Lemons

The Super Bowl ended up not being that super. There wasn’t much of a game, the halftime show sucked, and a good majority of the commercials were not entertaining. The whole thing just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I am sure some people were happy with the results, but overall it was a lackluster event.

But, there were a few standout commercials that were worth watching. In fact, they were worth watching then and I think they are worth watching now. Three that stood out for me:

“Last Year’s Lemons”

“Certain Is Better”

Those were the ones I enjoyed the most. How about you? Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you see he commercials in the week before the game? Did you skip the whole thing altogether and just ignore the fact that it was even on?

Hold up

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Hold up, hold up. Wait, wait, wait! Freeze! Hit pause. Stop the presses. Slam on the brakes.

This isn’t the first time I have addressed this and I am sure it won’t be the last, but this couldn’t be any better of an example than what the music industry (and society as a whole) have in regards to a HUGE DOUBLE STANDARD.

“Kettle, you’re black.”

“Oh yeah well, Pot, you’re black too.”

Morgan Wallen has essentially been banned from radio for use of the N-word while hanging out with people he knew. Are his actions appropriate? Nope. Not in the least. Am I defending him? Nope.

What I am doing is pointing out the huge double standard that the music industry and the public have when it comes to use of the N-word. Seriously. The double standard couldn’t be any more obvious and blatant.

I am sure you are aware, or maybe you aren’t, but nearly every popular rap musician these days uses some form of the N-word IN THE LYRICS OF THEIR SONGS. The use isn’t an accidental slip, or under your breath muttering that was caught on tape – it’s intentional and calculated. Period. These songs are played on the radio (with the blatant words bleeped out), on streaming services without (and without) the words being bleeped out, in music videos (censored and not), and even on television (with the words bleeped out).

These musicians make public appearances, are celebrated by the music industry and the public, and have huge endorsement contracts with some of the most popular and recognizable names in the world. As an example, check out the lyrics of songs by Travis Scott. After looking at the lyrics, would it surprise you that he has endorsement contracts with Nike, Playstation, Fortnite, McDonalds, etc. totaling about a $100 million? Remember his NFL Superbowl halftime appearance/performance a last year? He was embraced, not ostracized. This is just one example. Just ONE example. There are so many more. The genre is full of it. Just pick someone that is popular in rap right now, or someone that was popular, and you will find lyrics that use the N-word.

So, it isn’t a secret in the industry. It’s just hypocrisy. It’s just a double standard. It’s just a “do as I say, not as I do” message from one community to another. Just plain, “It’s OK for some, but not for others.”

Yet, we have an example here where someone uses the word and there are consequences that amount to a “ten foot pole” for one guy and a whole genre of music that uses the word and it’s open arms for the artists and they can’t throw enough money at them.

I don’t get it. What am I missing?

One man’s…

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Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

The Ban

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The ban from Twitter heard (or not heard) round the world. An interesting case of “private” versus “public” property, business, and serving the public. Can we trust the ban from tech no matter where or who it is?

Parler, a “conservative” alternative to Facebook, is banned by Apple, Google, and Amazon. The reason, supposedly, is for the fact that there is no “moderation” of the site and the planning of the WA DC riot took place on this venue.

I have seen some of my friends talking about this stuff on social media and saying that such bans don’t violate the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of Speech because the clause specifically refers to protection from oppression of private citizens by the government. That is true.

But over the years, that protection has been expanded beyond just the government oppression of citizens and been used to protect lots of different situations where people were upset with something someone said. Protections was extended to protect what people say because of the “marketplace of ideas” concept.

So there are some real contradictions when you see a private business (whom obviously serves a wider audience than just the public or private citizen, AND us a publicly help corporation) decided who can and who can’t use their service. The issue become rather problematic when you start applying the standards to some, but not others.

A friend posted on Facebook the other day (in regards to Parler), “…They are all privately owned businesses who can do business with whomever they choose. Would you as a business owner,…, like to be ‘forced’ to do business with someone who didn’t match your companies [sic] values?…”

Apparently this justification of “freedom to do business with whomever I please” is appropriate to apply on some situations when it fits the liberal narrative, but not the conservative narrative.

A few situations come to mind:

  • Shall I be forced to create a flower arrangement or bake a cake for a same-sex union if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?
  • Shall I be forced to pay for abortions or provide health coverage that includes the abortion pill if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?

In the cases above, the government has forced people and companies to “serve the public” even though the people they were going to be forced to serve were clearly going to go against the company’s values. For all intents and purposes, the lawsuits filed against the owners of these companies were basically told they couldn’t discriminate against people who had different values than they did.

Isn’t that what we have going on here when we talk about banning a service that is used by people who differ in “values?”

Liberals and liberal companies discriminating against conservatives and conservative companies?

Clearly, when violence, threats of violence, or breaking the law is at the heart of the service being provided, then a company should be able to limit those who have violated “community standards.” Did the president do this? Maybe. But, did the vast majority of users on Parler do this? Likely not. We’re talking about a small portion of the community, but the whole community was punished.

The result is you appear to be silencing an entire group of people simply because you don’t agree with their perspective, their opinions, or their beliefs.

There is dangerous precedent in this.

The big deal here is that if it happens here, where else can it happen and who else or what else can they do?

Streaming

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So, this article was kind of interesting and made me think, “Say what? Clearly I am not in the right business.”

What do I need to do to sign up for this racket? Not that it is illegal. It is all above board, but the it is definitely a racket.

It seems that most top streamers don’t reveal exactly how much they make while doing it. This article was written based on one of them making a mistake and revealing the earnings inadvertently. As such, we get a glimpse behind the curtain and see that this top streamer is pulling down somewhere around $170k a month. That is some serious coin.

Throw in some sponsorships and other contracts and there is a serious flood of cash getting deposited into accounts across the globe.

All from creating content by streaming games and other stuff for people to watch. People watch.

Interesting.

I wonder how hard it is to get started. Obviously, the key is to getting people to follow you and watch you. Anyone know of an instruction manual to get set up?

Prognostication

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Tonight will be one of the dumbest nights in television history.

Tonight networks, television stations, cable news channels, radio stations, and literally everyone else will be trying to predict who will win the election(s).

They will be falling all over themselves trying to get the scoop and declare a winner first. They will make predictions on races all over the country, for lots of different elected positions.

They will, in effect, be meddling in the election.

It happens every year and it is actually kind of disgusting and should be illegal.

East coast voting stations and polling places close (at minimum) three hours earlier than West coast stations and polling places. As such, announcing any “results” of what East coast states are doing or the way they are leaning actually influences what happens on the West coast. If voters on this coast see predictions that tell them the election is going one way or the other, it actually discourages people from voting. Amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of research on this, but it is safe to say it happens. It’s human nature.

So, keep it under wraps. Stop trying to predict a winner before there are true results. It’s not only irritating, but it’s actually irresponsible and verges on tampering.

But, of course, we won’t see that happen tonight. So, sit back and watch the stupidity. Or not.

Journalism is dead

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Or at least it is nearly dead. There are still people out there who are doing their best to write and publish from a neutral perspective and this is EXTREMELY rare these days.

Glenn Greenwald isn’t the poster child for complete neutrality, but at least he comes close. While he may be a left-leaning journalist, he hasn’t pulled his punches when it comes to criticizing the left. He has pursued the truth and has exposed some very dark corners in American politics and government. But, that obviously can only go so far. Up to now, he hasn’t seen much in the way of censorship (or at least that is the way he describes it).

But, that has changed. Balanced and honest journalism requires that you see things from both sides and attack both sides when necessary. Yes, that is a little like biting the hand that feeds you, but a true journalist can’t ignore one side of every story. If they choose to do so, the sully the profession (as I am sure you are fully aware that most Americans don’t trust the media any longer).

Greenwald has resigned from the media outlet he helped co-found. Because they wanted to censor an article he wrote on Hunter and Joe Biden, one that was critical of the Democratic darling and the media cover-up of revelations related to business dealings in foreign countries. He is justified in asking questions and form an analysis, apparently that other journalists are even unwilling to think about, because others are not asking the questions and are not willing to be critical.

We have known journalism is dead for a long time. Thus, the distrust of the American media. But this, this is a whole different level of censorship and verges on conspiracy by the left to support a political candidate purely because he is the alternative to a candidate they have tried repeatedly to destroy over the last six years. Their mantra has been and continues to be, “Anyone but HIM!” So much so that they even eat their own when people don’t fall into line with their narrative.

