Tag: identity

The Apolitical Semiotics of Identity in Virtual Communities; or, Using a Fake Name Online

 

I overheard a conversation recently, where the participants (both infamous Ricochetti) were discussing their reasons for using their real names online. They made a compelling argument for it: standing by what you write and not hiding behind an alter ego. It got me to thinking about the many measures I take to cloak my real identity and to question the premise of doing so for so many years.

You see, I got my start in computer networks back in the dark ages of 2400-baud modems, a magical time when sysadmins would telnet into their WU-FTPd servers as root, and gopher was the standard for information exchange.  I had no admin rights to anything, but I did have what I thought was a collection of clever nicks on local BBSes. I have thankfully forgotten all of them.

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In my continuing effort to track cultural weirdness, I had another eye opening exposure I thought I’d drop it in here: The growing use of the term “birthing person.” I didn’t quite get what it was for, and found a counseling practice that explained it. They are willing to use “mother” if that is what […]

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Identity, Modernity, and the State

 

The chief problem of our time is not climate change. It is not police brutality. It is not Donald Trump’s tweeting. It is not even COVID-19. The chief problem of our time, rather, is the problem of identity. Modernity itself cannot answer what may be the most important question any individual could ask himself: Who am I?

The angsty teenager, then, is the modern person par excellence. She knows not who she is — or why she exists, or what she should be doing with her time. Nonetheless, she looks for answers to these questions, and she inevitably finds them in the plethora of subcultures and political movements served up by contemporary society on a silver platter. The social marketplace is as innovative as the economic one, and it provides no shortage of goods for the ravenous consumer. Predictably, the angsty teenager tries (and fails) to resolve her crisis by adopting one of these subcultural identities and conforming to its dictates. Perhaps she dons a spiked collar; perhaps she surrounds herself with healing crystals; perhaps she stretches her earlobes to the size of dinner plates or dyes her hair turquoise; perhaps she lops off her breasts, takes hormones, and rebrands herself as Steve. In all cases, she’s liable to say that she’s “expressing herself.” But what she’s really expressing is membership — membership in a little (or maybe a massive) ad hoc tribe with its own rituals and prescriptions. That is, after all, what it means to “express yourself.”

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I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Rising  Star: The Making of Barack Obama by David Garrow.  If you are interested—very, very interested—in the granular details of Chicago politics in the 1980s, this  is the  book for you.  The travails of this  labor boss and that alderman and this activist priest and that graft-prone pol…. […]

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The title of this post is taken from a recent podcast by Bridget Phetacy, hosted here on ricochet. You can listen to it here. Or you can skip it, and take my word for it that her guest sounds like pretty much every other stand-up comedian, parroting the usual tropes of patriarchy and oppression. Preview […]

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Squabble Over the Squad Gets Squalid

 

“Send her back, send her back, send her back!” the crowd thunderously chanted at a recent Trump rally.  They were referring, of course, to Rep. Ilhan Omar, originally from Somalia and one of the main, malcontented mean girls of what has been recently designated as the “Squad.”

One commentator compared the chanting to “two minutes of hate” from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the dystopian novel about a nightmarish authoritarian regime.  Seriously? Leftists, whose numbers terrifyingly continue to swell, have been hating on America every second of every day for the last fifty years or more. They hate America, they hate the Founding Fathers, they hate every facet of our history, they hate our customs, they hate Judeo-Christian religion, they hate Western civilization, they hate capitalism, they hate self-reliance, they hate beauty, they hate truth, they hate sexual and gender normalcy, they hate “whiteness” itself.

When Leftist Worlds Collide

 

In a rapidly declining Western civilization gone mad with progressive ideology, one of the few pleasures available for people with traditional values is watching one fringe element of the left trash another fringe element of the left.  It doesn’t necessarily do much to slow down the civilizational destruction, but it provides sporadic moments of intense pleasure.

One case in point: Leonardo DiCaprio.  Did you know that the world-famous actor and climate activist is guilty of promoting white supremacy?  Neither did most people, but after all, he is white, rich and powerful, so it just stands to reason, right?

Eudaimonia and Identity

 

America’s culture is a constant source of discussion here on Ricochet. Whether it’s homosexual marriage or marijuana decriminalization/legalization, culture permeates our discussions. I just finished reading Mona Charen’s piece over at NRO, “The Price of Feminism,” this morning and it coincided with me finishing Yuval Levin’s Fractured Republic and Charles Murray’s Coming Apart last week.

The reason I mention all three pieces in regard to American culture is that they all point to decline or change in the culture. Levin’s book focuses predominantly on the decline of civil society in America and its replacement by the federal government through the process of what he calls “bifurcated-consolidation.” Murray’s book looks to the physical results of 60 years of cultural change that has seen the founding virtues (Murray’s words, not mine) of marriage, honesty, religion, and industriousness falter in the lower classes and stay strong in the upper classes.

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Some of the best movies are the ones that provide surface entertainment while having something deeper to think or talk about if you so wish to go that far. As far as Children’s movies go, this movie delivered. Like an onion, every subsequent viewing of Disney’s Moana revealed something a bit deeper than the last. At the […]

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This article has been making the rounds lately, and it is a very good and apt description of the increasingly illiberal nature of college campuses.  It is indeed refreshing to see that liberal thinkers are starting to admit a problem, and I’m not quite as pessimistic and blase about this as Charles C.W. Cooke.  However, […]

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Welcome, at last, to the official book discussion of Fr. Robert J. Spitzer’s Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues. I’ll pose a question or two to get us started, but first, I’d like to restate the principles for reference throughout our discussion. Principles of Reason Preview Open

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