While I’ve posted some links and quick thoughts, it’s been a while since I wrote much more than that. So let’s catch up, shall we?
State of the World
Like a lot of other people, I’ve been
doomscrolling keeping abreast of the state of the world, and it’s been exhausting. I’ve not spoken too directly about it on here not because I don’t care, but because I’m at a loss of what to say about it. We’ve got rapidly increasing cases of hate crimes, shootings, authoritarian (and full-on fascist) groups enacting laws and regulations globally (and especially in the US), politicians running on an overtly dominionist platform, rampant disregard for social cohesion or wellbeing, blatant oligarchic and corporatist disregard for regulations (or basic ethics)… the list goes on and on, and that’s just at a broad level, not even getting into specific behaviors or events. It’s a fucking mess, and the frustrating part is that I’m not sure what the path out of this morass is.
It’d be easy to point to a specific group or platform or system as the cause of this, but I don’t think it’s that simple. A lot of this behavior isn’t new (corporations and individuals have been hunting for ways to skirt laws and regulations for as long as they’ve both existed; same with the hate crimes, shootings, and so much else terrible that’s been happening). Even the milquetoast responses from officials isn’t new. What’s new is the prevalence and frequency.
There’s lots of room for armchair quarterbacking on the causes for this, and I don’t really want to contribute to that without actual data to back up my thoughts. I do suspect the combination of an increasingly desperate and precarious population, plus many more new avenues for finding others of similar mind is accelerating the antipathy, accelerating the spread and crafting of disinformation, and bringing a larger population to a boiling point where anyone that could be identified as an “other” becomes a target. That’s not good.
But how do you put things back in the box and defuse that hatepile? The sociological and psychological tools used to manipulate and enrage a population are known, and aren’t going to become un-known just because it turns out it’s bad. Same with the democratization of information channels, same with the tools for fabricating increasingly indistinguishable propaganda and disinformation? I don’t know, and frankly the suggestions I’ve heard feel idealistic at best, if not naive.
I do my best to not let this consume all of my brain or my outlook, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still occupy a part of my brain pretty frequently.
State of Me
Compared to the world at large, I’d say I’m doing fine. 😅
Sorry if that’s a little glib. It’s true, though: I seem to be managing the depression alright right now, my work is going well, and I feel like I’m starting to have a little energy for side projects again. I’m even writing on here! How novel!
I’ve done a bit of traveling recently, and it looks like I’ll be doing some more as the year progresses – I popped out to North Carolina to see a friend back in March, was down in San Francisco in both April and May to see someone, my annual trip east is coming up in July, and another trip back to New England in September. At work, we’re also talking about an offsite… somewhere… in October (we’re still working out the details). I wasn’t feeling too badly about the travel, though I’m back to feeling somewhat trepidatious about it now that the mask mandate has been lifted (I will still be masking and following precautions).
I’ve also been thinking a fair bit about moving. There are a number of reasons to stay (mainly friends and family), but also some reasons to leave (e.g., skyrocketing housing prices meaning it’s increasingly unlikely/untenable to get the sort of house I want in an area I’d want to be, the increased empowerment of dominionist nutjobs, et cetera). It’s something I’ve tossed around for years, so who knows if there’ll be a sudden catalyst to make this time be the time I actually act on it. But I am certainly thinking about it. Where would you go, if you were going to move out of the country, and why? (Some contenders so far are Canada, Portugal, Costa Rica, somewhere in SE Asia… but other than Canada, I’ve not been to any of those places, so my opinions may change significantly once I actually visit them.)
- I mentioned above that I was feeling like I have some energy for some side projects again. It’s true, though I’m loathe to share too much (I’d rather underpromise and overdeliver than the opposite). Vaguely, though:
- I’ve begun working on a project I’ve had noodling in my head for a few years now, and I think it’s a good one. Without getting into specifics, it would (hopefully) solve a real need in the gaming space. Not going to get into specifics right now, but hopefully I’ll have something to share before too long.
- I’ve also been considering what I’m doing with this blog. There’s nothing wrong with continuing as-is, but I haven’t really messed with the design in several years at this point, and I feel like it’s probably time. Mainly because WordPress has been continuing to push and refine their Gutenberg editor, which purportedly has some new bells and whistles that might be fun to try out, but would require redoing my theme to really make use of. (I’ve been thinking about what I want to write here, too, it’s not just fiddly website wankery.)
- I’ve been also fiddling with a few projects for the MUD, believe it or not. Mostly behind the scenes stuff, but it’s kind of interesting to me to still be involved in one capacity or another with a game for 25 years. (I just checked, I started in June, 1997, and became staff in June, 1998.)
- I’ve also got some writing I’d like to do, though frankly I’m feeling rusty as far as long-form critical writing is concerned. How do y’all go about shaking off the cobwebs as far as synthesis, analysis, and critical thought are concerned?
How about you. How are y’all doing, out there in the vast seas of the internet?