Stephanie McCurry’s explication of the Confederate States of America not as some “libertarian symbol of small government and resistance to federal tyranny” but as a repressive, white supremacist, “centralized state” conscripting its population to fight a “rich man’s war” includes a description of its political reality which seems mightily and distressingly familiar.

The war brought a terrible reckoning for the Confederate States of America, subjecting it to the military test of the Union armies and the political judgment of its own people. The C.S.A. was a nation built on a slim foundation of democratic consent: Of its total population of 9 million, only about 1.5 million were white men of voting and military age; the rest—white women and the enslaved—formed the vast ranks of the politically dispossessed. Political consent, and popular support for the war effort, were accordingly shallow.

Meet Adam Mazza, My Instagram Bully

Back in March, there’d been a pandemic-prompted reunion of sorts of my original online community (scroll down) that I even touted in response to a call for items from a newsletter I read. It didn’t, for me, even last a month, because of reasons I’d tweeted and also posted to Instagram at the time.

Fast forward to the end of May and the beginning of June, when a completely-unrelated person from that same community fell like dick from the internet sky.



Full disclosure: between the first and the second comments was my only reply: “Yes: fuck you.”

To be clear, waking at noon was both due to a recurring fatigue condition and mental health stresses during social distancing lockdown, and the AirPods are for the active noise cancellation I use to mitigate autistic sensory sensitivities. The selfies, like most people’s selfies, are to mark the pushing through.

Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, is engaged in online harassment that’s reached the point of bullying me over disability. He’s been reported to Instagram as such, and will continue to be with each new post. I haven’t blocked him because I want him to keep digging his own virtual grave.

I also note a common irony of the internet bully: trying to shame people into thinking no one cares about what they have to say…by repeatedly responding to what they have to say.

One thing I have a greater appreciation for because of this, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I thank Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, for the lesson: I’m not a suicidal ideation guy, I’m not a self-harm guy, but the massive anxiety spike caused by each of the comments so far by Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, definitely helps me understand a little better why online bullying and harassment can lead people there.

Oh, for the halcyon days when all I had to criticize Instagram for was the out-of-order feed hurting my autistic brain. To stay on point: it’s safe to assume Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, would see that as just more complaining my four 227 followers don’t care about.

Handshakes are not valued equally among all the social and cultural groups that practice them. According to Yuta Katsumi, a cognitive neuroscientist who currently researches memory but has conducted several studies on people’s evaluation of handshakes, everyone he studied appreciated a handshake. They were taken as a sign of goodwill and trustworthiness and business competence. However, Katsumi saw one group’s brains light up more than all the others when they witnessed a good, firm handshake: men, and white men in particular. “There’s a good amount of evidence that handshakes are a male activity,” Katsumi says. “If you do an observational study, male-male interactions involve a handshake much more frequently than female-female or mixed-gender interactions.” A quick Google search will reveal articles cataloging multiple strains of gendered handshake angst. There are worries about grip strength, chronicles of boardroom handshake snubs, advice columns urging women to engage in flesh pressing and for men to tone down the macho bone-crusher routine when dealing with their colleagues.

From The End of Handshakes—for Humans and for Robots by Emma Grey Ellis

Reading this sad-making look by Faiz Siddiqui at Elon Musk and his fellow Bond villain techbros, mostly I came away with two thoughts.

First, I don’t understand how anyone could write that these guys’ positions “may represent a business interest more than a moral or ideological stand” with a straight face, as if “business interest” somehow isn’t a “moral or ideological stand”.

Second, when Siddiqui quotes Balaji S. Srinivasan as saying that “the state doesn’t have tech talent anymore”, I once again sort of want to wildly wave my hands around shouting, “Jet Propulsion Laboratory?”

Until this morning I didn’t even know what a Cenk Uygur was. Fuck you, this morning.

Addenda

  1. Any time I’ve ever heard about The Young Turks, it’s been for something reprehensible. Certainly shouting endlessly at airline workers is not “progressive”.

The only thing more fungible than cold, hard cash is privilege. The prodigal tech bro doesn’t so much take an off-ramp from the relatively high status and well-paid job he left when the scales fell from his eyes, as zoom up an on-ramp into a new sector that accepts the reputational currency he has accumulated. He’s not joining the resistance. He’s launching a new kind of start-up using his industry contacts for seed-funding in return for some reputation-laundering.

From The Prodigal Techbro by Maria Farrell (via MetaFilter)