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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It is well known that the 12th Century abbess, theologian, poet, mystic, and musician, Hildegard von Bingen, composed her famous morality musical revue, Ordo Virtutum, known in English as The Virtue Play, based on music she heard in one of the many trances during which her divine visions were revealed.
It is also known that Saint Hildegard, beatified in 2012 by recently-retired Pope Benedict, kept a fifty-five-pound (25 kg) dry-cured Westphalian ham in her sleeping chamber in the abbey at Disibodenberg and then at Rupertsberg under a blanket of coarsely-woven wool.
It should be no trouble, then, to place the two facts, the seeing of visions and the companioning with the ham, one fact next to the other, tie them together with additional facts from little-known sources, bind them with the duct tape of bold supposition, and discern for yourself the SuperTruth® that Hildegard’s inspiration for the Ordo Virtutum emerged from no other source than out of her beloved ham in signals from the ultra-high-wattage broadcasting antennae of Jesus in His faraway fortress of solitude, Heaven.
As a child, Little Hildegard first started having visions, hearing voices, feeling feelings, and smelling smells when she was around five years old. This was in about the year 1103. At that time she was known to be fond of carrying with her everywhere she went a cowhide pouch containing a severed, desiccated rabbit’s foot. As she grew older and entered the monastery as an oblate and assistant to Sister Jutta, she could often be found in the chapel communing with a braided cross woven of strips of venison jerky. Later some cured, dried beef, called “speck,” in a hunk about the size of a full-grown squirrel, occupied her teenage years in the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg. By the time she became prioress and moved her nuns to St. Rupertsberg, she had already taken up residence with the enormous meat product.
Sister Jutta, when Hildegard visited her on her deathbed, expressed her disapproval of the relationship. In Hidelgard’s own records of her visions, the Scivias, the Liber vitae meritorum, and the De operatione Dei, she never mentions her communications with the ham, which might seem odd given the big deal we’re making of it here. We can most logically attribute the omission to Jutta’s disapprobation and Hildegard’s wounded feelings. Whatever clairvoyant and... read more
As if I inhabit some perch on a lofty peg, I often encounter behavior intended to lower my peg level. The battle of peg altitudes is a continual playful obsession between friends in Hollywood, and, in various degrees of overtness, most places where people are friends. Perhaps, due to my arrogance, I well deserve to have my dignity slashed. Why should I, a failure by all measures that count, a liability and a burden to all, be allowed to nurture within my soul a thing as precious as dignity? Do I not understand that among the prized rewards for being a meritorious human being is the simple right to exist? Do I not, on a daily basis, witness the casual disregard with which human beings who have not merited a home are left to the bullying of police and the abuse of the elements? What right have I to my opinions? To express them? To hold them? By what effort have I earned anything I possess at all?
Do I believe that merely by existing I ought to be accorded the courtesy one wouldn’t give a crumpled Powerade bottle on the shoulder of the highway? By what graciousness of anyone’s heart should I be allowed to live? I have gathered to me no family won in the competition for love partners, a contest by which one’s intrinsic worth is measured. I have no employment, my writing and art are barely appreciated and certainly do not earn me a lot of money.
Wealth, of course, in this milieu of shallow fashion called Hollywood, is another mark of the worth of a person. I once had an industry insider tell me, in relation to a mutual acquaintance, “he can’t do anything for me, so why should I continue being friends with him?” Here in Hollywood, fealty to fame lies everywhere as thick and viscous as if a zombie army of slobbering polyamorous fans had left a coating of saliva over every surface a celebrity might have brushed against with one body part or another. People here, as in most lands under the sway of extreme capitalism, love things and use people, although here their professions of love for this or that rich or famous person often gush in cataracts of the same fame-worship saliva found coating their entire stunted world.
I must qualify all this by admitting to having encountered a great deal of generosity here, as well as integrity and artistic excellence. Most of it has been inextricably mingled with less stomachable features of human behavior, naturally. In all of us, virtues swirl and... read more