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Themes in The Batman (2022)

(1,540 words)
Wayne Terminal - The Batcave
Intro to The Batman:
The new Gotham city, presented by director Matt Reeves and inhabited/stalked by Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne, is gothic and atmospheric. The first time (of two viewings) I saw the film, I found myself so enamored by the backgrounds and music I was less than focused on the dialogue. Not merely a backdrop to where events take place, Gotham is brought to life, almost a character in its own right. Bruce Wayne's "Batcave" is an abandoned subway station beneath Wayne Tower, which also houses his gothic-styled manor. 

Dystopian while beautiful, Gotham City come into its own. There is a scene where Bruce is riding his motorcycle through a “Time Square” styled part of the city, with a curved road not found in the grid of Midtown. Bruce leans into the corner, a bit of counter steer, revving as the bike straightens out, it’s a new touchstone in film cityscapes.
Penguin's club on the docks, Gotham Square, and even the Corner Diner all come to life more authentic than I've seen before. Cities very much have a personality and feel to them, and you can feel Gotham in The Batman. 
If you're familiar with the 1995 film Se7en, you might notice some similarities. Everything was darker in the movie, visually and thematically. Elements of horror films were used from the early scenes where a set of eyes appear from the shadows to Waterphone sound effects in the old orphanage.
Racial Themes in The Batman:
With that, let's talk racialism in The Batman. The first sense of race in Gotham I noticed was a gang riding the subway wearing face paint. A new member is going through initiation. Only half of his face is painted in the gang's Halloween-styled makeup. They terrorize Gotham by finding victims, playing "the knockout game" with them while filming it, and uploading the video to the internet. Immediately I noticed something you would only see in Hollywood; the gang is mixed-race. Whites with blacks and what looked to be a mixed teenager being initiated into the gang. The symbolism here could be any number of things. The group's youngest member being mixed-race could signify a new racial direction for Gotham's youth. "Diversity" is finally being achieved in human form, belonging not to either group but a new one entirely. An Asian man is the would-be victim of the gang’s knockout game. 
Gotham City Police Department is racially integrated, as most police forces in big cities are. A young detective, Martinez, is a very light-skinned, affable character. One of the good guys.
Detective Jim Gordon, a longtime staple in Batman, is played by a black actor, Jeffrey Wright, the first time the role has gone to a black person in live-action. The other notable casting choice is Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway have played the character on film before Kravitz. 
As far as I'm concerned, the choice to diversify the cast was carried out oddly. The reason is that both Wright's Jim Gordon and Kravitz's Catwoman were exceedingly white presenting. These are two characters with deep roots in the world of Batman. Wright's voice in the film was reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series from the mid-1990s, which I enjoyed immensely as a kid. This Gordon felt familiar. His demeanor, tone, mannerisms, vocabulary, temperament, everything came across as very white. Similarly, Catwoman, from her choice of clothing and style, the motorcycle she rode, her sense of loyalty and justice, the way she presented herself, never once seemed like a person of mixed Jewish and black ancestry. Even her habit of adopting stray cats felt almost stereotypically white. 
This presentation of characters is both good and bad. Good because I could watch the near three-hour movie, where Gordon and Catwoman have significant screen time, without feeling like diversity is pushed on me. And it's bad for the same reason. The subtly of replacing historic white characters with those who are not white was so soft it managed to not even offend me, somebody who is hypersensitive to these deliberate casting choices. My fear is that the "normal" audience will see this very seamless transition on-screen as an indication that transferring to a less-white society will be equally well ordered in the real world. 
There was a line about white privilege during a dialogue between Batman and Catwoman. A single line in the almost three-hour-long film. It felt hamfisted and out of place. Nowhere in Gotham is "white privilege" on display. An entirely black presenting character, Bella Reàl, wins the mayoral race. Perhaps not an indication of pervasive white privilege in Gotham, but a sign that a new regime is underway, similar to the gang member being initiated. I believe the symbolism was deliberate and connected.
Catwoman complains to Batman the city is run by “white privileged assholes” who face no accountability. She states this after correctly assuming that Batman “grew up rich.” The line was so odd and out of place it nearly felt like the fourth wall was broken. As if Kravitz turned to the camera mid-scene, stopped, dropped character, and said, "oh, did you think you could go see a movie and escape anti-white politics? For an entire three hours? I don't think so." 
Almost as if there is some Hollywood "checkbox" that must be marked before production can be finalized and distributed. 
Let's talk white privilege in Gotham. The major players in corruption and drug production are all white, as presented in the film. Falcone, Maroni, DA Colson, “the Penguin,” and Mayor Mitchell are among the key players in corruption in Gotham, all white men. However, their victims are also primarily portrayed as whites. The disappearance of a young blonde cocktail waitress, Annika, who is Catwoman’s roommate, is the nexus of her involvement in the first place. The Riddler, the primary antagonist of the plot, also white, is somebody who felt deeply wronged by the system of corruption at the highest levels of Gotham. The Riddler grew up an orphan in what sounded to be horrific conditions, turned into a forensic accountant, and eventually vigilante / super-villain due to witnessing the corruption firsthand and it harming his own life. 
