Saturday, January 02, 2021

A recurring theme of late...

From Reason magazine:
"As with far too many public policy disputes (over climate change, criminal justice, health care, etc.), it is not enough to merely observe that the opposing team has different ideas about how best to address a problem. No, the bad guys are either intentionally trying to make things worse or just too blinkered to admit there's a problem in the first place. The more partisan you are, the more likely you feel surrounded by murderers and denialists."
It's a good piece and worth reading. Also, I swear I hadn't read it before tweeting this:
When I was a kid, we had Choose Your Own Adventure books, and now we have Choose Your Own Reality

Don't like the world you see on regular old network news? Go to Fox News or MSNBC. If you're not getting the same buzz you used to from those outlets, you can always slide over to OANN or FSTV. 

On social media you can surround yourself with like-minded people, in groups where social capital is accrued by one-upping those around you in expressing the group's shared values more stridently than the next guy. If you do bother to take in media from the "other team" or tread in spaces where they congregate, it's not to understand them; instead, it's only a swift dip in and out, to copy/paste something for a fisking in front of your amen chorus, or maybe to count coup in the other side's comment section.

The insidious part is that modern social media, in a never ending quest for "engagement", is designed to foster this. "Oh, you like thus-and-such? Let us show you a bunch more stuff very much like thus-and-such. Just please stay online and clicking."

I have no idea what the end state of this looks like, but I'm not optimistic.