Hey man, this is John Thomas, don't know if you remember me from back in the halycon days of Modern Primate, but I just wanted to send you message to see how things were going. I still miss your videos man! I can't believe it's already been a year. I'm not a huge fan of what they did to the channel once you left, although the puppets are kind of fun I guess, and in truth I've only watched a couple of videos. I hope everything is going swell out west, and that Nathan's doing well!
Of course I remember you, John Thomas!
Things are going okay. Whitney and I were married in August, and she recently signed a contract with MIT Press to publish her manuscript in early 2015. It’s a book about Internet Trolls, but really it’s more about how the western tradition is filled with systems that reward violent dominance. It’ll be a good one. Nathan is doing well, although there aren’t nearly enough dog parks so he hasn’t made as many friends here as he had back in New York. As for me, I’ve mostly just been freelancing, still not really sure what I want to do. How are you?
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents…
…Among the core self-identified purposes of [the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group] are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums…
The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”
Read through for source documents demonstrating how this done.
When you work for two co-owners who don't communicate
Owner A: You have a future with us. After we get our revenue turned around there’ll be salary, bonuses, and equity. Owner B: You were hired on a temporary basis.
Owner A: Yes, you really do have the authority and autonomy that your title reflects. You report to the general manager for standard operations and personnel issues, but you’re the director of your department.
Owner B: No, the general manager is allowed to micromanage your every move.
Owner A: Don’t worry about the miscommunication. Your future is secure. We just love everything you’ve been doing.
Owner B: Our miscommunication is your problem. No wait, you were a temporary hire in the first place.
The main problem I have with Men’s Rights Activists is that their name really doesn’t do them justice. They’re Straight Cis White Men’s Rights Activists. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign for the inclusion of trans* men in their spaces.
I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign to end the social stigma around black fatherhood. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign for better pay and equal career mobility for men of colour. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists actively campaign for more gay men’s rights. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists advise others in their group on how using f*ggot to emasculate men who aren’t part of their cause is alienating and marginalising other MEN.
I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign, raise awareness of, or support victims of male rape unless it’s in order to derail a discussion around female victims of rape. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign, raise awareness of, or support male victims of domestic abuse unless it’s in order to derail a discussion around female victims of domestic abuse. Men’s Rights Activists are hypocrites and frauds.
They’re bitter privileged white men who don’t want to campaign for the rights of men — they want to campaign to keep their privilege unchecked and their ability to discriminate against others. If you want to be a real Men’s Rights Activist — be a fucking (intersectional) Feminist. Peace out.
So I have been thinking about how the new guard of media sites seem to be having a lot of trouble with posting things that aren’t true. I feel like part of the issue is that writers for the new guard don’t realize that to many normal (i.e. non-media) people there is no…
Back when I worked at one of the more giant click-baiters in the world, I used to constantly stress the importance of fact-checking in our editorial meetings. I was met with reactions ranging from eyerolls to outright hostility. Granted, I don’t always have the best bedside manner, but these kids felt entitled to not need to be accurate in what they post. So I put in my two weeks notice. During my exit interview I told them that I was embarrassed about what working there said about me, and that they could just as easily crowdsource the same content from their users that their editors were making.
Soon after I left, they hired some Politico guy and made a big deal about how they were pursuing “hard journalism.” But the last time I checked, they were still failing to really make the distinction between their “journalists” and their content farmers.
PS: I’ve never considered myself to be a journalist.
From Lorde to Macklemore, it’s a sentiment that’s galling for its popularity: white artists need to stop using the wealth signifiers of rap music to gesture at their self-important “anti-consumerism.” What Allen misses as she washes rims in a kitchen decorated only with bottles of champagne is that it’s not anti-consumerism when it only targets one type of consumer.
Rap owns a unique history soundtracking the triumph of financial success in a country that long barred black Americans from that success. It shouldn’t be an opportunity for white artists to wax superior. Beyond poor taste, it’s the myopia of latent racism that’s more anxious about gold chains on a rapper than an Armani tie on a hedge fund analyst.
Similarly, Lily Allen’s response to sexist industry demands for thinness becomes entirely ineffectual when it lashes out against women who succeed despite those demands. Allen is not savily critiquing the world of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus, she’s resentfully bemoaning not getting to enjoy the same success.
“Hard Out Here” is the opposite of Mileywave. Instead of using black women as props to further her career, Allen blames them for its stagnation. In full-sleeved dresses Allen mocks her inability to twerk amidst women of color in body suits who launch into exaggerated dance moves, licking their hands and then rubbing their crotch. Her older white male manager tries to get to her to mimic them. Meanwhile she sings, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you/‘Cause I’ve got a brain.” Cut to black women shaking their ass, so much for sisterly solidarity.