The OS is the Window(s) to the Vision

Internet is up to its favourite pre-Enlightenment habit again!  Public execution.

I shan’t link to this latest “action” because there is no need; you’ve read this story before.

Once upon a time, disease
a person/representative of a business said or did something vile. This vile something which might have otherwise gone unnoticed by large numbers of people was amplified. Now, herpes
large numbers of people condemn the misdeed by retelling and replaying it over and over.

In the barbaric town square of Internet, pilule
this is the logic: you have done wrong and your crime must be publicly replayed and now you must be ruined.

I understand that this sort of thing is immense fun. Apportioning blame to a single person or business for all the mystically incomprehensible shit in the world feels great. For one moment, we feel we have murdered evil itself.  For one moment, we feel we have dissuaded all other criminals by “calling out” this or that prejudice or crime.

The thing is, it doesn’t work.  Democracy know this so why don’t you?

The move from feudal displays of cruel execution to invisible incarceration and reform did not occur because we became Better People. It occurred because governments who were building more centralised control in the Enlightenment age found that public torture just did not work.

By the middle of the 19th century, public execution in Europe had all but ended. There is a good argument to be made that systems of punishment became no less cruel as they moved to the madhouse and the prison. There is a very good argument to be made that they also became far more effective.

FYI, Foucault makes it first and best.

In attacking the body of an individual to achieve justice, a number of unintended consequences are produced. The public torture—or as we have now the public censure—was eventually seen to achieve the very opposite of its intention.

Public torture allows the criminal and his crime to be redeemed in the public view.

Public torture is a spectacle enjoyed by hordes who can easily convince themselves that they are not so much enjoying themselves as doing The Right Thing.  How can it NOT be the right thing to gather and condemn?

But it is not the Right Thing. Not if the Right Thing is said to be the eradication of the misdeed from the social body.

So, if we say that such-and-such a person or group—say a business owner who has said something homophobic or a film director who has allegedly raped a child—is a “symbol” of a crime (and we do that all the fucking time) and must be “symbolically” and actually “called out”, we are allowing him AND the crime he committed the possibility of redemption.

Just as in the pre-Enlightenment town square, we allow the possibility in our acts of public torture for (a) the criminal and the crime (to which we have already openly attributed “symbolic” power) to be seen as a hero by some others in the crowd; back in the says of public execution, there would often be someone who would try to liberate the criminal (who we must remember we have made a symbol of a widespread crime) and (b) our own satisfaction that this symbolic hanging has somehow ended the crime.

We are surely quite familiar with the arguments about public execution as an ineffective means of social control.  Why can’t we see that this new form of public execution of ideas is just as ineffective?

I am not advocating for disciplinary practice of “criminals”. I am not saying we should put them quietly in prison. What I am saying is that this herd bloodlust, as fun as it is, is not driven by logic but by a belief in the power of the spectacle; of the public scaffold.

We feudal idiots content ourselves believing that a crude take-down or “calling out” of crime and prejudice will achieve something. We dance on the Berlin Wall thinking that this time, finally, we have achieved something.

All we have achieved is our continued belief that power can be easily seen and identified and crushed by the feeble power of our Internet climaxes.

Power is not in a pasta manufacturer. Power is not in a Coca Cola ad. Power is not even easily located in a rapist.  Power is disperse and is difficult to see and unless we make the effort to see it, we are powerless to overturn power.

But I do understand that public torture is fun.
Internet is up to its favourite pre-Enlightenment habit again!  Public execution.

I shan’t link to this latest “action” because there is no need; you’ve read this story before.

Once upon a time, viagra 40mg
a person/representative of a business said or did something vile. This vile something which might have otherwise gone unnoticed by large numbers of people was amplified. Now, large numbers of people condemn the misdeed by retelling and replaying it over and over.

In the barbaric town square of Internet, this is the logic: you have done wrong and your crime must be publicly replayed and now you must be ruined.

