What That Harper's Letter About Cancel Culture Could Have Said

from the cancel-culture-and-motives dept

Earlier this week I wrote about the open letter that was published in Harper's, signed by around 150 very prominent writers/thinkers. My response to it was to heavily criticize both the premise and the specifics in the letter, and to argue that it sought to do the very thing it claimed to be against. That is, it presented itself as support for free speech and counterspeech, and against attempts to shut down speech -- and yet, almost all of the (deliberately vague) examples they pointed to were not examples of shutting down speech, but rather examples of facing consequences from speech and counterspeech itself. The open letter could -- and in many cases was -- read to basically say "we should be able to speak without professional consequences."

Some people liked my response, and some people hated it. The debate has raged on, and that's cool. That's what we should be supporting, right? More debate and speech.

Many people are referring to the letter as being about "cancel culture," even though the letter itself never uses the phrase. But everyone recognizes that the concept is what's at the core of the letter: the idea that someone will say something that "the mob" considers beyond the pale, and suddenly they're "cancelled." We'll get to how realistic that actually is shortly.

But part of the problem with the letter was that it was written in terms that could be used to both condemn overreaction by "mob" voices on Twitter and be used by certain people to say "stop criticizing my bad ideas so vociferously." It provides nothing of consequence to anyone trying to distinguish between the two, and thus when some assumed it was for the purposes of the latter, rather than the former, that should impeach the drafting of the letter itself, rather than its critics. Still, that makes the letter at best useless and at worst, capable of being used not in support of free speech, but as a tool to condemn counterspeech and consequences.

Some well meaning critics challenged my criticism of the post on a few grounds that are at least worth considering. First, was the argument that my post imputes motives to the signatories that were unfair. And I'll grant that criticism. Indeed, quite often lately, I've found that when people leap to assume the motives of others, that's often when debates and discussions go off the rails. I'm just as guilty of that as anyone else, and I should try to be better about that. But there's a flipside to that argument as well, which is that there are people out there who purposely engage in bad faith arguments, and go ballistic when you call them on that, insisting that you can't impute such bad faith into their argument based solely on the words that they spoke (though, often by ignoring nearly all of the contextual relevancy that makes their bad faith evident).

In other words, there certainly are mixed motives among the signatories, and I'd argue that some signed on in good faith in the belief that the world really is being pushed by illiberal forces that are shutting down realms of speech, but also those who just seem to be upset that people are calling out their bad ideas and they're suffering the consequences for it. I focused on the latter, when a more charitable read perhaps should have focused on -- or at least acknowledged -- the former.

And as someone who has spent decades fighting for the importance of free expression, at times at great cost to myself, I have quite a lot of sympathy for what a "good faith" reading of the letter appears to want to say. But I think the letter fails to make its case on multiple grounds, even removing the question of the motives of the signatories.

First, there's the question of how widespread "cancel culture" truly is. I would argue that it exists, but is vastly overstated -- and I'm saying this as someone who has had friends expelled from their jobs unfairly in my view following online mobs ganging up on them. I do believe that, as with any speech, it is possible to use it to galvanize actions I disagree with. But, as I said in my original writeup the details matter. Many of the claims of "cancel culture" remind me of the claims of "anti-conservative bias on social media." Lots of people insist it's true, but when you ask for examples, you get back a lot of platitudes about "look around!" and "it's obvious" and "you're blind if you can't see it!" but rarely many actual examples. And, in the few cases where examples are given, they frequently fall apart under scrutiny.

This is true of many -- though not all -- of the examples of "cancel culture." Last fall, Cody Johnston did an amusing video arguing that cancel culture isn't a thing. I'd argue it is exaggerated, and a few points it makes are also misleading, but on the whole he's got a point. Many of the examples of "cancel culture" are really just the powerful and the privileged receiving some modicum of pushback for horrific actions or statements, that maybe pushed them down a rung from the very top of the ladder, but still left them in pretty privileged positions compared to just about everyone else:

Are there more relevant examples? Perhaps. A lot of people pointed to Yascha Mounk's recent article in the Atlantic entitled Stop Firing the Innocent, and I mostly agree with that article. There are a few examples out there of people being unfairly fired in response to online mobs misinterpreting or overreacting to things. The story of David Shor in that article is certainly one that many people pointed out, and it does highlight what seems like an overreaction (Shor appears to have been fired for merely tweeting a link to a study about historical voting patterns in response to violent v. non-violent protests, and some, somewhat ridiculously, interpreted the conclusions of that study to somehow be a condemnation of some of the current protests). Another set of well known examples comes from John Ronson's book from half a decade ago, "So You've Been Publicly Shamed," which highlights a few cases of arguably unfair overreactions to minor offenses.

But, here's the thing: after lots of people (including Mounk) called out what happened to Shor (more speech), many people now agree that his firing was wrong. And so, the cycle continues. Speech, counterspeech, more counterspeech, etc. Sometimes, in the midst of all that speech, bad things happen -- such as the firing of Shor. But is that an example of cancel culture run amok, or one bad result out of millions? It is very much like our debates on content moderation. Mistakes are sometimes made. It is impossible to get it right every time. But a few "bad" examples here and there are not evidence of a widespread trend.

Also, I'm still hard pressed to see how the level here is any worse than it was a few decades ago. There may be different issues over which public shaming may occur, but it wasn't that long ago that people would be ostracized for suggesting it's okay to fall in love with someone of the same gender or someone of another race. On the whole, I'd argue that we've made a lot of progress in opening up avenues of discussion -- and while we should be concerned about the cases that go wrong, the evidence that there's some big change beyond what has happened in the past are lacking. Indeed, I feel like I remember this nearly identical debate from when I was a kid and the fight was over "too much political correctness," which is a form of the same thing.

I think it's natural for some folks to always feel that they are being treated unfairly for their beliefs, and that people overreact. It's not a new phenomenon. It's not driven by the internet or some other new idea. Indeed, as philosopher Agnes Callard tweeted, you can go back to John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" to find him discussing "cancel culture" as well:

And, again, the details matter, and in many cases the different degrees of criticism and "cancellation" make a huge difference in whether or not the situation was just or not. The circumstances behind each of the stories matter not just in what happened but to whom and why -- and this is why the questions were raised about the signatories and their motives. In some cases it certainly seemed that at least some of them are upset that they are facing more criticism or that they may be excluded from certain privileged platforms. But not being able to publish a nonsense opinion in the NY Times op-ed section is not being cancelled or silenced. It's one thing to have a non-public figure thrust into the limelight and effectively have their career destroyed. I can see how that's a problem. That, however, is entirely different from a very public figure having a bunch of people tell them that their ideas are bad and hurting others.

And while some signatories of the letter insisted to me that they meant the letter to be about those non-public figures, the letter itself does not make that clear and, again, can be used to serve both purposes.

Indeed, a response letter that was crowdsourced and put together by an even bigger list of people (though perhaps without as many "recognizable" names) walks through each of the vague examples in the original Harper's letter and looks at the likely details. And, with the exception of the one example of David Shor -- which it describes correctly as "indefensible, and anomalous," the other examples highlight the issue here: the details have been twisted to hide situations in which people were censured for actually making huge mistakes, not for just taking a contrarian view.

And, once again, that gets at the problem of how awful the letter is: its language can be used both to defend free speech and to paper over truly awful behavior, and while some of the signatories meant it to do the former, it certainly gives the appearance of being used by others to do the latter.

One other criticism I received, along the lines of it being unfair to pin motives of some of the signatories on all of them, was this is the nature of getting a bunch of people to sign onto an open letter. By definition, those things will get watered down as more signatories have opinions, and many people will sign on without necessarily reading through the details. That's not a good excuse. Recognizing the intent of the letter and who you are joining with is part of understanding context. And, as if to prove what a silly criticism that is, take a look again at the crowdsourced letter above, also signed by a bunch of people, and worked on together as a group. It makes key points much more directly and is a much, much, much riskier letter in many ways.

The signatories call for a refusal of “any false choice between justice and freedom.” It seems at best obtuse and inappropriate, and at worst actively racist, to mention the ongoing protests calling for policing reform and abolition and then proceed to argue that it is the signatories who are “paying the price in greater risk aversion.” It’s particularly insulting that they’ve chosen now, a time marked by, as they describe, “powerful protests for racial and social justice,” to detract from the public conversation about who gets to have a platform.

It is impossible to see how these signatories are contributing to “the most vital causes of our time” during this moment of widespread reckoning with oppressive social systems. Their letter seeks to uphold a “stifling atmosphere” and prioritizes signal-blasting their discomfort in the face of valid criticism. The intellectual freedom of cis white intellectuals has never been under threat en masse, especially when compared to how writers from marginalized groups have been treated for generations. In fact, they have never faced serious consequences — only momentary discomfort.

I think that Jill Filipovic's response to the letter may be most aligned with my thinking: that cancel culture is overstated, that some of the signatories of the letter were signing on because they're upset that a wider public with a voice is criticizing them, but that there are at least a few cases of egregious overreaction to online mobbing, and sometimes that involves the loss of a job. Her argument makes some amount of sense -- that you shouldn't be fired for your bad opinions if your bad opinions have nothing to do with your job:

So yes, most of the “cancel culture” complaints are overwrought. On the long list of things worth caring about, cancel culture is very low down. Criticism is not cancelation. Conflict is not censorship. On all of these issues, the right is far, far worse (how many voices opposing the party line are at Fox, or on right-wing websites, or speaking at conservative religious colleges?). Often, the right uses this narrative of the “intolerant left” to cover for its own misdeeds and groupthink, and it’s an underhanded, bullshit tactic that too many progressives fall for.

But.

It is also true that there have been instances — many instances — where people have been fired from their jobs (and not just in media) for holding opinions that have nothing to do with their ability to perform said job, and who are fired entirely because an employer doesn’t want the PR headache.

Of course, even that is not always so black and white. If your opinions create larger problems for a company -- including costs that go beyond just giving PR a headache -- does it really make sense to just say that the companies need to shoulder that burden? But I do think it's fair to try to explore context more deeply. What is the context in which the statements are being made -- and who is making them? Is it a situation that involves speaking truth to power? Or is it a situation that involves using a position of privilege to keep down the less fortunate?

That is to say, as with so much, it's complicated.

And part of that complication is not just that different people have different motives and that mistakes are made, but that the level of "penalty" people receive differs quite a bit as well. If the original letter had legitimately focused exclusively on some of the more significant consequences, and could clearly demonstrate were out of bounds, it might have a good point. But it lumps "public shame and ostracism" in the same category as more significant retribution. And that was part of what made me think the original letter was so lame. Sure, some people were signing onto it to highlight those few egregious cases (though, again, it's unclear that those situations are new or any different than in the past), but the letter lumped in a much wider variety of things.

Another part of the complication is that as times change, our understanding and sensitivities to certain ideas shift as well. In my original piece I argue it's not evident from where I sit that the space in which ideas can be discussed is shrinking. There are so many things today that can be seen, discussed, and read that were impossible to get out there just a few decades ago, and that's incredible. That said, it is true that there are certain things that used to be more commonplace that are now much more sensitive areas. But a big part of that is actually our recognition that things which used to be considered okay (e.g., casual bigotry) are no longer considered okay. And a huge reason those are no longer considered okay is that we've opened up this wider "marketplace of ideas" to more voices, often from folks who were previously unable to share their points of view, and their persuasive speech has convinced many that what used to be deemed okay is not and, in fact, never was.

Finally, I'd argue that while it's possible that some people make innocent mistakes, and that we should try to take into account whether or not saying a truly dumb or hurtful thing was an uneducated mistake or outright maliciousness, we can and should be able to judge that by what happens next. That is, I agree with the letter writers that people shouldn't lose their job over a single innocent tweet taken out of context. But it's much, much harder to make that case for someone who doubles down, refuses to learn, refuses to investigate why their words are causing so much pain and hurt, and then attacks those who are trying to educate them on their truly awful stance.

So if I were to try to rewrite the letter to make the actual point that the authors seemed to want to make, I'd probably go with something like the following:

Free speech is a key foundational idea and value which we support. Along with that, though, we recognize that speech has consequences, and some of those consequences may include counterspeech that may lead to action. We recognize that persuasive speech that leads to action may be for things we agree with and also for things we disagree with. We are concerned about situations in which the actions and consequences of speech may unfairly and disproportionately punish people for innocent transgressions -- and how that may create unnecessary chilling effects that run counter to the ideal of free speech. Yet at the same time we recognize that this is complicated, and situations may appear differently to different people.

The world is a complicated and ever changing space. Some of that change is for good and some is for bad. There are people with all kinds of motivations out there, and it is all too easy to leap to the worst conclusions about motivations. We should all strive to be cautious in assigning motive, and we should investigate why someone said what they said before leaping to conclusions or rushing to condemn them to the level at which they'd face reprisal -- while also recognizing that there are those out there who will argue in bad faith. Distinguishing between the two is often difficult.

In many ways, the world is more free and open for debate today than in the past -- new and previously unheard voices are being heard and promoted and celebrated for the first time and we should encourage that. This open debate and discussion has also resulted in a changing societal consensus on what is, and what is not, appropriate. Quite frequently this is also for good. We are becoming more sensitive to the harms that people have faced and are reckoning with all of those, thanks in part to the robust debate and discussion about these ideas.

At the same time, in our ongoing and righteous zeal to revisit areas that were previously overlooked and underexplored, there are times when people may go too far. There are times when the nuance and details and context are not initially clear, and some people -- including ourselves -- may overreact. That overreaction often leads to consequences which, when the full situation is explored and understood, seem unfair. We should seek to be aware that this may happen, and try to avoid it. Furthermore, we should recognize that as fallible as humans are, we will sometimes discover this too late, and should seek to rectify it when we do.

The details will always matter. We should not assume simplistic narratives all of the time, when often there are mixed motivations and complex factors and variables involved. There may be situations that appear similar on the surface, but upon deeper exploration turn out to be quite different. We should be willing to explore those details and to recognize that, sometimes, people we like will face consequences for their speech for an extended pattern of truly reprehensible behavior.

However, we should leave space open for people to learn and to grow. We should recognize that a single misdeed may be innocent and should treat it as such. We should see how people respond to such feedback. At the same time, we should also recognize that a pattern and practice of questionable and hurtful behavior may suggest a person who is deliberately, and in bad faith, seeking to game the system.

This starts with us. We, who have signed this letter, have not always lived up to these ideals either. Everyone will make mistakes sometimes, and we hope to learn from them as well. We are excited about the power of new voices to be heard and join the conversation, and realize this often challenges our strongly held beliefs. We hope that, in the spirit of learning from these new voices that criticism of other views will also take on a recognition that there is room to understand and to change -- or, on the flipside -- to build stronger arguments to the contrary.

I think that approach would have made the point much better. It would acknowledge that things are often more complicated than they appear on the surface, that there are different motivations behind actions, and that sometimes speech does lead to consequences that not everyone will agree with. But, most of all, that approach acknowledges that everyone makes these kinds of mistakes at some point. The original letter framed the issue as if the signatories were the righteous believers in free speech, against the "others" out there trying to shut them down -- without any recognition that some of the signatories and the letter itself often seemed to be advocating for the silencing of others as well.

In the end: free speech is important, but like with so many things it's more complicated the deeper you explore, because free speech itself has consequences, and we should strive to understand the impact of our speech, to learn, and to expand our own thinking over time as well.

Filed Under: cancel culture, culture, free speech, mob mentality, nuance, overreaction


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:04am

    Do the signatories really mean what they say?

    I agree that you cannot accuse all of the signatories of the letter as having the same motives and practices. At the same time they did sign the letter, and they should back up their beliefs with actions. Emily Van Der Werff reacted to the column, and in return a large number of people went on to attack her including physical threats.

    Death and rape threats against Emily Van Der Werff

    The people who signed that letter should be more proactive in following up their beliefs rather than just standing idly by when something like this happens.

