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David Adams on Twitter: "The more power the left gains, the more vociferously will entrenched interests fight back. We better have a lot more in our arsenal than sarcasm and call-outs. Twitter is exactly the wrong place to prepare."
"The more power the left gains, the more vociferously will entrenched interests fight back. We better have a lot more in our arsenal than sarcasm and call-outs. Twitter is exactly the wrong place to prepare.

A few accounts miraculously navigate this poisoned discursive terrain adroitly. @BlackSocialists comes immediately to mind. They do Twitter "wrong" and it's wonderful to see.

That sort of patient, clear, drama- and hyperbole-free presentation is something to learn from. Stick to the principles, stick to the material analysis, dodge around the feints and discursive traps of the opposition.

These are skills we have to put real effort into learning, but then, they don't call it a fight or a struggle because it comes automatically, right? These rhetorical skills are part of our basic training.

Going for the sick own, the oh-snap fireworks, is about your own personal brand, your lil ego, & that, folks, is commodification in action. Socialism isn't about you-as-atomized-individual. It's about us, building understanding, seeing above the spectacle, gaining power together."
davidadams  twitter  socialism  activism  education  ego  personalbranding  solidarity  collectivism  bsa  blacksocialistsofamerica  socialmedia  individualism  howto  organizing  resistance  struggle  sarcasm  callouts  training  opposition 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Poe’s law explains why 2016 was so terrible.
"We will all remember 2016’s political theater for many reasons: for its exhausting, divisive election, for its memes both dank and dark, for the fact that the country’s first female presidential candidate won the popular vote by a margin of 2.8 million and still lost the election to an actual reality show villain.

But 2016 was also marked—besieged, even—by Poe’s law, a decade-old internet adage articulated by Nathan Poe, a commentator on a creationism discussion thread. Building on the observation that “real” creationists posting to the forum were often difficult to parse from those posing as creationists, Poe’s law stipulates that online, sincere expressions of extremism are often indistinguishable from satirical expressions of extremism.

A prominent example of Poe’s law in action is the March 2016 contest to name a British research vessel that cost almost $300 million. Participants railed—perhaps earnestly, perhaps jokingly—against the National Environment Research Council’s decision to reject the public’s overwhelming support for the name “Boaty McBoatface.” So too is the April spread of the “Trump Effect” Mass Effect 2 remix video, which resulted in then-candidate Donald Trump retweeting a video that may or may not have been a satirical effort to frame him as a xenophobic, fascist villain. June’s popular Harambe meme, in which a gorilla shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo was embraced in the service of animal rights advocacy alongside Dadaist absurdity and straight-up racism, is another. In each case, earnest participation bled into playful participation, making it difficult to know exactly what was happening. A ridiculous joke? A pointed attack? A deliberate argument? Maybe all of the above?

The rise of the so-called alt-right—a loose amalgamation of white nationalists, misogynists, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes—provides a more sobering example of Poe’s law. White nationalist sentiments have metastasized into unequivocal expressions of hate in the wake of Trump’s electoral victory, but in the early days of the group, it was harder to tell. Participants even provided Poe’s law justifications when describing their behavior. A March 2016 Breitbart piece claimed the racism espoused by the “young meme brigades” swarming 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter was ironic play, nothing more, deployed solely to shock the “older generations” that encountered it. According to Breitbart, those propagating hate were no more genuinely bigoted than 1980s heavy metal fans genuinely worshiped Satan. The implication: First of all, shut up, everyone is overreacting, and simultaneously, do keep talking about us, because overreaction is precisely what we’re going for.

Perhaps the best illustration of this tension is Pepe the Frog, the anti-Semitic cartoon mascot of “hipster Nazi” white nationalism. The meme was ostensibly harnessed in an effort to create “meme magic” through pro-Trump “shitposting” (that is, to ensure a Trump victory by dredging up as much chaos and confusion as possible). But it communicated a very clear white supremacist message. The entire point was for it to be taken seriously as a hate symbol, even if the posters were, as they insisted, “just trolling”—a distinction we argue is ultimately irrelevant, since regardless of motivations, such messages communicate, amplify, and normalize bigotry. And normalized bigotry emboldens further bigotry, as Trump’s electoral victory has made painfully clear.

