🔗 What Chafes My Groin #6


First published: .

Can I Have That in Video Form?

A bit less than a decade ago, I started noticing a disturbing trend among my peers and colleagues in the software development industry: nobody wanted to read textual documentation anymore. I would regularly showcase commands such as man, perldoc, pydoc, etc., but was always met with dumbfounded looks. I would be asked questions, and refer people to official, easy-to-follow, up-to-date documentation sources, down to the exact section, paragraph or line that provides the actual answer, and yet, people would simply refuse to open it up. Instead, they would ask for a video. Give me a YouTube video by someone who barely speaks English so that I can shut off my brain for a while and pretend to be listening and learning something.

Now, I'm generalizing here. Obviously there are very good tutorial videos on the Internet, and some people really do listen and learn from them, but what was so disturbing to me was that these computer professionals, who supposedly learned their trade in a college/university setting—where reading is a gigantic part of the process—were seemingly no longer able to read. Many of them didn't even know that such a thing as official documentation existed, and yet they still prefer confusing videos in broken English and outdated StackOverflow answers to doing the least, most minimal bit of "research", if you can even call "reading a manual" that. They would call themselves HTTP and REST experts and yet they're completely unaware that HTTP has specifications and never read them.

Today, I know that this trend goes far beyond the software development industry. I'm obviously not going to be the first to complain that "nobody reads anymore", but we are seeing the effects of this (exaggerated) fact everywhere, including the 2023 Israel-Hamas War which has been dominating my life for the past month.

You see and read how people are talking about the conflict, and it's increasingly clear that their entire knowledge of the matter comes from 10-second TikTok videos made by people even stupider than them. And they believe and defend those things they "learned" on antisocial media so vehemently that it's hard not to believe that mankind truly is doomed. You have supposedly intelligent college students in America spouting nonsensical, easily disprovable bullshit such as "all Israelis have second citizenships and they should just go back to where they came from", or "there are no hostages, it's all propaganda", and you really wish a race of evil aliens suddenly emerged out of the sky in giant spaceships and started blasting us all to hell.

It takes five seconds to run an Internet search and a few minutes of reading to learn just how incredibly misinformed you've been, but that's too much for the antisocial media generation.

I don't know why people are unable or unwilling to read anymore. Maybe it's because the education system has pretty much collapsed worldwide. Maybe it's because it is in the interest of giant banks and corporations to keep us stupid and unable to maintain attention for more than six seconds. Maybe it's because modern technology is a net negative for the human race. All I know is we're fucked.

Labels and Fables

A lot of anti-Jewish people around the world have taken their metaphorical masks off in recent weeks and presented their racism for the whole world to see. Many of them, though, consider themselves "anti-Zionist", and get offended when they are labeled "anti-Semites".

The whole Zionism thing has always baffled me, not because of the properties that are often attributed to it by its detractors, but rather because Zionism is mostly a thing of the past. The movement was a 19-century ideological, nationalist movement started for the purposes of establishing a home for the Jewish people in their native homeland of Eretz Yisrael. In 1948, the State of Israel was founded, and Zionism has achieved its main goal.

In school, I wasn't taught "Zionism". I was obviously taught about the history of Israel, about Theodor Herzl, but the words "Zionism" and "Zion" were barely used. They didn't need to be, because Israel exists. There's no Zionism, there's only Israel.

Anti-Zionists will keep vehemently protesting those properties that they attribute to it, such as "the intention to create a Jewish-only nation by displacing non-Jewish people", or "creating a country with multiple classes of citizens", but will conveniently ignore the fact that after 75 years, Israel still exists as a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, with many of the non-Jewish communities that lived in Eretz Yisrael before the foundation of the country still living in Israel with full citizenships, same social rights and benefits, and complete religious freedom.

Anti-Zionists keep shouting "Zionism is Nazism" and other bullshit 75 years after Israel formed. And they hate being labeled "anti-semitic". Why then, do people who hate being labeled, always, always, always label any Israeli, or anyone who dares to side with Israel, as a "Zionist"? Israel is a fact, and has been for multiple generations of Israelis who were born here. These people could care less about Zionism, Israel is simply their home. So if you keep insisting on calling every Israeli a Zionist, then perhaps you're not an anti-Semite, but you're definitely not just anti-Zionist. You're probably just a fucking asshole.

I Just Wanna Be Part of Something Big

By now it's already been established through countless interviews and the antisocial media accounts of the Pro-Hamas protesters that most of them have little to no idea what they're protesting about. Many cannot point out Israel on the map, do not know the difference between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, know nothing of the history of the Jewish people or the State of Israel, know nothing about Hamas and the Palestinian people, and can hardly pronounce the word "Palestinian".

Why then are so many non-Muslims marching in the streets, chanting "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" at the top of their lungs, despite most of them not knowing which river or sea the chant refers to? This past week or two, several texts were published about how many of the protesters are white left wingers who view the world as comprised of two types of peoples: oppressors and oppressed. The oppressors are usually western nations ruled by whites, while the oppressed are old-world nations of discouraged non-whites. The oppressors are of course bad, and the oppressed are of course good, and every action they take, no matter how vile, is justified, because it's "resistance against the oppression". In this case, Israelis have been declared "white", for some insane reason (seriously, many protesters actually said that), and Israel being a western country, means that the Israelis are the oppressors, the Palestinians are the oppressed, and therefore Israel bad, Hamas good.

The texts do a much better and more convincing job than I do of explaining how it came to be that bloody morons have taken the Pro-Hamas position. The Atlantic addressed the subject at least three times, here, here, and here, and I highly recommend you read these articles. What I don't think this theory makes a good explanation for is why those idiots are out on the streets, chanting their vile chants while waving Palestine and Hamas flags.

I believe that the explanation for that is much simpler and much stupider. They just want to feel part of something big. Life is boring, there's nothing to do except buy Chinese knockoffs on Amazon, watch regurgitated Disney productions on TV and scroll through endless inane TikTok "content". I've written previously about what I call "Humanity's Crisis of Identity", how capitalism, population growth and the decline of the education system have left us with a void that we can't seem to fill no matter how hard we try.

People just want to feel part of something big. They need to feel full for a few minutes. To feel like they matter. So what if they don't know what "from the river to the sea" means? It's catchy and makes you sound badass. You can record a few seconds of yourself chanting in a protest and post it on TikTok for some shiny Internet points. You're doing something with your life. You matter.

Oh, and I can practically guarantee that at least 80% of the non-Muslim pro-Hamas/anti-Israel/anti-Zionist-but-not-anti-Jewish/pro-Palestinian/pro-human-rights/anti-human-suffering protesters have already added the word "activist" to their Ivy League college applications.