    Here is Emily's own take on what happened:
    Emily Van Der Werff's twitter statement

    (Finally, so disappointed to see Wynton Marsalis signed the letter :-) )

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:22am

      Re: Do the signatories really mean what they say?

      I wonder how many of the people attacking Emily don't see the irony at all, versus how many see it and just don't care.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re: Do the signatories really mean what they say?

        There isn't any irony here. Van Der Werff took creative license in their view of the letter and then made a statement that they did not feel not safe, or at the very least not comfortable, at work because of that particular view of the letter and the fact that a co-worker's signature was on it alongside others who they disagreed with.

        I don't see anyone who signed the letter attacking Van Der Werff, nor is there any particular responsibility for them to defend her interpretation of it or, for that matter, nor take responsibility for those who are attacking her over it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:08am

    Listening to the wrong people

    Celebrities, even minor celebrities and those who only a minority of people have ever heard of such as authors, need to shut the hell up and stop trying to use their small degree of fame to push their personal agendas. As Ricky Gervais said in his 2020 Golden Globe speech,

    So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

    He's right. People should speak about what they know, not what they think they know or even what they want others to think. Because they're all wrong about almost everything almost all the time.

    Pay no attention to the attention seekers. They can all be discounted without reservation.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:40am

      People should speak about what they know, not what they think they know or even what they want others to think.

      Cool argument for silencing people, dude~.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:46pm

        Re:

        Seriously? One of the primary reasons we have such a divide in this country running right down the political aisle is that there are far too many people talking out of their asses to promote their agenda. The public listens to them because they're famous, confusing that with knowledgable.

        I said nothing about silencing people. Only that people should avoid speaking about that which they are not knowledgable and that often people fail to recognize they are not due to the echo chamber around them.

        You, on the other hand, advocate for listing to those who don't really know what they're talking about? Cool recipe for disaster, dude~.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:53pm

          You, on the other hand, advocate for listing to those who don't really know what they're talking about?

          No, I advocate for letting people speak regardless of their level of knowledge on a given subject. Whether anyone listens or takes them seriously is never going to be something you, I, or anyone else can stop without infringing on someone else’s right to speak. Kanye West is a blithering idiot to whom no one should ideally pay a second of attention; that doesn’t mean he should’ve have the right to talk about politics even though he shows his ignorance on that topic each time he talks about it.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:14pm

            Re:

            You're intentionally being obtuse. That AC was using his free speech to say that people who don't know what they're talking about to practice discernment in what they say. That's not silencing. It's suggesting people change their behavior. There's no force applied.

            Pretending that telling people to shut up is silencing others when it's actually just someone else expressing themselves via free speech makes your free speech advocacy hypocritical.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:36am

              Re: Re:

              "It's suggesting people change their behavior. There's no force applied."

              It's suggesting that people STFU themselves instead of saying stupid crap and others telling them to STFU. The net effect is the same, although the former is never really going to happen. Kanye doesn't say stupid shit because he doesn't know he should STFU, he says stupid shit for attention and publicity.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 4:46am

              That AC was using his free speech to say that people who don't know what they're talking about to practice discernment in what they say.

              I’mma quote to you exactly what they said.

              People should speak about what they know, not what they think they know or even what they want others to think.

              Can you spot the one word in that sentence that makes me think that AC believes about people who don’t know what they’re talking about? ProTip: It’s “should”. The AC was saying “if people don’t know what they’re talking about, they should shut the fuck up”. I am thus left to wonder how they’d enforce the “should” part of their dictate.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:39pm

                Re:

                Can you spot the one word in that sentence that makes me think that AC believes about people who don’t know what they’re talking about? ProTip: It’s “should”. The AC was saying “if people don’t know what they’re talking about, they should shut the fuck up”.

                What exactly are you talking about, buddy? You just inserted curse-words into someone's fingers where there were none to begin with, exposing you as the typical disgruntled, desperate liberal fool/tool that you are. No one claimed that anyone should be silenced, but they did argue that someone should not talk authoritatively on topics that they know jack-shit about, with which I happened to agree. People are allowed to say "should." You should check the Constitution on that one, fuck-face. While you're at it, sign up for a writing course at your local community college so you know how to use quotation marks in a sentence properly and stop embarrassing this blog in front of the educated individuals (i.e. not you, sorry) who read it.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 2:01pm

                  someone should not talk authoritatively on topics that they know jack-shit about

                  Someone probably would be better off not talking on a topic about which they know nothing, sure. But I don’t much like telling people what they should or shouldn’t do — and I don’t like it when other people do the same. It implies that the person saying “you should do this” knows what’s best for the target of such speech, even if they know fuck-all about said target. To wit: your whiny-ass tirade about me. You can properly fuck all the way off now, but I’m not saying you should. I’m only saying you might be better off if you did.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 7:51am

      Re: Listening to the wrong people

      I'm not clear on your message. Are you saying famous people should not talk about things they are not famous for, or they should not talk about things they don't know about? What if a famous person has taken the time to learn about an issue that is important to them and speaks about it publicly? How would you know the difference between that and uninformed ranting without looking into it yourself?

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    • identicon
      Michael, 15 Jul 2020 @ 4:15pm

      Re: Listening to the wrong people

      I like the part where you used a quote from a famous person to support your view that famous people should STFU.

      Logic isn't your strong suit, clearly.

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  • icon
    sumgai (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:17am

    Mike,

    Very cogent. But I think I could shortcut your letter, and the diatribes of those who contributed 'case studies' to your reasoning thus:

    Come on people, stop disguising your emotional outbursts as rational thinking. Or as a famous wag once said "Put brain in gear before engaging mouth".

    The very definition of over-reaction is to use emotion where rationality would've been the correct response. Hmmm, sounds like a standard response by certain members of society, the ones who wear a badge, doesn't it.....

    Sad, just sad that we have to go through all this. Whatever happened to the KISS principle?

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    • identicon
      Glen, 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      Rock and roll all night and party every day?

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    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      The problem is that there is no self-test for emotion vs rationality or for logical fallacy positions (then could we get people to use them?) (might be nice though, maybe AI could come up with something after we figure out how to remove bias from AI's (that's a joke folks)).

      Once some people put their feet in their mouths, they then tend to dig their heels in.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Once some people put their feet in their mouths, they then tend to dig their heels in.

        Oooh. Nice turn of phrase.

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  • identicon
    bobob, 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:47am

    The professional risk is not itself due to anything about "cancel culture." The professional risk is about employees who are too willing to tolerate the "employment at will" paradigm that gives tacit permission to employers to fire employees for any reason at all regardless of how well they perform their jobs at work. The only way to have a professional life that doesn't consume your real life is to ensure employees can't be held accountable by their employers for the employees actions outside of the work environment.

    As for "learning and growing," many people are born into and grow up in a bigoted environment and although at points in their lives, they may have held those views only later to realize how fucked up those views are. My own parents, although not strongly biased, still held some of those biases typically held by the white middle class of their generation. My own interest in ridding myself of those preconeptions has also greatly influenced my parents to be much more pen minded and question their own views.

    So, yeah, it's possible to hold certain views simply because of the environment one was born into and not only grow and learn you were wrong, but to influence others to change their views. Holding someone accountable forever for views expressed at some point in life not only fails to realize people can understand how they were mistaken, but fails to realize that by acknowledging those mistakes, they are in the best position to influence those who initially influenced them.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      The only way to have a professional life that doesn't consume your real life is to ensure employees can't be held accountable by their employers for the employees actions outside of the work environment.

      I am employed at will and my work life doesn't consume my personal life. Not to say that there aren't problems with at will employment, but there are advantages as well.

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    • icon
      jilocasin (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 6:11pm

      Re:

      The professional risk is about employees who are too willing to tolerate the "employment at will" paradigm that gives tacit permission to employers to fire employees for any reason at all regardless of how well they perform their jobs at work.

      Nice, thought, but with so many states being 'at-will' states, their only realistic choice is to accept that fact or be unemployed. Perhaps someday we'll follow some of the more enlightened nations on the other side of the pond.

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  • icon
    Code Monkey (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:48am

    Question on the article's written style.

    '... But part of the problem with the letter was that it was written in terms that could be used to both condemn overreaction by "mob" voices on Twitter and be used by certain people to say "stop criticizing my bad ideas so vociferously." '

    Could it be that the authors wrote it to be deliberately confusing?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:54am

    Of course, even that is not always so black and white. If your opinions create larger problems for a company -- including costs that go beyond just giving PR a headache -- does it really make sense to just say that the companies need to shoulder that burden?

    That really depends. Does your company take a moral stand, or a pragmatic one? If a moral one (the employee is not guilty of a crime, and does not represent the company as part of his employment), on what basis do you fire him? That you don't like their speech? How do you justify that when you hire them for their work product?

    If a pragmatic one, what is the message you are sending to the mob? "We agree with you"? or "Not in the face?" And what does that say about the power "Cancel Culture"? The Atlantic article showed at least one case where jettisoning the "PR headache" had no effect on the end result.

    As a company president or HR manager, how do you determine whether you can afford a moral stance, have to adopt a pragmatic crowd appeasing stance, or are doomed regardless? And all of that is even before the company can decide what it's own reaction is, honest and independent of the mob.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:10am

      If a moral one … on what basis do you fire him? That you don't like their speech? How do you justify that when you hire them for their work product?

      “People are associating this company with your bigotry, and we can’t let that keep happening. Get your shit together and go.” See? Simple. No company should have to shoulder the burden of being associated with a bigot.

      If a pragmatic one, what is the message you are sending to the mob? "We agree with you"? or "Not in the face?"

      “We’re ostensibly against bigotry, in all its forms, and we don’t want our company thought of as one that tolerates it for the sake of making money. Bigotry hurts our bottom line as much as it hurts other people.” Maybe not the most elegant message, sure, but it gets the job done.

      The Atlantic article showed at least one case where jettisoning the "PR headache" had no effect on the end result.

      Anecdotal experience is not empirical evidence.

      As a company president or HR manager, how do you determine whether you can afford a moral stance, have to adopt a pragmatic crowd appeasing stance, or are doomed regardless?

      Anyone can afford both a moral and a pragmatic stance when the stance is “anti-bigotry”. Whether that will do anything to appease the larger crowd is irrelevant. Nobody is required to accept an apology from a business that employed (and later fired) a bigot; nobody is obligated to give that business money for any reason at any time. If the business does “the right thing” and people still want to boycott that business, that business can’t — and shouldn’t be able to — do anything about that result other than learning to live with it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:30am

        Re:

        you appear to be overly sensitive. what if the speech someone got fired for wasn't bigoted?

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:34am

          what if the speech someone got fired for wasn't bigoted?

          Sucks for them, but I can’t fathom why the law should force that business to associate with that person (or their speech).

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:06pm

            Re:

            your statement would mean that no employee could speak, ever. the first amendment disagrees with you and it seems incredulous that just being employed could eliminate someones first amendment rights.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:11pm

              your statement would mean that no employee could speak, ever

              No, they can speak — but speech always has consequences. One such consequence can be your employer telling you that your speech is the reason they can’t be your employer any more.

              But by all means, explain why a business should be forced to keep an out-and-proud racist on the payroll if the owner of that business doesn’t want racists associated with their business. I can’t wait to see the reasoning for that.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:27pm

                Re:

                you keep adding words not said. you keep assuming the employees speech was bigoted or racist. what if it wasn't? what if the speech was pro democrat when the employer was pro republican or the reverse? is it still ok to fire someone for political views? before you claim the speech was fascist or something else, that wasn't said.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:34pm

                  what if the speech was pro democrat when the employer was pro republican or the reverse? is it still ok to fire someone for political views?

                  Morally? No. Legally? Yes.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:39am

                  Re: Re:

                  "is it still ok to fire someone for political views?"

                  As I understand it - in the US, yes, in the EU, no. Sounds like you need to work on your free speech protections.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 4:49am

                    Our free speech protections are fine. But by all means, please explain why the laws that explicitly protect the right of association should force a business to keep employing someone who says racist bullshit on Twitter.

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                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:32pm

                      Re:

                      force a business to keep employing someone who says racist bulls*** on Twitter.

                      Why do you keep going back to that when the person you're arguing with has explicitly said that's not what they're talking about?

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:42pm

                        Because nobody gets fired for saying “I support trickle-down economic theory”. Speech that gets people fired will be far more divisive; more often than not these days, it will be speech that expresses bigoted ideas/beliefs. But even if — if! — that weren’t the case, the question still stands: For what reason should the law force an employer to remain associated with someone who says something the employer considers offensive or potentially harmful to the employer’s bottom line?

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 5:03pm

                          Re:

                          What is the most plausible scenario?

                          1. I learned that my employee's views are abhorrent and I don't want my company to be associated with her.

                          2. I learned that online mob discovered my long-time employee's stupid tweets and I'm afraid if I don't let him go the bloodthirsty mob can severely damage my business.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:31pm

                            Both events are equally plausible. I have a better question: Should either one be outlawed?

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 7:39am

                              Re:

                              It is indeed a better question - to the extent that answering it super-easy, and the answer is "no."

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                              • icon
                                PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:34pm

                                Re: Re:

                                So... you support the ability of the employer to fire someone with abhorrent views, but have a big problem with that if the reason they know about those views are that paying customers online notified them?

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 11:07am

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  If an argument starts with "So.. you are saying," expect to meet Mr. Strawman in the next sentence.

                                  If you read carefully my comment, in the first scenario I used "abhorrent views" while the second had "stupid tweets," which is a vital distinction.

                                  I'm fine if an employer fires someone for being culturally unfit ("abhorrent views"). If the boss did not know about those views and learned about them from outside, no difference.

                                  However, if an employer knows the person well, he is in a position to distinguish between out-of-pale views and off-color jokes. The mob lacks nuance and cannot be trusted with delivering justice. So, If the employer succumbs to angry demands despite seeing the unfairness of such demands, it is akin to succumbing to extortion.

                                  I don't like the second scenario. However, unlike many commenters here, I lack moral quality enough to offer a solution. I acknowledge the conflict between free-speech-for-all principles and dangers of mobs ruining lives. I don't like it but I can't do anything about it. Actually I do - I do not participate in mob justice.

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                                  • icon
                                    PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 12:48pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "So, If the employer succumbs to angry demands despite seeing the unfairness of such demands, it is akin to succumbing to extortion."

                                    But, it's there choice. It means that they have weighed your value to the company against the value of their customers who are threatening to boycott, and found that the customers win. It means that they don't value your work and presence as much as they value the dollars that the customers said they would no longer pay.

                                    Demanding a firing does not necessarily mean anything, if the employer finds more value with the person remaining employed. They always have the choice to tell the customers they won't get what they're asking for and ride out whatever happens in order to stand by you. If they choose to fire you instead of standing behind you, that means something. Maybe it's that you really don't mean as much to them as you thought you did. Maybe it means that you are actually that toxic to their income.

                                    "Actually I do - I do not participate in mob justice."

                                    So, you will continue to pay money to corporations whose figureheads you find repulsive, money which you now know will be used to fund things you oppose?

                                    Good for you, I suppose, but most right-minded people will vote with their wallet. The fact that I tell the employer that I am willing to continue to buy from them if I can be assured that the money I spend will not be used to change the world for the worse before I make my next purchase is not a bad thing.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2020 @ 8:00pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      I suppose, but most right-minded people [...]

                                      Are you sure about the "most" part of your statement?

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                              • icon
                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:29am

                                Re: Re:

                                "It is indeed a better question - to the extent that answering it super-easy, and the answer is "no.""

                                Correct. In the end any law which mandates that an employer retain an employee they do not want, for ANY reason, is a fairly heavy-handed type of regulation. Fine for the EU which does place a burden of responsibility and obligation on anyone who chooses to employ people...but in the US where it's considered controversial to have universal health care every other advanced nation has it's a suggestion so far out in left field it falls off the table of anyone but Bernie Sanders.