Poe’s law also played a prominent role in Facebook’s fake news problem, particularly in the spread of articles written with the cynical intention of duping Trump supporters through fabrication and misinformation. Readers may have passed these articles along as gospel because they really did believe, for example, that an FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email server died mysteriously. Or maybe they didn’t believe it but wanted to perpetuate the falsehood for a laugh, out of boredom, or simply to watch the world burn. Each motive equally possible, each equally unverifiable, and each normalizing and incentivizing the spread of outright lies.

Hence the year’s plethora of outrageous election conspiracy theories—including the very false claim that Clinton was running a child sex trafficking ring out of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. Pizzagate, as the story came to be known, like so many of the stories animating this weirdest of all possible elections, has a direct link both to 4chan and r/The_Donald, another hotbed of highly ambivalent pro-Trump activity. It is therefore very likely that the conspiracy is yet another instance of pro-Trump shitposting. But even if some participants are “just trolling,” other participants may approach the story with deadly seriousness—seriousness that precipitated one Pizzagate crusader to travel from his home in North Carolina to Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle in order to conduct his own investigation, by opening fire in the restaurant.

And then there was Trump himself, whose incessant provocations, insults, self-congratulations and straight-up, demonstrable lies have brought Poe’s law to the highest office of the land.

Take, for example, Trump’s incensed reactions to the casts of Hamilton and Saturday Night Live, his baseless assertion of widespread voter fraud (in an election he won), and his unconstitutional claim that flag-burners should be denaturalized or imprisoned. Are these outbursts designed to distract the press from his almost incomprehensibly tangled economic conflicts of interest? Is he just using Twitter to yell at the TV? Is he simply that unfamiliar with well-established constitutional precedent? Is he, and we say this with contempt, “just trolling”?

The same kinds of questions apply to Trump’s entrée into foreign policy issues. Did he honestly think the call he took from the president of Taiwan was nothing more than pleasantries? (His advisers certainly didn’t think so.) Does he sincerely not remember all the times Russian hacking was discussed—all the times he himself discussed the hacks—before the election? Does he truly believe the Russian hacking story is little more than a pro-Clinton conspiracy?

It’s unclear what the most distressing answers to these questions might be.

Poe’s law helps explain why “fuck 2016” is, at least according to the A.V. Club, this year’s “definitive meme.” Content subsumed by Poe’s law is inherently disorienting, not unlike trying to have an intense emotional conversation with someone wearing dark sunglasses. Not knowing exactly what you’re looking at, and therefore what to look out for, obscures how best to respond in a given moment. More vexingly, it obscures what the implications of that response might be.

Take Pizzagate. If proponents of the theory genuinely believe that Clinton is running an underage sex ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizza shop, it makes absolute sense to debunk the rumor, as often and as loudly as possible. On the other hand, if the story is a shitpost joke, even to just some of those perpetuating it, then amplification might ultimately benefit the instigators and further harm those caught in their crosshairs (in this case both literally and figuratively).

Further complicating this picture, each new instance of amplification online, regardless of who is doing the sharing, and regardless of what posters’ motivations might be, risks attracting a new wave of participants to a given story. Each of these participants will, in turn, have similarly inscrutable motives and through commenting on, remixing, or simply repeating a story might continue its spread in who knows what directions, to who knows what consequences.

As the above examples illustrate, the things people say and do online have indelible, flesh-and-blood implications (looking at you, Paul Ryan). Heading into 2017, it is critical to strategize ways of navigating a Poe’s law–riddled internet—particularly as PEOTUS mutates into POTUS.

One approach available to everyone is to forcefully reject the “just trolling,” “just joking,” and “just saying words” excuses so endemic in 2016. In a given context, you may be “just trolling,” “just joking,” or “just saying whatever,” because you have the profound luxury of dismissing the embodied impact of your words. It may also be the case that the people in your immediate circle might get the troll, or joke, or words, because they share your sense of humor and overall worldview.

