« ISIS AUMF | Main | Sports and concussion thoughts »

February 12, 2015

Comments

I think that is a link everybody should read. I, and others here, have commented on the new dangers posed by internet memory and going viral.

Shaming people in the 21st century works about as well as it did in the past. The only difference now is you can't just leave town, or move west, or what have you. Google will remember.

I hope people start moving away from gleefully piling on unfortunate comments on the internet...but honestly it seems to be our nature.

From the guy who retweeted Sacco's joke, here.

Structurally, we had made the same sort of joke: Here is what a truly horrible person—a person whose attitudes were entirely opposite from mine and those of the people who know me—would say.

I've had this happen to me a number of times, though with nothing remotely resembling the consequences of Justine Sacco's tweet.

One time that particularly stands out in my mind occurred when I was working in CT in the late 90s. Some coworkers and I were in a small group talking about whatever, when someone brought up whatever upcoming NFL game was on them minds of football fans at the time.

One of my coworkers said he couldn't have cared less and didn't like football. I jokingly said, "Oh, what? Are you gay?", thinking he knew me and my sense of humor well enough to respond in kind with something like, "Well, sure. Isn't it obvious? Everyone knows the only men who don't like football are gay."

Nope. He got pretty mad, at least for a short time - not mad enough to get me in any kind of trouble. He didn't go running to a boss over it, and it didn't have a long-term effect on our working relationship. But it was still kind of shock, in much the way as is described in the excerpt above.

Wasn't my irony dead obvious? Couldn't everyone tell I was mocking homophobic macho-ness? ...apparently not.

I've had this happen to me a number of times

I think it's likely its happened to everybody more than a few times.

It's just the lucky few that end up front and center across millions of screens.

I think the thing that saddens me the most is how little people try to empathize...'oh I would never say something *that* bad. Except that one time, but everybody knew I didn't *mean* it.'

Just for more irony - my coworker wasn't angry because he thought I was being homophobic. He was angry because he thought I was suggesting that he was gay.

/derail on irony lost

hence 'cleek'.

why take a chance that some poorly-worded comment is going to excite the shame squad and forever ruin my life ?

As an inveterate hothead, smart aleck and Mocker (Mod + Rocker = Mocker according to Ringo's calculus), my conclusion is that each of us is now, unwittingly, a guilty public figure now that the train wreck of McLuhan's 15 minutes of fame has met up with reality TV, viral everything, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever the rest of the rancid, (and useless -- here I agree with Marty) time-wasting marvels of technology available to us.

I don't do any of the latter; my preferred outlets are here (guilty as charged) and little-known social networks such as Twaddle, I'veHeardEverythingNow, SuckerPunch, YouTalkingToMe?, Hanh??? Biteme.birdflip, KeepItDownPesciMightHearYou.fear where the gloves come off and stay off.

With the exception of trying to be a nicer person, which would make me like the rest of you (in real life - I come a lot closer), I don't know what the solution is.

I will say that I think that firing these people from their jobs is the coward's way out for their employers. I mean, c'mon.

I don't think Gilbert Gottfried should have lost his gig as the AFLAC Duck, for example.

That he got the job in the first place was the travesty, but that's another argument.

And while I'm sure the harrassment is brutal for folks who are hooked in, linked to, and saturated, -- veritably swimming in it -- by social media and victimized when they utter something or other into this noxious atmosphere, whatever happened to telling everyone -- the harassers, the firing bosses, the busybodies, the strangers who need to get a life -- to F*ck Off!

I think it is interesting that some of the harassers became the harassed themselves and had to go all Greta Garbo to escape.

When I say we are all public figures, let's look at how some celebrities handle their penchant for shooting their mouths off -- pick a few -- Ted Nugent, Sarah Death Palin, Gary Busey, the Kardashians, Steve King, Vlad Putin, etc ---.

They turn it around and monetize it. If you think what I tweeted just now is stupid, they say to us, stay tuned because I have plenty more stupid where that came from.

You kind of have to admire that.

On the other hand, if some kind of electro-magnetic storm were to engulf the planet and all devices, now fried, went silent for, say, a year and each of us had to do a Slart and quietly tend our goats in the noiseless interim, the world -- it would be a much better place.