                                In some cases federal regulation is simply replaced by union regulations and collective employment stipulations in the US and in those cases naturally the contract criteria you signed your name to apply. Absent any such third-party stipulation however, an employer in the US is free to act an asshole and fire the first five employees he comes across on any given day, for no other reason than that he can.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:41pm

                          Re:

                          "For what reason should the law force an employer to remain associated with someone who says something the employer considers offensive or potentially harmful to the employer’s bottom line?"

                          In the EU, laws are written to explicitly protect employees, rather than the "I decided I don't like his face today, get him out of here" crap that you often have in the US. There are laws, processes and protection in place to favour the public, not the corporation.

                          Contracts are written to allow people to be fired for stuff like gross misconduct, and I believe there's usually clauses for bringing the company into disrepute and things like that. But, you have to have very good reasons to fire someone. Especially if the firing is to be done without the procedure of formal verbal and written warnings prior to termination.

                          So, because employees have real protections here, you can't just be fired for political views, but if you're an out and out racist while representing the company of social media the option will still be there. This, in my opinion, is how it should be.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:36pm

                      Re:

                      "please explain why the laws that explicitly protect the right of association should force a business to keep employing someone who says racist bullshit on Twitter."ç

                      Please explain how the hell you came up with that from what I said.

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              • icon
                jilocasin (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 6:24pm

                Re:

                Welcome back Stephen. Why do you constantly insert an extreme case, one that wasn't mentioned and argue against that instead of what the author posted? Kind of like when the government says that we need this law to target drug cartels and terrorists and instead uses it to go after people with $20 worth of marijuana. You're better than that.

                Back to the original point, it's currently legal in many/most cases to fire someone for saying or writing something that a sufficiently large number of people disagree with. You could debunk the belief that the earth is flat. Members of the flat earth community could find out where you live and work, accuse you of heinous crimes, or simply just flood the phone lines at the place where you work calling for you to be fired. If your company doesn't want to deal with the headache, boom. Now you are unemployed and the next person will have to think twice about publicly claiming that the earth isn't flat.

                You don't see that as a problem?

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:36pm

                  Why do you constantly insert an extreme case, one that wasn't mentioned and argue against that instead of what the author posted?

                  Because instances of people being mobbed/fired because of shit they said typically don’t happen when people were discussing, say, the best way to divvy up funds for a school district. You will deal with extreme instances because they’re the ones most likely to result in extreme consequences.

                  You don't see that as a problem?

                  I consider it morally questionable (at best) and ethically unsound, yes. But how can you legally prevent it from happening, or legally punish people for doing it, without pissing on the First Amendment?

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:35am

                    Re:

                    "Because instances of people being mobbed/fired because of shit they said typically don’t happen when people were discussing, say, the best way to divvy up funds for a school district."

                    Trump. Bob Murray. Any other wealthy out-and-out asshat who likes to fire people just because they get a boner when exercising power to the detriment of others. Any dipshit supervisor at a MacDonald's firing people because they dared talking back. Every little tinpot emperor taking offense that a hired peon forgot to address him/her with "appropriate" respect in his/her vast domain of one warehouse and a shady office.

                    I'd argue that in the US if we are debating the number of people fired over their stated opinion I wouldn't exactly put extremist views at the middle of the statistical bell curve.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:39pm

              Re: Re:

              the first amendment disagrees with you

              If the employer were the government, ... maybe. Sometimes. Otherwise, not so much.

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            • icon
              Code Monkey (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:44pm

              Re: Re:

              That would only be true if the employer were the U.S. Government. private businesses aren't governed by the First Amendment insofar as they can fire you for anything you say at any time...

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:22am

              Re: Re:

              "your statement would mean that no employee could speak, ever. the first amendment disagrees with you and it seems incredulous that just being employed could eliminate someones first amendment rights."

              A lot to unpack here. But let's set this one straight right out of the gate, shall we?

              You may, in fact, be working for a company which fires people over their speech and conduct. Hell, you might be working for Trump who liked to fire five people at random whenever he had a bad day because that made him feel better. Sure, that's a shitty company to work for and they'll rapidly receive a rep which means they don't get good employees. But it's up to them if they want to be a shitty and self-destructive employer.

              The first amendment means that the government can not shut you up. If you are in someone else's house or building they need no reason at all to toss you out. That's how property works. If you are on twitter and start writing in all caps about the global jewish conspiracy or how all black people are criminal then Twitter needs no actual reason to ban your ass nor does Facebook need a reason to block your account. The rules they set for you being allowed to participate in the debate on their platform is completely up to them. If your supervisor at MacDonald's is an ass, out the door you go, for no other reason than pissing him/her off personally.

              And none of that loses you your first amendment right. That only gets lost when you are disallowed from free speech everywhere. That's why you can ban nazis from FB but when they set up Stormfront as an alternative it's proof positive they still have their first amendment rights.

              So knowing or not you just planted one whopper of a strawman. Most companies have a code of conduct which specifies where the line is drawn on how you can say and act while remaining associated with them. Violate that and you're out. And not a single right of yours has been infringed over it.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:40am

                Re: Re: Re:

                "f you are on twitter and start writing in all caps about the global jewish conspiracy or how all black people are criminal then Twitter needs no actual reason to ban your ass nor does Facebook need a reason to block your account"

                Also worth noting - it goes the other way too. If you're on another site and you start to defend black people from claims that they're all criminals, or try to counter a claim of a Jewish conspiracy, you can also be banned from that site.

                What's confusing these people is that sites that allow, or even encourage, such speech tend to be way less popular than the ones that don't. But these guys would rather complain that their bigoted comments get them kicked out of decent society rather than examine why they are such horrible people that nobody wants to associate with them.

                "That's why you can ban nazis from FB but when they set up Stormfront as an alternative it's proof positive they still have their first amendment rights."

                Sadly, Stormfront predates FB by many years. I believe this is actually why they're complaining so much now. In that echo chamber these scum believed they were a large group of people. They got a tiny taste of what a large audience actually looks like, and now they've lost access to it again they can't handle the truth about what they really are.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 7:00am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "They got a tiny taste of what a large audience actually looks like, and now they've lost access to it again they can't handle the truth about what they really are."

                  Well, you can always rely on the mob of insecure and the malicious to get really scared and upset when it turns out there's a world outside of the stale septic tank where they've been juggling their ideas back and forth.

                  And then, predictably, they lose their shit completely.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:39am

          Re: Re:

          "what if the speech someone got fired for wasn't bigoted?"

          Then, it still apparently violated the employer's contract enough to be fired or made them uncomfortable enough to believe that whatever was said outweighed the value you bring to the company.

          That sounds like an argument for better employee protections, not to force employers to keep employing people who are actively harming their business.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 2:35pm

        Re:

        “People are associating this company with your bigotry, and we can’t let that keep happening. Get your shit together and go.” See? Simple. No company should have to shoulder the burden of being associated with a bigot.

        One problem with that would be if their bigotry is supported by religion—it's explicitly illegal to fire someone for religious beliefs. Would it be so simple if I wanted to fire a member of the Westboro Baptist "Church" for all the homophobic shit they do?

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 3:51pm

          Religion can’t, and shouldn’t, be an unimpeachable defense for bigotry. If it were, anyone who said something bigoted and risked getting fired for it could claim “religion made me say it” and keep their job. Moreover, it would go against an employer’s right of association — i.e., it would force an employer to associate with a bigot because the bigot said “religion made me say it”.

          I have no clue what the law says on the matter. But morally, I see no defensible argument for giving bigots an ironclad “out” from the consequences of their speech.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:43am

          Re: Re:

          Religious protections still have limits. If your religion says it's OK to steal from the till, that doesn't mean your ass can't be canned for stealing.

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    • identicon
      bobob, 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      You are describing a non-existent problem. Aside from a very few smaller companies, a company president or HR manager cares about the bottom line and does what is pragmatic, then spins it to fit whichever way the wind is blowing to appear to make it a moral decision. As a blatant example at the largest scale of all, just look at the phoney objections to mail in voting. Those objections are nothing more than bigotry wrapped up in the morality of voter fraud and such fraud has never been shown to exist on a scale above background noise, not to mention that the presidential election isn't even determined by the popular vote.

      You are not posing a dilemma at all. If anything, you are pointing out the additional inconvenience to companies in having to put some effort into spinning their own bigotry to make it look like stance based on principle that will apeal to bigots and people who want to justify using those compainies for convenience. Amazon is a prime example. Buying from Amazon is nothing more than approving of the exploitation of its workers for personal convenience and buying into Bezos' hype of the month to feel ok about it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Aside from a very few smaller companies, a company president or HR manager cares about the bottom line and does what is pragmatic, then spins it to fit whichever way the wind is blowing to appear to make it a moral decision.

        Most commonly, yes. There are occasional exceptions, I am sure you will admit. And what is your lower limit for "smaller company"? Where does Hobby Lobby, for example, fit?

        just look at the phoney objections to mail in voting.

        As an example of shrouding a decision one has already made in obfuscation, okay. But an odd choice of example when talking about corporate morality decisions. Perhaps you have another example more apropos?

        companies [...] spinning their own bigotry ... ... people who want to justify using those companies for convenience.

        Hmm... you seem to be assuming that everyone has perfect knowledge. You also segue from "bigotry" to "exploitation" without skipping a beat. Truly dizzying. Or is this simply a "corporations are evil" diatribe? Sorry, I always miss these cues.

        Amazon is a prime example.

        I see what you did there.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:38pm

      A tangent: on the substack.com rebuttal...

      And, with the exception of the one example [...] the other examples highlight the issue here: the details have been twisted to hide situations in which people were censured for actually making huge mistakes, not for just taking a contrarian view.

      I think you have glossed over some important lines from the rebuttal, and perhaps the composition of the letter. The letter did not include details, only references. ^1 It's kinda hard to twist vague references, but the point "what you referred to wasn't exactly as unfair as you think" is well made. But a couple more lines from the rebuttal seemed apropos.

      "Journalists barred from writing on certain topics?", what they say isn't that it isn't happening, just that it isn't new.

      Professors investigated for quoting literature? Those particular professors were indeed subject to the mob, but their institutions defended them ... where in other cases, other causes, other institutions (perhaps sometimes the same institutions) did not.

      The rebuttal brings up "... NDAs and social media policies are used to prevent them from talking about toxic workplace experiences." Workplace toxicity isn't solely about race, nor are NDAs and policies specific to those topics, but that's the horse they want to ride.

      The rebuttal chooses to

      • call out several for, essentially, having "unclean hands"
      • several more for espousing phobic (racist, trans-) views
      • a couple more for "not having read the letter before signing on"

      That's sailing entirely too close to ad hominem territory for me to be comfortable with it, and encourages a fallacy of composition based on that minority.

      And again:

      There are only so many outlets, ...

      along with

      There will always be a place for them to have their voices heard. Some even started yet another publication last week. Most writers and journalists from backgrounds historically left out of the industry are not in the same position.

      T and not T. In essence, "you've got a bigger platform than we do, what's your complaint?"

      ... while these individuals have the ability to write in them, they have no intention of sharing that space or acknowledging their role in perpetuating a culture of fear and silence among writers who, for the most part, do not look like the majority of the signatories.

      "You are part of the problem." Not unjustly if you target selectively ... but (parapharased) "You signed the same thing as these people who are hateful, therefore you are helping 'the enemy'." Again, composition.

      While the rebuttal may have been sparked by some good points, but they pour sand on them before they could catch on. I leave the rebuttal with the impression that what they really want to say is "you're not an X so you can never really write about Y".

      Lastly, while the substack rebuttal was signed by more people than the Harper's letter, it wasn't signed by that many more people. And not all of the rebuttal's signatories used their names. While "unsigned /NDA New York Times" arguably supports the point about NDAs, it ain't support for the letter so much as a cheap shot at (probably) their employer.

      But as I said, all this is a tangent. Commentary on the content of one link in a sizeable article.

      ^1 - in this day of hyperlinks, the additional context can be linked to fairly easily. This would have allayed the "vague references" without resulting in a letter the size of the Manhattan phone book. The fault might be in the original letter, or the formatting.

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  • icon
    Igualmente69 (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 10:54am

    Sorry, but "Cancel Culture" obviously does exist, and to pretend otherwise significantly hurts your credibility. A scientist who did an analysis looking at whether nonviolent protests are more or less effective than violent protests at achieving the goals of protesters was called a racist and lost his job.
    It is an objective fact that such analysis is NOT racist, period, and if you think it is you are insane. Saying something that does not fit the desired political goals of someone who is a minority is not racist. Once again, this is not my opinion, it is a fact. Discriminating on the basis of race is racist, and nothing else.
    You can't just hand-wave this away, there is a significant current of the modern progressive left that openly does not support the concept of freedom of speech, and that is bad, and should be criticized. Just because lots of people who got "cancelled" were racist doesn't mean that they all were.

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    • icon
      Sneeje (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are arguing in good faith and assume you aren't deliberately misunderstanding the difference between "consequences" for your opinion and the ephemeral "cancel culture".

      So, I would invite you to please explain the difference. Because if you are arguing in good faith, I find it hard to believe you are arguing that there should be no real-world consequences for abhorrent views and speech. And if accept there should be consequences, then we really need to understand what you think the difference between those consequences and "cancelling" are.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      A scientist who did an analysis looking at whether nonviolent protests are more or less effective than violent protests at achieving the goals of protesters was called a racist and lost his job.

      Found the guy who didn't read the article.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      Did you... not read the post?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:17pm

      Re:

      the argument made wasn't "Cancel Culture doesn't exist"...

      Do you regularly jump into a debate due to something you've overheard but didn't bother to listen to in depth?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:46am

      Re:

      "You can't just hand-wave this away, there is a significant current of the modern progressive left that openly does not support the concept of freedom of speech, and that is bad, and should be criticized."

      I'm becoming more and more convinced the "cancel culture" debate and similar nitpicking in how - specifically - the public debate has gone astray is just one large argument about how we'd like to arrange the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      Because for a debate to be held you need good faith on both sides. I'd say almost none of the right and about half of the left currently tries to apply that standard. Against that backdrop it isn't really relevant which exact mechanisms the screaming mob employs to screw the argument from both sides.

      Is cancel culture real in <specific case X>? Really doesn't matter when the whole GOP already assumes and claims all their political views are being censored in media just because everyone who doesn't agree with them is a leftist commie pinko. Which naturally prompts the counter-assumption that conservatives today are all nazi trolls.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:17am

        Re: Re:

        "Which naturally prompts the counter-assumption that conservatives today are all nazi trolls."

        Or worse - that they are actually that full of hate and ignorance for real... yet have the same voting rights as normal people.

        There is a definite problem with how you deal with that, but I don't see why saying to them "take your horrible views elsewhere" is not a good place to start, so long as it's other citizens and not the government saying it.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 7:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...I don't see why saying to them "take your horrible views elsewhere" is not a good place to start, so long as it's other citizens and not the government saying it."

          Most nazi trolls are clueless losers who define themselves exclusively by who or what they hate. When you tell them to take those views elsewhere you are essentially rejecting their whole existence. I'm not too surprised they are upset about that.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:08am

    Is cancel culture just another way for conservatives to claim they are being censored?

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:11am

      Pretty much, yeah. When it happens to them, it’s “cancel culture”. When it happens to genuinely marginalized voices, it’s “people not putting up with leftist bullshit”.

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    • icon
      jilocasin (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 6:53pm

      Re:

      Personally, I think it's meaning has become rather muddled. It appears to mean:

      • groups calling out celebrities or people in power for racist, or other -ist actions (that may have sometimes occurred decades ago)
      • social media (twitter/facebook) mobs trying to ruin the lives of ordinary people who don't agree with their orthodoxy
      • conservatives complaining that the terms of service violation posts getting them in trouble

      It depends on who you ask.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:38pm

        This shit was happening long before the Internet made it easy. It’ll keep happening long after Twitter and its ilk shut down. Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 8:40pm

          Re:

          This shit was happening long before the Internet made it easy.

