[Das Geile Neue Internet 7.2.2020] Virale Kooperation und Corona-Angststürme; Martin Gurri on Revolt, Populism, and Reaction; The Other as Noise

Memetics and Virality


  • The Hierarchy of Cringe
  • Lying Eyes – The Victorian roots of facial recognition
  • Protocols: Duty, Despair and Decentralisation transcript
  • I’m saying for quite some time now that the Digital pretty much made postmodernity a real thing, distinct from theorizing and this guy seems with me: The Iowa caucus affair last night was a masterclass in hyperreality: „everybody got excited about postmodernism, nobody was ready for postmodernity“.
  • And here’s Ed Simon in The Millions reviewing Peter Pomerantsevs books (Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible and This Is Not Propaganda) stating, more or less, the same. The new is not that people lie and tell fantastical stories about the evil Other, but that it simply doesn’t matter and that is postmodernity which left the theoretical realms of academic thought and was made real, by, I’d like to add, editable bits and bytes on screens.

    Pomerantsev […] describes a “world of dark ads, psy-ops, hacks, bots, soft facts, fake news, deep fakes, brainwashing, trolls, ISIS, Putin. Trump,” where the author meets “Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, trolls and elves, ‘behavioral change’ salesmen and Infowar charlatans, Jihadi fan-boys, Identitarians, truth cops, and bot herders.” […]

    Any radically new information technology alters human consciousness, and has the potential to promulgate disinformation amongst a credulous public not yet literate in the vagaries of the new order. Medieval manuscripts were no more accurate than websites; 14th-century readers of the anonymous The Travels of Sir John Mandeville thrilled to stories about dog-headed Cynocephalics, and two centuries later a rash of printed apocalyptic pamphlets, like the “English Nostradamus” Mother Shipton’s pseudographical prophecies, spread throughout Europe, driving paranoia as surely as Reddit and Twitter defuse QAnon conspiracy theories today. Yet Pomerantsev would be correct in saying that our current predicament is of a different kind, for unlike manuscript or print, our smartphones make us veritable cyborgs, creatures with super computers in our pockets who are continually, potentially connected by network to every other fellow cyborg in the world. This relativist consensus, an epistemic collapse that allows everyone to choose whatever truth is convenient to them, is a type of post-modern magical thinking.

Media Manipulation and Fakes

Culture Wars

Hate Speech

  • Hass gegen Journalisten: “Und morgen bist du tot!”: Seit Jahren erhält der Journalist Hasnain Kazim Morddrohungen, zuletzt mehrere täglich. Er steht auf Todeslisten, Anzeigen bleiben folgenlos. Was macht das mit einem?
  • When a subreddit is devoted to stalking a New York Times reporter: There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to hating on one influencer that is literally obsessed with me and has posted multiple hate threads and conspiracies about me. Like, these people are sick. It’s bizarre and honestly terrifying.
    The worst part of being a journalist is being even semi in the public eye. Even dealing with a fraction of what actual public figures go through has been shocking and horrible. It’s completely changed how I live my life and has severely affected my mental health over the past yr.


  • The Other as Noise – Has technology made us more susceptible to misophonia, the inability to tolerate the sounds other people make?

    The repetitive sounds that irresistibly draw and saturate misophonics’ concentration can be likened to another contemporary phenomenon: push notifications, which are also designed to hijack attention. Misophonic triggers can feel like auditory dark patterns, as if they were deviously designed to distract us rather than being the incidental and inevitable sounds people make when going about their business.

  • Einer der meistzitierten psychologischen Effekte der Debattenkultur ist der Backfire-Effect, nachdem Menschen auf die Präsentation von Fakten, die nicht ihren Haltungen entsprechen, nicht etwa mit einer Änderung ihrer Meinung reagieren, sondern mit einer Verstärkung der Haltung. Es gibt Gesprächs-Strategien gegen diesen Effekt, beispielsweise hilft es bei ideologisch oppositionellen Gesprächspartnern, an die jeweiligen Werte zu appellieren. Einen Konservativen überzeugt man von Klimaschutz-Argumenten eher nicht mit Wissenschaft, sondern mit der Zukunft seiner Kids.

    Eine weitere Strategie gegen den Rebound-Effekt wurde nun in einem neuen Paper bestätigt: Gespräche, die ohne Wert-Urteile über die Haltung des Gegenübers geführt werden, führen zu weniger Blockadehaltungen, grade und vor allem bei emotional aufgeladenen Themen. No shit sherlock.


  • Can Journalism Be Saved?: There are plenty of examples from other fields in which originally commercial activities stopped making money but were preserved because of their obvious social value (opera, or streetcars and subways), or of activities the market supported to some extent, if not to the extent the country needed (such as pure scientific research).
  • Warren Buffett steigt aus dem Nachrichten-Geschäft aus: Warren Buffett Will Sell His Newspaper Empire: With a deal to sell Berkshire Hathaway’s newspapers to Lee Enterprises, the billionaire is giving up on the news business.
  • Misleading media coverage of Warren’s voting-related disinformation plan: A tweeted headline omitted an essential qualifier, setting off a chain of misinformation.
  • Publishers are growing audiences by producing less content: Publishers including the Guardian, News UK’s The Times of London and Le Monde have trimmed the number of articles they publish, leading to a growth in audience traffic, higher dwell times and ultimately more subscribers.


  • Martin Gurri identifiziert das Phänomen des Schwarms als ausschlaggebenden Faktor für den weltweiten Aufstieg der Populisten und ich denke, er hat Recht: Revolt, Populism, and Reaction – The turbulent 2010s may be a harbinger of things to come.

    The rise of the public as a leading actor on the political stage, and the angry impulse to repudiate the established order, provide the theme for the 2010s. The decade ended in a flood tide of revolt—and the meaning of it all is up for grabs. The human race seems to be wandering in the wilderness, caught in a migration out of the industrial age to parts unknown. The public is trapped in a mesh of rejection and negation, unable to articulate positive demands. The elites face a dire choice: between reacting on behalf of the old order or leaping into the void of structural reform. Democratic institutions, adapted to a largely vanished era, continue to bleed authority and legitimacy at a dangerous rate.

    Hier noch ein Podcast mit Gurri über „The American public’s relentless desire to destroy the established order without any clue about what comes next [and] How the rising tsunami of information is tied directly to increasing levels of social and political turbulence“: Why is everybody so damn angry?

  • I might get flag for this but Im with Zuck on this one. Since when do politicians not lie in political ads? The only argument I’d follow is that FB-Ads might be indistinguishable from editorial content, which is where I’d draw a line.

    Facebook commitment to free speech will ‘piss people off’, Zuckerberg says: “We’re going to stand up for free expression,” he said, apparently referring to the company’s decision to resist pressure to ban political ads because it would be too tough to determine the line between true and false content.
    “It’s unfortunate that this is such a controversial thing,” Zuckerberg said, adding that critics of his stance are typically “people not at risk of being censored themselves”.

  • Politischer Strukturwandel: Bullshit untergräbt die Demokratie
  • The new class war: did a liberal elite pave the way for rise of Trump?

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