But even if you and your immediate circle can decode your comments, your troll or joke or words can be swept into the service of something else entirely, for audiences who know nothing of the context and who have exactly zero interest in both your sense of humor and overall worldview.

In short, regardless of anyone’s self-satisfied “don’t blame me, I was just X-ing,” all actions online have consequences—at least the potential for consequences, intended or otherwise. So for god’s sake, take your own words seriously."
whitnetphillips  ryanmilner  fakenews  media  facebooks  google  extremism  nathanpoe  poe'slaw  creationism  satire  sarcasm  internet  memes  shitpoting  pepethefrog  conspiracytheories  conspiracy  discourse  twitter  socialmedia  news  newscycle  donaldtrump  2016 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Gibson: Dreaming in Social Media · tealtan · Storify
An online dinner party (or nightcap) conversation in the wake of a "William Gibson gave a talk tonight at the Union Square B&N;, and threw out a provocative thought." Compiled by Allen Tan.
oversharing  intimacy  surrealism  dreamspace  networks  sharedconsciousness  unconsciousness  sharing  reading  blurredrealms  sleeping  waking  joy  sarcasm  snark  humor  telepresence  presence  future  fiction  onlinedinnerparty  humanity  andrewfamiglietti  sciencefiction  scifi  socialmedia  web  net  dreams  ideasmuggling  ideas  books  nyc  maxfenton  danielreetz  erinkissane  comments  aaronstewart-ahn  timcarmody  twitter  storify  conversation  2012  allentan  williamgibson 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Bajemos el paro - El Mostrador
"Porque los trabajadores de Chile no están sudando la gota gorda para que nos dediquemos a protestar. No están soportando abusos en las empresas o las mediocridades del sistema público para que sus hijos estén bailando en carnavales o participando en manifestaciones artísticas callejeras. … Ellos prefieren seguir con sus vidas. Continuar sufriendo los mismos problemas. … Seguramente no sospechan que sus hijos en pocos años vivirán lo mismo.

Detengamos todo esto porque no vamos a cambiar el hecho de que los políticos de este país no nos representen y más bien se interpongan en las necesidades y opiniones de las mayorías ciudadanas. Porque nos falta romanticismo, reflexión, cariño, lealtad. Nos sobra individualismo, egoísmo, cobardía, inseguridad. Porque la prensa se encarga todos los días de modificar hoy lo que vivimos ayer. Porque estamos solos. Porque este país no se merece la juventud que tiene. Porque en buen chileno, este país es una mierda y no pretende dejar de serlo."
chile  2011  education  politics  policy  protests  sarcasm  simóncastrogonzalez 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader [.pdf]
"1. Never read where your children can see you.
2. Put TV or computer in every room. Don’t neglect bedrooms & kitchen.
3. Correct your child every time she mispronounces a word.
4. Schedule activities every day after school so your child will never be bored.
5. Once your child can read independently, throw out picture books. They’re for babies…
7. Give little rewards for reading. Stickers & plastic toys are nice. Money is even better.
8. Don’t expect your children to enjoy reading. Kids’ books are for teaching vocabulary, proper study habits & good morals.
9. Buy only 40-watt bulbs.
10. Under no circumstances read your child the same book over & over. She heard it once & should remember it.
11. Never allow your child to listen to books on tape; that’s cheating.
12. Make sure your kids only read books that are “challenging.” Easy books are a complete waste of time. That goes double for comics & Mad mag.
13. Absolutely, positively no reading in bed."
reading  books  literacy  children  parenting  teaching  humor  sarcasm  via:thelibrarianedge  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  boredom  cheating  audiobooks  rewards  filetype:pdf  media:document 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Principle of compositionality - Wikipedia
"Jump to: navigation, search<br />
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In mathematics, semantics, and philosophy of language, the Principle of Compositionality is the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the rules used to combine them. This principle is also called Frege's Principle, because Gottlob Frege is widely credited for the first modern formulation of it. However, the idea appears already among Indian philosophers of grammar such as Yāska, and also in Plato's work such as in Theaetetus."
language  linguistics  semantics  sarcasm 
november 2010 by robertogreco
WARNING - We Filter Websites At School! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"If you work in a school that filters websites, feel free to post it in your front entrance, or in your classroom."
cybersafety  edtech  humor  sarcasm  children  parenting  teaching  online  web  internet  filtering  filters  schools  policy 
march 2010 by robertogreco
How to properly trash this article in a post in the Fray [sidebar to:] Bullies can be stopped, but it takes a village. - By Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella - Slate Magazine
"How to properly trash this article in a post in the Fray: Start with a homespun heading that positions you as an authentic sensible sort who's had it to up to hear with these pencil-neck intellectuals & their wrongheaded notions: "Horse puckey" will do the trick...First, attack the authors in a general sort of way. You can probably just paste in what you posted about the author of the last online article you disagreed with...Getting down to cases, throw a head-fake toward science...& then go hard the other way, toward personal anecdote...Now, go for the big finish that pulls together all the threads: "That's the obvious & perfect method for dealing with the problem that every single person in the universe employed with complete satisfaction until people like you came along & ruined everything." A coda on the damage to the fiber, fabric, or backbone of our society wrought by seekyuler humaniss w/ advanced degrees is optional."

