How did he squeeze
the voice of a broken world down his throat
he let the fault lines crack against his
teenage vocal cords
the songbird is the opposite of the canary
it never dies when things go wrong
the little bird stuck in his throat tweets
We never thought about how we would die; on the internet. How we would grieve or memorialise or remember. What clicks or emojis would all mean. What would image, old accounts or blogs would do. Whole lives, just chunks of data, stored in zero chill server In Pal Alto. Do dead email accounts still receive Tuesday offers form papa johns or Groupon vouchers or emails from loved ones. Should videos of the dead in war zones, the misadventures of YouTubers or innocent African Americans last moments be there for us all to watch on repeat forever? Is there awake on the internet and do we need one?
Some experts think in about 2030 Facebook will have more dead people than living people. Given recent revelations that might happen even sooner. Most social media accounts have functions to deal with
There are men, women and souls who died on the Internet. And in irl too. They are caught travelling, moving through space, and we see the sudden the shakiness and the pixelation. There are blood and hands shots and gore. It’s gangland or suburbia or battlefield. Now they aren’t just dead, they are a hashtag. Viral news. Kids whose hashtags are more memorable than anything. We don’t know how to grieve them: the etiquette, do you wear black when you tweet rip: do you “like” it when they talk about their deceased grandparents or “sad reacts”only: is an open casket and bloody jpeg the same, is it meant to be.ation. There are blood and hands shots and gore. It’s gangland or suburbia or battlefield. Now they aren’t just dead, they are a hashtag. Viral news. Kids whose hashtags are more memorable than anything. We don’t know how to grieve them: the etiquette, do you wear black when you tweet rip: do you “like” it when they talk about their deceased grandparents or “sad reacts”only: is an open casket and bloody jpeg the same, is it meant to be.
Hashtags were designed in the days of the old internet for connection of different data points. It was never imagined as a symbol to hold death grief – an e- casket- like the ashes of fallen people spread like data points fluttering in the breeze of the internet. There are 427, 000 search result for Trayvon Martin, there are 220,239 views on YouTube discussing the minute by minute moments up until his death. They talk like he wasn’t someone’s little boy but the property now of history. There is a complex interplay between multiple forms of media. Social media is mostly commanded by broadcast media. But when there was more Trayvon’s, more of the internet’s space was left for black bodies to decompose 6 Terabytes down the hole. The internet shifted into streets and movement. It was an organiser, and like their old usage hashtag brought people together. Like obituaries for poor people, for ordinary people, there are many Trayvon’s who don’t get hashtags, but under his electronic banner people will always join together organise or mourn. Whatever that means now?
There is one line that stands out in Sec. Clinton’s book she says: “socialism is wrong for America”. Critically she fails to say why. She constructs a social ideal only as a weak caricature of the big ideas of the Vermont Senator and her primary opponent Bernie Sanders. She so elegantly dances around the subject, she reflects on the energy new young democrats, on big ideas, on building community, people who feel left behind and universal health care. You can tell why she is a democrat but she can’t see why when some looks at those things they can’t see a more interventionist state as the answer.
Ms Clinton is right in arguing that lots of her grandiose economic plans were lost to emails. Some research indicates there was more coverage about ‘’damn emails” than any other issue. Yet Hillary lambasting Bernie ideas as populism and simple explain her failures more effectively. Her critique is the classic right-wing retort of numbers not adding up and the fallacy of a socialist pony. The idea that the more left-wing candidates will always just propose the centrist’s idea but with even more money. This fails to understand the emotional and political value of big ideas and how big investment signals that. Not to mention in the electoral effectiveness of short and simple ideas. “Bumper stickers” work she says Yet her analysis and criticism leave you unsure she understands why.
I’m not suggesting that Ms Clinton should have become a socialist nor am I suggesting that a different economic message would have cut through the media obsessions. She provides some solid structural reasons for her failures Voter suppression, Racial backlash, Digital infrastructure. Yet for all her unashamed wonkery fails to connect how her own ideology contributed to leftist populism. She fails to get Bernie fans yet eloquently describes racial and economic injustice.
The success of Clintonesque social and economic policy was her downfall. She talks about her struggle not be a third Obama candidate to not be seen as the status quo. This is slightly off – her loss in key Areas and the serious challenge laid on by Mr Sanders- is because she is seen as creating not just being a part of the status quo.
Ms Clinton as a woman was always going to have a tougher race than a White Man. That is a fact. Vague political ideals like strength, authenticity, charisma aren’t part of HRC’S brand but also these terms are also often heavily masculine in tone. Cultural changes perceived to have run amok- driven by bush wedgisim and inequity- helped create a coalition which beat Ms Clinton. An economic crisis and black president perhaps sum up the way partisanship developed by 2016. The American population is now fiercely divided. HRC’s economic agenda is the best example of why in both the politics of culture and economics Clintons failed in 2016
What did happen was HRC lost to a Racist TV star because of emails and Russia; 77k voters in the mid-west decided the election; Decades of lies and smears effectively cut through; a majority of Americans voted for Hillary.
What didn’t happen was that HRC was able to convince the right Americans she could improve their material situation. No matter what way you wish to understand the factors at play. This is politics ultimate sin. But perhaps the tide of racist populism would have been greater still.
