I don’t claim originality for any content here; people who’ve been influential on this include Nick Beckstead, Phil Trammell, Toby Ord, Aron Vallinder, Allan Dafoe, Matt Wage, and, especially, Holden Karnofsky and Carl Shulman. Everything tentative; errors all my own.
The 5 y.o.’s latest favorite song is Josh Ritter’s cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “Old Old Fashioned.”
One line created a conversation:
🎵So give me soft, soft static🎵
🎵With a human voice underneath🎵
He asked “what’s static?” which is a good question this day and age with everything digital and streaming.
So I also got to introduce him to AM radio.
Now he’ll randomly ask to listen to “static” — not the “static song” which he’s now figured out the name of, but actual static with a voice in the background.
Kids are weird and awesome, y’all.
Sociologist Charles Derber describes this tendency to insert oneself into a conversation as “conversational narcissism.” It’s the desire to take over a conversation, to do most of the talking and to turn the focus of the exchange to yourself. It is often subtle and unconscious. Derber writes that conversational narcissism “is the key manifestation of the dominant attention-getting psychology in America. It occurs in informal conversations among friends, family and co-workers. The profusion of popular literature about listening and the etiquette of managing those who talk constantly about themselves suggests its pervasiveness in everyday life.” Derber describes two kinds of responses in conversations: a shift response and a support response. The first shifts attention back to yourself, and the second supports the other person’s comment.Celeste Headlee “The Mistake I Made With My Grieving Friend”
Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.Martin Luther King’s Last Christmas Sermon
Even as it shrinks, the national media is reorganizing around a social media–to–cable news pipeline of daily outrage. It is shedding the skin of its once-sacred “view from nowhere” objectivity and embracing the benefits of cruder ideologies. It wants eyeballs, but it doesn’t want to pay for material. Why do that when a generation of strivers will do it for free, or close to it? No, it’s not so hard not to see Andy Ngo as one vision of the journalist of the future, self-employed in an Uberized model that gobbles up inflammatory content and takes no responsibility for how it’s gathered. These media workers will be ambitious, ideological, incurious, self-promoting, social media native, willing to force the story, and very, very vulnerable.Joseph Bernstein “Andy Ngo Has The Newest New Media Career. It’s Made Him A Victim And A Star.”