Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

4.6.12

Don't forget to write, they used to say. Now a social media giant finds my sibling. Invest!

I was 'visiting' Facebook (do people 'visit' books in the library? of course not - ridiculous) and it suggested - or even commanded, if the imperative mood is what Facebook intended - that I "Find friends from different parts of your life."

Among the list of 'friends' Facebook suggested I 'find' from different 'parts' of my life was my sister.

I don't need to find my sister. I know where she is already.

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A few weeks ago Facebook listed on the stock exchange after ridiculous valuations fuelled by near-hysteria. It was a bad idea to invest, but many thought it was a good one. That misapprehension lasted what, two weeks? Maybe some still think it's a good idea.

We saw this twelve years ago, but they never learn. "It's not the same," everyone said, "The dotcom boom was different." I wasn't talking about the boom part, I said. They're always different, like tulips. But how they turn out is always the same.

In his 1947 essay “Lear, Tolstoy and The Fool” George Orwell discusses Tolstoy's description of the hysteria of accepted wisdom, which was:
'a sort of mass hypnosis, or "epidemic suggestion" ... in which 'the whole civilized world has somehow been deluded. ... One is not dealing with a reasoned opinion but with something akin to religious faith. Throughout history, says Tolstoy, there has been an endless series of these "epidemic suggestions", for example, the Crusades, the search for the Philosopher's Stone, the craze for tulip growing which once swept over Holland ... "it also happens that such crazes ... correspond in such a degree to the views of life spread in society, and especially in literary circles, that they are maintained for a long time".'
Orwell was writing about Tolstoy writing about Shakespeare but the concept rings a few bells.

2 comments:

Melbourne Girl said...

Ugghh Facebook. Don't get me started!
I've had quite a few laughs about the whole Facebook investment launch and the subsequent slide...
Zuckerberg and his mates must be laughing all the way to their tax havens
Lesley

kitchen hand said...

It was also a very odd time to launch.