[via: a comment in: http://joannejacobs.com/2009/08/15/how-to-stop-bullies/ ]
anecdote  writing  humor  sarcasm  bullying  howto  internet  web  commenting  opinion 
august 2009 by robertogreco
i-wood with blazing 3B technology
"a reaction to everyone using their i-phones/blackberries/other devices in the most irritating ways...to use when your friends/enemies/passing acquaintances are being jerks with their hand-held technology." Features: Web: "Hey, didn’t you need to check and see when the movie started? Now with the i-wood’s built in web connectivity you can not only check when your movie starts but when every movie starts ever. Or check when all future movies will start until the end of time because we all need more useless information at the tips of our fingers. In fact use the web for what it’s really for... porn, glorious porn. Go ahead and look at it in public there is no shame left in your soul anyway, just do it." Applications: Meeting ignore: "Now when you are in a meeting you have a reason to ignore everything that is being talked about. Who cares if they are telling you something important. The Meeting Ignore application gives you the right to be as rude as possible."
iphone  humor  sarcasm  meetings  society  etiquette  satire  iwood  technology 
may 2009 by robertogreco
In Defense of Teasing - NYTimes.com [via: http://joannejacobs.com/2008/12/08/teasing-is-educational/]
"Our rush to banish teasing from social life has its origins in legitimate concerns about bullies on the playground and at work. We must remember, though, that teasing, like so many things, gets better with age. Starting at around 11 or 12, children become much more sophisticated in their ability to hold contradictory propositions about the world — they move from Manichaean either-or, black-or-white reasoning to a more ironic, complex understanding. As a result, as any chagrined parent will tell you, they add irony and sarcasm to their social repertory. And it is at this age that you begin to see a precipitous drop in the reported incidences of bullying. As children learn the subtleties of teasing, their teasing is less often experienced as damaging."
teasing  children  learning  relationships  schools  policy  psychology  bullying  tcsnmy  sarcasm  irony  complexity  reasoning  nicknames  social  society  parenting  teaching 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Poe's Law - RationalWiki
"Poe's Law relates to fundamentalism, and the difficulty of identifying actual parodies of it. It suggests that, in general, it is hard to tell fake fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both sound equally ridiculous. The law also works in reverse: real fundamentalism can also be indistinguishable from parody fundamentalism. For example, some conservatives consider noted homophobe Fred Phelps to be so over-the-top that they think he's a "deep cover liberal" trying to discredit more mainstream homophobes."
humor  religion  fundamentalism  creationism  sarcasm  satire  parody  skepticism 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Bike Snob NYC: Bike Collabos: It Takes Two (to rip you off)
"This is perhaps the most contrived collision between a cheap bike and street art since some guy in Williamsburg intentionally ghost-rode his Schwinn Varsity conversion into a Biggie Smalls mural."
bikes  culture  via:migurski  humor  sarcasm  sellingout 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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