Cory Doctorow on his Financial Times article, "‘Enshittification’ is coming for absolutely everything: The term describes the slow decay of online platforms such as Facebook. But what if we’ve entered the ‘enshittocene’?" "Rotten History" follows the interview.
Cory also has a new novel, The Bezel.
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Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Complaining about cultural appropriation, or misappropriation as it should be called, is fun. I can tell it's fun, because people do it even when it's not necessary. They even do it when it makes no sense. Sometimes it's just to make fun of how presumptuous white people poorly execute ethnic cuisine. "Szechuan pizza? Gross! And offensive!" Sometimes it's a form of virtue signaling, as when white people commiserate with black people about Euro-misappropriation of dreadlocks. "Look," signals the white person, "I get it! They're stealing your hair! It's insulting and offensive! They just don't get it, but I do."
I don't want to pick on political comic Hari Kondabolu, especially since he recently entertained our socialist troops in Chicago, like a kind of woke Bob Hope, but he has this one routine someone brought to my attention that fits the description of what I'm going to call "virtue-signaling through ignorance." He was complaining about vegan soul food.
First off, let me admit that I understand hostility toward vegan food. I myself have complained on this very show about a particular vegan barbecue I endured. In that case, though, the barbecue was thrown by people who didn't even understand how to host a party in which people expected to eat, let alone have their hosts provide a source of heat over which to cook food. They failed the heat test, which is, if you don't have charcoal or propane either already hot or at least ready to ignite, it's not a barbecue. And if you don't have anything else for your guests to eat other than a few grapes and some leftover croissants, along with your uncooked tofu dogs still in the wrapper awaiting absolutely nothing because there is no flame over which to make them resemble edible food, you are a bad person.
There's an idea I myself have helped spread that a vegan is someone who doesn't like food. That's wrong. But it is accurate often enough to be mildly funny to some people.
And what with new dietary restrictions cropping up every day for any number of reasons, it's tempting to mock the gluten-intolerant, the diverticular, and the celiac sufferer. Suffering is funny! Comedy is tragedy happening to people you don't care about.
But Hari wasn't mocking vegan soul food because it's bland or oily or a travesty of culinary artistry, he was... read more
In 1381 – (636 years ago) — John Ball, an itinerant English priest, was executed for helping provoke a peasant’s revolt against high taxes levied by the state to finance its endless warfare. As England struggled to recover from the plague years of the Black Death, Ball had traveled from town to town, using Bible passages to preach radical ideas of social equality. He achieved great popularity by voicing the grievances of the impoverished peasants in vernacular terms they could understand. After the Catholic Church, which owned a third of the land in England, excommunicated Ball, he took his preaching outdoors, where he drew large crowds. By the time of his final arrest he had already been in and out of prison several times for giving sermons in which he urged his listeners to seize and kill members of the nobility and their lawyers as well as high-ranking members of the clergy, including the archbishop of Canterbury. On the day of Ball’s execution, the fifteen-year-old King Richard II was on hand to watch him first hanged, and then drawn and quartered. The four bloodsoaked quarters of Ball’s body were then sent to four different villages to be displayed in public as a warning to those who might consider heeding his call or following in his footsteps.
In 1927 – (90 years ago) — in Vienna, demonstrators taking part in a general strike against Austria’s right-wing government stormed the National Palace of Justice and set it on fire. The blaze followed several months of earlier protests led by opposition Social Democrats against the regime, which was backed by rich businessmen and Catholic clergy. Those demonstrations had sometimes flared into violence — including one incident in which three right-wing paramilitaries had killed a World War I veteran and an eight-year-old boy and were later acquitted after pleading self-defense. At the Palace of Justice, after demonstrators attacked firefighters and cut their hoses, and after Vienna’s mayor appealed for calm and was ignored, police chief Johann Schober issued army rifles to his officers and ordered them to open fire on the crowd. Eighty-nine labor protesters were killed, along with five police; and some six hundred protesters were seriously injured. Two years later, Schober would go on to become Austria’s chancellor.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi
Jesse is author of the new book The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives from Simon & Schuster.
Valerie wrote the article Detroit’s Underground Economy:Where Capitalism Fails, Alternatives Take Root? for In These Times.
Brian will also report on squatting and striking in São Paulo, and the short doc he made covering organizing there this Spring.
Michael is author of the new book Haiti Will Not Perish: A Recent History from Zed Books.
Julianne and Paul wrote the article Silicon Valley Will Not Save You for Current Affairs.
