The Age Of Gesture

It’s always fun to label historical ages, which is why our history books are full of things like “the age of sail” or the “feudal period” as convenient shorthand. The label provides a quick way to think of what was important in a certain time. Lots of people call the age in which we currently live “the technological age” because of the microchip. That seems right, as the microprocessor has fundamentally altered human society and continues to alter our world. That said, a better label would be “the age of the public gesture.”

What technology has allowed is for everyone, to one degree or another, to be a public performer. The door to the stage is in every pocket, as the mobile phone is now mostly used for getting on social media and performing, either as yourself or the character you have created on-line. The platforms themselves are just carnivals of virtue signalling, in which nothing practical is communicated. Instead, they are ad hoc morality plays in which millions perform to either signal their virtue or condemn the lack of virtue in others.

Recently, fake black person Shaun King claimed in a tweet that he was at the market and encountered a white person doing a Hitler salute in the market. He then claimed to have confronted the person, forcing them to leave the market. He has since deleted the tweet, it appears, because people were laughing at it. That and it was such an obvious lie that it was self-defeating. The entirely of Shaun King’s life is one big gesture. His pretending to be black, his Talcum X routine, and his social media life are just a performance.

Over the weekend, naughty librarian Katherine Timpf claims to have been accosted in a store, because she is something the Left does not like. Of course, there is no proof of this and it coincidentally happens when Fox News star Tucker Carlson is in the news for being regularly attacked by left-wing goons. It is a ridiculous fabrication, but in the age of the gesture, the truth is not what matters. What matters here is she gets to play the role of victim and get extra morality points for how she has performed the role on-line.

These two incidents where D-level celebrities went on-line and performed a dramatic gesture to gain attention can be written off as just that, attention seeking. That’s clearly part of this whole culture, though. The D-level celebs see their betters, the people they wish to emulate, doing the same things, but on a larger stage and maybe at grander scale, so they ape them at the small scale. Twitter is full of anonymous cat ladies posting about how their daughter asked them why Orange Man bad for the same reason.

Of course, our politics have become just an endless series of gestures to signal piety or seriousness, depending about the nature of the event. In Europe, every time one of Merkel’s Millions goes on a murder spree, the local authorities have a candlelight vigil and walk around arm-in-arm for a day. When a nut goes shooty in America, the usual suspects come out and repeat the familiar chants about gun control. This age is a time when doing nothing, while looking pious, is the most cultivated and coveted skill.

No age lasts forever and this one could be in its final phase. When D-list celebs have mastered the skills, as we see with Timpf and King, then the value of the act has fallen to zero. If everyone can do it, then it’s not special. The troubles plaguing social media giants are due, in part, to gesture culture reaching an end. The signalling as become so intense and frequent, the platforms are now just irritating strobe lights. Something similar may be happening with the mobile phone industry, which is suddenly very bearish.

No company has done more to profit from and develop the gesture age than Apple. Their products were always about design, rather than function, which is why their mobile products have always been popular, while their desktops languished. Steve Jobs figured out that he could move a lot of product by turning his company into a type of secular religious iconography, aimed at a population lacking a soul. The appeal of Apple products was always the antiseptic design that was a celebration of the total lack of humanity.

It was a stillborn aesthetic for a people with no purpose other than to signal to one another like fireflies. When Jobs would hold one of his rallies to evangelize about his new products, he certainly knew he was selling an identity to people lacking one of their own. He was too smart to not know what was happening, but in an age where no one can think of a reason to not kill themselves or their fellow citizens, the pointless gesture, the last flickering of a bygone sense of self, is a great way to move over-priced toys.

Perhaps the slump in the mobile phone market and the troubles with the social media giants is the final signal of the age of gesture. The business models of these companies have always depended upon people believing they had to have the phone or they had to have a social media presence. That worked when everyone believed it. Maybe enough people are not believing it so that the whole thing is coming apart. The phenomenon of people cutting their cable could be a sign of something larger than money saving.

Of course, every age comes to an end, but every age is replaced by something else that seeks to address some need in society. The Age of Gesture appealed to our rulers because they believe in nothing, not even themselves, so they created a null society. In an age when the gesture is not enough, the morality tales are no longer useful in keeping order, what comes next? As much as it would be nice to see the end of the constant virtue signalling, what comes next could turn out to be a much less pleasant age.

143 thoughts on “The Age Of Gesture

  1. I rarely disagree so totally with the Zman, but I think he’s got Apple wrong. I was already interested in computers and interface design when Apple arrived on the scene. For decades, they’ve created a series of important breakthroughs that *added* soul and humanity to computers (and now phones and tablets). Their desktops and mobiles are all very functional, enough to commend a premium in the market and hold their value quite well compared to the competition. Yes, it’s trendy hipster bait sold with slick hype. Granted, there are flaws and all design involves matters of taste. But overall, it’s top-notch hardware and software with a deep appreciation of good, humanist design principles.

  2. You really think that with hundreds of documented incidents of the leftist harassment of Republicans and Trump supporters and now Carlson, that Timpf made up the incident?

  3. I don’t believe this is a new thing. We all used to live in small villages, and in small villages, everything you do is monitored and evaluated by your neighbours. I’ve lived in such a village – a conservative, very Christian one – and the virtue signalling and hypocrisy was overpowering. Everybody knew that behind closed doors, their neighbors sinned like Sodomites, they would gossip about it constantly, but if you mentioned this in open, public conversation, they’d look at you as if you were stark, raving bonkers.

    • I think one of the reasons high trust societies are high trust are social sanctions against transgressors of the moral order. Virtue signaling definitely has a role in that. The problem now is that what the Cultural Marxists claim as virtue is anything but. I’d agree that there have been excesses in the other direction also.

  4. I listen to Mark Levin tonight. 3 hours of Jim Acosta. Yea. Invasion force moving closer to the border. Not a word. Good bye USA.

  5. A small and yet significant quibble with this: “but in an age where no one can think of a reason to not kill themselves or their fellow citizens, the pointless gesture, the last flickering of a bygone sense of self, is a great way to move over-priced toys.”

    I would say that what has been lost for heritage America is a sense of the collective self. The Left has largely succeeded in driving a wedge between goodwhites and badwhites to the point that the legacy of historic America is lost. Our sense(s) of self are rampant and out of control, as a direct result of the deracination that has taken place over the past 60 years.

  6. You nailed it about Kat Timpf. She is eye candy for horny guys watching Fox who also need to feel that there are young, beautiful people out there who are also conservative. She may have gone to a decent university (that’s being generous) and obtained a bachelor’s degree in English, but her brain clearly isn’t anywhere near first class. She failed as a comedian and decided to focus on journalism as a career. She openly expresses her very millennial mix of conflicting libertarian and faux conservative views at every point when she cannot think of anything really intelligent or witty to say. To be blunt, she is a young woman playing on her looks who networked her way into the world of faux journalism on Fox (read that any way you want to). After the Fox management realized that she was not a smart enough to be a good journalist, they started limiting her appearances to the Greg Guttfeld comedy show and some of their other inane programs. One of my friends is a comedienne in NYC who knows her personally and has herself appeared on Fox’s Guttfeld show several times. She joked more than a few times about how she and Kat Timpf both espouse the same “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” mantra that is popular with millennial females trying not to follow the progressive crowd in NYC, LA, DC and other big cities. That’s the future of conservatism in this country.

    • I don’t know who this Timpf thot is, but I know the type. They larp as “conservatives” for attention but they love them some homos and killing their unborn children. The worst thing that could happen to them is to be associated with actual dissidents. That would mean they might not get invited to cocktail parties.

  7. Don’t confuse a few pundits who are out to manipulate stock prices saying that mobile phones are dead as anything approaching reality. This happens every year; you can practically set your watch by it. AAPL will be back up near $250/share by spring. Trust me.

  8. Z: “Over the weekend, naughty librarian Katherine Timpf claims to have been accosted in a store…It is a ridiculous fabrication, but in the age of the gesture, the truth is not what matters.”

    Far from “ridiculous”, her story is very credible in these times. It happened at a bar, not a “store”. She said that within 20 seconds in the video you linked to. Even if it did happen at a store, it would be believable.

    • Maybe, but as the kids say, “pictures, or it didn’t happen.” Or, as that Trump guy Cory Lewandiwski might put it, “Even if there’s a picture, it probably didn’t happen.”

      • Lefty hipster Brooklynites don’t tend to rat out their comrades with photo evidence of Fox girl harassment.

    • I watched Kat Timpf’s interview on Fox News regarding the incident and she offered not one piece of corroborating evidence of the incident. In fact, her version of events reminded me of Dr. Ford’s testimony: accuse someone (unnamed) of some offense and offer vague and unverifiable details of what happened. Tell your story to an audience that will want to believe you because they already despise the type of person being accused. Bottom line: Timpf is an attention whore of the type we’ve all seen a lot of these last 20 years. She is essentially another Paris Hilton. She is not very intelligent but cunning enough to play the “naughty [millennial] librarian” role rather blatantly on Fox and other venues when she can. That act has opened doors for her and allowed this rather limited talent to gain national fame.

  9. I don’t see this ending anytime soon, people are absolutely addicted to their devices. I took notice of this over the weekend whilst at a park in a medium sized city. You could look about, observe any group of people any direction you’d care to look – pick out any 10 and fully eight of them either had their eyes glued their phone or were talking on them. Not enjoying the fresh air, nor having any interest in conversation with whomever they were with, no, the danged phone was way more important. I’ll frankly confess to being old skool, but it was a sad observation.

  10. Unless people cut their broadband service, cord cutting is just another gesture. “I’m a free thinker and smarter about money because I cut the cord.” Which, in reality, means they’ve shifted to internet television, streaming services (even if it’s free), etc. If you still pay Comcast to watch Hulu, you haven’t cut the cord.

    I’m not saying cord cutting isn’t a real thing…just that many cord cutters are simply shifting their data suppliers and being more efficient. My Sling costs $20 for about 20 channels of which I watch 4-5 down from $200 for 300 channels of which I watched the same 4-5.

    I had fun torching a sanctimonious gasbag soccer mom (wife of a friend) recently. She suffered the indignity of watching a white woman in a truck with a Confederate flag sticker order and receive coffee from a black man behind the counter. Oh the humanity! She did absolutely nothing about it except cry on Facebook so her friends could watch her preen. So I printed out that the only reason she wrote about it was to preen, not because she actually did anything about the fictional abuse she made up in her head.

    • Naw, you can kill your TV and only use your net for reading.Have lost interest in the visuals. Can create better ones in my head. (stil, rather than moving, visual can be very nice, but I’ve seen all the Hollywood product I want to see)…You get so used to it, you wonder why people watch someone else’s version of a story rather than reading and seeing in your mind.

  11. Some people aren’t going to like this but… so much THIRST here for Kat Timpf.

    She is a snarky proto-NPC with problem glasses and hipster sensibilities. The glasses, contrary to her reason for wearing them, do not make her look any more intelligent. The minute she opens her mouth it is proven immediately.

    If she got her t-ts out on the regular perhaps I could tolerate her condescending snark, but she doesn’t. So… yeah. If you are interested in naughty librarians I recommend rather than torturing your ear drums with this NatRev reject just go to pornhub / xhamster and be done with it.

    There ARE some very pretty blondes on Fox worth watching, KT is not one of them.

  12. I have to add that, for too many young (and not-so young) Black people, the GESTURE and APPEARANCE is all.
    Just all. It matters more to many that they SHOW an appearance, than to have the reality.
    It’s killing the Black communities. They, too often, will sell away their future, for the APPEARANCE of baubles today.

    • Linda, true enough. But blacks are very aware of the pretenders among them. It’s a theme and they have phrases that express it, such as, “fake-ass nigga”, “don’t be frontin’, “broke-ass nigga ain’t foolin’ nobody”, “keep it real”. They’re self-aware and critical. Which is partly why they’re so funny.

  13. Apple Stores are like digital churches, full of posers strutting their banality. The video wall is a particular obscenity. Now, the stores feature “older” sales people with purple hair and butterfly tattoos. It’s revolting.

  14. Apple has always sold itself as a cult, a religion. Just consider the logo, an iconographic parody of the fall of man. What it says is that buying an Apple product is a transformative initiation into a world of knowledge that only Apple provides. While Adam’s bite of the apple was the cause of mankind’s expulsion from paradise, biting into an Apple product is an act of redemption that sweeps the consumer into the brave new technological utopia as envisioned for you by Apple and the other Silicon Valley conglomerates. In an empty-headed, faithless age, Apple offers the good consumer the opportunity to redeem himself and crossover into the wired global paradise for the mere cost of an iphone. Who would be foolish enough to refuse such a bargain? Of course, it was the serpent who first beguiled Adam with a false promise, and the result wasn’t bliss, but a tragedy.

  15. I never got the whole Apple mania thing; but I’d agree that the Iphone is a perfect signifier for the current age. It is rather the first part of your essay regarding performance that makes me reflect. Isn’t it implied by your characterization of social media that we who comment critically about society and culture on blogs such as yours are pointing a finger of criticism whilst three point back at our performativity. It seems as if I am damned if I do or damned if I don’t. Indeed, lately I’ve been swallowing black pills like antacids after a particularly shitty bowl of chili. Is there no glimmer of hope to cling to, or is everything utterly futile?

  16. Another insightful post. But I wish our crew would get over using the term “cat ladies.”

    It may seem a clever shorthand formula to describe aging women suffering from toxic feminism and winding up with nothing but feline companionship. But cats are wonderful animals (unless you’re a mouse or a bird), understatedly affectionate. I doubt they are any more common in the homes of harpies than in those of others, including alt-rightists. We aren’t “signaling” anything but love for some of our fellow beings.

  17. I lost my phone and got to enjoy the summer free from omnipresent surveillance and targeted marketing. I occasionally missed frog twitter when I was bored, and I wished I had a map once. Otherwise, it was glorious. I felt a noticeable psychological shift after a couple days. A smartphone in your pocket is bad for your mental health.

    Unfortunately, the school year came around and logistics demanded I put the shackles back on.

