Reveling in the Sick Humor of Chat

Venus nearly broke her neck on the ice this morning. The Emperor of the Vortex Empire is lurking but not saying much. Numpty wants to know sunnys girls STATS! Soul StudXXX, KrayzieBone, MethodMan, 2PAC and DJ want to know, variously, What up? Whassup? Whazup? 'Sup? And 'Zup? And a question has arisen from Needsome: IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE THAT WANTS TO TALK DIRTY TO ME?I am in Chat. But I bet you've figured that out already.Chat is not necessarily where I am supposed to be. If "where" is exactly the right word. I am supposed to be using my Microsoft Word to process this book about Mark Twain. But every few hours I get tired of concentrating, see, and instead of getting up and walking away and making a cup of tea, I -- well, for a long time I did just that. Got up, walked away, made tea. Then one day -- it was probably like Harry Haller in Steppenwolf, spotting that disfigurement on the good old wall; that winking electric sign that said, Magic Theater.One day I spotted Chat.Now Vlod Van Blood is lurking, and the innocent automatic font has just announced, "Welcome blue balls!" and Makavelli is warning everyone that WuTangClan ain't nuthin' ta f**k with. Only he doesn't use those little stars.I'm in some kind of astral warp between the mid-19th century and the early 21st. The ironies are interesting. Although "irony" is not something you look for in Chat. Chat has no irony. When Needsome asks someone to talk dirty, it will not do to post him back: "Okay, Needsome. Pee-pee, poo-poo, kakadoodie, thingie, tush. Was it good for you?" Because needsome is not in here for grins. He wants to talk dirty. Nobody is in Chat for grins. Get that straight before you go in. No grins.Oh: the ironies. Half the morning, see, I am watching Mark Twain re-invent American humor. American humor in the mid-19th century was mainly a response to scariness. To the unbelievable violence of the frontier. Humor in that time was a way of outdoing the violence with words. Taming the violence. Distancing the teller from it. Order out of chaos, see. I know I'm oversimplifying this. I've been on Chat.Kristina asks: blue balls whats your name stand for.No irony on the net.It's about noon now, and the warriors are flooding into the rooms. Before I ever got on Chat, I used to read about "flaming." "Flaming" used to be the word for insulting somebody on Chat. That is ancient history. There is no "flaming" on Chat anymore because there is very little of its opposite. Just now, "Brett Favre" has told PatsRuleAnyhow that he, PatsRule, is a fricken homo. And it's not just that I'm appalled that "Brett Favre" means this. I'm appalled that "Brett Favre" actually seems to think he is Brett Favre.Times change. Mark Twain picked up his new American language, and his new American humor, largely off the river. The voices on the river were rough. Vicious, lethal. But at the same time those voices were shaping themselves into something else, and Twain noticed it: shaping the real viciousness into its stylized echo; into a commentary on viciousness. Shaping experience into aesthetic, see. And Twain was there to see it and codify it.Chat is like a river. The phrases scroll down, the disjointed voices. Fuzz loves metal. Chaz/14 asks Who smokes in here what kind? TopMan rules. He kicks butt. TopMan says Chaz is a faget. The phrases scroll down, bits of debris in a stream. A voice says: The bad thing is I moved to Ga. a couple of weeks ago, near Miligeville, this voice has misspelled the name of the hometown of Flannery O'Connor. No one notices. No one sees the irony. The phrases scroll down, interlaced screams and responses. Hello Sex-Crazed Female. . .!!! U sound interesting.The river runs on. But none of this is getting ordered, shaped. Partly because no one in Chat is really listening to anyone else. And partly because the language in Chat is getting replaced by pictures. The Chat people are posting pictures to express themselves to one another. The other day I saw a picture in Chat, a black-and-white photograph of a slumped suicide, the blood running out of a hole in the forehead. This from a guy looking for Horney Ladies. After that I stopped hitting the "pictures" option.I have heard it said that the very randomness of Chat, its essential disconnection and alienation, is itself a new aesthetic. A radical subversion of, etc. A re-invigoration of the played-out, etc. Right. Just below the "Magic Theater" sign that Harry Haller saw, recall, was this warning: For Madmen Only.A post, finally, that will haunt me as I leave Chat and turn back to Mark Twain:mike better you go. . .they are somebody crazy herePQ 1:IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE THAT WANTS TO TALK DIRTY TO ME?I am in Chat. But I bet you've figured that out already.PQ 2:Chat has no irony. When needsome asks someone to talk dirty, it will not do to post him back: "Okay, needsome. Pee-pee, poo-poo, kakadoodie, thingie, tush. Was it good for you?" Because needsome is not in here for grins. He wants to talk dirty.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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