Evil States

United States v. Mackey

Editors | Harvard Law Review | 11th March 2024

Fraud or protected satire? In 2016, Douglass Mackey aka “Ricky Vaughn”, a far-right social media figure, posted memes claiming that voters could vote by text. He was charged and found guilty of conspiring to injure the rights of voters. The jury did not consider whether his memes were satire. The verdict has chilling implications for satirical content in the digital space, outweighing any dubious injury (2,300 words)

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The Placebo Effect’s Evil Twin

Michael Bernstein | Quillette | 11th March 2024

On the Nocebo effect — “when you expect to feel sick, you are more likely to feel sick”. Benjamin Franklin was an early identifier, while working with Franz Mesmer’s patients to “separate the effects of the imagination from those attributed to magnetism”. The test subjects had shivering and convulsions — negative side-effects they viewed as integral to the process, proof that something is working (1,800 words)

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