Frankly, at this point, I can’t tell the difference.
1. ARRGH! Trump Calls For An Insurrection! I must say, having a President who is 12 does create problems. The President’s juvenile “Liberate Michigan!” tweet naturally had the “resistance” in an uproar; the Washington Post even dug up a lawyer from the Obama administration who was willing to write an op-ed seriously arguing that he had advocated the overthrow of the government. Oh, great, I can’t wait for Adam Schiff to try to impeach him for a tweet that had the gravitas of graffiti.
If one concedes that the President should tweet at all—and since he refuses to use any filters whatsoever, I don’t concede that; I doubt that anyone who wants to maintain credibility and trust should tweet—then urging the states to start nudging the economy back into operation is a legitimate objective, and so is opposing outrageous meat-axe over-reach by governors. mayors and police that abuse civil rights—like banning the sale of seeds, or being alone in a car. However, as I am sick of saying, the President’s mode of communication does not include nuance, which makes tweets like yesterday’s irresponsible and incompetent
2. “ARRGH! I’ve been infected!” When the going gets tough, the tough get scamming. In Arcata, California, a fake on-line ordering webpage named “Order Hero” copied web pages from local restaurants including phone numbers, addresses and actual menu items. Customers accessed the website through Google, then provided credit card information to order food. When the victims arrived at the restaurant to pick up their order, they learned no such on-line ordering services existed.
3. “ARRGH! The Lawyer isn’t wearing pants!” or, “When sheltered slob alarms don’t ring”... Judge Dennis Bailey of Broward County posted his warnings to lawyers about being too casual, as in “disrespectful,” during on-line court proceedings. Bailey told the Miami Herald that he wears his judge’s robe during video hearings, and lawyers should show their respect by dressing as if they were in an actual court, meaning, among other things, not wearing a bath robe. He wrote in part,
“You’re going to earn the same amount of respect that you’re shown,” Bailey said. “If you show up in jeans and T-shirt, it’s counterproductive….It is remarkable how many attorneys appear inappropriately on camera. We’ve seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers. And putting on a beach cover-up won’t cover up you’re poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don’t mind, let’s treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not.”
When a judge says “please, if you don’t mind,” it means, “Do it or else.”
The judge also cautioned about being aware of technical problems. Zoom has an audio lag time, and lawyers have to allow for it or people will be talking over each other. call it Zoom competence.
“Often, lawyers are not looking at their screens but down at their files, their outlines and notes or simply out the window and cannot see the judge is hollering ‘Stop! Stop!’ because an objection has been made and the audio stays with the witness rather than obeying the judge,” Bailey wrote. [Pointer: ABA Journal]
The final item is a lament that I wrote late last night after spending more than an hour responding to a comment that was too intrusive to ignore and also too stupid to waste my time on. Feel free to skip it.
4. “ARRGH! Your argument is so ignorant it hurts!” It’s so frustrating. Yesterday I heard again from a commenter who last dropped by to cheer for impeachment in November. I read his recent comments in reverse order, since that’s how they come up on my control screen. The first few were moderately weak, but then he was defending the indefensible—providing cash benefits to illegal immigrants. Then I got to his first comment of the day. I have never been impressed with his reasoning in the past, but his posts were short enough to be tolerable. This comment was long, and contained almost every illogical, emotional, lame justification for illegal immigration on the list; in fact, it demonstrated what I asserted at the beginning of the post: there is no legitimate case for permitting illegal immigration, not that this commenter was capable of making the best of any debating point. I started out to give a thorough rebuttal to weak but passionate comment by a progressive commenter. Then the more I got into it, the more aggravated I got. This, I realized, was a long and mind-meltingly stupid comment that was insulting while showing no serious comprehension of the issues at all. Once I started cleaning out these Augean stables I had to finish, and it became clear to me that I was dealing with the Dunning-Kreuger Effect. I want diverse opinions here, but the blog doesn’t benefit from lazy, knee-jerk, talking-point screeds. By the time the comment concluded with the obnoxious coda…
Not only does your viewpoint not represent America’s future but it doesn’t even remotely represent our country’s past (ever read the Statue of Liberty’s poem). Just the worse instincts of backwards people that pushed away the Chinese and Irish and Jews and everyone else. You’re going to make a moral judgment on states that want to protect immigrants and their own citizens so I’m making one on you, sir.
…I was out of patience, and furious with myself for wasting so much of my time. I count no less than 8 rationalizations, non-sequiturs, silly talking points (the poem!), deflections, false representations and insults in that one paragraph, and the whole comment was stuffed with the same. I decided that the Ethics Alarms “Stupidity Rule” had been triggered ( “some people are just too ignorant or stupid to take part in the discussion here, as they interfere with the orderly exchange of opinions and ideas.”) and I banned him.
Now I feel badly about it.
The problem is that I answer comments. Very few bloggers do that. Almost all of them just put up a post and let people say what they want—and much of what they say is trivial, or foolish, or misinformed. That wasn’t the idea here, and won’t be. I want to learn, and I also want to teach: I am an ethics trainer, after all. I regard the whole blog, not just my posts and material, my responsibility and a reflection on my integrity. My commitment to free expression means that I will allow some repugnant opinions, but really stupid opinions trip the wire, and referencing “The New Colossus” in a defense of illegal immigration does the job.