I understand that this sort of thing is immense fun. Apportioning blame to a single person or business for all the mystically incomprehensible shit in the world feels great. For one moment, we feel we have murdered evil itself.  For one moment, we feel we have dissuaded all other criminals by “calling out” this or that prejudice or crime.

The thing is, it doesn’t work.  Democracy know this so why don’t you?

The move from feudal displays of cruel execution to invisible incarceration and reform did not occur because we became Better People. It occurred because governments who were building more centralised control in the Enlightenment age found that public torture just did not work.

By the middle of the 19th century, public execution in Europe had all but ended. There is a good argument to be made that systems of punishment became no less cruel as they moved to the madhouse and the prison. There is a very good argument to be made that they also became far more effective.

FYI, Foucault makes it first and best.

In attacking the body of an individual to achieve justice, a number of unintended consequences are produced. The public torture—or as we have now the public censure—was eventually seen to achieve the very opposite of its intention.

Public torture allows the criminal and his crime to be redeemed in the public view.

Public torture is a spectacle enjoyed by hordes who can easily convince themselves that they are not so much enjoying themselves as doing The Right Thing.  How can it NOT be the right thing to gather and condemn?

But it is not the Right Thing. Not if the Right Thing is said to be the eradication of the misdeed from the social body.

So, if we say that such-and-such a person or group—say a business owner who has said something homophobic or a film director who has allegedly raped a child—is a “symbol” of a crime (and we do that all the fucking time) and must be “symbolically” and actually “called out”, we are allowing him AND the crime he committed the possibility of redemption.

Just as in the pre-Enlightenment town square, we allow the possibility in our acts of public torture for (a) the criminal and the crime (to which we have already openly attributed “symbolic” power) to be seen as a hero by some others in the crowd; back in the says of public execution, there would often be someone who would try to liberate the criminal (who we must remember we have made a symbol of a widespread crime) and (b) our own satisfaction that this symbolic hanging has somehow ended the crime.

We are surely quite familiar with the arguments about public execution as an ineffective means of social control.  Why can’t we see that this new form of public execution of ideas is just as ineffective?

I am not advocating for disciplinary practice of “criminals”. I am not saying we should put them quietly in prison. What I am saying is that this herd bloodlust, as fun as it is, is not driven by logic but by a belief in the power of the spectacle; of the public scaffold.

We feudal idiots content ourselves believing that a crude take-down or “calling out” of crime and prejudice will achieve something. We dance on the Berlin Wall thinking that this time, finally, we have achieved something.

All we have achieved is our continued belief that power can be easily seen and identified and crushed by the feeble power of our Internet climaxes.

Power is not in a pasta manufacturer. Power is not in a Coca Cola ad. Power is not even easily located in a rapist.  Power is disperse and is difficult to see and unless we make the effort to see it, we are powerless to overturn power.

But I do understand that public torture is fun.
Internet is up to its favourite pre-Enlightenment habit again!  Public execution.

I shan’t link to this latest “action” because there is no need; you’ve read this story before.

Once upon a time, viagra dosage
a person/representative of a business said or did something vile. This vile something which might have otherwise gone unnoticed by large numbers of people was amplified. Now, large numbers of people condemn the misdeed by retelling and replaying it over and over.

In the barbaric town square of Internet, this is the logic: you have done wrong and your crime must be publicly replayed and now you must be ruined.

I understand that this sort of thing is immense fun. Apportioning blame to a single person or business for all the mystically incomprehensible shit in the world feels great. For one moment, we feel we have murdered evil itself.  For one moment, we feel we have dissuaded all other criminals by “calling out” this or that prejudice or crime.

The thing is, it doesn’t work.  Democracy know this so why don’t you?

The move from feudal displays of cruel execution to invisible incarceration and reform did not occur because we became Better People. It occurred because governments who were building more centralised control in the Enlightenment age found that public torture just did not work.

By the middle of the 19th century, public execution in Europe had all but ended. There is a good argument to be made that systems of punishment became no less cruel as they moved to the madhouse and the prison. There is a very good argument to be made that they also became far more effective.

