Sick-Bed Ethics Warm-Up, 11/14/18: Ethics Among the Sneezes [UPDATED]

Good whatever it is….

1. Bottom line” Don’t trust Facebook. From the Times: “Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to Congress last month.” Surprised? As with Google promising moths ago that it was no longer reading our mail, then admitting months later that it had resumed the practice, the big tech companies have proven repeatedly that that we cannot believe what they say, or their motives, or their pledges of good will and public service. More from the Times story:

Facebook’s loose oversight of the partnerships was detected by the company’s government-approved privacy monitor in 2013. But it was never revealed to Facebook users, most of whom had not explicitly given the company permission to share their information. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent last month to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, a privacy advocate and frequent critic of the social media giant.

In the letter, a copy of which Mr. Wyden provided to The New York Times, Facebook wrote that by early 2013 it had entered into data-sharing agreements with seven device makers to provide what it called the “Facebook experience” — custom-built software, typically, that gave those manufacturers’ customers access to Facebook on their phones. Those partnerships, some of which date to at least 2010, fall under a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission drafted in 2011 and intended to oversee the company’s privacy practices.

Read the whole thing. I just assume that anything I put on Facebook, regardless of the alleged settings,will be sold to or otherwise obtained by potentially malign entities.

2. Just what we need now, a rogue First Lady. First Lady Melania Trump publicly called for the President’s deputy national security adviser, Mira Ricardel, to be fired.  In a word, well, two: Shut up. The felicitous circumstance of marrying someone who is later elected President of the United States confers no expertise or authority. The position of First Lady has no Constitutionally recognized duties, nor does it carry any real power. There is nothing anyone can do to diminish the influence and spouse may have with the President behind closed doors—and that is a problem—but she or the inevitable he must not confuse, confound or otherwise seek to influence affairs of state with public comments and opinions. Why Melania wants Ricardel fired is irrelevant. It’s none of her business.

I just want to point out that I sneezed six times while typing those last four words. Applause, please.

3. A note about a flagrant conflict of interest that drives me crazy this time of year. This is free agent time in baseball, with literally hundreds of players seeking lucrative multi-year contracts as they peddle their talents to the 30 Major League teams for millions of dollars.  Their negotiating and peddling are handled by player agents and agencies, almost all of which handle many currently unemployed players at the same time. The problem is that many of these clients are competing with each other. There are only so many open jobs on a baseball team, and only so much money each team can spend. If an agent represents two left-handed closers, then finding a job for one of them hurts the prospects and earning potential of the other. High-priced free agents of different positions also compete with each other, because no team is likely to sign more than one.

I’ve written about this many times, even before this post. Nothing has changed, which means “the Players Union is still negligent, agents are still unethical and greedy, and baseball players are still as naive as puppies.”

4. Not the there won’t be some judge someplace who would support it, but…CNN has neither a legal nor an ethical leg to stand on with its lawsuit demanding that Jim Acosta get his White House press pass back. The lawsuit is grandstanding, just as those accusing the White House of a Freedom of the Press incursion by justly pulling the credentials of a journalist who repeatedly behaves in an unprofessional manner is grandstanding.  CNN can replace Acosta: the network’s access hasn’t been blocked, although I see no reason why it couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be.

The news media’s war with President Trump is unwise and destructive, and it is journalists who are responsible, not the President, who had the courage and principle to expose the fraud at the heart of their reporting. Now, if he also had restraint, taste and nuance, he could have really done some good. The problem is that the President can’t tell legitimate journalism from the biased, partisan, unprofessional kind, not that he has many opportunities to experience the former.

5.  That  annoying “innocent until proven guilty” thingy again. Yes, Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, registered to vote while incarcerated and awaiting trial, as indeed every accused citizen may, even in states like Florida where convicted felons lose the right to vote. This caused many civically ignorant conservatives heartburn, while liberals pointed out that the beast—that is, alleged beast—registered as a Republican, proving something. (Since Democrats want to repeal the Second Amendment, I would assume that almost all prisoners accused of  gun-related crimes would be Republicans

6. [Added] I just read the comments on the Baraboo High School photo, and realized that I meant to include this follow-up today. Points:

I know the photographer claims that he just asked the kids to “wave,” and there was no intent to give Nazi salutes. Suuuuuure. Here’s that photo again:

  • I’ve participated in many “waving” photos, and none ever involved stiff armed, palm-down salutes. I’ll concede that there are some legitimate waves in there, but look at the back row.

