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streisand effects and polyglot media
the kenobi effect: strike me down and i will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine...
the first rule of streisand effect club is:
you do not know that you are in streisand effect club.
censorship is a funny thing. you try very hard to suppress the truth, but rarely a lie. lies do not need to be suppressed. they only need to be addressed and debunked.
it’s when you’re trying to suppress that which is true that you tend to want to silence those who disagree with you.
this is why humans have a surprisingly good nose for smelling a rat when dialogue is banned. (i mean, not by feline standards, but you’re pretty ok.) the side of censorship is rarely the side of truth and at some level, we all just know that. it’s in our base priors.
this is why, when you see someone like alex berenson gets bounced off twitter forever and joins the ranks of the de-plat (and cat) formed, it makes you wonder.
this was, apparently, the offending tweet.
one can certainly argue about some of these points. it has been argued that vaccines do stop infection and transmission. but it’s also argued that they do not do it very well and that their efficacy is dropping rapidly. this attenuation may well be hitting a 50% drop in EV per 60 days. this is nothing like a typical vaccine and the problems with non-sterilizing vaccines can be enormous.
the jury is still a bit out on the therapeutic benefits over any but the very short term. just how much they too will fall off looks like an open issue, the data is messy, and the vaxx companies eliminated their control groups by vaccinating them. so it’s an important debate and a live one.
and the side effects are bad on this vaccine. it has caused more deaths already than all other vaccines in the US combined over the last 50 years. claiming this does not open up a debate on risk reward looks facile rather than authoritative.
and all this does make mandates a point of both major current interest and open debate. so much here is arguable.
and that’s the point: that which is arguable should be argued.
it’s open debate. declaring it closed does not make you look like the folks with the facts on their side.
anyone really interested in creating the most effective possible public health strategy needs to know this and anyone seeking to create such policy, on the basis of the best and most complete information available, must embrace debate, not suppress it.
if you’re seeking to prevent debate and dissent, you are not seeking truth.
you’re the other guy.
there was a time when maybe this would work. you could blacklist someone and keep them out of print and off TV. those days are gone and it’s a source of boundless hilarity to me that these supposed tech titans do not know the first thing about the state of their own medium.
they just trigger streisand effect after streisand effect.
the fact that they are trying to suppress a thing becomes the story and that story spreads the very words they sought to silence further and faster than the authors ever could have.
such actions not only increase engagement, they add credibility as well.
that stone you tried to discard becomes the cornerstone of the next media cycle.
we may need a new name for it. perhaps the kenobi effect.
once, perhaps all you had to do was weather one cycle. it would fade, and people would forget; but not in the age of massively polyglot media. today, those who leave or are excommunicated from the church of the bullying bluebird or the censors of mass media rapidly find new homes. their audiences go with them. and then a funny thing happens: they discover that not only do they like it better, but they are now raking in the dough.
i see stories like this and i say “good.” i do not always agree with bari, but i like her and i admire the pursuit of honest inquiry, debate, and investigation that folks like her and greenwald and berenson engage in.
and i LOVE to see them thriving and getting their messages out and getting wealthy and entrenched on new media formats. they are the new market signal. they are the proof that this message is wanted and needed.
how many writers for newspapers are getting paid like greenwald and weiss are today? any? how many TV anchors get paid like joe rogan? do you doubt alex B is going to be too far behind?
this is not being sentenced to wander voiceless in the wilderness, this is being given the keys to the kingdom and being free, being directly in touch with your audience, and getting paid bigly to do it.
what a gorgeous and enduring thumb in the eye for the would be thought police.
now that cornerstone they created lasts well beyond one media cycle. it becomes millstone around their necks. and nothing stirs dissent in the ranks like seeing those your leaders tried to silence not just amplified but elevated, prosperous and free.
they think they are doing this:
but then they get this
and it winds up being they, and not we, who get put out for the night…
and it’s hard to have much sympathy.
(half of you are probably too young to remember this. this video may help.)
i suspect we’re nearing the inversion point where those choosing to publish on substack and medium and whatever other platform they prefer are seen as the more credible.
those clinging to sinking mastheads will look suspect and weak.
if you’re really so good, why aren’t you out on your own? if you provide such value and insight, why must you cling to some dying dinosaur like the new york times? why would those editors and their grievous slants and biases add value to you?
at a certain point, you’re just that lame backbencher aspiring to lower middle management and a life of bureaucracy swaddled in the overpowering mediocrity of coddled distribution and safety. a muckraker, you ain’t. you’re not even really a journalist. you’re a drone doing what your told.
the adventurers and the investigators, the sages and savants, the ones with vision and verve and insight, they’re going to leave the walled gardens because those walls the “company men” need to protect them are just holding them in.
the best and brightest don’t need to kowtow to the editorial staff of some faded broadsheet to get distribution anymore. they can get it for themselves.
better, the relationship is now 1:1. i have a list of all your emails. i download it and keep it on an airgapped drive. if they ever blow this place up or it decide to start a truth ministry, i’ll take you all with me to the next one. we’ll barely miss a beat.
our conversation is based on us wanting to have it, not some third party’s permission. and this is why i love substack in a way one can never love casa del bluebird.
twitter empowers twitter, substack empowers authors.
and this is where the world is going. this is the dawning of the age of the journalist as entrepreneur and the escape from the domination of distribution by an anointed few. then, you could never pick a fight with someone that buys ink by the barrel. now, pixels are free and if the reader wants your signal, they will find you. never bring ink to a pixel fight…
walls are inhibitors. censorship is damage. the internet routes around damage. sure, having jack ban and bray is odious, but it’s only hastening his own demise and that of the edifice he depends upon. we’re going to move to real peer to peer and this is the stress than drives the evolution. the harder they squeeze, the faster the dialogue evolves.
we’re going to find a new way that does not rely on them. one that renders censors anachronistic and the public square the property of the public. i wrote about it HERE when i first landed on substack.
this is the awkward adolescence of the internet and of new media. it’s gawky and annoying and there is a lot of growing up to do. but it will because it must. and the best is yet to come.