Unethical Quote Of The Week: Ruth Graham, In Slate.

This is almost too easy, especially now, and others have flagged it too, but really, she can hardly be shunned enough for this…

“But I think the real reason the clip has spread is simpler: It’s the kid’s face. The face of self-satisfaction and certitude, of edginess expressed as cruelty. The face remains almost completely still as his peers hoot in awed delight at his bravado. The face is both punchable and untouchable. Many observers recognized it right away.”

Ruth Graham in her Slate piece, , “The MAGA Teenager Who Harassed a Native American Veteran Is Still Unnamed, but We’ve Seen His Face Before” an attack on Coventry Catholic school student Nick Sandmann based on what we now know was a politically motivated fake news smear based on a deceptively edited video and knee-jerk media bias against anyone daring to support the President.

Her post is still up.

I was going to include this in my hate-themed warm-up yesterday, but Graham deserves her own post, so utterly despicable is she. Ann Althouse’s son, also a blogger, issued two tweets that almost encompass her void of ethics and fairness, writing,

How is it OK to make a national news story out of not liking someone’s smile? Mocking someone’s smile is as bad as telling someone they have to smile more, and we’re all supposed to think the latter is blatantly offensive, right?,


Slate’s Facebook post of this article calls the kid’s facial expression “the smirk of evil.” I don’t know how adults can sleep at night after publicly trashing a kid and calling him “evil.”

Graham wasn’t alone. Here’s BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen on Twitter about Sandmann’s face:

One theme of the conversations over the past 24 hours = how deeply familiar this look is. It’s the look of white patriarchy, of course, but that familiarity — that banality — is part of what prompts the visceral reaction. This isn’t spectacular. It’s life in America.

After the more extensive videos acme out, Petersen, like many others, just refused to accept the fact that she was wrong, and the kids had been smeared:

I have watched all of the videos. You can understand that the situation was more complex than the first video and still recognize why the sight of that face caused a visceral reaction in so many.

Yeah, I understand why: Petersen is a bigot who is now incapable of accurate perception. She has absorbed the Big Lie that “Make America Great Again” is some kind of coded white supremacy slogan, along with the narrative that white men are viruses in society. The correct analogy is the “Hands up, Don’t shoot” lie. It was accepted as true by the news media and activists who wanted to hang the involved police officer to advance their propaganda that innocent young blacks were being gunned down in the streets, and even after the lie was exposed, many still repeat it as fact today. In that spirit of convenient denial,  Deadspin’s Laura Wagner wrote, “Don’t Doubt What You Saw With Your Own Eyes,” and accused the Covington student’s’ defenders “siding with some shithead MAGA teens and saying that 2+2=5 in the face of every bit of evidence there is to be had.”


Imagine being a teenager who is suddenly being targeted for a bloody death by a Hollywood producer. Jack Morrissey tweeted about “MAGA kids” being stuffed“screaming, hats first into the woodchipper.” His tweet showed  blood flying from a woodchipper. Twitter, by the way, has not banned Morrissey for violating its community standards—only conservative views do that. Wishing children dead for wearing a hat supportive of the President of the United States IS the social media community standard. Morrissey makes films for Disney, and treats children this way.  Also nice.

When the criticism got too hot for him, he pulled the tweet and claimed he was joking—about pushing Catholic students head first into a woodchipper. That’s hate, not humor. Speaking of heads, here’s Kathy Griffin, one of many Hollywood celebrities to attack Sandmann and the other students:

“Name these kids. I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these fuckers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again.”

Here’s Alyssa Milano:

“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood. Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”

Okay, these are just silly, ignorant, Hillary-corrupted, under-educated and show business-addled fools who think that because they were on TV once they have some kind of authority. But what’s the Washington Post’s excuse for this: “The Catholic Church’s shameful history of Native American abuses”?

Oh, I see: those kids must have been harassing the guy beating the drum because in addition to wearing “I am a racist” hats, they go to a Catholic school and have obviously been trained to hate Native Americans.