Minorities have found space to be. Sometimes these are safe spaces. That does not mean space closed off to free speech or debate but spaces where they could for the first-time exercise their right to freedom of speech. In the early internet, there were forums and anonymous chats. Like caveman who painted on the walls; They scratched onto the surface of the internet. You were a religious fundamentalist and doctor who fan and you could find people. This was a freedom. Before LGBT people had to find bars where they could express themselves or comic books fans only had conventions. Now if you were a Bisexual comic book fan there was a place for you somewhere. The problem wasn’t that minorities and unheard people in society found space. But that mainstream space was still not for them. Newspapers and TV shows were still not for them. On YouTube and SoundCloud they made their own space.
Like caveman who painted on the walls; They scratched onto the surface of the internet.
They could celebrate themselves you find hashtags for #BlackBoyJoy or #Body Positivity. Internal arguments could be had between socialist or feminists or Ghanaians or Panamanian. Discussion of history, morality, spices and the correct way to dance are discussed. The internet provided a culture were African women could send their children religious memes, where riots could be organized or that made otherwise ordinary funny guys into viral celebrities. The internet simultaneously brought communities who are small/disenfranchised together whilst deluding us into thinking what we understood as viral or as popular was actually insular. Like everything else, proximity to heterogenous race and class meant success was asymmetrical. But at least it was a space.
As society lurched to the individuals the internet became like street corner or scouts. It was a place where people grew up and forged their identity. Who you were irl and online much vaguer things. Identity is the most important function of politics, whilst data is the fast-growing commodity. The difference between our virtual selves and real selves continue to blur.
Growing individualism forced identity politics to be more important. It made clear that the communitarianism needed for social movements would be tested by the silos the internet creates. It created a freedom for our constant personalisation of our information and cultural contact. This dilutes power groups had used in the past. Yet it provided a chance to find new activists engage new people for movements.
Realness “To be able to blend, that’s what realness is… the idea of realness is to look as much like your straight counter-part as possible.” – Dorian Corey, “Paris Is Burning”. The internet’s freedom came form anonymity. People did not need to be real. They could be lying. We were ok with that. The internet was not where people read news or kids researched history or people fell in love. Now it is and that realness in its more traditional meaning matters. Most social media sites enforce (poorly) real name policies. They try to remove fake account bots and trolls. In an effort to recreate “real” community. The internet has not smoothly transitioned from its wild west to its new role as an encyclopaedical repository. People can still lie to our face, or in newspapers. The problem is we read a lie on the internet or move on, or we receive a lie and continue to engage with the lie as there is no way to uncover them. We poorly translated the maxim of don’t believe everything you read to 0s and 1s.
The internet broadly has the capacity to find free expression and let that same freedom prevent us from finding freedoms in rest of access for space in society. There is more blurring to come between internet and non-internet.
There is a big red bus and there is a big lie on it. A man with a posh accent and poorly coiffed blond hair stands in front it, He repeats the lie. The lie is easy to repeat it’s manageable it’s believable. Many politicians will perform a similar trick. There is a formula that those gifted in dark arts of electoral politics understand. They will promise money to the NHS; the sum will be so large most of us can’t comprehend it. They will engage in statistical magic and tug at our heartstrings. It is simple, it is cruel, and it works. Next time they try it we need to stop them.
The figure of 350 million was inaccurate on all counts according to any respected authority but that didn’t matter. It felt true to people. If you were concerned about waiting times or funding like 45% of the public; Why wouldn’t you vote for that cash injection. Brexit to them was not about obscure politics of trade or sovereignty but investing in the experiences that mark often the most difficult or solemn moments in our lives as being ill. Brexiteers tell us now that it was an exaggeration or a suggestion. It’ wasn’t. It was a way to channel genuine emotions and weaponize them against the wrong target. By using big numbers to con the public.
Healthcare for the British public is close to religion, support for the NHS and its founding principles is a meteoric level 90%, few countries hold this kind of reverence for any public organization. Their experiences are determined by the calming face of primary care it’s their kind family GP, it’s the funny community midwife attending to their sisters’ birth. For most of the public, they’ve built a deep emotional connection when interacting with others at a time of great vulnerability. This kind of emotion is so easy for the Politician to sensationalise, to take advantage of.
The Director of vote leave said they couldn’t have done it without NHS/350 million pledge. It provided the crucial swing to produce the pro-Brexit result. The NHS a uniquely trusted organisation was used as an instrument in a political decision which it had little to do with.
So when Remainers said the promise was a lie or the figure was wrong they missed the point. As their response did not promise to those same people the hope that pledge gave. Politicians used that figure not because it was factually accurate but it communicated to people they cared about the NHS. Leave had a section of the public not swayed on the grandeur of sovereignty or the capriciousness of migration issue of but the care of their family or neighbour and country. Whilst Remain gave a factual retort, they had been tricked too.
There will be an opportunity for politicians who truly care about the NHS to give honest political messages. I’m certain the public will continue to support the founding principles regardless of the serious challenges Brexit will bring. So, there is challenging to produce a coherent political story which addresses challenges, build trust and takes the voting public seriously. You must convince people you care and the Remain failed to do that. Other progressives can learn from that. It is possible to repel the nasty kind of politics which performs the trick. The Public shouldn’t let themselves be blinded by statistical sleight of hand or let people tug at their chordae tendineae. Politicians need to impound the big red bus and begin a mature conversation about health care.