Sp ringtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage  is a daring and candid memoir. NYU Professor Michael Rectenwald – the notorious @AntiPCNYUProf – illuminates the obscurity of postmodern theory to track down the ideas and beliefs that spawned the contemporary “social justice” creed and movement.

Springtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage is a daring and candid memoir. NYU Professor Michael Rectenwald – the notorious @AntiPCNYUProf – illuminates the obscurity of postmodern theory to track down the ideas and beliefs that spawned the contemporary “social justice” creed and movement.

Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom begins with familiar cultural politics as points of entry to the book’s theme regarding the reach, penetration, and soon the ubiquity of the digital world. In a book about enormous sea changes brought about by digital technology, Google Archipelago begins and ends with the political, in particular with the objectives of the Big Digital conglomerates as global corporate monopoly capitalists or would-be monopolies.

Google Archipelago argues that Big Digital technologies and their principals represent not only economic powerhouses but also new forms of governmental power. The technologies of Big Digital not only amplify, extend, and lend precision to the powers of the state, they may represent elements of a new corporate state power.

In contrast to academics who study digital media and bemoan such supposed horrors as “digital exploitation,” in Google Archipelago, Michael Rectenwald argues that the real danger posed by Big Digital is not “digital capitalism” as such, but leftist authoritarianism, a political outlook shared by academic leftists, who thus cannot recognize it in their object of study. Thus, while imagining that they are radical critics of Big Digital, academic digital media scholars (whom Rectenwald terms “the digitalistas”) actually serve as ideological smokescreens that obscure its real character.

Two chapters interrupt the book’s genre as non-fiction prose. Part historical science fiction and part memoir, these chapters render the story of a Soviet Gu­lag survivor and defector, and the author’s earlier digital self. Google Archipelago intentionally blurs the lines between argument and story, fact and artifact, the real and the imaginary. This is necessary, Rectenwald argues, because one cannot pretend to describe the Google Archipelago as if from without, as something apart from experience. In any case, soon one will no longer “go on the Internet.” The Internet and cyberspace will be everywhere, while humans and other agents will be digital artifacts within it.

The Google Archipelago represents the coextension of digitization and physical social space, the conversion of social space and its inhabitants into digital artifacts, and the potential to control populations to degrees unimagined by the likes of Stalin, Hitler, or Mao.


By early 1968, he realized that political ideologies were much like computer code, if indeed they weren’t expressed precisely in computer code. The U.S. variant of the communist code was a bug, a piece of code that insinuated itself into the operating system and took it over. Buried deep within the kernel of the belief resided the piece of code that called for its self-replication—that said, in effect, ‘copy and distribute me.’

The first symptom of the bug was the fixation on the visionary ideal. The visionary ideal was, previous to admission into one’s consideration, an itinerant and homeless vagabond. But once gaining entrance, which required only the slightest assent, it assumed the deportment of a king annexing new territory, sprawling out and appropriating more and more unto itself. The newly occupied mind swelled with the certainty of the possibility and the moral necessity of the ideal’s realization. Encoded nearby was yet another set of instructions, which called for the vision’s execution at all costs, overwriting any objections that might arise.

A secondary executable in the communism software suite potentiated eloquence and persuasiveness whenever the slightest talent was available for incorporation, propelled by an urgent yet rhythmic delivery system the likes of which had never stopped echoing in his ears, not even within the Gulag’s core. Once initiated, the executable set in motion processes and enabled features that were not easily disabled. Force alone was insufficient to make them stop—anything short of deadly force, that is.
— Google Archipelago, Chapter Five: Inside the (Digital) Gulag