Insightful. But how do we stop this crazy thing? We can tune out but we can’t stop our neighbors from continuing. Tuning out doesn’t bring us in step with society — doesn’t make us sane. Just changes our flavor of insane.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. This is the new tower of babel.

Love your phraseology there at the end. I might steal that — you’ve been warned.

I think this particular incarnation of this crazy thing could be stopped by eliminating the profit motive. Clickbait journalism and custom media feeds are complementary elements to each other, that create the current condition. Eliminate either one individually and you break the chain. Both flow from the “money for clicks” media business model, and as long as that’s there, you’ll see some version of these two things in action. And government is notoriously bad at changing business model paradigms by force.

I see three possible ways out of it right now, which is good because this time last year I saw none.

  1. Someone comes along and builds a better media business model. I don’t know what that would be, but nobody ever predicts black swans. That’s what makes them black swans. Regardless, I don’t think this is very likely. There’s another weirder way out though:
  2. The rise of deepfakes. If enough fake news infiltrates the real news, and everyone’s trust in all news goes to zero, that breaks the chain as well. The problem with that is people naturally trust things. Hence flat earthers / etc.
  3. We find something better than news to occupy our time in the attention economy. Like Fortnite.

That’s the best I can offer you, unfortunately. I don’t see a clean way out of this mess. I’d say that’s my own personal brand of Handwaving Freakoutery — I freak out that the freakoutery isn’t stoppable, which is a sort of a meta problem if you think about it.

Conscientious objector to the culture war. I think a lot. mirror: www.freakoutery.com writer at: www.opensourcedefense.org beggar at: www.patreon.com/bjcampbell

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