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Ubiquitous Social Media Creates an Abundance of Dancing Monkeys

Over the past decade, I have noticed the rapid growth of a peculiar trend concerning the manner in which people interact with those around them. Almost everyone and their dog (in many cases, literally) wants to create and project an artificial idealized image of themselves. While this trend is most obvious when you look around on Instagram, but it found on every social media platform (YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder etc) and more worryingly.. in real life. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the desire to project an idealized image of oneself is something new or inherently dangerous. It is however hard to deny that ubiquitous social media has made what was once a small-scale and localized behavior into something that is disturbing and potentially dangerous.

To understand what I am talking about, let us go back a little in history to a TV program known as “America’s Funniest Home Videos“. While the concept might seem quaint today, most people do not understand how revolutionary it really was in 1989. In a single stroke, it allowed anybody with a camcorder who was lucky or clever enough to film a “viral” video clip to become famous and even make some money. I should point out that this was in an era when becoming famous required a combination of luck and fellating the people who owned and ran media outlets. Now any person with some degree of understanding of how media worked could use that knowledge to game the system and become famous and even make some money.

But why is that such a bad thing? Who does not want to be famous and rich? In my opinion, the problem lies not so much with seeking fame and fortune as how it all of this interacts with late capitalism. See.. when AFHV came out in 1989, it was still pretty easy to get a decent and fairly stable job which paid enough to live a middle-class lifestyle. Being famous by having your “viral” video clip shown on AFHV was akin to getting an extra boost for your social life. Being a famous (or infamous) public figure was not a career choice for most people. Now fast forward to 2018 and we are in a situation where ‘normal’ jobs and vocations are increasingly difficult to get and almost everyone below a certain age is juggling multiple low-paid and precarious jobs.

To help readers understand why this trend is disturbing and potentially dangerous, let me ask you a simple question- would you seriously consider gambling at casinos, buying lottery tickets or betting on horses as a career choice? If not, why not? While it is possible to make a living and even get rich by engaging in such activities- the chances of succeeding in them (especially in a consistent manner) are really small. In other words, the chances of failure are unacceptably high for the vast majority of people- and even those with some skill are not consistently successful. Coincidentally the same is true for business ventures, even though the neo-liberal scammers who want to promote the snake-oil of “entrepreneurship” would like you to believe otherwise.

It is no secret that a few people have become very famous and rich because of their social media presence. Even more have become semi-famous and make decent if unstable income from the content they create as well as their social media presence. Neither would be an issue if we were living in a normal society. But we live in late capitalism where the vast majority of people face an ever diminishing chance of finding a stable livelihood. Combine this with the almost lottery like success of a few and it is not hard to see how many more might be suckered into believing that they have a chance at fame and riches. Furthermore, the barriers to entry are non-existent and most famous internet celebrities are not even unusually good-looking.

There is also another uniquely american issue which makes this far worse than necessary. As many of you know, american culture (especially post-1980) celebrates the culture of scamming.. I mean “hustle”. Now combine this with the already poor career prospects for most people and the low barrier for entry and you can start to see how this could become problematic. And it has.. YouTube channels where attractive women model swimwear and lingerie can easily get 100k-500k subscribers (example 1, example 2 and example 3) as can ugly women pretend to be white trash. Some of you might also have heard about attractive and popular teen girls making decent money as social media “influencers”. But why is any of this problematic in the long run?

well.. because, for one, it creates a society where the ability to cultivate a public image and bullshit is infinitely more important than actual knowledge or competence. That is how we end up with media savvy mediocrities such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ernest Moniz instead of Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman. That is how we get endless and insipid reboots of older beloved movies and TV shows rather than anything new and path-breaking. That is also how we get other mediocrities such as atrocious and hyped “collaborations” between previously famous musicians or autotuned losers who look and sound the same. Did I mention the sad losers who cheer on charlatans pimping 30-40 year old technology such as Elon Musk?

Eventually you end up with a society full of con-artists (of varying skill levels) engaged in a constant struggle to ‘out-con’ each other. To be fair, this process was already underway in USA. It is just that the effect of ubiquitous social media on this trend has been analogous to spraying a lot of gasoline on an already destructive fire. But what does any of this have to do with creating large numbers of dancing monkeys, and what do I mean by that term? Well.. dancing monkeys are people whose livelihood is heavily dependent on their enthusiasticness of their performance. This is especially apparent on social media platforms like Twitter and FaceBook where people spend inordinate amounts of time and effort to make themselves look and act the part.

