Jesus, Tik-Tok Is Up To Something (Digital Telepathy?)

by Shelt Garner

Let me be clear — I do not think Tik-Tok (and Big Tech) can read my mind. But there continue to be times when I struggle to understand how an algorithm would know something so fucking specific to what was going on in my mind.

In this case, I have something so specific that I can point to it and wonder. Now, obviously, you don’t know what’s really going on in my mind. And it’s possible that there is something I did without thinking about it (no pun intended) that tipped Tik-Tok off to what I was thinking about. But, either way, things are very Soft Singularity no matter how Tik-Tok figured something out about what is rolling around in my mind.

So, here we go. There’s a famous picture of man in a crowd of Nazis who is the only person not to do the Nazi salute. Here it is:

Ok, no big deal. Well, would you believe I was looking at my Webstats and I saw that someone had literally asked the question, “Why is there a circle in the picture?”

This question was at the forefront of my mind for some time. Then, just today, Tik-Tok pushed me a very, very specific video that answered that very question.

This is probably the most specific that Tik-Tok that has gotten when it comes to pushing me spooky content. I say this because the only because I simply can not think of any possible way that Tik-Tok would have any indication, any metric that I was interested in that specific picture unless it was reading my mind.

But it’s not. That’s crazy talk.

I Continue To Get Pushed Tik-Tok Videos That Are Difficult To Explain

by Shelt Garner

Repeatedly over the last few days, I’ve been pushed videos that so so specific to me as a person that I struggle to understand how nothing more than “algorithms” could be the cause.

Who knows.

Now, again, I’m not saying that Tik-Tok can read our minds. But I am saying that something is going on that is difficult for me explain to myself without at least entertaining that idea.

There is a lot to unpack with Tik-Tok because it’s not just that I’m pushed very specific videos that seem very specific to me, I also get videos that seem to be making weird editorial comments about what’s rolling around in my head. Specifically, I continue to get videos pushed to me of women who not only look like a type of girl I like, but also the type of personality I like.

And repeatedly in the last 48 hours, Tik-Tok has pushed me specific videos that seem to be addressing specific things I’ve been thinking about a lot. These videos are so specific that it goes beyond “spooky” into the eerie and surreal.

Then there are more nuanced — and equally weird — thinks I get pushed.

Take, for instance, two things that if you know my mind, would be connected. One is I am constantly pushed videos dealing with Emily Blunt. This is no big eal in itself until you that I had something of celebrity crush on another hot British brunette — Alexa Chung.

But, wait, there’s more.

I’ve recently started to get pushed videos of a woman that I know Ms. Chung is fond of, Jane Birkin. Very odd.

Now, those last two are pretty vague and there are plenty — plenty — of other explanations besides digital telepathy. But the net effect of what I’m being pushed by Tik-Tok these days is to spook me.

The only reason why I keep commenting on this is reality — and everyone agreeing upon what is real — is very, very important to me. I don’t like the idea that Tik-Tok (and Big Tech in general) may be pulling a fast one on us and I might be the only person with nothing left to lose and, as such, am willing rant about how I think my mind is being read.

But they obviously aren’t. There’s no way that is possible. I’m just imagining things. Right, right? Right?

Mulling Tik-Tok’s ‘Spooky,’ Definitely-Not-Reading-My-Mind Aspects

by Shelt Garner

Now, before I continue, let me be clear that I don’t think Tik-Tok can read my mind. But it IS entertaining to think about various aspects of a scenario whereby it is. Also, let me also be clear — the vast majority of how Tik-Tok has me (and everyone else) figured out is using the FYP really is algorithms. They really do have the ability to figure me out using nothing more than algorithms. What I’m going to talk about is those few times when Tik-Tok has pushed me something that is so specific to me that I struggle to understand how it’s possible that nothing more than scanning all my Internet use, etc. would explain things.

Ok. Here’s what I’ve managed to glean from my study of Tik-Tok which is totally not reading my mind.

Tik-Tok gets itself in trouble when it seems to latch on to something that has flashed through my mind for a moment or two with intensity. So, I futz with my headphones, thinking really intensely about my headphones and their different features.

Then, next thing you know, I get pushed a video on Tik-Tok about, you guessed — headphones.

I suppose you could say that in that specific situation Tik-Tok is so deep even into my computer usage that they somehow figured that out. I’ll give you that one.

But, then again, how do you explain the “But I’m A Cheerleader” incident I mentioned a bit ago. That is something was exclusive to my mind. That’s just eerie. And, as I keep saying, I’m totally willing to accept that all of what I’m noticing can be explained via algorithms.

I guess, I’d just like someone with the technological know-how to explain things that are very specific to my mind that Tik-Tok has decided to push me videos about.

Even though I KNOW that Tik-Tok isn’t reading my mind — that’s just crazy talk, right — I continue to be at a loss as to how it figures out the phenotypes of girls I like or even more weird, their personalities.

Then I start to think about if Tik-Tok has even the slightest practical ability to read my mind and use that information to push me information, who else has it and what are they doing with it?

I’ve already had once instance where I fucking swear Tik-Tok pulled a fast on me by nudging me into what it felt was the best “second track” creative option for me — photography. That starts to make you think maybe we’re not just talking about digital telepathy but some combination of digital telepathy hooked up to AI.

That’s enough to make you stop cold in your tracks.

You know if Tik-Tok has such ability then Big Tech in America damn well has similar technology that’s probably far more advanced. Then there’s the NSA and CIA that probably has something far more advanced than even that. I’ve often idly wondered if maybe “Havana Syndrome” is some sort of extreme form of digital telepathy whereby the attack is about “downloading” as much of someone’s mind as possible.

That’s extremely fantastical and bonkers, but, again, I’m just running a scenario.

Anyway. All of this has got to be bullshit. There’s no way the technology exists to read our minds exists. We would know if it existed. Right? Right?

Yes, Tik-Tok, People Want To Dance — Just Not To Fucking Disco

by Shelt Garner

Maybe it’s because it’s a song-and-dance app, but I’ve seen a lot of disco-themed dancing on Tik-Tok of late. I generally fucking hate most disco because I’m more of a dance pop rock person. I like at least a bit of edge to what I listen — or dance — to. I’m well aware of the meta-social-gender aspect of how great and wonderful the Age of Disco was because the patriarchy was slayed and everyone was free to be gay and do coke off a twink’s ass.

Ok, I get it. And that’s a valid argument –I still fucking hate most disco.

I want music that’s got a beat and you can dance to it — but of the pop rock variety. We’ve had almost 20 years of shitty music that inhabits a vague space known as “Adult Contemporary.” It’s bland, corporate and non-threatening. And, yet, oddly enough, in just the last few years, it’s clear that a number of huge artists are hot on the trail of The New Sound.

For instance, Miley Cyrus keeps covering old rock and New Wave chestnuts as if she knows what she wants to sing — but she can’t find it in modern music. Her latest album is soooo close to what I imagine Rona Rock, the New Sound, would be like.

Meanwhile, Olivia Rodrigo is doing something similar. Her debut album has a lot of wink and nod references to New Wave music. And, yet, it’s still a pretty safe album. It’s pretty much just a pop album full of songs that could be safely played next to an Ariana Grande song on existing Top 40 radio.

It’s Chvrches’ “Screen Violence” album that is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s an album that is essentially a throwback to the good old days of dance pop rock by way of Chvrches synth stylings.

More of this!

But the point is — all I would need is the first 10 seconds of “How Not To Drown” and I would play it at Nori in Seoul on a Friday night in late 2006. (Another song from that album, “Nightmares” is a banger, too.) And I think if Miley Cyrus and Olivia Rodrigo swerved in that direction with their next albums that it would be a two-fer: old farts like me would love and the youngins who know jackshit about music produced before cellphones would also sit up an take notice.

And, yet, absolutely no one listens to me.

What The Fuck Is Going On With Tik-Tok?

by Shelt Garner

I’ve stopped thinking Tik-Tok can read my mind. It can’t. But I will note another EXTREMELY SPOOKY co-incidence that took place recently. As part of writing in long-hand scene summaries for the four novels I’m working on, there’s a word (it’s inciting, if you must know) that I write so sloppily that it looks like another word, a word that evokes alarm in my mind.

Tik-Tok is not reading my mind!

Occasionally in the last few months, Tik-Tok has pushed me some very alarming videos purporting from the product of that alarming word. I was aghast that I would be pushed that type of video for any reason and began to question why Tik-Tok’s fucking algorithms would be pushing me such alarming content.

Then it hit me — in my mind, I’m thinking “OH MY GOD…oh, I just wrote inciting…” If you wanted to believe that Tik-Tok had the ability to read my mind, you would say that what was happening was is the reason I was getting such weird videos pushed to me was the alarm in my mind that initial confusion generates within me.

But this is just crazy talk. Tik-Tok can’t read my mind.

Is The Chinese Government Fucking With American Pop Culture Via Tik-Tok?

by Shelt Garner

As I understand it, the connection between Tik-Tok and the Chinese government is rather…nebulous. As such, given the increasing geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, it’s easy to imagine the Chinese government dabbling in fucking with us via our pop culture that is growing ever-more influenced by Tik-Tok.

Bella Poarch

This sounds really paranoid, but it’s also how the Real World Works.

How else do you explain that Bella Poarch — who has no discernable talent other than she can bounce her head to music — is now a popular singer and what not. But, I’m being paranoid. Which is never good.

So, I guess just keep using Tik-Tok? I dunno. I’m just a rando in a flyover state.

Digital Telepathy: I May Have Caught Tik-Tok Red Handed Reading My Mind (Or Something)

by Shelt Garner

Let me set the scene.

Today, I was walking around and the movie “But I’m A Cheerleader” briefly passed through my mind for some reason.

I resemble that remark.

I never mentioned this event to anyone. I did not write it down. Nothing. No outward indication that this occurred other than I softly chuckled to myself. Flash forward and I’m using Tik-Tok.

And what do I get pushed?

A video about that very movie.

That’s just spooky. If Tik-Tok is reading my mind, it’s not through any magical mystery alchemy — it’s being done using technology that, to date, is the stuff of science fiction. Or, at Arthur C. Clarke would posit, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

So. I’m very, very open to this belief being debunked. And I’m willing to believe there’s something I’m missing, some way that it was just a random co-incidence. Ok, that’s very possible.

But that specific, obscure movie being pushed to me within a few hours of me thinking about it… spooky.

Tik-Tok, Land Of The Bad Hot Take

by Shelt Garner

Given the sheer volume of horrible (sometimes “woke”) hot takes to be found on Tik-Tok, the Chinese government may bring down the United States without firing a shot.

Or, to put it another way, the “algorithms” that are definitely not reading my mind, seem to push me bad hot take after bad hot take. Sometimes, the hot takes in the comments are so very very bad that you feel less intelligent for having read them. Like, I saw one that said, that novels “don’t have acts.” Uh, what?

Then there are numerous hot takes on the John Mulaney – Olivia Munn — Anna Marie Tendler imbroglio. Then there are the weird hot takes about the Met Gala that leave me saying OH, COME ON. For instance, someone said the fuss over the below look was unwarranted because, lulz, to her pegging was something only bottoms got worked up over and to her, it was just sex.

You better work.

I will note, in passing, that I worry that the Chinese government may be fucking with our pop culture by making people like Bella Poarch famous for….what? Bobbing her head and being hot? (I still don’t get that one, but, then, I’m an Old..)

Woke ‘Oulaney’ Discourse Is The Worst Discourse

by Shelt Garner

When it comes to often absurd discourse on the John Mulaney and Olivia Munn relationship, I’m firmly on team Oulaney. The core of the very dumb hot takes on this particular messy situation is apparently twofold, if what I’m seeing on Tik-Tok is accurate.

Leave Oulaney Alone!

One is, a lot of women who bought into Mulvaney’s Tiger Beat persona feel betrayed and use the proxy of his wife to express their outrage. They were invested in Mulvaney as a “good boy” that they felt they could bring home to mom. He didn’t want kids, sure, but he and his wife had their dog Petunia and that was good enough for them.

Meanwhile, the other thing that makes the parasocial people on Tik-Tok angry is, well, Oliva Munn. They don’t like that she wrote a book that was, well, the type of book you could imagine Olivia Munn writing. I remember her from The Man Show and she wasn’t, exactly, uhhhh….woke? The thing that made her a star, in fact, you could say started her whole career, was the episode of The Man Show where she struggled to eat a hotdog tied to a string above her head. (I think that’s what was going on.)