    I spend a lot of time at a CultMarx Reeducation Center surrounded by the Gen Z kids AE thinks are going to save the country or something. I’m less optimistic. At birth, baby girls should just have a hand replaced with an iPhone and their consciousnesses uploaded to SnapChat and Facebook servers. The vacuousness will get worse before it gets better.

  18. Brilliant essay. As for what’s coming after the Age of Gesture… well, I always say “today’s SJW is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer;” this is part of the reason why.

    • Sadly that may transpire at some point not to long from now. Especially when you have the Left screaming how evil white males are and why they must be done away with in the MSM and academia.

      Who else did that? Oh yeah the Hutu’s did that with the Tutsi and we know how that turned out. Same with the Blacks in Rhodesia and SA.

      In fact it’s all but a certainty when Trump leaves office.

  19. Dear Gaia, Kat Timpf. Because Fox needs an extra pair of tits and glasses to amuse their senior citizen demographic. That bint makes S E Cupp look almost mildly interesting. She started as an indifferent comedienne and somehow ended up writing occasionally for… guess if you can… NRO. It remains a mystery why anyone believes what Good White Conservatives really need is a childless female iteration of Rich Lowry who used to tell jokes.

    • George;
      Agree with your assessment but I’m spiritually torn because that IS a fairly nice pair. [Humble apologies to Ursula, Whitney, ET all]

        • Steady on. You’re safe here. Grateful for “guys.” Enjoyed being called Honey by the Southern lads at Lafayette Treatment Plant. When my co-worker was recovering from breast cancer surgery, my southern co-worker guys said to her, “Diane, you look tuckered. You settle down, take a nap and we’ll do your labs and plant rounds for you.” Ahhh….sweet! Chivalry is not dead. Just sparse.

    • Ouch. I don’t watch Fox these days other than the mildly pozzed but still good 911 but at least Timph is cute.

      But again I like naughty librarians, not that I’ve ever seen one.

      She really should get with child in a year or so, it gets harder as it goes on and given her actual education , Hillsdale is a real college with an actual tough curriculum , she has a brain.

      Of course this being now, she won’t which is a damned shame.

    • Single and childless. She has to be a serious head case not be able to find a decent guy. Then again she lives in NYC which is d-bag central.

      Still I can’t figure out why Fox hires these witless bimbos like those on “Outnumbered” And why did they hire Mare Harf. She was a State Dept hack for Obama who was a apologist for Jihadis butchering Westerners.

      And yeah another childless harpy.

  20. Perhaps it is just my age showing but the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a smartphone is baffling to me. My smartphone makes phone calls, sends texts, takes mediocre pictures, serves as an alarm clock and allows me to browse the web when I am stuck waiting somewhere and I think I paid $30 for it new.

    Also a sign of my age, this is the first thing I thought of when I saw the post title:

    “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”

    • You’re showing your age here. So am I. I hate those damn phones. My wife handles the honors…and good for her.

  21. The Look At Me Era
    The Era of Fake Everything
    The Emasculation Era
    The Rule of the Castrati
    The Rule of Opposites
    The Age of the Sick Soul
    The Era of the Dead and Dying
    The Hell is Empty Era
    The End of Humility

    (I’ll try to come back to this later. I have to go back to work now).

    • The Booty Era. When modesty (not to mention shame) were finally defeated and replaced by grotesque self-exposure and self-promotion. As they say in the South, “showin’ yo ass”. But being proud of it.

  22. “Steve Jobs figured out that he could move a lot of product by turning his company into a type of secular religious iconography, aimed at a population lacking a soul.”

    There it is.

  23. More useless legal questions: Mueller is supposedly going to indict Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi. This has been in the news for several months now. It seems rather slow walked, and I don’t really understand why neither of these men simply got on a flight to a no-extradition country. It’s not like they have a serious chance of winning in front of a District of Columbia jury.

    • Because most of the countries that don’t have extradition with the U.S. are shitholes that’s why.

      The other thing is, Mueller would go after these men families and relatives. It’s a old Mafia and FedGov tactic and it works.

      That’s why

  24. Per your last paragraph, perhaps we are already seeing hints of the post-gesture age. Right now, for the most part, making the gestures is optional: you can opt out of the whole virtue-signaling circus if you want.

    But I’ve noticed that increasingly the gesture is becoming an expected response to the crisis of the moment. Fail to chime in after the umpteenth shooting and you’re subjected to huffing accusations from the great and good. Forget about the fact that there’s nothing useful left to say, and to say in a showy, public way.

    Sailer noted a spate of articles last year that all used the “silence is deafening” line to denounce some poor fool whose only crime was not joining the prescribed chorus. Soon, you won’t be allowed NOT to make a gesture; and God forbid your gesture is heterodox, or is found to have transgressed the arcane rules of the moment.

    Perhaps that is where the gestural age is tending: to an age of conformity with mandatory two-minute hates and two-minute loves.

