Questionable content, possibly linked

Tag: hyperreality

Conspiracy Theory Is Actually Just Postmodernism In Disguise

I should preface this by saying I don’t know anything “officially” about postmodernism outside of what I read on Wikipedia and Googling around (and a really stupid Jordan Peterson article I won’t link to). And the fun part is, that’s kind of postmodern itself. You can become an expert in five minutes. And then of course being an expert then makes you automatically untrusthworthy as a source. It’s ninja turtles all the way down, I tells ya…

Anyway, I gathered some of what I found already here, so I won’t rehash that all at length, but wanted to pull on a couple strands I didn’t cover there.

Namely, that Lyotard himself defined the postmodern as, “incredulity toward metanarratives.”

Anyone who has looked at conspiracy theory stuff online will know that people are always saying in a tongue and cheek way: “Don’t question the narrative.” That is, they feel oppressed by or don’t agree with whatever they perceive to be the “official” metanarrative.

What’s a metanarrative in the context of postmodernism? Also from Wikipedia: “a global or totalizing cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience.”

So when they jokingly say, don’t question the metanarrative, they are literally demonstrating Lyotard’s own definition of the postmodern. They are incredulous of the metanarrative. They want to question it, to challenge it, to tear it down and replace it with their own version of the truth. Their own metanarrative.

This is a decent WaPo article by Aaron Hanlon from August 2018 about Postmodernism. I’ll pull out a few choice quotes. Regarding his book, The Postmodern Condition, it:

“…described the state of our era by building out Lyotard’s observations that society was becoming a “consumer society,” a “media society” and a “postindustrial society…”

Hanlon continues:

“This was a diagnosis, not a political outcome that he and other postmodernist theorists agitated to bring about.”

“[…] Right-leaning critics in the decades since Bloom have crassly contorted this argument into a charge that postmodernism was made not by consumerism and other large-scale social and technological developments, but by dangerous lefty academics, or what Kimball called “Tenured Radicals,” in his 1990 polemic against the academic left. At the heart of this accusation is the tendency to treat postmodernism as a form of left-wing politics — with its own set of tenets — rather than as a broader cultural moment that left-wing academics diagnosed.

“[…] This “gospel” characterization is misleading in two ways. First, it treats Lyotard and his fellows as proponents of a world where objective truth loses all value, rather than analysts who wanted to explain why this had already happened.”

So if we accept Lyotard’s original assertion, that postmodernism is characterized by mistrust of “grand narratives,” it unequivocally has that in common with garden variety conspiracy theory. But not only that, right-leaning conspiracy theory has reconstructed its own grand narrative where Postmodernism is the grand narrative which it mistrusts… Which is entirely postmodern in itself if you think about it. A subset of postmodernism attacking its own superstructure…

It would be funny if it weren’t so foolish and tragic. Because this kind of blatant self-denial creates a somewhat predictable (and boring) loop. Conspiracy theory denies it has anything in common with Postmodernism. It then projects its shadow contents onto the “other” & villifies the perceived differences. When, in actuality, they’re rooted in the exact same thing. The same social-cultural phenomenon that’s been happening for decades now, generations. Brought on by consumerism, industrialization, media-saturated soeiety, etc. Which is what the original theorists were observing happening all along, and which is still happening today. Nay, which is in utter free fall today. Hyperreality is on over-drive, and virtual & augmented reality haven’t even yet kicked in. HFS. Are w ever in for it!

I mean, no wonder people are clinging to any & every life raft they can find. I don’t blame them. I do blame the short-sightedness of getting bogged down in dumb political-territorial games & losing track of the larger phenomena at play though. When instead, we could be working on finding a way through it all. There is so much greater possible insight we could have into our shared condition than just fighting or getting sucked down into the quagmire of loser scripts that constitutes conspiracy theory outright.

The world is literally never going to learn, though. I’m old enough to accept that now. At least I got to write a nifty blog post about it.

Prohibited Misinformation on Tiktok

Thought these prohibitions around misinformation were interesting & worth keeping from Tiktok’s Community Guidelines section on Integrity & Authenticity:

Misinformation is defined as content that is inaccurate or false. While we encourage our community to have respectful conversations about subjects that matter to them, we do not permit misinformation that causes harm to individuals, our community, or the larger public regardless of intent.

Do not post, upload, stream, or share:

* Misinformation that incites hate or prejudice

* Misinformation related to emergencies that induces panic

* Medical misinformation that can cause harm to an individual’s physical health

* Content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processes 

* Conspiratorial content that attacks a specific protected group or includes a violent call to action, or denies a violent or tragic event occurred

* Digital Forgeries (Synthetic Media or Manipulated Media) that mislead users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video, other persons, or society

Do not:

* Engage in coordinated inauthentic behaviors (such as the creation of accounts) to exert influence and sway public opinion while misleading individuals and our community about the account’s identity, location, or purpose

Now, I’m someone who likes to find the edges of policies like these. So there are certain things my brain automatically zeroes in on while reading…

  • “misinformation that causes harm” – where harm isn’t clearly identified… means the door is potentially fairly wide open to interpretation apart from their enumerated types in the list that follows.
  • “attacks a specific protected group” the definitions of protected groups or classes often tend to be somewhat narrower than people think. A Facebook leak from 2017 showed the … complexity of these kinds of definitions when the rubber meets the road.
  • “denies a violent or tragic event occurred” does this mean denying happy or non-violent events occurred is also forbidden? Status unclear.

