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I, consumer (February 20, 2020)

Reading

Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.

Benjamin Franklin, quoted in Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard

Listening

So there it is. What news do political junkies demand? Outrage and gossip. Why? Because it’s alluring. What news do we avoid? Local news. Why? It’s boring. What do we think of our partisan opponents? We hate them. Do we really hate them? No, but politics is more fun if we root for a team and spew anger at the other side. It’s easier to hate and dismiss the other side than to empathize and connect to them. When do we vote? When there’s a spectacle. When do we click? When politics can be a frivolous distraction. When do we donate? When there’s a cocktail party or a viral video. What are we doing? We’re taking actions not to empower our political values but to satisfy our passion for the sport of politics.

Eitan Hersh on Hidden Brain, “Passion Isn’t Enough: The Rise Of ‘Political Hobbyism’ in the United States

Watching

What happens when we apply intentionality to the act of taking photos?

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The fragility of digital information

Up late fixing broken links on the library’s website to now defunct government pages and resources. This is depressing.

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Repeat after me

My day-to-day news sources of choice are The New York Times and Democracy Now. When I’m in the mood for a sensationalized slant, I will usually visit Huffington Post. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the editorial notes that accompany Trump-related articles:

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

It uses a strategy from Trump’s own playbook: repeat the same thing over and over in the hope that it sticks. I have to imagine there is some search optimization foo at work here as well.

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Subtext into text

From A National Descent into Trump’s Pants,

“Rather, Mr. Trump turns subtext into text, whether it’s about immigration or torture. Republican candidates had sent certain messages to voters for years, and now the party hears them coming back from Mr. Trump translated, or perhaps decoded.”