That is why, for example, every establishment journalists is perpetually cheering on the “mueller investigation” or how con-artists supported by right-wing think tanks see deep state conspiracies behind every audible fart. That is also why SJWs spend so much time on tone-policing, doxxing “unbelievers” and other acts of fake self-righteousness. And there is paid astroturfing and bot-farms who post content on those and other platforms. But it gets worse.. ever wondered how the gmail user-interface keeps getting worse or why install size of iOS keeps on increasing despite lack of new features? Oh how Microsoft keeps releasing shittier updates to Windoze 10?

Guess what… it is all about dancing monkeys (in the management) desperately wanting to create the appearance of effort and hard work. That is why, almost every day, you hear about some fire or police department participate in a make-a-wish for some dying kid. Or why PR departments of “famous” universities put out daily press releases about how their scholars are on the verge of curing cancer or solving some other problem- and then we hear nothing more about it till they recycle the same bullshit template a couple of weeks with different names and a slightly different writeup. As I said before, this problem is not new but it is undeniable that ubiquitous social media has made it significantly worse by speeding up the contradictions inherent in late capitalism.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    November 16, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Guess what… it is all about dancing monkeys (in the management) desperately wanting to create the appearance of effort and hard work. That is why, almost every day, you hear about some fire or police department participate in a make-a-wish for some dying kid. Or why PR departments of “famous” universities put out daily press releases about how their scholars are on the verge of curing cancer or solving some other problem- and then we hear nothing more about it till they recycle the same bullshit template a couple of weeks with different names and a slightly different writeup. As I said before, this problem is not new but it is undeniable that ubiquitous social media has made it significantly worse by speeding up the contradictions inherent in late capitalism.

    The media drama queens would probably come out and say:
    “Well, it’s a cure for a type of cancer, not all cancers, which is why there’s an announcement every week”, lol.

  2. Another Commenter
    November 16, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Some of these things are amazing.

    Anna DeVey – $500 paid to detective agency would have busted her in a day

    Theranos – extreme doubts about the viability of what the company was doing from day one – but a moderately attractive woman with a preternaturally deep voice is enough to get zillionaires lining up with their checkbooks.

    • P Ray
      November 16, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Don’t sell Elizabeth Holmes short, she was also a dropout! Like her male porn counterpart, John, she gave investors a screwing they’ll not likely forget.
      People think it was the idea of a belief in a wunderkind that caused those massive losses …
      when it was actually,
      she was the front person …
      who got other people to do the science work.

      But the idiot men in charge, with very little scientific background … let their little head do the thinking, without even getting any. Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani got plenty though, and while it was fresh, haha!

      • November 16, 2018 at 9:36 am

        PRay: Sorry, PRay, The Old Professor, as I like to call him, was an absolute natural ladykiller (despite his looks and 5 foot nothing height). He’s retired. He’s about 97. No one ever accused him of anything.

        Dartmouth professors are nerdy girlymen. No one is surprised about that.

        Check out the “King of Cool” Dean Martin for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assurance

        Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams by Nick Tosches.

        Nick Tosches has written several biographies including Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams; Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story; and Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Birth of Rock in the Wild Years Before Elvis. He was born and raised in New Jersey and lives in New York.

      • P Ray
        November 16, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Ya, also bring up a movie star why don’t ya. And then talk about how “confidence” is all you need.

        If the person is 97 putting their name up won’t hurt them. Only Nazi killers that the US shield, get punished at that age.

      • November 16, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        “Ya, also bring up a movie star why don’t ya. And then talk about how “confidence” is all you need.”

        It’s too bad you gave up on life. Men out there are making money and getting their dicks sucked. Rocking and rolling. Living like kings. Me, the old professor and my friends and many other men who aren’t movie stars or trust fund babies. You crawl back to your hole and die.

        Bye. Bye, you nihilistic cheese-eating surrender monkey.

