As Expected

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post is a hero. He tried Trump’s Twitter knock-off, Truth Social, so we don’t have to. His conclusion:

“Seems Trump’s social media venture is headed the way of Trump University, Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, Trump’s charities, Trump mattresses, Trump steaks, Trump clothing, Trump perfume, Trump lighting, Trump floor coverings, Trump eyewear, the Trump presidency and American democracy.”

Related.

Sentence To Ponder

From “How Trump Coins Became an Internet Sensation“.

Some context. Watchdogs have warned that Telegram a Facebook and Twitter-like social media platform exercises far less moderation than its rivals.

“In one post, a fake account for Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican closely aligned with Mr. Trump, shared a fake story on a fake Fox News website about a fake tweet by a fake Elon Musk, falsely claiming that Tesla’s chief executive would soon accept Trump coins as payment.”

Heaven help us.

Do You Remember?

That kid in science class that was so smart they had a hard time relating to others of lesser intellect. Yeah, the one with thick hard plastic framed glasses that you weren’t very nice to. Your similarly insecure friends and you called her a brainiac and other not so nice things.

Remember losing track of her after high school? Probably not since since no one ever paid her much attention to begin with.

While you were spinning your wheels drinking too much and trying to “find yourself”, she completed three degrees in biology and other sciences. Threw in a post-doc for good measure.

Initially at least, you may wanna call her Doctor at the next reunion, but why would she attend given the grief your knucklehead friends and you gave her?

She’s a contact lens wearing tenured professor of epidemiology now with 162,000 twitter followers. Drives a Tesla Model S Plaid and knows more about viruses than all your high school homeboys and you combined. Turn on the right cable news station at the right time and you might catch her helping everyone who slept through science better understand covid’s innumerable complexities.

Finally, she’s the center of attention.

I Am Happy To Report That I Got In Trouble

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In this day and age of unregulated social media algorithms that inflame our most negative instincts, how cool is it that one online community is making a concerted effort to do a hell of a lot better.

It doesn’t even matter that LinkedIn couldn’t detect the self-deprecating nature of my recent “Liberals Are Hypocrites” post. Their algorithm probably stopped at the offensive title and didn’t proceed to the body of the post that read, “Like me.” Or maybe it did scan those two words, but wasn’t able to detect my intended meaning. 

It’s all good LinkedIn, I wholeheartedly applaud your efforts even if I was wrongly caught up in your decency dragnet.

LinkedIn’s Learning Center does a great job explaining their ground rules. Here’s a taste:

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Hey Zuckerberg, Dorsey, et al., here’s a fourth “Be”. Be like LinkedIn.

 

I Predict There Will Be More Wild Ass Predictions

‘New York City is done!’

‘Office work is done!’

‘Higher education as we know it is done!’

‘Long distance travel is done!’

Why are so many highly educated people making such dumb, over-the-top predictions? Besides the fact that education and wisdom have never been closely correlated, it’s because the prognosticators are desperate to be heard above the din of the social media cacophony. PLEASE listen to my podcast. PLEASE read my twitter feed, ‘insta’, blog, book.

Scott Galloway is Exhibit A of this modern tendency towards hyperbole. Subtly, nuance, and ambiguity—the stuff of complexity—is passe, and we have the scramble to be relevant on social media to thank for that.

Lo and behold, New York City real estate values are on the rise again. Executives are desperate to have employees return to offices, college life looks and feels very familiar, and have you been in an airport lately? A bit more hybrid learning, telemedicine, and remote work aside; most ‘rona-inspired changes in behavior are proving relatively superficial despite the pandemic’s legs.

I would like you to prove me wrong on this, but neither do I expect many of the heartfelt proclamations of personal transformation to stick. Maybe a vicious virus can inspire a personal ‘reset’ of sorts in the short-term. Maybe people will simplify their lives; strike a healthier work-life balance; and commit more deeply to their family, friends, and neighbors. But as soon as the virus begins to fade, watch for long established habits to return. Human nature endures.

Ultimately though, when it comes to brash, facile predictions, maybe resistance is futile, in which case I predict the UCLA Bruin football team will win the Pac-12*.

*The last time that happened, Blockbuster Video was killin’ it.

Thursday Required Reading

1. Hiking Is an Ideal Structure for Friendship. Love stories like this.

“As soon as we complete one hike, we immediately establish when the next will be. We rotate the organization and planning duties, eeny-meeny-miny-moe style.

That person has complete authority and responsibility to organize the hike, select the location, provide the beer and other refreshments, and make any other side-trip plans. We’ve done breakfast, dinner. We sometimes hit various local watering holes, or we just plop down with a cooler in the woods somewhere. The organizer is responsible for setting up all the logistics, soup to nuts, and is not questioned on the decisions made.”

2. This game has surpassed League of Legends, Fortnite and Valorant as the most-watched gaming category.

3. 2021’s Best States to Retire. I know, I know, how can any state known for the blog ‘PressingPause’ be ranked 31st? Spurious methods.

4. Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College. Don’t know where to start on this one.

5. Mean tweets may take down Biden nominee. If only Neera Tanden had shown the same tact and diplomacy as The Former Guy. Has nothing to do with “civility” and everything to do with political power. It’s a tad bit ironic that the R’s are channeling Malcolm X. “By whatever means necessary.” (credit: DDTM)

6. The most important Western artist of the second half of the twentieth century. (credit: Tyler Cowen)

90 Year Old Legislators

A story, compliments of The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer:

“In a hearing on November 17th, Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, at eighty-seven, is the oldest member of the Senate, grilled a witness. Reading from a sheaf of prepared papers, she asked Jack Dorsey, the C.E.O. of Twitter, whether his company was doing enough to stem the spread of disinformation. Elaborating, she read in full a tweet that President Trump had disseminated on November 7th, falsely claiming to have won the Presidential election. She then asked Dorsey if Twitter’s labelling of the tweet as disputed had adequately alerted readers that it was a bald lie.

It was a good question. Feinstein seemed sharp and focussed. For decades, she has been the epitome of a female trailblazer in Washington, always hyper-prepared. But this time, after Dorsey responded, Feinstein asked him the same question again, reading it word for word, along with the Trump tweet. Her inflection was eerily identical. Feinstein looked and sounded just as authoritative, seemingly registering no awareness that she was repeating herself verbatim. Dorsey graciously answered the question all over again.”

If that’s not concerning enough, how ’bout this:

“Schumer had several serious and painful talks with Feinstein, according to well-informed sources. Overtures were also made to enlist the help of Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum. Feinstein, meanwhile, was surprised and upset by Schumer’s message. He had wanted her to step aside on her own terms, with her dignity intact, but “she wasn’t really all that aware of the extent to which she’d been compromised,” one well-informed Senate source told me. “It was hurtful and distressing to have it pointed out.” Compounding the problem, Feinstein seemed to forget about the conversations soon after they talked, so Schumer had to confront her again. “It was like Groundhog Day, but with the pain fresh each time.”

What the hell is going on? Why did Californians elect an 87-year old for a six year term? Was it because there wasn’t anyone a little younger and of sounder mind? And as Mayer makes clear, it’s not just California. Other citizens in other states are doing the same thing.

If I Could Only Follow One Person on Twitter

Normally, my favorite people on Twitter tend to be intellectuals or comedians, but these days, if I could only follow one person it would be Canada’s gift to the (dis)United States, Daniel Dale. He does an incredible job of repeating exactly what the President says almost in real time and then dispassionately explains all of his fabrications. Highly recommended. I expect him to be at 700k followers in short order.

In related news, for whatever reasons, I can’t get any traction on Twitter. I’m only about 697,350 followers behind D2. When you follow him, follow me too so that little gap doesn’t grow more vast.

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