Come on.

  • There have been enough comments by students involved in the photo and with knowledge of the incident that the claims that it was all a big misunderstanding ring false.  Jordan Blue, one of the  students in the photo who refused to give the salute, told a local newspaper that his classmates were trying to make a joke. Blue also says the students spent “about five minutes taking pictures and laughing” about their salute to Adolf Hitler.

His is just one account, but this is very close to a res ipsa loquitur situation.

  • Vox opines that the stunt was the result of a general lack of understanding and historical perspective among the younger generations regarding the Holocaust and World War II. That’s probably correct. Blame parents and schools: this is basic education and cultural literacy. If kids are more familiar with “Springtime for Hitler” than they are with Hitler, society has failed them.

 

48 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Rights, Sports

48 responses to “Sick-Bed Ethics Warm-Up, 11/14/18: Ethics Among the Sneezes [UPDATED]

  1. Other Bill

    Re: Acosta lawsuit/ See this article: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/jim-acosta-cnn-white-house-first-amendment.html

    This guy purports to have found a Second Circuit case that supports CNN’s claims. I haven’t read the case. Evidently Floyd Abrams thinks the same thing. I’m guessing the case is distinguishable or otherwise not on point. As I learned early on in my summer clerkship, if you say something in oral arguments, someone might believe you. If you write it in a brief, the chances are greater. If you append a case in support of your position regardless of what the case actually says, you’re close to being home free.

  2. Wayne

    Well that high school picture won’t be appearing in the school yearbook: If they’d only pumped their fists like NFL football players everything would be swell.

  3. 1. Don’t use Facebook. Full Stop.

    2. “The felicitous circumstance of marrying someone who is later elected President of the United States confers no expertise or authority.

    Let me open the memory archives back to the days of Cigar Loving Slick Willy himself, when Hillary was FLINO*. Didn’t she have something really big that she worked on… like Hillarycare? Seems Melania is stepping into some mighty big shoes, there. /snark

    *First Lady In Name Only: Not like Bill was sleeping in the same bed…

    3. I believe Baseball players make so much money they don’t care about their agents or their ethics. Like the Mercedes owner who takes his car to the dealership for service, it just doesn’t cost enough to get worked up about. In my life, this is like spending $10 on a new sun shade for my car.

    4. CNN should lose their access to the White House right down to the public tours. Doing so, however, just gives them something to whine about.

    I propose that EVERY reporter get a microphone, and which one is turned on is under the control of the President. CNN’s never need be activated, and who would know?

    5. Big deal. Nutcase gonna do whatever gets him in the news.

    6. Valky thinks this is ’cause TRUMP! and the nation is spawning more white nationalists every day. I think it is a silly thing to get worked up about.

    PS: I think people like Valky are the reason more whites are standing up and fighting back: it is an existential crisis when progressives want to criminalize your race.

  4. What I wanted to do was give some hard numbers on this. I count 64 distinct individuals that can be seen. If one were to use this photo as an indictment, then you have to look at each person as an individual to see what they’re doing. 32 of the 64 could be said to be doing something that looks like a hitler salute, but most of them are pretty poor. Some are spot on. Another 12 of the 64 are so poor or different that you couldn’t say they were a nazi salute, such as fists in the air, bent arms, looks like they’re waving. 20 of the 64 simply can’t be seen, don’t have their arm up, or have the wrong arm up or have both arms up.

    So, overall, it’s a 50% gotcha of the 64 boys.

    Ultimately, the photographer is a jackass. I remember photographers from different stages of my life that would try to loosen tension by getting their subjects into compromising positions and then shocking them back to reality by pointing out what had happened. It’s an effective bit of shock therapy. But why snap a picture in the compromising position? Why release it as a part of the package?

    I’m honestly not concerned or afraid for our youth as I believe they were trolled into this. I don’t think they requested a salute photo. I don’t think they knew what was really going on. I don’t think they were saluting to iconography or to send a message or to show respect to some abhorrent German political party.

