Quickie Post — What Does the Funnel for Action Look Like?

On the pearl farm platform, after the box jellyfish incident – West Papua

I’ve got a couple of short posts I’m going to churn out to keep my loyal readers happy that are primarily food-for-thought, as I complete a longer piece for another friend (Hi, Ugo! I haven’t forgotten!)

One of the more interesting graphs I’ve seen come across my desk was produced by Kate Starbird, at the University of Washington. Kate is a professor studying, with data science, conspiracy theories and their effects through graphical analysis. It’s a bit like staring into Saruman’s Palantir as it means dealing with Mordor on a relatively continual basis. What that means is that the work is definitely well-done, and instructive, but doesn’t really tend toward nuanced predictions. This is a picture generated by Starbird that ran in a short piece in Nature on Qanon. For me personally, I am not questioning the existence of the Qanon crowd. At the same time, I also would like some way of estimating their ability to act consistently on their fantastic belief. The structure of Qanon is so fantastic (in the literal sense of the word) it makes great story. And of course, the media just love it. But how large is the action envelope, and how many people will do something? Those are big questions.

Here is Starbird’s graph on the meme-o-sphere.

From Nature, and Starbird’s work

The tripartite nature maps well into the memetic landscape. Democrats are Legalistic/Absolutistic v-Meme rule followers, and as such are more diffuse in focus on content. The Political Right is definitely Authoritarian v-Meme, and as such has greater coherence of views. And finally, the dark cloud on the right of the picture is the cluster of Magical Thinkers — people with one of Julian Jayne’s Old Gods installed in their head – that may look just like Trump.

With incumbent chaos — these are the people raiding pizza parlors looking for pedophile rings. Naturally, there is bleed-over in the meme-o-sphere, especially between the Right and the Magical Right.

But as I discussed in this piece, bonds formed socially on line don’t necessarily lead to action. Yes — we had the Capitol riots. Yes — they were in essence seditious, but from a material perspective, not realistically so. There was no ability that any of the actors had to actually install a new government, a la a real coup. And those riots did not lead to the vaunted armed protests in 50 states on Inauguration Day.

We need to understand why — as any civil state needs to figure out appropriate action. Do we need some total crackdown and suspension of freedoms in order to maintain civil democracy? I’d argue not. But we could also use a deeper analysis on what the shape of the funnel is that Starbird’s tripartite clouds feed. As long as we have a toxic combination of weak national identity, and growing wealth inequality (and as I have argued in the piece — dietary/health instability) we are going to have some level of insurrection. Whether we are in a more profound state of collapse, or maybe just hitting some nominal stride a la Spain and its Catalonian/Basque problem, or even Russia’s chronic issues in the Caucasus involving Chechnya and Dagestan, is a perspective deserving of far more thought and scrutiny than our current chronic nods to the Apocalypse.

Especially when it comes to any debate involving regulating social media. I was one of the people that breathed a sigh of relief when Twitter finally suspended Donald Trump. But I gave that sigh with an enormous sense of foreboding. Like it or not, social media is how we communicate. And suspending any person is the modern equivalent of Being Sent to Coventry — a total ostracism of the target. It’s time to have a more nuanced debate between the sickness and the cure. Something, on a variety of fronts, we haven’t been doing so well with recently.

2 thoughts on “Quickie Post — What Does the Funnel for Action Look Like?

  1. I used to go that ‘pizzagate ‘ place to see music shows —

    basically ‘punk rock/HC’ –though current punk rock/hardcore is mostly a rehash of old classic punk /hc –hc is faster and louder ).

    it was mostly a restaurant—i ‘m not sure it even has a basement.
    if it has one it may be in a creek
    .there’s a small stream that starts there. and i took the stream path.

    (also it was not on ‘my side of the park’–i live on the wrong side so i had to walk 5 miles each way or find a bus). surprisigly they let me in and some people knew me.

    if i ran the place i wouldn’t let myself in. )

    ‘maybe frodo and gollum and the ring are down in the basement’..

    i was going to go to see the insurrection at us captial–before it became called that.
    it was just a protest with the ‘proud boys and qanaons’.

    they been here before–to me this is like going to the zoo.
    one difference is these are uncaged dangerous animals..
    they actually are like rabid racoons. insane.

    i sort of deal with them my own way. a rabid racoon got me awhil eago but i weer long pants
    so it just ripped those up and i kicked it into the creek,.
    it may have been same one the cops were trying to kill
    but cop missed and shjot himsel in tje foot

    golden rule (DC style)

    ‘ u dont f with me then i dont f with u or you will get f-d up’.
    my bite is worse than my bark unfortunatelty so i cant back it up–i ‘front’
    pretend i’m a venomous snake –dont tread on me. i learned this from snakes and females—
    even if you are defenceless fight back. it works 80% of the time. some do call your bluff.

    i used to sleep outside on natl zoo property–
    i had a cliff and couild stay there even when snowing.
    there’s even an endangered species there which lives in a stream–you had to wade through
    the water or climb fences to get to my cliff–cold in winter.
    police once tried to follow me but couldnt keep up.
    quite a few people tried to follow me–some threw rocks and bottlles and such–
    but they oculdnt handle the cliffs or water..i was some sort of toursit attraction. i had to
    move from my hollow tree to the cliff due to harrasment.–the details of this harassement
    i wont go into but i was so hostile i didnt get the worst of it. i’d hit people in the head with a rock.
    ‘give me my clothes back’. or i’ll hit you with another brick. i could baely lift up a birck.

    jan 6 was a tourist attraction and tho i moslty grew up in dc i’m now a torusitm and deplorabe i was going to go but barely made it up my street beofrre i got ‘harassed ‘ by one of the local people–probabl;y just got out of jail. but i was on my territory–under my tree. if i had been 10 feet away from my tree on the street i likely wouldnt have stould a chance. the tree is also on church property so this crackhead complained about me trespassing,

    i didnt say anything–just stared him down–and he went on his way to rittenhouse (same street name as this wisconsin shooter) . .


    one person i know has a relative who worked for capital police (she’s balck and her husband is as well and also work for cp). hopefully they took the day off


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