As y’all know, when my liver’s been acting uppity I put it back in its place by playing a drinking game called “If They Were Serious.” You can vary it up a little bit if you want — “If They Were Competent,” for example — but it all boils down to the same thing: Serious social movements, staffed by serious people with actual goals, have to do certain things. Unserious movements don’t do those things — indeed, they react to those things as a vampire reacts to garlic. At best, they do a half-assed, sloppy, slap-happy version of those things, because although they vaguely understand that such things need to be done, being profoundly silly people they have no idea why.
For instance, word comes that the Totally Legit Joe regime is pushing Facebook et al to collude in banning badthinkers for posting “misinformation” about the Kung Flu, the “vaccine,” etc. Which has a “coals to Newcastle” vibe from jump street — you mean they’re not already doing that? If I wanted to have a few minutes’ pointless fun, I’d sign up for the major social media services and see how long it’d take me to get lifetime-banned from all of them. The Vegas line is “5 minutes, 20 seconds.” Bet the under.
I know, I know, the irony of “dissent” going from “the highest form of patriotism” back to “a hate crime” isn’t lost on me, but that’s the thing — this ain’t my first rodeo. Dissent was good from 2000-2008, then bad from 2009-2016, then good again, and now it’s bad again. Same as it ever was, except these days, fiscal arteriosclerosis has set in. The first time dissent was the highest form of patriotism, social media was in its infancy. Yeah, sure, there were human toothaches trying to censor Facebook etc. from the get go — the SJWs ye have always with you — but Facebook etc. weren’t going for it.
Not, let us note, because of anything so quaint as “respect for our Constitutional rights;” Zuckerberg was practicing his “Lavrentiy Beria in a hoodie” routine almost from the first post. Rather, it’s that social media is dependent on its users to create content. As the old saying goes, if you can’t figure out what a company’s product actually is, then you are the product. No cat pictures, no Facebook, and all the cat pictures came from the users. Ditto YouTube and all the rest — there’s apparently some guy calling himself “PewDiePie” who has seventy zillion followers. I’d never heard of this dude until Z Man mentioned him; apparently his shtick is playing video games drunk or something like that. He makes, or made, a very nice living doing it.
The point is, back in the early days you could make money doing stuff like that. Nobody had ever dreamed something like that was possible. Much like Anonymous White Male said in the “art rock” post below (paraphrasing Frank Zappa), back in the days rock was new enough that the record company execs had no idea how to handle it. They didn’t know what the kids would like, and they knew they didn’t know, so they used the plate of spaghetti approach — just throw it all at the wall and see what sticks.
Fast forward a few years, though, and now they’ve got a pretty good idea of what “rock” is. More importantly, they’ve got a pretty good handle on what the market for rock is. At that point, they do what execs in any industry do. Why bother trying to find the hot new thing, when you can just make it yourself?
And that’s why two guys you’ve never heard of, Max Martin and a dude calling himself “Dr. Luke,” have written every #1 pop hit for the last 15 years. I’m sure they don’t work cheap, but it’s a lot cheaper than scouting every bar band in America for a sound / look / stage act that might or might not pan out. Much easier to focus group a few traits, call up central casting, have them send over a made-to-order bimbo, and have him / her / xzhem front Dr. Luke’s latest computer-generated ditty.
And if everything on the radio all sounds exactly the same, that’s because it is exactly the same. Max Martin and Dr. Luke, and their zillion Mini-Mes at every level of the record biz, sometimes write songs for specific people — hey, guys, Katy Perry needs another ballad for her new album, hop to it! But mostly they write on spec, and shop it around. Different singers, different bands, different genres, doesn’t matter — this time its the two generic prettyboys in the “country” band Florida-Georgia Line singing it, but last time it was Katy Perry, the next time it’ll be the Backstreet Boys on their triumphant comeback tour, feat. Jay-Z and MC Funetik Spelyn. Same exact song, literally — it’s just that Kenny Chesney needed one more track on his album this time, and Taylor Swift didn’t, so now it’s #5 with a bullet on the “country” chart.
