A Long-Winded Excuse to Run a Dead-Squirrel Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nn0UkdDArM

Eli Pariser, the 30-year-old president of MoveOn.org, has been living with the Internet for half his life. And now he’s fretting that the Internet is not living up to its early promise of liberating people from being human:

I’ve always believed the Internet could connect us all together and help create a better, more democratic world. That’s what excited me about MoveOn — here we were, connecting people directly with each other and with political leaders to create change.

But that more democratic society has yet to emerge, and I think it’s partly because while the Internet is very good at helping groups of people with like interests band together (like MoveOn), it’s not so hot at introducing people to different people and ideas. Democracy requires discourse and personalization is making that more and more elusive.

Yes, how we pine for the good old days of three networks and one newspaper, when we were much more likely to be introduced to different people and ideas, at least those deemed safe to expose to an audience that was substantially more uptight than we were.

Eli’s concern, which he somehow manages to inflate into 304 pages of his new book, is that the more websites and search engines tailor their results to your perceived interests, the more they exclude the things that bore the shit out of you:

Sometimes, this can be a real service — if you never read articles about sports, why should a newspaper put a football story on your front page? But apply the same logic to, say, stories about foreign policy, and a problem starts to emerge. Some things, like homelessness or genocide, aren’t highly clickable but are highly important.

Yes, they certainly are. But if we’re inclined to throw away Section A without reading it, no amount of scolding on Eli’s part is going to change our mind. The Internet simply automates a process that citizens have enjoyed for generations: The right not to pay attention. Call it a “problem” if you’d like, but don’t call it new, kid. You weren’t around for the first run of Happy Days.

We can’t deny that it would be A Better World if people took things seriously, but people aren’t like that. No, people are more like this:

Mark Zuckerberg perfectly summed up the tension in personalization when he said “A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”

Which might explain this video making the rounds yesterday.

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You [Amazon, via Political Wire]
10 Comments

WTF? These are some seriously disturbed libruls. Why don’t they shriek and run about like normal people? Why don’t they beat the child then shame her so she learns? The dog is the only rational one in the bunch. The squirrel is fucking dead, motherfuckers.

Are they stoned?

It’s dead. It’s wild. Squirrels aren’t “clean” animals.

@Benedick HRH KFC:
I would not go as far as freaking out, but I’d be unhappy. About the only thing that made those folks seem human was the moment that dad zoomed in on mommy’s boobs.

Reminds me somewhat of the time my Doxie chased, caught and killed a /redacted/. She was so proud when she took the /redacted/ corpse into the house and rather upset when my mom (who was upset the dog brought a dead thing into the house) took the /redacted/ away. After that we started calling her “Killer” which my mom didn’t like.

@ManchuCandidate: Ours kills mice and looks thrilled with the tail hanging out of his mouth. Big dog who kills snakes has taught the pug to chew on dried out dead bits. Bt SRSLY. WHat is the point of having children if you’re not going to scream at them and make them cry? This is just wrong.

@Benedick HRH KFC:
From what my married with children friends tell me, the whole point of kids is that they suck the life out of you.

Kidding… sort of.

I have a feeling I’ll probably end up like my dad. Lots of stony stares. Moody as all hell. And always shouting, but with, um, love.

Who wants to bet that idiot dad has an expensive degree in filmmaking–no doubt from U$C? Dude will probably whip out the camera first if the poor child gets hit by a car—“Look at the camera, sweetheart, and tells us what you’re feeling right now.”
Whatever else you can say about the parents, they do seem to have a sweet and compassionate child. Hope she can survive them.

@ManchuCandidate: Bless your heart, friend, but it’s okay to acknowledge your dog killed a bunny rabbit. However, if you could refrain from Cap’n Howdy-style descriptions of guts strewn across the yard (Hello, Cap’n, let us know you’re keeping body and soul together, kay? We worry!), I would be much obliged.

@Mistress Cynica: I’ve seen the let-me-document-it-then-take-parental-action syndrome becoming more and more insidious. It’s messed up. But then again, kids today are more insulated from germs, sharp edges, playground equipment with huge cement pylons, etc. than they ever were in the past, so it probably all balances out, evolutionarily-speaking.

Is anyone else besides me disturbed that, besides the 3-plus minutes of squirrel-handling, this young girl is outdoors in nothing but her underwear?

Because of that, I’m almost certain that they do NOT live on the Left Coast, but somewhere in the Bible Belt. Because I’ve noticed that politically conservative parents can be very “liberal” in their parenting.

@matador1015: There’s actually a longer version that shows more of the yard, if that helps geotagging.

And yes, just about every detail in the video creeped me out.

@nojo: Palm trees in the background, stucco house across the street, and the clincher, the enclosed pool. This is in Florida.

@flippin eck: Right? Where is Captain Howdy? Though I suspect he is in crunch-time at work like me.

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