It Almost Seems Deliberate


MEMORANDUM

To: YouTube

re: Really? I thought this part was obvious

So … you know that little thing you have where we click for the option to say we don’t want you promoting this or that kind of video? Why does it not work? No, really, when I tell you to not show me this, don’t turn around and promote the same damn video again.

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Question Time


With many thanks to Sean, a friend who pointed out this particular iteration of the morbid spectacle otherwise known as ¡Jesus’ fucking tits! Westboro Baptist Church―see Anna Merlan’s report for Jezebel about the latest Westboro wannabe Christianishesque clodhopping―a certain question arises, a reiteration that occasionally demands address:The Gumbys.

• Is it wrong that I only pay attention to WBC at all anymore because they’re like a comedy troupe performing a Christian version of The Aristocrats? I mean, it’s true: It was cruel of kids in my junior high to encourage the overweight, developmentally impaired kid to do stupid and humiliating things just so people could have a laugh. The Westboro heritage is similar; there is a tinge of guilt about paying attention to anything they do, as if we’re denigrating them just by watching.

Filters


Detail of frame from "Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor", episode 9, 'They Met One Day, Unexpectedly ...'.  L-R, Kiko Kayanuma, July, and Suou Pavlichenko discuss the profitability of a cat café versus more mundane work as a book editor, and Mao (lower right) hides in Suou's satchel.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6.1-8 (RSV)

Prayer is certainly something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.One starts to wonder what God’s spam filter looks like. In the age of social media, the great testament to humanity seems to be a flood of cat videos and calls to prayer.

One could simply sever ties with their friends who are religious, but that seems stupid to the point of bigotry, and, besides, it will do nothing about the cat videos.

No, really, do you realize cat videos are a cartoon joke? As with hikikomori, the shut-ins, anime jokes about the Japanese obsession with cats are a societal critique, as gentle a prod as possible to remind that something is amiss.

In these United States, we are starting to adopt the cat obsession, and while the idea of becoming a shut-in because one owned only one pair of trousers that fell out the window one day while drying so he decided to just never leave the house again might seem obscure―and probably makes much more sense to the Japanese―what, exactly, would the joke look like if it was about Americans and prayer?

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Kitty Kitty Clickbait Christ


Religious clickbait.

A couple of things here.

First, stop with the clickbait, people. Sure, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and all that. A time and place for everything, you know? But even longtime friends, not just the newly-agreed Facebook friends, do this to each other, and it has to stop.

To wit, there is some video going around of some dude absolutely mangling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and doing so for the honor of Christ.

Okay, that’s not fair. I haven’t watched the video. And I won’t.

Why? Because when people send you a link via social media and instead of the actual content they’re sending you to an advert page with more clickbait for the website, that’s simply it. Strike one, and this particular form of stupid shit is out.

Which in turn brings us to stupid shit.

You know how every year we hear FOX News and a bunch of pastors reeling under the magnitude of their own perceived inadequacy complaining each year about a “War on Christmas”? Okay, so here’s the deal: To the one, it’s not a “War on Christmas” if people simply aren’t giving one religion a privileged place in our society and laws over another, and so far neither the FOX News crowd nor the self-loathing religious activists are prepared to indict the Bill of Rights as a conspirator to this so-called “War on Christmas”.

To the other, Christians need to stop declaring war on good taste.

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Memo to Google: Why You’re Horrible People


To: Google

re: Just admit you suck

As we go from computer to computer, resetting our passwords because you want us to, the question also arises why you won’t let us.

Yeah, we know you “weren’t hacked”, but you are being a bunch of incompetent, insulting assholes.

In the first place, don’t tell us it’s something suspicious about us. Until every last account is verified and you no longer feel the need to demand we jump through these hoops, the message should not be that there is something suspicious about your users. Just tell the truth: “Sorry, but we at Google really, really fucked everything up and we’re really, really sorry for putting you through all of this bullshit like asking to to reset your password on every computer you ever use to get your email, which in turn is why we still like to pretend that you’re suspicious. After all, we’re Google, and we just proved ourselves incompetent, and we recognize that it is really, really wrong of us to treat you like that just because we can’t do our jobs properly.”

And, you know, honesty might help your image. I mean, it’s not like this makes Google employees terrible people. No, that would be the candy-named, botched-up operating system on “smart” (ha!) phones.

Of course, that much you can blame on users; after all, the hideously mistaken decision to trade out an iPhone for an Android was my own, and I damn well should have known better.

