Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

9

[...] in the very act of delivering on its promise to make people feel political, woke TV accidentally proved that political was something you could be made to feel. [...] the political is essentially a special effect, a trick of the light, TV magic. The full discomfiture of this claim can be shrugged off as long as you maintain the fantasy that somewhere out there, in the bleeding wilds of the world, there exists a secret glade called Politics where the gods of history dance. This will let you cleanly cleave the world in two: true and pretend, genuine leftism and performative wokeness, real life and the stuff of television. The scarier thought is that feeling political is all that politics is. In truth, you can’t book a direct flight to the political. There are always layovers in aesthetic form: in tone, mood, shape, and everything else a work of art might employ to try to get you to feel part of something bigger than yourself.

The other way to say this is that politics is just a very special episode of belonging. Belonging is television’s forte. Television was never just a box; it has always been primarily a social event. When Adorno complained that television was a “substitute for a social immediacy,” he had forgotten that every public is a fantasy, projected by rituals and shibboleths that if held up to the light just so will, like the medallion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, point the way to God. This applies as much to the halo of national pride that in 1969 descended, like Apollo 11, onto the rapt faces of viewers at home as to the numberless moons of fandom now wandering the internet’s night sky. Mediation, televisual or otherwise, has always been necessary to make the leap from me to you, individual to group. All communities are imagined, as Benedict Anderson taught, simply because they could not be otherwise.

—p.9 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago

[...] in the very act of delivering on its promise to make people feel political, woke TV accidentally proved that political was something you could be made to feel. [...] the political is essentially a special effect, a trick of the light, TV magic. The full discomfiture of this claim can be shrugged off as long as you maintain the fantasy that somewhere out there, in the bleeding wilds of the world, there exists a secret glade called Politics where the gods of history dance. This will let you cleanly cleave the world in two: true and pretend, genuine leftism and performative wokeness, real life and the stuff of television. The scarier thought is that feeling political is all that politics is. In truth, you can’t book a direct flight to the political. There are always layovers in aesthetic form: in tone, mood, shape, and everything else a work of art might employ to try to get you to feel part of something bigger than yourself.

The other way to say this is that politics is just a very special episode of belonging. Belonging is television’s forte. Television was never just a box; it has always been primarily a social event. When Adorno complained that television was a “substitute for a social immediacy,” he had forgotten that every public is a fantasy, projected by rituals and shibboleths that if held up to the light just so will, like the medallion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, point the way to God. This applies as much to the halo of national pride that in 1969 descended, like Apollo 11, onto the rapt faces of viewers at home as to the numberless moons of fandom now wandering the internet’s night sky. Mediation, televisual or otherwise, has always been necessary to make the leap from me to you, individual to group. All communities are imagined, as Benedict Anderson taught, simply because they could not be otherwise.

—p.9 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago
10

[...] A woman with the pseudonym Grace told the lifestyle site Babe that Ansari had pressured her into a blow job and kept wheeling her awkwardly around his apartment looking for a space to park his dick. Everything was consensual-ish. “You guys are all the same,” she had told him, “you guys are all the fucking same.” The internet went up in flames. Harassment in the workplace was one thing, but a national referendum on heterosexuality? What were we supposed to do, not have sex? Bari Weiss, with the New York Times feeding quarters into the back of her head, figured that if Grace had been assaulted, so had every woman, including Bari Weiss, which obviously wasn’t the case. Someone in the Atlantic compared Grace to the weak female protagonists of the moralizing chick lit of the Seventies, at once slutty and hapless. Suck it up, honey. Spit it out. Call a cab.

the quarters line is amazing

—p.10 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago

[...] A woman with the pseudonym Grace told the lifestyle site Babe that Ansari had pressured her into a blow job and kept wheeling her awkwardly around his apartment looking for a space to park his dick. Everything was consensual-ish. “You guys are all the same,” she had told him, “you guys are all the fucking same.” The internet went up in flames. Harassment in the workplace was one thing, but a national referendum on heterosexuality? What were we supposed to do, not have sex? Bari Weiss, with the New York Times feeding quarters into the back of her head, figured that if Grace had been assaulted, so had every woman, including Bari Weiss, which obviously wasn’t the case. Someone in the Atlantic compared Grace to the weak female protagonists of the moralizing chick lit of the Seventies, at once slutty and hapless. Suck it up, honey. Spit it out. Call a cab.

