good infrastructure.
He asserts that, increasingly, effective design means engaging with the messy politics – the “dark matter” – taking place above the designer’s head. And that may mean redesigning the organisation that hires you.
- Blurb for Dan Hill’s Dark Matter and Trojan Horses
A lesson I keep relearning: the type and quality of work an organization produces is entirely a function of how it is set up internally.
All the good intentions in the world cannot withstand processes optimized for a conflicting outcome.
- What outcome do we say we want?
- Is our current system optimized for that outcome?
- If not, what new muscles must we build to be able to effect that outcome? What skills must we learn or unlearn? What prosthetics must we acquire?