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The Classical Saturday Morning Coffee Thread & Prayer Revival (6/15/24) | Main | Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, June 15
June 15, 2024

Men Exiting Cancel Culture

bee, twitter.jpg

Happy Father's Day Weekend! This week, I ran across some content on cancel culture and one guy who survived it. He is now helping other men to survive or elude it. He was once cancelled (he quickly lost his job for satire and snark on social media unrelated to his job). The unusual part of the story is that he recovered by doing something beyond Substack.

Part of his own focus this week is on social media, Twitter/X in particular (where he still has a sort of unusual presence). Twitter/X is much less toxic than it was before it was bought by Elon Musk (to the dismay of many on "the other side").


elon musk bleach twitter.jpg

Today's featured cancel culture survivor still warns people to be careful there. He turns to Tolkien to help describe "doom-scrolling" or "doomscrolling". I don't know if there is a set spelling yet for this thing that we may sometimes do ourselves.

But here is something that is also wild that kind of fits in with what he is saying (see below) about doom-scrolling, from November of last year: Ann Althouse on a conversation between Elon Musk and Joe Rogan:

Listen to the whole context. He's responding to Joe's prompt to tell us why he bought Twitter, and - - warning that it would sound melodramatic -- he says he thought that Twitter had taken the mindset of the San Francisco area and amplified it and made it dominant to the point where all life on Earth was in danger. There's quite a lot of talk of the "Extinctionist" movement, and the phrase "death cult" is used repeatedly.

"If you take environmentalism to an extreme," Musk says, "You start to view humanity as a plague on the surface of the earth, like a mold or something." He asserts that the Earth could do well with 10 times as many people as we have now.

ADDED: Musk goes on to talk about AI: "If AI gets programmed by the Extinctionists, it's utility function will be the extinction of humanity."

We've seen some odd results of AI programming lately. The algorithm often seems to have escaped human intentions. Perhaps we need to think about escaping the algorithm.

Cancel Culture

Social media didn't start doxxing and cancel culture, but these phenomena are much worse now, whether they are confined to social media or involve other entities.

Exiting Cancel Culture

Matt Himes writes in Align:

Two years before his suicide, journalist Gary Webb looked back on the reporting that ultimately destroyed his career:
I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. ... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress.

That changed with the August 1996 publication of "Dark Alliance," a series of stories Webb wrote for the San Jose Mercury News linking the 1980s explosion of crack cocaine in black Los Angeles neighborhoods to Nicaragua's Contra Rebels, "a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency." . . .

And it was Webb's jealous fellow journalists, not the CIA, who went on the attack, running story after story attempting to discredit his research. Eventually, Webb's own editor caved to the pressure, issuing a craven mea culpa, which prompted Webb to quit not long after. . . .

Some of the particulars of the attacks on Webb remind me that books have been written for prospective whistleblowers about how to prepare for the experience. And today, you don't even have to attack a whistleblower's information. You just need to call him a bad name.

Hence the anonymity of many people who express ideas which The Left might not like.

It's typical that so many self-styled champions of "democracy" refuse to acknowledge the samizdat-like underground they themselves have helped create. Articulating the wrong opinions out loud can have serious repercussions.

Doxxy lady

Consider the testimony of this writer's former coworker (and occasional Align contributor), prolific cultural critic and satirist Peachy Keenan.

"I am a longtime Twitter anon," Keenan tells me. "I am on my third or fourth account on X. But I used to live in terror that I would be exposed at my corporate office."

Peachy Keenan has been semi-public since last year and survives. The successful doxxing of another target, Jonathan Keeperman, is also described. He turned the attack to his advantage after losing a job at UC Irvine. Interesting, scary reading. This leads to the primary subject of this piece:

Doxxer's delight

In the immediate aftermath of Keeperman's doxing, his friend Kevin Dolan (who writes under the name Bennett's Phylactery) wrote as succinct and eloquent a description of what motivates the doxx-posé as you'll read anywhere:

Journalistic doxxing in its purest form is a kind of "dead drop" - - the delivery of a bland intelligence product from one organ of state security to another.

The only reason to broadcast this intelligence product on a public media outlet is:

To create the legal pretext for an enforcement action by Lomez's EEOC-accountable employers, investors, etc.

