Even if you don't know his name, chances are you've seen @MattBors's incredible cartoons for @TheNib, especially this classic panel from his enduring 2016 "Mr Gotcha" strip:

thenib.com/mister-gotcha/

1/
Its currency and fame are easy to explain: Mr Gotcha is a superb example of the odious neoliberal idea that there are no systemic problems (or, importantly, solutions), only individual choices.

Don't like climate change? Recycle.

Don't like monopolies? Shop indie.

2/
Don't like inequality? Donate to charity.

Don't like racism? Don't be racist.

Don't like sexual assault? Don't rape anyone.

This framework is a recipe for despair, self-loathing and inaction, and Bors's Mr Gotcha is the perfect avatar for it.

3/
Four years later, Bors has brought back Mr Gotcha for a very special covid edition:

thenib.com/mr-gotcha-covi…

Mr Gotcha starts off by with a reiteration of the current right-wing disinformation meme.

4/
Before Bors widens the frame to include apologism for police murder.

5/
In writing this up, I realized (belatedly) that Bors has a book of these strips out, "We Should Improve Society Somewhat." Naturally, I ordered it.

cloverpress.us/products/we-sh…

eof/

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More from @doctorow

19 Sep
We are living in a golden age of predatory capitalism, in which businesses that generate real value and stable employment are being destroyed by deep-pocketed quasi-tech firms that lose money on every transaction but hope to make it back by securing monopolies.

1/ Image
Nowhere is this more visible than in the restaurant industry, where a bewildering array of deceptive (and even fraudulent) tactics are being deployed by Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Yelp, who have nonconsensually interposed themselves between eaters and restaurateurs.

2/
If this is ringing bells, you might be recalling the infamous May case-study in which a pizzeria owner discovered that Doordash had put up a fake delivery page for his restaurant and was selling his pizzas for less than he charged for them.

pluralistic.net/2020/05/18/cod…

3/
Read 25 tweets
19 Sep
I'm grateful to @AndrewRichard and @PublishersWeekly for the chance to lay out the logic behind the Kickstarter campaign to sell the audiobook for Attack Surface, the third Little Brother book, in a column called "We Need to Talk About Audible."

publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/in…

1/
The fact that traditional media companies like publishers are now beholden to Amazon - their direct competitor - is somewhat attributable to a lack of foresight on their part, but it largely the result of real chicanery on the part of the Big Tech monopolists.

2/
I mean, it's not like the publishers were stupid the way Borders (RIP) was: remember when the largest books retailer in the USA decided to make Amazon its online division in 2000? They cancelled the deal in 2007 and went bankrupt in 2011. That was slow suicide.

3/
Read 18 tweets
18 Sep
Today's Twitter threads (a Twitter thread).

Inside: In Search Of A Flat Earth; A cryptographic mystery solved; Youtube's war on algorithmic radicalization; The Hardware Lottery; and more!

Archived at: pluralistic.net/2020/09/18/the…

#Pluralistic

1/
My first-ever Kickstarter is on! Pre-order the audiobook and/or ebook of Attack Surface, the third Little Brother book, and help me redefine the way publishers, writers and readers deal with Big Tech monopolies!

kickstarter.com/projects/docto…

2/
In Search Of A Flat Earth: From Flat Earth to Qanon, the rise of murderous cults.



3/
Read 17 tweets
18 Sep
Google Brain researcher @sarahook's new paper "The Hardware Lottery," proposes that there is a secret, relentless force that bends the course of machine learning: processor architecture.

arxiv.org/abs/2009.06489

1/
Hooker observes that computer scientists are curiously indifferent to the constraints and capabilities of processors, and proceed in a vacuum of information about these, designing machine learning algorithms that are sometimes stymied by bottlenecks in processor designs.

2/
While other machine learning techniques thrive and grow to dominate, not merely because they do something useful, but because they do something useful that can be readily accomplished with the hardware that we can currently access.

3/
Read 12 tweets
18 Sep
Sylvia Sidney in Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) draculasdaughter.tumblr.com/post/629620560…
Sylvia Sidney in Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) draculasdaughter.tumblr.com/post/629620560…
Sylvia Sidney in Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) draculasdaughter.tumblr.com/post/629620560…
Read 6 tweets
18 Sep
Writing for @wired, @pomeranian99 gets a first-of-its-kind behind-the-scenes look at Youtube's algorithm development team, in order to document the company's attempt to reduce the service's role in spreading and reinforcing conspiracy theories.

wired.com/story/youtube-…

1/
Thompson traces the origin of the crisis to the company's drive for more "engagement" that led them to tune their recommendation system to identify and propose more specialized, esoteric versions of the video you'd just watched.

2/
The idea was to lead you down a rabbit hole of ever-more-specific versions of your interests, helping you discover niches you never knew existed.

3/
Read 22 tweets

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