Part of his ongoing series getting us yelled at online, I guess.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
After an incident at the Chicago Dyke March in which pro-Palestinians and pro-Israelis ruffled each other's feathers, I weighed in by Jewsplaining, or perhaps "circumsplaining," to the benighted lesbians on both sides of the controversy. Though I tried to be evenhanded in my criticism of the pathetic display of juvenile behavior, I definitely went at non-Jews more aggressively. Non-Jews on the left seem complacent about their ill- repressed anti-Semitism, even willfully ignorant of it, so I felt it would require a lot more work to get it through their thick skulls exactly how hypocritical they are. I was right. I don't know if it's a thing with doctrinaire lesbians, or doctrinaire lefties in general, but they do appear to be more intransigently stupid than, say, your average first-grader.
Possessing, as I do, a penis, albeit a reasonably queer penis, I'm an outsider in this case. I don't apologize for having a penis, which is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Not mine, but the archetypal organ in general. As a penis-appended outsider, I should, according to some, abstain from commenting on this dyke-versus-kike buffoonery. And I considered that. I often abstain from commenting on the stupidity of women and people of color. It's much more fun to criticize white people, especially white men, and they do offer so much material. When women and people of color provide material for mockery, it's often even more satisfying not to comment. What could be more patronizing than deeming someone too oppressed and delicate to make fun of?
I didn't want to engage in that type of condescension this time. First, it would've been too easy. Second, the offenses to civil discourse were too blatant. And, third, the potential for snark was too tempting.
For example, as pointed out by my friend, the great shamanistic poet and mystic Rachel Kann, some of the march organizers, or "survivors of the trauma," have set up an online crowd-funding page to send themselves and their allies against Zionism on a retreat to recover from the argument. So pitiful is their plaint that even some of those who support the other side have given money. I'll quote two of them. Anonymous says, "You should be ashamed of the way you treated your fellow (Jewish) dykes!" Anonymous gave an undisclosed amount. Perhaps it was too insulting to disclose, in... read more
David returns to This Is Hell! to talk about his book Ratfucked: Why Your Vote Doesn't Count, now in paperback with a new afterward, from Norton.
Hilary wrote the article USAID's Trojan Horse that appeared originally at Solidarity, and now at Jacobin.
Michelle wrote the The Economic System That Made the Grenfell Tragedy Possible and No, Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Is Not Hurting Workers for The Nation.
Wendy is author of the new book We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria from HarperCollins.
Julian wrote the commentary Law Enforcement is Still Used as a Colonial Tool In Indian Country for the Marshall Project and the Guardian opinion piece Indigenous sovereignty is on the rise. Can it shape the course of history?
Two of those words are HIS WORDS just to repeat. Not Alex's words. Not Chuck's words. Jeff's words.
In 1523 – (494 years ago) — Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes, two monks from a monastery in Antwerp, were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of adopting religious positions of the German theologian Martin Luther, who had kickstarted the Protestant Reformation six years earlier. Luther had denounced the Catholic authorities for the practice of selling indulgences — basically, taking people’s money for the promise of getting them into heaven after their death. He maintained that the authority of the Bible took precedence over that of the Catholic pope, cardinals, and bishops. Those were dangerous beliefs in medieval Europe, and the Roman Church was so intent on stopping their spread that, contrary to usual practice, the charges against Esch and Voes were not read aloud before their public execution in the main marketplace of Brussels. As the flames rose around them, the two unfortunate monks sang Latin hymns until they fell unconscious. Their monastery was declared to have been defiled, and was demolished.
In 1766 – (251 years ago) — a twenty-year-old French nobleman named François-Jean de la Barre was awakened early in the morning and physically tortured by having his hands cut off and his tongue torn from his mouth. Later that day he was beheaded for crimes against Roman Catholicism, the state religion of France. La Barre been found guilty of failing to remove his hat when a religious procession passed, and also for mocking Catholic hymns by changing the words to include obscenities. Police had searched his bedroom and found prohibited books, including the works of the atheistic philosopher Voltaire. After le Barre was beheaded, his body was burned; his copy of Voltaire’s Philosphical Dictionary was also tossed into the flames. After the fire died, the ashes were swept up and unceremoniously dumped into the nearby Somme River.
In 1916 – (101 years ago) — eighteen British and French divisions attacked the German Second Army in positions along the Somme River, kicking off a major battle of World War I. In some areas, according to some accounts, the British and French soldiers simply marched shoulder-to-shoulder into a barrage of German machine gunfire that mowed them down, filling the battlefield with bloody corpses. In other areas, it was the British and French who had the upper hand, and the... read more