FYI, Foucault makes it first and best.

In attacking the body of an individual to achieve justice, a number of unintended consequences are produced. The public torture—or as we have now the public censure—was eventually seen to achieve the very opposite of its intention.

Public torture allows the criminal and his crime to be redeemed in the public view.

Public torture is a spectacle enjoyed by hordes who can easily convince themselves that they are not so much enjoying themselves as doing The Right Thing.  How can it NOT be the right thing to gather and condemn?

But it is not the Right Thing. Not if the Right Thing is said to be the eradication of the misdeed from the social body.

So, if we say that such-and-such a person or group—say a business owner who has said something homophobic or a film director who has allegedly raped a child—is a “symbol” of a crime (and we do that all the fucking time) and must be “symbolically” and actually “called out”, we are allowing him AND the crime he committed the possibility of redemption.

Just as in the pre-Enlightenment town square, we allow the possibility in our acts of public torture for (a) the criminal and the crime (to which we have already openly attributed “symbolic” power) to be seen as a hero by some others in the crowd; back in the says of public execution, there would often be someone who would try to liberate the criminal (who we must remember we have made a symbol of a widespread crime) and (b) our own satisfaction that this symbolic hanging has somehow ended the crime.

We are surely quite familiar with the arguments about public execution as an ineffective means of social control.  Why can’t we see that this new form of public execution of ideas is just as ineffective?

I am not advocating for disciplinary practice of “criminals”. I am not saying we should put them quietly in prison. What I am saying is that this herd bloodlust, as fun as it is, is not driven by logic but by a belief in the power of the spectacle; of the public scaffold.

We feudal idiots content ourselves believing that a crude take-down or “calling out” of crime and prejudice will achieve something. We dance on the Berlin Wall thinking that this time, finally, we have achieved something.

All we have achieved is our continued belief that power can be easily seen and identified and crushed by the feeble power of our Internet climaxes.

Power is not in a pasta manufacturer. Power is not in a Coca Cola ad. Power is not even easily located in a rapist.  Power is disperse and is difficult to see and unless we make the effort to see it, we are powerless to overturn power.

But I do understand that public torture is fun.

As I am in the final days toward completion of an intellectually-taxing book due-at-the-publisher and will then move immediately on to completion of an emotionally-taxing book due-at-the-publisher, nurse I have become particularly adept at Having (by which we mean synthesising) Problems.

I will chart their progression here in the hope that other writers of longform works can feel smug about being slightly less fucked-up.

In the initial months of writing, my Problems all seemed to be emotional.  Of course, if one is the sort of writer—as I am—to whom emotional arousal is fuel to the engine, this is an ordinary maintenance risk. I have always written my best work weeping purple tears; you know, FAT ones between authentic and inauthentic grief like Ben Stiller in the final scene of There’s Something About Mary. The problem is, of course, sometimes the tears become real and you have to go to bed.

What then follows is a set of financial Problems. Of course, decent writers like myself are paid peanuts blah blah blah but the real problem in this case was not that I was being paid too little but that I was being paid nothing as I was in bed for several months on a crying jag; the advance money long  since evaporated.

Then, I had intellectual Problems. I became keenly aware that I was far too ill-read to finish this book creditably and spent all of my time reading and listening to lectures.  I had physical Problems; I became resentful that I wasn’t running 10K a day as had been my habit and then resentful when I did start running 10K a day again because, fuck it, I should have been home finishing Civilisation and Its Discontents. And naturally, I had and have social-media Problems which are compounded by the fact that the small amount of regular public writing I maintain is heavily influenced by the difficult book I am writing and so is usually dismissed as the work of a Frustrating Wanker.

I own up to the fact of my volition in all of these matters and I have conquered them all. I don’t even really mind being called a fascist hatemonger; which happened as recently as yesterday when this piece was published. As long as distant critics attack their idea of my person and not the ideas about which I write, I don’t actually feel meaningfully criticised.

So. I’m on top of EVERYTHING except a technological crisis. And for this, I blame not myself but The System.