      • P Ray
        November 16, 2018 at 3:47 pm

        Lel, I prefer to buy what I want.
        And if I can’t get what I want, where I am, I can enjoy myself in other ways.
        Your goading is music to my ears, it means you need men to be slaves to their dicks to keep things going.
        That means, you’re running out of suckers …

      • P Ray
        November 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        @tomjones
        P.S. As a (former?) jarhead, you’d best be aware you serve the demands of the rich and powerful … Smedley Butler spoke of such quite a long time ago … better hope the status quo remains that you can live large without risking your life …

  3. ConditionedParrots
    November 16, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Many news channels and “the current administration” often say how the U.S. economy is so good, but aside from the billionaires, the economy for most people is really not better, and most jobs are low wages. THEY have a job so they think the economy is good.
    When students accurately say all of this school is a waste of time and this is not going to ever help me get a better job, have High School teachers tell them to sit down and shut up because those High School teachers are protecting their own jobs and their own salaries.
    Schools and now Social Media keep creating Socially Conditioned Parrots. One Social Media Parrot says some stupid thing, then like an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) program (that’s even worse than a A.I. program because an A.I. program might create something useful) more Parrots repeat those stupid things over and over again. Then, maybe there’s one or a few parrots who advance to become an anomaly with a different program, but the Socially Conditioned Parrots keep repeating each other.

  4. MikeCA
    November 16, 2018 at 10:29 am

    “That is how we end up with media savvy mediocrities such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ernest Moniz instead of Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman.”

    While in graduate school I attended a conference at which Carl Sagan was a speaker. I talked with a number of astronomers in attendance, some who knew Sagan from his college years at University of Chicago. Off the record they told me Sagan was a mediocre astronomer with a gift for self promotion. They claimed Sagan did little original research, but borrowed ideas from other people, frequently without crediting them. A few years earlier he had been turned down for tenure at Harvard. At the time I thought this was probably mostly professional jealousy. Sagan went on to make the Cosmos series and become one the most recognizable faces of science. There is no question that Sagan had a gift for explaining science in a way that was interesting and ordinary people could understand.

    Richard Feynman was a physicist who made significant contributions in quantum mechanics and also was very good at explaining thinks in ways that made them easy to understand. When I was in college I found the The Feynman Lectures on Physics one of the clearest explanations of the principals of physics. Feynman is probably most famous for his questioning of NASA at the public hearing on the Challenger disaster and his televised demonstration that the o-ring material used in the shuttle failed at cold temperatures. Feynman was also gifted in explaining things so normal people could understand.

    • Another Commenter
      November 16, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Feynman was the real deal, a major figure of physics for many decades. For the Challenger commission, he was probably the most distinguished physical scientist in the US at that time, and a natural choice.

      For the others, being a good popularizer is not something to be sneered at.

  5. November 16, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I’m surprised you don’t like narcissistic broads on instagram. You could probably hit up “amateur” models and offer them $150 for MSOG, free wifi, AC/DC, POTSA, lettuce bacon tomatoe and all that other weird stuff.

    Strangely, if you are looking for a “purfessional” job, you are supposed to have a linked in account along with an impeccable resume. However, everyone was “asleep at the wheel” when this was happening: http://fortune.com/2015/10/05/linkedin-class-action/ ….and people act “surprised” with all the Fakebook controversy….

    • November 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Only Arab sheiks get their greasy hands on those instagram broads.

      Agree! Only idiots with too much money choose amateurs who are full of themselves over competent professionals.

    • ant
      November 17, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Did you not see his other blog with amateur nude pictures

      I prefer girl-next-door types rather than attention whores.. usually.

  6. November 16, 2018 at 11:54 am

    don’t hate the player, hate the game…

    • P Ray
      November 16, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Fake it till you make it is now running out of success stories, good news indeed.

  7. Neo
    November 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    I HATED America’s Most Ignorant Entertainment! I’d tune to KOFF before I’d ever willingly watch that distractive crap!

    Are we so devoid of attention that we have to make fools of ourselves so that others will laugh at us? It only makes it worse when the venue is national television!

    • P Ray
      November 17, 2018 at 4:21 am

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6397807/Teenagers-set-FIRE-new-social-media-challenge.html
      Teenagers set themselves on FIRE as part of a new social media ‘challenge’ that is leaving them in hospital with serious burns
      The Fire Challenge has seen children setting themselves on fire for online ‘likes’
      Children have ended up in hospital with serious burns all over their skin
      A rise in the number of cases has been seen in Wales in recent months
      Specialist staff at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital have warned children not to do it

      With advances in medical technology, idiots are now having their lives saved after being stupid.
      Those idiots are considered socially well-adjusted (since they are willing to participate in social media AND take part in these challenges). It is likely they will breed.