I wonder what they would think of RealNewsChan.

Misinformation is just another front in the Hyperreal Wars.

Narrative Warfare & The Hyperreal, Part 16

Have been thinking a great deal on the similarities between folklore and conspiracy theories, as being grassroots stories we tell ourselves and one another to make sense of the world. I maintain that folklore, conspiracy theories, and what we call “disinformation” etc. are all part & parcel of the same phenomenon: the hyperreal, where the blending of fact & fiction are seamless and more or less indistinguishable.

Have also been reading Corkery’s excellent 1924 classic, “Hidden Ireland,” which has lead me to fill in a lot of gaps around my knowledge of Irish history, such as the Flight of the Earls, the Plantation of Ulster, the Tudor Conquest of Ireland, the decline of the Bardic Schools, and so on. There’s a story in Irish history which was used for centuries to establish or challenge the legitimacy of rulers, that of the founding of Ireland by the quasi-mythical Milesians.

From the Wikipedia:

Professor Dáithí Ó hÓgain writes that the “account of how the sons of Míl took Ireland was a literary fabrication, but it was accepted as conventional history by poets and scholars down until the 19th century”.[3] For centuries, the legend was used in Ireland to win and secure dynastic and political legitimacy. For example, in his Two bokes of the histories of Ireland (1571), Edmund Campion tried to use the myth to establish an ancient right of the British monarch to rule Ireland. […]

Geoffrey Keating‘s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (written c.1634) used the myth to promote the legitimacy of the Stuart claim to royal authority in Ireland (related to the origin of the Lia Fáil), demonstrating that Charles I was descended, through Brian Boru, Éber and Galamh, from Noah and, ultimately, from Adam.

Whether we call this narrative warfare or just another example of the hyperreal, the end result is the same: people using stories – and changing stories – to justify their own position or to attack the position of another. It all sounds eerily familiar, and it’s clear how deeply penetrating these types of stories can be as guiding myths in cultures.

Guest Posts & The Hyperreal, Part 13

Things that shouldn’t exist in this timeline, but seem to:

Or rather not working on – the article is ambiguous. The person allegedly interviewed, A.J. Nempner, suggests the company worked on the presidential election instead…

That would seem to add up with this Newschan reporting from 2017:

I’m still left wondering what to make of this though, aren’t you?

If only there were some explanation on a site like Fiverr, which lists over 1,000 opportunities to have your content posted for only a few dollars as a “guest post” on any number of websites:

You can even ask the sellers to backdate your guest post, no problem!

Depending on your budget, you can even get a newscaster style video with your script for as little as a few bucks to support your guest post:

Who knew hyperreality was so cheap & easy!

Forum Seeding & The Hyperreal, Part 6

While we’re on the topic of the Ancient Hieruthians, via the post in this series about dictionary definitions & the hyperreal, I thought we should make a small detour.

First, a seed artifact posted on Medium, under one of the Quatria publications, explaining in perhaps overly complex terms what the Hieruthian Hypothesis (similar to the Silurian Hypothesis) is. (archived)

And a supporting invented dictionary definition of Hieruthian posted through another account (archived).

Hieruthians (“Old Ones”) in Quatrian myth & prehistory were basically very early mammals, like the kind we see depicted creeping about the forest floor in paintings of dinosaurs, before dinosaurs were wiped out by successive cataclysms, and mammals rose up to take their place in certain ecological niches…

Tangent that I will come back to another time, before we take too much of a detour of a detour of a detour:

Wait, one more side-tangent before the actual topic at hand, forum-seeding.

Another one from Quora, in an effort to triangulate out the data points for SEO:

Is the Hieruthian Hypothesis a plausible explanation for Kumari Kandam? (archived)

The thing most interesting to me here is the invention of an alternative spelling, “Kynari Kendal.” It’s so convincing as a place name, I had to look it up to see if it was “real.” Or rather, whether it’s a spelling shared by others (wherever it falls on the scale of the hyperreal). Apparently it’s unique to this user. Go figure.

Ok, forum seeding…

Obviously, I didn’t invent this technique. I haven’t even used it that much, but it’s easy to do and ripe for dissemination & manipulation of networked hyperreality narratives…

First things first: If you’re going to make fake posts on conspiracy or other forums like Quora, I recommend using an AI-generated headshot, courtesy of thispersondoesntexist.com. That site is a miracle for work like this, as each one is uniquely generated, meaning you can’t take it into Google image search and find any original image source (like if you just copied a photo from somewhere else).

