Scott, I really liked this but it feels incomplete in an important way. Your mention of John Wayne was a nod toward the downside of "universal" narratives, but it's really bad. John Wayne in particular was propaganda not just around individualism, but regarding racism against less-individualistic cultures and provided cover, culturally, for a historically awful land-grab and campaign of genocide. People throughout the US and Europe debated whether violent colonial conquest of the Americas was morally justified, but once John Wayne (and other cultural artifacts) entered the scene, many people's mindsets on such issues were constructed pre-emptive of any debate they were exposed to. These kinds of "shared experiences" were almost always wrapped in the interpretations and stories of the dominant culture, bent on extraction. One articulation of this that I really appreciated is the following, from a book about the Yurok people in what's now northern California, a beautiful academic book called Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature, and Social Action (2019). I read it a couple of years ago and just keep coming back to again and again. This paragraph is what brings it to mind here: "Settler-colonial states have aimed to erase not only the presence of indigenous peoples, but also the ecologies with which they are embedded [as in, the forests and the praries] and indeed, the relevance of ecology itself. And the near-hegemonic success this discourse has achieved has allowed settler-colonial states to erase their footsteps as they go, so to speak."

Expand full comment

This pandemic has indeed made as take a grasp of a disaffected and disconnected future, and people tend towards a culture of solitude, it seems easier this way.

However, isn't there some common basis for the ads and content for every age group? If 10 ads or videos or feeds are fully personalized then at least 1 must be some kind of trend "pointed" towards certain age, ethnicity, gender etc.

I used to be a very stubborn individualist who would not let anyone help or support, but during the pandemic my workload ironically got even larger. Hadn't my partner help me out I would not have made it without losing my sanity :p

Knowledge is our strongest tool in this world, so everyone during this Great Dispersion and era of solitude , watch, read and learn as many things as possible!

Expand full comment