The people and institutions conspiring to shame and harm these student are bad people. Not because of what they believe, but because of what they do, and the fact that they not only keep doing it, but are self-righteous about it. In the September Ethics Alarms post called, Admit It, Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, “The Resistance,” The Left, Or Whatever You Call Yourselves*: You’re The Bad Guys , I wrote in part,

We’re still waiting for that moment of self-awareness from the Left. How it happened in their case is a matter of historical record: accumulated arrogance, cynicism and the rejection of their own ideology’s core principles–you know, liberalism?—did the trick. What was left was pure power-seeking, anger, hate, and “the ends justifies the means,” the “ethic” of fascism and totalitarianism….

The Left has rejected freedom of speech, accepting the often violent efforts of college students to threaten and silence speakers whose views they regard as “hate speech.” It has opposed the rule of law in immigration policy, labeling the essential sovereign function of controlling borders as “racism.” It has advocated dividing society into favored and disfavored groups Women must be “believed”; men must be presumed guilty; police must be presumed racist.

There are too many examples to cover in less than a book; I think Ethics Alarms has dealt with most of them. The current low point, however, is the issue at hand: the Kavanaugh nomination.

Well, I was wrong there. These people can go even  lower, and this episode proves it. I think we can agree that focusing national hatred and violent fantasies ( the Covington School was closed today because of death threats) on students who did absolutely nothing wrong except for their choice of caps—I can’t believe I have to write this—is even lower than using a 30 year-old discovered memory that can’t be corroborated to claim that a distinguished judge is a sexual predator. I now believe that there is no limit to how low they will go.





64 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Ruth Graham, In Slate.

  1. The student IS smirking. As someone who’s spend years with the Boy Scouts and other youth groups, I recognize the smirk- it’s the look of a young man who’s too unsure of himself to take action, but just sure enough (and full of enough testosterone) to not back down an inch. It’s the look of a young man who’s realized adults aren’t gods, and is exercising his power in being able to stare at one and shrug and smirk and watch the adult get all upset about it.

    The thing is, it’s a smirk that’s just part of growing up- it’s a reaction to the moment, the stress, the crowd, the eyes of his peers, the strange man in front of him who is both authority figure and vague threat, who broke the rules by veering towards him but expects him to obey the rules and give way. A younger boy would have just moved aside. An older man would have either moved (to defuse the moment) or reacted more forcefully. The young man just… smirks.

    Those with an axe to grind can’t see his response as being that simple. To them, this “privileged white boy” KNOWS he’s a “privileged white boy” and his actions are a direct reflection of that. The smirk that infuriates them can’t just be from an everyday irritating teenager, it must be from someone deliberately taunting them with his white supremacy, or something.

    • The guy with the drum was assaulting him. He was too close, and intentionally so, violating “the curtilage,” a form of personal trespass. The kid stood his ground (good) and didn’t react against the jerk. Also good. Smirk implies an attitude that wasn’t in evidence. I’d call it a forced smile.

      I might have pushed the guy away and said, “Back off.”

      • I have no doubts about my reaction. My arm would be out-stretched with my hand up because he was coming forward with the drum. I’d do the same for someone yelling or holding any other noisemaker.

          • But old enough to still mistrust that newfangled “Autumn?” 😉

            I jest- but yes, an adult with more life experience would have been more likely to either defuse or react with more force. This kid just stood there with a look that says “I’m pretty sure this adult is a total dipshit.” (I’d characterize that look as a “smirk,” which doesn’t impute any particular malice to it- it’s just a look that kids do that is really good at making adults hate it).

            • I have a teenage son, I know that look well.

              It’s also the exact same one he had when an autistic kid tackled him at the library trying to use the computer. The one that says ‘I know if I punch him, I’ll be the bad guy, but WTF?’

              • That’s exactly it. Teenagers are great in using it- sometimes correctly (as with your son), sometimes profoundly wrong (as I’m sure you’ve seen when you try to explain to him why he can’t do whatever idiot thing he wants to do).

    • Luke, I just made a similar argument about the young man’s behavior with a friend who espoused Jack’s position with respect to yhe boy standing his ground.

      The more I think about this the more I believe that all the adults involved failed these kids.

      Keeping in mind this event took place over a 90 minute time horizon.

