Clubhouse is a greenfield for whitesplaining

In the department of what’s old is new and what’s new is old, I’ve used Clubhouse a bit more. It is hard to explain how it is different from old-school talk radio other than not being limited by spectrum and therefore able to handle an infinite number of channels. However, the same could be said about Zello, an app from 2007 that supports public channels. Clubhouse has a Follow button so it is easy to get into the same channel as your friends. Maybe Zello never had that?

Here’s a conversation that I couldn’t resist joining (as an audience member), “Black Voices for Trump 2024”:

It was fascinating to hear how a substantial sized group of Black Americans process the messages being sent to them by the white elites with BLM signs on their lawns.

Some excerpts:

  • “If you’re Black in America and put your mind to it, you can be whatever you want to be.”
  • On how she talks to Black Democrat friends: “If Trump were impeached, how would it help your community?”
  • “Biden has been issuing executive orders at a furious rate. What has he done for the Black community?”
  • “Why are they trying to feminize all our men?”
  • “Once all of the illegal immigrants are naturalized, the Democrats will never talk to us again. We will be behind Hispanics and Asians and won’t be relevant.”
  • “Biden is cut from the same cloth as Strom Thurmond. Why would you vote for someone like that?”
  • “Obama set off five proxy wars in Africa”
  • “I’m finishing a PhD on the War on Drugs.”
  • To a white participant: “You will never know what it’s like to be Black and I will never know what it’s like to be white. We just have to find common ground.”
  • Woman: “I tell my white friends not to apologize to me for white supremacy because that makes me feel that they’re saying they are superior to me. I grew up in Alabama and my father had a third rate education, but he was able to raise us without my mother having to work and we never felt that there was something we couldn’t do.”
  • Woman from Texas: Trump stopped the revolving door of illegal immigrants who would get deported and come back a few days later. Despite this, the Black neighborhoods of Texas continue to be wiped out via population replacement with Hispanic migrants.

I posted these in real time to a Facebook post. In an aside, I noted “I am waiting for a platoon of white Democrats from San Francisco to set these folks straight regarding the proper way to be Black!” Right on cue…

  • White-looking guy named Arjun: “I’m a multi-Ethnic person.” [But if you saw his profile photo you would likely say that he is white.] He thanks the group for their respect and humanity. Says he comes from a different place politically. Disproves the idea that white liberals offer Blacks empty words by speaking for about 2 minutes and saying nothing.

A bit later….

  • Arjun is back. Talking about working at a farmer’s market in the Tenderloin and “genuinely perplexed” by the fact that only 10% of the customers at this farmer’s market are Black. “A true travesty”. He posits that maybe Black people don’t know how to cook.

(Arjun was right about one thing: when Trump haters showed up they were heard out in full, not interrupted, and responded to respectfully.)

The meeting continues…

  • 35-year-old:: “I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. Everything Trump was doing once in office was creating opportunity for me. So I voted for him in 2020.”
  • Guy who went door to door in a white liberal neighborhood recounts all of the whites that told him that he shouldn’t be supporting Trump because he was Black. “Do you really need to know what Joe Biden’s policies are to vote Donald Trump out?” asked a white say-gooder. “Yes, ma’am, that’s what politics is about.”
  • “White women are getting all of the contracts, jobs, and minority preferences set aside for Black people to make up for Jim Crow.” (Nobody chimes in to point out how difficult it is to be a white woman in North America.)
  • LBJ’s welfare policies were a Trojan Horse because the welfare system’s incentives destroyed the two-parent Black family. We were rats in an experiment for the white liberals of the 1960s.
  • “Didn’t nobody rob my mom’s liquor store in the ‘hood because she had a cross around her neck and her right hand on a Glock.” (What would Mom think about Uncle Joe’s latest call for commonsense gun control?)

Arjun can’t be in every room 24/7, so I think that means Clubhouse needs (nay, demands) an army of well-meaning white folks who can explain to these conservatives why they ain’t Black.