    Some of them were clearly quicker on the uptake and understanding of what was happening. Some you can see shock, confusion, and wtf in their eyes. In all, I think we need to let this community sort it out. They got their moment in the public square of the internet, but back to reality.

    • PennAgain

      I didn’t do a count, just looked at the hands up (whoops, who said that!) and in light of, now, three different named students admitting it was a student prank (their idea) and AFG from the photograher, I would say all upraised hands in any position — except one whose fingers are announcing “peace” — were following the student leaders’ intent.

      I will take a leap into space here, knowing something of high school boys en masse, and say that most of them – barring the inevitable few who admire the trappings of fascism at that age and may believe they understand what it’s all about (if it was known, for instance, that premarital sex was encouraged in the ranks of Hitler Youth) – never expected that particular picture to be printed. What they wanted was to take pictures of each other or have that one available to purchase or disseminate privately. Mem-O-ries, right?

      Someone asked in an earlier post where the girls were. If this is an all-boys institution then all the more understandable that they did it on their own. If not, since when does a professional school photographer take separate pictures of each gender? That makes no sense at all. Unless it was requested by the students. This is a ‘Men Only’ kind of prank.

      As Tim LeVier said Some of them were clearly quicker on the uptake and understanding of what was happening. but not because the photographer had given them an unexpected direction – that would have confused all but a very few who even knew what a Nazi salute was – but because they weren’t ready for the signal (from the back row on the left, I would guess). Again, they are high-schoolers. They weren’t standing still, in silence, eyes front, waiting for one of the adult in the area to give them direction (apparently some of the parents did object and told them to stop). No way. They were jostling each other and exchanging remarks about how dorky everyone looked in those suits, and wasn’t it great to be Getting Out. Of course some weren’t listening. Thus the different stages of salute … that and those who weren’t sure how to — as opposed to those who knew exactly what they were doing.

      But Tim’s next line Some you can see shock, confusion, and wtf in their eyes. Unh uh. Wide smiles, smirks and grins are the order of the day (much of the group can be seen in closeups on YouTube) — all compatible with the joke. Some were indeed waving, low key, wanting no trouble with either peers or parents, others giving it the old (high) school try. Even if you could see the expression in their eyes (which I don’t think is possible in this photograph), if there had been shock, etc. in the eyes, the smiles – as in old DMV photos – would be stiff as the proverbial board). The eyes can’t show an emotion antithetical to those otherwise happy kissers.

      The sole frowny face – eyes and mouth – has to be someone who already knew what was going to happen and who, without being a snitch, is already positioned entirely apart from the group where his disapproval can best be seen and recorded. He has since been front and center in the media, the Hogg of Wisconsin, but a righteous snitch after all, and no hero to his schoolmates. Kids are funny that way.

      Which brings me to the “positioning” of the group in the first, or rather, the last place: Since when does any photographer of a group, professional or not, allow a mix of heights so that a good number of subjects are partially or entirely hidden, including a couple entirely obscured behind a sign? Answer: none. [Baraboo is a 4-year high, which explains the extreme height ranges] These are the boys placing themselves, as in cliques (back row, left side – though they see themselves firmly on the Right side), or buddies (blue suit in front row, friend at left), and short guys with their taller pals all over the place, half seen. The shot belongs entirely to them … and is probably the most realistic picture of the group, gestures included*.

      On the whole, I think it’s terrific that this picture went viral. I don’t believe it points up ultra-conservative tendencies in the young so much as (as others have already noted), a deep-seated educational deficit. This deficit panders to the cheapest, laziest, most disinterested, most unskilled and ignorant educators — along with their politic-ing school boards, squabbling (but diverse!!) PTAs, government watchdogs and, as Jack has often and often said, a lack of a sense of civic duty in the general public — that this country has ever known.

