The compulsion to LARP is for those who have to feel accountable to some larger salary god, one who takes earthly shape in the form of our manager, our manager’s manager, and/or our coworkers, all of whom are constantly deciding whether or not we deserve the salaried, privileged position in which we’ve found ourselves. This is largely bullshit, of course: yes, our managers do think about how much we’re producing, but only the worst of them are clocking how many hours our green dot is showing up on Slack. Most of our coworkers are too worried about LARPing their own jobs to worry about how much you’re LARPing yours.

Anne Helen Petersen, “LARPing your job

“McMindfullness”

Buddhists seek to let go of attachment to the myth of the private, solid, unchanging self, and to promote universal compassion and end universal suffering.


But capitalist culture enforces the myth of the privatized, self-centered self. So unless mindfulness is employed in the service of making the world a better place — then practicing can and does end up serving to maintain the very self-centered, greedy, individualistic institutions and relationships that contribute to the lack of connected presence, kindness, and compassion that contribute to our unhappiness.

Mindfulness meditation in America has a capitalism problem

Why is it that this nation continues to steal land away from its original inhabitants under the guise of being “good for the economy”? And even if the land trade was of equal value, why should the Apache tribe be forced to give up their sacred lands and move for corporate greed? Did we not learn our lesson as a nation after the damage caused by the Trail of Tears? Have we not evolved our moral consciousness as a country enough to be able to determine that seizing land for profit is unjust?

Rev. William Barber, “Why Is No One Talking About the Land Battle in Oak Flat, AZ”

Circle the Wagons

When something is designed, we need to look at the motives of the designer. Tech campuses are designed to, first of all, lure you in… Secondly, they’re designed to keep you there… Thirdly, and most insidiously, they’re designed to inspire loyalty. Especially when the community is under attack. They may appear to be designed for the benefit of the worker, but the feelings of loyalty the community is designed to engender benefit the company much, much more.

Facebook Isn’t a Community, It’s a Company Town” – Mike Monteiro

Whistling past the robot factory…

…no algorithm can replicate human creativity. In fact, creativity is antithetical to the way artificial intelligence works. We develop machine learning by feeding in data about the way people react in certain situations. The point of algorithms is to predict what most people will do and execute that expected action.

How to thwart the robots: unabashed creativity” – Fast Company

I worry that statements like these misunderstand AI, fetishize human creativity, and underestimate the drive to substitute every human labor with capital.

Heike Geissler’s “Seasonal Associate”

While many on the left have long discussed the loss that comes with alienating people from their labor, Geissler offers a detailed description of the alienation from the self that accompanies it. No longer free to live according to her preferred rhythms, she begins to eat faster, to walk faster, and to push and shove her colleagues as they rush to leave the warehouse. She counts the days until her contract’s expiration date: Christmas Eve. “It’s all about sheer endurance, about presence, about translating your time and energy into money,” she writes. 

The Nation, “No Space To Be Human

The Problematic, Privacy-Invading Spy Machine

So you bought a loved one an Amazon Echo. Maybe it was on sale, or maybe it was on someone’s list. But inevitably, an Echo is a bad gift. It’s also a lazy gift. But don’t worry. It’s not too late to return it and get a better gift.

The Echo is still the problematic, privacy-invading spy machine it was last year and the year before. In fact, recent reports show that Amazon is not only still mishandling Echo recordings and user data, but it’s also actually getting worse about it

Gizmodo, “The Amazon Alexa Eavesdropping Nightmare Came True”

…the radioactivity of Facebook’s data hoard…

For a company that is user data, Facebook sure has made a lot of mistakes spreading it around. By the looks of it, other tech players have been happy to let Facebook get beaten up while their practices went unexamined. And then, in this one story, the radioactivity of Facebook’s data hoard spread basically across the industry. There is a data-industrial complex, and this is what it looked like.

Alexis Madrigal, “Facebook Didn’t Sell Your Data; It Gave It Away

My libertarian vacation nightmare

In America, libertarian ideas are attractive to mostly young, white men with high ideals and no life experience that live off of the previous generation’s investments and sacrifice. I know this because as a young, white idiot, I subscribed to this system of discredited ideas: Selfishness is good, government is bad. Take what you want, when you want and however you can. Poor people deserve what they get, and the smartest, hardworking people always win.

EDWIN LYNGAR