There was an example of narcissistic New Media Douchebag fuckwittery this week that actually forced me to pause, take a break to record this weeks Angry Mac Bastards podcast, and come back to the festering pit of stupid just so that my blood pressure didn’t spike so high that my eyeballs popped out of their sockets. And what, you might ask, was the dim-witted doltishness that caused such a reaction? Well, ‘twas the infuriatingly self-absorbed response by Anil Dash to Malcom Gladwell’s recent article in The New Yorker titled “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.”
Before you read the rest of my rant, or the inanity from Dash, I highly suggest you read Gladwell’s article. In brief, his argument is that, protestations of the New Media Douchebags not withstanding, “social networks” have not affected—and are incapable of affecting—real social and political change. Gladwell postulates, with no small amount of actual research cited, that this is because the activism required by true revolutionary movements require “strong-tie” relationships, whereas social networks mainly serve to create “weak-tie” relationships that encourage “easy” activism.
Gladwell offers an example of each type of activism. The “revolutionary” type is exemplified by the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960 to protest the store’s segregation policy. The example given for the “easy” form of activism is the case of Sameer Bhatia, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who’s life was saved by a bone marrow transplant from a donor located via a Facebook campaign. The best quote to sum up Gladwell’s distinction between the two types of activism is the one that Dash provides:
The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.
Dash, to his credit, doesn’t attempt to dispute this thesis, although he idiotically frames Gladwell’s argument as a strawman. He states:
I don’t come to refute Gladwell’s strawman argument. His point is that today’s social networks are fundamentally unable to drive the sort of social change that fueled upheavals like the civil rights movement. I agree; As I said last year, Facebook often enables politics of the sort that convinces college kids that changing their middle name on a website is a form of activism. And the idea that the uprisings in Iran were driven by Twitter or any other social media is clearly refuted by realities such as Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan, the father of the Iranian blogosphere, being sentenced to nineteen years in prison. The traditional method sit-in and picket-in-the-streets form of protest is clearly a failure online.
First off, Anil you fucking ignoramus, look up what a “strawman” argument is. When Gladwell quotes actual people making the argument that he is refuting, it isn’t a fucking strawman. But that’s thin gruel compared to the real feast of fucking stupid that Anil is about to serve up. In some imbecilic attempt to try to equate rampant theft with civil disobedience Anil writes:
We have had an enormous and concerted act of social disobedience play out over the past half-decade, where millions have decided that the present regime of intellectual property law and corporate control over the way we communicate is no longer tenable. So, every day, with the click of a button, people from all walks of life are ignoring the law and protesting in public, simply by uploading content to YouTube or Facebook or anywhere else.
Henry David Thoreau would be so proud. Or not. See, Anil, being a cheap asshole is not some act of nobility. Real practitioners of civil disobedience accept the consequences of their actions. When have any one of you thieving cock-suckers been able to say the same. I suppose that in Dash’s world the prick that cut me off driving to work this morning was some noble crusader, protesting the hideous injustice of aggressive driving laws—or he might just have been an asshole.
Not content to merely be a thieving asshole, Anil proceeds to inform us that he has found the true revolutionaries of the social networks. The real inheritors of the mantle of the Civil Rights Movement:
Yes, as in the hipster douchebags who cobble together random bits of crap and somehow presume that they’re doing something that hasn’t been done for thousands of years before them.
And if we put the making movement in the context of other social and political movements, it’s had amazing success. In city after city, year after year, tens of thousands of people pay money to show up and learn about taking control of their media, learning, consumption and communications. In contrast to groups like the Tea Party, the crowd at Maker Faire is diverse, includes children and adults of all ages, and never finds itself in conflict with other groups based on identity or politics.
That’s right Anil, it is all candy and unicorn semen — because it’s a fucking hobby you ass-tart.
I wish that I owned a time machine. If I did I would take Anil Dash and plunk his arrogant, self-entitled ass down in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960. Let’s see how his social media savvy and his Maker savoir faire contend with being a person of color in the 1960’s deep South. I’d like to see this smugly narcissistic asshole try to explain to Martin Luther King how Burning Man is just like the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
On the other hand, I’d settle for him just shutting the fuck up.
Gods damn it, I forgot to link to the dipshit’s post.