      Black Isrealites – their harrangue of the kids precipitated an unnecessary encounter.

      Covington chaperones – allowed the kids to remain in a location in which they were subjected to the racial slurs.

      Native American protester and entourage Interjects self into mix when uninvited, ill informed and unnecessary Simply beating a drum is not a means to deescalate a confrontation. Then it turns out the group made Europhobic commentary telling the kids to go back to Europe and it is not their land.
      (Comment: supposedly indigenous populations are not truly indigenous they were migratory nomadic peoples who enslaved an conquered existing inhabitants. Thus, they are merely ovewhelmed by a stronger migrating people)

      Covington chaperones: at no time during the drum chant did any adult intervene to ensure young man did not react inappropriately which could have escalated given the obvious incendiary situation.

      Media: MSM and Social. assumes kids are guilty because of MAGA hats. Plays this up all day to foment outrage which gains eyeballs leading to better ad revenue at the expense of these kids.

      Hollywood. Unbridled narcissism. Must use events to get name in front of public. Must exploit kids to maintain social relevance.

      School.officials. failed to demonstrate reasonable efforts to assess facts. Kids learn to jump to conclusions based on sketchy info.

      I for one don’t buy the story he was trying deescalate the situation by standing silently and smiling. Deescalation does not occur when you go face to face with someone who positions themself as an antagonist. At no time did I see any act that would be considered deescalating by either.

      I recognize that the young man had every right to stand his ground but having a right is not the same as strategically gaining the moral highground. If the young man took one step backward and created some distance initially he would be on stronger ground.

      • I think you make good points here top to bottom. I don’t see anything that resembles de-escalation from the student, but I also don’t see him escalating.

        As a stubborn guy myself I sympathize with him. I’m more than friendly, but if you decide you’re entitled to walk through where I’m standing and DEMAND me to move rather than ask then my gut says to not move until Doomsday.

        As a fellow Catholic, I recognize that “turn the other cheek” is straight from the bible and he’d have been better served by just stepping aside and avoiding the confrontation. From a moral standpoint, it’s humble. From a strategic standpoint, if your retreat doesn’t avoid a confrontation let it be seen that you DID retreat and were pursued. Still, I’m not sure I’d have had the ability to do that in his place.

      • Gee, he must have missed the “What do do when a jerk activist is trying to provoke you by beating a drum in your face.” I mean, That’s NVER happened to me, and I’m nor sure what I’d do. And we’re criticizing a kid for not making the ideal strategic decision? “Nothing” seems like a good guess to me. Smiling in case he’s really nuts and tries to bite you.

        I find any criticism of that student wildly unfair. If you leave, the old fool chases you. If you smile, you’re “mocking” him. If you push him back, you’re harassing him. I saw demonstrator put police in these no-win positions in then Sixties. The kid handled it better than most of them did.

        • If he frowns, he’s “scowling”. I’d love to see the msm spin on that: “MAGA Kid Mad at Being Schooled By Native American War Hero Elder”…or something like that.

          The hat is all they care about. There was nothing his facial expression could have been that wouldn’t have drawn criticism.

        • Jack, I am not criticizing the young man. Quietly standing and smiling is neither good nor bad behavior.

          I do question the boy’s claim that his reaction was calculated to deescalate the situation. You can’t argue that the response was an unconsidered response to an unusual situation when the boy himself claims he was doing it to calm the situation down. Going eyeball to eyeball with anyone or anything is not a difusing strategy. Period.

          I am criticizing every adult chaparone here for not interceding when the activist got in the face of the young man.
          That is why they are there. Who would we blame if the boy said he felt threatened, hauled off and pushed the old man away and he suffered a head injury or worse.

          We cannot expect the young to make considered choices if we do not help them learn how to make them.

          • If there was, indeed, a situation, doing nothing can, indeed, yield deescalation. Heart rate, respiration move back toward normalcy from an initial surge of adrenaline. When people calm down a little, they think a little more clearly, perhaps even exchange words.

            That’s not this situation, though. The old man wanted to overrun some inexperienced kids, present himself to the world as either a victim or a saint depending on their reaction.