(Separately, one aspect of the room that was interesting was how much better informed and thoughtful regarding policy these folks were than my friends who are in the credentialed elite (tenured professors, management consultants, etc.). Where the credentialed elite expresses hatred for Trump either for personal reasons or because Trump does not give the credentialed elite sufficient respect, the Black conservatives were interested in the Trump administration’s policies, not in the personality of Trump-the-person.)

Related:

  • First impressions of Clubhouse?
  • Interview excerpts with Denzel Washington, who is in sync to some extent with the above folks.
  • A Massachusetts Democrat on hearing about the above room: “Reminds me of the old (old) joke: The Massachusetts republican party will be meeting in the phone booth at the corner of Tremont and Clarendon this afternoon at 3 sharp.” When I told that there are 2,300 followers of the Black Conservatives club on Clubhouse, that hundreds were connected to the discussion for the 2+ hours that I listened, and that dozens spoke… “Ok, I wish them all well. I suppose it challenges the idea that blacks (et al) all think in one stereotypical way.” (who had this all-think-same “idea” other than him?)
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First impressions of Clubhouse?

If you’re as late to the party as I always am, see “What Is Clubhouse? The Invite-Only Chat App Explained” (PC Mag). Note that, to ensure that only the insufferable can be heard, this is iPhone-only (preferably with Apple DouchePods in everyone’s ears).

I joined last week. The big rooms are frustrating, like draggy unprepared TED talks. There might be hundreds or thousands of muted listeners, perhaps partly because the app highlights the most popular rooms. Maybe this could be improved with a text chat option so that the muted listeners could chat amongst themselves a bit. This was valuable in our 500-student Zoom class (version of our MIT ground school) back in January. While one teacher was talking, the other could scan the Zoom chat to see if there were open questions that should be answered. There is no way to give a “thumbs up” to a speaker when he/she/ze/they says something interesting or profound.

We have had the most fun in groups that are small enough for everyone to have speaking rights, e.g., 15 people. How can it be better than Zoom? In Zoom you’re expected to sit in one place and not wander out of the camera frame. With Clubhouse you can walk around the house, wander around a city, drive, etc., just as long as you have sufficient data service to support streaming audio (not a given here in the U.S.!).

Maybe the lack of text chat is by design. People on Clubhouse are a lot more measured than on Facebook. A person whose profile photo shows someone who likely identifies as a Black woman said that she didn’t want people with reprehensible, e.g., racist, viewpoints silenced. She didn’t want to drive them underground and even offered that racism was “their truth”. This was in a room full of people interested in astrology (I was invited by a friend whom I met at Burning Man; I told her “I respect astrologers as ‘scientists’ because their predictions are just as accurate as the coronavirus predictions that have been offered by epidemiologists.”)

The enraged statements that are fun to type into Facebook, e.g., regarding the need to imprison Donald Trump and/or his supporters, are apparently not fun to utter as speech.

The app started in Silicon Valley and there are a disproportionate number of discussions regarding living in and/or leaving the Bay Area as well as the mechanics of pitching, funding, exiting startup companies. The same Bay Area folks, who say that they’re the smartest folks on Planet Earth, also are in rooms about “finding love” or “dating” (but they’re old enough to be grandparents). One of their gurus is Logan Ury, whose principal achievement seems to be having landed a husband (but in a world of profitable no-fault divorce, her status could change at any moment under California family law).

One good way to get into Clubhouse seems to be migration as a group. About 10 of us who are part of an aviation chat group on Telegram went in at the same time, for example, and then another 5-10 people who “follow” some of us joined.

Related, the audio community technology favored by University of Florida students in January 2021:

(“The partying never really stopped,” said one gal. “If we lived with our grandparents we would be more concerned about COVID-19. But we don’t interact with anyone who is vulnerable so why should we be afraid?”)