All of this is easy for me to say -- and therein lies the problem. If it was 250 years ago and I was in the shaming stocks, I would probably rage "F*ck the lot of you", like the Hunchback of Notre Dame from his bell tower, until the rabble ran out of the soft, ripe fruit, and started in on the hard stuff -- unripened avocados, pineapples, rocks -- i guess I'd relent.

Heck, Steve King has said so many horrible, insulting things about people into microphones, keyboards, and satellite dishes, that he now holds a festival which his fans flock to.

He has them eating out of his hands, which he probably doesn't wash after wiping himself, if he even bothers with that shred of civilized behavior.

Would-be Presidents, even!

Finally, what would George Carlin say about this controversy over shaming?

Think about it.

I think I already said it up above.

Erick Erickson -- case in point.

The more he tweets awful things, death threats, including policy prescriptions that will kill millions, the more influential he becomes among the powerful.

He actually continues this now from inside a Seminary/Monastery.

He's immune to shame because he has none.

If I were to tell him, and I'm telling him, to take a flying kip dive off the end of Jesus's dick, he'd do it on FOX and be set for life, probably with invitations to run for office.

Of course, he has Moe Lane to kvetch and get all snippy over mean liberals.

You have to admire that.

Sacco should learn something from it, much as I have empathy for her plight.

I sometimes wish I had adopted a pseudonym. A bit late now.

The article was horrifying. What was worse was that some people in the comments were still piling on Sacco, as though, whatever one thought of her intentions, she hadn't suffered vastly more than any normal person should for one stupid comment. And yeah, I think it was meant to be ironic. That makes sense. A lot of us think we're Jon Stewart and we're really not. I remember reading about her remark at the time and thinking "what a jerk", but I should have spent a few extra seconds thinking about my own attempts at irony from time to time.

The real tragedy, I think, will be all the kids whose childish comments today will be around to haunt them for their entire lives. We all said stupid things as kids. But those were mostly gone in an instant. Even the ones which had impacts on those around us were fading memories by the time we were out of school. Certainly even if we wrote something nasty in a letter, it wouldn't end up searchable worldwide.

But today, something you Tweet in junior high, or the selfies you post for your closest friends in high school, can still be around when you are going for an job interview a decade or two later. And there is literally nothing you can do to make it go away. Or make any explanation of the context, etc. catch up with it.

The kids have no idea what is awaiting them. And probably wouldn't believe it, even if their parents were savvy enough to try to explain it to them -- which most don't seem to be.

"But today, something you Tweet in junior high, or the selfies you post for your closest friends in high school, can still be around when you are going for an job interview a decade or two later. And there is literally nothing you can do to make it go away. Or make any explanation of the context, etc. catch up with it."

Yup, that's atrocious. I'm in favor of legislation at the federal level to make all written and verbal statements, other than death threats, uttered before, say, the age of 18, inadmissible in the job application process.

I could get conservative agreement to this.

After all, conservatives want to grant former felons their Second Amendment rights (even before their right to vote) and to allow everyone to carry deadly weapons into the workplace, including universities, schools, libraries, restaurants... you name it.

So what's the harm in a little harsh juvenile language or breast-flashing by a teenager- now-mature adult applying for employment?

I mean what job interviewer is going to challenge an armed interviewee's loose talk on Facebook twelve years in the past?

If we follow the logic (insane) of all that Americans in the aggregate want for all of society.

Shaming, all kinds of discrimination, and a heavily armed population just aren't going to mix.

Something's gotta give.

""But today, something you Tweet in junior high, or the selfies you post for your closest friends in high school, can still be around when you are going for an job interview a decade or two later"

In one generation this wont be a problem. No one will care. All you have to do is read the blogs of people under 40 and you realize that social norms change that fast. I cant read many of them because of the casual profanity that George Carlin wouldn't even condone, but Louis CK has made ok. Mother focused blogs on parenting, I asked a few what they were going to tell their kids when they got old enough to read the trash. They shrugged and laughed, no one cares is their answer.

Get off my lawn.

I think I'm with Marty on this. Once everyone is living in an entirely glass house, there won't be any point in throwing stones. Everyone will be vulnerable to attack in response to whatever attack they might engage in.