the quarters line is amazing

—p.10 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago
11

GOOD TV, OF THE LONG-FORM, narrative sort, is believable. Believability is never about reproducing reality. Time travel may be believable; a kitchen sink may not be. Believability is, essentially, an aesthetic of proportionality. It consists in the invention of an imaginary but plausible relationship between character and plot: that is, in negotiating some kind of correspondence between the squishy sentimentality of interiority and a few discrete, relatively high-impact events that interrupt, like meteors, the atmosphere of everyday life. In the land of television, critical acclaim is handed out to whichever shows manage to bridge these twin peaks most attractively. Usually, this means keeping the writing within a few standard deviations of the premise at hand: no secret clones, unless it’s Orphan Black; no acts of God, except on The Leftovers.

—p.11 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago

GOOD TV, OF THE LONG-FORM, narrative sort, is believable. Believability is never about reproducing reality. Time travel may be believable; a kitchen sink may not be. Believability is, essentially, an aesthetic of proportionality. It consists in the invention of an imaginary but plausible relationship between character and plot: that is, in negotiating some kind of correspondence between the squishy sentimentality of interiority and a few discrete, relatively high-impact events that interrupt, like meteors, the atmosphere of everyday life. In the land of television, critical acclaim is handed out to whichever shows manage to bridge these twin peaks most attractively. Usually, this means keeping the writing within a few standard deviations of the premise at hand: no secret clones, unless it’s Orphan Black; no acts of God, except on The Leftovers.

—p.11 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago
12

This is why the case against #MeToo rested, ironically, on charges of disproportionate response. Calm your tits, its critics said. Most men aren’t monsters. Most things aren’t rape. Of course, the thing about moral panics is that it takes one to know one. Women are panicking, they said, panicking. But it’s genuinely worth considering whether panic is the only form of publicness available to the airing of sexual grief. Sexual harm is constituted by the impossibility of its being proven. Outside of statutory provisions around age, consent is basically immaterial. Rape and its cousins are ultimately determined not by the presence of physical violence but by the victim’s mental state. Of the latter there can never be direct proof, only secondary indicators. Sexual assault is therefore, by definition, all in your head. Hence the slogan “Yes means yes,” a spell for conjuring a world where people always say what they mean and mean what they say. But usually, they don’t — and usually, they can’t, since people are rarely any more transparent to themselves than they are to others. Events are not self-narrating. Violence is rarely realistic. You’re expecting a break, but instead you get weird, curved continuity. Someone missed their cue. That can’t be the line. What did he just say? Where are we going? Did I ask for this? No one calls cut. No one checks the gate. Not knowing what happened becomes part of what happened.

It is impossible to have a proportionate response to something that never, strictly speaking, occurred. That’s why the beautiful risk run by all the public blacklists, unchecked facts, and internet yelling that coalesced alongside the due-diligence journalism like #MeToo’s evil Twitter twin was its wholesale refusal to play ball with believability’s evidentiary regime. No smoking guns, no blue dresses. Saying so would be proof enough. This was breathtaking, the way the open maw of deep space is breathtaking: nothing, catching fire. Nuance exists, obviously. We’re big girls. Women hoard subtlety in a world where belief is something you have to save up to buy. This is a secret of femininity: paying careful attention to the world’s complexity can mean letting it walk all over you. But to admit this was to concede too much. We deserved some recklessness. It can look like violence when women afford themselves the luxury of generalization.

—p.12 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago

This is why the case against #MeToo rested, ironically, on charges of disproportionate response. Calm your tits, its critics said. Most men aren’t monsters. Most things aren’t rape. Of course, the thing about moral panics is that it takes one to know one. Women are panicking, they said, panicking. But it’s genuinely worth considering whether panic is the only form of publicness available to the airing of sexual grief. Sexual harm is constituted by the impossibility of its being proven. Outside of statutory provisions around age, consent is basically immaterial. Rape and its cousins are ultimately determined not by the presence of physical violence but by the victim’s mental state. Of the latter there can never be direct proof, only secondary indicators. Sexual assault is therefore, by definition, all in your head. Hence the slogan “Yes means yes,” a spell for conjuring a world where people always say what they mean and mean what they say. But usually, they don’t — and usually, they can’t, since people are rarely any more transparent to themselves than they are to others. Events are not self-narrating. Violence is rarely realistic. You’re expecting a break, but instead you get weird, curved continuity. Someone missed their cue. That can’t be the line. What did he just say? Where are we going? Did I ask for this? No one calls cut. No one checks the gate. Not knowing what happened becomes part of what happened.