      I know. Everyone has exceptions, or so they think. Those of us over 50 … 60 … 70(?) remember Civics classes (I’m not sure when they disappeared), and patriotic and martial songs and poems, and field trips to places we would otherwise never have known about, and historically (distorted or not) pointed holidays and happenings. Not to mention learning to build things in shop, learning an instrument or how to sing, how to memorize and – terror of terrors! – recite. Or worse, get over stage-fright. (oddly enough, I don’t remember an art class)

      I’m not, no, not for a moment, saying that any or all of these were good or fun or “useful later on” in the least. That depends on each of us as students plus all of our “outside” influences, including the mathematical muddle of grown-up experiences. But the “golden rule” days were for the most part full of human beings in all our human complexities. We were grouped, by twos or more, by teams, bus-loads, labs, casts, assemblies, in microcosmic social as well as educational bundles,

      We were not isolated with our electronic devices nor having our belongings searched as we entered school. We were not deprived of breathing outdoors or of after-school activities on school premises, nor of learning, perhaps the hard way, how to deal with awkward situations, difficult teachers, or bullies (a major life lesson, including being one). Our lunches had too much fat, sugar and salt (probably still do), and we were plagued by the ugliness of most school photos. Most of us had chores to do at home, part-time jobs, paid in cash/no credit, religious activities, single, non-private phones, family vacations. On the whole, we learned how to behave out in the world, what our freedoms and rights were, and the limitations of both.

      Many of us learned to wait until we were 21 years old to vote and looked back on the previous three or four years and were glad we’d had to wait since we had just recently learned that we not only didn’t know everything but also that we needed to know a hell of a lot more. The big difference was that we – the older ones – had higher expectations for a future of more varied opportunity than most do now.

      Given the level of education the boys (I can’t call them young men in this context) were getting at Baraboo, WWII is as far away as the Tet Offensive, maybe as distant in time as March 6, 1836.
      The school of about 3,000 is ranked #79 in the State of Wisconsin, #2499 out of the 6,000 in the country. Their College Readiness Index is a very low 24.0. The more I look at this incident (link below), and the recent testimonies of frowny-face and the photographer (an amateur with good equipment, it seems), the sadder it appears.

      https://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/local/baraboo-photographer-of-nazi-salute-image-says-he-told-boys/article_2a77dd8f-fa1e-52f3-851e-fb2ec18c2ab0.html

      • ”Baraboo is a 4-year high, which explains the extreme height ranges”

        The superbly thorough analysis I’ve come to expect, PA, but one part I’ll emend; these were all Juniors (Class of 2019) posing for their 2018 Junior Prom.

        Speaking of life-n-growing up proceeding at warp speed these days, it’s already been noted in the HS’s wiki page.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baraboo_High_School#History

        Tribal Cliques at my HS (James Madison Memorial/Class of ’73 [GO SPARTANS!!]) were most evident in cafeteria seating arrangements.

        Baraboo is textbook Small town America, nestled in the lush Baraboo River valley amidst the panoramic Baraboo Hills (part of Wisconsin’s Driftless [nonglaciated] Area), a mere 42 miles/67.59 kms NNW of the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality.

        Been there hundreds of times (fortunately living to tell of it!) and I had a client whose house overlooked its campus.

        It already has a few less-than-flattering Urban Dictionary mentions; I wonder how long it’ll be until there’s a Baraboo’d reference?

    • DaveL

      Curiously, I count 4 white boys who appear to be giving the closed-fist “black power” salute. I suspect this bolsters Vox’s “historical ignorance” argument.

  5. Progressives are upset because the Trump administration is planning to clarify Title 9 law forbidding gender discrimination at federally funded universities. The administration wants to limit the definition of gender to “male” and “female”, and would define males as the people who have penises and work the TV remote, and women as the people who suddenly have babies after you were innocently hanging out having sex with them. Before this, Democrats used Title 9 to define men as rapists and women as the people who vote for Democrats. Go figure.

    Progressive professor Profidius Von Melonhead says the new change is unfair. In a major address to a lecture hall filled with dust motes and melancholy, the professor said; “If the Trump administration is able to define men as men and women as women, then language will have lost all meaning… By which I mean it will lose the random meaning we have assigned to it in the interests of winning political power! Why, before you know it, “constitutional” will mean “according to the constitution” and not “forcing Leopoldo we disagree with to do what we want.” Giving words their proper meaning is the first step on the road to Nazi-ism, by which of course I mean Liberty, as opposed to an oppressive, virulently anti-Semitic philosophy, by which of course, I mean progressivism.”

    Transgender mixed martial artist Brunella Thuggish, formerly known as the male fighter Bruno Thugg, and currently the winner of the Women’s Fighting Championship 17 consecutive times, told reporters, “This is a major blow to school athletics, by which I mean my ability to beat the living daylights out of women with half my muscle mass.”

    Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders denied the administration was trying to force words to mean what they actually mean, telling reporters “I’m just saying that men are men, and women are women, by which I mean; Shut the hell up and stop talking and saying crap.”

    • Zoe Brain

      https://www.usrf.org/news/010308-guevedoces.html

      According to the Trump adminstration “clarification”, all those pictured are female because of appearance at birth.

      Whereas both mother and daughter here are male because of chromosomes.

      J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9
      A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

      1 in 300 men don’t have the 46,XY ‘male’ chromosomes most men do. Some women have them though.

      There’s a reason why so many biologists, endocrinologists, urologists and geneticists are calling the ‘clarification’ antiscientific hogwash. Like legislating that Pi=3 or that the Earth is flat, because those too are approximations adequate for many purposes.

      No matter, as the Trump dogma has been official GOP policy since a resolution by the RNC in January 2016.

      Biology has been taught poorly in the US since the Scopes Monkey Trial, and even worse before then. So it may not be wilful ignorance, not completely.

      • Quite frankly, I’d care more if *anyone* was interested in being scientifically accurate. Progressives have been lumping people with biological disorders along with people with cognitive disorders and autogynephiles for basically as long as this conversation has been occurring.

        As frustrating as that might be for one of the people being referred to, we’re talking about a staggeringly small portion of the population three tenths of a percentage point of the population fits under the general umbrella of “trans”, and I don’t even know the percentage of that that presents as 46.XY women. I don’t know if national policymakers will ever be adequately equipped to deal with this in any meaningful or intelligent way, but unless and until that happens, I’m more than willing to mock the absurdities that occur along the way.

      • The Wednesday Woman

        Hey Zoe, regardless of my own thoughts, I’m glad you’re back and hope you continue to post. We need a range of voices here.

    • DaveL

      forcing Leopoldo we disagree with…

      That is one doozy of an autocorrection.

  6. Meanwhile, the lawyer for Mr. Ed, Michael Avenatti, has recently been arrested by police for role-playing that his ex-wife was a mixed martial arts competitor, and he was the fighter formerly known as Thugg.

    In a statement to the public, the lawyer for Michael Avenatti, Phoenix Wright, said the following; “My client is innocent, and these charges are the complete fabrications of a deeply disturbed mind, or at least that’s what I would be saying, had he not been spending the last two years encouraging everyone to believe all women, by which I mean, Oh look! A squirrel!”

    • Nothing will infuriate tiny little petty miscreants like Avenatti more than to extend to him all the graces and mercies he refused to extend to others.

      Let him writhe in a system of due process and innocence until proven guilty being defended whole heartedly by conservatives across the board. I even think that some originalist justices of the Supreme Court could use this opportunity to defend the American system of jurisprudence that Avenatti and his cohorts on the Left actively seek to overthrow.

      • So if we can’t be ethical towards Avenatti for ethical reasons, like actually believing in Rule of Law and Due Process, then at least be ethical towards Avenatti for the unethical reasons of schadenfreude.

  7. Jack wrote, “If kids are more familiar with “Springtime for Hitler” than they are with Hitler, society has failed them.”

    Very nicely stated!

    • Jack wrote, “If kids are more familiar with “Springtime for Hitler” than they are with Hitler, society has failed them.”

      Very nicely stated!

      First, I doubt that almost any kids are familiar with that film. So, one has to point that out. That film is really for you, the older generation.

      Jack’s statement actually requires a certain unpacking. It is of course true: it is very important to read history, to study it, and to deeply reflect on it.

      But one could say at the same time that one must see into and behind specific historical narratives and, of course, their interpretive function. What Jack is actually saying, it seems to me, is that one must examine a specific interpretation of an Event of history and one must conclude from it very specific things. In so doing one must also avoid any deviation from the Established Conclusions.

      This is what Zoltar the Magnificent is actually *agreeing* about (in my excruciatingly humble opinion).

      So, let us imagine a free and open intellectual environment where this history, and in fact all ideas, could be studied without the pre-framing. What that means is a free and open intellectual environment, free from determined opinions and free from pre-formed opinions: historical conclusions which frame perspective.

      This environment not only does not exist, it also cannot exist! and would not be allowed to continue to exist if indeed it did arise somewhere.

      There is an assertion that ‘society has failed them’. But one cannot ever look to *society* to either safe, better, or improve anyone. It is an absurdist declaration if you really examine it. ‘Society’ is a Hall of Mirrors. In fact, I do not even know what the word *society* means here.

      But here, let me suggest one possible meaning:

      We live in a spectacular society, that is, our whole life is surrounded by an immense accumulation of spectacles. Things that were once directly lived are now lived by proxy. Once an experience is taken out of the real world it becomes a commodity. As a commodity the spectacular is developed to the detriment of the real. It becomes a substitute for experience.

      Why do you choose to remain within such limited and limiting perspectives? Why so closed to an expansion of the possibilities of understanding of the present? I simply do not get it …

  8. Apparently there are only twelve years to save the world from climate change.

    • ”Apparently there are only twelve years to save the world from climate change.”

      Don’t box yourself in, ME, the possibilities are limitless

      HOURS: Flashback March 2009: ‘We have hours’ to prevent climate disaster — Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

      DAYS: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK’s Gordon Brown warns of global warming ‘catastrophe’; Only ’50 days to save world’

      MONTHS: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

      YEARS: 2009: NASA’s James Hansen Declared Obama Only First Term to Save The Planet! — ‘On Jan. 17, 2009 Hansen declared Obama only ‘has four years to save Earth’ or Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: ‘Five years to save world’

      DECADES: 1982: UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the ‘world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.’

      MILLENNIUM: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out’

      It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate “tipping point” we can rely is this one:

      Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: ‘It’s All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years’

      • Every religion has an eschatology and every religion’s eschatologists are perennially wrong about when the end will come.

        • “(E)very religion’s eschatologists are perennially wrong about when the end will come.”

          Are they MW, are they REALLY?

          Bonn 2001: A Global Warming Treaty’s Last Chance. Time Magazine, 16 Jul 2001

          Montreal 2005: ”Montreal represents a last chance for action.” The Independent, 28 Nov 2005

          Bali 2007: Bali could be the last chance to avoid the worst effect of global warming. The New Zealand Herald, 3 Dec 2007

          Poznan Poland, 2008: WWF, “Poznan provides last chance to curb climate change. The Age, 9 Dec 2008

          Copenhagen 2009: The world faces a final opportunity to agree an adequate global response to climate change, Reuters Feb 27 2009

          Cancun 2010: the “last chance” for climate change talks to succeed. The Telegraph (UK), 29 Nov 2010

          Durban 2011: mankind’s ‘last opportunity’ to address climate change. Spero News, 27 Nov 2011

          Doha 2012: Tomorrow: the earth’s last chance with climate change? The Examiner, 25 Nov 2012

          Warsaw 2013: Is the Warsaw Climate Change Conference a last-chance summit? Sustainable Mobility, 14 Nov 2013

          Lima 2014: Last chance: Change needed for climate negotiations in Lima 2014. WWF Global, 23 Nov 2013

          Paris 2015: The UN meeting in December is “the last chance” to avert dangerous climate change, according to the Earth League. BBC News 22 Apr 2015

  9. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

    “The society of the spectacle began everywhere in coercion, deceit and blood, but it promised a happy path. It believed itself to be loved. Now it no longer says “What appears is good; what is good appears”; now it says simply “It is so”.

    ― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

    ____________________________

    Jack writes:

    6. I know the photographer claims that he just asked the kids to “wave,” and there was no intent to give Nazi salutes.

    Once an event like this — a true *spectacle* — gets launched, and then framed, and once all the many players position themselves in it and in relation to it, I suggest it is nearly impossible to get it sorted out. It leads to a situation that corresponds to the Ethical Train Wreck, except that this is a Perceptual Train Wreck. One can speculate about what actually happened, but in doing so one is really only *projecting*. One projects one’s own content into a situation and one might get it right, at least potentially and to some degree, but one might just as well get it wrong, to one degree or another.

    And there lies the *real issue*, or the real problem. It leads into a terribly confusing situation of perception. The viewer has an emotional (or potentially intellectual I suppose) requirement to assert a specific judgment, and not to do so indicates personal blame. The situation that I learned from, similar to this one in certain respects, is that of Brock Turner. Some condemned him and believed him *guilty* without needing to know all the facts and because the *optics* sure made it seem he was guilty beyond any doubt. But this (I discovered) was potentially false and likely false. The actual truth was not a simple and clear story, but more complex. But the only story that can play out in Social Media and in the Media is one that is specifically framed, and which has been given a function. The function takes over and determines what the story is to mean.

    Additionally I made other points here. All of this must be taken into consideration as part-and-parcel of a complex situation, as it is.

  10. I just came from a local coffee house and while I was standing in line I heard a small group of people behind be talking about Pete Gust the photographer of the High School boy’s heil sign. My ever listening ears heard one of them say that he has known Pete Gust for many years, this is roughly an hour away from Baraboo, WI so it’s quite possible, I actually know a couple of people that live in Baraboo too. The statement that caught my interest went something like this:

    “Pete is one of those people that believes the ends justifies the means and I think Pete posted that photo knowing full well what attention it would get.

    I don’t know if this claim was BS and I didn’t hang around to hear if this person had any reasoning as to what ends Pete was trying to accomplish by posting the photo. I can’t think of any “ends”.

    After hearing that conversation, it got me thinking. When I take group photos I take a slew of photos so I have plenty to choose from to get the “best” one and I’m guessing that this photographer took more than one photo of this group; why (I’m asking intent) would a photographer choose to post on the internet a photo that intentionally shows a large group of high school students in what could easily be called a Nazi salute? Malice or outright stupidity? There are way too may possible answers to this question to narrow it down but Halon’s razor is way up at the top of my list right now.

    At this point in time I still have no problem with thinking that it could have been a accident that these students erupted into a Nazi salute for a joke. for whatever reason but that doesn’t really explain why the photographer would intentionally post such a photo on a public website.

  11. Michael R.

    Perhaps we should have been suspicious when Google dropped the ‘Don’t Be Evil” clause from their code of conduct.

  12. #1 The word trust really shouldn’t come into the conversation when talking about any kind of social media or commentary on the internet. You should always “expect” that anything you put on the internet can and will be used by known and unknown individuals for their own purposes and you may or may not approve of those purposes. I’m not saying be paranoid but there are reasonable precautions that people should take when posting on the internet, it’s all about making reasonable choices.

    Here’s is a couple of examples;
    1. I had a really nice photo I took of a friend that I posted on Facebook and it got used by a media outlet which I didn’t mind too much considering the purpose but they “forgot” to site the photographer (which they fixed after I personally contacted them) and then they had the audacity to start trying to sell the photo, that’s when I slammed the hammer down on them.

    2. I posted comments locally for many years using my real name and let’s face it I’m a hard man and that resulted in an internet stalker that allowed his obsession to roll over into the non-internet world. Luckily I’m one of those people that is aware of my surroundings and the problem was nipped in the bud before the idiot did anything really stupid. I changed a few simple things after dealing with that idiot and one of the things I changed was to use a pseudonym to reduce the likelihood of my immediate family being directly exposed to such irrational people. I don’t much care if people come after me but you don’t mess with my family. Do I personally worry about this kind of thing, heck no, but I’ll do what I believe to be reasonably non-intrusive things to add an invisible layer of protection around my family.

    3. You just can’t trust that things that are found on the internet aren’t going to get twisted into something else. I took a photo that Jack posted last April and did this to it…

    You just can’t “trust” anyone. 😉

    Lastly; don’t be paranoid but be aware enough to make take reasonable precautions and make reasonable choices and when you put something on the internet, anything, assume that it’s going to be used for purposes that you are not aware of and you may not approve.

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