Tag Archives: Reddit

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

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The Tesla Cybertruck…Sucks?

Elon Musk is a strange and unique individual, at least as far as billionaires go. We always seem to view most billionaires as kinda old, stuffy, and reserved people. I’m talking the Bill Gates, the Warren Buffetts, and the Jeff Bezos of the world. You never get a sense of them as a person unless you happen to read a biography about them. I know Bill Gates is a nice enough guy with how much him and his wife donate to causes that benefit society, and I know that Buffett is notoriously cheap and humble, and I get the impression that Bezos is a shrewd businessman who likes to hide in the shadows. Bezos seems like a James Bond villain if anything. These are just impressions though and I don’t know if I’m correct or not. But Elon? Elon seems to be cut from a different mold, for better or for worse even if he himself seems like a perfect Bond villain.

To get a feel for this fact all you need to do is check Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. He is a notorious shitposter that can hold his own with the best of shitposters. He seems like a normal enough person — eccentric perhaps — despite his multiple companies and his north-of-a-billion-dollar net worth. Elon also plays the meme game as well as anyone else. Does anyone remember the famous “$420, funding secured” debacle that led him into trouble with the SEC? Or the multitude of anime cat girls that Elon posts for whatever reason? He launched his Roadster into space because why not? I vaguely recall something about the WallStreetBets subreddit and Elon posting the “stonks” meme. And let’s not forget the whole Joe Rogan podcast pot smoking thing either; this incident alone seemed to solidify Elon’s presence in a sort of meme hall of fame. Hell, I even have a few pictures using this to hilarious degree.

HOTBOXIN’

Elon seems like a typical person who somehow, perhaps even due to sheer luck, was successful. One thing you have to give Elon credit for is his ability to mostly follow through with what he says, at least in the grand scheme of things. His idea with Tesla was to make electric cars popular, cool, and desirable, and to change the image of the EV for the better; this has been a success. Elon is literally trying to save the world with Tesla despite also trying to make a shit ton of money in the process. With SpaceX he is trying to revolutionize space travel by making rockets reusable, with the end goal being the colonization of Mars. In the nearly 60+ years of space travel no one has seriously attempted to make a reusable launch vehicle or land people on Mars but Musky Boi seems to be pulling off. While he over promises here and there, has notoriously unrealistic deadlines, he generally seems to do whatever crazy shit he sets out to do when he is serious about doing so. When Elon says something (or Tweets something) he is either being dead serious, joking, memeing, shitposting, daydreaming, thinking aloud, or overpromising. This is perfectly illustrated by the Tesla Cybertruck.

He had been hinting about the truck for awhile now, and while I wasn’t following the details of it, he seemed to hint that it would be a “unique” design. He called it, obviously, the Cybertruck, but everyone thought, “How ‘Cyber’ could it be? And what does that even mean?” Surely Elon was just being a bit over the top with the description to stir up hype for the new model. He also said the design was “futuristic” but once again what exactly did that mean? Everyone was well aware of Tesla’s design philosophy and seeing the model S, 3, X, and Y (yes, it does spell out S3XY, because that’s the kinda jokester Musk is) leaves you with a general idea of what to expect from the Tesla Truck. People waiting in anticipation to see what the famed Tesla Truck would look like, and it looks like this:

Stolen with love from the Tesla website.

Yeehaw.

I didn’t watch the event live and only heard about it from the multitude of memes and jokes made about the design in the following hours/days on social media, especially Reddit. It was one of those moments where I thought, “Wait, really? That is the actual truck? It has to be joke, right?” And I still feel that way actually. A part of my mind is thinking that, yes, maybe this is a joke, a cheap way to make news and for Elon to catch more headlines. Making this even more “obvious” is the fact that when demonstrating the “unbreakable windows” of the truck, the windows shattered. Twice. You can’t make this shit up even if you were trying to write a fictional comedic story. This couldn’t be the actual Tesla Cybertruck, right? In my mind, I saw this as a “joke” presentation, and after popular consumer outrage over the next few months Tesla would “redesign” the truck into some BOMBASS design where everyone sighs and says, “Whew. That’s better. Okay.”

