Fear and loathing online


07-12-2017 Biblical Coding

The biblical myth of the tower of Babel was an attempt by humans to reach god and the space beyond the stars. Feeling insecure, god created languages, and the builders of the tower could no longer communicate. Today, computers and the internet are the enablers which allow humans to build a new tower of Babel, they have the power to remove social structures inside any given society and give rise to new trends of human interaction.

In an influential piece that appeared in Rolling Stone in 1972, Brand (creator of the WELL network, an early internet) prophesied that, when computers became widely available, everyone would become a “computer bum” and “more empowered as individuals and co-operators.” This, he further predicted, could enhance “the richness and rigor of spontaneous creation and human interaction.”

The internet was conceived as a new tower to revolutionise humankind, computers being the common language prior to god’s input in the matter. Looking at it now, a part of me hopes that an angry god comes around and breaks a few things, shits on a few corporate desks and sets in motion some sort of movement towards a less phony and more communal internet.


07-12-2017 The End of State Sovereignty

With Russia banned for whichever installment of the Olympics is next, the men in Olympic suits have stated that its athletes will be able to be awarded medals as stateless individuals, that the medals would not be registered as won by Russia. Thus, individuals will have the same Olympic status as states, conceivably, it is perhaps the first recognition of individuals on the same status as states by a supra-national organisation. I would like to speculate on the rise of stateless individuals recognised by the U.N. and the decline of the need for humans to be accommodated along state lines.

Traditionally, states have been organised with their own unique structure which they have always sought to defend or proselytise. Since the Cold War, democracy and Coca Cola has been the prevailing state structure kit to assemble at home, making redundant the need for states to exist. The internet, and its constant sharing of information, has created new ideas on what a society should be and the individual rights we can claim. Drawing on the theory that every society is inevitably moving towards becoming a democracy, if we remove states from the equation, the rise of a worldwide internet-based civic society is the first sign that every individual wants to be part of a world democracy.


06-12-2017 Branching Out

Once Pique and Ramos have given up on their mission to bring ‘truth and authenticity’ to the world of talking about football, I can only hope that their plummet will be absolute. Football needs a new La Liga package (in English) to challenge the hegemony of Proper Football Men, a Pique and Ramos pundit partnership for every Keys and Gray conspiracy. Welcoming the pass from the goalkeeper to a midfielder, the duo might bemoan meaty challenges and celebrate passing and awareness. Spanish football is a community sport compared to the Premier League’s obsession with individual work-rate, and the shortsightedness caused by the relegation scrap leaves clubs without long term identity – Frank de Boer had four games to legitimise his revolution before getting the sack.

The man who replaced him has been part of a class of white British managers that have long taken part in the musical chairs overseen by struggling clubs. Young English managers have found this roundabout a huge obstacle towards a career in the Premier League, the landscape is so barren that Eddie Howe has often seen comparisons to Wenger and Guardiola, Sean Dyche to Brian Clough, Tim Sherwood has managed Tottenham, while managers like Chris Hughton haven’t seen opportunities of the same calibre, either for his lack of chest-puffing or the summer-fling status that Marco Silva should cash in on before closing time. A Ramos Pique partnership behind the desk could go a long way to pushing fans towards a new vision of English football, which would pressure clubs to bring new ideas and playing styles, and – ultimately – bring England to the World Cup Final in Qatar.

harvey-weinstein-NYPDAlthough it is difficult to read pieces like this, it is important to acknowledge and not question the integrity of those who tell their stories. The lifting of the omerta is welcome and long overdue, but requires thorough soul-searching from our society – and the discussion needs to be shaped by the words of the accusers rather than the cycles of pleaded ignorance and user-friendly apologies from the perpetrators.

A selection of interviews details the assaults of Harvey Weinstein, whose considerable legal power and psychological power and bullying has kept him out of prison. David Boies, who represented Weinstein and employed networks of private investigators to follow and intimidate his accusers, has been found to have used the same tactics in a recent plagiarism case, using a novelists sexual history against her.

Over on The Wire we have commented some thoughts on Dustin Hoffman and the separation of the art and its creator. CO

“All these brand new allegations from the beginning of time.” – Michelle Wolf explaining things carefully for Stephen Colbert.

“This tsunami of stories doesn’t just reveal the way that men have grabbed and rubbed and punished and shamed women; it shows us that they did it all while building the very world in which we still have to live.” – Rebecca Traister in New York

“Sexual harassment, and the sexism it’s predicated on, involves more than the harassers and the harassed; when the harassers are men with loud microphones, their private misogyny has wide-reaching public consequences.” –  Jill Filipovic in The New York Times