Saturday, June 18, 2016


My movie last night was the one about Mark Zuckerberg called “The Social Network.”  It’s a thoroughly sophomoric movie about a sophomoric website premised on the lives of college -- or maybe high school -- sophomores.  If this post is a little deranged it's because somehow it has crept into my mind.  I found it painful to watch but I stayed with it because I hoped to understand why my friends and relatives — most of them — even after I’ve explained to them why Facebook is evil, will continue to use it.  The movie illustrates the base of its nastiness but doesn’t address how it became spyware, exploitation by international forces, and took advantage of the vulnerability of children.

Why can’t people protect themselves?  I think in the first place they secretly agree that the point and goal of life is to get laid and make money.  What else?  But that’s down deep.  What they always say is that it’s to keep in touch with their families.  That Facebook is like granny’s photo folder which she loves to show people, as though it proves something about her.

The other thing they say is that it’s easy and fast.  Right.  Another zipless fuck in a world where people are rushing off to do the next thing and have to keep a checklist to remember what they did earlier.

There is no awareness of the great sucking computer turbines that are listing everything about everyone, not just the confidences about things best kept unshared, but also what time their computer is on, who is piggy-backing on your hard drive (which you don’t even know yourself), how much you are self-medicating, maybe not heroin but little OTC patent medicines.  

I’ve been struggling with “dry eye syndrome” which is related to ocular rosecea. It makes eyes itchy and red.  Last night I ordered some tea tree oil from Australia because it is supposed to be effective.  I also looked at the veterinary version of an antibiotic that's recommended for ocular rosecea because for humans one must have  a prescription.  To evade physicians, one must evade prescriptions.  One reason to evade prescriptions is to cure something you don’t want even your doctor to know about: like what used to be called VD.  Now it’s STD’s.  Using veterinarian meds can save a lot of money. 

Female “frills” are very similar tissues to eyelids. Treatment for one is like treatment for the other. Even off Facebook, if you use Amazon or even Netflix, things are so connected (because the big outfits sell all your info to each other) that I will probably get a barrage of ads about both eyes and labia for a week or so. 

Because I bought a new pair of slippers last week, ads for them have been following me everywhere.  What sense does it make to try to sell me slippers when I just bought a pair?  Some of the ads will be about eye surgery to improve vision and some will be offers to surgically remove labia to make a woman more attractive to some men.  I don’t know how one flashes this improvement-by-subtraction in a pickup bar, but why would I?

“The Social Network” is not about forming lasting ties and not even about sex particularly.  Zuckerberg is portrayed as an Asperger guy, but not one that joins up with Aspie culture.  Rather he is just flat and glowering.  The real life man defends himself — not against his callousness but against any implication that he can’t attract women — by pointing out his wife.  Her maiden name is Chan.  I think that if she were Japanese, a culture that supports longing faithfulness even after death, the argument would be more convincing.

This morning I read on a social media comment stream that one can be truly who one is on social media, deeply understood, a “family.”  Oh, yeah?  Try borrowing money.  If one wants to build a small social circle that is “safe”, why use social media?  Why not build one’s own email list?  I’ll tell you why — no one will respond.  Because the point of responding on social media is to show off the person you would like to be seen as — not who you really are.  If this commenter is sincere, she is doomed to be savaged.

The willowware story

The framework of this movie about Facebook is NOT about human relationships, which are pretty abysmal as seen here, but about the LEGAL network that controls the social contract: permissions, money, and documents that are unreadable and therefore reinterpreted by judges to suit their susceptibility to public opinion, esp. if they are elected judges who need money for campaigns.

Aside from that, social media is really about theatre, show-biz, soap opera, reality TV, fancy-dancing quicktime.  It’s no more real than a puppet show and the puppets are only taken to be real because they have genitalia.  

Except that money speaks even louder.  As I write, the news breaks that the Zuckerberg’s new baby girl, named “Max” (play with that a bit), has prompted the happy couple to give away billions of dollars — well, not actual dollars, but shares in Facebook.  If you watched this movie, you’ll have suspicions about what that really means in terms of the value of Facebook stock.  Like any other shares, it is highly manipulable.  And where does the liability go? 

What could possibly go wrong?  Lawsuits.  A list of suggestions for suits:  you can’t terminate accounts; face recognition eliminates anonymity; stalking; breaking of copyrights; psychological problems like bullying, hate-mail, seduction, pedophilia;  mafia infiltration; hate stereotypes and actual hate crimes; hacking at the level of peskiness or at the level of shutting down whole national power grids.  

Get on the rest of the internet.  Broaden your world.  You can do so much more damage if you try.

I suspect that the Zuckerbergs are moving their money out of Facebook shares as a strategy.  In fact, it may be that social media as we know it now — indiscriminate, world-wide, dependent on data-mining — will disappear. It's getting boring. What will remain?  We need a higher consciousness of what’s already there: affinity groups, professional working groups, actual classes with grades and credits, and a helluva lot of underground stuff that’s plotting about how to exploit social media.  Don’t quit your real world.

I’ve been following the series called "Numb3rs", which is about brilliant math professors who are not obsessed with monetization like Zuckerberg.  They talk about theories and write out long series of symbols that are not quite algorithms for some reason.  Maybe they are.  It’s a more adult version of people who can “code” like that because it’s not just about coding programs.  As one character on "NCIS" put it, “I don’t want to spend my life in a darkened room staring at a screen.”  

In short, social life in the real world is a helluva lot more than the Internet and always will be, I don’t care how “virtual” or even “virtuous” it is.

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