But this is Elon we’re talking about, so who the hell knows what is going on. You have to give Elon credit for pulling off something so blatantly hideous and counterintuitive that you both question his sanity and question your own sanity. “If Elon thought this was a good idea, who is wrong here? Does he know something about what people want that even people don’t? Or is he just fucking insane?” I’m actually leaning towards the former: this is the actual Cybertruck — seriously — and Elon is betting hard on such a radical design. I’m almost certain now that Musk sees this as a way forward to differentiate the truck from other trucks. It is unabashedly utilitarian contrasting with the current truck culture that sometimes uses trucks as as much of a fashion and status symbol more so than an actual mode of transportation that has utility. The truck is also very minimalist and lacks any identifying features, besides the wonderfully hideous and angular design of the thing. It isn’t stylish at all, and this separates it from the purposefully stylish models of every other vehicle manufacturer. I find it stylish in a sort of anti-stylish way. So terribly ugly that it begins to look cool after a while.

I don’t know if I’ve drank the Elon Kool-aid too much over the past years in regards to what Tesla and SpaceX has accomplished, but I’m actually starting to come around the Cybertruck’s, uh, “unconventional” design. I mean I still find the thing hideous and atrocious, but something about it, something, is growing on me. I can’t really explain it. I picture these trucks roaming my city in a few years and just being blown away by how off the thing would appear. Most vehicles are designed in the same basic way and the only differences between brands is slight styling changes here and there. The front of a Dodge Ram. The Kia’s angled and jagged grill. I can’t even give examples because I can’t think of them really. Everything is so samey that seeing a fucking Tesla Cybertruck at all will be a shocker. If you own a Cybertruck everyone will notice.

So Elon Musk and his Tesla Cybertruck. Is it simply and example of Elon knowing what the future wants even though everyone else isn’t even aware of it? Is this terribly hideious design of the Cybertruck the best choice Tesla has ever made or will it be seen in a few years as a terrible mistake from the automaker? Is Elon just plain fucking crazy or is there something concrete behind his apparently craziness? i don’t know, but I do know that while I do find the design disgusting, even after less than a week something about it attracts me. It’s awful and angular design is starting to grown on me for some reason or another. What will the truth be in 2025 when the Cybertruck has been around for a few year. Will it be a success or a resounding failure. I don’t know, but I’m curious to find out.

Facebook Sucks: Anonymity and the Futility of Chasing “Likes”

Note: This is another “chapter” from my “upcoming ebook” on why Facebook Sucks. It seemed like it would fit well enough here so here ya go. Once again it is pretty rambly but whatever.

I’m a huge fan of the social media website Reddit. If you really want to check it out here’s the link (You lazy fucks. Google it yourself). They also have an app if you’re one of those people. Others on Reddit say the app is kinda shitty so do what you want. The thing I really like about Reddit after the dedicated subreddits for any and everything is the fact that it’s a semi-anonymous site and they pull it off beautifully. You might think that being fully-anonymous or non-anonymous would win out on any pro/con analysis but I don’t think this is true. Let me elaborate.

The shitty website called 4chan is totally anonymous: you post stuff and no one knows it’s you. This is nice in a way because you can be your unabashed self. If you discovered as a teen that you really like hentai and furry-porn, you can indulge your hearts (or any other body parts) content on 4chan and no one will judge you for it. Sure people might judge the graphic tentacle monster and underage anime girl you posted, but they can’t judge you as an individual person with an identity. They can’t say “Did you see what Jimmy posted the other day? Holy Fuck he’s strange.” You’re simply free to post and comment whatever you want. Obviously this comes with the downside that when people are free in anonymity they can say some really hateful, racist, homophobic, and other -phobic ideas (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!). 4chan isn’t a website for the faint-of-heart.

Facebook, on the other hand, has the opposite problem where you have no anonymity. Sure there are some people with fake profiles, but I think for the most we are ourselves on Facebook. Since your Facebook profile is a representation and projection of your real self you have to worry about your “internet self-image” or some shit like that that sounds really stupid when you write it out. If you are the aforementioned furry-porn enthusiast you might not be able to represent that facet of yourself to you boss, grandma, pastor, wife, mother, or whoever else you’re friends with. You’re restricted in what you can be open about and this restriction is a huge downside with any form of social media. In our normal IRL selves we already have this restriction so extending it to social media doesn’t help any form of self-expression.

The upside to not being anonymous is the fact that you can have a “record” of your social media exploits, i.e. how many “likes” and “shares” you get and (usually) other people can see this. Sites like 4chan have no way to track your “progress” because you’re anonymous. This is where Reddit really shines with its semi-anonymity: you are a person with a username, although this isn’t connected to your IRL self at all. You can collect “points” (in the form of something called “karma”) and see how popular your comments and posts are by how many “upvotes” you’ve gotten. In short you and others get to see a “record” of what your profile has accomplished, how popular you are, and some redditors on their respective subreddits are nearly famous in the quality content they create. Reddit lets you be a person that is free to act however you want but also gives you an identity to work with all without the worry of committing a “social media faux pas” of posting furry/tentacle porn on your Facebook page.

