L. M. Sacasas’s essay on social media, The Inescapable Town Square:
Under these conditions, the function of externalized memory shifts. It is no longer for recording the past or preserving knowledge, but now for acting in the present. Memory loses its context and story. It neither integrates a society, as the rituals of collective remembering in oral societies did, nor does it sustain an individual’s experience of the self, as writing did in the age of print. Memory, much of it highly personal, is “there,” but without the person necessarily remembering. This allows memory to become weaponized. It exists in massive and accessible databases, ready to be resurfaced, without context and without warning, in a newly contentious field of public discourse.
Nearly all applicants for US visas will have to submit their social media details under newly adopted rules.
The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.…
But now applicants will have to give up their account names on a list of social media platforms, and also volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed.
Anyone who lies about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences”, according to an official who spoke to The Hill.
The US is an ongoing horror. Here a State Department headed by Mike Pompeo, in an administration with John Bolton as National Security Advisor, demands that all visitors provide years of public and private speech for scrutiny – past speech is to be used to vet visitors. Having given up freedom of speech and the rule of law, what is it Americans believe they are protecting from The Russians, The Iranians, The Terrorists?
This was originally advertised as taking place at 10:00, but at 10 there were no demonstrators to be seen at either the American or the Russian embassies. It was still fun to watch tourists and most of all to listen to American men explaining. I hung around for a while, did Internet searches but couldn’t find anything, so left. Turned out the demonstration was rescheduled for noon, so I missed it. The consistency of the size and demographics for participation in these both here and in the US has me musing over participants’ self-definition as “political activists”. I am no longer sure politics is what’s going on with these rituals.
I stood and listened to the woman with the bullhorn for a few minutes. I’m always struck by the Great Patriotic War starting in June 1941, and Molotov-Ribbentrop ignored. I was also impressed with seeing BRD on one banner calling for resistance to war agitation and DDR on its neighbor where 40 years of socialism are credited to Russia.
While I was standing a Latex Berlin tour came by, with half a dozen fetishists outfitted in what were probably pretty warm latex suits, accompanying curious tourists across Alexanderplatz. Two men to my right joked about this being, after all, Berlin, and mused about a Leather Tour. That seemed generally the reception granted the protesters as well – mild curiosity at the entertainment. It was hard to see this as “political activism”.
The identities of the 12 victims and the suspect have not yet been released. Chief Cervera said the suspect’s name would only be released after the victims’ families had been notified.
“We’re going to mention his name once and then he will forever be referred to as ‘the suspect’, because our focus now is the dignity and respect to the victims in this case and to their families,” he said.
The docent at the 22. juli-Senteret in Oslo used the label “the terrorist” a number of times, so I asked her about it. She said other times she will say “Breivik”. We spoke about the actor having had a definite agenda and having a past, not having come from nowhere.
The 21st Century American media does not engage desperation, job stress, alienation, political motives, military history, financial straits. Instead the actors are unknown, unknowable. Good right-thinking people like us are threatened by dangers from the mysterious void.