The Kipper House of Lies

Of course we’re in a simulation and we chose it ourselves.
Idiots.                                                                                                                                                              One of the most common questions during the Q&A of the Brian Cox tour concerns the idea, popularised by Elon Musk, that we live in a simulation. According to one interview, there is a one in billions chance that we don’t. Looking at the speed of growth in computer intelligence in the last 50 years leads him to propose that this universe is the creation of a super intelligent artificial intelligence. On a pragmatic level, this shouldn’t make any difference.
On a paranoid level, it can feed your waking nightmares.
On a cult level, they could be building the fibre optic, antique valve and flickering diode altars right now.
Within this simulation, we seem to have be drawn to our own pettier reality simulations, and the ramifications are bearing their toxic fruits.

Where were you when you realised social media stopped being fun? And how long did you pretend it still was whilst realising you were addicted to the 140 character pellets?

Making Twitter our first reality has had unfortunate effects on physical (formerly, actual) reality.
I am currently trying to unplug, but leaving social media is harder than giving up smoking.
I have given up Twitter as many times as I have given up smoking. My most recent attempt to give up smoking has lasted over six years, I do not have the confidence my social media rejection will last as long.
Social media has come to define not only its users, but any group that get caught in the crosshairs.
It shapes news stories. It becomes a major part in how news is disseminated, digested and becomes the news itself.
Our access to millions of minds and a vast library of ideas has not broadened our minds, but narrowed them.
It has made us aggressive and paranoid. We shun the doubt and the confusion that comes with too much information and become platform-headed low brow dogmatists and zealots.
We are in a constant wild neon jig of misunderstanding short sentences.
After 48 hours off Twitter, I popped in late last night to tweet an apology to those whose tweet questions I had not answered and thank the audiences of this week’s tour dates. I was on just long enough to waste 15 minutes attempting to explain to someone that I had not made a homophobic joke at Brian Cox on the stage at Brighton.

context (you can skip this bit if you want) – Audience question asked about Brian still playing the keyboards, which he does, frequently.
I said that I had suggested to him that during the arena tour in May, he plays the piano in a lounge style while talking about images of the Cosmos. I explained that he said he thought it might be “a bit camp”, and then said, “he thought it might be a bit camp”. Insinuating that Brian is a bit camp. (On the way back from the Plymouth gig, we were listening to show tunes including Barbara Streisand singing Send in the Clowns. We both agreed we thought Judi Dench did the best version, in case you are wondering.) Apparently, suggesting someone has an element of camp after you yourself have suggested your own camp idea, is homophobic. And so, I spent 15 – 20 minutes attempting to explain that there was no homophobic intention.

And that is one of the many reasons I must, must, must get out of this mindfuck of illusions and delusions and high horses and low abuse.

If you’re not trying to face down the aggressions of a Fascist, you’re trying to explain a fucking joke to a Anarchist pescatarians (and that works both ways).

We share so much, but we seem to understand each other less and less.

Campaigns of abuse our mounted by people who declare they are free speech warriors whose free speech seems to be hampered by a very limited vocabulary.

We have poisoned our believe on humanity with this tool that was meant as a frippery, a lightly held delight to distract us for occasional lazy minutes.

The sceptic corners of our mind are slow in catching up with new technology, To quote The Age of Earthquakes – “Before the internet, we had a few memes a year. Now we get hundreds a day”.
And that “No smoke without fire” commandment of gossip and lies means that we are choking in a kipper house of misinformation and disinformation.

“Meeting” so many humans seems to have made it even simpler to dehumanise them.

In addition to that, you find that your conversation is made up of things you have already tweeted or blogged about, so your spontaneity is richer in the virtual then the real.

And most of my communication is fun and with delightful people, and good can come from these things, but I think we may need to rethink our play area, because it seems that there is a lot of dog excrement secreted in the sand pit.