Mutually Assured Destruction.

That, or people will just disconnect, which I think is far less likely.

It's bad enough that people who tweet things are vilified, but people who make a comment that's meant to be private, it's overheard, and then they're photographed and shamed on social media. It's horrifying. Who hasn't made a misunderstood, or ill-considered remark? Who hasn't experimented with ideas by sharing them before they're "final"?

The NSA data collection seems less worrisome to me than this.

Pretty soon, EVERYONE, even two-year olds, will be a potty mouth and the enterprising comedians, rappers, and Dick Cheneys of the future will drop the cuss words and trash talk and become as proper as Maggie Smith's Countess Dowager on "Downton Abbey", just for the shocking novelty of it.

"God, that guy was funny! And so polite and courteous! A fresh new talent!"

Not that the Countess isn't effective in driving home the point or the verbal stiletto, within the bounds of wickedly proper repartee.

What future job interviewees might want to do is find out who their prospective bosses/interviewers/hiring authorities are before they get very far in the job application process and do some background checks on THEM, in case the need arises to point out the lumber in their eyes and the glass in their houses, with a quick tap on the tablet during the interview process if one's uncomfortable Facebook entries raise their ugly heads.

That might be an idea for an entrepreneurial service.

EVERYONE has had a lampshade on their head at one time or another.

Another possiblity I can imagine is that the IRL consequences of digital hulabaloos will become highly attenuated, along the lines of "no one cares."

Unless you actaully do something IRL to, say, get fired from your job, the virtual stuff will be largely ignored for being what it is - a collection of partially informed (at best) opinions from random strangers of no particular importance.

I would like to think that Marty and HSH are right on this. But I'm far from certain about it.

Not to mention the impact, during the transition, on those who are seriously burned early in their careers while us old fuddy-duddies are still in a position to make hiring decisions.

"The NSA data collection seems less worrisome to me than this."

I've always said that the Soviet Union had the KGB, but we Americans have each censorious other to ruin our lives.

And Maggie Thatcher said there is no such thing as society!

Once everyone is living in an entirely glass house, there won't be any point in throwing stones.

I disagree. And not just because the future of glass houses is a sad and depressing one to me.

If you just take the Sacco case...how likely was it that that tweet got picked up and pushed viral? How many of the millions of people that piled on probably themselves said something cringeworthy on Twitter or Facebook, but nobody (or the 3 people that follow them on twitter) noticed.

The problem is related to privacy, certainly. Things that were typically said to a group of friends are now broadcast to the world. But there is the secondary feature what does/does not go viral.

And most tweets, facebook comments, etc, even the cringeworthy ones, do not go viral. Sacco bore the wrath and mocking of millions for something that I imagine most do on occasion...she just happened to be the one that floated to the top of the internet's consciousness.

It's pretty easy to ignore the 1 in 1,000,000 risk that you might be the next target when there is so much fun piling on to do. I mean, if you don't make those snide comments, how will everybody know how smart you are? Besides...you don't *mean* it. Not like the current target.

I cant read many of them because of the casual profanity that George Carlin wouldn't even condone, but Louis CK has made ok.

Sensibilities change, but it's not just increasingly permissive. Swearing is more socially acceptable, but other things aren't. For example, someone upthread had an example of ironically using the word 'gay'. That would be frowned upon, to say the least, in a number of social circles these days.

Maybe no-one will care that someone drops a few f-bombs, but they may just as readily be offended by something else.

You made a really nice bowl of punch, sapient. Why'd you have to go and throw a turd in it right at the end? ;^)

The NSA data collection seems less worrisome to me than this.

Odd then, to bring it up.

Both concern me, and they aren't entirely separate problems. The NSA, much like Buzzfeed, is enabled by facebook and twitter.

Odd then, to bring it up.

Both concern me, and they aren't entirely separate problems.

No, they're not separate problems, which is why I brought it up. The concept of privacy, as I knew it when I was younger, is just gone. Pretending that it exists, for the purpose of the NSA only, makes no sense.

Pretending that it exists, for the purpose of the NSA only, makes no sense.

Who's doing that?

I wonder if folks who mooned their buddies on Facebook will, because they can't get jobs later on, have to live under bridges like convicted child molesters are made to now?