There was undoubtedly an element of class privilege present. Ideas that there are inner circles in the political world where one can be beyond the reaches of the justice system. Perhaps this film's line and society have deemed that concept of "white privilege," but I think if that's the case, it dramatically misses the mark. And beyond any class privilege that may exist, you still need to be an "insider." Bruce Wayne, despite his wealth, was never privy to the inner workings of the city's corruption. 
Themes of Fringe Movements and Justice:
Throughout the film, The Riddler communicates with 500 social media followers, who are described as "real fringe types." His followers are also troubled with the status of corruption and decay permeating Gotham City, and like Riddler, they want something to be done about it. They, of course, cheer on Riddler as he goes about dismantling the criminal underworld, corrupt police officers, all while revealing some of Gotham's dark secrets. 
As far as I could tell, Batman and The Riddler had the same goals. They want Gotham to be a friendly, safe, high trust, and well-functioning city. A place people could be proud to call him, not a haven for corruption and good people being victimized at every turn. 
Batman himself is derided as a "freak" by some in law enforcement while seen as a welcomed addition by others. This theme plays out in Nolan's trilogy as well, as it does through the entire canon of Batman. In The Dark Knight (2008), The Joker tells Batman, "You're just a FREAK. Like me." 
After meeting The Riddler, upon hearing how he sees Batman as a kindred spirit and fellow traveler, Batman is repulsed and calls The Riddler a freak. 
Throughout the history of Batman, the idea that the line of justice is very blurry is common. As is the dialectical nature of Batman and the villains, who are often similarly motivated, interested in similar ends perhaps, but disagree on the proper way to arrive at the destination.
Both Batman and The Riddler are so disgusted by the city's corruption that they are willing to give up their lives to pursue a better Gotham. At the corrupt Mayor Mitchell's funeral, we even see a group of citizens gathering to support The Riddler's activism. The film wants us to think they are lunatics with fringe views and wants us to support Batman and Jim Gordon, but I struggled personally to see the internal rationale or consistency of the writers. It has to be beyond vague appeals to the "justice process." By the very nature of Batman, a masked vigilante, the justice process is being shirked, with one man acting as judge, jury, and hangman. 
In all, the film was beautiful. The gothic architecture and styling were immersive. The split-window Corvette replacing Bale's Bruce Wayne's Lamborghini was a perfect fit for the start of the new, darker Batman film series. The music was sullen and well placed. 
Finally, Bruce Wayne's monologues come from his daily journaling. It was a great touch, filled with several interesting insights relatable to people like us. We are privy to the reclusive thoughts of the billionaire orphan trying to fix the only city he has ever called home. Bruce is filled with doubt that anything he can do will matter. He has little faith his efforts are anything but in vain, yet he carries on night after night.
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Walled Garden Internet Theory
The New Online Experience:
What once felt like wandering through a whimsically vast and wild forest kingdom with new and exciting things to discover the further you walked is now more akin to a carefully manicured walled garden. Journeying through the forest, one gets the impression nobody "owns" what lies beyond the next forest clearing. Each domain, the caves, the rivers and creeks, the canopy, and the mountains are independent while interconnected. 
Contrast with the walled garden. Hedgerows, stone walls, and iron gates delineate outside with obvious distinctions. You stay on the pathways in the garden and admire the carefully planned and manicured horticulture. The brickwork and fountains are beautiful, perhaps enough to make you forget what is beyond the garden walls. That might be the point, certainly part of the allure of the walled garden. 
Walled gardens have a clear end as well. You walk the paths, as expansive as one may be, imagine the Gardens of Versailles, they will bring you back to where you started. You will know when you have seen all there is to see. When you're in the forest, you move slowly, unsure what may dwell beyond the light. The beginning and the end blur quickly, almost as if they could go on forever. 
The internet feels like it is shrinking. I used to joke with a couple of friends about how we have "read the entire internet." Meaning we would check for updates on websites we frequented to find no new articles or information. At a certain point, it felt like we had seen all there was to see, like a museum that never changes installations. Worse, a museum that slowly removes some of your favorite exhibits without replacing any of them.
I had thought this was perhaps in my imagination, or maybe the novelty of "going online" wore off. Yet the feeling that the internet is smaller than it was in the late 1990s is one I could not quite shake. Several different thoughts and experiences led me to the view I hold now. In 1998 when I was little kid, I would search things like "are UFOs real" and "where bigfoot lives.” I would get all sorts of fun and interesting results; personal blogs, articles, book reviews, message boards of enthusiasts, encounter stories, cryptid tracker societies, now I see pablum from prominent news sites.
First, I realized the common notion that "the totality of mankind's knowledge is online" was simply wrong. Some version of this statement has long been repeated about living in the information age. It might even be the defining meaning of the information age, but it's wrong and always has been.
There is much that is not online or available. Many things are rightfully copyrighted and protected. You may disagree with the philosophy and laws around intellectual property, but that doesn't change their inaccessibility. For example, regarding those items, textbooks, even if you had the text, would not replace, say, a university course on the topic. What you can learn about Constitutional Law, for example, online or via books available to the wider public will merely scratch the surface of what you would learn in a year's worth of lectures in law school. The internet cannot replace the way knowledge is passed in certain ways. 
