My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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for my own notes, i am going to respond to a comment as part of my journal.. the question was why am i so bothered by people striving to have wealthy places to live…

because the ideas are being sold, being commercialized, not really for real or attainable. it’s what creates genuine class division in the us, what magnifies it.. those who are striving to be a part of the elite, and therefore the elite becomes accepted, acknowledged and not questioned for the in appropriateness of its existance or its actions.

for example, thinking about all of the $300/$500/$600 cashback shit that everyone is getting right now. the poorest communities receive nothing through this taxback. they don’t pay enough taxes to get a cashback; the services that are targeted at them are being cutback because there is not enough money in the federal reserve to pay for it and the rich are getting enough money to buy another pair of shoes. the result of political payoffs is socially devastating. and yet, the public impression is that this is all good because it’s our tax money anyhow and it’s great that the gov’t is giving it back. the republicans have succeeded in screwing the people systemically for political advertising and it is so painful to watch.

likewise, corporate america has created a set of desires that ultimately harm the people who are paying the $12 to imagine it. the goal becomes wealth, not happiness, because happiness cannot be purchased in a $2 million house with all the trimmings and outdoor speakers. people overlook why it is that corporations are selling them this image of success. sure, there are some great artistic questioning of this, even in the mainstream (see traffic for a great example of rich != happiness). but these actions only magnify those beliefs, and reduce our understanding of why class is a (very undiscussed) problem in the US.

and it just makes me wimper and cry and feel aweful to think that people have bought into the american dream at their own expense. people want to work 70 hours a week with only 2 weeks vacation a year in order to pursue an unreachable dream. they seek long-term happiness without realizing that this cannot be actualized because the system has put proper barriers in the way. it makes me angry at the producers of such ideas and depressed at the reaction of the people.

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