The ugly head of political correctness is raised here, and I'm not particularly sensitive to it, at least as far as how conservatives define it, but it occurs to me that gays, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, those who suffer from visible disabilities, etc have lived under a social regime in this country for over 200 years that resembles the censorious discriminative (no jobs for them) shaming that Sacco and company now experience for their offhand "political incorrectness".

Of course Sacco's was an all at once pile on.

The others got the full grind from birth to death, until recently.

Maybe we need protections and affirmative action for those who lose their jobs, livelihoods, and social standing because their loose lips sunk ships.

What future job interviewees might want to do is find out who their prospective bosses/interviewers/hiring authorities are before they get very far in the job application process

FWIW, I already do this, and have done for a while now.

Do I want to work for / with this person and / or this organization?

Best to find out up front.

The concept of privacy, as I knew it when I was younger, is just gone.

tweets and facebook posts != phone calls and email

presumption of privacy, y'all.

but we've been around this mulberry bush before.

all water under the bridge now, though, those guys have such a big budget that they're never going away.

the NSA is gonna do whatever the hell they want. if it's made illegal, they will continue to do whatever the hell they want.

our opinions on the topic are noise.

Let's start a Twitter deluge shaming the NSA and its employees and see if they give a crap.

Wait, Greenwald and Snowden already did that.

And most tweets, facebook comments, etc, even the cringeworthy ones, do not go viral. Sacco bore the wrath and mocking of millions for something that I imagine most do on occasion...she just happened to be the one that floated to the top of the internet's consciousness.

It's pretty easy to ignore the 1 in 1,000,000 risk that you might be the next target when there is so much fun piling on to do. I mean, if you don't make those snide comments, how will everybody know how smart you are? Besides...you don't *mean* it. Not like the current target.

That's a great point. The third possibility I considered is that real life won't react as often or as strongly to a given level of digital condemnation.

It's hard to imagine how people will handle this stuff a generation from now, because it's all so new - despite having been around to a reasonable degree for the last 15 or so years. That's not a lot of time in the scheme of things.

My hope (without much in the way of certainty) is that there will be a cultural maturation, whereby the digital side of life gets put into better perspective, after it stops being such a shiny new thing.

We had a thread recently where we got onto the subject of how many things have come along that were going to be our undoing but, as it happened, never did amount to much of anything resembling the dire predictions made at the time. This might be another one of those things.

Who's doing that?

People who say that the NSA violates their legitimate expectation of privacy assume that they have an expectation of privacy. I don't know what "expectation of privacy" means anymore. I thought I knew what it meant some years ago, but it doesn't mean the same thing now, IMO.

tweets and facebook posts != phone calls and email

The guy who was overheard and photographed was not tweeting or facebooking. He made a comment to someone sitting next to him. Obviously, tweeting is dangerous. Speaking sotto voce near anyone with a cell phone is also dangerous.

oops

Fixed, I think.

Speaking sotto voce near anyone with a cell phone is also dangerous.

I think it's a relatively rare bird who will do that. That's just being a total ass (which apparently gets you on the list of a bunch of even bigger total asses).

Somebody recorded a video for the internet of this guy saying sick, ignorant stuff and I'll bet any amount of shaming won't make a dent.

His campaign coffers will fill and he will advance in life

http://wonkette.com/576138/gop-rep-just-sure-obama-really-loves-those-mooslims-hes-about-to-bomb

One rule for Sacco and one rule for him.

My hope (without much in the way of certainty) is that there will be a cultural maturation, whereby the digital side of life gets put into better perspective, after it stops being such a shiny new thing.

The other thought that (belatedly) occurs to me is this. Kids may be incapable of thinking about the impact of stuff they say on-line coming back to haunt them years down the road. But as their parents become more internet-savvy, kids will care about having their parents right now seeing what they are putting out there. That may promote some restraint, where longer-term considerations do not. Hmmm.....

I don't know what "expectation of privacy" means anymore.

It's a legal term of art, same as always.

If you post something on Facebook, or a blog, or Twitter, or really any social media, you can't expect it to be private.

Phone calls and emails are directed toward specific other parties, and can't be seen or heard by other parties without those other parties going to some lengths to see or hear them.

