Evening Reading - April 25, 2024

It's nighttime in America, which means it's time for Shacknews Evening Reading.

2

Hey Shacknews, it's time for Evening Reading. Let's officially close out our day of posting. Please take a look.


In case you missed it at Shacknews:


And now... Other Stuff From The Internet!!!

Unhappy anniversary, Twitter

Edward Perez sums up why he is leaving Twitter and why it is beyond repair.

Here's a full transcript of the tweet thread:

Two years ago today, on 4/25/22, Twitter’s Board accepted Elon Musk’s offer to acquire the company at $54.20/share.

As an ex-director for civic integrity at Twitter, I’ve watched what Musk has done since then.

And today is my last post on this platform.

I’m leaving.

TL;DR: After watching and tweeting dramatically less for the past two years, I’ve decided that (for me) even passive participation on this platform amounts to complicity in Elon Musk’s project of promoting anti-democratic values.

I will not have any part in that.

Musk is a poster child for divisive racist, sexist, and plutocratic tendencies that undermine democracy’s commitment to equality for all.

No amount of hand-waving can hide what Musk is doing.

Destroying Twitter’s value is the tell: It’s not about the money.

It’s worse.

Musk’s willingness to burn down what he purchased suggests that he’s motivated by a perverse righteousness, not profit.

I won’t repeat the litany of mistakes demonstrating Musk’s failure to be a responsible steward for this platform, nor the mountains of data that prove it.

From all angles — be it growth, revenue, brand equity, advertising, credibility as a global news source, trust & safety, or hell, even simply as *entertainment* — Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been a stunning crash & burn story.

Actually, a better word would be “tantrum.”

The “free speech/content moderation” issue is cynical redirection.

As an ex-Dir of Product Mgmt at Twitter, I care about mitigating harm associated with speech.

As a long-time student of political philosophy, I also care about the value of free speech.

Musk fails at both.

I cringe every time journalists and others refer to Musk as a “free speech absolutist.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The only absolute is Musk’s hypocrisy, as he repeatedly contradicts his so-called principles to serve himself and his pet causes.

When Musk talks about protecting “free speech” he really means supporting provocative and/or violent voices — and *esp* trolls who hate the idea that all people are equal.

Conversely, Musk is quick to *stifle* speech if it embarrasses him or his companies.

He’s a hypocrite.

When one of the richest men in the world uses his own private global media platform to selectively amplify anti-democratic voices, and to prey on those he does not like, that is not “free speech.”

That’s personal psychological weakness, enabled by systemic plutocracy.

Musk also demonstrates an utter lack of understanding about how a global platform for interactive communication requires a thoughtful, judicious business strategy unlike any other product.

Musk has done precisely the *opposite* of what leadership requires.

Musk is a textbook example of the schmucks who believe that any problem can be solved with more tech, lower costs, more automation, better code, more “hardcore” engineers & the right investors — as if Twitter’s challenges are simply *business* challenges.

But they are not.

Musk utterly failed to understand that Twitter’s hardest challenges are not about more revenue & fewer rules.

They are *human* challenges, about power, speech, competition, fairness, diversity, wealth, poverty, war, peace, safety, inclusion, equity, and privacy.

A wiser person would understand that…

- a global platform like this cannot deepen and reify the worst excesses and inequalities of capitalism, privilege, and power;

- nor carry water for bad actors;

- nor incentivize and monetize the ugliest, most cruel human behaviors.

Furthermore, ownership of a platform like this cannot be online therapy and acting-out to soothe the grievances of insecure, immature, thin-skinned billionaires (yes, note the plural) who desperately want & need to be liked (because they are psychologically damaged).

Like Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, and too many other wealthy & powerful men, Elon Musk is a toxic mix of narcissism, insecurity, sexism, and a particularly cruel form of unkindness that seems especially gleeful about punching down on those with less power.

It would be bad enough if Musk’s immaturity and lack of self-control simply made him an insufferable asshole.

But Musk is an insufferable asshole with a global media platform that he has re-made in furtherance of pernicious values.

That’s why I cannot be here any longer.

This isn’t a story about “free speech” v. “censorship.”

It’s a story about who gets to wield the power of speech — & a cautionary tale of how massive private wealth enables an immature man[child] to selectively elevate those who reject democracy’s bedrock value:

Equality.

Musk has clearly signaled whose messages he believes deserve his personal support and amplification:

-Right-wing stooges for Putin;

-Antisemites spouting “replacement theory;”

-Racists who question Black professional skills;

-Anti-LGBTQ trolls

The list goes on.

If Musk were to edit George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” he might say:

“All voices are equal, but some voices are more equal than others.”

I cannot sign off without also feeling sadness for the company that Twitter used to be, and which Musk destroyed.

The bird was not “freed” — Musk killed it.

History will show this to be true.

I see no way this empty husk of a once-great platform for news will survive.

I can also say w/ confidence that my fellow Tweeps were some of the smartest, most thoughtful, earnest, and humane professional colleagues that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. 

And there is a silver lining:
Many have carried those qualities to new employers.


F-Zero Revival

A TV show doing F-Zero Big Blue cover song performances? The F-Zero revival is real and it will be televised.


Sergei Borovsky showcases why hockey goalie is the toughest position in sports

Outstanding save!


AI may not replace you... yet

Iteration is something that humans understand a bit more than generative AI these days.


Mick Foley, Dude Love, Mankind, and Cactus Jack miss Mami (Rhea Ripley)

Foley is God.


Phish seems right at home in the Las Vegas Sphere

Imagine watching this show on hallucinogens.


Pat and Cole

The new J.R. and the King.


FOUR MORE YEARS! PAUSE.

Whatever you do, don't say this is a sign of mental decline for our fossilized president. He's aging gracefully. Pause.


There you have it, Shacknews. Your Evening Reading for April 25, 2024. Please consider subscribing to Shacknews Mercury to support our site for as little as $1/month.

the man with the briefcase on Cortex

What are you up to tonight? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comment thread below.

CEO/EIC/EIEIO

Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • ? reply
    April 25, 2024 8:45 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Evening Reading - April 25, 2024

    • ? reply
      April 26, 2024 6:37 AM

      That's an amazing save by Borovsky

    • ? reply
      April 26, 2024 6:38 AM

      Also, it's been 2 years since the Twitter buyout offer ?? Wow

    • ? reply
      April 26, 2024 8:15 AM

      My philosophy on AI art is that one still needs to be a digital artist to make good art with AI. One still needs training, skills with a complete suite of digital tools, and creativity.

      I've seen some time-lapse video of artists making things with AI and the skill it takes to make something useable is obviously high. After the hype has passed, I predict that AI will become another tool in the toolkit for digital artists, rather than the start and end of a piece of work.

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