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:: posted by buermann @ 2007-09-20 17:11:32 CST | link

      The lack of any firm connection between what candidates intend and the perception of their intention seems mainly a function of peer-approved opinion. The marketers target the "alpha consumers", just as they do with children, and the infantilizing social structures do the rest. The restricted range of choices in totalizing hierarchies make consumerism the only outlet for some personal autonomy. So at school, you can be seen with any yo-yo you want, as long as you have one, and the battles over butterfly versus regular take up everyone's time. In the infantilizing corporate workplace, which most people inhabit in some form, woe betide the anti-yoyoist (or anarchist) who insists once too often that a choice of yo-yos is no choice at all. You'll get Graebered if you take it far enough. The suck-ups anklebite the dissidents and fawn on the alpha consumers. They get social strokes for that. The best behaved get to be addressed by Joe Wilson.

      These critters don't need unbiased media. They need exit counseling!

    posted by Scruggs @ 2007-09-20 22:21:37 | link

      I take your bandwagon and raise you one reactance.

    posted by buermann @ 2007-09-20 23:01:49 | link

      Riots happen, but then it's back to the skinner box, where everyone agrees that the kid was obnoxious, but differ quite a bit on how much violence was appropriate.

    posted by Scruggs @ 2007-09-20 23:50:12 | link

      Didn't you hear? That kid had friends who do standup! He openly associates with pranksters and was making a mockery of legitimate protest! He didn't even get tasered! And maybe he deserved it anyway! The crowd cheered didn't you hear them? I've never heard of Abbie Hoffman, and I don't want to hear about it! La la lalala!

    posted by buermann @ 2007-09-21 00:23:23 | link

      I'm being unnecessarily bleak, I think. I've got axes to grind and it fucks up my thinking. Quite a few people do break out -- though they tend to get their resources depleted in worthy, but unsupported causes, or vampirized more completely by professional beautiful losers. That gets to me on many levels. Take that comment you made at Tiny Revolution as one good example. Take the treatment from liberal ankle biters Jon gets when he steps outside the boundaries of respectable opinion as another. The people who break out and stay out have a hard time staying engaged in the "mainstream".

      I think the holy grail here is that Zero Risk with a small benefit and I think the reactance should have a broad appeal with staying power. I'm not wholly satisfied with the bandwagon. It's too pat.

    posted by Scruggs @ 2007-09-21 00:58:53 | link

      I think the problem might that the impulse to follow - something I don't understand any more than I do the impulse to lead, so shooting in the dark - comes with nearly inexhaustible resources to waste on unworthy, well supported causes. Or maybe it's just economy of scale.

      And reactance does have broad appeal, that's why so many mainstream groups constantly play the victim. I think it's also necessarily short lived in that context, on the other hand, so there's a lot of churn that leaves a waste of anomie and apathy behind. Speaking from experience on that one.

      Your holy grail, well, yeah. If "zero" were relative I feel like I come across new lesser risk, higher benefit grails often enough that the whole giving a shit schtick is it's own sort of nerdish reward. And in between there's depressing jokes.

      Have you seen some of this Al Jazeera English shit? They make the BBC look like cubical dwelling troglodytes. I thought this one had especially fine moments of generous hilarity.

    posted by buermann @ 2007-09-21 01:55:56 | link

      I hadn't even thought of Al Jazeera in ages. They're really professional, in a good way, and they appear to have considerable Úlan.

      I think the problem might that the impulse to follow - something I don't understand any more than I do the impulse to lead, so shooting in the dark - comes with nearly inexhaustible resources to waste on unworthy, well supported causes. Or maybe it's just economy of scale.

      I think there's an interrupted effort at averting a tragedy of the commons in the supported unworthy cause scenario. The leadership aspect could be as simple as one edgy person losing patience with a bad situation and taking a risk, which wouldn't necessarily make it a wise move, or even assure any qualities of good leadership, while the following impulse has the epiphanic quality of spotting an apparently viable escape hatch and being willing to contribute generously. Worse comes to worst, a mass exodus can cover the individual's exit.

      Getting back to the people who break out, do it well, achieve some continuity AND have some beneficial impact on the "mainstream", the ones I've looked at all have something in common. In their own ways, they've considered their relationship with the land -- i.e. resources available -- and they've democratized production/rewards. Their systems of economics also try to look at replacement costs. CSAs are a good example. Though they're more difficult in cities (I'm sure you recall this egregious wrong).

      Carson's posts on desktop manufacturing may have something for city versions of CSAs. Though the initial capital investment is going to be tough. One failure after scraping pennies as a paycheck to paycheck person is too demoralizing. Community manufacturing tends not to be scalable, in my experience. The skills are hard to acquire to begin with and the people who have them have little incentive to drop out. The first emphasis is on recouping as much of the outlay as possible, as fast as possible. So making custom knives, for example, takes precedence over making engines.

      Boutique production has its own systems of prestige and they retain the beneficial effect of them by keeping the mainstream at arm's length.

    posted by Scruggs @ 2007-09-21 11:34:27 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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