Paean

Dieter Mueller

(28 April 1967 – 24 November 2014)

dieter-mueller-paean

My friendship with Dieter Mueller was brief, intense, and abstracted by his decision to end his life in the early hours of 24 November 2014.

We encountered each other in discussions on the Google Plus social media platform, and were drawn to one another by our mutual interest in debating what we saw as the big issues facing Western societies.

For two years we spurred each other on to inject serious essays and commentary into the shallow pools of endlessly re-shared, cutesy images, of idiotic fortune cookie one-liners posing as inspirational wisdom, and of the Silicon Valley hucksterism that passes as social media marketing nous.

It was our premiss that what was then a relatively new forum did not inevitably have to descend into a stagnant pool of spam and asinine crap.

We thought that talking about real issues in rational terms would connect a sufficient number of people willing to be thoughtful to carve out a sane corner in at least one social network. We were wrong. People online behave much as they do offline: politically apathetic, mean-spirited, willfully ignorant, and pathologically narcissistic. But it was a hell of a ride.

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It’s balls, innit!

pikey-munter

It seems that Google has no end of cretins patrolling Google Plus to jump on an criticism of the platform made there. A bit like having soccer louts to enforce team loyalty.

To counter some of the popular irrationality thrown up like lukewarm vomit by these people, I thought I’d have a bit of fun and experiment with a presentation (in Microsoft PowerPoint, link opens new tab), using an extended Star Trek metaphor because I thought most of the Google thought police would understand my points if they contained Spock, Klingons, and saving the universe.

Seven kommunity killers

kommunity-top

Putting aside the somewhat ridiculous notion that the weasel-words ‘social media’ have any but oxymoronic meanings, there’s nevertheless ongoing debate on at least Google Plus about ‘building community’.

In their best imitation of earnest and knowledgeable people, concerned with the social, most people who discuss these issues assume that there is an objective position to stake out on a topic that can’t question its own dubious premiss: that there is such a thing as social and community to be had in the mercenary, commercial structures built by social media companies.

What can be talked about are personal experiences with nominal efforts to ‘build’ and ‘manage’ online community.

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People YOU are BORING!!!

[An unintended delusional conversation with Joanna Weiss.]

You say such sweet things to me first up on a Sunday, Joanna, while I’m still ungluing my eyes and cranking up my pulse rate to resemble life. Moah coaaaarrfeeee!

Your interactions were fake: hand-picked, overglossed, idealised personal statements that were bound to make your friends feel insecure, and vice versa.

Damn. Sprung! Wait. You weren’t talking about me?

Luke Pearson
Image credit: Luke Pearson.

Inspired by the song Ennui Go by rap group Magnolius for their art contest. An enormous, bored demon/god is morosely torching a town and half heartedly doing away with it’s defenders because he can’t think of anything more fun to do.


… posting photos of depressingly minor life events – Attention, world! My child went to the dentist! – or scrolling down the news feed and “liking” 15 items in one sitting. I’m marking my presence, like a dog. If I lay off the site for a few days, I invariably miss six birthdays and feel like a jerk. If I stay away for longer, I worry I’ll miss big news.

So you were talking about yourself? Hmmm. Yeah, we all do that. Talk about ourselves, I mean. Is that a bad thing? I suppose it does depend on the level of triviality and repetition attached to the details. Personally I don’t give a fuck about your food and coffee pics, but I won’t tell you that.

Continue readingPeople YOU are BORING!!!”

People YOU are BORING!!!

[An unintended delusional conversation with Joanna Weiss.]

You say such sweet things to me first up on a Sunday, Joanna, while I’m still ungluing my eyes and cranking up my pulse rate to resemble life. Moah coaaaarrfeeee!

Your interactions were fake: hand-picked, overglossed, idealised personal statements that were bound to make your friends feel insecure, and vice versa.

Damn. Sprung! Wait. You weren’t talking about me?

Luke Pearson
Image credit: Luke Pearson.

Inspired by the song Ennui Go by rap group Magnolius for their art contest. An enormous, bored demon/god is morosely torching a town and half heartedly doing away with it’s defenders because he can’t think of anything more fun to do.


… posting photos of depressingly minor life events – Attention, world! My child went to the dentist! – or scrolling down the news feed and “liking” 15 items in one sitting. I’m marking my presence, like a dog. If I lay off the site for a few days, I invariably miss six birthdays and feel like a jerk. If I stay away for longer, I worry I’ll miss big news.

So you were talking about yourself? Hmmm. Yeah, we all do that. Talk about ourselves, I mean. Is that a bad thing? I suppose it does depend on the level of triviality and repetition attached to the details. Personally I don’t give a fuck about your food and coffee pics, but I won’t tell you that.

Continue reading “People YOU are BORING!!!”

The social media thought police

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There is an ageless question about what makes people in a group become tyrants and intolerant savages when you know that, as individuals, they give every appearance of being bright, articulate and rational.

Some of the finest minds in the known universe have struggled with this apparent paradox, but have not come to any stunning insights on the dynamics that turn ap0parently reasonable people into dictatorial thought police.

Just check out the idiocies and intolerances immediately evident on any social network. Not just now, but ever since chat rooms and interest forums have existed.

Doing that appears to offer up powerful evidence that rationality is in full retreat across the Western world. The most imbecilic demands that entirely ludicrous propositions be met not only with respect, but an absence of rational critique, abound everywhere.

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