      Idiocracy was a prediction, not a movie.

      • P Ray
        February 13, 2019 at 4:40 am

        One of the good examples of setting themselves on fire:

        Safe for work … if you are a firefighter or other first responder

      • P Ray
        February 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm

        Anyhow, a lot of alpha males are going to say “only weaklings and fools think about what happens on social media” … hope your gf, mum, relatives or parents don’t get stabbed for likes. On the flip side, I wonder how many of the so-called “alpha males” are going to stab back, but especially if the attacker is a teenager or younger 🙂
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6712805/Horrified-witnessing-stabbing-doorstep-Radio-4-presenter-Kirsty-Lang-investigated.html
        Horrified after witnessing a stabbing on her doorstep, Radio 4 presenter Kirsty Lang investigated – and what her teenage son showed her about a dark YouTube underworld shocked her
        Sprawled on the pavement outside my house was a teenage boy. A paramedic was bent over him, trying to staunch the blood I could clearly see flooding from his abdomen, says Kirsty Lang (right). Until that night before Christmas, however, gang stabbings didn’t intrude on my comfortable middle-class existence. Only then was I jolted into paying real attention. Like many parents, I had no idea at all. It was my grown-up son, who is studying sociology and has an interest in youth crime, who explained the shocking way that social media now dominates the lives of our teenagers. Perpetrators film their attacks and post the videos on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, glorying in the violence and using the attention they receive from their followers – particularly the votes of approval in the tally of ‘likes’ – to score points with their rivals (pictured top left: an assault in a shop, bottom left: a stabbing in north London and centre: a drill music video). Our teenagers are stabbing each other to death for ‘likes’. I started watching videos made by gangs in my area, including the W12 and MDP, which – according to some – stands for Money, Drugs, Power. Others say it stands for something still more disgusting.

  8. November 18, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    A few points:
    1. The only YouTube stars that are good are the travelers or people who teach you how to do shit like cook, repair a car, etc. People who make videos about being a Westerner in Japan, or an American in Brazil,etc. These good people provide interesting videos with a lot of information. They are less likely to be attention whores. P.S. There are good documentaries on various subjects if you can find them.
    2. Americans had good-paying stable jobs when they MADE shit. Like physical things (VCRs, CDs, TVs, radios, cars, trucks, tires, windows, clothes, tables, chairs, furniture, glass, coal, stainless steel, etc.). With robots, this is only going to get worse for working-class people.
    3. Science, medical science in particular, hasn’t accomplished anything big since they cured smallpox. Some good work on AIDS but no cures and no miracles. Medical science is reaching its limits.
    4. The fakeness of American culture began with Depression-era movies. Charlie Chaplin was a big con artist. It provided an escape for poor people. America became totally fake when Tom Cruise (that loser) became a world star (lol!) with his shitty homoerotic movie Top Gun (1986). Shortly after that, we got Paris Hilton reality TV, which is inevitable after the shit they fed us in the 80s. However, rock music from the 70s and 80s was pretty good.

    • Atlanta Man
      November 18, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      You cannot predict what science will do, and medical science has and continues to progress. Humans have cured Hepatitis C, developed anti viral medicines, improved genetic diagnoses, improved imaging, and are currently growing human tissue just to name a few recent things.

      • November 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

        The BIG advance in human life expectancy is immunization. The eradication of smallpox and the elimination of diseases such as polio, measles, and tetanus from much of the world.

        Everything else is small potatoes. We are very very early in genetic science and growing human tissue and anti viral drugs and we have yet to see if that leads to anything big. It might progress. Or might not. The lives of old people in the modern world are not good. Very painful end of life.

  9. P Ray
    January 7, 2019 at 2:56 am

    Remember, what you see of social media is very easy to fake or borrow.
    Many people in high positions, have 0 time, cannot really enjoy themselves without drink and drugs, and are one social media post away from getting fired.
    Some people know this, and have put up great memes:

  1. December 2, 2018 at 1:14 pm
  2. February 4, 2019 at 4:45 pm

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