Posts Tagged ‘affective contagion’

Rather like the Airborne Toxic Event in Don Delillo’s 1980s novel White Noise, these days seem, to many of us, suffused with a kind of Generalized Floating Dread. I’ve picked this sense up from students, from colleagues, from friends and neighbors. It is as if there is a cloud of dark matter around us, whose […]

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At a time when the U.S. itself appears on the brink of collapse — with riots in the streets, a pandemic crippling the country’s heath care system and wreaking havoc on its economy, a president tweeting out nods of recognition to his QAnon fan base and hinting at “the Storm” that is coming — the sense-making apparatus of digital media is rife with opportunities for disinformational entrepreneurs to make headway in various directions. […]

The internet is like a huge instrument — a hyper-complex, Robert Fluddian monochord, that works by allowing for an infinity of connections through which flow the sounds and vibrations of human emotional and affective contagion. When protests erupt across the country over the senseless killing of a black man in Minneapolis, the time scale in which large-scale action occurs speeds up and become affect-driven time, not a time in which collective deliberation is really possible. This means that informational, and therefore “disinformational,” bursts into that monochord become all the more powerful.

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I think it’s fair to say that the United States is in a state of cultural civil war. It is cultural war in the sense that it is a war fought with signs and symbols rather than with guns — signs and symbols intended to elicit affiliation, allegiance, and identification with one or another party to the […]

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