The way the Palantir network compromises Saruman and Denethor shows the danger in who controls the algorithm that manages your newsfeed.

Pippin picks it up, starts doomscrolling, and can’t put it down. Literally.

Aragorn plans out his post, gets on just long enough to make his point, and gets the hell out, knowing he’s made an impression.

imported from mastodon

I find myself thinking about Sam’s speech a lot. About how in the stories that really matter, people faced overwhelming darkness, and had a lot of chances to stop, but they kept going.

Geek Mom’s A Reminder About Story Middles was written before the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, but it’s even more important now: When things look bleak, if you think of yourself as being in the middle of the story, you know it can get better. And that can help you keep going.

Doom and gloom alone aren’t enough to help us deal with climate change, or any of the other problems we face. Fear sustained turns to despair, and to inaction – because why bother?

We have to celebrate successes to keep hope alive so we can keep going.

We do need to know what we’re up against. We need to understand how serious the stakes are. But we also have to believe that what we do will – or at least can – make a difference.

I keep thinking of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The first time through was grueling, watching the relentless assault of the First Order as it tried to snuff out every last bit of hope. The scenes with Rey and Luke were a relief because he was “only” depressed, not doomed.

But Luke eventually regains enough hope to take action. And enough of the Resistance is able to survive, keeping the spark of hope alive. And their legend survives, passed from Rose and Finn to a stable boy on Canto Bight, who’s already fanning that spark.

The whole movie is about hope: whether you’ve lost it or someone is actively trying to stomp it out, as long as it exists, you can hold onto it. That hope that, to quote another trilogy, “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”