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- ‘My Little Pony’ Fans Are Ready to Admit They Have a Nazi ProblemMy Little Pony fans have had a Nazi problem for a long time.That sounds just as strange no matter how many times you say it. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon television show about friendship, compassion, and a group of magical horses with names such as Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy who live in a fantastical land called Equestria. It’s marketed to children. Nevertheless, it has an extremely dedicated adult fandom, which is mostly made up of men, or “bronies,” as they’ve been referred to for nearly a decade. Most of these men are white. Some of these men are vocal white supremacists.The brony subculture is about as niche as they come, born in internet forums in the early 2010s, an era when hyper-specific interests were the organizing principle of social media. Even so, bronies have long captured the world’s attention. They hold well-attended fan conventions; they’ve been… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Revenge of the SuburbsEditor’s Note: This article is part of “Uncharted,” a series about the world we’re leaving behind, and the one being remade by the pandemic.Lucy Honeychurch grew up at Windy Corner, a comfortable estate in a polite enclave outside London. It was pleasant in the way suburbs always are: The neighbors were friendly, and the environment, free from the noise and grime of the city, was perfect for children. Her father, who had built the house, took pride in situating his family amid “the best society obtainable.”But Honeychurch found the people dull and their aspirations banal. The neighbors were pleasant, but their “identical interests and identical foes,” as she put it, became suffocating. Suburbia, she concluded, was actually a horror.Honeychurch might as well be a Millennial Brooklynite media professional prepping for the launch of negroni season at the local gastropub, or an activist shaking her fist at local NIMBYs opposed to… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Reddit Is Finally Facing Its Legacy of RacismIn 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center called out Reddit as home to “the most violently racist” content on the internet, citing a constellation of antiblack forums, or subreddits, that had adopted the name “the Chimpire” and racked up tens of thousands of members before they were taken down that year. Reddit’s content policy prohibits inciting violence, as well as bullying and harassment, but it has never been very specific about where the lines are drawn. In 2018, when Reddit CEO Steve Huffman was asked about whether “obvious open racism” was against the company’s rules, he said, “It’s not.”Huffman backtracked at the time, vaguely saying that racism was allowed but not welcome. Then, last week, he made a company-wide announcement under a headline that included the phrase Black lives matter, and claimed that “our values are clear.” Reddit employees and users, he said, “do not tolerate hate, racism, and violence”—a… ..... Read More.1 month ago
- Big Tech’s Pandemic Power GrabPablo DelcanLong before the coronavirus pandemic, the tech industry yearned to prove its indispensability to the world. Its executives liked to describe their companies as “utilities.” They came by their self-aggrandizement honestly: The founding fathers of Big Tech really did view their creations as essential, and essentially good.In recent years, however, our infatuation with these creations has begun to curdle. Many Americans have come to view them as wellsprings of disinformation, outrage, and manipulation—and have noticed that the most profitable companies in human history haven’t always lived by the idealism of their slogans.Now an opportunity for the tech companies to affirm their old sense of purpose has arisen. In the midst of the pandemic, Google Meet has become a delivery mechanism for school. AmazonFresh has made it possible to shop for groceries without braving the supermarket.The government has flailed in its response to the pandemic, and Big Tech has presented… ..... Read More.1 month ago