  25. “a much less pleasant age.” I assume that you are referring to the ANTifa anarchy hatefest ” A-la tucker carlson’s daughter and home ” . where the signaling moves into meatspace? where the NOC ‘s go on the offensive.

  26. ” themselves are just carnivals of virtue signalling, in which nothing practical is communicated. ” A perfect description of these idiotic “press conferences” that CNN is suing about, and which should be immediately abolished.

  27. Culture is the canary in the coal mine. When popular music and art cease to be degenerate, you will know a sea change has occurred. Rock & roll and Jackson Pollack are not forever.

  28. It helps to keep all of this in perspective. The whole Facebook/Google/Apple cabal is undoubtedly liberal and evil, but their only underlying raison d’être is online advertising attached to superficial entertainment. Yes, controlling the information flow is a big issue, but they can only fake the news so much before people stop trusting them, which has slowly been happening. We have been worrying about the effect of advertising for at least 50 years, but it always in hindsight is overstated.

    • Verizon bought out the Huffington Post, which has been alleged to be unprofitable. Lots of big corporations have made “investments” into VICE Media, which is known to be unprofitable. It is said that Youtube is unprofitable given the requirement to share ad income and the bandwidth bills. Twitter has never made a yearly profit, and the quarterly profits it has shown were from selling user data.

  29. No, Apple is now being Cooked. Before, the specs were great but not exceptional except for an occasional launch.

    The problem with insanely great is you have to keep going to insanely greater levels, including even doing stupid things to the platform like changing the fonts so they are harder to read. They still have the same lame launcher though.

    Tablets existed before the iPad and Nokia already had smartphones. Technically better ones. But the UI wasn’t there, nor was the industrial design (think Bank and Olufsen audio v.s. the boxes). That is what Jobs added, and needed to pull the suppliers up to make them real.

    Seen through someone who manages the supply chain but has no design sense, we now have Cook and Apple touting the faster processor, the Better GPU, Neural processor, etc. But is the software or the experience better? Or worse? Are there new gizmos like the touch bar that doesn’t help things? Oh, there’s a retinal screen, but how is battery life?

    Jobs said if you support a stylus, you are doing something wrong (I disagree – it is like the “only one button mouse”, but you had to hit option, control/cloverleaf, shift, with short v.s. long clicks and double clicks where I can do things on a 3 button scroll wheel mouse one handed). Cook added “the Pencil”. Which isn’t as good as what Samsung is doing.

    But given the prison farm (walled garden) and desire to not think anything is wrong, Apple will keep a lot of users. But will continue to do the shortcuts – giving into China’s demands, going with increased specs and gizmos like that strip on top interrupting the screen. Insecure shallow biometrics (if they could solve the security problem it would be a true innovation and worth something, but so far the face/eye/fingerprint recognition is easily fooled, and people still can’t remember complex passwords).

    GM was once 60% of the market and “No one was ever fired for buying IBM”. They faded.

    You will know Apple is falling from the tree when iTunes, and other products like their streaming for Android or even smart TVs come out. Amazon makes little hardware but they have apps on everything.

    • At one time, the Macbook was hugely better for connection on the road – made contact in different networks, found printers, etc. – much easier than the PCs.
      That difference is moot now. Just about equivalent, even for the Linux-based machines (including Pi).

  30. Reading the Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas. The Age of the Gesture can very quickly become The Age of the Fist.

    • I am reminded of how the Abolitionists dehumanized the Southern planter class. Thoughts lead to words lead to action…

      • The Dissident Right does this too or at least should do it harder. Its why the NPC meme is so heartening

        As Glen Reynolds often says “Faster Please.”

      • The abolitionists were unstable people then, and pretty much the same sort are now. What has struck me about the Spanish CW was the level of hatred. In the US CW, there was a level of personal respect between the fighting men on both sides. In Spain, very high level of class conflict and real hatred, resulting in many thousands of immediate executions. I see that hatred here on the left, and I honestly don’t see it yet on the right. (Though when it comes to the happy circumstance of dispatching university professors out of hand, as they did in Spain, I’ll admit to being tempted.)

        • I’m with you in respect to teachers. And I make no distinction between primary, secondary, and college levels. Round them up and sort them out. Bad eggs get the bullet, the rest go into rehab.

          • Spread the word, viralize the campaign to get conservatives to go into teaching. Yeah, we hate gov. schools, but they’re what we have now. Let’s not give up on people who can’t homeschool. Plenty of times when I was in the field, I wished we were 50% instead of 10-15% at one of those dumb diversity workshops

        • The question is, what is strategic, what will get us to our goals. That’s all that matters, in my opinion.

          This Nietzsche quote I read the other day comes to mind (I’m not going to claim I fully understand what he was saying):

          “For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one’s cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of “pleasure.” The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior.”