To suggest the threat of violence by regime irregulars (mentally ill antifa goons).

To activate whatever social consequences can be created for Lomez and his family.

Follow the link above. Unimaginable.

How Dolan got cancelled

Dolan writes from experience; he himself was doxxed in 2021 when an anonymous group of leftists posted a lengthy dossier on him accusing him of racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.

The "charges," such as they are, stem from posts Dolan, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made on a Discord server he shared with other conservative LDS members.

The main activity was making impolite jokes and poking fun at mainstream liberal orthodoxy. In other words, the kind of perfectly normal goofing around that people like Dolan's doxers are quick to identify as "hateful, racist, anti-feminist, xenophobic, and other offensive content."

"I was doxxed on a Sunday night," Dolan told me. "Because it was national security job, I had to go report it immediately [Monday morning], which I did. And then was told to leave the campus that day. And then I was fired on Wednesday."

Naturally, the wanton torpedoing of Dolan's career was an irresistible scoop for the Guardian's man on the extremism beat.

Jason Wilson was happy to give the anonymous collective's smear campaign the sheen of journalistic respectability. All he had to do for his byline was repeat the group's vague, unverified accusations while leaving out a few telling adjectives like "vile."

Unlike Keeperman, Dolan had not completely dox-proofed his life. His job was the sole means of support for his large, growing family.

Dolan considered taking legal action or hiring a reputation management service; both options were prohibitively expensive. At any rate, finding a new job in his field was going to be a challenge. He had ample student debt and no health insurance.

What Dolan did have was the sizable online following he'd attracted with his commentary and advice; he'd often wondered how he might turn that into some kind of business. But Dolan had never considered himself to be the entrepreneurial, "grindset" type.

The really scary part

"I was very deep in the mindset of 'I've been a finance drone my entire career,' " says Dolan. "I have no marketable skills. There is nothing I can take anywhere else, which from a resume perspective is true. If I had to go apply for jobs right now, I would be as up a creek as anybody in the job market right now."

His sudden unemployment, cushioned by a recent bonus payment from the job he'd just lost, forced him to get serious, a process he describes as "build[ing] the plane in flight."

A friend helps A LOT in this kind of a situation

A friend helped him build the plane, and helped to keep him from over-thinking. The plane is called EXIT. You can read about the organization, or even join it, at one of the X links below. It focuses on men, which is unusual these days.

Resistance

While grateful for the success he's found, Dolan is well aware that not everyone can follow a similar path. "I think doxxing is basically a solved problem if you're willing to be like an extremely online rightwing celebrity, right? If you're willing to do the podcast circuit and play a character. And I'm not denigrating that, I do that. I enjoy what I do for a living now, it's meaningful to me."

EXIT's central purpose is to make this kind of independence available to anyone who wants it, including those who have no interest in being some kind of culture warrior. "Normal people with mouths to feed," as Dolan puts it.

"The paradigm that is dominant in the United States and the West in general is incompatible with human life and human civilization. It sterilizes everything it touches," says Dolan. And the more people who have the tools to resist this paradigm, the weaker it becomes.

"We can't let them win. We can't just let them have these uncontested slam dunks on our guys. Because every time it happens, every time someone gets cratered by one of these doxes, how many tens of thousands of people clam up and realize they shouldn't speak up?" . .

"A lot of what we're up against is not other human beings. What we're up against is these distributed headless incentive systems," Dolan says. "I don't think of myself as [being] at war with any person or class of people; I see myself as at war with Skynet."

With this in mind, the key to victory is simply presenting a better alternative. "[EXIT] is about presenting something positive and constructive and optimistic," says Dolan. "What if we could take back the reins in a way that worked for everybody?"

That's a tall order. Think it can be done?

*

Are you familiar with this "extremely online rightwing celebrity"? Does that head give you the creeps?

The guidelines above seem to me like good ones for the typical Twitter doom-scroller. If you click on the graphic, you can get deeper into his position against the algorithm, with a comparison to Tolkien:

Twitter is not a real place

About a decade ago, the rationalists came up with a way to talk about demons.

An "egregore" may act like a malign supernatural intelligence - - but it is actually just an aggregation of perverse incentives that generates outcomes which fail to reflect the ultimate desires of any individual within the system.

The depth of coordination and cunning exhibited by these systems/entities sometimes seems like it must reflect some kind of wicked intentionality - - but perhaps that intentionality only exists within aggregated human minds.

Whether you prefer a supernatural or materialistic explanation, these forces are definitely real, and they are both nonhuman (they cannot be persuaded, dissuaded, or motivated like humans) and superhuman (they are beyond our control, and difficult to resist.)

These forces now dominate every aspect of Western life - - but especially your access to information, which is now almost 100% mediated through algorithmic content aggregation.

This means that your model of the world is at best only coincidentally accurate, since the process that generates the model has almost nothing to do with the truth.

Besides which, no extant form of media has the bandwidth to convey reality at the scale of global events - - and even if Elon made it, your brain would be helpless to process it. The World can only be pulled through your mortal eyeballs at a catastrophic loss of resolution. . .

You don't have to believe that this is literally dark and dangerous magic; but not much would be different if it were.

Tolkien

The palantiri are magic seeing stones in The Lord of the Rings that enable transmission of knowledge and thought across great distances, but which require a powerful will to control what is seen and communicated. . .

At the time, commentators assumed Tolkien was saying something fairly obvious about wartime propaganda -- but his description of Denethor's spiritual battle with the palantir is prophetic:

the Lord Denethor is unlike other men: he sees far. Some say that as he sits alone in his high chamber in the Tower at night, and bends his thought this way and that, he can read somewhat of the future; and that he will at times search even the mind of the Enemy, wrestling with him. And so it is that he is old, worn before his time. . .

In Unfinished Tales, Tolkien says that unlike Saruman, Denethor was kept from total domination by Sauron because of his rightful claim to the palantir, and the fact that his searching was rooted in honest love for Gondor and its people. He "remained steadfast in his rejection of Sauron, but was made to believe that his victory was inevitable, and so fell into despair."

All of this is just a straightforward description of Twitter.

You are presumably reading this on your palantir because you, like Denethor, are looking for ways to protect yourself and the people you care about - - to learn the enemy's disposition of forces, and find tools to defeat him.

You may feel like you're immune to propaganda because you look around and see how easily so many of your friends and family have bent the knee to obvious absurdities, while you are Built Different - - but the truth is that the enemy has basically given up trying to persuade you of anything.

The propaganda that comes for you and me is the kind delivered by the Mouth of Sauron. . .

There's much more at the link. Including some commentary on the guidelines for improving your cognitive security while scrolling on your palantir. With some links. Dense information, whether you agree with it or not.

Fortunately, AI is debasing the coin of this type of propaganda, rendering it "unreal " in an even more basic sense - - which will hopefully help smart people to disengage. Stop giving social media algorithms root access to your limbic system.

*

On the other hand, a spy chief is joining the OpenAI Board.

* * * * *

Scrolling through the Twitter/X posts and retweets of a cancelled guy

I don't think Bennett's Phylactery @extradeadjcb is a real fan of the current Republican governor of Utah and his"disagree better" campaign.

*

@extradeadjcb coins another one:

The key to solving the birth rate is for women to see men doing man stuff. Win wars etc.

Makes me think, this explains why Israel is the only western state with above replacement fertility

*

*

Concerning polyamory:

From the inside, getting rewired by psychedelics feels like revelation - "wow, we're all one mind, borders & possessions are fake"

From the outside, it looks like damage to the part of the brain that understands the differences between things & the utility of boundaries

*

*

I don't think insurgency is the right model for what's coming anyway

The thing to do in the post-Soviet collapse was not to start shooting at the police

The purpose of your IRL network is to stay safe, & (to the extent possible) liquid and productive

That may seem like small ball but it isn't, power is going on sale

*

There is literally nothing that can happen that will make me care about the WNBA

* * * * *

Weekend

After reading and discussing the above, you may need to be extra careful about toxic masculinity this weekend.

* * * * *

Music

1812 Overture with cannons. Prepare the animals appropriately.

* * * * *

Hope you have something nice planned for this weekend.

This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.

Serving your mid-day open thread needs


* * * * *

Last week's thread, June 8, It starts with P and it rhymes with G but it ends with Q

Comments are closed so you won't ban yourself by trying to comment on a week-old thread. But don't try it anyway.


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