Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Woman unable to understand alternate universe Doppelgänger

The day before Valentine's Day, social media created a bizarro-world version of me. I have seen strange ideas about me online before, but this doppelgänger was so far from resembling me that I told friends and loved ones I didn't want to even try to rebut it. It was a leading question turned into a human form. The net created a person with my name and face, but with so little relationship to me, she could have been an invader from an alternate universe.


It is strange to see such a version of yourself invented and destroyed by networked rage. It made me sad and angry, but even more, I think, it inspired a horrified confusion in myself and those familiar with my work and my character. A digital effigy of me was built and burned.

It started when The New York Times hired me for its editorial board. In January, the Times sought me out because, editorial leaders told me, the Times as an institution is struggling with understanding how technology is shifting society and politics. We talked for a while. I discussed my work, my beliefs, and my background.

I've studied online communities since 1995. I know how many underlying technologies work, and how they might relate to their historical antecedents. I have spent time with individuals in various groups -- including hanging out in their spaces, witnessing their operations -- and written about it. I have worked with Anonymous and other internet communities that dwell far from the Overton window, which describes what sort of public discourse is tolerable. I identify politically as an anarchist pacifist.


It ends with "Here, in the beginning of the 21st century, hope is our duty to the future."

Sure. Go with hope. I'm going with a phased plasma rifle in the 20 kilowatt range and a cloak of invisibility made out of meta-materials to conceal my cyborg body.

But hey, at least our brains get to live forever. Despite all the other sacrifices that have to be made....

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-02-27 08:39 PM

I identify politically as an anarchist pacifist.

She's so stupid that she doesn't realize in order to be one, you must have violence.

What an dumb, over analytic piece. This is what happens when you have too many Arts/philosophizing degrees.

#2 | Posted by boaz at 2018-02-28 07:47 AM

wait, to be an anarchist-pacifist you must have violence?

...belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

#3 | Posted by ichiro at 2018-02-28 07:53 AM

...not to mention:

...belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

#4 | Posted by ichiro at 2018-02-28 07:56 AM

I find this situation fascinating.

#5 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2018-02-28 11:46 AM

This is what happens when you have too many Arts/philosophizing degrees.


Thinking 🤔 is so stupid!

That's our Boaz!

#6 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-02-28 12:00 PM

The piece was very good. She has a talent for capturing the zeitgeist.

I agree with much of what she says here.

#7 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2018-02-28 12:31 PM

What the hell was this?

The musings of a crazy neo-nazi collaborator and a waste of bandwidth.

#8 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2018-02-28 12:45 PM

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