I once set out trying to perform clean-room level hard drive recoveries on failed disks. This caused me to run into another barrier, trade secrets and specific processes are guarded by companies or industries. These will never be online. Much of the "deep information" humans have will never be online due to people wanting to retain the ability to make money off something or for the fact that some skills and information require an interactive process to learn. Not everything can be learned and understood in front of a computer screen. These facts alone undermine the concept of the information age as it was marketed to me.
What we are left with, to start, is a much shallower pool of information. The internet looks deeper than it is. Far from containing the entire breadth of human knowledge, we are presented with the Potemkin village version of information. You can gain a superficial understanding of most topics, but when you look behind the façade, there is surprisingly little online. Often only clues and the necessity to carry on in the real world.
There’s a fascinating little experiment you can do yourself, pick a topic to Google search, I’ll pick “ford mustang.” The initial results generally show over one billion, in this case, 1.42 billion. Then click the next page until the end… it's not as crazy as it sounds. My search for "ford mustang" ended on page 13, with 125 results returned. Google will display a message at the bottom saying similar results have been omitted, but you can repeat the search with previously omitted results -- great! I click that link. Google now says there are 1.4 billion results, somehow less than initially returned. Now, my search ends on page 42, with 418 results returned. I’m not sure what to make of this. Neither 1.42 billion nor 418 can be accurate. But I know there is a fiction that the internet is impossibly large with the ability to learn everything there is to know. 
And this is all before censorship began. 
The Beginning of The End:
Much has been written on what I call overt censorship. That is banning social media accounts, various de-platforming schemes, denying services such as PayPal to people and organizations based on their legally held political views, protected speech, and the like.
Not much has been said about what I call covert or latent censorship, which is, in my view, far more insidious and where the walled garden turns more into a labyrinth in its difficulty to find anything. 
Over the past few years, I have noticed Google search changing for the worse. What once was a tool I could use to navigate the forest became something that would only display a curated set of seemingly pre-approved results. First, I noticed what wasn't being returned anymore or suggested. There was a period in the early 2000s to mid-2010s when searching a controversial or politically incorrect topic would return results from forums such as 4chan's /pol/ (pol short for politically incorrect),'s /Misc/ (short for miscellaneous), and even the infamous Stormfront. If I searched for a contentious topic or video, I began to notice that I would no longer see the piece itself but mainstream commentary discussing the content I was seeking. Often an SPLC or ADL article editorializing the website would appear, or a mainstream news outlet discussing a certain video, instead of the source video or material itself. And most recently, I've found that even mundane and non-political content is more difficult to find, to the point that Google search is nearly useless. 
Searching anything tends to return little more than a handful of mainstream media articles telling you how to think about a certain topic and shopping recommendations from box stores. There was a time when you could Google a forum post in a thread, and it would find the exact post in a multi-page thread on a forum. 
I thought this was all in my head. That is until I made a post about all of this on Twitter that went viral with over 250,000 impressions in a couple of days, thousands of likes, hundreds of retweets, and comments of others noticing the same trends. Then, just over two weeks after my Twitter thread on the topic, The New York Times ran a piece called “Fed Up With Google, Conspiracy Theorists Turn to DuckDuckGo.”[1] Mr. Thompson calls it a conspiracy theory that people have noticed Google is manipulating search results. He then quotes studies and statements from Google that affirm that search results are indeed manipulated.  
“In a statement, Google said, “There is no merit to the suggestion that search results were manually edited.” But the company added that its algorithm would automatically adjust itself in some cases, shifting to rank trustworthy links higher than more relevant ones.” Because of the tags and signals, nothing needs to be manually edited, only the weight given to certain tags and signals in the algorithm. Although what Google is saying is technically true, there is a sleight of hand taking place. When something is tagged as “untrustworthy,” it never needs to be manually edited, the display algorithm takes care of the rest. 
The “open and free internet” theory of the internet has been discarded and replaced with a more “curated” approach, creating the walled garden. Google decides what it sees as "trustworthy" and "relevant." DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg announced similar measures to down-rank what they deem "disinformation." DuckDuckGo also said they are working on ways to limit the “spread of false and misleading information.” In a statement from Bing, “Finding the right balance between delivering authoritative results that match the intent of a search query and protecting users from being misled is a very challenging problem,” and “We won’t always get that balance just right, but that’s our goal.”
