• The Persona Issue

    Bad News: Just Be Thankful You’re Not A (Noun)

    The Persona Issue

    Bad News

    Just Be Thankful You’re Not A (Noun)

    Boy, I’ve had a tough last couple of days. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that (how are you doing, by the way?) but ugh, what a shitstorm. I thought it came to a head when maniacs started shooting up Paris while I was collecting links for this very column, but I was wrong. Earlier this week I experienced an emotionally-grueling interview with a French television crew scrutinizing my work and ethics. A mere hour later, I started getting messages from friends in Minneapolis, who were being shot at by white supremacists at the site of the major confrontations with police that have been going on there for the last week and a half. It was all too much.

    Sad News

    I truly love writing this column – reading hundreds of articles a week, and distilling them down into this weekly register of the apocalypse – but I’m afraid I have some bad news. Effective basically immediately, I’m putting Bad News on indefinite hiatus. In part for the reasons I’ve already stated, but more importantly to make time to focus on doubling-down on other priorities here at Mask Magazine. Thanks to everyone who has approached me in person to express appreciation for this column: I hope you’ll find a way to keep up with all the terrible shit that keeps happening. If you want to keep up with my personal brand of apocalyptic mania, you can always follow me on Twitter.


    I’m not going out with a whimper. That is why I’ve collected one last mega-post – everything that’s happened in the two weeks since you last heard from me. So sit down, buckle up, and tighten your wailing muscles.

    Monday, November 9 was not cool, mostly because the American Psychological Association retracted an article I mentioned in an earlier edition of Bad News that claimed a staggering number of men (15 times the reported number) were sexually assaulted by other men in the US military – but not because it was wrong. Big media news today, reports that traffic to news articles shared on Facebook have plummeted at least 40%; if it were me, I’d blame the introduction of an in-house news recommendation algorithm product called Facebook Instant Articles. Speaking of Facebook, today Obama got his own profile on the social network, but you can’t friend him so put your memes away. Supposedly, progress was made today against sweeping government surveillance of phone records when a District Court Judge ordered the NSA to "immediately stop". Just stoppit. Stop. Stop. Stop it. If you’re a refugee, you better believe having a smartphone is a critical lifeline – and there are economics to prove it.

    Tuesday, November 10 was worse though, earthquakes keep rattling through fracking country, in fact it’s gotten so bad that Oklahoma is now the world’s number one quake hotspot. New eye trackers are hitting the market in the latest Smart TV sets, which will then sell that data directly to advertisers; you can go ahead and scream into a pillow now. The economy recovery has been producing some jobs, but almost all of them have been for major corporations, with virtually flat growth numbers for small businesses. Ugh, Obama is still struggling to close Guantánamo despite pushing landmark work to close one of the shittiest holes on the planet. Major indictments were unsealed today, revealing that the most powerful financial firms in the world were targeted by the largest hack in history, leaking the financial information of 100 million customers to fraud rings. Thank god, marketers are finally wising up to anti-ad trends, and accordingly you’ll be seeing fewer television advertisements in those rare moments you’re not just torrenting shit on the dl. Lastly, take a listen to this short segment on the pending economic disaster of the gig-economy.

    Honestly Wednesday, November 11 could have been better. A new survey found that over a third of young adult women in the US are living with parents or other relatives, the highest rate since records began. Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook told an interviewer that the next generation “won’t know what money is” – of course, I agree, but for different reasons: they won’t have any. The EU will no longer mandate that products made in the Palestinian territories carry a “Made in Israel” label, pissing of some colonists but otherwise living up to a pretty low bar of respectable geopolitical relations. Welp, it was just a matter of time before the major internet services – namely Facebook, Twitter, and Google – went all in on an appeal to the Chinese state to lift the ban on “uncensored” networks and search engines. Speaking of China, scientists there have developed new radar technology essentially making them invisible to traditional radar, the same radar the US Navy uses to track fighter jets. Hmm.

    Thursday, November 12 was pretty bad too, mostly because it was announced today that human trials on genetic modification will start in 2017. For reasons that will sadly become obvious tomorrow, the EU council president speculated today that the European Union open border system may soon collapse. Big news on the oh-this-is-just-fucking-great desk: Amazon is breaking into the restaurant delivery buisness. To make matters worse, Russia just convicted a former Moscow police officer of spying for the CIA. I wish transgender issues fell less on the political ideology spectrum and more on the just-have-some-fucking-respect-for-people spectrum so I could be more publicly relieved that US Veterans Affairs just opened its first trans clinic. No surprise here: 1 in 5 adults living in New York City have mental illness. Seems a little low, tbh. These new uterus transplants seem pretty cool! Also, whoopsy, looks like there was a pretty catastrophic Tor breach. Robots are coming to the grocery aisle, soon the days of bumping butts with floor staff will be behind us – before us, a grand stretching horizon of the automation of misery.

    Friday the 13th, let’s just leave it at that, because the Bank of England estimates robots will replace 80 million American jobs. Oil prices dropped more this week than they have for any other week in the last eight months. Brick-and-mortar retail expects holiday purchases to break record lows. Thanks to El Niño, Californians are catching tropical fish hundreds of miles north of their typical habitat. Have a listen: economic journalists are predicting that this is the week the US economy is beginning to permanently collapse.

    Today, there was a historically unprecedented suicide-bombing and mass shooting attack in Paris, France. This attack basically broke all of my Bad News algorithms, filling every newspaper around the world with articles about France, whether privacy tools promote terror (the answer is no), and suspiciously nationalist takes on the refugee crisis for Syrians in Europe. I’m not going to say anything else about it besides that it was certainly Bad News.

    On Saturday, November 14, Facebook announced they would no longer use their Safety Check feature exclusively for natural disasters, and that they would from now on provide the service for “human disasters” aka “war”.

    Sunday, November 15, holy day that it is, nearly a thousand members of the Church of Latter Day Saints quit the church in protest of its intolerance of the children of married same-sex couples. The Olympic Committee isn’t sure that they will allow Russia to participate in the next Olympic Games.

    Everything bad that happened on Monday, November 16, happened in a non-notable, achingly drab kind of way. Slow, like a melting glacier, or the collapse of a doomed economy blind to its own trappings.

    It’s Tuesday, November 17, which doesn’t bode well at all. For instance, the Lockheed airship I mentioned in a previous entry was officially approved by the FAA. The World Health Organization announced today that worldwide infectious diseases are at dangerously high levels of antibiotic resistance. Imagine you’re floating around in the International Space Station configuring gizmos and all of a sudden the power goes out. Another CIA spy was caught overseas, this time working in Germany as a ‘triple-agent’. Twenty-some US state governors declare that they would not allow Syrian refugees to live in their state. For the first time since the global economic meltdown, crude oil fell below $40 a barrel today, which doesn’t explain why oil theft is soaring at unprecedented rates. As Airbnb tightens their grip on the hospitality industry, hotel megapower Marriot plans to merge with one of their biggest competitors. Brands are finally starting take virtual reality seriously, which cannot possibly end well. An earthquake happened in Boston today. And last but not least, the Los Angeles city council announced that the 26,000 homeless people in their city are facing a catastrophic shortage in shelters.

    Could it get any worse on Wednesday, November 18? Yep, a new report today demonstrates that scientists have now grown human vocal chords in a lab, and will soon be able to perform total voice transplants. Speaking of science that will eventually be used against us, lasers have just been used to cool for the first time in history.

    If only Thursday, November 19 had never happened. Make a little note in your diary that today the FDA approved the first genetically modified animal for sale as food. While you’ve got it open, draw a cute little heart around these words: Philippine police use Katy Perry song to disperse protest. So imagine you’re floating on a little boat, pulling up a crab trap, and inside you find an underwater naval contract surveillance drone. Yep, that’s what’s going on out there.

    Unfortunately we have to talk about Friday, November 20, the day the first $17.5 million nuclear-war-proof residence was sold in the US. Six more earthquakes today in Oklahoma. The London police officially apologized for the decade of undercover officers who slept with activists under assumed identities, and in at least two cases fathered children with them. It was announced today that the Department of Homeland Security has been running hundreds of data servers without encryption or any modern security with “sensitive or top secret” information. Lastly on this especially rough day, a Pew Research study published today found that 40% of millennials think the government should censor politically-incorrect language about minorities, which means I may win my wager (with certain other magazine staff) about the police state absorbing social justice mandates after all.

    Brace yourself for Saturday, November 21, when the snowfall record in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was shattered by nearly a foot. And hey, can I just say that it should make us all very angry and sad that transgender murders are higher than they’ve ever been recorded.

    The end is not nigh fast enough: it’s Sunday, November 22. In what-is-this-a-fucking-batman-movie news, Franco Lupoi of the Gambino crime family publicly (!) announced today that the Sicilian mafia would protect NYC from ISIS. Further proof we’ve descended into pure apocalyptic lawlessness ... and if this is the last link I ever publish to this column, I think I can hold my head high.

    (Don’t) Tune In Next Time!

    I’m putting Bad News on indefinite hiatus because it’s giving me panic attacks! Maybe I’ll figure my shit out! I probably won’t!

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