Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
Mark zuckerberg f8 2018 keynote  41118883694

What actually gives rise to enshittification is that the companies that we buy things from not fearing that they will be punished if they do the things that they wanted to do all along. The way that we make those companies treat us better is by making them afraid of us again, not by rewarding them for good behavior, but by effectively punishing them for bad behavior. That's where we get the kind of durable change that will cause companies run by people who are just the scum of the Earth.

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. 

Help keep This Is Hell! completely listener supported and access weekly bonus episodes by subscribing to our Patreon.


Aug 30 2023
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Miserable felk

It was a she was a he was a they were a miserable sea felk. Swimming slippery in the weedy shallows, bobbing out deep amid the white-capped seas, looked down upon by the selkies, mermen, and loch monsters. Unlike their meadow-grazing cousins, the land felk, sea felk are smallish, legless sea snakes covered with oily dark brown fur. They are technically ungulates and ruminants, sea ruminants who chew their cud, even though their food often consists of jellyfish, mussels, young herring – or herringlings – and the large carcasses of pelagic creatures. So, not particularly pleasant cud, even by cud standards. The felk are often scavengers of sunken or floating corpses, and thus looked down upon by other sea cryptids.


A felk is technically a werefelk. Slippery dark-brown fur snakes, that’s what felk are, about the length of an average sea otter, but if they were to transform back from their furry state they would be limp flesh tubes, swimming phallic sausages. But they don’t transform back. They are always in their furry felk form.


And the felk in question was miserable, like Lawrence Talbot as portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr in The Wolfman. This one was a her at this point in her life. The sex of felk changes over their lifetimes, which are measured from when they first see the moon – before that they are felk larvae, proto-werefelk, milky-colored worms about the size of a forefinger – until the day they end their lives as felk and take on human form.


How do the felk adopt the human form? By wearing it like a costume. When a felk is ready to metamorphosize, she slithers up the rock rivulets onto land. A felk can slither up a vertical cliff face with ease. But even this ability doesn’t alleviate the felk’s misery. All sea felk are miserable, and every last one of them has an excuse. But more on that later. Sea felk can not only slither up a vertical rock face, they can slither around on the underside of a rock overhang. Basically, they can crawl on the ceiling. Felk have this super power and are still not cheerful. Cryptozoologists are mad frustrated about it.


Are you familiar with the small anus ball? There’s a Japanese river cryptid, the kappa, which likes to steal the small anus ball out of human swimmers. This small anus ball is like the ball on a roll-on deodorant, and Japanese cryptosupernaturalists understand it as a part of the... read more

Aug 28 2023
Aug 23 2023
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Perseid michael

Sunday night last week I stayed up as late as I could to watch the Perseid meteor shower. I couldn’t really stay up as late as I wanted to, because it got cold out, and I was exhausted from traveling most of the day. But I stayed up as late as I could. The Earth passed through a cloud of loose debris. Bright streaks flashed, trailed briefly, and faded in the starry sky as the upper atmosphere was pelted with space gravel.


My brother, sister and I were on the beach on Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, just north of the 45th Parallel. Let me tell you, the American Dream actually happened to my family. My grandparents fled anti-Jewish violence in Belarus. They arrived in the US as children, my grandfather established himself first as a house painter, then as a contractor. My father went to college and became an architect, started his own company, and now we have a vacation house on Lake Michigan, on land purchased when I was around thirteen years old. I don’t think we ever complained as kids when we were brought to the unfinished house, with its floor of bare concrete, heated by a Franklin wood-burning stove.


Over the decades my parents have made it a masterpiece. Though it’s not as large as most houses in the area, with the extra accommodations of a camper trailer parked in the driveway, a few people sleeping in my mother’s art studio attached to the garage, and me sleeping in the enclosed gazebo on a wooded bluff overlooking the beach, we had the entire clan up there at the eponymous Barb and Sam’s House of Wine Drinking and Chipmunk Training: my parents, me, my brother and sister, my brother’s five kids, a wife of one of the kids and a girlfriend of another, plus my brother’s two dogs.


My existence has turned out to be relatively privileged thanks to friends and family, despite my best efforts, conscious and unconscious, to fail at life. I can’t help comparing my oddly fortunate outcome with that of my friend Michael, who recently died of pneumonia at 62 after some years suffering from aggressively progressing early-onset dementia.


In three chairs on the beach, my brother, sister, and I sat next to the dying fire in the firepit. The burning pebbles above at first appeared only grudgingly but soon acquiesced to our demands for a show. We swept our gazes across the sky like lazy satellite dishes, south to north, hooting happily when we... read more