Filtered for magic and legitimacy

19.30, Monday 26 Jan 2015


Types of magician banned in ancient Rome, listed in the Codex Justinianus published in 534 AD.

A haruspex is one who prognosticates from sacrificed animals and their internal organs; a mathematicus, one who reads the course of the stars; a hariolus, a soothsayer, inhaling vapors, as at Delphi; augurs, who read the future by the flight and sound of birds; a vates, an inspired person - prophet; chaldeans and magus are general names for magicians; maleficus means an enchanter or poisoner.

(Source, book 9, section 18.)

Look, you know, consultants.

(In the context of Rome, magic is efficacious.)


Account planning.

Cut open a goat and read the emails.


New system for data visualisation of London by After the flood: the London Squared Map. Squares and a pretty river wiggle.


Sitting and smiling.

4 hour meditation sessions, recorded with Google Hangouts. Sitting and smiling.

35 videos to date.


2 hours and 36 mins into video #5, someone breaks into the house. Then, after presumably seeing me sitting still and smiling in front of a camera, lit from beneath by a florescent bulb, he promptly descends the stairs and exits the house.


Three YouTube stars meet President Obama for a post-State of the Union interview: Holy Shit, I Interviewed the President, by Hank Green.

“News” released its antibodies immediately. @rupertmurdoch: POTUS hard to follow saying no ‘available’ time for Netanyahu and then hours today with weird YouTube personalities. Strange timing.


Walking around the White House, seeing the Press Briefing Room and all of the two-hundred-year-old chairs and decoy helicopters reminded me that the history of post-democratic power is really the history of legitimacy.


There is nothing actually legitimate about Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter) and young people know this. They don’t trust news organizations because news organizations have given them no reason to be trusting.


Legacy media isn’t mocking us because we aren’t a legitimate source of information; they’re mocking us because they’re terrified.

And here’s the fucking motherlode:

The source of our legitimacy is the very different from their coiffed, Armani institutions. It springs instead (and I’m aware that I’m abandoning any modicum of modesty here) from honesty. In new media this is often called “authenticity” because our culture is too jaded to use a big fat word like “honesty” without our gallbladders clogging up, but that’s really what it is.

Glozell, Bethany and I don’t sit in fancy news studios surrounded by fifty thousand dollar cameras and polished metal and glass backdrops with inlayed 90-inch LCD screens. People trust us because we’ve spent years developing a relationship with them. We have been scrutinized and found not evil. Our legitimacy comes from honesty, not from cultural signals or institutions.

We have been scrutinized.

Sharpest analysis I’ve read in forever re: What Is Going On.

The internet means we don’t have to trust second-hand signals, and we choose not to because second-hand signals have been abused. In who we get our views from - and who we give our money to - we can scrutinize.

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