Leaving Facebook: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

I first quit Facebook in 2010, in response to a talk Eben Moglen gave at NYU about Facebook’s privacy-destroying ways; one of his most memorable lines was: The East German Stasi used to have to deploy a fleet of undercover agents and wiretaps to find out what people did, who they met, what they ate,Continue reading “Leaving Facebook: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide”

Social Media And Envy

Of the many states of mind I fear–trust me, there are many precincts of my mental spaces where I fear to tread–I dread envy the most.  And a prime domain for the evocation of envy is social media: it is where, after all, your ‘friends’ and those you ‘follow’ let you know how wonderful theirContinue reading “Social Media And Envy”

The Distinct Relief Of Being (Partially) ‘Off-Line’

I’ve been off blogging for a while, and for good reason: I’d been traveling and did not bother to try to stay online during my travels. Interestingly enough, had I bothered to exert myself ever so slightly in this regard, I could have maintained a minimal presence online here at this blog by posting aContinue reading “The Distinct Relief Of Being (Partially) ‘Off-Line’”

Nietzsche’s Six Methods For Combating Facebook Distraction

Nietzsche has something to say about everything. Including Facebook Distraction, an ‘impulse’ whose ‘vehemence’ we seek to combat, and for which he has found ‘not more than six essentially different methods.’ (‘The Dawn of Day‘, trans. JM Kennedy, Allen Unwin, 1924, Section 109)

Black Mirror’s Third Season Nosedives In The First Episode

Black Mirror used to be the real deal: a television show that brought us clever, scary satire about the brave new dystopic, over-technologized world that we are already living in. It was creepy; it was brutal in its exposure of human frailty in the face of technology’s encroachment on our sense of self and ourContinue reading “Black Mirror’s Third Season Nosedives In The First Episode”

The Phenomenology Of Encounters With Notification Icons

It’s 630 AM or so; you’re awake, busy getting your cup of coffee ready. (Perhaps you’re up earlier like the truly virtuous or the overworked, which in our society comes to the same thing.) Your coffee made, you fire up your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop, and settle down for the morning service at theContinue reading “The Phenomenology Of Encounters With Notification Icons”

Barbara Tuchman Contra Hot Takes

Barbara Tuchman kicks off the preface to her Practicing History: Selected Essays (Ballantine Books, New York, 1981) by writing: It is surprising to find, on reviewing one’s past work, which are the pieces that seem to stand up and which are those that have wilted. The only rule I can discover as a determinant–and it is aContinue reading “Barbara Tuchman Contra Hot Takes”

On Self-Censoring Opinions, Verbal Or Written

I would like to consider myself a plain-speaking person, the kind who is always able to ‘speak his mind,’ ‘say what he is thinking,’ ‘tell us what he really thinks,’ and so on. But I’m afraid the evidence suggests that all too frequently, in all too many conversational spaces, I bite my tongue and holdContinue reading “On Self-Censoring Opinions, Verbal Or Written”

Tim Parks On Writerly Conformity

At The New York Review of Books blog, Tim Parks writes of the “general and ever increasing anxious desire to receive positive feedback” on writing: It is a situation that leads to…an intensification of conformity, people falling over themselves to be approved of….Announce an article…on Facebook and you can count, as the hours go by,Continue reading “Tim Parks On Writerly Conformity”