Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Safe From Extremism

July 6th, 2021 No comments


The big side benefit of childhood is that any and all major decisions affecting your day to day life needs are taken care of by others, usually parents.  As you get older, you appreciate in hindsight that the mundane necessities of life were automatically in place without any effort or input from you at all.  No need to worry about what to eat, where to live, and all of the usual creature comforts of life including toilet paper and clean clothes were provided for.

The flip side to this benign life is that you have little influence on these very things that are presented to you as conveniences. If you didn’t happen to like liver and onions for dinner, or living in a double wide, it was too bad.  It wasn’t until mid-adolescence that the inner urge to express your own choices became overwhelming and the urge to pull away from the dictates of parents needed to be addressed.  We could date girls with tattoos, go to late night bars and even buy sketchy tech IPO’s.

In the past few generations in western societies, this natural need for people to break free from the tethers of childhood has been eclipsed by an acceptance of protracted adolescence.  Sadly, the arrival of affluence has made people more risk averse and unwilling to cross natural life milestones.  The overbearing mother has taken a place of significant prominence in western society.  Through many generations of subtle and now not so subtle coercion, the role of males has been overshadowed by the smothering mother.

We may have noticed the predilection towards ‘safety’ in whatever we do these days and thus, the avoidance of all things unsafe is paramount in our activities.  It’s hard to quantify if the world has actually become so unsafe in recent generations that it’s necessary to place ‘safety’ above all else in our lives. Add lawyers to that and now you have a recipe for a neutered society.

In our pre-adolescent years, we were advised to avoid activities or people that were likely to compromise our ‘safety’. With the coming of age, we made our own decisions on such things for ourselves.  In our modern information era, the ubiquitous social platforms have taken it upon themselves to be our permanent nannies by directing us against undesirable information….you know, to be safe.

It’s the greatest irony that living in a ‘free society’ actually creates the environment for a controlled population.  The ‘free exchange’ of information that we notionally have access to on-line for example has been used as a tool to impose conformity among those who profess to seek independence of thought.  In fact, the on-line community is high school writ on a grotesque scale.  Coercion of views is so powerful that it’s as if you were escaping from the Scientologists if you dared to have opposing views from accepted norms.

Now we have official corporate nannies guiding your views, as your mother may have done during your childhood. As the linked article notes, we are warned off by the Facebook nannies if we even consider consuming views not of the accepted narrative. In fact such views are labelled as extremist.  YouTube has also implemented such guidance as well as other popular platforms such as Instagram who warn you of “unverified” sources.  This is the present day version of “eat your broccoli” by the mom surrogates of the online world. We are coerced to stay away from people who dare to even talk about things not approved for civilized people; the adult version of don’t hang out with the boy down the street with long hair who spends his days playing music.

As people move from adolescence, the constraints of behavior and thought imposed by their parents dissipate as they move on to their own sense of self. It’s called growing up.  We are now in a novel phase of civilization wherein people refuse to grow up and instead live in a world of protracted adolescence. A society that promulgates pre adolescent conformity will result in one in which only a handful of savvy adults will control them.

Bad Companies

September 4th, 2018 No comments

Source: Colin Kaepernick earns support from diverse chorus, including John Brennan, over Nike ad | Fox News

Many may recall back in our university or college days, that the targets of student antipathy were the large mega- corporations that were ostensibly responsible for inflicting all kinds of ills upon society.  Big oil in particular was seen as evil since they were heartless goliaths that trampled upon the rights and freedoms of the plain folk in their single minded pursuit of the dollar. 

Valid or not, protests against the perceived evils of these large corporations became more common as people use their voices to hold large companies to account for their activities.  To this day, if a rare species of grub may be endangered by a pipeline or a dam, a veritable village  of protesters appears to protest the project and by extension, the company behind it.  The standard pushback was against “the military industrial complex” which was the oppressor of the people.  Today, the issues that get people to wearing masks and holding signs are more bizarre and comical, ranging from the protests against drinking straws and grocery bags, all the way to free speech in general. 

With the passage of time, the perception of the evil corporation has not really changed, though many have made significant concessions to public sensibilities.  What has gone unnoticed is the rise of other corporate behemoths whose reach and negative influence is far more pervasive than those demonized in past generations.  

Without exaggeration, the majority of the world is now subject to the activities of a handful of powerful companies.  Unless you have been living in the deep Amazonian rainforest, your life has been touched by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix,Twitter and Apple.  Together these companies influence virtually every aspect of people’s daily activities.   They all have the same common denominator of providing some form of convenience to a public that needs and craves instant gratification.  This is best expression of capitalism; a need is identified and is addressed by a service.  This continues the legacy of Henry Ford, Eli Whitney and Jacob W. Davis of Levi Strauss fame.  

What’s different about today’s modern behemoths is that they aren’t content just to sell people on products and services.  They are also very much intent on shaping the way people think.  Not happy just to make billons of dollars by selling lifestyle, they are shaping mindsets.  As if they were characters in a Bond film, we have actual real life “Villains” who are controlling the thought processes of hundreds of millions of people. 

The recent announcement by Nike of their new sales campaign posting Colin Kaepernick as their icon, adds that company to the list of mercenary companies that would have been loudly protested back 30 years ago.  To be fair, Nike’s business demographic are younger people, particularly the black demo, who are more likely to sympathize with Kaepernick’s actions.  Older people, less likely to support Kaepernick’s actions are less likely to be customers anyway.  But if this decision is based solely on business, they had every opportunity to propose someone who is of genuinely heroic stature; a guy like Pat Tillman springs to mind.  Some may know that Tillman gave up his professional football career to serve his country by joining the army in the wake of 9-11 and then was tragically killed in action. 

Instead, Nike has chosen to insert their political viewpoint in championing Kaepernick, not in spite of, but because of his protests against the national flag.  He is the Jane Fonda of the modern epoch. 

People once mobilized against what they perceived to be the evilness of large corporations. It’s ironic now that corporations have never been more invasive and manipulative…and no one protests.  It’s much more disturbing that the people currently being celebrated for their actions, are anti-heroes… instead of real ones.