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Our paranoid friend who fears Facebook’s power

A friend of a friend quotes Benito Mussolini (not as much like Hitler as Donald Trump, but perhaps better acquainted with Hitler on a personal level):

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

He wrote this on top of a tweet expressing concern about the power of an alliance between Silicon Valley’s Big Tech firms and the rulers of the U.S.:

As a demonstration of how irrationally paranoid this guy is for imagining that a combination of political rulers and corporate cronies would suppress his speech via deplatforming, Facebook has deplatformed him… Here’s what he got when trying to post an innocuous update:

(Confusingly, it says that he can’t “go live” despite the fact that he wasn’t trying to “go live”. Nor is he a business and therefore wasn’t attempting to advertise.)

What was the attempted update? “I’m really looking forward to President Biden’s wise leadership.”

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MLK was right: a riot is the language of the unheard

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (not to be confused with Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.), at 1:51 in this 1966 interview:

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Is it fair to say that Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook have moved this statement from “possibly true” to “definitely true”? There were some rioters and now they (and some additional millions of people who also failed to support Presidents Biden and Harris) will be “unheard” for the next few decades.

From the service that unpersoned Donald J. Trump:

Leading to a question:

Twitter was comfortable with potentially inflammatory speech, apparently, in 2017:

Can Donald Trump and his supporters don the mantle of victimhood or survivorship? Signs of abuse:

Should we look at some these these, e.g.,

  • Control what you read, watch and say
  • Punish you for breaking the rules, but the rules keep changing!
  • Tell you it is for your own good and that they know better
  • Call you names or shame you for being stupid or selfish
  • Dismiss your opinions

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VPN for Americans to get a Chinese IP address and see what Trump and other Deplorables have to say?

Donald Trump has been unpersoned by U.S. tech companies, deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook. Parler, the social media competitor to Facebook that had become popular with Trump supporters, has been deplatformed by Amazon Web Services (AWS, which provides Parler’s servers; the site will go dark tomorrow night). Parler has also been deplatformed by Google/Android from phones and will presumably be banned by Apple from the App Store in due course. Amazon previously deplatformed from their ad network anyone who expressed disagreement with the CDC (post from May; maybe Amazon was right… California’s governor followed the CDC’s guidance (old and new) to the letter and California has not been troubled by coronavirus).

Is there a business opportunity here? How about VPNs for Americans to get a Chinese IP address and surf the Internet from inside the Great Firewall so that they can see all of the stuff that has been banned in the U.S.? If they want to do this with apps they can get a Huawei phone (top-rated for camera performance by dxomark), which will soon run software free from American control.

What’s a good name for our VPN-to-China service? “FreePeking”? “YunnanGonnaBeBlocked”?

Separately, I think this is the time to admit that I was wrong about Docker (“platform as a service”). From a senior software engineer friend:

Docker is a form of Kool-Aid. Think Jim Jones. We all drink it here in the Valley.

If Parler wants to spin itself up somewhere other than Amazon (is that feasible given the 24 hours of notice that Amazon gave Parler? They must have a crazy amount of photos/videos to transfer), Docker could actually be useful!

During my November 2019 trip to Shanghai/Suzhou/Hangzhou (awesome!), the U.S.-educated MBAs with whom I talked said that (a) they preferred living in China to living in the U.S. (they’d previously worked in Manhattan), and (b) they had more freedom of speech in China than in the U.S. (there was a clear line of permissible/impermissible drawn by the Party for published speech (they felt free to say whatever they wanted to at a restaurant table)). I wonder if Americans would experience more practical freedom on the Chinese-run Internet than on the Amazon/Google/Apple/Facebook-run Internet.

From Shanghai:

Finally, is it fair to say that Donald Trump is the new Hannibal Lecter and even the most casual contact with him, such as reading some words that he has written, could be dangerous? This Hannibal Lecter-style power is why my Facebook friends are talking nonstop about all of the ways that Trump can be imprisoned forever. It isn’t enough that Trump will disappear in 11 days. They need him inside a Supermax prison solitary cell in order to feel secure.

The Trump Twitter Archive captured some of the hated dictator’s tweets before Twitter put them into the memory hole. Here’s what he wrote just as the Capitol was being trashed:

  • Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
  • I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!

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Facebook reminds us how lucky we are

A post from Donald Trump, edited by Facebook:

I’m not sure how the identity of the president who takes over in January 2021 is relevant to a post regarding a coronaplague vaccine, but it is comforting to be reminded how lucky we are to have Joe Biden. #ThankYouFacebookEditorialDepartment

(The above was highlighted by a friend: “This is like AT&T listening to your call and editing.”)

From our local supermarket, Joe Biden is already an “American Legend”:

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Reddit stuffs the gender critical feminists into the Memory Hole

https://www.reddit.com/r/GenderCritical :

archive.org shows that, as June 26, the discussion group had 64,400 members:

As advertised, they are hostile to an Ask Me About My Pronouns T-Shirt.

Pride Gender Inclusive Adult Pronouns Graphic T-Shirt - White - image 1 of 1

Feminism is the movement to liberate women from patriarchy. We stand up for the rights of women to control our own bodies as individuals and to control women-only spaces as a class.

Women are adult human females. We do not believe that men can become women by ‘feeling’ like women. We do not condone the erasure of females and female-only spaces, the silencing of critical thinking, the denial of biological reality and of sex-based oppression. We oppose the ‘cotton ceiling’ and the pressure on lesbians to have sex with men. We resist efforts to limit women’s reproductive autonomy. We condemn the men who exploit and abuse women in prostitution and pornography.

“Women do not decide at some point in adulthood that they would like other people to understand them to be women, because being a woman is not an ‘identity.’ Women’s experience does not resemble that of men who adopt the ‘gender identity’ of being female or being women in any respect. The idea of ‘gender identity’ disappears biology and all the experiences that those with female biology have of being reared in a caste system based on sex.” – Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts

Reddit has deleted nearly seven years of content by this community. I asked a friend who considers herself a TERF whether this forum was, in fact, hate-filled. Her answer:

No, the mods were exacting about following the rules. Couldn’t call people trannies, etc. Purely political decision. They still left all the porn subreddits up so it clearly wasn’t about anything other than clamping down on terfs.

The archive.org server grabbed the front page of the forum, but not the actual content. So those of us who were not participants in the community can never know whether they were haters or not. Some of the older threads do seem to be available. Samples:

Transgenderism does seem to be winning the war, if indeed there was anyone other than a few terfs to fight against. Walking into a Target recently, for example, the very first display for all shoppers is of LGBTQIA+-themed products:

(the gender critical feminists might not be pleased to learn that a trans woman is more “authentic” than a cisgender woman!)

Near the pharmacy, Johnson & Johnson talks about its “championing” of all matters LGBTQIA (but not “plus”!) and offers rainbow-wrapped Listerine, sunscreen, etc.:

Companies usually like to avoid actual political controversy. Why lose nearly half your customers by saying “We at GreedCo prefer Candidate X”? There are some dramatic differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, for example, but how many Fortune 500 companies have endorsed either one? The only time that a company would be willing to alienate customers is on an issue where there are hardly any people who strongly oppose the position being taken. From this, therefore, it seems reasonable to infer that, at least since 2011 when Johnson & Johnson decided it was safe to come out of the closet, there is no significant opposition to LGBTQIA advocacy.

I wonder if this sanitizing of the Internet by Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, et al. will actually work against those who advocate for the causes that are now held sacred and to which no opposition can be voiced. Once all of the terfs are silenced, for example, and there is no record that they ever existed because old content is in a memory hole, wouldn’t that cause people to ask an advocate for transgenderism “Who exactly are you fighting against?”

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Facebook helps manufacture consent around the idea of white privilege

Want to write on Facebook about “white privilege” and how “It’s for sure a white man’s world in America. … All you got to be is white in America to get whatever you want”? (see Being There) Go for it!