          • Oswald Spengler’s ‘Prussianism and Socialism’ deals with this. Julius Evola called Britain the “empire of shopkeepers.” Werner Sombart’s WW1 work, unfortunately untranslated, ‘Händler und Helden’ (‘Merchants and Heroes’) also gets into this.

          • Joachim, a few months in the winter trenches of Belgium in 1916 may very well have altered his opinions.

          • There were exceptions, especially as you go further back into history, as Evola points out, but the contrast is between a Prussia, “a military with a state”, and it’s ethical socialism, it’s norm that the duty to the national good takes precedence in all things, must always be a consideration in one’s mind, versus the England of Adam Smith, Bernard Mandeville, etc. writ large, in which it is claimed that the selfish pursuits of the individual indubitably benefit the whole, which we are seeing transparently refuted by the efforts of Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce, Agribusiness, etc. providing us with open-borders and free-trade. The one side proclaiming it’s preference for peace and freedom as a means for wealth creation/consumption, and the other side’s willingness to use force (within the nation, and against foreign nations) to see that the collective is furthered, is a part of this.

        • You don’t see it on the right because it is cold anger and is manifested in a different way that only if you’re immersed in it will you see it…

  31. Has there ever been an age, when men were not in love with the sound of their own voices?

    My post, my interest in posting, is not exempt

  32. Z: “An age where no one can think of a reason to not kill themselves or their fellow citizens.”

    The kind of sentence that makes you laugh out loud, then get very quiet.

  33. For most of our evolutionary history, survival was a daily struggle and existential threat was a real thing. For those who overcame these challenges, dignity and self-worth was earned and valued. Today, our environment provides few (if any) real opportunities to test your mettle, demonstrate your prowess, and walk away with high self-esteem. Hence the virtue-signalling craze, which is a poor substitute for the real thing, but it’s the only game in town for most people. It’s also easy and lazy and addictive; and it leads to the opposite of robustness. Civilizations fail when their people become useless dependents with no redeeming attributes.

    • Agree for the most part. But I can’t help but think that the virtual signaling is also a product of the 2nd tier of our society that can’t compete (for whatever the reason). For example, can anyone point to any significant cadre of alpha males vigorously using social media signaling? Have not thought this completely through, but I do know that the folk I’ve come to know and respect are not involved in faux status building through these methods.

    • That comment deserves a Gold Star! It points to a strategy for escaping the treadmill – find sports and hobbies that emphasise the individual, not the collective (team) and actually participate instead of spectate.

      • and vintage. ..either go vintage or stay with what works and maintain it. Every time we let a device do something for us, instead of figuring it out with our brains, all those new pathways that would have been formed…don’t get formed.

    • So who wants to build a new one? Bueller Bueller …Ahhh shucks that sounds to much like struggle…Sad That…

  34. This morning my two-year-old deaf-mute trans daughter used some plastic refrigerator magnets to spell out, “Mommy why orange man hate brown man?” Before I could think of an answer, Alexa, which had helpfully been eavesdropping, replied, “Because, Sappho, orange man bad.”

    But little Sappho couldn’t hear this answer because she’s differently hearing. I explained this to a nice tech support man from Bangalore whose Skype arrived at my door by drone, and he very helpfully arranged for an Arts Council troupe of Mimes of Colour to come to our yurt and signal Orange Man Bad to Sappho in E2SL (English as a Second Sign Language).

    Then the parking lot across the way full of migrant Salvadorans burst into applause.

    All in all, a morning full of teachable moments.

    I still can’t help wondering though: how did Alexa know Sappho’s question, when she didn’t ask it aloud?

    • In a country with laws, he would have a problem, but in this lawless age he is entirely safe. That said, he is serving a useful function. Not only do the sane know to avoid him and his batshit crazy operation, they know to avoid anyone doing business with him. Maybe they will start wearing rainbow arm bands too.

      • Ecolab might have bought and merged its way to such a level of market dominance that it can afford affirmative action management for a while.That’s the only way getting this woke can work for any length of time

  35. I’m thinking a lot of social media will evolve into something where people communicate with each other via private chat rooms that control their own content. A few people will still post on public fora, but those numbers will decline. It may be that this pullback will even affect the design of phones. They might get simpler, or acquire different functions than we see today.

    The private chat thing will allow for more free political speech with less policing by media bigwigs.

    One other thing I noticed in the yahoo article is where the AI in newer devices will improve to the point that the user will be able to do many things without being hooked up to a network. Since to a great extent the power of the network owners and management have power that they are abusing at present, perhaps this will diminish some of that power. Or maybe give them more. Who knows?

  36. So the revolution and push back starts with all of us going back to flip phones or even land lines.

    As far as the slump in the market, more than likely most consumers (even a good amount of Apple ones) don’t see the incentive to purchase phones for fewer new features that are irrelevant. That and the $1000 price tag on some.

    • A better alternative is to buy the “contract-free” pay as you go type. Minimize the footprint (I can use my tablet just about every public place, including video calls – so what do I need a phone for?)

      • 100% right. There is a name for this and it has been used by “gray area” operators for a long while. Burner phone. Given the cheapness today of even a baseline smartphone (under 50 quid) this is the play if you are REALLY concerned about privacy.

        A cheap burner phone paid for in cash has absolutely no digital fingerprint belonging to you unless you choose to give it one.

        • I’m with you guys. The few times I’ve needed a phone, such as on the road, always went to Wal-Mart. My laptop does such a good job of meeting my needs….the idea of spending $1000 on a phone leaves me breathless. What I could add to my home library with that. Be interesting if everybody went back to landlines, just to know I sat out the whole cycle.jp7pt

    • I never got rid of my landline because of my alarm which calls central station. When my carrier changed from copper lines to fiber optic it required a backup battery. Copper lines still work in a power outage and are better than fiber but they claim copper is too costly to maintain.

      Nothing like being out of power during a natural disaster and your alarm battery dying after a few hours. Now you have no phone, no monitoring, and no protection. I don’t call that progress, I think it’s intentional.

      • Which is why you should have backup power or generate your own…The less you have to rely on the state the more freedom you have now and the more ability you will have to resist them when the time comes…

  37. For our age’s main label I am going to have to stick to another Zman (or maybe Derbyshire or Sailer, can never keep them straight) coinage: The Demographic Age.

    But the Demographic Age and the Age of Gesture are related: while people perform piousness on the cyberstage, third-worlders keep pouring over the border. People virtue-signal while Rome burns.

    In some ways President Trump is a key example, Tweeting but not doing. It’s almost a kind of digital version of magical thinking.

    But some day soon we’re going to wake up in Brazilgadishu and it’s going to be all too real.

  38. “Perhaps the slump in the mobile phone market and the troubles with the social media giants is the final signal of the age of gesture. ”

    I’d like to think so but the feeling in my gut is that we aren’t at the end of the crazy years yet. Genies don’t go back in the bottle without a considerable amount of blood, pain, and horror.

    As for the mobile market they have a couple of problems: first, the phones people have now are plenty good enough not to have to upgrade every year, and second, Steve Jobs evangelized to aimless young people who had money or were willing to take loans/credit cards to get what he was selling. That group is buried under a lot of other debt so upgrading to the iPhone GXP or whatever the new model is called can be put off longer. The third problem of course is also that Steve Jobs died. As usual the Onion summed it up better than I could:

    • The phones, i.e. hardware, do indeed work great. I cling to my “antiquated” Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, which was one of the “it” phones 5+ years ago. Works fine after replacing battery after five years. But the real challenge is the obsolescence of the OS, which topped out at Android 4.4.2 Now, many apps are no longer accessible (Quelle horrible cry the Millenials!). Fine, I just use the url and access accounts at the web page. But how much longer will this dinosaur-like behavior be permitted? The none-to-subtle message from the corporate overlords seems to be “Conform or die.”

  39. No chit.

    Back in the good ol’ days a fast track to stardom was getting abducted by aliens. A fella’s car would shut down for no reason, he’d be bathed in bright light from above – and then be taken up to the mother ship for an anal probing and then later be released back into the wild, where they would stammer and gobble in fright about the aliens among us.

    Hmpffffff – look around today at the sexual freak shows, alternate genders and lifestyles. The aliens are on the news everyday, raging and spitting and gobbing about Hitler and the Fourth Reich.

    Were I a paranoid man I would say the aliens are trying to divert our attention. The truth is out there. Trust no one.

    • The truth is out there. Trust no one.
      Why so we can be like any shithole country…You ever read any articles on Africa ,Mexico, or any South/Central American countries they have one major thing in common They have no trust in anyone it’s every man for himself dog eat dog world…Sure you want that for you and yours…I don’t…

  40. I buy my mobile phones on Ebay where I can get a last year or the year before’s cutting edge phone for a couple hundred dollars. For me, there is no discernible difference between that and this year’s greatest phone. They both will play my electronic library books, make calls, send texts and emails, and take photos. (I still use a real camera if I want a good picture).

    They have the car makers’ dilemma. Their products are good enough to last too long now. The only thing I can imagine that would make me want to run out and buy a new phone if it came totally free of Google’s and Apple’s spyware.

    • Next spring a company is launching a Linux phone that will be free of spyware and open source. They were trying to have it out for Solstice, but thy are behind. They currently make laptops and desktops for the security and privacy minded. The mobile concept is where the opportunity lies and they have raised a few million bucks to get the project off the ground. The technology is not a great leap, so they should be able to pull it off. The question is whether they will be allowed to stay in business when the world learns their customer base is us.

      I thought Microsoft could have saved their mobile division by simply offering a privacy phone. But, that would have required imagination on their part.

          • This project has long been an interest of mine. I wish them the very best of success, but this will be an extremely difficult endeavor. The entire consumer compute infrastructure is designed around tracking, monitoring, and pushing content. Virtually every chip, API, firmware, and operating system are designed quite specifically to allow applications and service providers to monitor user content.

            I’m on the cusp of going back to a flip phone.

      • Agree on MS. Had an early Windows phone, seemed promising.

        Will look for developments with the Linux phone. Hopefully it will be able to run the apps I need for work.

        • I had two quite acceptable Windows phones (Nokia), but had to switch when Uber stopped supporting the highest version of the OS for my last phone. A year old Android unit works fine for 99% of my needs, but I am a low demand user. $35 ATT LG “Go Phone”.

          • Why hide? What have we got to lose? Everyone should start a club in their hometown and openly state their goals. They can only kill you once. We’re gonna die anyway. Make it worth something.

      • I’d buy that. I currently buy older phones (I just upgraded to Iphone 6, as my old 5 died). Buy them outright, and retain the right to move to another platform, if I want.
        But, a Linux phone would be fine for me.

      • There is no security at the hardware and network level thanks to the effective layout of the Internet and the small number of chip manufacturers. Open source is a fine way to avoid corporate intel but not state. That could certainly prove useful, but one shouldn’t get the wrong idea about “libre.”

  41. Good one Zman. I am afraid you are correct, the next age will likely be much less fun and entertaining and much more dangerous. Oh well, at my age it hardly matters. 😉

    • I hear that a lot from oldies but most of us have children and grandchildren, correct? My ire is stronger due to this.

      • I do, and I very much resent the no kids crowd who are ruining everything on their way out. The sad thing is that many parents I have met refuse to see anything but wine and roses in their kids SJW future. women who have sons yet are rabid feminists and the like.

        • “Be not deceived: God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

        • I’m a childless Gen X who wanted to have kids but couldn’t, arguing with Boomers who actually do have kids that they are ruining it for them. They shrug, they don’t care, they’d rather virtue signal. I have no children and I lose sleep over this, I care more than anyone I know IRL. Perhaps I love their children more than they do.

      • Good point David. But what also weighs on my mind is the thought that I might leave this life without having been honored with participation in the final response to this abhorrent situation we find ourselves in, but rather be remembered only as one of those responsible (and rightfully so).

      • I’m with you David. I am old enough to be thankful that I was raised by men and women to be a man and what it takes to not just be male. The Founders didn’t have the “oh well I am old so what do I care” attitude. I don’t either and I grieve for my kids and grandkids for what they may have to face because of what we are not stopping Tech giants and Libs from doing.

        • As long as you’re still breathing you have a choice…You can grieve or you can put away your mourning clothes/thoughts and be putting on your battle rattle…It’s all in your hands…

          • Absolutely correct. You have a choice.

            This is why I have no sympathy with the “Waaa!! Facepuke and Twatter is censoring my posts!! ” arguments coming out of so many of the right wingers.

            You don’t like it? Then get a bunch of people together and go build your own competitor to the left wing run online presence.

            I worked in internet companies back at the beginning when online presence was exploding during the late 90s into the early 2000s. When somebody had an idea – they wrote some code – got the site online – and often hosted the thing THEMSELVES. Do that and you have a real argument if the *carriers* refuse to carry your traffic – in the same manner that you’d have an argument if the phone company shut you off for talking about right wing things with your friends.

            Karl Denninger has done this with his site – and therefore has NO problems whatsoever with being shut down.

            Far too many of the right – are basically leftists once you start really questioning them and giving them a good scratch to see how they bleed.

  42. If you’ve ever heard current Apple CEO Tim Cook speak, the piousness of him is quite jarring. A man whose company operates as a cult, with its merchandise produced by slaves, loves to say how Apple “stands up for privacy” and how “God’s gift to me is being gay”. Not as if to forget the rampant tax evasion engaged in by his company, or how Jobs’ widow is now a significant player in the media. Would any of us be truly surprised to find out that the NSA, PRC and Mossad have backdoors into all of their products?

    • The NSA has always had back doors into Microsoft’s OS, so I would assume the same is true of Apple. Even the Saudis have infiltrated social media companies, so the OpSec of these places is not very good. Of course, the Chinese have been loading spy-chips on the hardware for a long time.

      • “The appeal of Apple products was always the antiseptic design that was a celebration of the total lack of humanity”

        Well said. Apple products always seemed to aspire after the look of Polished Rocks, or accessories for one’s collection of Curling Stones & Photon Torpedoes.

    • You are full of shit. Tax avoidance is legal and every company does it. It’s not correct to lump Apple in with Google and Facebook. Apple, like BMW and Mercedes Benz, sells a product for a price; if it’s too expensive for you, buy something else. Apple does not put spyware on your iPhone or otherwise mine your personal data for profit. This is simply a fact.

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