Reading List: The Internet Will Melt Your Mind, and Other Love Stories.
Friends, I imagine you could use some reading right now, whether you’re stranded by a snowstorm on the East Coast, or here in San Francisco and taping your windows to ensure the toxic air doesn’t seep into your living room. Here are some thinkers to roll you into your weekend.
Rep. Jackie Spier, Surviving Jonestown (POLITICO) - I think we all forget that there is a member of the California congressional delegation who not only accompanied Congressman Leo Ryan to Jonestown, but was actually shot in the same bloodbath that assassinated him. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA 14) now represents parts of San Mateo and San Francisco counties, territory that her mentor and boss Rep. Ryan represented when he traveled to Guyana with his staff—including a young Speier who was a staffer at the time—to investigate Jim Jones and his cult in the jungle. She now shares some of that experience with POLITICO as an excerpt from her new book Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back.
Renee Diresta, Online Conspiracy Groups Are a Lot Like Cults (WIRED) - And speaking of cults, Diresta does a fantastic ob of diving into those attributes of online conspiracy communities that scarily resemble cults. According to Diresta, these digital echo chambers are “strikingly similar to cult recruitment tactics of the pre-internet era, in which recruits are targeted and then increasingly isolated from the noncult world.”
Anna Silman, We Thought We Knew Faith, Until We Didn’t The making of a white-nationalist poster girl (The Cut) - The next time anyone tells me that the political polarization currently afflicting the US can’t happen in Canada, I’m sending them this article. Spoiler alert: with the internet, radicalization can happen anywhere. And considering Faith Goldy, the alt-right personality portrayed the piece, seemed to have a similar high school MO to mine as a theater nerd, maybe I’m ready for my next act? I kid, I kid.
Joseph Bernstein, Inside The Alt-Right’s Campaign To Smear Trump Protesters As Anarchists (BuzzFeed News) - And for the third in our triad of internet madness, a reminder that emotional reactions you have to something on the internet could actually be rooted in tactics of the other side.
Stay safe and warm this weekend, and be kind to each other.