Category Archives: twitter

Auch du bist liberal

liberal

I don’t know the political context of this poster – “You, too, are liberal” – which I first saw in Lewis Blackwell’s Twentieth Century Type (1992) as an example of the Swiss International Style. But it’s been on my mind since last year. I could feel myself turning into the kind of lefty who has a comfortable job and kids and acts online like they start each day with a cup of smoking hot bourgeois liberal blood, which is one of the reasons I got off Twitter. I know that liberalism as a political philosophy is based on horrors which its own history has carefully airbrushed away, but I also know that personally I’d shit my pants if I was ever made to live in a political system which wasn’t liberal in the broader sense, which is easy for a white dude to say but it’s still true, and that it’s our job to reform it and to defend the parts worth keeping from the Right, to whom we’re all just one enemy. The poster is by Karl Gerstner, who passed away on the first of January this year, I just found out. It’s a brilliant design.

The other image that’s been on my mind is from Blue Velvet and is about how fucking uneasy the Shitposter-In-Chief makes me feel about my own compulsive use of Twitter-

frank_booth

-even though I miss it like hell.

Advertisements

Two projects and an absence

My entry for NaNoGenMo 2016 is ANNALES, a procedurally-generated chronology of rulers, courtiers, tribes and intrigue:

Being a faithful narration of the history of the realm from the reign of Fobbial Artesia I to the present day

As transcribed by the algorithm annales-exe using the pseudo-random seed 1835917550 1 during the reign of Armey Engine III

“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground / And tell sad stories of the death of kings”

Reign of Fobbial Artesia I the Unbridgeable.

Fobbial Artesia I, surnamed the Unbridgeable, won the throne by divination.

Fobbial Artesia I espoused Sidentilation with wild channession.

Rumours of morees in Wire Star.

3.FA.I

Fobbial Artesia I the Unbridgeable gave birth to a son, Lavaloman, under the influence of Kabdhilinan.

Rumours of rederes in Vectary Viroth.

The source code is here and I’ll be blogging a bit about the technical details on mikelynch.org when I get around to it.

I also got around to implementing my dumbest Twitter bot idea, @TVisoTropes.

I’ve been away from Twitter proper since the US election: my mental health has been poor this year, so I’ve had a couple of enforced absences, but the way I was reacting late stages of the campaign and Trump’s victory were pretty decisive in showing me that the way I’ve been using social media is really bad for my brain. I miss it a lot but I still don’t know how to return: maybe when my mood improves? Maybe I should start a new account and reset things?

Usylessly

Instead of my usual blog post, this Bloomsday I made a Twitter bot, @usylessly, which posts the output of a neural net trained on the text of Ulysses. There’s a bit more information about it on the bot’s website.

A new refutation of the timeline

Once the idealist argument is admitted, I see that it is possible, and perhaps inevitable, to go further. For Hume it is not licit to speak of the form of the moon or of its colour: the form and colour are the moon; neither can one speak of the perceptions of the mind, since the mind is nothing other than a series of perceptions. Once location and presence which are continuities, are negated, once space too has been negated, I do not know what right we have to that continuity which is time. Let us imagine a present moment of any kind. During one of his nights on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn recognised the soft indefatigable sound of the water; he negligently reaches for his phone: he sees a vague number of tweets, an indistinct thread about the Clinton campaign; he skips forward to the top of his timeline, checks his mentions, scrolls back a few pages; notes that some Australians are arguing about something impossible to understand; then, he sinks back into his sleep as into the dark waters. Idealist metaphysics declares that to add a material substance (the object) and a spiritual substance (the subject) to those perceptions is venturesome and useless; I maintain that it is no less illogical to think that such perceptions are terms in a series whose beginning is as inconceivable as its end. To add to the words behind the borosilicate glass, Huck perceives the notion of a number of persons widely separated in space who have typed them; for myself, it is no less unjustifiable to add a chronological precision: the fact, for example, that the foregoing event took place on the night of the seventh of February, 2016, between ten or eleven minutes past four. In other words, I deny, with the arguments of idealism, the vast temporal series which idealism admits. Hume denied the existence of an absolute space, in which all things have their place; I deny the existence of one single time, in which all things are linked as in a chain. The denial of coexistence is no less arduous than the denial of succession.

The concept that there is a single timeline, an absolute ticking clock containing all tweets, to which any of our mere individual timelines is at best an approximation, is no less an illusion, or an ideal of the software developer. Just as our perception of Twitter is atomised, a constellation of discrete moments of anger, amusement, impatience, being owned, with no necessary chain of causation linking them other than the ex post facto construction of a Storify or a screencap, so too is the underlying data, striped across who knows how many hard disks, a maelstrom of letters in an infinite and roaring library of server rooms and databases, which may only be composed into a calendar by an act of subsequent rationalisation.

And yet, and yet… denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. As much as I may desultorily build these feeble attempts at metaphysics, in several hours night will fall over the two Americas, and not long after that, all of the Australians will be noisily waking up, an unfortunate fact of the orientation of the globe which Twitter’s algorithmic timeline is unlikely to overcome.

Antisocial August Again

It’s a thing! That… at least four of us are doing!

I’m having a break from Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook. Mostly from Twitter, because that’s the one I get obsessive about.

If last year is anything to go by, I anticipate three or four days of intense FOMO, followed by a relaxation in my dopamine cycle and a renewed ability to concentrate on boring tv again. I’m also hoping to get more writing done.

I’ll still be blogging book reviews and reading my email: spike dot lynch at gmail dot com. See you in September. Or here.

Tiny Kingdoms

I’ve started a new sequence of strange things at my other Twitter account, @FSVO:

TINY KINGDOMS: a catalogue and history of the principal Tribes, Bands and teeming Nations of the EARTH. In which are incidentally narrated, the FIRST FIRES; the foundation of the STONE CITIES; the first appearance and activities of the ENEMY; The coming of the first FOOD ASSEMBLAGES and FALL of the CITIES; the rise of the FOOD TOWERS; The onset of the AGE of MONSTERS; the colonization of the NEW WORLDS, up to the present day.

In other FSVO news, I’m hoping to get the text of last year’s long poem ‘Stepwise Palace’ up on the web sometime soon.

Antisocial AEH

Is my tweeps ploughing
Along the great grapevine
That I was used to follow
When I was man online?