"If diversity issues within the milieu of black producers, writers, and actors affect more than several dozen black people in tv and film I'd be shocked. The kind of diversity reflected in “The Black Characters I Wish I Saw More Of” is a function of different kinds of privilege and therefore doesn't go "all the way down" to regular black people whose lives look more like mine than they look like Donald Glover's or Ava Duvernay's."
"Several decades of extraordinary innovation have had a hand in creating extraordinary inequality. In the wake of this development, George Soros, the Kochs, and others like them now get to call the shots on how much tax they should pay. This twisted privilege is the result of the political influence of wealth and years of tax cuts and relaxed tax laws allowing money across borders with little to no friction."
"The death of the star vehicle meant the death of the original blockbuster or at least a blockbuster where the IP wasn’t the primary selling point. What was unique in 1989, a big-budget adult-skewing comic book superhero movie directed by a wunderkind visionary and filled with “prestigious” adult movie stars, is now virtually the only path to success."
"(Big “c”) Conservatism’s preferences for gradual rates of social and cultural change, strong religious faith, and the belief that history, tradition, hierarchy, and authority provide better modes of organizing human affairs than Liberal individualism are at odds with the university, which means they’re also at odds with the Liberal sphere of influence."
"In managing worker behavior, boss programs will also manage our acceptance of AI as a new, more productive addition to the work experience. And in doing this they will ultimately teach us how to be managed by software."
""Slack" captures all those little chances to get over without getting in trouble. To take advantage of slack is to stick it to The Man, to strike a blow for personal dignity, to get a little action on the side. At the heart of the opportunities provided by "slack in the system" is a simple moral principle: just because one schnook takes an opportunity to get a tiny bit ahead does not diminish some other schnook's chances of breaking off a nice piece for himself. Unfortunately, increased connectivity and processing power diminish slack over time, as well as over networks. More powerful computers and programs watch, track, optimize, analyze, and predict."
"Particularly for younger voters for whom the appeal of capitalism is declining, "socialism" (as I've written in "What Young Voters Want When They Want Socialism") is short-hand for a less rigged and rapacious, more restrained and fair type of market economy than the brand that ascended with 80s-era Reaganism and Thatcherism and crashed with the 2008 Financial Crisis. In this light, critiques of 40 years of neoliberalism are serious challenges to centrists like Hickenlooper, Bennet, and Delaney. It’s the last conversation they want to have because they don’t even know how to have it now that Trumpism has slaughtered their sacred cows."
"Though Mao's cult of personality has passed into history, its traces persist within systems of Orwellian control. To downplay the importance of 1989's Tiananmen Square protests, the state apparatus weaponizes forgetting in order to once again pit younger, more socially engineered generations against once militant Baby Boomers."
"How we think about "knowledge" is in flux. The convergence of polarized culture and fractured media remakes political discourse on an industrial scale. An internet connection provides access to staggering amounts of information, but not nearly as many tools and strategies for transforming information into knowledge. But it’s also true that mastery of a given body of knowledge now is further beyond what the average person knows about that subject than ever before. Thus, expertise may not have the same social value for the average citizen it once enjoyed. Because we’re encouraged to cling to the belief that it does, we now worship a handful of internet barons, political technocrats, financial moguls, and spiritual gurus, all of them peddling easy paths to enlightenment through virtues manufactured to serve their agendas."
"The impact of surveillance technologies on culture, politics, and even our values has been my jam for a long time. Of particular interest are the accelerating transitions from science-fictiony possibilities that horrify us to everyday realities that tame us. For instituting such breathless control, China provides the blueprint for what it's leaders cynically call “managed democracy.” As I’ve written before, whatever Orwellian tactic emerges in China does not stay in China. It propagates to other totalitarian regimes across the globe. We’ll even see a slow totalitarian creep in “open” societies like Great Britain (which doesn’t have strong free speech and personal privacy protections) before we see it here. Thanks to a virtually unregulated tech sector, the American version will be brought to us by major corporations that fatten 401Ks, and small, shrouded research firms that spin themselves as techno-utopians. The difference between China’s brute force authoritarian control and its American cousin is that the latter will be more subtle and opaque—a soft (or “inverted”) totalitarianism, as Sheldon Wolin called it—that produces capital as well as control by harvesting then leveraging even more of our data than it does now."