Actually, the Operating System.

For sundry ethical reasons which I should probably revise, I gave up on Apple at the turn of the century. I didn’t like the ultra-proprietary direction the company was taking and fuck me if I was going to work on a bright orange machine.

I also hated the cutesy icons and the increased opacity of an OS that seemed to always be waggling its adorable cartoon-panda paw-finger at me every time I tried to customise.  The utilitarian ugliness of Windows 98 served me well and reflected an idea of my own unfussy nature. Of course, I am not unfussy and I am delusional but the stark visuals of 98 really helped me, to use the instruction of a great editor then at The Age, to “stop using so many fucking adverbs and buy yourself Strunk and White”.  (Gay Alcorn, who is a lovely lady and an extraordinary editor, refuses to remember that she said this to me in Acland St, St Kilda in 2003).

Of course, I am not the only git with a keyboard to have observed how the style and behaviour of an OS impacts and reflects its user. Jonathan Franzen wrote about it comparing Apple and Windows to two European countries (I can’t remember which) and the MIT professor Sherry Turkle more capably compared Microsoft’s products to the Modern era of calculability as described by Weber and Apple’s OS to a postmodern era ruled by invisible power. As described by Baudrillard et al.

I am certainly a product of a postmodern era but I just can’t give myself over to a critique of it in the company of rounded corners, opaque screens and Hello Kitty icons who do frowny faces at me when I have overstepped the bounds of the OS.  So I was going fine on a really old XP machine until it choked and then okay on Ubuntu until the screen on that machine died and now I HAVE WINDOWS 8 OMFG.

I mean. What the fuck were they thinking? Let’s Combine the Cute Eerie Opacity of Apple with All The Worst Bugs of Windows?  I should say that as a low-vision person, I fucking love the touch-screen that makes it so easy for me to read small text but fuck me indiscriminately with a discount jar of vegan savoury spread WHAT WERE THEY OTHERWISE THINKING?

Like most users, I want to work in an environment that is not hostile to my needs or my vision of myself; which is as a Sensible Lady.  And these useless kawaii apps, which are not so much buggy as plague-of-locust-y, make me long to live in the antique lap of NT.

So anyhow.  That is my latest problem.

I am not asking for solutions as perhaps the market’s Invisible Hand will see to them in time. When it has stopped goosing me.

In the meantime, say a silent word of prayer for me to help me finish this book.  I can only imagine that faith will be produce better results than the current iteration of Windows.

12 comments for “The OS is the Window(s) to the Vision

  1. February 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    http://www.ubuntu.com/

    Just convert. It be free too.

    • February 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I have used it in the past Jodie but at this point I really am paralysed. Book is due by Friday

  2. February 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I was troubled by Windows 8 too at first, but have been converted since upgrading to 8.1.

    • February 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Yeah. It’s still not that good. And you know it!

  3. Bitterlion
    February 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Book. Book. Book. STOP LOOKING AT THIS! Book.

    • February 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  4. Kevin Hayden
    February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    for 5 bucks you can go to Stardock.com and buy start8 which gives you a regular start menu like on windows 7.

    I have a friend who did this to several computers; much easier than downloading/installing an entire OS. She’s had no problems since.

    • February 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Really? Thanks so much !!!!!!!!!!

      • duckbenny
        February 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

        Or if you’re feeling cheap, Classic Shell (http://www.classicshell.net/) is a freebie that fixes more than just the start menu annoyances…

  5. Marcus
    February 13, 2014 at 10:32 pm
  6. Kate
    February 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Imagine all of that (with less swearing and only needing to do emails and some MYOB) but being my poor mum. I mean she’s reasonably tech-savvy for sixty-odd, but sheesh. One time talking about it she was repressing sobs so hard they came out as wails.

  7. CAP
    February 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I have made the switch also – have to say it doesn’t bother me at all since I spend most of my time in desktop mode which is near identical to xp anyway :) <—- cutsie smiling emoticon.

Comments are closed.