      • Is it really his responsibility as a child to deescalate the situation? The other adults, I heartily agree, are at fault for either harassing the students or failing to take charge of the situation.

        I wonder what the Parkland students would say to those who blame them for the failings of adults? After all, they’re innocent kids when they’re fleeing bullets or criticism of their DNC talking points; gun control experts when being interviewed.

      • Chris Marschner said” Comment: supposedly indigenous populations are not truly indigenous they were migratory nomadic peoples who enslaved an conquered existing inhabitants. Thus, they are merely overwhelmed by a stronger migrating people)”

        Pretty sure I have made this same point a couple of hundred time here. They are NOT native Americans, any more then the rest of us are. They lost their lands because they attempted to attack a more numerous population with an inferior technology.

    • The ‘smirk’ is a carefully chosenstop-action frame from a video. There’s plenty of footage available where he’s not smiling, where he looks unsure of himself. Have to hammer that White Privilege every chance you get!

    • Excellent comment, Luke! But, as one who also has been involved with Scouts for a lonnnng time, and has also been roped onto chaperoning teen school groups to Europe on several occasions (even though I was never a teacher), I do have one small quibble.

      “The student IS smirking”. Maybe, or maybe he’s just holding the sort of half-smile people often use when confronted with a socially awkward or uncertain situation. I might also venture that the kid has the sort of combination of facial features that might cause his smile to look a bit “smirky”, even if that was not his intent; he says he was just trying to maintain a non-aggressive appearance. This whole mess was the result of too many people jumping to promote their highly subjective interpretations of what they thought they saw (not that your comment is anywhere near equivalent).

      At least he wasn’t like this guy:

      And just for fun:

    • i believe that you have given the best answer to the question…. and i have immersed myself in this confrontation….my son, who is the nicest human on the planet would have responded with exactly that face….

  2. We should be clear to describe Kathy Griffin’s remarks for what they are: an invitation to engage in cyber-bullying of children.

    You start calling these people cyber-bullies and they may actually look more closely at themselves.

    Hope springs eternal.


  3. All these things are horrible, and the parade of horribles shows no sign of stopping. But I have a question:

    Why are we still talking about this?

    Let’s examine the worst description of what could’ve happened in this entire incident, from the standpoint of the Covington Catholic students:

    Underage students were at a political rally, and may have made an insensitive gesture toward an American Indian (or Native American, if you prefer) protester. No blows were struck, no profane language uttered by the kids. Nobody was injured, hurt, or even threatened.

    Note that the above does not deal with the reality of what happened, but is a description of the worst thing that the students could be accused of. Smiling at somebody is simply not newsworthy, no matter who it is!


    What is going on here? I swear, I have seen nothing but conversation about this for the last three days. It beggars belief. It has polarized this country even further, and Covington Catholic had to close today due to death threats directed at underage children!

    I am at a loss.

    • ::: raises hand :::

      Because these events become profoundly revealing, and meaningful, symbols of what is happening in the psychology of the Nation?

      These situations arise “synchronistically”. They become ’emblematic’.

      They are events that can be read like *texts*. But what is amazing is that they are also Rorschach Tests: people see in them what they want and need to see. And they also project their own material onto them.

      ::: returns to napping :::

    • 1. Because the issue is the media/”resistance” mobbing and fake news, not the students; conduct.
      2. Because it reveals the complete depravity of these people.
      3. Because so many are doubling down,
      4. Because so many conservatives joined the mob.
      5. Because anti-Catholic bigotry is being actively promoted, and I bet you can guess why..

        • It’s worth reading the Washington Post article about the Catholic Church’s supposed history of abuses towards Indians so you can see what a piece of crap it is. It’s as if the editor called in a college-age intern and said, “I need a hit job in the Catholic Church quick, saying they they mistreated Indians. You’ve got one hour.” The sum of the misdeeds recounted by the article:

          1. Catholic priests tried to convert Indians to Catholicism.

          2. When the federal government was sending Indian children to boarding schools, some of them went to Catholic boarding schools.

          3. Some priests who tried to shield Indians from depradations by the government referred to them as children in need of protection.