Same deal with social media. These days, there’s no discernible relationship between “content” and “revenue,” because Facebook doesn’t have “revenue.” All it has is a ticker symbol. Much like Enron, whatever physical product Facebook might once have theoretically produced — all those cat pictures — has been totally subsumed into share price fuckery. Yeah yeah, theoretically their “revenue” comes from ads, but as is well known, a) there is not, and never has been, in any industry, a discernible causal relationship between ads and revenue, and b) Facebook lies through its teeth about it anyway. How many times have they been caught now, including in sworn testimony to Congress?
Given all that, why not censor? Why not let your freak flag fly? Just as being innovative actually counts against you in the music biz these days — sure, sure, y’all might be the next Beatles, but we know Taylor Swift’s lab-grown replacement will move fifty million units — so there are considerable drawbacks, in the social media moguls’ minds, to letting just any old schmoe post anything he wants up on their platforms. What if Faceborg’s ad-generation algorithm decides to put a #woke company’s ad on a badthinker’s page? Faceborg’s entire business model rests on getting #woke companies to keep buying ads, since those ad buys are the only thing that keep the stock price up. And since those #woke corporations have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want those people’s business…
Swing it back to the top. Faceborg et al have figured out a surefire way to “make money” by manipulating their stock price. They don’t need a physical product to do it, but what they absolutely must have, the one thing from which all others flow, is “clicks.” Eyeballs. Whatever you want to call it, the whole house of cards is built on the premise that there are actual users out there — real, physical people, who exist in meatspace — who might theoretically buy the advertisers’ products. But….what if there aren’t?
Zuck et al have been pretty good at faking it so far, but as everyone knows, they are faking. For one thing, they keep getting caught. For another, even academics — the dumbest critters in captivity, Commodore 64-level NPCs who can be counted on to swallow the SJW narrative hook line and sinker — keep publishing studies showing that some huge number of all social media accounts, on all platforms, are bogus.
Indeed, you can test it for yourself. I know, I know, FED!!!!, but hear me out: Get a VPN. Sign up for a burner email. Rejigger the VPN, then use the burner email to sign up for Faceborg, Twitter, whatever. Don’t actually post anything; just sign up. It’s 1000 to 1 that even with no activity whatsoever, you’ll still be deluged with friend requests. The algorithms will take care of that, because as we’ve noted, they have to push the illusion that people are using these platforms, that eyeballs are landing on pages, that fingers are clicking on ads. You’ll get a whole list of “suggestions” of which accounts to follow, all of which — surprise surprise — are never more than a click away from some big advertiser.
Here, at long last, is the point: I think it’s safe to say that, given the current environment, those accounts posting “misinformation” about COVID are real users — actual people in meatspace. Also given the current environment, those might be among the only real users. Push them off in one coordinated purge, and two things seem very likely to happen: One, those few remaining actual users will end up spending their pointless hours talking to bots, which is good. And two, those who get banned will realize that they don’t need social media, which is much better.
You know Zuck et al are going to go apeshit with it. They can’t help themselves. They’re all SJWs, and SJWs only have two settings: Asleep, or incoherent frothing rage. “Restraint” is not a concept they’re familiar with, because if they could stop for a second and contemplate whether something might have some long-run consequences, they wouldn’t be SJWs in the first place. They’re going to go at the badthink bans Oriental despot-style — the guy who posted it, plus his entire family, plus their families, plus anyone whose name shares two letters in common with any of the above. And just like the COVID lockdowns had the highly beneficial effect, in many places, of getting people outdoors and actually interacting face-to-face with neighbors and family members, so kicking people off ALL social media, simultaneously, is going to make them realize just how much time they were spending clicking on stupid cat videos. Time that will need to be filled somehow….Loading Likes...