What about disagreeing with this, however obliquely? A Facebook friend wrote the following:

There are tens of millions of racists in america but most are white trash who don’t make any decisions that matter.

His account was suspended.

A friend’s post, quoting “Jeff Jarvis: ‘As an old, white American man, I must confess it’s people like me who got us here'”:

Soon, by 2050, the white majority in America faces the reality that it will become the white minority and that scares them. The most frightened are the uneducated, old, white men who hold privilege and power and realise how tenuous that hold is because it is based on what they had in the past — who they are — rather than what they contribute to the future — what they can do.

I responded with the following:

If they’re uneducated and old, how are they privileged? If they’re over 40, they wouldn’t even be able to get a job absent government coercion (see https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination ).

My friend:

Because things would be even harder for them if they were uneducated, old, and not white. I think Jeff does a good job of defining privilege: when you get things others don’t because of who you are, rather than because of what you can do.

Me:

Let that uneducated unemployed old white guy go out on Tinder and see how far his privilege takes him….

(if he is successful on Tinder and his partner chooses not to abort the resulting child, see Real World Divorce to calculate the cash flow in various states)

His friends piled on about how wrong I was. Me:

Only a few years ago, these same men were being featured as victims by our media. Now they are “privileged” and “powerful”? From 2016, CNN: “Nearly one-quarter of white men with only a high school diploma aren’t working.”

As of 2017, they were dying even if the police didn’t have enough energy to kill them. ‘The Collapse of the White Working Class’ (Atlantic)

Readers: Why is the idea that all whites, however poor, uneducated, and old, are privileged suddenly so important that Facebook needs to censor dissenting points of view?

(Another Facebook friend was blocked for 30 days due to his attempt to make a point via sarcasm:

White men are the only rapists in the world. How can I disagree with the consensus view of the Ivy League elites?

See also “The Question of Race in Campus Sexual-Assault Cases” (Atlantic). Regarding the Obama-mandated on-campus sexual assault tribunals: “Black men make up only about 6 percent of college undergraduates. They are vastly overrepresented in the cases I’ve tracked.”)

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Don’t use Facebook Messenger if you’re a criminal

I’m reading The Last Stone, by the journalist behind Blackhawk Down.

The book concerns an extended family of degenerates and criminals and their involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Katherine and Sheila Lyon back in 1975. This was a cold case that was reopened in 2013.

[one suspect] would often hitchhike out to Hyattsville, another edge city northeast of Washington, in the district’s other Maryland suburban county, Prince Georges. His father, Lee, and stepmother, Edna, and many other members of Lloyd’s large extended family lived there, clustered around his grandmother’s house. They were part of what has become known as the Hillbilly Highway, the migration of largely Scotch Irish Appalachian families to northern cities after World War II. Many of these families retained the insularity, habits, and dialect of their native region.

Parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of the suspect were all themselves suspected. Few of them were upstanding citizens:

Teddy Welch made little sense as the kidnapper, but his story afforded a glimpse into the curious Welch family. What the detectives found shocked them. The abuse that Lloyd had suffered in his father’s house and Teddy had suffered in his was not an aberration. It was the norm. Few family members had escaped it. Fathers beat and raped their children, brothers terrorized and raped their sisters and cousins. Alcohol, drugs, and violence colored every relationship. It was not much of a stretch to see teenage Lloyd and perhaps even Teddy as pawns enlisted by the older, more practiced predators in their family. The clan had two branches, one in Hyattsville, Maryland, and the other five hours south on a secluded hilltop in Thaxton, Virginia, a place the locals called Taylor’s Mountain. Here the family’s Appalachian roots were extant, even though some of its members had gradually moved into more modern communities in and around Bedford, the nearest town.

The Welch family, with its country ways, lived shoulder to shoulder with city dwellers seeking affordable housing close to jobs inside the beltway. The clan had sunk its roots here wide and deep, with enough Welches, Overstreets, Dooleys, Esteps, and Parkers to fill Magruder Park when they gathered for a reunion. If they had a look, it was generally pale and blue-eyed, with small pinched features in a broad face. Their men were scrawny and their women wide.

