Richard Seymour

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The Twittering Machine

book | 2018

In surrealist artist Paul Klee’s The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour, author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics argues that this is a chilling metaphor for our relationship with social media.

Former social media executives tell us that the system is an addiction-machine. We are users, waiting for our next hit as we like, comment and share. We write to the machine as individuals, but it responds by aggregating our fantasies, desires and frailties into data, and returning them to us as a commodity experience.Through journalism, psychoanalytic reflection and insights from users, developers, security experts and others, Seymour probes the human side of the machine, asking what we’re getting out of it, and what we’re getting into.

Richard Seymour has a brilliant mind and a compelling style. Everything he writes is worth reading. Gary Younge, Editor-at-Large, Guardian

One of our most astute political analysts. China Miéville, author of October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

This is a story about desire and violence, as well as writing. It is also a story about what we might be writing ourselves into, culturally and politically. It is not an authoritative accout: that is impossible this early in the evolution of a radically new technopolitical system. This book is an attempt, as much as anything else, to work out a new language for thinking about what is coming into being . . .



Reviews

‘An unflinching look at our toxic relationship with grim yet compelling social media’

FT

'We must rediscover the emancipatory aspect of writing... The book is a thrilling demonstration of what such resistance can look like, by one of the most clear-sighted and unyielding critics writing today. We should all read it.'

Guardian

If you really want to set yourself free, you should read a book – preferably this one.

Observer

Taking in every sort of online nastiness, from trolling to alt-right subcultures to ‘fake news’, Seymour’s compulsively argued book may just be the intervention we all need.

Tatler

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Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton