The Dismal Ironies

Test for the restless legions of FSN readers: Who co-authored the following line:

advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.

Chomsky/Herman? Neil Postman? Jerry Mathers? Bernie Sanders? One of the Counterhopers? Naomi Klein?  No, this was an early version of Larry Page, the arch-fiend polluter-capitalist coder, noted in Timothy Wu’s The Attention Merchants.

This makes Page just another perpetrator of the great hoax of purposeful living under the supersystem – the very process he decries is the one has come to produce. How’s that for ironclad  irony? Google, a force of globally destructive malevolent capitalism under its Orwellian self-condemnation “Don’t Do Evil,” helmed by a younger man who just wanted to do some good, do something with his engineering smarts to benefit his inherited  world, along with himself.

This tragedy of human action betraying human intention  is simply a much more financialized  (his billions, others’ near penury) and consequential version of the story we all conduct in our daily lives. We might want a marshmallow world of happy consumers and supportive families, liberal work conditions and plentiful social interactions with like-minded confabulists, but this is not the actual world, and it will never be.

Where are the union health plans? Where are the leftist places of commerce? What large corporation is dedicated to the pro-social needs of humanity rather than to the growth of its bottom-line profit margins? What tech giant is making life swell and sweet for honest drudges while simultaneously drawing only  renewable energy? Which military weapons are being ground into plowshares for micro-financed worker farming cooperatives for the poor of the non-Western world? Which politician is so sworn to the ultimate fortunes of his or her constituents that he or she will risk elective disfavor by only advocating for beneficial social programs and progressive taxation?

That’s not the news, those are only fever dreams of  still-breathing Anthropoceners with an intact conscience. Other social critics can become caustic, bilious antagonists towards the great and powerful they imagine as wholly evil, but these figures of liberal condemnation (the “billionaires” of fraduster F-25 Bernie’s robotic spiel, the 1% of Occupy’s simple-minded team chants, the bankers and criminals of the DAvos set) are indeed duplicitous, immoral  mountebanks, yet still human beings, subject to the immense deformities wrought by the supersystem, with its commands to follow the imperatives to individual success, advantage-protection, mobile action, irony-suppression, one foot in front of the other towards ignominy for almost all, towards unfathomable riches for the most well-placed of the psychopaths.

If there such a force as “karma,” then Page would be stalked by a telemarketer and end up bankrupt, but karma exists only in a Culture Club song title. Page, and all the architects of social destruction, can enjoy the compensations of ill-gotten fortune and infamy, but here, at the bottom, there can be the comforts of superior morality, conscience semi-intact – at least none of us produced anything as horrible and disfiguring as the criminal enterprise recently fined billions in Europe. That’s not karma, but far too little, too late.

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