People on Reddit joke about “fake internet points” aka “karma” and they’re totally right with the terminology. It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate “karma,” “likes,” or “shares” at all (or whatever form the “fake internet points” take on your favorite website), and in all objectivity these things are totally fucking pointless. But for some reason knowing your shitpost on r/WallStreetBets has gotten 5,000 upvotes makes you feel like you’re progressing as a socially-adept human or something. I really think Facebook would be much more addictive and potent if they had a “total reaction and share” counter for your posts so you have one or two really quick and concrete numbers to see how popular you are with your Hot Facebook Opinions and Influencing Posts. Then the whole point of Facebook then would really be to shitpost your way to more Internet Points and you’d have a counter for it.

What I’m trying to get to in a roundabout way is how chasing these fake internet points is a hollow sort of pursuit and one that doesn’t fulfill you in any meaningful way. In a way everything is kinda pointless and chasing money, degrees, fancy cars, sexual partners or anything is really the same level of pointlessness (in the grand scheme of the universe) as anything else. Probably everyone as an edgy teenager has had this extremely nihilistic outlook but quickly abandons it because of the inability to actually function in life when you think that everything is, in the end, pointless. Eventually you reach a point where you know that everything is pointless but you need to do something in your life because you can’t just not exist to spite the universe. Mostly because the universe doesn’t give a fuck about you.

So what makes farming for Facebook “likes” less fulfilling than actual IRL progress? For me it is the amount of self-fulfillment you get out of actually doing something difficult. As stated, Facebook is like a lazy-man’s form of social interaction and social interaction that is as easy as typing shit on a screen isn’t going to be as satisfying as actual interaction. Consider talking to a romantic interest: it’s really easy to just send a creepy Facebook message and slide into those DMs, but it’s immensely difficult to actually talk to them. So when you actually do go out of your way to talk like a real person does, you feel so much better for it. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. Actually interacting with people is almost always more satisfying than “interacting” on social media even if it is something trivial.

Another thing I noticed is that getting “likes” or “shares” is a pursuit on its own. Getting a college degree is the final product of years of hard work and I think we like to think of farming internet points as a “final goal” but really those are like the “years of hard work” with the caveat that it doesn’t actually have a final goal. What I’m trying to say is that farming Facebook “likes” has no end: you’re always chasing the next accomplish in getting “likes” and other forms of social media approval. There will never be a point to where you’ve “succeeded” at having “likes” on Facebook. You’re never finished chasing the social media approval of others.

What happens is you get addicted and accustomed to the upward climbing views/shares/likes/upvotes on your posts and you start to think that this is like a rule or a law or something. You might think that you’re just that cool of a person and people really like you. You naturally want these numbers to continually grow forever so when they don’t — when you post something that isn’t quite a popular as the rest — you feel like a failure. Did you do something wrong? Do people not like you anymore? Are you socially not part of “the cool crowd?” You might even put more effort into carefully crafting the next Successful Post and if that’s successful, congrats, you’ve temporarily saved your mood. If that fails, well, you just feel like a fucking failure.

The YouTube channel Veritasium recently had a great video explaining this phenomena in terms of YouTube burnout. In short he argues that as the YouTube algorithm changes, popular YouTubers find that they aren’t popular anymore. This is totally outside their control and while they have been making quality content non-stop have taken to blaming themselves for the lack of “quality” or “getting away from their roots” or something that is their fault. While the problem of chasing Facebook approval isn’t at the mercy of an algorithm (as much) like YouTube the main points are still the same; people get used to increasing approval and popularity and when it wanes people feel like shit and blame themselves. This is true in almost any pursuit but the fact that this can happen so quickly in regards to social media approval is scary. Like athlete or a writer might take years and decades to really “peak” while you could find a “social media approval” peak in a month or two. Then you can repeat the cycle over and over as you never learn your lesson.

The problem with “likes” being your pursuit is that it is too easy to let the growing approval get into your head. There’s nothing to moderate the addiction. When you get this mindset — consciously or unconsciously — you will never be satisfied. If you had a wildly successful post you will crave the next successful post and do everything you can to top the last one. This is true with everything, but the accessibility of this in terms of Facebook “likes” is especially dangerous to the average person. We get corrupted by the idea that we might be the next big YouTuber or influencer that we put much more time, effort, and energy into something that will eventually, certainly let us down and is in the end pretty fucking pointless. They are just Fake Internet Points as Redditors jokingly call them.