semantic usefulness, craven studies

2 min readMay 29, 2024

in many ways, i am like a dog returning to its own sick, in talking about instagram sociology. yet, i have to, because the thoughts i have attempted to bottle up over the past two days are about to erupt.

calling the currently-massively shared image tasteless seems inappropriate. in times of genocide, taste (or lack of it shouldn’t really come into things), yet, it has. probably the most apt representation of our current techno-neo-proto-ante-eco-fascist lives that to be seen to condemn genocide, you must share a very-clearly ai generated image. or, perhaps, the implication of condemning genocide is expected already, and sharing this new! image means that you have a renewed focus on it. you have eyes on rafah, and are imploring others to have eyes. but in the time of massacre after massacre, what do eyes do? seeing suffering doesn’t make you a good person in and of itself. this neo-cause celebre comes from good intentions, but what do good intentions do when covered in a sheen of lightly crass virtue signalling? what’s the point? is it better to maintain things as usual in the face of utmost depravity, or to tell others to view the utmost depravity? email, repost, get down on your knees and beg your MP to be a normal human being. to what end? assuage ourselves, tell ourselves that we can/are doing something? in the grand scheme of things, are we? are we changing anybody’s mind? are we really “putting eyes on rafah”, or are we trying to project ourselves as Good People?

if you share the image, you probably are a good person. and i am an unerring cynic. and, for the vast majority of people, the action to share it was a simple one to decide on and undertake. we like to feel that we are doing something. often we are. this time though, are we? even removing the individual, has the millions of instagram accounts haring this image done anything but beget the most annoying people you know to write something about it, even if it feels similarly crass to go recursively meta? i doubt any needle has been shifted, any new opinion been expressed. israel is a society built on the systematic extermination of palestinians, to act like putting eyes on the newest massacre is a noble act, or an act even worth undertaking is too hopeful for me. then again, what can i hope for, or implore to happen? what’s it all about? peace in our times, i guess. anything more is too much to hope for. discourse during wartime is a futile endeavour, but so is everything else done from the comfort of our homes.

no conclusion here yet. what’s the point?