It is impossible to have a proportionate response to something that never, strictly speaking, occurred. That’s why the beautiful risk run by all the public blacklists, unchecked facts, and internet yelling that coalesced alongside the due-diligence journalism like #MeToo’s evil Twitter twin was its wholesale refusal to play ball with believability’s evidentiary regime. No smoking guns, no blue dresses. Saying so would be proof enough. This was breathtaking, the way the open maw of deep space is breathtaking: nothing, catching fire. Nuance exists, obviously. We’re big girls. Women hoard subtlety in a world where belief is something you have to save up to buy. This is a secret of femininity: paying careful attention to the world’s complexity can mean letting it walk all over you. But to admit this was to concede too much. We deserved some recklessness. It can look like violence when women afford themselves the luxury of generalization.

—p.12 Bad TV (7) by Andrea Long Chu 10 months, 4 weeks ago
16

Nonetheless, tech employees have tried to unionize since the industry’s earliest years. Wolfe mentions several attempts to organize Intel in the late ’60s and early ’70s — campaigns Noyce viewed as a “death threat” to the company. The lead author of a 1976 article in Science for the People titled “Rumblings of Organizing in Silicon Valley” writes of his experience in a “unionization drive among the chemists, physicists, engineers, and technicians” of the Smith-Corona Marchant (S.C.M.) Corporation, once famous for its typewriters. As the author recounts, intense workplace pressure jump-started the campaign:

The company maintained an artificial crisis atmosphere by claiming severe urgency for almost every project . By implying a loss of job or status, the management was able to get large amounts of free overtime (“remember, you are a professional”), and justify almost constant harassment . Two fatal heart attacks of workers in their early forties occurred within one year in this small facility alone, and there were several other nonfatal attacks as well.

Though the company defeated the campaign, similar organizing drives popped up less than a decade later, as employees at Atari fought wage cuts and layoffs in the early 1980s. After all, despite tech executives’ insistence that their industry is incompatible with unions, labor organizing among scientists is common enough. Take the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, a union that represents more than 22,650 professionals, or the faculty and graduate-student unions that represent many white-collar professionals, many of whom go on to work in tech. Add the [email protected], a union of dues-paying IBM employees that existed from 1999 to 2016; WashTech, formed by contract workers at Microsoft; the union-like Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which boasts a worldwide membership of more than 423,000, mostly made up of electrical engineers; and the Programmer’s Guild, which “advances the interests of technical and professional workers” in IT. Taken together, these organizations make the anti-union fortress of tech begin to look less impregnable.

there is a history of organising in SV, it's not exactly one that's often passed down to people just entering the industry. where would they hear about this from? certainly not from recruiters; probably not their teachers or TAs; not from mainstream media portrayal of these companies (at least until recently). it's a niche, little-known history

—p.16 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Nonetheless, tech employees have tried to unionize since the industry’s earliest years. Wolfe mentions several attempts to organize Intel in the late ’60s and early ’70s — campaigns Noyce viewed as a “death threat” to the company. The lead author of a 1976 article in Science for the People titled “Rumblings of Organizing in Silicon Valley” writes of his experience in a “unionization drive among the chemists, physicists, engineers, and technicians” of the Smith-Corona Marchant (S.C.M.) Corporation, once famous for its typewriters. As the author recounts, intense workplace pressure jump-started the campaign:

The company maintained an artificial crisis atmosphere by claiming severe urgency for almost every project . By implying a loss of job or status, the management was able to get large amounts of free overtime (“remember, you are a professional”), and justify almost constant harassment . Two fatal heart attacks of workers in their early forties occurred within one year in this small facility alone, and there were several other nonfatal attacks as well.

Though the company defeated the campaign, similar organizing drives popped up less than a decade later, as employees at Atari fought wage cuts and layoffs in the early 1980s. After all, despite tech executives’ insistence that their industry is incompatible with unions, labor organizing among scientists is common enough. Take the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, a union that represents more than 22,650 professionals, or the faculty and graduate-student unions that represent many white-collar professionals, many of whom go on to work in tech. Add the [email protected], a union of dues-paying IBM employees that existed from 1999 to 2016; WashTech, formed by contract workers at Microsoft; the union-like Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which boasts a worldwide membership of more than 423,000, mostly made up of electrical engineers; and the Programmer’s Guild, which “advances the interests of technical and professional workers” in IT. Taken together, these organizations make the anti-union fortress of tech begin to look less impregnable.

there is a history of organising in SV, it's not exactly one that's often passed down to people just entering the industry. where would they hear about this from? certainly not from recruiters; probably not their teachers or TAs; not from mainstream media portrayal of these companies (at least until recently). it's a niche, little-known history

—p.16 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago
19

Alex, another techie, knows the feeling. Before he became a systems operator at an ad-tech firm, he worked for Securus, which describes itself as a provider of “leading edge civil and criminal justice technology solutions”; Alex described it as “Skype for prisoners.” He has worked in the tech sector for twelve years and only lasted a few months at Securus. He recounted his time there:

There were discussions about how US policy on prison reform was going to affect our bottom line. Meetings were held as company-wide conference calls: the CFO would say, “Excellent news, we can raise the rates on our product without Justice Department interference.” They would have projections on the recidivism rate and that if it’ll remain high, we’ll expect a great year. The thinking within the company about prisoners was, “You fucked up . If you didn’t want to be exploited by our company, you shouldn’t have gone to jail; we have no moral qualms about mining you for whatever you’re worth.” I couldn’t sleep, so I had to leave.

aaaaahhh

—p.19 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Alex, another techie, knows the feeling. Before he became a systems operator at an ad-tech firm, he worked for Securus, which describes itself as a provider of “leading edge civil and criminal justice technology solutions”; Alex described it as “Skype for prisoners.” He has worked in the tech sector for twelve years and only lasted a few months at Securus. He recounted his time there:

There were discussions about how US policy on prison reform was going to affect our bottom line. Meetings were held as company-wide conference calls: the CFO would say, “Excellent news, we can raise the rates on our product without Justice Department interference.” They would have projections on the recidivism rate and that if it’ll remain high, we’ll expect a great year. The thinking within the company about prisoners was, “You fucked up . If you didn’t want to be exploited by our company, you shouldn’t have gone to jail; we have no moral qualms about mining you for whatever you’re worth.” I couldn’t sleep, so I had to leave.

aaaaahhh

—p.19 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago
21

But as the tech sector reaches further into every aspect of our lives, organizing tech companies needn’t be an isolated, insular project. At a company like Amazon, organizing could bring currently outsourced service workers under the company’s umbrella, as well as the warehouse workers of Amazon’s infamous just-in-time fulfillment centers. Because of their position in the US economy, these workers, if organized, could revolutionize the labor movement. An Amazon union could likewise incorporate the workers toiling on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, which allows companies to outsource repetitive, often demeaning tasks — labeling photos, transcribing a minute or two of an audio file — to what is often called “artificial intelligence” but is, in reality, a population of invisible workers, including many from particularly marginalized countries, who are paid pennies. If the most advantaged of Amazon workers led the way, insisting on collective bargaining agreements that applied to everyone within the company, these denizens of the global Amazon fiefdom could be unified under one big contract.

From the baseline of a unionized tech sector, a picture emerges for the possibility of worker-owned companies, which could receive startup capital from the state (much as the military has underwritten tech’s greatest successes). As Fred put it, “changing the way venture capital works, so it isn’t four or so major firms deciding all the tech that will be funded,” will be necessary to gaining popular, democratic control over the direction of the industry. Eventually, the goal is a model of investors unencumbered by the profit motive, who fund what is socially useful, instead of more apps to extract yet more ads.

—p.21 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago

But as the tech sector reaches further into every aspect of our lives, organizing tech companies needn’t be an isolated, insular project. At a company like Amazon, organizing could bring currently outsourced service workers under the company’s umbrella, as well as the warehouse workers of Amazon’s infamous just-in-time fulfillment centers. Because of their position in the US economy, these workers, if organized, could revolutionize the labor movement. An Amazon union could likewise incorporate the workers toiling on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, which allows companies to outsource repetitive, often demeaning tasks — labeling photos, transcribing a minute or two of an audio file — to what is often called “artificial intelligence” but is, in reality, a population of invisible workers, including many from particularly marginalized countries, who are paid pennies. If the most advantaged of Amazon workers led the way, insisting on collective bargaining agreements that applied to everyone within the company, these denizens of the global Amazon fiefdom could be unified under one big contract.