So, there is an expectation of privacy for those forms of communications that doesn't really apply to social media.

Apples and oranges.

I'm not really interested in getting into this with you, I'm just pointing out that the kinds of things that are discussed in the OP - posts made on social media - are a different kettle of fish from the things that people object to regarding NSA snooping.

The NSA no doubt also snoops on social media communications, but I don't really see a legal basis for people objecting to that.

In any case, as is true with the intelligence community in general, the NSA will likely do whatever they want.

Huckabee can't be shamed:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_02/calling_out_huck_for_bigotry054163.php

Hell, unlike Sacco, he just picked another million adoring followers, not in spite of, but BECAUSE of his hateful rhetoric.

If American Muslims are murdered on American soil as a direct result of his speech, he may go all the way to the Presidency, given his following.

I hope he pardons Sacco and company.

Do graffiti artists have an expectation of privacy?

This might be another one of those things.

Yeah, I think so. Humans are remarkably adaptable, I don't think it will be social media that finally does us in.

I think you are right, we'll find some way or another to adapt to the new normal. I'm personally a little skeptical that society will truly settle in a 'glass house' mentality, where privacy is dead. I just think we are wired to want some level of privacy, and ultimately the pendulum will swing back. Increased use of encryption, anonymizing services, etc.

But I've been wrong before. Speaking of which:

No, they're not separate problems, which is why I brought it up.

My apologies, I didn't find that reasoning clear.

I would point out, however, that these two statements are not equivalent:

Pretending that it exists, for the purpose of the NSA only, makes no sense.
-and-
People who say that the NSA violates their legitimate expectation of privacy assume that they have an expectation of privacy.

People can and do feel that they have a legitimate expectation of privacy and that the NSA is violating that privacy, without pretending that other entities aren't violating it as well. Indeed, most people I know that are concerned about the NSA are also deeply concerned about google, facebook, etc

I think it's a relatively rare bird who will do that. That's just being a total ass (which apparently gets you on the list of a bunch of even bigger total asses).

I hope you're right about the rarity. I'm not sure you are.

It's a legal term of art, same as always.

I know that. But it means something in terms of what a "reasonable person" believes is private, and I think that the concept has changed over time, certainly since many of the cases have been decided. Many people believe that there are functions on twitter and facebook that allow for private correspondence. I don't use either medium enough to know completely how they work, but it seems to me that if something can be forwarded easily (often by accident), it is not so private. Email certainly has worked that way for many people who have pressed "send" too hurriedly.

Indeed, most people I know that are concerned about the NSA are also deeply concerned about google, facebook, etc

Correct.

For the record, I am strongly in favor of information and data privacy laws, and wish we had better / more comprehensive ones here in the US.

As in many things, we lag behind peer nations in this area.

There are so many business models based on buying, selling, and exploiting personal information gathered via online channels that I don't see it happening here.

dollar dollar bill, y'all

Kids just find something their parents aren't on, Snapchat, WhatsApp. Etc. The good thing about that is they are moving to places a little harder to mine later. These will improve as kids flock to the best hidden ones.

If 99.999999% of tweets are never read by more than the intended audience (call them "followers"), why can't a reasonable person have an expectation of privacy in tweeting?

Oh ugh you are so difficult. The answer is, because.

We elder statesman, though immature for our age, when applying for a job, are stuck with the opposite problem.

The whippersnappers I've interviewed with often ask me if there is anything on Facebook, Twitter, or Shadup.com that might embarrass them or their organization and when I tell them that, not only is there nothing on there, but I don't even have an account with any of those places, nor do I care to open one, they burst into uproarious laughter, do handstands on a keg of craft brew while nubile coeds feed beer enema tubes up their backsides, and announce that they just don't think I'll fit into their professional company culture, such as it is.

The interview is terminated.

Some people are no fun.

Once a guy asked who Countme-In might be, and I feigned ignorance.

I'm wondering how it is that uptight management, especially sales teams, especially on Wall Street, can be so prune faced and puritan with prospective job interviewees and then board a plane for Las Vegas to attend the annual Company sales meeting.

They hire hookers and strippers without even a background check.