          Yes. So? That it was happening long before the Internet made it easy doesn't mean that the Internet didn't make it easy, and by extension a larger problem. It's easier to find something to take offense to it's easier to organize people to dogpile on, it's easier to contact a person or their employer to cause them problems, and it's easier to broadcast reputation ruining accusations to a large group.

          Unsurprisingly this has caused an increased number of problems and people are starting to take note and discuss the proper response.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:32pm

            Re: Re:

            ...and the proper response is often still to can your racist ass.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:33am

            Re: Re:

            "That it was happening long before the Internet made it easy doesn't mean that the Internet didn't make it easy, and by extension a larger problem."

            Well...no, not really. Mass communications has if anything, delivered a forum for the "canceled" people to counter in. By and large there's some balance here which simply didn't exist earlier.

            Earlier, otoh, cancel culture was exemplified by people in impeccable authority asking the air "Can no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" or "Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men and I will find something in them which will hang him". Even later on when feudalism was out of vogue "cancel culture" was, in the nominal Leader Of The Free World made endemic by McCarthy, Hoover, and their various witch hunt committees against whose summary judgment there was no coming back.

            Claiming the internet has exacerbated the problem is just flat-out false. It's the outright opposite.

            However, it does mean that people with highly controversial opinions have a far harder time of it. In the USA of yesteryear no one was going to react much if some redneck douche started ranting about "God damn n_ggers and f_ggots" in the local watering hole. Today that sort of shit lands his face and diatribe on facebook along with where he works...for all of that one day before his employer notices that one of his employees is a racist outspoken fuckwit who he might not want to pay good money any longer.

            The internet simply brings stuff up people were already willing to spin into the public space and makes that stuff accessible outside of the little suburban burgh of Podunk, Iowa.

            The reaction we keep seeing, today, is mainly that a lot of people are learning - for the first time - that what they say out loud is just as unacceptable as many of their former friends and acquaintances have long tried telling them it is.

            Sure, "cancel culture" does exist as a phenomenon, but when some bigoted fuckwit just can't keep his/her malice out of the open forum and gets boo'd down it's not "cancel culture" which gets their ass fired and them banned from that platform.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:00pm

      Re:

      Cancel culture is often disingenuously used a term is essentially 'public shaming when we're the ones wielding it'. They're fine with firing women (and only women) for having sexual relations out of wedlock, for being gay, or being a sexual minority then they were 'societal values' we should all accept. Now when they get fired for being recorded using slurs? That is oppression which must be opposed.

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  • icon
    Koby (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:14am

    But part of the problem with the letter was that it was written in terms that could be used to both condemn overreaction by "mob" voices on Twitter and be used by certain people to say "stop criticizing my bad ideas so vociferously."

    No, cancel culture is beyond criticism. Criticism is insufficient for the neo fascist cancel mob. They demand punishment. They want people fired from their jobs. They want kids kicked out of school. They want opponent's accounts on social media banned. They want a movie unavailable from stores.

    Criticism is okay, but that's not what this about anymore.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:23am

      Criticism is insufficient for the neo fascist cancel mob. They demand punishment.

      [citation needed]

      They want people fired from their jobs.They want kids kicked out of school. They want opponent's accounts on social media banned. They want a movie unavailable from stores.

      People are free to want whatever. Doesn’t mean they’re gonna get it. Also, in regards to that last one: Examples please? Because if you’re gonna bring up Gone with the Wind (which was never taken off store shelves and is back on HBO Max), I can bring up the conservative furor over The Hunt prior to its release.

      Criticism is okay

      …says the dude who has an anuerysm whenever someone points out that you’ve all but said you believe services such as Twitter should be forced by law to carry all legally protected speech.

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    • icon
      Sneeje (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      "No, cancel culture is beyond criticism."

      How, exactly? Just what do you consider to be acceptable consequences for abhorrent views?

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      • icon
        Koby (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:54am

        Re: Re:

        How, exactly? Just what do you consider to be acceptable consequences for abhorrent views?

        Just because you feel that a viewpoint is "abhorrent" does not entitle anyone to demand consequences. Otherwise, anything to which you are opposed will get labelled as abhorrent in order to shut down opposition. This is the mechanism by which neo fascism weaponizes emotion.

        The general solution for speech with which you disagree is to leave it up, and speak out against it. Try to convince the person with whom you disagree, but if that's not possible, then convince others. Once upon a time, we as a country here in the United States had a concept of tolerance, which means that even if you disagree with someone, then you still leave them alone. You don't have to agree with them, but there is no punishment for disagreement.

        You are very close to considering thought crime laws when you want "consequences".

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:03pm

          Just because you feel that a viewpoint is "abhorrent" does not entitle anyone to demand consequences.

          Actually, it does. People can demand whatever they want. The trick is, they’re not entitled to get what they want.

          anything to which you are opposed will get labelled as abhorrent in order to shut down opposition. This is the mechanism by which neo fascism weaponizes emotion.

          See also: transphobia; homophobia; conservative opposition to mail-in voting

          we as a country here in the United States had a concept of tolerance, which means that even if you disagree with someone, then you still leave them alone.

          Tolerance is not a moral precept. We can tolerate someone’s existence without having to tolerate their noxious views as part of the so-called marketplace of ideas. If someone can’t stand criticism of any kind for, say, thinking Twitter should be forced to host white supremacist propaganda…well, that’s their problem. Speech has consequences, for better or for worse. Criticism is but one of those consequences.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:12pm

            Re:

            Once upon a time, we as a country here in the United States had a concept of tolerance

            Toll-err-what? Tawlawants? Taller Ants? I'm not familiar with this concept you say is lost to the mists of history. I looked it up in the dictionary and it just said "see: irregardless". Maybe you have a point, what with this shockingly successful erasure of concepts themselves! How did these neo-fascists you speak of pull off such a daring heist?! Concept: Cancelled! Wow! 🙄

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        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          does not entitle anyone to demand consequences

          Once again: everyone is entitled to "demand" anything they want. Demands are just speech. Whether they get it or not, and who from via what mechanism of power, is another question entirely.

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          • icon
            Koby (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Once again: everyone is entitled to "demand" anything they want.

            Suppose you support the position that it should be legal for women to get an abortion procedure done at a hospital (I'm just throwing this out here as an example, my apologies if you do not). No amount of demands, requests, or petitions to your employer would make it okay for your boss to fire you on the basis that you support legal abortion. No power structure would make it okay.

            Again, the cancel culture goes beyond speech. It seeks to punish anyone who does not agree with the mob. You would not be accepting of the demands if the consequences were aimed at you. Demanding certain actions for mere disagreement is not acceptable if civil society is to remain intact.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:47pm

              No amount of demands, requests, or petitions to your employer would make it okay for your boss to fire you on the basis that you support legal abortion.

              …except for the fact that non-government employers can fire you for pretty much any reason other than what’s covered by non-discrimination laws. If an anti-choice employer wants to fire an employee who openly supports abortion, it’s morally fucked up, but it’s legally fine. It is what it is.

              the cancel culture goes beyond speech. It seeks to punish anyone who does not agree with the mob.

              You mean like how Christians seek to punish atheists for filing grievances/lawsuits intended to keep erect the separation of church and state in heavily Christian regions of the country? Or like how right-wingers seek to punish college professors and “liberal” reporters for speech that conservatives find offensive? You can decry all the “leftist” examples of “cancel culture” that you want, but your hypocrisy becomes clear when you refuse to do the same for “the other side”?

              Demanding certain actions for mere disagreement is not acceptable if civil society is to remain intact.

              Since you didn’t understand it the first time: Demands are speech and no one is entitled to get what they demand.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:24pm

                Re:

                If an anti-choice employer wants to fire an employee who openly supports abortion, it’s morally fucked up, but it’s legally fine. It is what it is.

                Thank you for understanding the nuances involved here. However nuance-y they may or may not appear to you.

                You mean like how Christians seek to punish atheists for filing grievances/lawsuits intended to keep erect the separation of church and state in heavily Christian regions of the country?

                This is a new one on me. Do you have examples of "cancel culture" goals ( "ruining a person's life" ) on a Christian vs Atheist basis? Mind, Scientologist vs apostate is fairly well documented.

                decry all the “leftist” examples of “cancel culture” that you want

                :puzzled ... are you replying to the current grandparent post, or to some previous posts Koby has made? Perhaps responding to the apparent polarity of the single example he used?

                From a previous post:

                We can tolerate someone’s existence without having to tolerate their noxious views as part of the so-called marketplace of ideas.

                So, what is your opinion on, for example, forcing women to be veiled in public? [for purposes of debate, try replacing "women" with "blacks", or "lepers"] How about out of context threats of violence? Where is your dividing line between tolerable and "too noxious"? And then, where is your dividing line between criticizing those views and prohibiting them? There seems to be some debate on the matter. I admit, this is baiting, but you did ask for it. This would seem to be the moderating dilemma.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:53pm

                  Do you have examples of "cancel culture" goals ( "ruining a person's life" ) on a Christian vs Atheist basis?

                  Ask the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation about the numerous lawsuits they’ve filed on behalf of anonymous atheist complaintants. The complaintants try to stay anonymous because they fear backlash for daring to come out against Christian “traditions” such as religious invocations before city council meetings or prayers over school loudspeakers at school-sponsored sporting events or, say, a monument of the Ten Commandments being displayed on public school grounds. The “threat” might never rise to a level of violence (though it’s not out of the question), but it can result in atheists being made pariahs in all the important social circles, treated harshly by their fellow citizens, or even stalked and harassed.

                  what is your opinion on, for example, forcing women to be veiled in public?

                  I don’t approve of forcing women to wear veils in public through religious-based law. But if a woman chooses to wear a veil in public, she should have every right to do so. And if a religious group requires the veil but has no legal authority to enforce that dictate outside of their group, I don’t approve of it, but I won’t ask the law to ban such a thing because of the “first they came for” principle.

                  Where is your dividing line between tolerable and "too noxious"?

                  I can tolerate views that don’t call for people to ignore the basic humanity and dignity of other people based on who those people are. But if someone is going to express views such as “queers should stay in the closet” or “black people are inferior to white people”, I’ll call them out on that shit without a second thought.

                  where is your dividing line between criticizing those views and prohibiting them?

                  People who say such vile things can say them all they want. I’ve no issue with that per se. But that doesn’t mean they should have the right to make others listen to or host that speech, and they sure as shit shouldn’t have the right to silence criticism of that speech. If a service wants to ban such speech, the service should have that absolute right; anyone who says otherwise can kiss my ass.

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            • icon
              Sneeje (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm sorry, I just don't believe that the mob materializes out of nothing and I think the example you're giving doesn't really exist.

              The speech we're talking about is speech that dehumanizes others. That kind of speech is by definition asymmetric. It is a form of intolerance and will claim that any attempts to criticize it is also intolerant. So, I'm sorry, but it isn't acceptable to treat it as normal--that's how systemic racism becomes embedded over time.

              Because we have the 1st amendment (good!), the only defense against those kinds of views are social consequences. And this is both a good and a right outcome.

              And by the way, I noticed you keep avoiding trying to define what consequences are acceptable or if any consequences are acceptable. You just keep saying that cancelling is unacceptable, but won't make a distinction between the two.

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            • icon
              Code Monkey (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "....No amount of demands, requests, or petitions.."

              All three of those things are considered speech, all of which are protected by the First Amendment. None of which are protected from people (employers, whoever) doling out consequences...

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Suppose you support the position that it should be legal for women to get an abortion procedure done at a hospital (I'm just throwing this out here as an example, my apologies if you do not). No amount of demands, requests, or petitions to your employer would make it okay for your boss to fire you on the basis that you support legal abortion.

              If you believe this, support unionization efforts.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 5:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ohhhh. So you basically don't like it when occasionally public voices have effects that only establishment voices had previously. Got it. "Thou shalt not occasionally execise powers reserved for my favorite power structure."

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "No amount of demands, requests, or petitions to your employer would make it okay for your boss to fire you on the basis that you support legal abortion. No power structure would make it okay."

              Moral, no.

              Legal, depends, really.

              It is not the best of all possible examples. If you are a licensed medical professional and allow your moral views to override the precepts of primum non nocere then you are simply no longer employable as a medical professional anywhere.

              Which is why nurses are still employed in US abortion centers despite the baying mob outside their doors 24/7.

              "Again, the cancel culture goes beyond speech. It seeks to punish anyone who does not agree with the mob."

              It simply says "We will not support company X if they keep employing Racist Bigot Y". As usual your argument just boils down to a lame call of nationalization of private property.

              "Demanding certain actions for mere disagreement is not acceptable if civil society is to remain intact."

              Bullshit. As has been pointed out many times, demanding is fine. Getting it might not be.

              Your argument is now suddenly in favor of the Holocaust denier being able to vent his bile in the open and no one should be allowed to call for his dismissal as, say, a professor of history.

              Would you care to rephrase yourself Koby, or will you remain on record for standing with the argument which primarily benefits the most repugnant of views effectively being granted government-sanctioned shelter?

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just because you feel that a viewpoint is "abhorrent" does not entitle anyone to demand consequences.

          So... you're against free speech?

          The general solution for speech with which you disagree is to leave it up, and speak out against it

          And the way people "speak out against it" is to "demand consequences" which you just said people are not entitled to do.

          there is no punishment for disagreement.

          So you refuse to recognize that there are consequences for speech.

          Koby, a huge part of the problem is you are self-contradictory.

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          • icon
            Koby (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And the way people "speak out against it" is to "demand consequences" which you just said people are not entitled to do.

            No, I can advocate for or against any position without demanding consequences. I could say what I think should happen on tax policy, foreign trade, oil pipelines, ANYTHING, without adding "and anyone who disagrees with me is going to have their social media account purged".

            Demanding punishment against individuals for mere disagreement is societally wrong.

            The way people "speak out against it" is to make a good argument, not to instill fear.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:59pm

              Demanding punishment against individuals for mere disagreement is societally wrong.

              Morally? Probably. Legally? Not a chance in fucking hell (unless you’re demanding imminent lawless violence). Demands are speech; while no one is entitled to get what they want, they’re entitled to say what they want to get (e.g., “we want justice” vis-á-vis the murder of George Floyd). To argue otherwise is to argue against their right to speak freely. And coming from the dude who has heavily implied (through a refusal to directly answer One Simple Question) that they believe Twitter should be forced to host all legally protected speech, that’s hypocrisy to the nth degree.

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            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You seem very focused on "demands" as if they were not speech, and as if demands are always met.

              It is, and they're not.

              And that's why you're very, very wrong.

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            • icon
              Leigh Beadon (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 2:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The word "punishment" shouldn't go unexamined here. Punishment is retributory. Sometimes that is what people demand, yes. More often, the demands (removing someone from a platform, or from a job where they interact with the public or make decisions that impact other people) are about preventing them from continuing to do the perceived harm.

              Whether the perceived harm is real or severe enough to warrant that or whether that justifies the requested remedy is its own question that has various answers depending on the case. But when someone says "kick this bigot off twitter for their hateful speech" it isn't really punishment they are asking for - it's action to discontinue the harm they are perceived as causing.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Demanding punishment against individuals for mere disagreement is societally wrong.

              That depends on what you're disagreeing about.

              If you're disagreeing about what colour of bedspread complements the wallpaper, then sure, demanding punishment is wrong.

              If you're disagreeing about whether someone deserves to live, based solely upon their skin colour, and there's a bunch of people behind the person making the "doesn't deserve to live" argument, ready to put that philosophy into effect, then absolutely, demanding punishment against those individuals is right.

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            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Why so disingenuous, Koby, deliberately and misleadingly mischaracterizing this as being about "mere disagreement?"

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "No, I can advocate for or against any position without demanding consequences."

              So....conditional free speech, where no one gets to issue a public demand if sufficient people disagree?

              Koby, when are you going to understand that the arguments you keep using reveal exactly the sort of agenda you have? No, it's still not OK for racists and bigots to move from Stormfront to Facebook without any fear their calls for another ethnic cleansing will cause their accounts to get banned.

              And yet that, essentially, is what you deliver the argument for.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The general solution for speech with which you
          disagree is to leave it up, and speak out against it.

