Fakers and Makers

Fakers and Makers

Damn. It’s been a long time since I posted anything here. Oh well, some of the coolest hackers I know never update their sites.

Saying we live in a politically charged climate is like saying there is “some” charge in the atmosphere during a spring thunderstorm in Arkansas. It’s off the scale. Here’s my take on a lot of these things, wrapped up in one controversy: the twitter battle between @RealSexyCyborg and @dalepd. In my typical fasion I’ll approach this subject with facts, seriousness, and an improper hacker sense of humor and aesthetics. Don’t like it? Great, you can always disagree with me.

Event cascade initiator warning: I might use profanity and touch on sensitive subjects. And while trying to present facts, this is all my opinion.

Before the battle background, a question: should I refer to the combatants as “people” or “accounts”? In Richard Thieme goodness I’ll claim they are both and neither. A twitter account isn’t a person or even a persona. It’s a publishing mode that allows for aspects of both person and persona to come through, mutated by the very media itself.

So the Controversy Between (best ending to a video ever, btw) involves @dalepd tweeting about @RealSexyCyborg: “Naomi is persona, not a real person”. After the damage was done, the tweet was deleted, and @dalepd issued a (typical in these public/political cases) limp-wristed “apology”. Why? Because that’s what’s best for the @dalepd persona. Who knows what Dale Doughtery, the person, thinks about this. I don’t know the man so I can’t say. My opinion is that he still believes @RealSexyCyborg is “fake”. I’d say @dalepd is fake too, because, again my opinion, I bet Dale the person believes this, but @dalepd the persona has to issue a luke-warm apology. @dalepd the persona can’t be an asshole, but Dale is. That’s no surprise though, because everybody’s an asshole. You, me, that asshole over there. None of us are saints, we all make mistakes, and we all have dark secrets or at least secret thoughts.

@RealSexyCyborg experienced a twitter imposed 12 hour time-out due to sharing the “dark secret thoughts” of anons she called “Dale’s supporters”, a bunch of crap that, as pointed out by @macegr most likely came from 4chan, which he referred to as the net’s lowest common denominator “sewer”. That comment, and my response to it, are what led to me writing a blog for the first time in years. My understanding of @macegr’s point was that 4ch is filth, and therefore not a valid view on how people really view the situation. I responded saying that 4chan isn’t a sewer, but an “anon mirror”. I think it is indeed a valid reflection on what (some cowardly hateful) people think. It’s the same thing, to me, as the @dalepd vs. Dale comment above. The difference between what a public persona should (but doesn’t always) show, versus what the person behind the persona thinks.

“Fake” has been the operative word in this whole controversy. Fake people, fake makers, fake boobs. I’ve touched on the fake person/persona topic, so here are my thoughts on the others.

As a hetero cis male (actually I’m not sure how to define my sexuality since I always go for bi women; is that different than just being “straight”?), I’m a big fan of boobs. Big, small, perky, bouncy, I’ve yet to encounter boobs that I didn’t like. I’ll also admit to not really being a fan of boob jobs. But, I’m completely confused by the anons linking that to anything other than boobs. I mean what does having a boob job, — which I’m not claiming @RealSexyCyborg has had done; I know a few naturally busty skinny women and I’ve never seen any evidence one way or the other with her — but what does that have to do with “maker” ability? Nothing. And while talking about fake, is a boob job any more fake than a bunch of lifting bros who’ve never done any real labor in their life? The way this maker sees it, if the only way you’ve toned up is broing out at a gym, and you’ve never turned wrenches, rolled fire hose, or any other real world hard work, you’re the fake.

Hard, real world work leads to what may be my most controversial point. Fake “makers”. I’ll preface it with saying that I’m all for “making”, education, all that good stuff. I’ve taught numerous young people to solder, the gateway drug to doing great things. But my “dark secret” is I think most of the “maker” movement is fake. Limp-wristed upper middle class posers playing with cool toys so they can make…more toys. It is cool, and mostly positive, at least until folks think it means there are some “real” part of a “real” community. The “community” of make (TM) is about marketing and making dollars. And to me, real “making” is filthy, hard work, that results in amazing things. Fabricating race cars, rebuilding engines. Real making comes with real risk and real wounds, not buying the latest 3D printer and downloading some sci-fi toy from thingaverse. It’s an ugly opinion, sure, but I think a lot in the brommunity of self congratulatory “makers” would be clueless buffoons in the what I see as the “real” maker world, where mistakes can mean death. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit of overly dramatic hyperbole, but still that’s the direction of my point.

An example of that is one of the 4chan-esque comments @RealSexyCyborg shared about someone claiming she wasn’t smart enough to “teach herself to code”. “To code”. What a fucking brogrammer. I don’t “code”, and I’m not a god damned “developer”. I’m a computer engineer, I write firmware for things that keep people alive, not a self taught java web monkey. So if you want ugly, there you go, the “developer” or “coder” who thinks he’s smarter than the “fake” maker because he can “code” has probably never written firmware for a military device, like I have. That paragraph shows way more ego than I intend; it and the preceding one are meant to illustrate how we are all operating at different levels. What is “real” and “fake” to one may be very different than the other.

If those 4chan haters weren’t anything at all, why would they be so knowledgeable about @RealSexyCyborg? Is it just possible that some of the personas that are her followers, and possibly even public supporters, are the same persons as the anon assholes? Maybe not all of them, but I think it statistically and intellectually obtuse to claim the amount is zero. It must be non-zero. It shouldn’t be surprising, when we live in a world where “conservative” politicians are accused of horrible crimes; the public persona is not the same as the bro-person behind the mask, whether that mask is a very public persona or an anon posting. And the thing is, we should probably assume that just about everyone we know has some dark thoughts behind their public personas. It’s just human nature. That’s not to claim that we should be dark and evil to each other, quite the opposite. True humanity comes forward when we overcome that tendency to fall down to the sewer, and overcome our own negative thoughts with positive actions.

To reiterate my various conclusions:

I mostly agree with @macegr’s comment that many hateful things said about @RealSexyCyborg came from the sewer, but I disagree that it’s just a sewer; it’s a dark mirror.

@RealSexyCyborg may or may not have had a boob job, but unless you’re the one consensually naked with her, dafuq is that any of your business and what does that have to do with her ability to be a “maker”?

@dalepd the public persona (not a person) can’t afford to be an asshole, but Dale probably is.

Full disclosure: I wrote this while listening to Front 242. You can take the leather jacket off the hacker but you just can’t take the hacker out of the leather.

Jerk

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