But it’s true. Google’s inability to do its job as relates to account management does not make the company’s employees horrible people. Rather, the OS should do the trick. And, you know, in the end, so does the fact that they work for Google.

Your users would be considerably less annoyed with your fuckups if you would just be an honest, decent (corporate) person for once.

That, however, is something we recognize is beyond your faculties. Which, in turn, is why you suck.

The Zuckerberg Atrocity


How about some crass humor?

For some, the costs are higher. In 2010, 12-year-old Amanda Todd bared her chest while chatting online with a person who’d assured her that he was a boy, but was in fact a grown man with a history of pedophilia. For the next two years, Amanda and her mother, Carol Todd, were unable to stop anonymous users from posting that image on sexually explicit pages. A Facebook page, labeled “Controversial Humor,” used Amanda’s name and image—and the names and images of other girls—without consent. In October 2012, Amanda committed suicide, posting a YouTube video that explained her harassment and her decision. In April 2014, Dutch officials announced that they had arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have used the Internet to extort dozens of girls, including Amanda, in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The suspect now faces charges of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment, and Internet luring.

† † †

Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir, decided to draw attention to similar problems by creating a page called “Men who hate women,” where she reposted examples of misogyny she found elsewhere on Facebook. Her page was suspended four times—not because of its offensive content, but because she was reposting images without written permission. Meanwhile, the original postings—graphically depicting rape and glorifying the physical abuse of women—remained on Facebook. As activists had been noting for years, pages like these were allowed by Facebook to remain under the category of “humor.” Other humorous pages live at the time had names like “I kill bitches like you,” “Domestic Violence: Don’t Make Me Tell You Twice,” “I Love the Rape Van,” and “Raping Babies Because You’re Fucking Fearless.”

Thus:

zuck/zucked/zucking: Shorthand term describing online rape threats for the sake of humor; named after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

'Moneyshot' Mark ZuckerbergRaping Mark Zuckerberg page on Facebook: Why not see how long Facebook lets that one stand as a humor page? Doll up photos of Mark Zuckerberg and have at it.

Taking the Piss: A bit of a twist on the classic English phrase; put photos of Mark Zuckerberg in urinals, snap the photo, post them to a Facebook “humor” page.

Use your imagination: Really, I can’t keep thinking like this. It’s actually uncomfortable. (See below.)

One would think the problems are obvious. To wit, how do we define fair? Do we really think this sort of thing would stay confined to activism? Of course it wouldn’t. And while fair is fair insofar as Zuckerberg is apparently just fine with how things go at Facebook, so why not treat him the same way, isn’t that also kind of the point? It’s wrong to treat any person that way, regardless of how much the Facebook CEO might occasionally look like he’s hoping you don’t get squirt in his face, and please not in the hair. (Spit or swallow?) Poor Mark. But then, billions of dollars do a lot to relieve the stresses of having a conscience.

Then again, it would be a good thing to hear people on television starting to refer to how a person got “zucked”. Shame might be the only way to test whether or not Mark Zuckerberg has a conscience left.

And if you’re confused? Just read through Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly’s article for The Atlantic. There’s a reason Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are atrocities against humanity.

____________________

Buni, Catherine and Soraya Chemaly. “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women”. The Atlantic. 9 October 2014.

A Note to WordPress: Quit Lying


To: WordPress

re: “Switch to the improved posting experience”

There's now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience.

In truth, I think it would be better if you stopped lying. It is not an easier way to create. It is not an improved posting experience. It is extraneous, bloated, and slow. Indeed, the charming robot-sounds caption isn’t so charming, all things told.

Then again, I can also anticipate your response, to unsecure my browser entirely, in order to accommodate you.

Given all the sketchy data that would ask users to engage just in order to optimize their easier, improved posting experience, that response would be beyond insufficient. That is, of course, unless you expect people to not use the web to access anything else while they’re posting via WordPress.

I really don’t care about the so-called “improved posting experience”. Indeed, your firm has commercial concerns, so those of us on the courtesy platform owe it to you to suck this diseased nutsack. Yeah, we get it. Still, though, I just think it’s really low of you to lie like that, especially when there is absolutely no good reason under the sun for fattening up the process with all that Flash-y lard.

Well, okay, that’s not fair. I’m pretty sure the commerce side can come up with a good reason, in which case it would seem our posting experience is improved in the context of your own hosting experience.

But this is (beep-beep-booping) stupid.