Why not me?

why can't a reasonable person have an expectation of privacy in tweeting

I think that is really the crux of the issue in some ways. If I am out with some friends and I make a poorly worded ironic comment in a bar, I certainly wouldn't say I have an expectation of privacy. After all, I'm in public.

But I would not expect that offhand comment to be plastered on everybody's computer screen the next morning, complete with my picture and my boss' phone number.

That's the new bit provided by the social web, and I don't think we have a handle on it yet.

i was once asked in an interview about something i posted on Slashdot. the interviewer knew my /. handle and didn't like what i had said.

got the job anyway

I think the thing that saddens me the most is how little people try to empathize...'oh I would never say something *that* bad. Except that one time, but everybody knew I didn't *mean* it.'

Our culture loves an acceptable target. Give us someone we're "allowed" to go both barrels on with no pretense of restraint and we couldn't be happier. If I had any lingering doubts of this, working corrections dispelled them entirely - seeing the vaunted (and real) military camaraderie replaced with a race to the bottom by their units and fellow Soldiers, many of whom had deployed with the prisoners, IOT screw them over was thoroughly depressing, but not really surprising upon even minimal reflection. We - probably all of humanity, but certainly the Anglophone West - are a thoroughly nasty, spiteful people beneath our veneer of civility.

If I ever start to forget this, I can just wait a bit - generally at least once a week a news story about a criminal or a Sacco-esque figure will pop up in my Facebook feed, and the viciousness of the comments is as a rule directly proportional to the number of them.

'Once everyone is living in an entirely glass house, there won't be any point in throwing stones.'

I disagree. And not just because the future of glass houses is a sad and depressing one to me.

I disagree as well. I don't think Kids Today are as foreign and alien as they're sometimes portrayed as being - they're a lot like us at heart, and that'll only get more obvious as they age and take up roles within the existing social hierarchy. I'm pretty sure a future of glass houses isn't going to mean no stones are thrown. I'd be inclined to expect more shaming to arise, not less - increased interconnectedness and transparent lives allow for more groupthink and imposed conformity, and I don't think we as humans are so good as to avoid latching on to it.

I sometimes wish I had adopted a pseudonym.

Yeah, sure. Like there aren't any other "Donald Johnsons" our there. You can't be serious.

Oh,crap. Now I've done it. ;)


Employers won't become more accepting of stupid tweets as they become more universal. As jobs become more scarce, that will just be the mechanism by which everyone ends up unemployed.

...generally at least once a week a news story about a criminal or a Sacco-esque figure will pop up in my Facebook feed, and the viciousness of the comments is as a rule directly proportional to the number of them.

When the warmer weather rolls around, we can be treated to the stories of young children and babies left to die in cars simply so the mob can enjoy the hate-fest on the parent or whomever. It doesn't matter how many explanations are put forth about how that can happen to anyone under the right (or wrong) circumstances, the flaws of human cognition being what they are.

(I'm not sure why that particular meme bothers me, but it does. I feel horrible for those people who it should be obvious are loving and devoted parents and who had a tragic mental lapse because they were sleep deprived or their routine got screwed up or whatever the case may be. They're living a nightmare as it is, and a bunch of numb-skulls who know nothing about them want to crucify them with a most righteous fury. It sickens me.)

We - probably all of humanity, but certainly the Anglophone West - are a thoroughly nasty, spiteful people beneath our veneer of civility.

I don't accept that (FWIW).

We are most of us capable of being deeply unpleasant, but a surprising proportion of us are, despite that, inclined in the other direction.
What is undeniable is that we do tend to behave far worse in groups than as individuals.

Hmmm. I find myself agreeing with Nigel and hairshirthedonist, and I thought the exact same thing as bobbyp. What does it mean?

Not sure what you mean, bobbyp, but just as soon as I figure it out I'm going to go on Twitter, acquire a mob, and destroy your life.

You're obviously growing as a person, sapient.

What does it mean?

I am he as you are she as Brett is me and we are all together.

Except for those OTHERS, over there.

Cleek is the Walrus. Which the NSA already knows.

Look it up.

Which the NSA already knows.

Look it up.

And now I have to thank Edward Snowden?

hairshirtorthodonist, I'm with you on that meme.

