Saturday, May 8, 2021

Autonomous Meaning

Preposterous Preposition Proposal on the Paradigm of Pandering to our Algorithmic Selfie-selves that We don't even Know Ourselves as Much as We are Known.

The young man came to the door with a corsage, and - as all of us do - father judged him by little things of/by/from which he might feel suspicion. A misplaced wrinkle, a word out of place, and something he might witness in the eye.

"I don't care what you do, so long as you don't do it with or to or on my daughter." Meant in a jocular, yet threatening fashion. "You don't want to know what I would do to you."

Funny really, that you play a joke on someone while you play music to someone or more likely for someone, but never on someone. Well, if you did play music on someone, it would be behind their back or against their will or preference. 

I have been skeptical about the wonders of James Joyce's most celebrated writing. It has always seemed that he was writing something on us, and that the readers, in emperor's new clothes fashion, are that pleased to find that they recognize the attributions. Maybe I only feel license to think that after I learned that he stowed his literal crap under his bed. Coprophilia nervosa or something like that.

At least now reading William Gaddis' The Recognitions I feel that he implicates himself in all the shenanigans. We the reader sometimes hardly recognize the characters as they ebb and flow and change, or not. But at least he writes for us, and not principally for himself, making no claim as authentic, say, novelist. Plagiarisms blatant with the pride of false origination. He doesn't care to be original, and yet everyone still follows him, or so my recognition of what must be the origin of this or that observation and stylistic rendering says to me. Wasn't Pynchon reading him while he wrote?

How truly strange that Joyce's papers have landed in Buffalo. We were that promising once upon a time. Or maybe it's oddly fitting. We do aspire to, now don't we? Or have we been had?

I don't write to you, dear reader. If I did my writing would be so much better. I write missives to actual people and I think sometimes they are very well-written indeed, though they are not mine to keep. I wonder if I write for you. I certainly don't write on you. If I wanted to do that I would get rich on the writing analog of YouTube. I'm sure there is one, though I doubt it pays well. I suppose I could write about something, but everyone does that.

Those getting rich - I think by selling adsense on, of is it off, or from? their productions - are getting rich both on and off from you. And  by you. For nothing better than that they can find and have found a way to get your attention is a sort of amusing way. 

Call me an old fuddy duddy, but I don't think that our economy is healthy to allow this. Pet rocks are one thing, and even getting rich off or from pet rocks may not cause too much harm to, let's say, our democracy, but getting rich off or from or with one's selfie self just seems dangerous somehow. Something bad is bound to happen when you are your own editor and producer and author all in one. And when the thing you're selling is your very own self. The art of the deal or the art of the con, but you're being dealt a bad hand, in any case.

Oh, but it's free, you say? I have a bridge to sell you. It has a trillion owners. Deal?

The con of our recent past presidency is what should give us pause. He was hardly president for us, much more likely president on us or maybe off us, never with us and sometimes to us. He was always president for himself. And, perhaps, those who, like him, think that their own personal selfie and often selfish beliefs must be right. You know, people who are angry all the time. People who make jokes at others' expense.

Sure, I must check myself when I feel myself jumping to conclusions about someone else's intentions or motivations or predilections or shortfalls in whatever sort of integrity is familiar to me. But Trump has been well-recognized for a very long time, and it was never for his, um, leadership qualities. First Trump played the boss on you. Then he played the president on you. Or you could just say he played president. Or he played with being president. In the end, maybe he was playing to us all, but it was never more than a play for his own advantage. He liked the attention. 

I hear he's abusive behind the scenes. Ruthless. Mean. No, just kidding. I have no idea. He seems able to charm the pants off people otherwise seeming to have some semblance of integrity. Well, he's a confessed womanizer for sure.  Maybe it's father's daughter who's the wild one, and the poor boy with the corsage is the one who's been fooled. Or maybe they're just in on it together.

Oh what will we ever do when we debase advertising as the way to monetize social media? Will our economy fall apart then? Does bitcoin add value? We will pay for it, in any case. Just as we do now, in coin that we should never afford. Behavioral prediction, the new blackface gold.

We must do that if we are ever to have free and open elections again. Those algorithms are just too darned dangerous, and, apparently, none of us is proof alone against the automated pandering that even our best critical I is subject to. Who hasn't been fooled? 

Once upon a time there were earnest good writers. Earnest filmmakers. Earnest authors of software, and earnest DJ's on the radio trying to shock you as best they could, within reason. Now, this side of all the paywalls, all we have is pandering. Automated pandering. 

I really would like to give The Guardian some money, just like I would really like to give the pandering panhandler any spare change that I might have. But I haven't had spare change since start of pandemic. Touchless plastic only, please and thank you. So long as it's free, I'll take it. Pan! Pan! Pan!, says the sailor! Help me!

Thank God that Chinese has no prepositions, or at least not such preposterous prepositions as we do. Made in China for us, the U.S. In China: Made! While we, in the meantime, continue to do a number on them. Or is it they who do a number on us? At least they have the good sense to block our social networks. That'll teach us! Oh brother!

Can you spare a dime?

Sorry, I never wanted or expected to make such a fool from myself. Um, with myself. Play with myself. Oh dear. I do play on myself a lot, though. Why is it play on words and not play with words, I wonder?

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