I only did two of these, but there’s no reason to believe doing hundreds or thousands would not have a severe impact on hyperreality. Use with caution, lest you send the multiverse careening to the edge of destruction!

Meet Cal

I like to let the photo generated by the AI help determine the direction of the character backstory…

Cal is your typical average straight-laced ISO compliance professional by day, and “the good kind of conspiracy theorist” by night. And he is just, like, totally curious as heck about the Hieruthian Hypothesis & ancient Quatria in general (like so many of us these days). Who can blame him? Good work, Cal! Keep asking questions!

Meet Jesse

Jesse “Martini” is just your average fun-loving post-grad student in ancient history & literature. And he’s “not a big conspiracy guy” by his own self-admission, but he’s wondering about the Hieruthian Hypothesis, and another very controversial topic: the alleged splitting apart of the continents of Arctica & Antarctica.

Yes, Arctica was totally a continent…

Because of prior experiments on Quora, I knew that this was potentially a hot-button topic! (See below)

When did the continents of Arctica and Antarctica split apart? (archived)

This science enthusiast was none too “enthused” about the idea of there being a continent called Arctica. Except, in fact, that according to Wikipedia in my timeline, there totally was! (archived)

Now, Wikipedia could be wrong, bear in mind. It could be subject to the global international conspiracy to filter out Quatrian history from our collective holographic display, but there are certainly a lot of footnote references included, and who am I to go and bother checking footnoted references for validity? [A whole other blog post, remind me!]

If it was really wrong though, there would likely be a huge flame war on the Wikipedia Arctica Talk page, and there is not… So either the Guardians of Reality were asleep, or this is totally “real,” at least insofar as anything in the distant distant past can be proven to be…

Now, whether or not Arctica & Antarctica were ever one continent… well, that’s a whole different story I will leave you to try to resolve on your own. Suffice it to say, the Earth we know today is not the Earth which once was, or one day will be…

Just ask anyone on a conspiracy forum.

Dictionary Definitions & The Hyperreal, Part 5

In part 3 of this series, I looked at one of the ways the Hyperreal works on a question & answer website like Quora.

If you’ve never used Quora, it’s basically a site where people go to ask other people things they could just as easily look up in a search engine. And then other people take those things, look them up in a search engine, and reply to the original asker with usually the answers they found in a search engine, plus usually some condescending remarks. In other words, it’s a great experience for everybody, clearly.

As I began to see those patterns take shape, I came up with an idea. What if I could just seed the answers I wanted into Google results? This way, I could ask leading questions anonymously (which Quora allows), knowing people would just Google them, and then their answers could help me launder content further along the spectrum of the hyperreal.

Having experimented a lot with Medium, I knew that it would be relatively easy to rank quickly in Google (often occurs within a few hours). So I set up a kind of meta-data thirst trap account, “pretending to be” dictionary definitions. I put “pretending to be” in quotes because, really, I have as much of a right to define words as anyone else. There’s no monopoly on language. It’s a living thing…

The Medium account is:

https://medium.com/@define.words (archived)

I also set up a “publication” on Medium to further strengthen my SEO:

https://medium.com/online-dictionary (archived)

Looks pretty legit (despite dark-mode in screen shot), if I say so myself!

I would definitely believe “Online Dictionary” and so should you! What’s not to believe with all this meta-data!

Then I set up about defining some words & concepts, complete with pronunciation guides, and usage examples, so Google would hoover them up, and it did! Usually within a few hours.

You know, common everyday words most people use like Hieruthian (archived), Crypto-Civilization (archived), and Poesiarchy (archived).

Google will happily purr them back out to you as “correct” answers to definitions of these common Quatrian words & concepts.

And thus as a result, on the marvelous “can you Google this for me” website that is Quora, you will get results like these if you ask the right leading questions to lead people into your meta-data thirst traps:

Example throughput:

What does the word “poesiarchy” mean? (archived)

Quora response:

A highly creative answer, to be sure. And this “reality lurking in the shadowy peripher of our lives just waiting for a chance to manifest” mentioned by the responder sounds, in fact, just like hyperreality — the quarry of our present inquiry. So maybe this person landed on the secret inner meaning, despite the false trappings & trail that had been laid down to entrap them…

Sidenote: I only planted about 5-6 of these definitions. Imagine if someone did hundreds, or thousands, and free dictionary aggregator sites picked them up. If they were good & useful words, how long would it be before they made their way into real people’s everyday vocabularies? Perhaps not long at all.

Tangent:

Speaking of free dictionaries online, this one of “cultural layer” (archived) is pretty interesting.

It begins with a disclaimer: “The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.”

Perhaps all dictionaries should have a disclaimer that they might be outdated and potentially biased?

Further, the OSINT trail for “The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition” is anything but comprehensive – at least in English. There’s a 2016 blogspot source called Russian World Citizens Project (archived) which itself is pretty sketchy looking, and only points back to this same site as a source.

It might be “real” but it might also be hyperreal…

Does the difference even matter?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén