The Circle of the Snake: Nostalgia and Utopia in the Age of Big Tech (Paperback)
Shocked by 9/11, the Great Recession, digital anxiety, and ecological collapse, the West suffers from nostalgia. People everywhere yearn for a utopian version of the past that never existed. Desperate for relief, many long to escape from the present. Some will stop at nothing to achieve it. In his essential new book, Grafton Tanner, author of Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts, argues that our nostalgia today is partly a consequence of the attention economy. At a time when historical literacy is crucial, and old prejudices are percolating into the present, Big Tech's predictive algorithms are locking us into nostalgic feedback loops. The result is a precarious society with its gaze fixed on the good old days. Spanning from the ancient Sophists to Black Mirror, The Circle of the Snake is at once a reckoning with the myth of digital utopia and an incisive analysis of nostalgia as a weapon to spread fascism.
Grafton Tanner is a writer and musician from Athens, Georgia. He is the author of Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts, and his work has appeared in The Nation, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other locations. He writes and performs with his band Superpuppet.