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Here’s looking at you

“We have come to take for granted comprehensive lateral surveillance. We have grown used to regarding friends as also spies, whose allegiance is uncertain; they are agents who are liable to identify us in photographs, keep tabs on our whereabouts, spread misinformation or disinformation in permanent, public forums on our behalf — or to our detriment, who can be sure? Even intimates can become inadvertent double or triple agents in the infinite regress of strategies and counterstrategies in our intricate social-media self-presentations, which we can never really be sure aren’t false-flag operations. Why do people share what they share? And since they know I will be asking that question, how has that affected their choice to express that enthusiasm over that Stanley Cup playoff game, or Obama’s kill list, or the kale they had for dinner? How do I respond? Everything is a move in a complicated game that social-media surveillance makes sure we are always playing. Control over even our own identity slips away from us, as we lose sense of what is spontaneous and what is mere tactical performance in the midst of such recursive reflexivity. We sense our own fragile fakeness, which can only confirm our suspicions of others.” – Rob Horning, “Agents Without Agency”

Published inEconomicsPolitics & Law

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