She’s kind of the type of woman that is “just one of the guys” but also is probably banging the best looking Alpha Male in that group.

And here is the point where I kind of hit a brick wall in my response to all of this. Because of how touchy woke people on Tik-Tok are, it’s so problomatic to comment on the surreal discourse about Team Oulaney that I honestly don’t know what to say.

I definitely validate the woke discourse. But I also think if those two crazy kids are happy, who are we to judge? Munn’s thing is being hypersexual and outrageous in a heteronormative fashion. That’s her thing. And that “thing” apparently does a number on the minds of some Tik-Tok users who think Munn is some sort of evil homewrecker who “stole” their Tiger Beat idol from his wife.

I find that argument dubious. Yes, she was probably more aggressive towards Mulaney than maybe they would like, but he was going through some things with his wife and she really, really dug him. That, as far as I’m concerned, is enough.

But I definitely think we can learn a lot about the excess of “woke” culture by mulling the arguments of people angry at Oulaney on Tik-Tok. It’s all very interesting….and a tad surreal.

The Curious Case Of Tik-Tok Pushing Me Videos Of Emily Blunt On My FYP

by Shelt Garner

I’ve finally come to believe that Tik-Tok can’t read my mind. I’ve finally come to believe that all that’s happening is their algorithms really are so good that what appears to be “spooky-they-can-read-my-mind” pushed videos is simply very good algorithm technology. (Which, I believe, in itself is dangerous and a national security risk, but, lulz.) I say this because I ran some casual experiments in my mind and, if Tik-Tok can read my mind, it chose to ignore the bait.

Also, I think a lot of what I’m noticing comes from Tik-Tok really REALLY rooting around in anything I do online, even if I’m not using my phone. Somehow, it’s also scanning what I’m writing right now and all that writing I’ve been doing for the four novels.

So, Tik-Tok is NOT reading my mind.

But, there is a specific aspect of Tik-Tok that at least causes me some puzzlement — the specific women’s videos it choses to push me.

This is where things get really, really, murky. How Tik-Tok would know I like a specific type of woman with a specific type of appearance is something I struggle with. That there are two or three women with the late Annie Shapiro’s phenotype that I get pushed is very curious indeed.

And then there’s Emily Blunt.

Even though she’s talented, witty and beautiful, I’ve never much thought of myself as a Emily Blunt fan. She’s just another hot brunette British actress who did a really great turn on SNL a while back, if I recall. But today, I was pondering all of this and something occurred to me — maybe it’s not Emily Blunt, but Alexa Chung that I’m being pushed via a proxy.

Now, at this point, I have to say that a long time ago I had something of a celebrity crush on Ms. Chung. An online troll played a prank on me, causing me to think something was real that was not real (sort of a catfish, if you will) and, as such, now I’m in terror that any mention of her on my part will cause the FBI or her “people” to swoop down on this blog, looking for proof that I’m a deranged fan.

This is not at all the case. I don’t even think about her at all anymore, feel extremely sheepish about the minor misunderstanding and just want to forget the whole thing. In fact, given that someone in Brooklyn is REALLY interested in me since I mentioned I want to cover NYFW at some point in the next two to three years, I suddenly am paranoid that her “people” are worried I’ll bump into her while taking street fashion pictures in 2022 or 2023.

Trust me, I will either actively work to avoid that from happening or if I did accidently run into her just because it was NYFW I would feel so bad that there was even a small chance that she would be alarmed at my presence that I would probably turn a heel and walk in the exact opposite direction to avoid that nightmarish situation.

In other words, leave me alone, FBI agent. Stop putting any post that mentions Ms. Chung in my file.

But anyway, back to the issue of Emily Blunt as an Alexa Chung proxy.

Why would I be pushed Emily Blunt if I’m not really a fan of hers? If you wanted to put on your tinfoil hat, you could say that since there aren’t that many videos on Tik-Tok about Ms. Chung, I get Emily Blunt videos instead.

Anyway. Lulz, nothing matters.

I have four novels to develop and write as quickly as possible.