Apple has released a new iPhone. Almost nobody cares. But those that do care, care especially so, and dearly want you to know exactly how much they care.
Grown men — and a few women — earning their money through praising a corporation, cheerleading its products, sneering at The Other, delivering never fully the truth, lest they be exposed for a lack of faith, for denying the most holy precepts of the tribe, for non-belief.
I thought we’d be further along than this.
I was wrong.
Apple bloggers are complaining that others — some who do not care as muchly and deeply as they, but of course how could they — have received their new iPhone before them.
We possess the most powerful tools ever, yet far too many are more emotionally fragile than ever.
When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There’s the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there’s a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.
Fragile and fearful, our technology not empowering but disenfranchising, separating us from our rough and dirty and transporting us instead to the gleaming cleanliness of the screen, where all realities are made real, even the most virtual, but where the sights, sounds, words and feels unleash our dreads, confirm our suspicions.
The year I predict our own government, with the assured compliance of Silicon Valley and corporate-owned media, officially declare an election null and void.
(It’s not a assault upon democracy if all of us comply.)
Our most fragile selfs will abide by their ruling, convinced but horrified at the ease with which those beyond our tribe, those eager to harm us, limit us, snatch away our way of life, have tricked us, duped us, led us down a false path, made us cast a wrong vote — or worse, changed our vote, yes!, this can be the only explanation.
Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, will appear on Tuesday before senators who are investigating how Russia spread misinformation online during the 2016 presidential campaign. Along with Google and Twitter, Facebook has been blamed for helping Russian agents influence the outcome of the election.
Several CNN commentators argued for stricter regulation of speech on the Internet during a segment Monday night in which they discussed Russian activity online.
Former deputy director of the CIA’s counterterrorist center and the FBI’s national security branch Philip Mudd advocated for real-time countermeasures against Russian content on Facebook. He was responding to a new report that Facebook executives believe as many as 126 million people saw content generated by Russian “troll farms” on the social media site.
Disclosures by Facebook about covert Russian influence on its platform around the election have centered on 3,000 ads bought by accounts connected to pro-Kremlin firm Internet Research Agency. The Russian actors also, however, churned out free posts, including event listings. Facebook has estimated that the ads were seen by 10 million people, but academic researchers believe the content, such as free posts and event listings, could have reached many times that.
How can we trust your vote, how can we trust you, when merely going online, which everyone does, everyday, all day, can so easily penetrate your mind and sway your thoughts?
We are making ourselves powerless, happily reliant upon the highly iterative, massively scalable power held inside our newest tools. Praising the corporation is just one more sign that we doubt our self, even as we suspect everyone and everything else.
That’s an opportunity.
I cannot promise you it will be seized well.