Ordinary Unhappiness

16: Fantasy, Fascism, and Technology: From the Frankfurt School to Silicon Valley feat. Moira Weigel

July 12, 2023 Episode 16
Ordinary Unhappiness
16: Fantasy, Fascism, and Technology: From the Frankfurt School to Silicon Valley feat. Moira Weigel
Show Notes

Abby, Patrick, and Dan welcome writer, critic, and scholar Moira Weigel, co-founder of Logic magazine and co-editor with Ben Tarnoff of Voices of the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do And How They Do It. Moira introduces listeners to the history and key insights of the Frankfurt School in advance of a (free!) symposium this weekend in New York examining its legacy a hundred years later. They discuss Theodor Adorno’s work on “the authoritarian personality” and talk about personality types and social categories as they are constructed everywhere from astrology columns to the speeches of demagogues to Facebook algorithms. The four then turn to Moira’s recent work on Silicon Valley, especially her recent collection of interviews with tech workers ranging from engineers to writers to cooks to masseuses to data scientists to the larger-than-life “Founders.” They talk about the surprising sincerity of techno-optimism; what failing upwards does to people; what Adorno would have thought of being called a “thought leader”; whether the Internet is a giant hate machine; and the labor politics and emerging forms of Silicon Valley, a realm that’s bigger than just a geographical area, and where we all live, one way or another, like it or not.

To register for the 100 Years of the Frankfurt School event in NYC (and also streaming live) on July 14th and 15th: https://thebrooklyninstitute.com/items/events/the-frankfurt-school-and-the-now-a-symposium/

Moira’s co-edited book Voices of the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do and How They Do It

Her book Labor of Love

The Adorno book about astrology is The Stars Down to Earth

Anna Weiner’s book Uncanny Valley

Logic magazine (now being relaunched as Logics) is here: https://logicmag.io/

The Collective Action in Tech site that Moira refers to is https://collectiveaction.tech/

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Theme song:
Formal Chicken - Gnossienne No. 1
https://open.spotify.com/album/2MIIYnbyLqriV3vrpUTxxO
Provided by Fruits Music