          That is a policy that leads to the likes of 8 chan, where only the bigots and hater are left to share their hateful speech.

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          • icon
            Code Monkey (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ...again, as morally reprehensible as the opinions of bigots are, those opinions are protected by the First Amendment.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              All the first amendment guarantees is that the government will not stop you pub;ish your own speech at your own expense, or via a publisher or platform, that agrees to carry it. It does not require any other person or business to publish for you.

              I was pointing out that a platform allowing any speech without moderation becomes another 8chan, as the haters drive everybody else away because of the toxicity of their speech.

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      • icon
        nerdrage (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re:

        Abhorrent views aren't being punished for being abhorrent. Dig down in each of the cases and you'll see that abhorrent viewers are being punished for causing a PR problem for some corporation that is worried about the share price and bottom line.

        So the offending movie or show gets censored and the offending employee gets canned. This has NOTHING to do with actual morality. It's about corporate profits and ass-covering. What a nauseating spectacle. Are people really getting suckered in by this? Think about it a little harder.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 2:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps you should think a little harder about why you believe it's wrong for businesses to not ignore the problem sabhorrent employees cause.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            He's saying that corporations lose money because of this activity, but somehow thinks that the reason they lose money isn't because their customers are reacting to the abhorrent views being communicated. Very strange.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You think about it a little harder, because you stopped about halfway through your own thought.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 5:40pm

      Re:

      You're getting really boring. I thouggt i remembered a past where you posted sometimes somewhat thoughtful things, but now it's all the same fringe bullshit.

      Maybe my memory is wrong.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 5:36pm

      Re:

      "They demand punishment. They want people fired from their jobs. They want kids kicked out of school. They want opponent's accounts on social media banned. They want a movie unavailable from stores."

      Of course you have ample reputable resources for each and every claim you have made and simply thought others would believe you without any references at all, But then I could be wrong about that,

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  • icon
    Sneeje (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:18am

    Learning and growth

    I have often wondered myself how we, as a culture, can make more space for learning and growth. Because we can see many IRL consequences for this lack of space.

    For example, I think we'd all really, really like our elected officials, government employees, and others to take responsibility for their mistakes or failures of policy. There are a number of factors why they don't, but I truly believe that part of it is that they know there isn't really space for them to do so and to grow and learn.

    An example: a teacher says something questionable on social media about a student--like they are foolish for voting for a particular candidate. It isn't appropriate or acceptable, but it is human, and it is a correctable event. Is society better off without that person as a teacher? Maybe, but if the teacher is young/new we may not know.

    Yet, the parents of the child will demand the firing and the admin will likely not have any interest in the hard work involved in supporting and growing the teacher. Easier all around to fire them.

    Everyone is worse off in this scenario. So we should not be surprised if the standard reaction of individuals is to deny, deflect, blame, and avoid growth/learning b/c they are not rewarded for doing so.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:28am

      I have often wondered myself how we, as a culture, can make more space for learning and growth.

      Destroy social media services such as Twitter and Facebook~. 😁

      …for real, though, I’m only half-joking. The whole reason “cancel culture” is even (allegedly) a thing is because of the “instant sharing” nature and global audiences of services such as Twitter and Facebook. We didn’t get nearly this level of bullshit from the Internet back when it was blogs and forums and whatnot — back when we had to put in effort and time into a post that only a handful of people might ever see. (We got bullshit back then, to be sure. But not nearly at the same level as today.) People weren’t, and might never be, ready for Twitter and its ilk. Best to wash our hands of it altogether.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:53pm

        Re:

        So the government should shut down social media? Interesting approach to the 1st Amendment.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:02pm

          So

          otherwording (or in-other-wordsing) — noun — summarizing a point of argument in a way that distorts the point into saying something it does not and attributes the false interpretation to the person who raised the original point; a blatant attempt to make winning an argument easier for someone who is out of their depth in said argument

          Example: You will often find the phrases “in other words” or “so you’re saying” at the beginning of an instance of otherwording.

          See also: strawman; your post

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 5:49pm

        Re:

        Yeah, you only got this level of stuff in smaller towns before, since forever

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:35am

      Re: Learning and growth

      Well, first of all, what are the circumstances in your hypothetical that a teacher is calling a student foolish on social media? Is the teacher friends with the student on Facebook or Twitter and were they having a conversation? Or did the teacher bring up a student, by name, completely unbidden and without prompting? There are some pretty serious ethical considerations in the latter case.

      Second...your mere use of voting as an example suggests that the student in question is at least 18 years of age. So are we talking about a high school senior here, a college student...? I think there's a pretty big gap between the repercussions a high school teacher would face for such an action and the ones a college professor would.

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      • icon
        Sneeje (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: Learning and growth

        Well, I was deliberately being vague. I'm really just asserting that there are mistakes that individuals (like teachers) can make that are significant and have significant impact, but probably should be handled as a deliberate growth opportunity that is taken as seriously as the weight of the mistake.

        In reality it feels like there are just two options: ignore and hide, or pay the ultimate price.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Learning and growth

          Referring to someone losing their job as "the ultimate price" doesn't exactly seem proportional either.

          I used to work as a temp. I've lost a lot of jobs -- almost always due to budget cuts; never once due to anything as severe as a teacher publicly insulting a student. Losing your job sucks, and people lose their jobs all the time for things that are a lot more capricious and unfair than your hypothetical. As prices go, it may be disproportionate, but it's not usually ultimate.

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:46am

      Re: Learning and growth

      "... a teacher says something questionable on social media about a student..."

      Stop right there. This is a perfect reason why everyone should stop using social media right now. It's a minefield that will follow you to your grave.

      I dumped Facebook years ago, really before I ever started using it much, when I realized their business model was to see me as a product. Then I started to see the real reason to dump it. You say something stupid when you're a stupid kid and people hold it against you a decade later when you're a different person, namely a grownup.

      I am perpetually amazed that anyone uses social media, at least under their true name. If you want to keep in touch with your friends, pick up the phone or meet them at a restaurant on the sidewalk wearing your masks or something. You don't need Facebook and TikTok and BipBop or whatever other baby named thing is out there. Drop them all.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 3:14pm

        Re: Re: Learning and growth

        Just because some people make mistakes using social media does not mean everybody does. Also, many people now have friendships spanning the world, or family spread over the world, and find that social media has more upside than downside.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:24pm

        Re: Re: Learning and growth

        "It's a minefield that will follow you to your grave."

        Only if you say stupid and offensive shit on there. I still use it, because I don't believe that my opinions of certain movies I watch or events I've attended are controversial, and wouldn't want to associated with anyone who did.

        What dark thoughts are you posting on there that you're afraid to stand by?

        "If you want to keep in touch with your friends, pick up the phone or meet them at a restaurant on the sidewalk wearing your masks or something."

        Yeah, I'll just call every member of my family individually to communicate every tiny bit of news and wander round to my friends houses in the US, Chile, Australia and South Africa in the middle of a pandemic, to name just a few. That's way better than putting up a post on FB. /s

        You might have a small circle of family and friends who haven't bothered to leave the block where you were spawned but that's not true of many of us.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Learning and growth

          What dark thoughts are you posting on there that you're afraid to stand by?

          I don't use Facebook, but I have been posting online under my real name since I was 7 years old. I've said plenty of stupid shit that I'm ashamed of in hindsight.

          But I own that, I'm upfront about that, I acknowledge I said some dumb and hurtful things in my teens and twenties; I don't try to hide that I said those things (Christ, I've got a blog up that goes back to 1999 and has some content on it that goes back all the way to '94), and I hope it's clear that I've grown and, hopefully, am a better person than I used to be.

          I'm from a family of early adopters; I grew up online but that was before the first generation where everybody grew up online. I think that future generations are going to look at this stuff a lot differently than people today, because everybody is going to have old shit online that they're embarrassed by. And I think the reaction is going to largely come on a case-by-case basis -- how bad was the stuff you said all those years ago, and do you still believe it now?

          Yeah, I'll just call every member of my family individually to communicate every tiny bit of news and wander round to my friends houses in the US, Chile, Australia and South Africa in the middle of a pandemic, to name just a few. That's way better than putting up a post on FB. /s

          This is a bit of a false choice, though; there are other ways of remote communication besides Facebook. I think there are plenty of good reasons not to use Facebook, though as noted above I'm not too concerned about leaving a record of things I've said over the years.

          I acknowledge that Facebook's convenient and I'd probably be in better touch with a lot of people if I were on there. But y'know, I'm still in pretty good touch with most of the people I want to be. And the others, well, they know where to find me if they want to talk to me.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 12:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Learning and growth

            I think I know where you're coming from, but there's a few things to note..

            "I don't use Facebook, but I have been posting online under my real name since I was 7 years old. I've said plenty of stupid shit that I'm ashamed of in hindsight."

            Sure. Which only raises the question of why it's Facebook specifically you're concerned about. Sure I said things 20 years ago I don't currently agree with, but anyone worth a damn seeing that should see that it was 20 years ago and people grow. The only difference with FB is that it's a central repository, but then so are Google and The Wayback Machine.

            " I think that future generations are going to look at this stuff a lot differently than people today, because everybody is going to have old shit online that they're embarrassed by"

            Future generations will also recognise that "I said stupid shit online 30 years ago" is not something to judge a person's current opinions by now. It's like, say, drug use. 50 years ago, even the suggestion that you smoked some weed might be a reason to kill your political career. Now there's been 2 presidents who have admitted to cocaine use back in the day, and the only real controversies seemed to be the ones who didn't - Clinton's idiotic attempt to say he didn't inhale and the current president for whom drug use would be a better explanation for his behaviour than the alternatives. You don't want a president who's currently high, but being found to have indulged in some edibles in college is no longer a deal killer when you're doing your job in your 50s or later. I expect the same thing with Facebook posts over time as people who grew up with social media understand its pitfalls better than the current crop of boomers who did the same stupid shit but avoided a record of it outside of their peer group.

            "This is a bit of a false choice, though"

            No, the false choice is "post on FB" or "walk to see people in person". That doesn't work when you have a large family spread across 3 continents and current events even prevent you from reliably seeing people 20 miles away.

            At the end of the day, like any medium, FB is a tool. You seelct the best tool for what you want to achieve. I still phone close family on a regular basis, I have Whatsapp groups set up for close friends and have Twitter, email and other options for people who choose not to use Facebook. But, there's no better way to communicate with people around the world than Facebook for me at the moment.

            Your personal circumstances might be different, but the main thing is how you use the tools. I learned long ago to mute people with wildly different political opinions to avoid arguments, and not to post anything too controversial on Facebook. As such, I have no shame about anything I post on there today, or indeed 10 years ago. It's how you use the platform that's the issue, not the platform. About the only things I can that are genuinely embarrassing are photos of me slightly drunk at film and music festivals meeting some of my childhood heroes and things that someone else tagged me in. In which case, I remove the tags and counter the former with "I shared beers with Kane Hodder, Tony Todd and Carl Cox, so I really don't care what you think". If someone still wants to think less of me because they still see that, I have no time for them anyway.

            "I acknowledge that Facebook's convenient and I'd probably be in better touch with a lot of people if I were on there"

            Indeed. Whereas, I chose to be in better touch with those people, while recognising that there's some things I'm better off talking about elsewhere.

            Look, I understand reasons for not liking or using FB. But if your main concern is that you posted something on there that might be taken the wrong way in a few decades, you're missing the point in some ways I feel, especially if you're posting those things elsewhere. Your choice is still valid, but the choices you made are not applicable to everyone's circumstances.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 11:43am

    In all my time..

    Iv watched the 2 sides go back and forth.
    Iv asked opinions of those around me, be very similar, but the Vote went the other way.
    Iv listened to many sides, not just 2, and looked at what was happening and decided on What WAS happening.
    Iv seen the older people get disgusted, at elections and finally give up.
    Iv seen the battles of the Computer corps taking over other companies, and the major corps run around and corner markets, and No one does anything.
    Even with a touch of Conspiracy in mind, I can tell you how to Fake a new name, even create a new person. To many are thinking that Computers Rule the world, but before the 1995, Paper work was the rule. TONS and tons, with no exaggeration.

    The most interesting thing I can tell a Conservative is to look back on the last 10 presidents and tell me how many were republicans. Thats back to Nixon.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 2:55pm

    I wish I had more time, and please somebody who does, post a more thorough comment.

    Look at what is happening right now because of Goya Foods' CEO loving praise of the Orange Buffoon. Because of his speech, there are many who are calling for a boycott of Goya Foods.

    Now the "right" is calling it cancel culture, but this is a case in my mind where Goya is feeling the consequences of their 1st Amendment protected speech.

    Sorry, I could spend 30 minutes providing commentary to this post vis-a-vis what is actually happening right now but I am out of time. Maybe somebody else can provide more commentary.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 3:28pm

      Re:

      A boycott is absolutely a first amendment consequence, and even better given who's objecting to it it's also a vital part of a free market, in that if you offer a product people don't like or otherwise act in a manner that they object to, it is within their rights to refuse to buy from you and urge others to do the same.

      Gotta wonder if they realize that by conflating the two they've basically admitted that 'cancel culture' in their mind at least is in fact synonymous with 'consequences for actions and words'.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 4:32pm

        Re: Re:

        I find it interesting that some want laws making boycott(s) illegal.
        How would that work?

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I find it interesting that some want laws making boycott(s) illegal. How would that work?

          That would work by violating the 1st Amendment.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 4:51pm

          'How dare you use your rights to respond to us using ours!'

          'Unconstitionally', as both the calls for a boycott and engaging in a boycott are entirely protected actions via the first amendment(speech and association respectively), not to mention a law mandating that you must do business with a company would not only be unenforceable but would be shot down in a heartbeat.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 6:25pm

            Re: 'How dare you use your rights to respond to us using ours!'

            It is not so much the constitutionality of these issues that is debatable and interesting. It is the individual psychopathology. When you reach a judgement about someone else (risky and usually wrong), and then exercise your God Given free will to attempt to inflict pain and suffering upon them, the primary recipient of the pain and suffering is you. That is, for normal, healthy people with a conscience. For people like Hitler and Stalin, these consequences were absent, because they were severely mentally ill.

            In a normal healthy mind, we are constantly comparing our predictions of outcome with actual outcomes. We are careful with ourselves and others. We avoid pain, we avoid suffering, and we have an understanding of culture and cooperation that makes us sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.

            Those who are absent these mechanisms often rise to power, because people mistake their psychopathology for leadership qualities. Mentally ill people seem to be committed to their cause and strong enough to follow it through, which is attractive. However, when they are mentally deranged, such as Stalin and Hitler and Sharik and Stephen T. Stone, it is not a sign of strength and leadership, it is a sign of malignancy and death and suffering.

            It's not the constitution of the country, it's the constitution of the individual. And it's the failure of others to understand when people are suffering from a mental affliction that would lead them to maximize suffering rather than minimize it. When this happens, hundreds of millions can perish before a solution can be found, as demonstrated by history.

            We have to be careful in selecting our leaders. That's important. We have to listen to what people say and decide for ourselves when they appear mentally ill. We have to hone our psychological skills about ourselves and others to avoid mass tragedy.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 6:42pm

              Re: Re: 'How dare you use your rights to respond to us using our

              Imagine you were Obama, for example, and you told everyone you could keep your doctor and keep your insurance, and that turned out not to be true. What would you do? For me, I would talk about it, try to explain what happened. I would do my best to explain whatever really happened, and why I failed to keep my promise. I would say well, I planned for you to be able to keep your doctor and keep your health plan, but then something not under my control occurred, and my prediction was wrong, it didn't turn out that way, and I know you're disappointed. But, I'm going to learn from my experience, I'm going to do my best to meet my promises to you, or I'm going to somehow adjust so you can see that I am an honest and sincere person. Everyone who is not mentally ill understands the reasoning and the truth and the logic of this, the humanity of it.

              If you want to understand mental "unsoundness", just look for the slippery liars. They have lost their way, and instead of possessing ideas and ideologies, they are literally possessed by them. They don't care about truth they stopped looking for truth, they force fit reality into a convenient narrative to bolster their faulty conclusions. They have no balance, no humanity, no humility, no self doubt, and actually, very little happiness.

              If you want to understand "soundness", look at the Dalai Lama. He is committed to truth. He is self-possessed, and a true artist at conveying mental health, well being, and a "constitution" to be emulated. That's why so many "unsound" people fear him and hate him.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jul 2020 @ 3:08am

                Re: Re: Re: 'How dare you use your rights to respond to us using

                "Imagine you were Obama..."

                Impressive, Baghdad Bob. Your customary "But OBAMA!" right from the get-go?

                Damn, the PTSD you guys suffer from a Black Man being President won't be going away in a hurry, will it?

                "Everyone who is not mentally ill understands the reasoning and the truth and the logic of this, the humanity of it."

                ...said right after the plentiful gaslighting about what Obama's attempt to implement the universal health care system the rest of the world have enjoyed for about half a century would have meant.

                It's somehow ironic that under the socialized health care of european countries I still have full liberty to pick and choose whichever doctor I like whereas most americans seem to assume they'll get relegated to a 1960 USSR experience of getting the nearest quack shoved down their throats.

                Then again it might be true. Maybe the US just is 50 years behind the rest of the world and lacks the ability to pull off what everyone else manages to pull off, the way the GOP keeps claiming.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 16 Jul 2020 @ 3:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: 'How dare you use your rights to respond to us u

                  "under the socialized health care of european countries I still have full liberty to pick and choose whichever doctor I like"

                  ...and if you're not satisfied with the service or choice, we still have the option to get private healthcare (or have it provided by your employer). The difference is that if we lose or can't afford private care, we still get a decent level of care and changing jobs does not risk losing your family's healthcare.

                  The anti-healthcare reform types always seem to address a fantasy version of how healthcare operates in other countries, use that as a means to stop most meaningful reform, then whine that the half-ass neutered version they demanded isn't good enough. All while happily paying more money to private corporations who can refuse care at any time, than the rest of us pay in taxes to a system that can't. It's very strange, although on par for this particular fool.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 6:42pm

              Okay, and what does any of that meaningless drivel you just belched out have to do with either boycotts or the broader subject of the Harper’s letter about cancel culture?

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 6:57pm

                Re:

                Thank you Stephen, right on cue.

                The Dalai Lama, both as creature and spirit, is not meaningless drivel. He is an example of what happens when you orient your life around a goal, and then are honest about it, and strive towards it. A fabulous example.

                You, by contrast, are not very honest. Sometimes you state you are gay, sometimes you deny it. Sometimes you state you are black, sometimes you deny it. The same is true for most of the "long time" posters here. They are not honest. They have a goal, but they do not have the character to be open, honest and consistent.

                The only people who promote cancel culture are people like you. I think you would be honest about that, at least. You promote cancel culture. If you think someone is anti-gay or anti-trans or anti-black, you don't see another human that may have temporarily embraced a poorly chosen idea. You see someone who would be punished. The reason you see the world this way is because you are so dishonest about so many things. It is ok with you that other people suffer because you are so focused on judging them. You and other cancel-culture proponents are public spectable that the rest of us wonder about.

                You might hate us but we don't hate you. We see you as people with bad ideas, you see us as bad people. That's just wrong and delusional. Cancel culture is a bad idea. Simple as that. You have to be extraordinarily unenlightened to promote cancel culture.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 7:13pm

                  If you’re going to lie about me (“Sometimes you state you are gay, sometimes you deny it. Sometimes you state you are black, sometimes you deny it.”) and spout meaningless drivel that you think makes you sound intelligent and rational and “civil” (but anyone with an ounce of sense realizes is bad faith trolling), I’m not going to engage with you in even the faintest hint of good faith. Please go fuck yourself.

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:26pm

                    Re:

                    I completely believe you when you will "not engage with you with even the faintest hint of good faith".

                    Sad, for you. You give up good faith in others too easily. Maybe if you gave it more credence, you life would improve. Good faith in others. Maybe it's more real than you think.

                    Hitler didn't think so, Stalin didn't think so, Sharik didn't think so, but they're all dead now and you are still inhabited with life and breath and the ability to learn and adapt.

                    Just an idea Stephen - maybe your refusal to engage in good faith is a trait you could use less of. Just an idea. Up to you. Have a nice day, and thanks for the chat. Come back anytime you feel better and regain your ability to imagine good faith in others. As ye dream, so shall ye receive.

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                    • icon
                      Toom1275 (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:47am

                      Re: Re:

                      Reading comprehension is nice. I suggest you try it sometime.

                      (Hint: it's you who have never once acted in good faith here, so it's not disrespectful in the slightest if others like Stephen finally stop pretending otherwise.)

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:24pm

                  Re: Re:

                  The only people who promote cancel culture are people like you.

                  Hamilton, you and Shiva Ayyadurai literally begged for a judge to "cancel" Techdirt.

                  You're in no position to accuse anyone.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:29pm

                  Re: Re:

                  You might hate us but we don't hate you. We see you as people with bad ideas, you see us as bad people. That's just wrong and delusional.

                  24 hours earlier:

                  BLM is as EVIL as it gets. Displace God, that's their goal. Destroy the nuclear family, that's another. Burn anyone who disagrees. Completely EVIL! BLM IS EVIL! BLM IS EVIL!

                  You don't hate, or judge, or see your ideological opponents as bad people. Riiiiiiiiight.

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 9:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    BLM is an evil ideology, by it's own promotional literature.

                    BLM people are people possessed by a bad ideology. That can happen if you are not careful with your thoughts, you don't have a goal system, and you are dishonest with other people and yourself. You can be possessed BY an ideology, even an Evil one. Witness Nazi German, or BLM. Many of the same components, many of the same dishonest and contradictory statements. Evil ideologies always lie and hide and are easy to spot. People can recover, discover truth, discover honesty, and become part of a healthy society. BLM is evil, it advocates for evil (and racist) goals and submission of non-believers. It approves of THEIR racism but not YOUR racism. It's also stupid and hard for any educated person to classify it in any other way. People can fall for this shit, and often do.

                    Signed, the Dalai Lama

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 3:56am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "...You don't hate, or judge, or see your ideological opponents as bad people."

                    Be fair. Baghdad Bob has been pretty clear about his opinion that a black person isn't "people". Or gays. or pirates. Unionists, teachers. the "intellectual elite" (i guess meaning anyone who is "book learnt").

                    Baghdad Bob/Hamilton must be perceiving most of human society outside of his Stormfront echo chamber as a shark tank he has to traverse at risk of life and limb everytime he goes to buy a sixpack and a pack of smokes.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:48am

      Re:

      "Now the "right" is calling it cancel culture, but this is a case in my mind where Goya is feeling the consequences of their 1st Amendment protected speech."

      They're calling it "cancel culture" because they don't understand the free market, which ironically is something they claim to support.

      It's free speech in action. Goya is free to say stupid crap. Their customers are free to tell other people about it, and to not buy their products. Other people are free to listen and take action, or ignore and buy from Goya regardless.

      The only people who have a problem with this are the people who are being negatively affected by their own speech.

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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 8:43pm

    Oh noes, more cancel culture: Tucker Carlson's top writer resigns after secretly posting racist and sexist remarks in online forum

    Actually, I'll be honest, this one kind of baffles me. Getting fired from Tucker Carlson's show for being racist seems kind of like getting fired from NASCAR for getting a speeding ticket.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 9:19pm

      Re:

      Well, Thad, you seem light a thoughtful fellow. Let's say someone is a racist. How do you think it happened? Were they born that way? If so, then why discriminate against them, they can't help it. Were they at one time not a racist and then became a racist? Then can't there be a future where they are not a racist again? Don't you have some moral responsibility to help others overcome poor belief systems? Don't you have something to share with other people to help them? Or are you only interested in condemning them for something they were either born with or acquired in error? Couldn't the finger turn here back to you, and your part in other people's racism, or cure for racism? Aren't you connected to other people in a meaningful way? Don't you want to help society at large? Don't you have wisdom to share, or only condemnation and nothing of actual value to anyone.

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      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:42am

        Re: Re:

        You've got to be taught to hate and fear
        You've got to be taught from year to year
        It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
        You've got to be carefully taught

        You've got to be taught to be afraid
        Of people whose eyes are oddly made
        And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade
        You've got to be carefully taught

        You've got to be taught before it's too late
        Before you are six or seven or eight
        To hate all the people your relatives hate
        You've got to be carefully taught

        -Richard Rodgers

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 4:46am

        Re: Re:

        Don't you have some moral responsibility to help others overcome poor belief systems?

        Why? If the horse has been led to water and bites me instead of drinking, why the hell would I give it my other hand to bite for shits and giggles?

        Don't you have wisdom to share, or only condemnation and nothing of actual value to anyone.

        You're not in any position to start comparing high horses, Hamilton.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 4:55am

        Don't you have wisdom to share, or only condemnation and nothing of actual value to anyone[?]

        Pot, kettle, black.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 5:45am

          Re: You are RIGHT! HATE IS THE WINNER! Stephen For President!

          You are right, Stephen. I've been thinking about it, and I think many people hate black people, and many people hate gay people, and many people hate trans people, and I think it altogether reasonable to punish and hate people who hate people. That's pretty clear, right? You hate something, so I hate you. And if there is any justice in the world, and if I am strong and Powerful, I will hurt you more by hating you than you hurt others by hating others. You will lose your JOB and your INCOME and your HOME and your FAMILY! My hate will achieve a victory over your hate. And then you will relinquish your SOUL and I will be CHAMPION and you will SUFFER FOREVER! MORE HATE DEFEATS LESS HATE! BLM RULES! I AM SO HAPPY TO WIN AT HATE! I'M A HATEFUL WINNER! Stephen T. Stone, 2020 (for President, he's a model for all of us. He invented the Peace Treaty between Humans, which you violate at your PERIL! WE WILL HATE YOU MORE! WE ARE HATE WINNERS! RESPECT THE PEACE TREATY, OR ELSE WILL WILL CRUSH YOU! - Endorsed by Stephen T. Stone, hate champion forever and ever, amen)

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 8:51am

            I love how even the slightest bit of criticism for your bullshit — three words! — makes you drop the glamour and show your true self. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t so motherfucking pitiful.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 9:00pm

              Re:

              Yeah, fun for me too, I really enjoy it when mental illness and mental health is juxtaposed for all to see. I like your "Peace Treaty" with other humans, it really gives a clear picture of how you see yourself at war with all humanity, great idea. I like your attempts at condescension, it shows how superior you view your ideas, silly and painful as they are. And I really like it when you publicly admit that you have NO INTENTION of negotiating with others from a stance of good faith, good will and acceptance, that's really my favorite. No good will AT ALL if anyone ever does anything that YOU DON'T LIKE. You're pretty much famous for that. Intolerance at the extreme, while you simultaneously DEMAND tolerance from others, like a 3 year old. You're pretty much a poster child for mental illness. My dad was a psychiatrist, did I mention that? He explained people like you to me when I was very young. Fun for him, fun for me, fun for pretty any sane person to see your insanity laid bare. Haha. Let's do it again, ok? Say something crazy and I will explain how crazy it is. FUN FUN FUN!

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 4:00am

                Re: Re:

                "My dad was a psychiatrist, did I mention that?"

                Ah, no longer claiming you yourself are one? or the expert of law, IT, engineering, business and sociology you've all laid claim to be in times past?

                You'll forgive us if, by now, we simply assume that your dad may indeed have taught you all he knew and that's why you've ended up here, spending many years shitting out bad-faith arguments you later on invariably end up eating.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 9:44pm

              Re:

              It's like they are court-ordered to remind people on a regular basis what a raging hypocrite they are and why nothing they say is worth anything because it's coming from someone who has never made an argument or statement in good faith.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:25pm

                Re: Re:

                Right, you are enforcing what I said previously. Normal people see people they disagree with (like you) as people with bad ideas. Mentally ill people see other people as bad people with ideas.

                Your condemnation is your public confirmation of your mental illness.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 9:19am

            Re: Re: You are RIGHT! HATE IS THE WINNER! Stephen For President

            Voted (unintentionally) funny.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:15am

          Re:

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 1:34am

      Re:

      Maybe they were worried about wasting their money? 'If you're going to write that stuff for free then why should we pay you to write it for us?'

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 7:05am

    I'm happy to live in a country where it's illegal to fire an employee for their political opinions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jilocasin (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 7:23pm

    Thank you Mike, that was much better....

    Thanks for taking the time to write this followup to your first post on the subject. I appreciate the more nuanced view/stance you have taken in it.

    As you might have read in one of my other responses, I do believe that there is a cancel culture though I also believe it means different things to different people. I realize that there are always (or should be) consequences for your actions, but I worry that they aren't always proportionate. As you yourself have opined in many of your articles, it isn't always the definite but the vague that's most effective at getting people to self censor. Whether it's the Chinese government's rules about posting material that's injurious to national sovereignty, FOSTA-SESTA's admonition about facilitating sex trafficking, or simply a concern that voicing a currently unpopular opinion on somewhat controversial subject, they all share the same feature in that there's no way of knowing before you post if you are going to run afoul of that unseen line. The natural response to that is to self censor and not post. This leads to less speech being generated.

    Yes, I agree that only the government can bring the full force of the law to bear, but to most normal people, being suddenly unemployed and unemployable is just as bad, if not worse. This is why I believe that it is wrong to continue to threaten the livelihoods of ordinary people for voicing unpopular opinions online.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 8:25pm

      Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

      I realize that there are always (or should be) consequences for your actions, but I worry that they aren't always proportionate

      Depending on the situation and what you consider to be proportionate you might find that most people here agree with you on that.

      The natural response to that is to self censor and not post. This leads to less speech being generated.

      While that can certainly be a bad result at times it's not always a bad thing. If the knowledge that posting anti-black content is likely to result in backlash both from the platform and those on it results in less of that content being posted for example I'm not seeing a downside there.

      Now to be sure this doesn't always work out perfectly and things can be taken too far at times, with offense taken when none was honestly meant but I mostly see that as just one of those things that are just going to happen from time to time, something you should strive to avoid and lessen when possible but which is bound to happen when people get worked up and/or are passionate about something and where the focus should be on willingness of those that jumped the gun to admit it, back off and apologize.

      This is why I believe that it is wrong to continue to threaten the livelihoods of ordinary people for voicing unpopular opinions online.

      That depends largely on what those 'unpopular opinions' are(protesting against someone for claiming cats are better than dogs is a little excessive, protesting against someone for claiming that whites/heterosexual people are better than blacks/non-heterosexuals not so much), and when it comes to 'threatening someone's livelihood' platforms also take that into account, weighing how much they stand to gain versus how much they could lose if they allow certain speech.

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        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 8:57pm

        Re: Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

        Aren't you being a racist not to mention brown or yellow people? Why are black people so special from your view? Are you a Black Racist? Isn't BLM about Black Racism? Wait, I remember - if you're a nigger, you can call other people niggers, but if you're not a nigger, then you can't. What idiot white boy made up that rule?

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          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 9:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

          On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted 67–22 to censure McCarthy, effectively eradicating his influence, though not expelling him from office.

          On November 3, 2020, the American People will vote to re-elect Donald J. Trump to POTUS.

          Yeah, McCarthyism is still a "thing" today, as is "cancel-culture". But with the Election of Donald J. Trump on November 3, 2020, it will be held with approximately equal historical regard. That is, from a historical view, it will be an embarrassment to be mocked and derided. Not the first, obviously, because America has the Freedom to Be Stupid in Public. But we always eventually work it out, at least so far (200+ years)

          The real question is, what will happen in 2024? General Flynn? Roger Stone?

