In the immediate aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and after several false starts, Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba finally jettisoned his Facebook account, thus undoing what he knew damned well he should never have done in the first place. As anyone struggling to survive on the little remaining available land on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i will tell you, Facebook exists, and has always existed, for Facebook, and especially Facebook’s founder, and not, ever, for its users. Though Zuckerscum fooled a hell of a lot of people for one hell of a long time.
This jettisoning of Facebook does not mean that YFNA has totally abandoned social media. There is, after all, this blog, parchment-and-quill-pen retrograde technology that it is.
And, there is LinkedIn, retained for business reasons. Which is important, since YFNA expects to be working ’til lunch on the day of his funeral, or else, and feels the need to publicize that he is working, to people who are, more or less, working in the same class of businesses that he is.
These are not retained without pangs of regret. For YFNA feels that human abuse of social media of all flavors is responsible for the internet-driven balkanization of society at large. Facebook is the poster child for this phenomenon, with its constellations of walled, troll-beset, identity-politics enclaves, embedded in a universal dark matter of nihilistic screaming. But whereas the formless void gapes at the Facebook user with the video hypermenace of a Marvel Comics supervillain (except in those bubbles where the walls are papered over by lolcats), on LinkedIn the void is concealed behind the pearly-toothed grimace of the promotional press release. In the hype halls of the Great God Mammon, the Lord of LinkedIn, Ford’s in his flivver and all’s right with the world. Especially in the world of my company and my commercial domain, which is the answer for all the ills of Planet Earth, and in which (of course) you, yes you, should invest, heavily.
LinkedIn, where seldom is heard a discouraging word – and if that word comes from you, may the Lord Mammon have mercy on your miserable soul.
It was on LinkedIn where Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba heard about weaponized food phobias. (“At last he gets to the point!” Yeah, yeah. This blog is a TL/DR-free zone, ‘kay?)
The discouraging word came from the US state of California, in which a judge decided that, as stipulated by state law authorized by the (NB) citizen initiative known as Proposition 65, coffee sold in California needs to carry a warning label because of its acrylamide content.
Aaand, of course, among those who count coffee as the world of my company and my commercial domain, which is the answer for all the ills of Planet Earth, yada, all hell has broken loose.
The “analytical perspective”, of course, is a naked claim, using cherry-picked justifications, that coffee is the best thing since
ganga sliced bread, and how dare an agency representing The Will Of the People manipulate that Will (“which, of course, it has done”) to mount an assault on the sacred profits of the coffee industry??
Now, as it happens, YFNA’s commercial domain, which is the answer for all the ills of Planet Earth, yada, is the business of asking questions (to which, on occasion, he is actually expected to find answers – another time, yeah?). So, he has a couple to ask.
1. What justification do citizens have for giving the peddlers of coffee, an addictive substance, any more credibility than peddlers of other addictive substances, for instance marijuana, or tobacco, or alcohol, or gasoline – all of which must bear Proposition 65 warning labels?
2. What justification do the peddlers of coffee have for claiming that Proposition 65 warning labels on their products will actually hurt their business?
Have Californians started driving less because of Proposition 65 warning labels on gasoline? Hah. No more than they’ve driven less because of global warming concerns. There may be less gasoline consumption, but only because of other laws regulating emissions from internal combustion engines.
Have Californians started drinking less because of Proposition 65 warning labels on beer, wine, and whiskey? Hah.
Have Californians started toking less because of Proposition 65 warning labels on marijuana smoke? The Prop 65 folk argue that marijuana smoke contains at least 33 chemicals on their toxic substances list. Last YFNA knew, marijuana was being touted as the best thing since … since … coffee.
“This is Big Coffee. Shut up and listen up. You know that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Of course we’re going to talk this Prop 65 stuff up. Whether or not we get this decision reversed, we’ll put our arguments out there, and grow our business by raising awareness of coffee and its benefits, and by generating a growing community of people who will defend coffee against its enemies. Don’t let us count you among those enemies.”
Even if the real data, as opposed to the stuff you cherry-pick, argue against your position?
“Idiot. You can declare your blog a TL/DR-free zone if you like. The rest of us don’t have time or energy for your ‘facts’. How are your Federal science agencies doing for funding these days, ‘smart guy’? You challenge our proclaimed authority with your confusing, depressing, so-called ‘truths’ at your peril. You’re already on the brink. Go away.”
Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has frequently had less than kind words to say about “eco-warriors” of all stripes. Such as the ones who put California’s Proposition 65 in place more than 40 years ago, and have sustained it until the present. “Eco-warriors” who tend to be no more informed about the underlying facts, scientific or otherwise, than their opponents, and have the nasty tendency to not practice what they preach. But at least they have made some sort of effort to protect the environment, to protect people against themselves. Though increasingly those efforts – even the efforts to ‘weaponize’ people’s concerns – appear mere popguns against the heavy armament of the opposing industries. Industries that, like it or not, pay most people’s wages and salaries. And at the end of the day, what else matters? Even to the eco-warriors. Or they would all have abandoned their cars, in the face of the evidence of how damaging cars are to the environment, long ago.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba is concerned that, when it comes to how people think about environmental matters, most of us have not progressed beyond the days of Rachel Carson. Fewer of us remember the pink rivers and fouled skies of America pre-Carson, and the growing cohort of those who have not seen these things wonder, from the White House on down, how come we should let such little things interfere with the rule of Lord Mammon.
Just as YFNA is concerned that, when it comes to how people think about race matters, most of us have not progressed beyond the days of Jim Crow – and wonder, from the White House on down, how come we should let such little things interfere …