(I will now be tweeting this blog post like the addict I am, but I will then run away. I am hopeful  that I will only occasionally tweet links to specific events etc. Wish me luck, but not on social media)

Josie and Robin’s Book Shambles series 4, including Alan Moore, Noel Fielding and Srah Bakewell, is HERE

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27 Responses to The Kipper House of Lies

  1. Gary Jones says:

    I stopped interacting with abhorrent people on here, and send them a photo or picture that sums up my feelings. It’s a cop out I know, but it saves time. Don’t worry we will all be resurrected on The Riverworld.

  2. Morocco Dave says:

    I shall miss your wit and frippery, Robin, but I totally get where you’re coming from. I suspect part of our problem here is that we have god-scale tools and reach, but we’re still basically only evolved for throwing rocks at things on the savannahs. All the best, chap.

  3. Barbara Anglezarke says:

    Oh please don’t stop Robin! I love your blogs as do so many others – and I loved the show in Cardiff last week. Don’t let the idiots stop you! Just stop engaging with them. I look forward to hearing from you and think you’re rather splendid. Barbara XX

    • robinince says:

      I will keep doing blog posts, just try to keep off social media most of the time. I think I fell a little too deeply into the quicksand of social media. Glad you had fun in Cardiff

  4. Richard Ash says:

    Good luck. A very understandable decision.

  5. ds says:

    I am starting to be more selective. Specifically, I’ve given up engaging with idiots*. I may be an enlightenment nincompoop, but at least I cling to the enlightenment part

    *this does not mean ‘people with whom I might disagree’. I’ve had plenty of conversations with them, and they have been perfectly amiable. And I will continue to engage with them. You know who the idiots are. I’m done with them.

  6. John Ottaway says:

    I won’t bother with the “just ignore them” advice, you know that, I’ll just say that Twitter will be a poorer place without you

    I look forward to seeing you at some stage at a gig, Cheltenham or Blooming Buzzing Confusion (probably all three)

    All the best mate

  7. rocknjizz says:

    The super moon is a powerful thing. Recharge and come back with moderation. Everything is key in moderation. I’ll respect your twitter leave and use this outlet for now. I read your “camp” conversation. I’m from the States and understood “camp” to mean “cheesy.” I had never heard the term referred to gay in any capacity here. Some people are more sensitive than others. I have red hair. When someone says, “ginger,” I accuse them of using “our” word. I am not serious. I could care less. But, seriously, that is OUR word.
    Now, unrelated, if I go to the UK for your 48th birthday, are you available for an after-party drink? Nothing weird.

  8. John White says:

    Shane, Shane – come back

  9. strandanastasia says:

    I understand your reasons so well, but will really miss your twits! Hope you will be back from time to time!

  10. CelticRose says:

    Being a celebrity on Twitter must be hell. Even moderately famous people attract more than their fair share of idiots. So I can definitely understand why you would want to disengage.

    However, as others have said, Twitter would be a poorer place without you. And it is possible to be on Twitter without going stark raving mad. You are not obligated to reply to everyone who asks you a question. If someone is being nasty or idiotic, simply ignore them. If they still make a nuisance of themselves, block or mute them. Celebrities in particular really need to learn how to use those Block and Mute buttons. Most of the people that are nasty on social media are just doing it to yank your chain, and acknowledging them only encourages them. The best response is to block them without engaging with them.

    And you don’t have to post every little thought on Twitter, either. You can use it to share links to news stories, YouTube videos, and other things that would be difficult to share in a face-to-face conversation. Twitter is merely a tool, and like any other tool, what you get out of it depends on how you use it.

  11. Brilliant post as ever Robin, on both scientific and personal levels. I’ve also changed my mind about social media, from ‘wow amazing’ to ‘I’m worryingingly addicted’ to now – following the Trumpquake – ‘social media has fucked politics’. I wish you luck Robin, hell I wish us all luck.

  12. garden2day says:

    I may regret this comment but I have been following you for awhile now in wordpress not realizing exactly who you were/are (see, I will regret this). Fast forward since I quit reading blogs for a bit to experience twitter (yes, it’s addictive). I finally realized I was following you there and didn’t put it all together … that you were/are the same person (yes, I do have regrets). This is what social media has done to me. It is truly addictive but I have a feeling if you stay with twitter it could drive you to need a smoke (or more). Thanks for all of your stories and perspectives. You are a hoot–and I mean that in a good way! Now, let me get back to twitter. Something may happen without me. 🙂

  13. rogieboy says:

    I blame Trillian’s white mice, and Slartiblartfast..

  14. Jacqueline Davis says:

    After reading this I’m pleased I never have really got into twitter. I think I have sent about 4 tweets total and one of them was to you Robin. I do read tweets now and then and yours is one sane voice in a seeming sea of insanity. So we will miss you. Just tell me please when you are bringing Monkey Cage back to New York. I couldn’t get to see you last because I was literally snowed in!

    • robinince says:

      I forgot that a few people were snowed in. We hope to be back next year. Hope you are coping with this new strange commander in chief elect.

      • Jacqueline Davis says:

        No not coping at all! First Brexit now this! And another good reason to leave twitter -when you have a guy with one of the most powerful jobs in the world tweeting offence because someone satirised him on SNL or staying up until 3.30 tweeting about supermodels. Jeeeeez. If this is what twitter is you’re better off out of it.
        I’m herewith signing up to follow your blog instead so I can be first to book a seat at the next Monkey Cage!

  15. philrforshaw says:

    I confess I never understood where you found the time to be on Twitter so often. I came to Twitter late and if feels like I have arrived at a party where much supping has already taken place, and can’t see the happy friendly folk for the angry drunks who are stomping around shouting abuse. You were my first followee (is that a word?) and will miss your talent for comedy and fascination with science and ideas. I too have subscribed to your blog and bookshambles and hope to hear you again in more jollier times.

  16. nostalgiaman says:

    If I understand you correctly you would still like to make a living peddling your wares but you do not want to interact with your customers. Why not open an online mail order site like everybody else? That way if you don’t have what people want you can send some old rubbish regardless of what was needed and most people won’t be bothered enough to send it back.

    • robinince says:

      No, you haven’t understood me correctly. “Customers” will still be able to communicate under posts and at live gigs. It is nothing to do with “customers”, it is to do with hearing so many voices, constant anecdotes and fly by minute information that confusion reigns and our minds shrink rather than broaden.

      • nostalgiaman says:

        Ok, understood. ‘Audience’ then. Isn’t it in one way wonderful though, the millions of voices that would otherwise just be like a sea of clapping seals with no way of responding except the clapping? Isn’t that the marvel of it?

  17. robinince says:

    the problem is that you are in a room with millions of people, barely taking notice of what each other is saying, hankering for a fight etc

    • ds says:

      To stretch an analogy – it’s almost like a form of collective autism (and I’m choosing the word autism with care there).

      There’s a whole load of voices talking at once, and you can’t filter them effectively, so it’s overwhelming and disorienting. Not only that, but often its difficult to read the intention or feeling of any person you do choose to speak to, so you can feel a bit lost; if you do concentrate on some voices, others (who are also in the same position as you) start shouting louder, because they think you either can’t hear, or are just ignoring them. And no one likes being ignored. So you are back to being unable to filter. The temptation is to put your hands over your ears and scream, becasue you can’t even THINK any more.

      Apart from that, everything’s peachy.

    • nostalgiaman says:

      Yes, but aren’t you describing the world…humans? For the first few hundred years of performance art people have thrown or been able to throw rotten vedge at the performers and shouted if they didn’t approve. This seems a less oppressive way of carrying on than, for example, a jongleurs visit where a threatening speech precedes the performances to surpress anything but laughter and applause. Granted there were a lot less people for those hundreds of years. Is interaction good? I don’t know, but just interacting with you, here, gives me satisfaction/gratification and I don’t think in a weird way. Maybe it is weird, I’m off to walk my dog and think about it.

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