Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Russian Dolls of Incoherence

Megan quotes Arnold Kling quoting Marc Pesce who says:

Somewhere in the last few months, half the population of the planet became mobile telephone subscribers. In a decade's time we've gone from half the world having never made a telephone call to half the world owning their own mobile.

...fifty thousand years of cultural development will collapse into about twenty...each behavioral innovation is distributed globally and instantaneously...Any fringe (noble or diabolical) multiplied across three and a half billion adds up to substantial numbers. Amplified by the Human Network, the bonds of affinity have delivered us over to a new kind of mob rule...the more something is shared the more valuable it becomes...All of our mass social institutions, developed at the start of the Liberal era, are backed up against the same buzz saw. Politics, as the most encompassing of our mass institutions, now balances on a knife edge between a past which no longer works and a future of chaos.
Arnold wonders what this means for "educational and political institutions."

Megan wonders what this means for "social institutions."

I just wonder what the fuck it's supposed to mean at all. It's hard to think, though, with the sound of the buzz saw I'm backed up against. I'm also really tired of balancing on this knife edge. I wish I could get the past working and then maybe we could sort out the chaos over in the future.

God damn it, if someone would just turn the damn amplifier on the human network down I could maybe get a coherent thought going! How else am I going to stop the collapse of 50,000 years of cultural development? Am I the only one who realizes how important it is that we prevent the fringe from multiplying?!?!?!?!?!!!?! THE FRINGES ARE MULTIPLYING PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!??!!?!?!@?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!

Oh, well, neither do I.

15 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

I'm w/ you on this one, NoT. What the hell does any of that mean? And should we really believe that 50% of the planet now has a mobile?

Chad said...

For my "job" I've had to read the densest writings of the likes of Foucault and Derrida and I don't have any clue myself. I guess he means that technological ease of contact has completely changed the fundamentals of human interaction, although how that will lead to the collapse of civilization I have no idea.

chad said...

Oh wait, I think I get it. He's saying ideological movements will spread much faster and more efficiently thanks to recent leaps in technology (still doesn't quite explain the "buzz saw" and all that).
Of course, that ignores the fact that political, philosophical, social, and religious movements spread amazingly quickly throughout history even without cell phones and the Internet, but whatever. Like I said, I'm well-versed with Foucault, so I'm used to people acting like human history only goes back 100 or so years.

ignatov said...

Megan: "Yes, yes, I might as well just get a latte and a copy of Finnegan's Wake tattooed onto my bicep."

Wha...?

clever pseudonym said...

I've read that quote three times now and still don't have a clue what that person was trying to say. I think it was "oh no, the little people get to have access to phones and modern forms of communication, too"? And this is going to bring the world down or something?

This "hell in a handbasket" rants are always more interesting when the future's demise is blamed on something innocuous and stupid, like Elvis shaking his hips.

WTF does Finnegan's Wake have to do with any of this, though?

Clem said...

I have "The Complete Works of Milton Friedman" tattooed on my penis.

clever pseudonym said...

You just say that at parties to score with unsuspecting Libertarian chicks, don't you, Clem?

bulbul said...

cp,

you got it, but I don't think the word they'd use (if they stopped pretending for a second) is "little people". "Worthless scum" is what they'd say. In other words, Megan is worried that the opinions of some loser in Bangladesh/Swaziland/Latvia with a laptop and DSL connection will be given same consideration as hers and that must NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!1!!1!111!

Also, 50k years, wtf? Being very generous, the furthest back we can go is Sumer, 5th millennium BC. That would give us 8000 years at the most.

Clem said...

That's right, cp, but the morning after, in the cruel light of day, they see that it's actually a tattoo of "Das Kapital," and they experience a total nervous breakdown. And pregnancy.

bulbul said...

Oh Jebus...


I feel as if I've started seeing the seeds of a radical shift in social networks, thanks to the nexus of Facebook and Twitter.


'Cause, you know, Facebook and Twitter are the only real social networks there. Well fuck me...
Also, does she feel as if she's started seeing the seeds or has she actually started seeing them or does she actually see them? And I'm but a non-native speaker of English, but doesn't the verb "to notice" actually cover the meaning of "to start seeing"?

Seriously, folks, how can you read this crap every fucking day and not go insane, I will never know. You deserve a medal or something.

Susan of Texas said...

The cute part is that all this means to Megan is that people are crashing her exclusive social get-togethers. New manners aren't needed, the old ones still apply. Don't show up when you're not invited, and don't plaster an announcement of your whereabouts at all times.

People who grew up in New York often think the entire world consists of nothing else. Most people get along fine without Facebook or Twitter.

Susan of Texas said...

And I have Jane Austen's entire oeuvre tatooed on my ass. In Old English font.

NutellaonToast said...

"how can you read this crap every fucking day and not go insane, "

Have you not noticed that we have gone completely insane?

I've written so many rants that look like they were penned by an enraged wolverine on speed that I've lost count.

bulbul said...

NoT,

yeah, but all those rants are entirely appropriate considering the level of stoopid at Megan's place. And truth be told, I admire your eloquence and restraint. Me, I'd have long switched to Twitter and most of those contributions would predominantly consist of various forms of the c-word.

NutellaonToast said...

Admiration for my restraint... WOW, definitely a first there :)