After the 2016 election, the open and free internet was partially blamed for Trump’s win and Clinton’s defeat. Jack Goldsmith wrote an essay called “The Failure of Internet Freedom,” where he blamed the openness of the internet in part for Trump’s election and undermining democracy.[2] The social media and tech companies took note. The open and free internet might allow things to get away from them, something they wish not to happen again.[3]
In late 2016, after Donald Trump won the election, there was a bit of a Google search kerfuffle. The issue was around the most sacred of topics, the holocaust. At some point, a journalist realized if you typed "did the hol…" into Google, not only would Google autocomplete the search to "did the holocaust happen?" it would return results from websites such as Stormfront, The Daily Stormer, among others. Sites that question the official narrative put forward by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The History Channel, and Steven Spielberg. The story of Google results returning results of people discussing holocaust skepticism and revisionism was a massive story at the time, with dozens of outlets partaking in outrage and calling for Google to censor the sites and change their search algorithm to “fix this problem”. On The Guardian, "This is hate speech. It’s lies. It’s racist propaganda. And Google is disseminating it.” The same author wrote a story detailing how the rightwing websites have “colonized vast swaths of the internet.”[4] Cadwalladr argued that Google is not simply a search engine or platform, but something that “frames, shapes and distorts how we see the world.” And she is entirely correct, for better or worse.[5]
Cadwalladr tried another Google experiment, typing “are jews,” to see what the autocomplete suggestions would be. They returned results such as “are jews white?,” are jews a race?,” and “are jews evil?” She was distraught as many results on the first page of Google results confirmed that, yes, jews are indeed evil. She was again aggrieved to find people online suggesting Hitler was one of the good guys.[6]
Writing for MIC, one journalist wrote an appeal to Google to alter results favoring "authoritative" sites, meaning ones that agree with her very liberal and Jewish view of history and politics. She wrote, "Google is a tech company, not a media outlet, but users trust the search engine to return accurate information, not false, hateful content highlighted by algorithms that can't discriminate against anti-Semitic lies. When conspiracy theory outranks truth, that isn't just irresponsible — it's normalizing hate.”[7]
One Twitter friend commented on my thread about Google search saying as recent as a few years ago, YouTube would recommend him videos that offered a different view of the holocaust. He wrote, "admittedly, I was partially radicalized thanks to YouTube a decade ago." 
Today, if you Google search "did the holocaust happen?" the results return no revisionism or skepticism. You will instead find links on how to fight holocaust denial and studies suggesting not enough people are educated about the holocaust. I guess, in a peculiar way, I can agree with that. However, somewhere between being able to find people questioning historical events and crimes, to today, something has changed. The vast forest has been cut down and manicured. You are now led down a garden path seeing what they want you to see, in an attempt to ensure you think what they want you to think.
Two recent examples of how Google search failed:
Somebody asked me for an article I wrote a few years ago. I  typed in the exact name of the article, the website, and my name on Google search. The article was not returned via search results. Often the exact title of certain articles or links will fail to return the piece, only mainstream commentary on the general topic of the article. 
Around the same time, I read a book published in 1924 Germany, "Atlantis, Edda & Bible." The book I was reading cited another German text from 1921 called "A giant crime against the German people." I wanted to find the book cited, I searched Google, the results were nothing but articles and books about Hitler and the Holocaust. The book I wanted to find pre-dated the Second World War by twenty years. Pre-dated the 1933 election by nearly a decade and was earlier even to the Beer Hall Putsch. Based on the Google results, one might get the impression history started sometime in the 1940s. Instead of giving me clues to finding an exceedingly rare book likely housed in some Black Forest monastery, I was instead given what they think is appropriate for me to know of German history. This is many things. Insulting. Deceptive. Corrupt. 
The Nightmare of Data Rot: 
The specter of data rot haunts me like a ghoul in the night. It's always there, yet difficult to point to or explain. It's the surreal nature of ephemerality that constantly flashes before my eyes as phantasmagoria.
The transitory nature of the internet became increasingly apparent to me over my time as a writer. From the time I wrote a manuscript in its initial draft stages to the time for a final review, I realized a great number of citations had invalid links. The articles or studies were either removed or moved to a different URL. In a couple of instances, more controversial pieces were removed entirely from the web. In many instances, the titles or text itself changed. I started to archive every link I use for a citation or anything I find interesting. Things that are of particular interest to me I download to keep a local copy. Still, this is not satisfactory, knowing that even solid-state disks are not a permeant solution. 
Several studies on links going dark provide more insight into the issue. Somewhere between 44 days and 100 days is the average lifespan of an internet page.[8] Analysis by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group in 2011 looked into link rot and found after one year, 8.3% of links they sampled were dead. After two years, 14.3% were gone. And after four years, over 30% of the links were invalid.[9] Link rot affects governments sites, university sites, and dot com sites at the same rate. According to a Harvard Law Review study, web links found in Supreme Court decisions, some of the most important documents any American government entity publishes are invalid at a rate of nearly 50%.[10] Nobody is immune. 
This heightened my fear of data rot – the gradual deterioration of a data medium over time until the eons eventually consume it. Hard drives experience bit rot over time, discs rot, batteries inside things like video game cartridges die, and the save files become erased. Even your old cassette tapes will eventually stop working even if they have been sitting entirely unused. The transition to digital mediums presents a serious problem for the posterity of anything we wish to preserve as a people. 
Letters sent to loved ones and friends from hundreds of years ago are still around. My dad has a box of letters from his time in Vietnam that have survived all these years. Emails I’ve sent of similar importance to my life and things I’ve published online all face an uncertain future. On top of the normal issues of being lost, destroyed, and forgotten, data rot becomes an even more looming threat with time on its side. 
Notes on Dead Internet Theory:
Dead Internet theory is an idea that I first noticed circulating message boards in the summer of 2021. The theory is straightforward enough that part of the reason the internet feels perhaps hollow, empty, static, or like a re-run is because it might not be as real or human as we have believed. 
The theory is that artificial intelligence generates a substantial share of the content online, from articles to posts in the comment sections. Comment sections filled with bots spamming advertisement links and the proliferation of promoted ads and content is a fact of the internet today.
Internet content has drifted towards centralization for years. This is partially a function of shifting from Web 1.0, where personal web pages and static content was the norm, to Web 2.0, which introduced social media platforms and new ways of interacting. Many of the various message boards for hobbies or personal blogs are now on social media sites, where they can be monitored, censored, and deleted easily. 
And finally, to my point, search engines make obscure and independently written articles and posts more and more difficult to find, favoring affiliated content and sites over everything else. Part of the reason the internet feels so much smaller and as if it is closing in on us is that instead of having a selection of sites and forums you might visit, we are corralled together on a handful of common sites. Add in data/link rot, with search engine optimization designed to make non-approved content difficult to find, and we have the phenomena of a dead internet or one that is akin to walking a walled garden path. 
Although artificial intelligence-generated content seems a bit far-fetched, it's a reality. There are companies that specialize in natural language generators. If you've been online for a while, you might recall the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) bot called SmarterChild. That was over twenty years ago. 
If you search Google, DuckDuckGo, and Yandex for “dead internet theory,” the results are quite different, which I take as another clue in solving what many of us have experienced. On Google, the first page of links is filled with articles “debunking” the idea of dead internet theory and claims that it is simply an incorrect conspiracy theory. One link is to a video that discusses the theory with sincerity. 
DuckDuckGo (powered by Bing) fares a bit better. Like Google, the first result is from The Atlantic, claiming the theory is flat-out wrong. The other links are to sites discussing the idea. 
Finally, on Yandex, the compiled Agora Road thread that primarily started the discussion is found as the first result. And this feels the most correct. If I search for something, I want the root source, not journalists telling me what to think about it. Following the original thread on Yandex is a Reddit thread on the topic, then the article by The Atlantic, followed by more articles discussing dead internet theory. Results on Yandex are the most similar to how I remember the internet. Real people on message boards and forums discussing a topic. That experience is fading.
I often wonder about old blogs I used to read and follow that suddenly went dormant or were taken down by the owner. What happened to them? Why did they leave? Are they still online but under a new persona? Are they okay? Offline for good? Dead? I have an old blog or two I've left without explanation. Sometimes, rarely, a blog receives a message or comment years since the last post. Looking at them feels like looking at a past life. I wonder if any of the people who followed me on any old blogs have found me here. Maybe others came back as "somebody else" too in the way I have through the years. Perhaps that's simply what people do who have been online for a long while—a sort of online pseudo-reincarnation. I hope in this life I find enlightenment. But I'm not counting on it. 

The internet as a tool for individual users is still valid but largely betrayed in favor of use for those with leverage, like Google, for political and financial ends.
Once an interesting and exciting experience, the new internet feels very sterile. It’s the same experience over and over. The sterility is partially due to a heavy-handed moderation and censorship regime that includes manipulating search results to prioritize official outlets to push particular narratives and incessant advertising.
There was a time when you could search for a current topic, particularly contentions one such as a Black Lives Matter riot, a racially charged violent crime, or divisive elections, and the results would return forum topics with real people giving their opinion on the matters. One could get a better sense of what normal people thought; for these purposes, we will not consider mainstream journalists as real people. It was much easier to have your thumb on the pulse of what middle Americans were thinking and feeling. Instead of an article telling you what to think and feel, you might find forum posts of somebody who had a transgressive opinion or first-hand knowledge of how violent a "peaceful protest" actually was. 
Now, in addition to being difficult to find anything, especially what real people are thinking and saying, the public record is being heavily corrupted by censorship which includes the latent censorship of search result manipulation.  
As an aside, censorship of politically dissident views corrupts the public record in an odd way. It might appear at some point in the future if one were researching historic events online, that the views surrounding a given topic were entirely uniform. This is odd to me because it seems that acknowledging the existence of opposing views is important to contextualize any disagreement. There is a disingenuity surrounding a topic when you can only find one side of the story. The censoring of dissident views almost undermines the position of the censor and lends inherent credibility to the censored. 
Much of what made Google the premier search engine, so much that the name became synonymous with the word “search,” was their intricate and clever use of signals. There is a geographic signal, for example, meaning if you’re searching for “pizza” while in Cleveland, Ohio, that should return a different set of pizza restaurants than if you were to search it from Hollywood Hills, California. Another signal is how words might be defined by their context. “Bio” when placed after a historical figure such as "Henry Ford bio" means biography. But "bio" placed before "chemistry" or "hazard" no longer means biography but biological. 
Google has a signal that gives extra weight or removes weight from sites they deem to be true or not. There are hundreds of signals that interact and intersect with each other that all have various weights to produce the result of links after your search. 
Search algorithms are not so much about matching what you typed in exactly, but about what you meant and what you are trying to find. With that philosophy in mind, we can understand why my search for a rare German book from a century ago might have returned results about the Third Reich. Or why when searching for an interesting theory about the internet, the first result is an article from The Atlantic assuring me it’s not true. At a certain point, Google stopped weighing what I wanted to find as heavily as they weighed what they wanted me to see. And that changed everything. 
With results censorship and how weighted results are for money or political ends, even non-political searches are failing. Sometimes dozens of sponsored ads and articles appear before what we might have once called “organic results” appear. There was an era when YouTube would recommend very controversial videos to a user if they were searching for such content, it was organic, the search algorithms were responding to what people wanted to find. Now they respond to what they want you to find, in spite of your intent. Google purchased YouTube in 2006.
There is a point of profound irony in how I learned about the way Google’s algorithm operates. It was not online at all. In an era when we are told everything we might want to learn is online, I learned this information from a hard copy of Wired Magazine from March of 2010. A featured story from the over decade old magazine I had in my library titled “Inside Google: An Exclusive Look At The Web’s Ultimate Algorithm.” Much of what helped me to understand and unravel the mystery of the changing online experience wasn’t found online, the place we are accustomed to looking for everything. It was found the way we have always found information, on print in a library.
The internet started as a method for communication, not a library or method of storage. It might be prudent to keep that in mind. There were many grand ideas put forth and promises made, most of which never came to pass. The entirety of human information is far from being available online, and if it were, it would be ever fleeting. There is no doubt the world was changed by the internet, yet as a tool, it is a mixed bag. It's still useful and saves time. The speed at which I was able to find sources for this article was far higher than my days as a kid at the library doing research for middle school papers. With that speed and convenience also comes the ability to alter the public record and even perception of reality itself by those in control. Perhaps as we transition into Web 3.0 and beyond, the issues of data rot and search manipulation will ease. We can hope anyway. 
I do not believe the internet is entirely "dead." But there is something to the theory. The proliferation of automated bot replies, similar articles, and the increasing difficulty to find what individuals have written, such as their blogs or forum posts, are not easy to find. Everything seems to be from the corporate media, businesses, or governments. Perhaps "dead" isn't the most accurate phrasing. Maybe Zombie internet is more exact. On top of being wiped out entirely, the information left online is walled off from us intentionally through manipulating search results and blacklisting. There are certain websites that Facebook, and thus Instagram, will not allow you to message another person privately. Counter-Currents is one of those sites. You will see a red "x" next to the link with a message that could not be sent. It is possible, and part of my theory, that the internet may be functionally smaller now than it was ten or twenty years ago. While the total number of websites is, of course, reported at an all-time high, there seems to be little that is new. Everything is copacetic if you are trying to find something from a box store for sale, pornography, or mainstream media content. 
As for the rest of us among the living, we walk the walled garden -- hoping for a glimpse beyond the high walls and all too well-manicured hedgerows. 
[1] Stuart Thompson. February 23, 2022. “Fed Up With Google, Conspiracy Theorists Turn to DuckDuckGo.” The New York Times. [][2] Jack Goldsmith. “The Failure of Internet Freedom.” Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. June 13, 2018.[][3] David Wakabayashi. “As Google Fights Fake News, Voice on the Margins Raise Alarm.” The New York Times. September 26, 2017. [][4] Carole Cadwalladr. “Google, democracy and the truth about internet search.” The Guardian. December 4, 2016. [][5] Carole Cadwalladr. “Google is not ‘just’ a platform. It frames, shapes and distorts how we see the world.” The Guardian. December 11, 2016. [][6] It’s me, I’m people online.[7] Melanie Ehrenkranz. “Did the Holocaust happen? Google’s top search results still say it’s a hoax.” MIC. January 10, 2017. [] Melanie Ehrenkranz. “Google’s acceptance of Nazi search results is normalizing hate.” MIC. December 13, 2016.[][8] Brewster Kahle. “Preserving the Internet.” Scientific American. Weiss. “On the Web, Research Work Proves Ephemeral.” The Washington Post. November 24, 2003. []Mike Ashenfelder. “The Average Lifespan of a Webpage.” Library of Congress. November 8, 2011. [][9] “Link Rot” and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2011 Analysis by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group. [] [10] Jonathan Zittrain, Kendra Albert and Lawrence Lessig. “Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations.” Harvard Law Review. March 17, 2017. []
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A Response to “An Open Letter to White Men in America,” by a White Man in America.
Written back in 2015, a minister and president of the UCC, a protestant denomination, John Dorhauer, penned an op-ed for Huffington Post. It is one of what feels like an endless stream of blood libel coming from our many enemies. The bad news is it's impossible to keep up and reply to each one. The good news is we don't need to. I often come back to this blog post by Dorhauer because it seems to have a little bit of everything in one place. In a way, this minister did us a favor by creating a one-stop-shop of common lies and accusations leveled against us. 
Now, let us take a look at these claims.[1]
Dorhauer starts, "Dear White Men, You are persons of privilege." Here, he means some nebulous unearned and undeserved privilege that gave us all the world for nothing in return. From the outside looking in, a mystical explanation might seem reasonable, "privilege." when comparing the White man to the others, it might seem like some ethereal force granted us the ability to create, reason, build and destroy with superhuman prowess. But privilege cannot exist in a vacuum. It had to come from somewhere, and I suppose a religious man could argue God himself bestowed the White man with abilities beyond the norm, in which case surely a minister would understand God works in mysterious ways. If it wasn't God-given, then any advantage White men might possess must have been bestowed upon their civilization and through their struggles and toil. 
[For the sake of coherency of my replies, I’ve re-organized some of the paragraphs.]
Dorhauer goes on, "We aren't getting arrested at four times our population rate. We aren't being followed when walking through a department store wearing a sweatshirt with a hood."
-Liberals only seem to understand how per-capita works when it benefits them. Here, for example, they understand adjusting arrest rates for population percentages but do not understand arrest rates can also be understood as per crime rate. Blacks are arrested per their rates of criminality. In the USA, whites are arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate per their population than East Asians. I do not believe this is because East Asians have some "Asian privilege" in policing. I believe they commit less crime and are thus arrested and imprisoned at a lower rate than whites. The opposite is true of blacks and Latinos. 
Young white men are not being gunned down by black police officers in epidemic numbers.
-I did the math on this once. When you adjust for violent crime rate and police interactions by race, we find Whites are killed more by police than is warranted by their levels of police interactions and violent crime. 
“A far more appropriate statistic to use to determine this would be to take the number of annual arrests for violent crime for each racial group and compare those to the number of people who are killed by the police from each race. Both violent crime arrests and police killings are generally stable each year, with no indication that the arrest rates swing wildly back and forth between whites and blacks. Thus, in 2016, 153,341 blacks were arrested for violent crimes and 241,063 whites were arrested for violent crimes.[6] Also in 2016, 234 black people were killed by police, and police killed 466 whites.[7]If we divide the number of arrests of whites for violent crimes by the number of whites killed by police, we find one death for every 517 arrests. In regard to blacks, we find one death for every 655 arrests of violent criminals. When we really start to look at the math here, we find that police interaction are significantly deadlier for a white man than a black man.[2]
We are not saying to ourselves as part of a white man's code of conduct that when a police car drives by us without pulling us over even though we are exceeding the speed limit something like: "Well, once again I didn't get pulled over because I'm white.”
When I see a highway patrolman pass me by while I'm exceeding the speed limit or, as actually happened two weeks ago, I get pulled over for that and let off without a ticket, I say to myself: "That happened because I'm white."
-Again, this is not based in reality. Much like being killed by the police, Whites are pulled over and ticketed at a higher rate than their level of speeding would warrant. The New Jersey Turnpike study found that black drivers were almost twice as likely to be speeding. When adjusted for propensity to speed, we find Whites pulled over more.  
We are not saying to ourselves when the prosecutor reduces our son's charges from aggravated assault to loitering and sets him free with a small fine and time served: "Wow, that white prosecutor made sure my white son got a break that the black man who got convicted of that crime last week didn't get." 
-There is an endless list of blacks committing violent crimes and being given probation. A Black man in Tampa, Florida, killed a 77-year-old White man in a Dunkin' Donuts and was given only house arrest. The justification? The killer alleged the White man called him a n****r.[3] I wrote about the N-word defense before, it’s incredibly common, and it works.  
A very similar scenario happened at a county fair. The murderer received probation. It's constant. I've probably seen a hundred violent black on White crimes where the black was given probation or house arrest or something similar over the death of a White person.[4]
Real estate agencies didn't write codes, rules and laws that kept us out of the high rent districts and middle-class neighborhoods. 
Property values don't go down when more than 10 percent of our neighborhood is saturated with people of our race. 
-I'm working on an entire installment about this topic. In short, keeping neighborhoods "nice" means a lot of things. For one, it means keeping out crime and people likely to have their house foreclosed. The second statement by Dorhauer explains and, in a way, contradicts the first. Why would you want to allow people in your neighborhood if their mere existence lowers your property value? If you were a bank, why would you want to give people loans to move into an area where you've already made a lot of loans, knowing the value of your underlying collateral will take a huge hit? 
There is a reason certain people lower property values, and it's their own behavior. 
Our children aren't sitting in classrooms with teachers who are likely not to have even a minor degree in the courses they are teaching.
-I'm not sure what this is referring to exactly. I assume it's a statement about inadequate teachers in public schools in non-white neighborhoods? To me, that's between the community and the school. This really has nothing to do with White people. Inner-city Baltimore might as well be somewhere in Ghana, not our concern. This is nothing but blaming all of the world's perceived ills on the White man.
Our churches aren't being burned to the ground, nor or our church members in danger of being gunned down in prayer meetings. 
-There is an endemic of church burnings in Europe, for one. According to the Catholic News Agency, one church is burning every other week in France.[5]
The second part of this statement refers to Dylan Roof. And to that, I say, even if we claim Dylan as our own, totally own up to him and his actions, it pales in comparison to the violence Whites experience at the hands of non-whites every week. If there was a new Dylan Roof every day and black crime stopped tomorrow, it would take decades for the disparity in interracial crime to even out.