Story: I was the stay-at-home Dad (absent-minded) during my son's formative years and when he turned one-year-old, my wife and I decided to place him in day-care with a wonderful woman in her home one day a week, to give me a break.

I must have had a wild look in my eyes when she arrived home from work. Yeah, I'm O.K, honey, why do you ask? You have a Cherrio stuck to your hair with .. wha.. what the heck is that? ... she would retort.

The first day arrived. I got him ready, fully Binkied, provisioned, kissed profusely, etc, and strapped into his baby chaise lounge/car seat and strapped him in to the car. Off we went. Left him with the caregiver, hanging about bothering her while I checked out of the corner of my eye for possible, lurking pet carnivorous tigers, gas leaks, whirling blades of ceiling fans with loose screws, etc.

Drove off. Did the grocery shopping. Put the groceries in the car. Turned the key in the ignition. Drove maybe half a mile, probably whistling as I drove. Checked the rear view mirror. Where is he? Where is the sweet little kid who was always in his car seat checking ME out in the mirror?

Total brain cramp!

Tires squealing, pulled over to the side of the road. Got out, trying to appear nonchalant. Checked the roof of the car to see if I'd set his car seat with him in it there while I loaded the groceries. Looked back up the road, dreading to see him in his car seat spinning through honking traffic just missing him. Flop sweat. Really, lost 20 pounds in about six minutes. Imagined wife skipping the call to the divorce attorney and proceeding directly to brutally murdering me with an electric cake batter beater. Started driving back to the grocery store (he's in the effing grocery cart, being kidnapped by busybody Republican zombies with an appetite for infants) .. checking the gas gauge to see if I could make it to the Mexican border by nightfall, or just driving to the nearest police station and turning myself in.

.... Then it hit me. I'd let him off at the daycare place before shopping.

Had to pull over again, eleven minutes into this. Slumped in the seat.

I can only imagine the horror of leaving a child in a car because life is too effing distracting.

As orthodonists, I'm very pleasure seeking.

go! As orthodonists go! See what happens when you make fun of someone else's typo?

I'll brace myself. UGH!! Two ways.

Gotta love it!

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/paul-gosar-boko-haram-boca-raton

Yes, awake for 24 hours.

Asleep for thirty years leading up to the 24 hours.

I've had dinnertime calls from the Boca Raton Group, Republicans trying to sell me salt water futures as a tax avoidance scheme.

Should I alert the IRS or Homeland Security?

We are most of us capable of being deeply unpleasant, but a surprising proportion of us are, despite that, inclined in the other direction.
What is undeniable is that we do tend to behave far worse in groups than as individuals.

I'll (mostly) agree with this, actually. I spoke too broadly; I don't think we're all as bad as I suggested. However, I'll emphatically assert that there are an awful lot of us who are only feigning to be inclined in the other direction, and as soon as they think they're anonymous or find an acceptable target (particularly. yes, if they're part of a group), they'll drop the facade under a pretense of righteous indignation.

I'll also emphatically assert that I'm getting more cynical as I age, and modern social media is far from blameless in this. But yes, fine, that was too broad of an assertion.

However, I'll emphatically assert that there are an awful lot of us who are only feigning to be inclined in the other direction, and as soon as they think they're anonymous or find an acceptable target (particularly. yes, if they're part of a group), they'll drop the facade under a pretense of righteous indignation.

I emphatically agree with this, the other side of that coin is very few people will get in front of those mobs to defend someone. Bullying at its most effective.

Groups do democracy.
Groups do lynch mobs.
Whatsa' person to do?

Do your best.
I guess,

or become an orthodontist.

Dayaaammmnn....did it AGAIN.

Just a reminder to keep this in perspective.

very few people will get in front of those mobs to defend someone

Well yes, it's always hard to convince yourself that almost certainly futile (and quite possibly effectively invisible) martyrdom, virtual or otherwise, is a good idea. It's one thing to sacrifice yourself for your principles, and quite another to do so in vain because of them. Like you said, bullying at its most effective, and sadly not for nothing.

It's not a solution to all the problems of digital mobs, but one point to make is that although Jon Ronson's a British journalist, all his examples are American, not British. If you have better employment rights, then you get some protection from being fired immediately by your company: in the UK an employer would have to prove that was a proportionate response.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad