athelind: (tell it like it IS)
In a response to my post about the Doctrine of "Real" Names, [livejournal.com profile] araquan provided the following insight from a Charlie Rose interview with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg:

Facebook COO Sandberg talked about the power of relationship-based networks, contrasting "the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends."

"So that's Google versus Facebook right there," Rose replied.

Sandberg didn't agree. She thinks the entire first phase of the Web's development -- which led to "a lot of wonderful things" -- was largely based on "anonymity and links between crowds."

The next stage of development, the one Facebook has spearheaded, is built around identity. "The social Web can't exist until you are your real self online," Sandberg said. "I have to be me, you have to be Charlie Rose."


The logical fallacy, of course, is the conflation of "real self" with "legal name". You can't be your "real self" if you're always wondering, "what would my family think of this? What if my boss Googles me?"

I am my "real self" online, and my "social Web" is woven among those who know me as "Athelind" and "Your Obedient Serpent".

That other name?

That's not my "real self", Ms. Sandberg.

That's my banking information, and I know why you want it.


athelind: (number six)
It is a classic trope of science fiction that In the Future, We Will Have Numbers Instead Of Names.

In almost every instance of this trope more recent than Ralph 124C 41+, this is a sure sign that you live in a dystopia. It suggests a world in which human concerns are devalued, and society itself is engineered to make it easier for a large, impersonal bureaucracy to track and monitor its citizens subjects.

Over the last few centuries, as Nation-States have arisen and consolidated their power, there has emerged a doctrine that everyone should have one and only one name, used in any and every context; that this is your only "real" name; and that the only possible reasons to use nicknames, pseudonyms, or any alternative to the name recorded in your governmental and financial records are to conceal unsavory practices, or perpetrate outright fraud.

A name that falls outside a limited range of acceptance criteria may not be accepted as a "real" name, and will certainly engender harsh feelings from governmental and corporate bureaucrats inconvenienced by the nonconformity.

As so many things have, this memetic push has accelerated across the close of the 20th Century and the dawn of the 21st.

Be advised, and be aware:

The only difference between this doctrine of "real" names and the dystopian trope of numbers that replace names is the number of bits in your designation.


The intent is to make you easier to track. The intent is to make you a product.

Vernor Vinge warned us, thirty years ago: when someone knows your True Name, they have power over you.

Government watchlists aside, Google and Facebook aren't making money providing you with free email and search and "social networking". They're making money by selling your easily-monitored habits and interests to other corporations. If you operate under more than one name, if you compartmentalize your life and your purchasing power amongst multiple identities, you are diluting their product by making it more difficult to thoroughly profile you—and they consider that intolerable.

Enlightening References:


(I have noticed, and not without irony, that the same kind of people who once ranted about Social Security Numbers as "the Mark of the Beast" tend to automatically and reflexively agree with the idea that people only have one "real name".)
athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (AAAAAA)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Have you ever closed the door on an opportunity or a relationship in order to open another door, only to realize you made the wrong choice?

oh, for crying ...

Yes, okay, yes. I woke up to that running through my brain this very morning: sometimes it seems like every single time I've had a binary choice, I've picked the wrong one. On the rare occasions that I do make the right choice, I manage to screw it up somehow with later choices.

I reiterate my conclusion from the last "life of regrets" Writer's Block I answered, less than three weeks ago:

Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda is toxic.

You can't do a damned thing about where you've been.
You can only do something about where you're going.

Face Front.



Rassin' frassin' LiveJournal Drama Llama stereotypes. There should be a cap on how often Writer's Block can ask the same kinds of question in a single month.
athelind: (Eye - VK)
Again, my prejudices are reinforced.

I now want to start a social networking site.

I'll call it "JumpOffABridge", and the tagline will be "Because All Your Friends Are Doing It."


athelind: (Eye - VK)
Again, my prejudices are reinforced.

I now want to start a social networking site.

I'll call it "JumpOffABridge", and the tagline will be "Because All Your Friends Are Doing It."


athelind: (V)

Better Off Deadbeat



Craig Cunningham is suing abusive credit companies and bill collectors.

It's one of those framing issues: "oh, no, he's trying to weasel out of debts he racked up, fair and square" -- but, you know, we've all been manipulated into this debt-based economy anyway. We're expected to play nice and be cooperative and toe the line, while they don't even see fit to follow the rules that already favor them.

The only way that's gonna change is by telling the bastards to take a flying leap. And sometimes, that takes another bastard to lead the way.

More power to ya, Mr. C -- and back to you, Howard.




For the record, I'm not seeing this as some kind of easy way to deal with my own economic woes;
for one thing, I don't have a whole lotta debt right now, myself. This just pleases me.

athelind: (Default)

Better Off Deadbeat



Craig Cunningham is suing abusive credit companies and bill collectors.

It's one of those framing issues: "oh, no, he's trying to weasel out of debts he racked up, fair and square" -- but, you know, we've all been manipulated into this debt-based economy anyway. We're expected to play nice and be cooperative and toe the line, while they don't even see fit to follow the rules that already favor them.

The only way that's gonna change is by telling the bastards to take a flying leap. And sometimes, that takes another bastard to lead the way.

More power to ya, Mr. C -- and back to you, Howard.




For the record, I'm not seeing this as some kind of easy way to deal with my own economic woes;
for one thing, I don't have a whole lotta debt right now, myself. This just pleases me.

athelind: (outrage)
A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

[livejournal.com profile] bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.


*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.
athelind: (Default)
A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

[livejournal.com profile] bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.


*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.
athelind: (coyote laughs)
If you follow this journal, you know that October has been a long succession of disasters for Your Obedient Serpent. Many of them were car-related, and, of course, the climactic one, the destruction of my car on Halloween morning, was the proverbial bolt from the blue, the quintessential smite of angry divinity, if your metaphysics lean that way, or cosmic irony, if they lean in the other direction.

It's enough to prompt even the aggiest agnostic to wonder, "Why me? Who did I piss off?"

Well, I have a confession to make.

On September 15th, 2009, Jessica Simpson's dog was snatched by a coyote.

This was a minor news item, but one that prompted some small degree of amusement -- in part because so much of the "action" happened on Twitter.

We found one line in particular amusing:

Simpson, 29, has offered a reward to anyone who can reunite her with her 5-year-old, caramel-colored dog.

Quoth [livejournal.com profile] halfelf: "It's like she's expecting a ransom note from the coyotes, or something."

One thing led to another, and, before the hour was out, "CoyoteLuvsU" had a Twitter account, and had posted the following:

@JessicaSimpson WE hAVE YouR TAsTY tASTy DoG. DElIVeR 100 bOnz + 1 roDe RUnnEr To THE olD TRee In THE MeADoW. CoME alOnE, NO AnImAL CoNTRoL.


Today, on the phone with my mother, I mentioned this gag. Being no great fan of either Twitter nor Ms. Simpson, she found it uproarious -- but then stopped, and asked, "So, when did you do this?"

"September 15th", I answered.

"Aha!" she said, wise in the ways of Old Man Coyote. "That's when your trouble started. You took His name in vain."

My mother has a wonderful Ominous Prophecy Voice, and it has only improved with age.

I confess, the logic is inescapable. Indeed, at the time, I said, "I am so asking for trouble by doing this."

Friday the 13th seems the ideal time to Confess and Repent one's sins before the Trickster.

Coyote, forgive me! I have taken Your name in vain,
and trespassed upon a Gag that was rightfully Yours!
The forces of Cosmic Irony have weighed heavily upon me,
and more heavily still upon my late, lamented Grape,
who has suffered in my stead. I repent of my sin,
and my hubris in attempting to leech your Yuks!



You know, when I first came into possession of that Little Purple Car, I asked the opinion of a former Aspire owner, who had rolled his on Interstate 5 a year or two before, and come out unscathed. He said, "They may not look like much, but they'll give their lives for you."

Indeed, sir. Indeed.

athelind: (Default)
If you follow this journal, you know that October has been a long succession of disasters for Your Obedient Serpent. Many of them were car-related, and, of course, the climactic one, the destruction of my car on Halloween morning, was the proverbial bolt from the blue, the quintessential smite of angry divinity, if your metaphysics lean that way, or cosmic irony, if they lean in the other direction.

It's enough to prompt even the aggiest agnostic to wonder, "Why me? Who did I piss off?"

Well, I have a confession to make.

On September 15th, 2009, Jessica Simpson's dog was snatched by a coyote.

This was a minor news item, but one that prompted some small degree of amusement -- in part because so much of the "action" happened on Twitter.

We found one line in particular amusing:

Simpson, 29, has offered a reward to anyone who can reunite her with her 5-year-old, caramel-colored dog.

Quoth [livejournal.com profile] halfelf: "It's like she's expecting a ransom note from the coyotes, or something."

One thing led to another, and, before the hour was out, "CoyoteLuvsU" had a Twitter account, and had posted the following:

@JessicaSimpson WE hAVE YouR TAsTY tASTy DoG. DElIVeR 100 bOnz + 1 roDe RUnnEr To THE olD TRee In THE MeADoW. CoME alOnE, NO AnImAL CoNTRoL.


Today, on the phone with my mother, I mentioned this gag. Being no great fan of either Twitter nor Ms. Simpson, she found it uproarious -- but then stopped, and asked, "So, when did you do this?"

"September 15th", I answered.

"Aha!" she said, wise in the ways of Old Man Coyote. "That's when your trouble started. You took His name in vain."

My mother has a wonderful Ominous Prophecy Voice, and it has only improved with age.

I confess, the logic is inescapable. Indeed, at the time, I said, "I am so asking for trouble by doing this."

Friday the 13th seems the ideal time to Confess and Repent one's sins before the Trickster.

Coyote, forgive me! I have taken Your name in vain,
and trespassed upon a Gag that was rightfully Yours!
The forces of Cosmic Irony have weighed heavily upon me,
and more heavily still upon my late, lamented Grape,
who has suffered in my stead. I repent of my sin,
and my hubris in attempting to leech your Yuks!



You know, when I first came into possession of that Little Purple Car, I asked the opinion of a former Aspire owner, who had rolled his on Interstate 5 a year or two before, and come out unscathed. He said, "They may not look like much, but they'll give their lives for you."

Indeed, sir. Indeed.

athelind: (prisoner)
To my great surprise, I have realized that I do indeed have a concept of the afterlife:

Just when you've settled down into a nice, well-deserved stretch of eternal oblivion, when you think all of life's nasty little jokes are, at last, over...

Rod Serling steps up and submits you for the viewer's approval, as you commence an eternity of thirty-to-sixty-minute doses of irony, forever, and ever, and ever.


athelind: (Default)
To my great surprise, I have realized that I do indeed have a concept of the afterlife:

Just when you've settled down into a nice, well-deserved stretch of eternal oblivion, when you think all of life's nasty little jokes are, at last, over...

Rod Serling steps up and submits you for the viewer's approval, as you commence an eternity of thirty-to-sixty-minute doses of irony, forever, and ever, and ever.


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