Truth decay

With politics around the world increasingly characterized by lies, fear, and anger, Frontline,  on the U.S. PBS network, is looking at how Facebook has been used to drive voters apart.

John Doyle reviewed the show in the Globe and Mail and offers this observation:

At the core of the matter is one key discovery about social media that’s not new any more: Fear and anger create ‘greater engagement’ online and therefore more advertising value.

Think about that for a minute. Irrational garbage isn’t an unintended consequence of social media — it’s part of the business model.

Sluggo is lit

nancy_anything

As you may have heard, Ernie Bushmiller’s comic Nancy has been dragged into the 21st century. Its new look is heavy on smartphones, selfie sticks, online videos, and other things all the cool kids are so interested in today.

It seems to me like a strange fate for a bizarre, minimalist comic that seemed to exist outside of time. Even in the ’60s and ’70s you had the feeling Ernie listened to the phonograph and kept his milk in the icebox.

In any event, my wife informs me that the term “Sluggo is lit” is now a meme. (Or at least it was last week. You know how these things go…)

I, of course, had no idea what this meant. Lit? Turns out Nancy is saying that Sluggo is awesome, exciting, or excellent. Which, of course, he is and always has been.

And the strip, despite its obsession with modern technology, is still pretty surreal.

And kind of lit.

 

The immersive, ultra-hooey, gibberish-forward experience

Lucy Kellaway is my hero.

Kellaway recently wrote a column for the Financial Times that is the best thing I’ve read in a long time.

Before I stumbled over this piece via Twitter, I had never heard of Lucy Kellaway. Nor, I’m sure, has she ever heard of me. Sadly, it’s a valedictory column of a sort, in which she sums up her long and futile campaign against corporate codswallop.

“For nearly a quarter of a century,” she writes,* “I have been writing columns telling business people to stop talking rot. For the same amount of time they have been taking no notice.”

When she began, she believed corporate jargon had become so ridiculous that people would soon come to their senses and begin using plain English again. No such luck.

“Over the past two decades, two things have happened. Business bullshit has got a million per cent more bullshitty, and I’ve stopped predicting a correction in the marketplace.”

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A word I just learned

… reading the Strong Language blog. (Warning: the Strong Language blog is all about very rude words. You may be offended.)

Chanty-wrastler

n. (a term of abuse for) an insignificant, unscrupulous, or contemptible person (cf. wrastler, variant of wrestler n.).

1954   R. Jenkins Thistle & Grail (1994) iv. 61   Am I Carnegie, that I can throw away fourpence on that shower of chanty-wrastlers?
1988   G. M. Fraser Sheikh & Dustbin (1989) 41   A chanty-wrastler is a poseur, and unreliable.
2016   R. Gavin 3 of Kind 76   If ah get mah hands on that chanty wrassler.

From a new update to the Oxford English Dictionary.

(A “chanty” is a chamber pot.)