          4. Many Catholics had the same attitudes towards Indians as most other white Americans did.

          I was expecting at least one example of murder, rape or enslavement, but apparently there weren’t any, or at least none that could be found before the article was rushed to press.

          • The standard “abuse” of American Indians by the Catholics is that we tried to convert them. In this post-modern society, that’s clear evidence of racism and callous disregard for their beautiful and perfect beliefs, therefore abusive.

          • A pervasive savage hatred for the religion which is found to be backed by obvious nonsense has a way of making Catholics out of ordinary, nominally open-minded people. They might as well be saying that with pea soup spraying out of their spinning heads. A guy scarcely has to proselytize anymore. We’ll be a monarchy in 100 years at this rate.

            • Hmmm. Composition is more difficult somehow when writing off-the-cuff on a mobilized telephone. If you diagram the sentences carefully, you can still make sense of that. I believe in you.

        • From an article by Robert Royal:

          And there’s another side to this story, because slavery and human sacrifice were common in the areas the Spaniards first explored. As Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican novelist and no great friend to Christianity, put it: “One can only imagine the astonishment of the hundreds and thousands of Indians who asked for baptism as they came to realize that they were being asked to adore a god who sacrificed himself for men instead of asking men to sacrifice themselves to gods.”

      • Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that nobody has seen or heard from Justice Ginsburg in almost two weeks now, could it? (At least, beyond the almost frantic chorus from the usual suspects, chanting in unison “she’s getting better!” as if repeating it enough times will bring it to pass) If I had to jump to a conclusion, I would say it’s almost as if there’s groundwork being laid to discredit a specific potential future nominee.

  4. Jack wrote, “I now believe that there is no limit to how low they will go.”

    With the left’s nearly daily steps walking head on into the absolute absurd, I’m a little surprised that it’s taken this long for you to reach this point. I held out hope for as long as I possibly could but it became completely clear to me during the Kavanaugh hearings.

    • Same here. Nothing is sacred except abortion to lefty progressives. They will say anything, do anything (short of murder) to attack the right and Trump.

      The murder stipulation is looking mighty thin as well. I am guessing that, given the levels of hate being revealed, the only reason they have not started the lynch mobs is they have not collected the guns yet. Progressives are total hypocrites when it comes to their kids, their money, and their blood.

  5. I have nephews that look as white as Mr. Sandmann but are 1/4 native/Indian/indigenous or whatever term is used these days. I could easily see my nephews in Sandmann’s position and mistaken for MAGA hat nazi’s. What do we adults say to those nephews others than “in the race war you better pick a side” which is what a black woman once said to me because of my multiracial heritage.

    This whole need to paint native Americans (still) as noble savages is a huge part of what has fueled this. We have the angry BLM blacks, the angry Latino(X?) DACA folks, but what’s really needed for the moment is a wise Indian to fight the white male cishetero Trump hate machine right? The guy has to have a drum because otherwise we might mistake him for a regular dude right? Oh and let’s make sure when we ask him about the incident he says something “wise” and “profound” like “feed the hungry” so we can be extra sure he’s like a special spirit animal of wokeness.

    My sister in-law saw the story on Facebook (of course) and totally took the bait, even though her own tribe treated her like shit because her skin was very pale due to hormone issues. She and her family are more likely to be perceived by certain crusaders as crazy Christian conservatives than indigenous folks, yet she was terribly upset at Mr. Sandmann. And even my wife & I who don’t usually fall for stuff like this wondered why the hell Sandmann would make such a face at this brave “brave.” For our family it wasn’t the boy, it was the supposed innocent man drumming, and it was enough to, for a moment, condemn the boy, who looks like my beloved nephews.

    This is embarrassing to admit, but is an excellent lesson (again) about symbols & stereotypes, tropes and totems. I hope for our nephews sake we can better discern such media inflammation operations & remember that how things look on a screen rarely reflects the truth or nuances of a given situation.

    • What do we adults say to those nephews others than “in the race war you better pick a side” which is what a black woman once said to me because of my multiracial heritage.

      What do you say? More to the point: How do these things make you feel? What do you think about them? (The reason I ask is because I notice that everyone comes from such radically different angles! Everyone looking at this event (the long video) has a very different and very subjective impression. It’s kind of amazing.

      I feel (to some degree) like a chameleon. I have spent time with drum-beating Indians in Northern Colorado and studied Black Liberation literature to a fairly significant degree. And I have ‘white nationalist’ leanings.

      Obviously, I am the only one to see it *as it is* and really rather perfectly 🙂

      And even my wife & I who don’t usually fall for stuff like this wondered why the hell Sandmann would make such a face at this brave “brave.”

      But that would have been a natural conclusion given the specific photograph that was selected. Photographs can be very deceiving. If you watch the video you notice all sorts of different emotions and moods expressed as the event unfolded. Mostly that of a ‘boy’. Most of those boys really look like children.

      I remember that you and your wife attend church. And your sister-in-law? Those affiliations become consequential in the community, don’t they? The Traditionalists vs the Christians.

      & remember that how things look on a screen rarely reflects the truth or nuances of a given situation.

      I am almost ready to conclude that *we are all being manipulated*. But I can’t quite figure out by who. 🙂

      • The Kavanaugh trial had the same feel. I want to call bullshit, but on who is above my pay grade.

        Part of it was the response of my sister in-law. She was really upset and we felt bad that she was hurting. Also we were tired & that contributed to making a more snappy judgement.

        I kept thinking “what was this kid thinking?” That was my first clue something was off.

  6. And this is why anti-bullying campaigns don’t work. The same people who claim they can tell who is a bully and will stop bullying are the same ones who agreed with the bullying of these kids. In an altercation, how many teachers would take the side of kids wearing MAGA hats and how many would persecute the MAGA-wearing kids as bullies? Would 1 in 1000 teachers get it right? Teachers are too infected with postmodernist feminist, intersectionalist views to judge anything fairly.

  7. If you’ve ever seen someone who is truly in over his or her head, to the point of feeling real fear about being found out, you know the look they have. The nervous eyes and fake smile that say “Hey, nothing to see here, I’m in complete control and everything is going to be OK” kind of look. I think the left is expressing the same thing writ larger and with much more desperation.

    The excuses for their own behavior are becoming more pathetic every day. The excesses of their behavior are increasing. They seem to be on the edge of cracking up and going someplace beyond what can be called “resistance” or “me too” or anything remotely within the acceptance level of most Americans.

    My concern is what will happen when all of the crazy people currently drinking the left’s Kool-Aid actually cross the point of no return.

  8. (I was already planning on writing an article about this phenomenon; I suppose this is the most relevant place to put it.)

    Find a random photograph of a human face on the internet, with no context or idea as to who that person is. Pretend that they are a political leader who will implement all of your favored policies. Think about what that photograph says about them–their kindness, their intelligence, their integrity, their charisma…

    Next, pretend they are a political leader who opposes all of your favored policies. Again, think about what you can infer about their personality, character, and abilities.

    You may notice that no matter whether you think they’re good or evil, brilliant or stupid, honorable or corrupt, charming or disgusting, you can see that character trait through their image! Forget cherry-picking frames, a single frame makes different impressions depending on who the audience is and what they’re projecting onto it.

    The power of confirmation bias allows you to see that when a person you like is angry, it’s justified, but when it’s a person you dislike, it’s not. Humans adjust their moods to align with those of people they respect and oppose those of people they hold in contempt, without regard to what’s actually going on. Just knowing a few details of the people involved is enough. Then they pretend they’re using an objective standard so they can feel superior to their rivals.

    Most humans don’t have a resilient code of honor or ethics, only in-groups and out-groups. That’s all they feel they can afford, and while they may call it morality, what they do is pathetic pragmatism: they tolerate in themselves and others what they assume they must, because they don’t know how to escape their comfort zone and raise the standards.

    (And heeeere’s the pitch…)

    In order to start changing this situation, I’m reaching out to get people involved with the Pro-Truth Pledge (https://www.protruthpledge.org), by which people agree to be held accountable for what they state as fact. By taking the pledge, one promises to verify sources before sharing information on social media, and to retract statements that are debunked.