Taylor’s Mountain and Hyattsville may have been radically different places, but the family was the same in both. Its mountain-hollow ways—suspicion of outsiders, an unruly contempt for authority of any kind, stubborn poverty, a knee-jerk resort to violence—set it perpetually at odds with mainstream suburbia. Most shocking were its sexual practices. Incest was notorious in the families of the hollers (hollows) of Appalachia, where social isolation and privation eroded social taboos. The practice came north with the family to Hyattsville. Here, where suburban families had turned child-rearing into a fetish, some adults in Lloyd’s immediate family exploited their offspring and ignored barriers to incest. It was not uncommon for Welch children to experiment sexually with siblings and cousins.

Criminal behavior rarely warranted family censure, much less a report to the police. Indeed, the more shocking the conduct, the stronger the impulse to hide it. Protecting the family from outsiders was more important than protecting its members, including children, from each other. And the Welch women, often victims, were its fiercest guardians.

The police used phone taps, but also got into Facebook Messenger.

Otherwise, Connie seemed uninterested. She offered this single memory and that was it. She repeated that she had little or nothing to do with Lloyd or any of the other members of his immediate family. But the squad found something different on her Facebook account. Connie was conferring frequently with her Maryland cousins about the case. Soon after she was questioned, she wrote to Teddy’s wife, Stacy, about what she had been asked and what she had said. She also phoned Pat and Dick’s daughter Patricia Ann. She later wrote on Facebook to another cousin, Patricia Ann’s daughter, Amy Johnson, and explained that her story was, in part, meant to absolve her uncle Dick. “I called Pat last night to let her know I talked to police,” she wrote. “I know Dick did not bring him [Lloyd] down. He walked down with his pregnant girlfriend. That’s for having our back.”

In one of her Facebook exchanges with her cousin Amy, Connie confided, “My biggest fear is that my last family member Henry was part of it on the mountain.” She had told the grand jury that her brother often hung out with Lloyd when the latter visited. When asked how Henry might have been involved, she said, “Henry wouldn’t murder the child. He wasn’t in Maryland. I meant help bury it. If he helped bury the bodies on the mountain.” “Why do you think Henry would bury the bodies on the mountain?” “Because his momma would tell him to do it. We always did what Momma told us to do.”

If the family had used an encrypted messaging system, they might have escaped justice!

[Separately, the book provides support for the idea that criminality is heritable. It didn’t matter that this family ended up in the D.C. suburbs, surrounded by good-hearted social welfare policies and a fountain of tax dollars collected from folks in the Midwest, Florida, Texas, and California. If this family is anything to go by, the 3rd and 4th generation descendants of the Central Americans who come to the U.S. because of their involvement in violent criminal gangs will themselves be involved in violent criminal gangs.]

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Less than a month to go before Google breaks hundreds of thousands of links all over the Internet

Google purchased Picasa, a super efficient photo editor that offered seamless integration with online publishing (e.g., you add a photo to an album on your desktop computer and it automatically gets pushed to the online version of the album). When they were pushing their Facebook competitor, Google+, they set it up so that Picasa created Google+ albums.

They wasted a huge amount of humanity’s time and effort by shutting down Picasa (previous post on the subject).

Now they’re going to waste millions of additional hours worldwide by breaking links to all of the Google+ albums that they had Picasa create. People will either have to edit a ton of links and/or, having arrived at a broken link, will have to start searching to see if they can find the content elsewhere.

Example: my review of an Antarctica cruise on the Ocean Diamond. It was so easy to publish the photos via Picasa that I just linked to the photo album from the HTML page. Now I will have to move the photos somewhere else, edit the HTML file, git push, git pull, etc. Then repeat for every other blog posting and web page that links to a Picasa-created album.

Maybe this is why Google has a corporate mission of making the world’s information accessible? They’re the primary force now in making information inaccessible?

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