When I walk into a convenience store to get a receipt for my gas and the young woman at the counter greets me with a smile and a kind word, I tell myself "She felt comfortable doing that because I'm white."
-Young women feel more comfortable around other women than men because women are less likely to rape, murder, mug, or victimize them in some way. And this stands to reason because men commit far more violent crimes than women. Similarly, they feel safer around certain races for the same reason. This is very much a 7-11 Nationalism issue. 
Clerks have been set on fire, killed, stabbed, and it’s not often by White men.[6] This year, a woman working in an upscale furniture store was stabbed to death by a black man. The crime was called “random,” as always. But far from being random, these crimes fit a massive pattern of violent black on White crime.[7] In the case of the people set on fire during the robbery, the armed criminal already had them tied up and access to the money. It seems setting them on fire was purely for the joy of it.
One that hits close to home for me, a 7-11 clerk loved in her community for being such a central part of people's lives. She actually would take the time to know people's names; she was described as a "sweet soul," killed by a black robber.[8]
When I drive through the many border checkpoints we have set up here in the Southwest along the Mexican border, and as I roll down my window and make my stop at the guard gate, and as the border patrol agent simply glances at my face before waging me on with a perfunctory "have a good day," I say to myself: "That is the result of my being white."
-Well, yes. The southern border issue is about Mexicans, Central, and South Americans crossing illegally, not goofy-looking pencil necked middle-aged liberals. Sadly, and for now, that isn't who border patrol is trying to find and deport. 
When I taught White Privilege studies to a class of Masters of Divinity students at Eden Theological Seminary, the assignment I left the students with every day was this: "Tell me what you see." There is a passage in my sacred texts that reads: "Let those who have eyes to see, see." There is so much more to be seen than what white men will let their eyes take notice of. 
-Insert vague appeal to religiosity and moralizing the idea of "White privilege." Pretty standard fare here. Many use religion to justify their cultural or political views, and this is no exception. 
The journey to seeing and understanding the pernicious consequences of privilege includes the harder work of seeing what isn't there to be seen. 
I have started practicing this as a discipline.
I don't know in the end if any of those were in fact true statements. That isn't the point of this exercise. The point is to create a consciousness from which I can no longer let myself escape. 
-And the admission that he has no idea if any of this is true, and the further admission that it doesn't matter to him. In my book, I wrote extensively about how a crux of Liberalism seems to be a total lack of concern if anything they are saying is even true or based in reality. They rarely admit it isn't. This is, of course, welcomed as an admission against their interests. Dorhauer is quite literally saying that none of these "facts" could be true, and he would still want Whites to give up their schools, neighborhoods, safe corner stores, concerns about crime, and everything else that makes society tolerable, in favor of some vague sense of righteousness and "being a good person." 
I invite the white men of America with me on this journey of discovery. Ask those who don't share your privilege to tell you what they see. It may not have escaped your attention that whether we are talking about Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, what whites see and what blacks see are not the same thing. There is a reason for that. Privilege comes at a price -- and the price is the loss of a vision that admits facts that make accepting the privilege uncomfortable. 
The acceptance of this invitation, and the resulting years of work it will take us all to open our eyes to that we have been conditioned to ignore for the sake of our privilege, is the first step in the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. White men in America, I invite you to walk this road with me.
-I've heard enough from the likes of Dorhauer, the lies of BLM, academia, the media, Hollywood, and the rest of this loathsome coterie. I'm only interested in hearing from those who are like me, who see what I see and hear what I hear. 
Thank you for the invitation, Minister John Dorhauer, but I will not be walking with you on your journey. I have my own cross to bear, and the destination is in the other direction anyway. It will involve discovery and paying a high price; that is for certain, in fact, much has already been paid. Although I have little hope for much of anything these days, I’m still here because I feel them breathing down my neck more and more with each passing day. At some point, I realized people do not fight because they think they can win; they fight because with your back against the wall, it is the only option left.
[1] John C. Dorhauer. “An Open Letter to White Men in America.”  Huff Post. July 24, 2015. [][2][3] Vimal Patel. "Customer's Racial Slur Drew a Fatal Punch. The Sentence Is House Arrest." The New York Times. March 09, 2022. [][4] CBS Staff. “16-year-old Who Pleaded Guilty in Deadly Great Frederick Fair Attack Ordered to be placed on Probation." CBS Baltimore.[][5] Solène Tadié. “Why France is losing one religious building every two weeks.” Catholic News Agency. May 4, 2021. [][6] Ariel Zilber. “Socking moment gunman wraps a store clerk and customer in duct-tape, douses them in lighter fluid then sets the shopper on fire while robbing the store of $700.” Daily Mail. February 23, 2019. [][7] KJ Hiramoto. “24-year-old employee stabbed to death inside Hancock Park store in ‘random’ attack.” Fox 11. January 13, 2022. [][8] Ike Ejochi. “Authorities identify 7-Eleven clerk shot, killed in early morning robbery in Waldorf.” Fox 5 Washington DC. October 1, 2020. []
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