    The movement is growing, but we need to make sure it doesn’t develop into another echo chamber. To do that, we need people capable of nuanced reasoning to take the pledge. It’s not necessary to mingle with all the other people who took the pledge, but it’s important that the pledge itself will be able to serve as a point of commonality between people who have differing opinions. The pledge is meant to represent a basic ideal that’s easy for everyone to get on board with so that we can start working together towards a mutual goal. That’s the first step towards bringing society back together.

    Please let me know if you decide to take the pledge, want to help out, or have any questions about it.

    • From the Website you linked to: What is considered misinformation?

      Brief Answer:

      “Misinformation is anything that goes against reality. It can mean directly lying, lying by omission, or misrepresenting the truth to suit one’s own purposes. Sometimes misinformation is blatant and sometimes it’s harder to tell. For those tough calls we rely on credible fact-checking sites and the scientific consensus.”

      Hello there EC! I definitely agree that ‘facts can be checked’ and the lies of politicians brought into the light.

      I am uncertain who can make ‘absolute statements about the nature of truth’, and thus of ‘misinformation’ in the larger sense, and definitely not in an intellectual world that has its base in *scientistic facts*. See here.

      “This life’s dim windows of the soul
      Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
      And leads you to believe a lie
      When you see with, not through, the eye.”

      Peculiar, no? That when the *eye* is defined scientifically it can only register object, location, form, content. But Blake implies this is not real *seeing*. The more ‘real’ and defined the eye becomes, scientifically, the less can be *seen* what Blake is referring to.

      But what does he refer to? Where does it exist?

    • ”a single frame makes different impressions depending on who the audience is and what they’re projecting onto it.”

      That audience would be best served, able to properly/accurately conclude, if it’s woke.

      Anywho, it’s the Brave New World, EC. Or maybe that’s 1984?

      Doesn’t matter; please note the advances in Facial Recognition Technology.

      All the better to identify dangerously subversive Face Crimes and summarily dispatch (with extreme prejudice) the accused.

  9. Two observations:

    1. I’m not going to say “I know that smirk”, but the reaction to it is all too familiar. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen people work themselves up into a froth, irrationally projecting all that is wrong with the world into some near-random target and demanding its utter destruction. This is the mindset of violent incels, the mindset of the Klan, of Interahamwe in Rwanda.

    2. While everyone debates whether or not a smirk and a hat merit the personal destruction of a 17 year-old boy, the group of “Black Hebrew Israelites” have attracted little to no public censure. Apparently screaming racist or homophobic obscenities at Catholic schoolchildren is more socially acceptable.

    • … irrationally projecting all that is wrong with the world into some near-random target and demanding its utter destruction. This is the mindset of violent incels, the mindset of the Klan, of Interahamwe in Rwanda.

      That’s almost certainly not the mindset of that last one. That’s far more likely to be the sort of thing I’ve seen in other tribally-oriented groups, in which the “other” simply doesn’t count to begin with. That just leaves it a practical matter, just as much as slaughtering animals for meat. I’m not talking about demonising or dehumanising; this is what happens when the “other” never was counted as human.

      • For what it is worth, most Indian tribes refer too themselves as “The People”. One notable exception, the Sioux, who call themselves “Human Beings”.

    • Rwanda is a good example to illustrate that people don’t just work themselves up into a froth. They were egged on and directed by radio messages. One of the scariest possibilities of the internet has always been the possibility of a doctored video showing a fake atrocity, pushing people to slaughter each other to avenge something that didn’t happen. Well, we’re there now.

      • Your point about there being agents provocateurs deliberately using false narratives to provoke a mob mentality is well-taken. However, not everyone chooses to rise to the bait, and the individuals who do are usually fooled because they want to be. In this instance, the video was deceptively edited, but in the final analysis even what it did show was never even close to justifying the invective leveled against him.

  10. The late, great Mike Royko had a column (which Mr/Ms Google refuses to surrender) titled Foresight Is The Key For Those Who Leer which seemed to identify the slippery slope of criminalizing looking at someone.

    It was printed over 30 years ago.

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