I hope you take a look at the information provided by Greenwald. It is fascinating and eye opening. It is enlightening, but also confirms what many already know. Only now, we know it without a shadow of a doubt.

Suppression

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Did you see that post from yesterday? The one where I asked people not to vote if…

I am guessing probably not.

Wonder why I ask? Because I believe WordPress is suppressing it.

I can’t think of any other reason why it wouldn’t have gotten at least five times as many views (I don’t ask for much, really). Honestly, wouldn’t people be interested just to see what it is about? I click on stuff to read all the time just because I wanna know what point of view the author is coming from, even if I don’t agree. Am I the only person who does this now? Do you only read the headline and move on without giving it even another thought or shred of curiousity?

As of this morning, it only had TWO views. Of those two views, none of them were from the Reader – those people (roughly, there is a lot of spam) who actually have followed the blog. There are no views on it today yet either.

I can only come to one conclusion…it’s being suppressed because it is telling people not to vote. Well, not exactly, but essentially that is the suggestion if you can’t meet certain qualifications, most of which are pretty straight-forward and common sense.

I guess asking for people who are educated, well informed, and have common sense to vote is wrong.

Interesting. How the politics of free speech play out on social media and other platforms, right?

Please don’t vote…

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…if you take advice from celebrities or athletes on who you should vote for.

…if you only get your news from one source or one perspective.

…if you only follow the party line all the time.

…if your only research is memes about who not to vote for.

…if you don’t do your own research.

…if you only take advice from your family.

…if you can only see “the issues” in regards to yourself.

…if you can’t see or won’t accept an “issue” from more than one perspective.

…if you can’t acknowledge or understand the concerns from an different perspective than your own.

…if your vote is out of spite regarding someone else’s vote.

…if you get your information from any social media platform.

…if your vote is based on information from tv commercials.

…if you you take an “endorsement” from a media outlet as legitimate.

…if you aren’t a citizen or have a legal right to vote.

…if you haven’t payed attention at all but received a ballot in the mail.

…if you didn’t pay attention in school and don’t know how the process works.

…if you don’t value your right enough to get educated about the issues and candidates.

…if you’re too stupid to vote with some intelligence.

Anything you would add to the list?

Authenticity

Social media has a huge problem with authenticity and they actually keep making it worse.

Did you hear that one about Joe Biden and his son Hunter and perhaps some questionable behavior in the past when dealing with foreign governments?

No?

Weird. The article is from a major news outlet with huge readership and is well respected. Apparently a follow-up article is being censored too. Did you see that one?

Well, it is likely that the big tech companies (Twitter and Facebook and Google) are censoring information in order to protect a political candidate they favor. In their words, they justify such behavior out of a campaign to stop “misinformation” to have a chance to “fact check” the story. In doing so, they are actually meddling in the election and doing exactly the behavior they say they are trying to stop.

Double standard much?

There are lots of thoughts on this whole thing (here is a good article that lines it out well) but the thing that sticks out is that the policies these companies claim to use is used selectively. They use it for stories and information they don’t like, but don’t use it when it helps them or hurts someone they don’t like. Application is selective and that’s shady at best.

The best thing would let ALL INFORMATION flow and let the people figure it out for themselves. Censoring some and not others as it fits with your agenda is a bad look.

Neither of these stories showed up on the Google News Feed, except for stories that are commenting about the censorship of the original reporting. Strange? Nope. Google has as much at stake and has made MANY efforts to stem the flow of information on it’s multiple platforms and outlets.

“Houston, we have a problem.”

It will only get worse as their influence grows and they continue to control the flow of information? Remember when there was concern over that whole “net neutrality” and having ISPs and cable companies having control over the flow of traffic? Yeah, this is the same thing but at a different level. That issue involved throttling the actual data (all of it) and this is the throttling of content (all of it, or at least that which they don’t agree with).

Ever felt like your blog isn’t reaching everyone it should? I have often wondered if WordPress isn’t doing the same thing when it comes to posts that they don’t like or agree with. Could it be true? What do you think?

What do you think of the idea of censorship from tech?