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            Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:47pm

            Techdirt is the anti-dote for the Leftism Virus

            I see a future for America that will put all this Cancel Culture in the right category - that is, garbage, trash, filth, an unhealthy and soon forgotten mental error that briefly infected America. Think about it. Now we have a problem with China. That's starting to get solved. As they suffer their new economic fate, they will quiet down and worry more about their OWN people than American people. So, that's on it's way. Then, the NBA and the NFL might care more about it's American audience, and they will calm down and come back to the right side of historical issues like free speech and public support for the police. On it's way, too. Then multiple platforms will pop up, like Parler, and offer the same messaging and social promotion, without the leftist lean and dishonesty. All the advice of "if you don't like Facebook go do your own" will be taken. Lots of flavors of social gatherings, instead of one. That's already happening, and will happen more. Americans will benefit from the Republican leadership, the fallacies of leftist ideology will be more well understood than ever before, and the whole country will right itself with a new, more hopeful vision of the future. The obsession with past grievances and the idiocy of tearing down statues will come to an end as the virus of leftism dies down. And Techdirt is helping, right here right now! Is that great or what?! AND THE BEST NEWS IS: We will all be inoculated, for the rest of our lives, against evil leftism ideology. Yes, in the dishonestly slanted world of Facebook and Twitter and Techdirt, temporarily dominating the market, mental diseases can spread like wildfire, especially when specifically and dishonestly promoted. BUT, the market will recover, the virus will pass, and we will all be the better for it. It's going to be great. Probably two generations before we have to do it all again.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 11:48pm

      there's no way of knowing before you post if you are going to run afoul of that unseen line. The natural response to that is to self censor and not post.

      That’s true of anything you might post, though. You can’t control how people will react to even the most innocuous statements of opinion (e.g., “I like Pizza Hut instead of Domino’s”). But what you call “self-censorship”, I call “discretion”. It’s discretion when you see posts about Black Lives Matter, consider the current climate, and decide against posting an “All Lives Matter” retort. Even if you’re more afraid of the consequences of doing it than merely aware of said consequences, that’s still discretion — because you’re deciding, on your own terms, that not posting what you thought about posting is a good idea.

      I believe that it is wrong to continue to threaten the livelihoods of ordinary people for voicing unpopular opinions online.

      Morally? It’s questionable at best. (A racist, for example, sorta gives up their “right” to work at a company that promotes diversity when said racist posts racist bullshit on Twitter. A black person getting fired for posting “Black Lives Matter”, on the other hand, is far more sympathetic.) Legally? Nobody can do dick about it without running into that pesky First Amendment.

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        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 12:20am

        Re:

        Thus I speak to you in a parable-you, Stephen T. Stone, you who make souls whirl, you preachers of equality. To me you are tarantulas, and secretly vengeful. But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights. Therefore I tear at your webs, that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and your revenge may leap out from behind your word justice and "peace treaty". For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.

        The tarantulas, including Stephen, of course, would have it otherwise. "What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge"-thus they speak to each other. "We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not"-thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. "And 'will to equality' shall henceforth be the name for virtue; and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!"

        You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants, Stephen, thus shroud themselves in words of virtue. Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy-perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers-erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:16pm

        Re:

        "You can’t control how people will react to even the most innocuous statements of opinion (e.g., “I like Pizza Hut instead of Domino’s”)"

        I never considered the subject of pineapple on pizza as controversial until I encountered certain groups online. Now, I know not to broach the subject of a nice Hawaiian some places because some people will be dicks about it, and some of them not jokingly (cue abuse below, lol).

        But, I don't believe that I've been censored for choosing not to bring it up in an otherwise irrelevant discussion, it's a just a price of taking part in larger communities. But, it seems, some people believe that they just need to be able to be racist everywhere without even pausing to think if it's appropriate. Those people should not have the power to affect the rights of everybody else, and need to slink back into whatever hole they crawled out of so that the rest of us can talk.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 10:12am

      Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

      or simply a concern that voicing a currently unpopular opinion on somewhat controversial subject

      I've seen an awful lot of people describe white supremacy as simply "an unpopular opinion".

      The natural response to that is to self censor and not post.

      That's not a bug, it's a feature.

      If someone wants to post something racist, and thinks "Wait, this might get me in trouble," and then decides not to, that's what's supposed to happen.

      This leads to less speech being generated.

      Are you really suggesting that the value of speech is determined by its quantity?

      This is why I believe that it is wrong to continue to threaten the livelihoods of ordinary people for voicing unpopular opinions online.

      There's that phrase again.

      What unpopular opinions, in particular, are you talking about?

      Are there some unpopular opinions that you believe are grounds for firing?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:09pm

        Re: Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

        "If someone wants to post something racist, and thinks "Wait, this might get me in trouble," and then decides not to, that's what's supposed to happen."

        The hope is then that the indulge a little more introspection and realise that the problem is not others stopping them from being an outspoken racist, but that being racist is itself a problem, and they work to change that.

        Stranger things have happened, but sadly it seems we have to work through a few years of crying like a little girl before we get to the "hmm... maybe black people do deserve rights" part-.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 8:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Thank you Mike, that was much better....

          The hope is then that the indulge a little more introspection and realise that the problem is not others stopping them from being an outspoken racist, but that being racist is itself a problem, and they work to change that.

          That would be the ideal outcome, but just getting them not to say racist stuff out loud in public is a win in itself.

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  • icon
    nerdrage (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:41am

    it's all about corporate image, not free speech

    This gets to the heart of the matter: "...who are fired entirely because an employer doesn’t want the PR headache."

    "Cancel culture" induces corporations to go right for their worst instincts, namely cowardice. That's why Gone with the Wind got a silly intro commentary that everyone will just skip right past. Not because AT&T, which owns GwtW, has a moral bone in its body (hah! how about supporting net neutrality if you're so moral, AT&T?) but because they don't want a whiff of controversy impacting their bottom line and share price.

    The real problem isn't so much about cancel culture, it's about corporate ownership of our cultural heritage. GwtW was a product of its time. It's far from the worst movie ever (I guess everyone has just forgotten about Birth of a Nation, nevermind Triumph of the Will). Corporations are designed to be cowardly and conservative, and inclined towards censorship.

    The notion that a corporation like AT&T is giving us morality lessons now is enough to make me lose my lunch.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 12:11pm

      Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

      "Cancel culture" induces corporations to go right for their worst instincts, namely cowardice. That's why Gone with the Wind got a silly intro commentary that everyone will just skip right past.

      ...that you consider slapping a disclaimer on a movie to fall under the umbrella of "cancel culture" is, I think, a pretty good illustration of how grossly exaggerated the threat of "cancel culture" really is.

      Just look at how cancel culture is ruining lives and careers with the massively disproportionate response of...putting a brief disclaimer at the beginning of a film from 1939 to acknowledge that slavery was bad.

      The real problem isn't so much about cancel culture, it's about corporate ownership of our cultural heritage.

      I agree that this is a real problem, but I'm sort of at a loss for precisely what in the sideways fuck it has to do with the topic at hand.

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        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 6:02pm

        Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

        By now, it’s become obvious that every historical personage can be judged and found wanting–and thus must be, to apply the voguish phrase, “canceled.” To the well informed, the fact that all people are flawed is not a revelation; after all, just about every intellectual and theological system in human history has been built around the premise that everyone has failings.

        In fact, a prescient take on this emerging belief system appeared nearly two years ago during the Senate hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Conservative think-tankers Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon wrote about the dogmas of “cancel culture.” As they argued:

        It is not mere cynicism. It is not mere politics. It is an entirely illiberal replacement morality. It is an intentional rejection of human rights, personal responsibility, and the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is something very new—and it is, by every standard of Western civilization, profoundly evil. It also is terrifying: a brutal caste system that inflicts punishment based on gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and orientation; a venting of rage, without regard to impact on individuals or civilization.

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          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 6:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

          Techdirt is founded on something similar to Cancel Culture called Callout Culture. Just look at Techdirt over time and how it works. Read the posts. They callout one individual and one firm after another, for example, that Nice Email Guy. Callout culture is the tendency for people to shame each other for actions or words deemed by others politically incorrect. This criticism can be either in person or on social media. Cancel culture is the unhappy younger sibling of callout culture. Any words or deeds too egregious to forgive, criminal or not, now warrant cancellation. Canceling a celebrity or a public figure takes the form of a boycott of their products or services. The idea is to rob them of their power and influence by cutting them out of everyday life. Canceling people in real life can manifest itself as the silent treatment, shame messages and complete social ostracizing. Teens who have made poorly informed decisions are canceled in a way reminiscent of the ancient world: convicted without trial, exiled and left to languish. A ‘canceled’ 15-year-old interviewed by The New York Times said of her experience, “(a)ll the friends I had previously had through middle school completely cut me off. ... Ignored me, blocked me on everything, would not look at me.” It took a while for her to realize she had been canceled, but eventually the signs became abundantly clear. The Times did not specify what she had done to protect her identity. As soon as she questioned why she had been canceled, she began to receive a tsunami of hate messages. It seems that the ideal of woke perfection has been distributed to the masses as a pocket volume of a book called “take no prisoners; eat your young.” Humorist Stephen Fry condensed his similar discontent in a Munk Debate, "one of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective." Nine times out of ten, call-outs are correct in their content. Be that as it may, people can do more to express their qualms in a constructive manner. There are a lot of smart people with all kinds of political beliefs that have fallen from grace due to the appeal of a one-size-fits-all approach to outrage at anything one is “woke” enough to recognize as wrong.

          Techdirt IS BASED ON Callout Culture and Cancel Culture.

          You are unlikely to find ANYONE who posts here regularly that has not been brainwashed into the stupid, ineffective, and fundamentally evil behavior.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 7:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

            You are unlikely to find ANYONE who posts here regularly that has not been brainwashed into the stupid, ineffective, and fundamentally evil behavior.

            You post here regularly.

            I guess this is a confession.

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              Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 8:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free spe

              That's a pretty soft criticism, if it was intended as criticism.

              Isn't it telling that NO ONE who posts regularly here is ready to defend Techdirt? It says a lot, doesn't it?

              Tech - Dirt. Meaning, callout someone or something on the basis of their dirt. People who enforce copyrights or trademarks, that's their dirt. People who enforce patents, also dirt. Intellectual property is not real, and anyone who enforces it should be called out as being dirty. Nasty, un-American propaganda that runs exactly counter to Americanism. Chinese, probably, maybe Iranian, I'm not sure. But I am sure it is un-American.

              So, you get a small group of fanatics and foreigners to post 10,000 or 100,000 times, and when anyone disagrees. you cancel their comment. You lie about it, you say it is not censored, it is only "hidden". Why do you do it?

              Because you are all cowards and idiots, afraid to face any criticism. You cancel criticism because you are weak. Everyone knows that.

              Techdirt is a decade long EMBODIMENT of cancel culture. Of course you would first say it does not exist, and then you would attack those who prove it does, you would cancel any negative comments, and then hide behind silence. It could not be more clear what the mission and the action of Techdirt amounts to.

              Techdirt INVENTED cancel culture. Proud of it? Anyone? Probably not. Cowards all, hiding behind fake names, because you are rightfully ASHAMED.

              Signed, Shiva the nice Email guy.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 8:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free

                It wasn't a criticism. I was just amused that you declined to exclude yourself from the group of people who are "brainwashed into the stupid, ineffective, and fundamentally evil behavior [of Callout Culture and Cancel Culture]," a group which you say that everyone who posts here regularly (including yourself) probably belongs to.

                I just don't see people accuse themselves of "stupid, ineffective, and fundamentally evil behavior" every day, and I was amused. Nothing more to it than that.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 9:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not

                  Yeah I heard the same thing. I mean that leftism ruins the normal interpretation of humor, and something really shallow and meaningless is put in it's place. Hence the stupid late night comics with their trump bashing that they think is funny.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 10:39pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image,

                    If you filter your world experience from the view of the Oppressors and the Oppressed, then there is not much that is funny. Everyone is either evil or having evil done to them.

                    That is not the actual world, obviously. We are all made in the image of God, and we all manifest an infinitely variable future based on where we focus our attention.

                    The world is ours to make of it what you will. Why in the world people would focus only on oppression is a mystery to most normal, healthy adults. Yes, childhood was difficult, yes, everyone was a little oppressed. To the extent that you have survived oppression,and replaced vengeful anger with hope and optimism, that is the extent of your happiness, and not coincidentally, the width and breadth of your ability to perceive and experience humor and laughter and visions of goodness and not evil.

                    There is a cure for leftism - honesty. Just be honest and your crazy vengeful fanties will fade away and be replaced with something better.

                    Try it. Try being honest. You will be both happier and funnier. Or not, be vengeful idiots bent on destroying others. You won't succeed. Trump will be re-elected anyway. Your small hateful world will soon dwindle into nothing as you and your hateful cancel-culture ideology collapse, alone and friendless, and death comes to greet you without your having established any joy in your heart to take you to a better place.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:17pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate ima

                      So... you dislike the idea of good vs evil, but believe in a god that is defined by these terms. Hmmm..

                      You'd be dangerous if you were capable of actual thought.

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                      • icon
                        That One Guy (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:44pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate

                        I imagine they only object to the idea of good and evil to the extent that people keep pointing out that they're not on the 'good' side as when it comes to condemning others they just can't get enough.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 10:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free

                Isn't it telling that NO ONE who posts regularly here is ready to defend Techdirt? It says a lot, doesn't it?

                The last time Techdirt was defended, Charles Harder ran home with his Trump dildo between his legs.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 10:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not

                  "My brother came up with a terrific idea and I am encouraging all to join me in purchasing $10 worth of Goya Foods products and donating them to your local food bank," self-described "conservatarian" radio host Mike Opelka wrote on Twitter. "Let's push a BUY-cott, not a boycott. Let's show the #Goyaway people what compassion can do.

                  Opelka's post received 27,000 likes.

                  A lot more than Techdirt's "Cancel-Culture". Love and compassion wins, in America.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2020 @ 2:57am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image,

                    Opelka's post received 27,000 likes. A lot more than Techdirt's "Cancel-Culture".

                    Apparently despite Techdirt's severely gimped social influence you still feel the need to lord other platforms and like stats over here. Almost like you're trying to compensate for something.

                    And you still haven't answered the question. If Techdirt is so insignificant how come one self-styled inventor couldn't rape it off the face of the Internet?

                    Love and compassion wins, in America.

                    And that's why you shit your pants because two men get to marry each other. Love wins, and that's why you don't.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 9:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

            that Nice Email Guy

            Ray Tomlinson?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 10:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free spe

              Yeah that's a fair interpretation. He seemed like quite a nice fellow, and he did a lot of Email kinds of things.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 12 Jul 2020 @ 6:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

          a brutal caste system that inflicts punishment based on gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and orientation;

          Anyone who thought the problem with Brett Cavanaugh was any of those things was either catastrophically stupid or intentionally ignoring the issues.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 8:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free speech

            And should anyone who supported Brett Cavanaugh be "cancelled"?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 5:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it's all about corporate image, not free spe

              "And should anyone who supported Brett Cavanaugh be "cancelled"?"

              As in "Not voted for"?

              You either don't understand your own question or you don't understand actual freedom.

              I personally think that a SCOTUS judge needs a spotless record, particularly if it has been shown that whether or not he was guilty of rape he has demonstrated past and present misogyny.

              It really shouldn't be that hard to find a judge who wasn't a total dipshit in college or is trailing rape charges.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:36am

                Kavanaugh’s hissy fit towards Democrats during his confirmation hearing — his demonstration of anger driven by partisanship — should’ve been instantly disqualifying on its own. Alas, Republicans would rather wield power they have no intention of using (at least for the benefit of the American people) than act in the best interests of the citizens they serve and the institutions that keep this government going.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jul 2020 @ 5:56am

                  Re:

                  "Alas, Republicans would rather wield power they have no intention of using..."

                  ...and in that mindset they are willing to accept, as nominee to the highest court of the land, a person most of them wouldn't allow into their own homes.

                  Both parties have proven willing to accept the shady and sleazy as candidates for high posts, but it remains exclusively republican to go full soviet russia, willing to accept any inept sociopath or drunkard as long as their "ideological commitment" is confirmed.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:06pm

    Techdirt attacks the Virgin Mary!

    “On arrival at Saint Peter’s Parish Church, officers observed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been set on fire,” the department noted.

    The post continued:

    Officers spoke with members of Boston Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit who stated that Stephen T. Stone had set fire to plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the statue, causing the face and upper body of the statue to be burned. The Boston Police Department continues to review the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Stephen T. Stone is strongly urged to contact District C-11 Detectives at (617) 343-4335.

    In a similar instance on Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn said the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was investigating the vandalization of another statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens.

    “Security footage shows an individual who looked like PaulT approaching the 100-year-old statue shortly after 3 a.m. Friday morning and daubing the word ‘IDOL’ down its length,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

    Friday, the Brooklyn Diocese Press Office tweeted video footage of the alleged incident, showing a like of PaulT, who appeared to be a very unattractive lady with hardly any breasts dressed as a man.

    Sunday afternoon, the press office retweeted images that appeared to be from the school of a man cleaning the statue:

    “Obviously, this tragedy saddens us deeply but it also renews our hope and faith in the Lord as he has shown his goodness in the many people who have already reached out to us,” said Fr. James Kuroly, rector and president of Cathedral Prep.

    “We are sincerely grateful for the help we have received as well as the prayers. Please continue praying for those who committed this act of vandalism and hatred toward Our Lady and the Church,” he continued.

    We're all praying for you, Stephen T. Stone and PaulT. Really. We are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2020 @ 11:13pm

      Re: Techdirt attacks the Virgin Mary!

      A man identified as Toom1275 of Techdirt fame was arrested for allegedly driving through the front door of a church in Ocala, Florida, and setting it on fire with several people inside over the weekend.

      “The Marion County Sheriff’s Office charged Toom1275 on Saturday, hours after detectives say he plowed a minivan through the front door of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, doused the foyer with gasoline and set it on fire, causing extensive damage,” according to the Associated Press (AP).

      Several church members were inside the building preparing for Mass when the attack occurred, the report noted.

      After lighting the fire, Toom1275 fled in the van and Deputy Josue Gonzalez spotted the vehicle and gave chase, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post:

      “The defendant fled until Deputy Gonzalez was able to conduct a P.I.T. maneuver (Precision Immobilization Technique) and disable the fleeing vehicle in the 5900 block of South Highway 441, where the defendant, Toom1275, was taken into custody,” the post read.

      Thankfully, the parishioners escaped without injury and Marion County Fire Rescue personnel quickly extinguished the fire, the update continued.

      “In an interview with sheriff’s Detective John Lightle, suspect Toom1275 said he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is not taking his medication,” according to the Ocala Star-Banner.

      The report continued:

      Toom1275 said that what he did was “awesome,” and he smiled and laughed while he was questioned at the Sheriff’s Office, according to an arrest affidavit. Referring to himself as the “king” and saying he was on a “mission,” Toom1275 told the detective he has problems with the Catholic Church and made reference to several Bible passages, including the Book of Revelation.

      Later, Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement, “Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear. My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace.”

      “I’m proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside of us during this investigation,” he noted.

      Following his arrest, Toom1275 was held without bail at the Marion County Jail and faced several charges that included attempted second-degree murder, arson to a structure, and burglary of an occupied structure, according to the Star-Banner.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 4:45am

        Just be honest and your crazy vengeful fanties will fade away and be replaced with something better.

        You're really terrible at taking your own advice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 4:52am

          Re:

          OK, I'll be honest. I really think that the whole debate about political left and right in America right now, the debate between cancel-culture and non-cancel-culture, it is the debate between the hopeful and the not-hopeful.

          I hope for Stephen T. Stone, though his name fictitious and his opinions absurd. We all hope for him, that's honestly true. We write to him, guide him, compliment him, try to bring out his better side because we all know people have more than one side.

          Well, we all know it, but sometimes are possessed by evil ideologies. Hitler knew there was more than one side to himself, Stalin knew it too, and Mao. I've sure of it. They knew they were complicated. But they went forward with their mass genocide anyway. They convinced themselves that other people were evil, or that they were evil enough to believe so, and should be incinerated, actually incinerated, before their time. They blocked the truth from themselves, they let their ideology control them, and now we all see them as lessons about ourselves murderous, genocidal lessons about human nature.

          We are all multi-sided. Some of us are hopeful. The hopeful people will not incinerate those who are not hopeful, because, well, w're hopeful even about them. Being hopeful sustains you during a famine, or a drought, or other calamity. The non-hopeful people, like Stephen T. Stone, would incinerate us, happily, he has said so many times, directly and indirectly. We are still hopeful.

          Hope lives on. Culture, Americanism, lives on. We are a hopeful people.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 5:06am

            Re: Re:

            "Being hopeful sustains you during a famine, or a drought, or other calamity"

            Ah, is that why the US is failing so hard in the current pandemic? You're "hopeful" rather than actually getting off your fat asses and doing the bare minimum of actual work to counter the disease?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 5:54am

              Re: Re: Re:

              Hey Paul, howz your day going? Feeling OK? You're in England, or Spain, or somewhere, right? That's the story you publish, right? And you're name isn't Wendy, and you're not a lesbian separatist.

              Do you remember when America won the Revolutionary War? I mean, not you personally, being so young and ugly, not you remembering it, but history, you learned history, right?

              Why did we win? We won because you Brits are utter boooooors and jerks who would condemn everyone in every other class. You lived with a class society for what, like, a thousand years? Very snobbish people, the British. Everyone knows that.

              We won because we are hopeful, while you are condescending assholes. Even your own army knew that, that's why they turned tail and ran like British Cowards in the face of American Exceptionalism. They had no philosophy, or character, to match it.

              Good choice, Paul, talk to your own people. Stick to your own snobbish culture. You never knew anything about ours. Demonstrating it again and again, over and over, in public, seems like a little self-defeating, and personally humiliating, doesn't it? Why don't you go try to look down on someone in your own culture. Maybe they would buy your bullshit.

              Start with reportajerk.com. Or what was it ... Ripofferport.com, something like that. ReportaBritforBeinganAsshole.com, that could be it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:33am

                We won because we are hopeful

                Hoping for things to happen didn’t save the 130,000-plus people who’ve died from COVID-19. Pray all you want; God isn’t fixing shit for you.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "That's the story you publish, right? "

                Yes, I have a particular habit of sticking to the truth.

                "And you're name isn't Wendy"

                It's really not, and your obsession with this baseless idea is very, very strange.

                "that's why they turned tail and ran like British Cowards in the face of American Exceptionalism"

                Is that why you turned tail and ran away from Vietnam? Americans Cowards in the face of Vietnamese Exceptionalism?

                "Why don't you go try to look down on someone in your own culture."

                I will if they start acting like barely stable mental idiots on sites I frequent. Until then, I can only mock you.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You win because France lent you an army after you took on a foe too powerful to defeat yourself.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                We won because we are hopeful,

                The prize you look like winning in the near future is the most deaths per capita of population from Covid19. Does that make you feel proud?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 7:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Some general changes in sexual desire and response may be linked to leftism. In fact, any person going through the delusion of leftism might lose interest in sexual activity during their psychotic leftist episodes, at least for a time. Because promoting leftism is often the main concern, sex may not be a priority for you or your partner. When people are in a leftist delusion of utopia, things like worry, depression, nausea, pain, or fatigue may cause loss of desire.

                  This information is for adult males with leftism. If you are a transgender person, please talk to your leftism care team about any needs that are not addressed here.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 7:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The colonies won the Revolutionary War because they were hopeful and the British were condescending and snobbish... that is an interesting theory I've never heard before. Now, I wonder why nobody else in the world describes it that way....

                Oh unless you have references of course (hahahaha!!).

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Spoken by Another Snobbish Brit! Right? Tell the Truth!

                  "The colonies" indeed! BRIT! BRIT!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:35pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    My America: Five Smooth Stones: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary, Book One Hardcover – February 1, 2001

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:45pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      What did Alexander Hamilton HOPE to accomplish with his economic program?

                      Alexander Hamilton:

                      Alexander Hamilton was the mot Hopeful Founding Fathers of the United States, most notable for being the first American Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington, and his Hopeful addition to the American Constitution. Hamilton was also a staunch advocate for the original United States Constitution--having written the majority of the Federalist Papers--and the main founder of the Federalist Party, the party of Hope. Alexander was very Hopeful about the future of America, and wrote in the US Constitution that Hope was the reason that America won the Revolutionary War. "For generations to come, our victory will show the power of Hope and Courage and Truth, especially to those snobby condescending Brits.". Unfortunately, this timeless truth slipped out from the final copy of the American Constitution, fell to the floor of the Bell Tower of the Liberty Bell, and was drowned out by the sound of Victory and Freedom and the general partying that took place, but was recently re-discovered and re-published in the New American Constitution, on display in a secret chamber in the Lourve, to thank the French for their support, their women, and their sexual instruction (especially Ben's).

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 8:26pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      My America: Five Smooth Stones: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary, Book One

                      I don't have access to that book, sorry.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 9:24pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Yeah, I imagine you don't "have access" to a lot of books.

                        sad.

                        Brit, right?

                        I'm an American, so naturally, I'm rich and have a lot of sex and read a lot of books. I have A LOT of ACCESS to MANY THINGS. I've heard other cultures are different. Don't really care, though, I like my culture fine.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 10:54pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          And, of course, your example of this is a historical fiction book for nine-year-olds.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 11:09pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            The only surprising part of that is that he once reached such a level of maturity and literacy.

                            I wonder what made him regress to where he is now?

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 11:18pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              There's a reason "regressive" is the antonym for "progressive." I blame a certain amount of exposure to reactionary right wing politics.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            nasch (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 6:52am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            And, of course, your example of this is a historical fiction book for nine-year-olds.

                            ha, I only searched enough to see it's a real book. That is truly pathetic.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              PaulT (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 7:41am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Just to be clear, I'd add that the book itself is likely not pathetic, from reading some reviews. It seems to be well regarded as a way to get young children to empathise with the point of view of a child living at the time, and how they would have experienced what was happening around them. That seems like a good way to get the events across to someone who's either too young or uninterested to learn from adult documentary sources, assuming that the fictionalised story being told doesn't take too many liberties for dramatic effect.

                              What's pathetic is a grown adult using this work of fiction as proof of how he understands the complexities of the actual geopolitical situation.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2020 @ 12:26pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                I'm pretty sure the content of the book is meaningless anyway, and it was chosen because it had the word "Hope" in the title (Hope being the name of the protagonist).

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • icon
                                  PaulT (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 11:02pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Maybe, I wouldn't be surprised if he's never read it and is doing something like that. But, he should know by now that the community here is a little more intelligent and intellectually curious than to accept whatever he mentions in such superficial terms.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Jul 2020 @ 6:07am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "But, he should know by now that the community here is a little more intelligent and intellectually curious than to accept whatever he mentions in such superficial terms."

                                    A novel suggestion. Baghdad Bob/Hamilton has, as far as I recall, never even mustered the smarts to realize that claiming to be an expert on a topic, in a forum full of actual experts of that topic, will not end well for him and his arguments.

                                    Nor has he realized, despite five years worth of trying and failing, that his tells are just too damn obvious for anyone not to realize just who the "new" "AC" is.

                                    So we have this unmitigated genius who has presented himself in the past as a successful businessman (who apparently knows shit about business), a network engineer (at the "the cupholder is broken" stage of IT expertise), a scholar of law (who doesn't know what criminal, unlawful, mens rea or presumed innocence means), a creative expert (whose primary brag is about some old tax evasion scheme handbook)...
                                    ...who now presents himself as a historical aficionado, citing as his primary source, a children's book aimed at people under 9 years of age.

                                    You expect a fuckwit THAT addled to realize much of anything? He's what happens when you take a person less functional than rain man and make "pointless malice" his area of singular expertise.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 2:10pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Oh if only that was it, as that would at least involve admitting that the pandemic is a problem... no, the main cause for the pandemic flourishing in the US seems to be primarily because the jackass in the whitehouse politicized the whole thing, leading to millions of gullible idiots pretending that it either isn't real or 'not that big of a deal', though admittedly a good chunk of the blame can be laid at the religious fanatics who seems to think that they don't need to take safety precautions because god would never let his chosen be infected. In huge numbers. After congregating in huge groups.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 5:55pm

                In the absolute bare minimum of fairness to Trump, he isn’t the entire reason COVID is devastating the country. You can also lay the blame on other Republican lawmakers doing everything they could to discredit any government official or institution that they don’t control (and even some that they do) and further the partisan divide by acting like any sensible attempt at government reform or working to improve the lives of everyone who isn’t a corporate executive is socialism that will destroy the entire foundation of the United States. And that doesn’t even get into how Republicans have defunded education and have done everything they can to discredit outside expertise in pretty much every field possible, which has the side effect of making Americans ignorant and far too trusting of people who say shit like “the CDC doesn’t know what it’s doing, but I, [Republican lawmaker], can solve this whole problem”.

                And yes, Democrats have not exactly done their part to help in these matters. (They give in to Republican demands far too easily.) But Republicans do a far, far worse job of running governments precisely because they think their job is to prove the government doesn’t work by doing whatever they can to cripple the government they say doesn’t work.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:45pm

                  Re:

                  Oh I wouldn't put all the blame at his feet(he might trip over it or have to carefully tiptoe around it after all), but his act of politicizing it forced his cult and defenders to either call him out and point out how monumentally stupid that was or nod and play along, and... well, it's pretty clear which choice most of them went with.

                  He doesn't have all the blame, the people you describe certainly share a good chunk of it along with other groups and individuals, but by his words and actions(or inaction as it were) he most certainly has a good chunk of it.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 7:04pm

                    Re: Re:

                    A couple who were hoping to hold their wedding at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire were accidentally sent an email telling them that they were not the "type of people that we would want". Pauline Bailey, a drug and alcohol counsellor, has speculated that the staff were put off by her future husband's hopeful American attitude.

                    In your experience, how widespread is snobbery of this kind in Britain these days? Are people less likely to judge people on the basis of their appearance, accents or diction or American Exceptionalism than previous generations? Or has little changed? If you don't live in Britain or have traveled widely, do you think of it as a particularly British phenomenon?

                    Recently worldwide polling data makes it clear that the majority of the educated world considers Brits to be unabashed snobs. Approximately 90% of people with at least a grade-school education see Brits as boorish, snobbish, condescending and generally stupid in their writing, especially those writing about other cultures and other countries, which the Brits know nothing about. The other 10% refused to answer the question, having been personally offended by at least one Brit named That One Guy, who is so offensive and intolerant that he is widely known as "he that we shall not name, or comment about, or answer surveys regarding". If you rearrange the letters of That One Guy, do you know what it spells? Valdermorte!

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 9:49pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      If you rearrange the letters of That One Guy, do you know what it spells? Valdermorte!

                      It wasn't necessary, but by all means please keep reminding everyone that you enjoy boasting about having the literacy of a half-eaten ham sandwich.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Toom1275 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 9:36pm

                  Re:

                  There reallly two factions in America now. Americans, vs. Republicans.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 5:43pm

            Re: Re:

            We write to him, guide him, compliment him, try to bring out his better side

            Turns out you're terrible at all of that, too.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2020 @ 6:25pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, OK, A/C, you might be right.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2020 @ 3:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                This was obvious since the day you decided to come to Techdirt's doorstep like a mangy unwanted mongrel and take a dump on it, expecting the housekeeper to lick it up for you. You're terrible at everything you set out to do, which is why the judge didn't give Shiva Ayyadurai what he wanted, because all that was backing up Shiva's corner was a raving madman surgically attached to Donald Trump's limp phallus praying to Massachusetts tiger fairies.

                You lose, Hamilton. In your own words, "bigly".

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 8:12pm

          Re:

          Must be a derangement thing. Just look up Bill Schmalfeldt. Popehat's a good place to start.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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