Shield up Seth’s Blog

Years and years ago, I helped Weekly World News Create a book

Although their periodical was weekly, it was definitely not news. They were just four people in a small office in Florida. They happily make stuff every week. They had a few filing cabinets of stock photos, and they invented stories featuring UFOs, aliens, “scientists” (in quotation marks), and various other diversions for people stuck in supermarket checkout lines.

And now, of course, we’re all stuck in that line. And now, algorithms are forcing spineless profit-seekers to bombard us with garbage, the garbage that shows up on search engine home pages, in our social media feeds, and in our emails.

Adblockers are one of the most popular innovations of the past few years. What do I want a Junk Blocker. A big button on my browser that says “Shield Up”. And just imagine if it was set by default.

No celebrity gossip. No conspiracy theories. No weight loss breakthrough. It will automatically block fistfights, trolling, urgent but unimportant breaking news, insights about the royal family, discussions of what happened to a star thirty years ago, aliens, UFOs, MLM, the latest pump-and-dump scheme, stuff. Little recourse is available to stories that are true but irrelevant, things that are relevant but did not actually happen, and stories designed to humiliate, degrade, or deliberately distress.

When you put it that way, who doesn’t want a button like that?

Somehow, we have survived as a culture for centuries without exposing ourselves to thousands of profit-driven manipulations on our living room carpets all day, every day.

No wonder we get tired after a day online.

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