Chapter Three is up
Woke up this morning totally motivated to finish chapter three, and that’s exactly what I did. My hits from Slate have given me 250 views in the last 16 or so hours, almost as many as I’ve had in total since starting the Project. Chapter three is a little bit shorter than the rest (11 or so vs. 15 or so), but strike while the iron is hot, eh what?
I won’t recap Tim Noah’s article, seeing as how most visitors are here because they read it to the end. But what struck me most was his analogy between chatbots (be they salesmen or sexy talkers, though of course the sexy talkers are salesmen too) and Fox and the other apparatchiks of the right wing Ministry of Propaganda: both tell you what you want to hear, both keep you “on the line” not by challenging you but by affirming you. (I Ditto, Therefore I Am.) And they do that by compiling a script of your hottest push buttons, and sticking to it.
The article sticks to the use of single words (with links to Glenn Beck on "socialism," "slavery," "destroy," and "confiscate"), whereas I set RUSHBOT up in chapter one with phrases – if only because given the current state of chatbots, it’s easier for them to speak in and understand phrases than to place single words in usable context. And of course because our last election, and our last administration, were fueled on phrases – “Standin’ Tall,” “Mission Accomplished,” “Cut and Run,” “Drill, Baby, Drill,” “Joe the Plumber,” or whatever Karl Rove had printed up in Robocop Bold text repeatedly on the blue screen behind Bush (“Spreading Safer Freedom” or whatever the talking point was). Two to three words seems to be the maximum allowable size for summing up a stupid idea.
My mission now, now that a reasonable amount of attention has got me out of my slump and back to writing actual chapters, is to keep the momentum going – regular posts and research, yes, but also, finally, getting the novel itself moving forward again.