From the baseline of a unionized tech sector, a picture emerges for the possibility of worker-owned companies, which could receive startup capital from the state (much as the military has underwritten tech’s greatest successes). As Fred put it, “changing the way venture capital works, so it isn’t four or so major firms deciding all the tech that will be funded,” will be necessary to gaining popular, democratic control over the direction of the industry. Eventually, the goal is a model of investors unencumbered by the profit motive, who fund what is socially useful, instead of more apps to extract yet more ads.

—p.21 Code Red (14) by Alex Press 10 months, 4 weeks ago
28

The place was well known as the Scavenger Village. Even the residents called it that, proudly. That’s what they did: they scavenged garbage. That’s who they were, it was their identity, they said. To the city authorities, they had no legitimate claims to property, and many of them didn’t have identity cards. The media called a local politician for his thoughts, a man from the same office that built the half-empty, slowly decaying market. “I told them to get out. . . . They can’t live there,” he said. “I don’t care where they go, that’s their problem. It’s not their land, it’s a city-owned cemetery.”

what is the city for :(

—p.28 Fire in Jakarta (22) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The place was well known as the Scavenger Village. Even the residents called it that, proudly. That’s what they did: they scavenged garbage. That’s who they were, it was their identity, they said. To the city authorities, they had no legitimate claims to property, and many of them didn’t have identity cards. The media called a local politician for his thoughts, a man from the same office that built the half-empty, slowly decaying market. “I told them to get out. . . . They can’t live there,” he said. “I don’t care where they go, that’s their problem. It’s not their land, it’s a city-owned cemetery.”

what is the city for :(

—p.28 Fire in Jakarta (22) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago
39

“It sounds like you’re not enjoying this process,” my Red Cross friend said. “Looking for a house together should be a journey of joy.”

For a moment I believed her and felt a slow sinking feeling. Then I remembered that she’s always insisting that I need to be more open-minded about the tech world, because Silicon Valley offers many opportunities for storytellers.

“Like what?” I asked once.

“Like Fitbit. You track the Fitbit family users. After they exercise, some guys go to the sports bar; their girlfriends go to the frozen yogurt shop. Which user consumes more calories?”

“That’s a story?”

—p.39 An Account of My Hut (33) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago

“It sounds like you’re not enjoying this process,” my Red Cross friend said. “Looking for a house together should be a journey of joy.”

For a moment I believed her and felt a slow sinking feeling. Then I remembered that she’s always insisting that I need to be more open-minded about the tech world, because Silicon Valley offers many opportunities for storytellers.

“Like what?” I asked once.

“Like Fitbit. You track the Fitbit family users. After they exercise, some guys go to the sports bar; their girlfriends go to the frozen yogurt shop. Which user consumes more calories?”

“That’s a story?”

—p.39 An Account of My Hut (33) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago
41

Oh, no, I thought. I’m turning into my dad. He often told stories about how the heartbeat of the ocean might stop, which would affect the wind and freeze parts of the Midwest and Europe. For this reason I think of discussing climate change as a relaxing family activity. My father’s second wife, on the other hand, got so tired of hearing about global warming that she considered getting a STOP GLOBAL DOOMING bumper sticker for her car. When my brother announced that his wife was pregnant, my dad told him he wouldn’t need a college fund since there wouldn’t be any college in the future. My brother, who was tenderly grilling ribs, threw down his barbecue fork and said, “For once I want to talk about life, and not always be focused on the end!” After that, climate change became a forbidden topic on holidays. Now I was rediscovering what I’d understood as a kid: people don’t respond well to threats, to cajoling, to end-of-the-world scenarios, to dystopian futures, to hopelessness.

—p.41 An Account of My Hut (33) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Oh, no, I thought. I’m turning into my dad. He often told stories about how the heartbeat of the ocean might stop, which would affect the wind and freeze parts of the Midwest and Europe. For this reason I think of discussing climate change as a relaxing family activity. My father’s second wife, on the other hand, got so tired of hearing about global warming that she considered getting a STOP GLOBAL DOOMING bumper sticker for her car. When my brother announced that his wife was pregnant, my dad told him he wouldn’t need a college fund since there wouldn’t be any college in the future. My brother, who was tenderly grilling ribs, threw down his barbecue fork and said, “For once I want to talk about life, and not always be focused on the end!” After that, climate change became a forbidden topic on holidays. Now I was rediscovering what I’d understood as a kid: people don’t respond well to threats, to cajoling, to end-of-the-world scenarios, to dystopian futures, to hopelessness.

—p.41 An Account of My Hut (33) missing author 10 months, 4 weeks ago