Discover more from 📡 by Mike Rugnetta
📡 – 2023-05-05
And not a moment too soon
Hello! It’s Bandcamp Friday! If you haven’t heard, workers at Bandcamp are attempting to unionize. You can learn a little more about that here. And in case you’re worried about supporting your favorite musicians while the workers at your favorite music site are trying to unionize: don’t!
Here’s what I grabbed today:
In The Fight For Justice, The Police Can Only Be On One Side
Selectively using polling data to bludgeon abolitionist demands but not socialist ones is disingenuous as a research method and self-defeating as politics, given that many movement participants share both goals. (Take, for instance, the push for a federal job guarantee and a Green New Deal, or local initiatives like the Chicago “treatment not trauma” campaign.) Regardless, polls are a weak tonic for socialists. As Stuart Hall observed, “politics does not reflect majorities, it constructs them,” and social change is not made by doing what is already popular. It is made through organizing and contestation. Johnson affirms this at times, such as his positive discussion of a 2015 Black Lives Matter demonstration that shut down portions of a posh Chicago shopping district, and his declaration that “there is no other way forward but through politics.” But the book’s contrarian impulse too often pulls him away from a strategic politics of contestation toward a chaotic politics of condescension. After Black Lives Matter makes a series of dubious, even contradictory claims. He describes abolition as “anarcho-liberal assertions.” While the demand to defund the police “represents the promise of Black Lives Matter as a political force,” he alternately says it “may not be ambitious enough,” but has also somehow been taken over by “rightwing lobby organizations,” while being upheld by “wokelords” pushing the “defeated horizon of welfare statism.”
IAB: U.S. Digital Video Ad Spend Up 21% In 2022, Set To Rise 17% In 2023
Digital video — meaning connected TV (CTV), social video and other digital video — is expected to gain five points of ad-spend share in 2023 and account for 47% of the total TV/video market, which also includes linear TV. Between 2020 and 2023, total TV/video ad spend share is projected to shift nearly 20 percentage points toward digital video. IAB cites a Moffett Nathanson estimate that Q3 2022 marked the first time that the percent of streaming households without a pay-TV subscription (44%) outnumbered streamers with pay TV (38%).
Letter to Wild Wings
Do you all ever throw the term “brand gremlin” around at meetings? I was reading a white paper recently that defined brand gremlins as “people, processes and other entities that are out of alignment with the organization’s overall brand strategy.” The term “gremlin” emerged out of Royal Air Force slang to describe a mischievous creature that causes malfunctions in aircraft, automobiles, and other machinery. While the brand sabotage is symbolic rather than technological, both create friction in what is meant to be smooth colonial expansion.
You’re probably familiar with the movie Gremlins. The setting is “Kingston Falls,” one of those white-bread American towns with a refined Main Street charm. It is within this setting that the gremlins are able to function as gremlins—cute little mogwai sourced from a mystical Chinese sorcerer that transform into evil monsters who eat fried chicken and breakdance. A year later Kingston Falls would serve as the set for “Hill Valley” in Back to the Future, a simulacrum it would reprise in the rest of the trilogy, delineating the years 1955, 1985, and 2015. The plutonium necessary for this time travel was originally stolen from “terrorists,” or as Doc yells before they murder him: “the Libyans!” Leaping into Doc’s augmented DeLorean, this otherwise average American teenage boy named Marty McFly outruns the terrorists’ antique Volkswagen Transporter and finds himself in the right place at the wrong time: 1955.
Everything I, an Italian, thought I knew about Italian food is wrong
“It’s all about identity,” Grandi tells me between mouthfuls of osso buco bottoncini. He is a devotee of Eric Hobsbawm, the British Marxist historian who wrote about what he called the invention of tradition. “When a community finds itself deprived of its sense of identity, because of whatever historical shock or fracture with its past, it invents traditions to act as founding myths,” Grandi says.
psst … psssst … hey … hey look 👇 … a box to type an email address into! You love doing that!
The Glorious Return of a Humble Car Feature
For well over a decade, touch screens have spread like a rash across dashboards. As with other dangerous trends in car design (see the steering yoke), this one can be traced back to Tesla, which has for years positioned its vehicles as “tablets on wheels.” As a result, touch screens were seen as representing tech-infused modernity. But cost has been a factor, too. “These screens are presented as this avant garde, minimalist design,” said Matt Farah, a car reviewer and host of The Smoking Tire, an auto-focused YouTube channel and podcast. “But really, it’s the cheapest way possible of building an interior.” Although they look fancy, Farah said that carmakers can purchase screens for less than $50, making them significantly less expensive than tactile controls.
Spirited Away: Who painted Hilma af Klint’s otherworldly visions?
Although af Klint acknowledged that the “Temple” cycle was a group effort, emanating from “a realm inhabited by a plurality of spirits,” the specific details of this coauthorship have long remained unclear. Spirits aside, the editors go on to state the lesser-known fact that “thirteen women were involved in the creation of the physical works” and that because of this extraordinary new information (thirteen!), they acknowledge that research into the collective nature of these works has just begun.
The rise of the ambient video game
Note: From 2018!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, released last year and immediately heralded as one of the greatest games ever, arguably captures such computer programs at their most expressive. The game has incredible grass. It undulates gently in the wind while the sun paints its tips yellow. Meadows turn into shimmers. Holding forward on the controller jostles Link, the game’s boy-hero protagonist, into a light jog, his weight only just displacing the greenery around him. In the evening I sit on the couch, letting the colours and sounds of the digital world wash over me, allowing my brain to slowly decompress. It’s a relaxation activity that slips nebulously into self-care, the video game equivalent of putting an ambient record on.
Heavier Vehicles in Aging Parking Garages Are a Recipe for Disaster
I can’t speak to the U.S. but I can tell you for sure what is happening in the U.K.: The structural efficacy of many of these buildings is just completely unknown. They’ve been left unchecked for decades and then you’re adding more vehicles, which weigh a lot more than they used to. Additionally, these buildings are under a significant amount of use. They’re largely open to the elements. They’re often damaged. And this goes unchecked as well. So the answer is increased vertical load plus increased degradation leads to collapse.
The influencer pay gap: Platform labor meets racial capitalism
Existing research emphasizes the precarity of workers engaged in the exchange of goods and services through digital platforms. Yet few studies have systematically examined how racial discrimination shapes the opportunities of platform workers. Here, we focus on influencers, or people who monetize content on social media platforms. Drawing on a mixed-method analysis of 1,082 posts crowdsourced by the @InfluencerPayGap Instagram account, we document three findings. First, while most influencers in our sample received monetary payment for sponsored campaigns, rates are significantly lower than expected based on industry estimates. Second, social media metrics are racialized to justify paying influencers of color less than white influencers. Third, influencers of color are less likely than white influencers to receive monetary compensation or succeed in their negotiations with brands. Contrary to the rhetoric of fairness and democratization promoted by digital platforms, these dynamics reproduce racial domination and undermine collective action among social media influencers.
New Stillfleet setting sourcebook announced! KSR launching soooooon!
Recently posted a few new checkpoint»brickbear stream archives on my patreon. Aiming to do these once a month, so there should be another stream sometime very soon. Follow on twitch to get that notif.
Reasonably Sound 046, “The Scourge of Modern Society”, is recorded and sound designed. I’m tightening up a few more bits of scoring and then releasing it for Patrons next week. It’ll go public a little bit later.
Hope y’all have had a good couple weeks – I’ll see you in a couple more with additional shiny tidbits dredged from the murky abyss of the internet. Want your pals to stare into the maddening depths with us? Let ‘em know about what we got going on here: