All Day Cookie Dough

What are we Dune Two Tiktok?

Aaron Bady overthought Dune Two, both the movie and how it functions in the shadow of Frank Herbert’s “dialogue-heavy, endlessly didactic brick of a novel:”

A 2024 Herbert would surely have had things to say regarding the role of Israel in the maintenance of U.S. global hegemony, A.I., and everything else that our politics are about. They may have been terrible; he might have been obsessed with Hillary Clinton, and he might have warned about the woke deep state conspiracy to turn your children trans. Maybe he’d be a crypto guy; I feel confident that he’d have loved large language models. But his takes would have been scorching.

Villeneuve seems to be mainly saying, “Look, it’s Dune!”

Meanwhile I spent most of the day underthinking Dune Two, which is to say intermittently hollering “all day cookie dough” at my increasingly annoyed dog:


I couldn’t unhear this… so I animated it. #cartman #dune #cookiedough #ericcartman #southpark #dune2 #dunemovie #denisvilleneuve #hanszimm... See more

But does anyone know what we’re Dune Two TikTok? With his characteristic measured reticence, Mike Masnick wrote that “Banning TikTok Is Unconstitutional & Won’t Do Shit To Deal With Any Actual Threats.” Donald Trump, clearly tracking the policy debate closely, suggested that: “…what you can do is let them sell TikTok. Let them sell it on the market. Maybe get a good price, maybe not a get a good price— I don’t know.” Some Gordian statesmanship from the smoothest-brained sundowning grandpa ever to pronounce “China” with a hard J.

In The Verge Lauren Feiner reported where the new TikTok ban even came from all of a sudden, and heard a tale of Congressional phone lines jammed with panicked TikTokers, all purportedly little kids who don’t know how a phone works:

But the clincher was an in-app congressional call-in campaign that backfired spectacularly. When TikTok rolled out notifications to its users urging them to call their representatives, phone lines immediately became clogged across Capitol Hill. Congressional staffers told The Verge about the calls from “students in near tears” with the “chatter of the classroom behind them.”

​​”They’re flooding our offices, often from kids who are about as young as nine years old, their parents have no idea that they’re doing this, they’re calling in, and they’re basically saying things like, ‘What is Congress? What’s a congressman, can I have my TikTok back?’” Krishnamoorthi told The Verge

The children! Who will protect the children!!!

“And this is exactly the kind of influence campaign which, in the hands of a foreign adversary in a moment of national peril, could sow chaos and discord and division in a way that could really harm our national security to the benefit of a foreign adversary.”

Moral panics don’t get much more straightforward than “the Communist Chinese built a tween mind control app.” In sharp contrast with this embarrassing bullshit, Henry Farrell and Cosma Shalizi just published a paper in the Communications of the ACM that suggests “algorithmic rabbit holes” of the type a TikTok ban is allegedly meant to address can’t be meaningfully blamed for online radicalization. In his newsletter Programmable Mutter, Farrell explains their model suggests that at worst algorithms merely speed up what people already do anyway.

At long last, we have invented the Advertising Mind Control Machine from classic 1950s sci-fi story, Don’t Create the Advertising Mind Control Machine. Dance, zombie, dance!

But is any of this actually right?

…The model predicts a fairly straightforward outcome. If people are able to search for evidence and arguments that confirm their biases, and to easily publish such evidence too, they will tend to create large online communities glom together around shared rationalizations, defend them, and produce more of them. In other words: hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed. You don’t need modern social media algorithms to act as Virgils, conducting people into our current online inferno. There are entrances everywhere, and all you need to find them is open search, easy self-publishing and ordinary human psychology.

It’s like no one even remembers the blogosphere existed.

Today in the 90s: Ben Folds Five Marriages. I’m not sure why this story from December is going around today, but it’s either causing or riding a wave of 90s themed tabs. Here’s Jay Babcock in Landline on exactly how and when to be lucky, if you want to experience a cultural moment (spoiler, it was “be young in the 90s”):

Everybody seemed to know about KBLT, a music-based pirate radio station you could hear at 104.7FM. It was supposed to be run from a secret location somewhere in Silver Lake. A woman named Paige was in charge…

KBLT was illegal, but stayed on the air during this period because the FCC was not enforcing the law—apparently the agency was awaiting a judge's ruling on some kind of lawsuit, brought by extremely smart and savvy microradio advocates, before it would start shutting down the crop of illegal microradio stations like KBLT that were cropping up across the nation.

Sue “a woman named Paige” Carpenter is currently Kickstartering a documentary about KBLT which looks pretty cool. Of course the only reason it needs kickstartering at all is to pay music licensing fees, because the squares, narcs, and greedheads won, like they always do. Werner Herzog and Nic Cage will reportedly team up again for the first time since they made Herzog’s greatest film “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” based on the title of Abel Ferrara’s otherwise unrelated 1992 film “Bad Lieutenant,” which makes this legitimate 90’s news. And via Garbage Day, here’s how to listen to your favorite song whenever you want.

Gender Reveal Pipebomb posted: “directors cut and it’s just 2 whole hours of austin butler rawdogging the pain box”

Today in Local News:Police said it is not uncommon to find human remains in the ocean.” Police seem awfully blasé about this, said freaked out local resident me.

President Joe “Cool J” Biden was spotted wearing Hokas and the losers at the New York Post tried to dunk on him for it.

That Repellent Musk: John Herrman on X’s “pivot-to-video 1080.” Elon insists it’s cool, he actually runs his companies better a little buzzed. And credulous idiot Matt Taibbi is now disappointed at Musk’s lack of commitment to free speech.

Talia Lavin “emailed thirty professors of semiotics, linguistics, ontology, psycholinguistics, information science and other pertinent disciplines” to ask if a hot dog is a sandwich.

Kim Kelly in The Nation: “John Fetterman, American Jagoff.”

Eric Adams: New York also the Mexico City, Athens, Dublin, Quito, and Istanbul of America. I don’t want to contradict you Mr. Mayor but Mexico City is definitely already the Mexico City of America.

And Finally: Another magnificent roast of Lauren Oyler’s essay collection, this time from The Washington Post’s nonfiction critic Becca Rothfield.

For the most part, the prose in the book sweats to be chatty, with the result that it often has the slightly plaintive quality of a text message from an older parent intent on using outdated slang. Oyler employs the phrase “totally whack” without apparent embarrassment; a piece of salacious gossip is “truly like Christmas.” Attempts at more lyrical writing are unmusical, assonant, sometimes even lightly ungrammatical. In the winter in Berlin, the apparently undigestible “daytime is only fibrous for a few hours” (and perhaps packed with protein for the rest?). At one point, Oyler suggests that writing should strive for “aesthetic beauty,” as if there were any other kind, and later she writes of a “deep dark depth,” as if there were shallow ones.

Bless Oyler’s combination of off-putting persona and inadequate talent for evoking what have been some of the most enjoyable pans I’ve seen in years.

Today’s Song: Fear of Pop, “Kops”

Thanks Music Intern Sam for calling my attention to this delightful 1998 Ben Folds side project that also spawned a classic Conan clip.

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I posted: “Yeah i’m awake at 12:42 am reading the entire Wikipedia page for ska. It’s normal”