Content Moderation is Unending Warfare
January 20, 2020 1:40 PM   Subscribe

“I worried about that a lot when it was in the initial stages. The reality is that any app, such as a hookup app, can be used to manipulate and hurt others, primarily women. I figured, isn’t it better to try to foster human connection than not?” ... The woman stares into the pools of bottomless remorse and empathy that are the rapist’s girlfriend’s eyes. She is utterly sincere; the woman can tell. The rapist’s girlfriend truly believes that she and the rapist are making the world a better place." From You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South [The New Yorker] [CW: pretty much everything. Rape, gun violence, cannibalism, San Francisco real estate, venture capital, &c. ]

Mary South on Content Moderation and Trauma: I knew she would have to look up from her monitor one day and suddenly not understand how she has found herself entrenched in such a toxic environment. A big part of the reason she’s there is because she’s been indoctrinated to believe that hypermasculine toxicity is normal and that her suffering is an unfortunate consequence of “doing business.” This daily toxicity is evident in the language that’s used by her colleagues and in their gallows humor—her boss’s flippant claim that this is “unending warfare,” or the game of chicken they play using horrifying videos. More broadly, why is disruption such a focus in the tech world? Why do all these billionaires aspire to go to outer space? Perhaps it is because it is more fun to compete with each other than turn their attention to the unglamorous work of cleaning, caring, and maintaining.
posted by chavenet (8 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks, chavenet. That was not an upbeat piece of fiction but it spoke to me.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:20 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


"Why do all these billionaires aspire to go to outer space? Perhaps it is because it is more fun to compete with each other than turn their attention to the unglamorous work of cleaning, caring, and maintaining."
+1 Insightful.

I hadn't realised how much the rich white guy space thing could be a calculated distraction rather than them behaving like eight year old boys.
posted by krisjohn at 2:50 PM on January 20 [24 favorites]


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posted by seanmpuckett at 3:25 PM on January 20 [11 favorites]


I'm fine with all of the dude billionaires getting shot into an airless vacuum that is entirely hostile to their biological entities. They'd finally know what it feels like to be a woman in our world.
posted by erattacorrige at 4:12 PM on January 20 [14 favorites]


You guys should read the story. It's very good.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 5:41 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


Fucking hell, folks, don't be like me, heed the content warnings.

And if you've heeded them and read the story and feel fine, then allow me to confess that I, in real life, not in a fiction New Yorker story, have clicked 'like' on my rapist's social media posts and, for a little while in the past, entertained an obsessive, morbid fascination with his online/outward life due to his (performance of) total normalcy, often thinking the exact thoughts this protagonist thinks about the rapist in the story, like, "does a rapist's pet really behave like a normal pet? huh. imagine that." This story took me right back to that headspace. Oof!

Way too many feels rn, and I'm only halfway through the story. I think I'm trying to say that the story is very very good.
posted by MiraK at 7:39 PM on January 20 [18 favorites]


"More broadly, why is disruption such a focus in the tech world? Why do all these billionaires aspire to go to outer space? Perhaps it is because it is more fun to compete with each other than turn their attention to the unglamorous work of cleaning, caring, and maintaining."

Reminds me of one of the most piercing scenes from, of all shows, Rick and Morty.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:07 PM on January 20 [8 favorites]


Ok, but the ending is guy-in-your-MFA level bad.
posted by The River Ivel at 2:22 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


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