“Figuring out how to monetize sociality is a problem. And not one new to the Internet. Think about how we monetize sociality in physical spaces. Typically, it involves second-order consumption of calories. Venues provide a space for social interaction to occur and we are expected to consume to pay rent. Restaurants, bars, cafes… they all survive on this model. But we have yet to find the digital equivalent of alcohol.”—Dannah Boyd
“I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty. If ever a man is to achieve anything like dignity, it can happen only if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say. I am against any man and any organization which seeks to limit or deny that freedom… [and] the superior man can be sure of freedom only if it is given to all men.”—H. L. Mencken
Politics, you see, has had millennia to get good at making compromises whilst still getting what it wants, because the Dark And Pagan Gods it secretly worships are the bloated astral twins known only as PublicInterest and PublicGood. Science, which kowtows only to the uncaring, unresponsive and unlovely deity that is Fakt, can’t compete. If Nutt gets any sort of verbal recompense at all it’ll take the form: “He may be right about his Findings, but we in Government have to be Right about our Decisions. So, y’know. Fuck him.”
What is PublicInterest anyway? It’s certainly not Science. The depressing truth, reader, is that it’s probably The X-Factor.
…Which I note, supplanted our poor, forgotten Science-Martyr at the top of the papers within one day of the De-Nutting Incident. Yay news.
It’s a depressing possibility that cultural diversity may have been a simple result of poor communications tecnologies preventing people from having more than a few dozen people to impress, micro-cultural bubbles fizzing in their own directions. Perhaps all along, people were so eager to fit in that they were waiting for a world where we could all eat the same food, wear the same clothes and watch the same TV that tells us to listen to the same music and buy the same crap and want to have the same sex with the same homogenized women. Perhaps we have nearly reached humanities inevitable conlusion, an infinite repetition of the same twenty years of culture as the same generation is born again and again to indulge in the same cycle of rebellion and nostalgia while a swathe of men in suits are trapped in the same cycle without caring as long as their sweaty palms are laced with the money of people who hear different and don’t think unusual, weird, interesting, good - but unusual, weird, unpopular, bad.
Or, more optimistically, the culture will always be driven by those at the edge, the mad, unsatisfied, impassioned Weird. The tired, comfort-mongers will always have to contend with the glorious sparks of those who will not rest until they have heard something inspired, seen what they’ve never seen before and done their own thing.
The monoculture might be overwhelmingly bigger, but it’s surrounded by enemies who couldn’t care less.