Are the Ad Algorithms Actually Dumb As S**t?

Christmas: The Masquerade

One of the classic signs of paranoia is overestimating the capabilities of one’s perceived enemies. It might be that I can relate to that. This is because just days ago, I likened the ad algorithms to Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid in their ability to simulate mind-reading to serve you ads targeted specifically to you.

While I do believe that targeted ads are a thing, and that they can get pretty eerie, it might be that attributing a targeted ad about frozen burritos after considering them at a supermarket to something besides another empty coincidence is giving the algorithms too much credit.

I suspect as much because the algorithms, in spite of knowing what kind of car we like better than we do, still haven’t figured out that I don’t celebrate Christmas, and they have continued to send Christmas ads to me, not aware that the products and services depicted run the risk of a boycott, rather than a purchase.

I understand that for a Christian to not celebrate Christmas is something of an infrequent occurrence, but we’re not unheard of. But considering that the intersectional busybodies trip over themselves to make sure that minority groups don’t get offended, it’s hard to imagine that Jews or Muslims put up with Christmas ads nearly as much.

As an aside, I think we can take a moment to appreciate that a culture’s observances are a reflection of their values. For example, Jews observe Yom Kippur (lit. Day of Atonement). Reconciliation is so important to the Jewish that they’ll fast for about 24 hours as part of the observance. Muslims observe a Stoning of Satan as part of the Hajj Pilgrimage, which is an outward sign of their pro-active approach against wickedness.

What’s the message of Christmas? After decades of commercial conditioning, the message has been reduced to “buy stuff”. Christmas has become so devoid of spiritual significance that even atheists observe it without qualm.

I may have been greatly overestimating the algorithms if I had the expectation that it could determine that I do not participate in commercialized pagan mysticism. But it’s also possible that the algorithms were aware of this, but I was served the ads anyway because the algorithms themselves were cultivated by a group of marketers that can’t be expected to identify with people who are actually sincere about their convictions.

If you’re going to observe Saturnalia, then call it Saturnalia and stop kidding yourselves about it, because you can’t put someone back into something that they were never a part of. If your observance is being commercialized and you do nothing to resist that, the expected outcome is that your bank account gets emptied year after year as you struggle to prove how religious you are.

Those of us who have found the joy of non-participation would appreciate it if the commercialists stopped trying so hard to get us to go along with something we know better than to do.

”The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”

Confucius

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