It’s no secret that web anonymity breeds a high level of douche-baggery. Why bother with outdated concepts such as respect, open mindedness and base decency when no one knows who you are?
Why, indeed, when it so easy to set up a new forum account or a blog and write things which you would never say aloud? Why?
Because of the illusion that your actions, your words are completely consequence free. I say illusion because it is just that, an illusion, it’s false. There are always consequences to our actions, though it may not be ourselves who suffer them.
More than a punch to the head, words do hurt. What you write laughing in your bedroom at 4am about another human being can deeply wound that person.
When a time comes that I find myself writing about another person, I always ask myself a simple question: Would I say that to his/her face? If the answer is yes, I hit publish. If the answer is no, I delete.
I wish I could institute this policy to the web as a whole, but I simply don’t have that reach. My hope is that some of you at least will take these words to heart, and like our mother’s taught us to think before we talk, please think before you type.
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been following the recent dust up between Perez Hilton (who I consider to be complete trash) and Will.I.Am. If you haven’t heard about it yet, do yourself a favor and try and ignore it, it will make you feel just a little bit worse about humanity.
Still, it did make me think.
Violence is not an answer to any question, it is not a solution to any problem. I would also say the same about what Hilton does for a ‘living’. Dozens of times per day, he goes on record to millions of loyal readers and bashes, makes fun of and judges people in the media’s eye. It’s a deplorable thing he does, and thus far, he’s never faced any consequences for his actions. Until now, until he was punched in the head.
Hilton isn’t a victim, he was held accountable.
Should he have been punched? No. But he wasn’t blameless.
How would you have reacted if someone said to your face what Hilton says about others on a daily basis, either about you, a family member or a friend?
Hilton shouldn’t have been attacked, that is wrong. People should stop supporting what he does, that is also wrong.
While the media will no doubt be talking about this for the next few weeks, I honestly hope that people will realize this incident can be applied to the vast majority of the internet using community. And that maybe, we can learn from it.
It’s easy to do the right thing when everyone is looking, but how about doing the right thing when you’re alone at your computer?
In a category I like to call “why the hell is this even news?!?”, a lot of people got a chuckle out of President Obama’s kung fu fly-chop during an interview with CNBC the other day.
As opposed to this being nothing but a funny entry on a comedy blog, (I laughed when I saw it, just as I laugh at other “blooper videos”,) it actually turned into news when PETA showed outrage at the incident, no joke: PETA miffed at President Obama’s fly “execution”
PETA’s blog points out that they were approached for comment about the incident and did not make any unprovoked statements,
Believe it or not, we’ve actually been contacted by multiple media outlets wanting to know PETA’s official response to the executive insect execution.
In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn’t the Buddha, he’s a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.
Immediately following these comments, they were quick to plug a product they sell and stated that they’ll be sending him a humane bug catcher for future use. . . yes, my head hurts too. They’ll never back down on the position that we shouldn’t even swat flies, but I’m hoping that the present is at least an attempt at humor and that there won’t be follow-up stories of a letter containing lecture on cruelty to animals to go along with the thing. Hopefully, they realize that they were only contacted by other news organizations because somewhere, some producer saw the video and suggested his reporters ask PETA for comment between fits of laughter.
This is what they’re sending him: Katcha Bug™ Humane Bug Catcher
If nothing else, maybe this will boost President Obama’s approval ratings with conservatives and his critics. He’s sending a strong message to the rest of the world: if this is what he does to flies, just imagine what he’ll do to Kim Jong-Il if North Korea doesn’t back off their nuclear weapons program.
Remember, marriage is a sacred union. . .
And we wouldn’t want to set a bad example for our children, now would we?
I came across this post recently, and I got to thinking about some of the issues that people must face when turning from one religion to another or giving it up entirely. I certainly agree with all the points made in the post, (particularly #18 on his list,) and it’s something I’ve gone through with another friend who went from Catholicism to becoming an atheist, (a weird term, to me). Personally, I’ve never put much stock in faith, religion, belief, and all that jazz. It’s hard to listen to people talk back and forth about something that I simply believe to be superstition that helps them feel better about their world and when they die. I’m not going to go out and put down faith as a waste of time – if it helps you live your live, more power to you – but I definitely think there are many that lash out and hurt others due to their beliefs. Maybe this is part of the dogma that plagues Christianity, Islam, etc., to convert the non-believers as part of your faith. Still, I can’t help but think that the religions of other people are being forced into my life, especially in politics and education; something good and brilliant people died to prevent during the founding of this country. I wish there was a way these things weren’t such causes, that faith was a private matter and not an issue that people take so damn personally, (and in some cases, fanatically).
Things like this confuse me as much as religion does, though:
Please join us as Ronald Aronson presents his new book, Living without God. In Living without God, Aronson picks up where the writers—Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens—he named “The New Atheists” (in Bookforum) leave off, turning to face the need for a coherent and contemporary secular philosophy that will answer life’s vital questions. As Aronson argues, living without God means turning toward something. Grounded in the sense that we are dependent and interconnected beings, rooted in nature, history and society, Living without God explores contemporary answers to Immanuel Kant’s three great questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope? Aronson stresses how much knowledge humans have accumulated, verified, confirmed, and implemented: dozens, hundreds, thousands of things that are vital for human understanding and well-being. Today so much that was once cloaked in darkness is known, and so much that is really essential to our lives is knowable. We have developed methods of analysis, synthesis, and reasoning that can be taught and learned. All of this is now part of what John Dewey called the “social consciousness of the race” and it belongs to all of us, waiting to be claimed and used. We sell ourselves short to pretend otherwise.
About the Speaker
Ronald Aronson grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, U.C.L.A., the University of Michigan, and Brandeis University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He studied with William Barrett, Page Smith, and Herbert Marcuse. Swept up in the political activism of the 1960s, he became a community organizer in the African American neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and an editor of the prominent New Left journal, Studies on the Left. In spring, 1968, as he was completing a doctoral dissertation on “Art and Freedom in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre,” he participated in the “Freedom School” organized in the aftermath of the student strike at Columbia University.
Aronson has taught at Wayne State University since 1968, first at Monteith College, and since 1978 in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, a nationally recognized program for working adults that was abolished by the WSU Board of Governors in 2007. He is now Distinguished Professor of the History of Ideas in the Department of History. Winner of several scholarly and teaching awards at Wayne State, Aronson is the past president of its Academy of Scholars.
He was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago in winter, 2004. In 1983-4, he was Research Associate at University College London and in 1987 and again in 1990, a guest lecturer at the University of Natal and other South African universities. The story of his first experience in South Africa, at the height of the struggle to end apartheid, is told in Stay Out of Politics: A Philosopher Views South Africa (Chicago, 1990). In recognition of his scholarly career and political contributions to South Africa, in April, 2002, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Aronson has produced televised political debates on democratic values and affirmative action (participants have included Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich, Abigail Thernstrom, David Frum, and Dinesh D’Souza) He is co-producer of the feature-length documentary film Professional Revolutionary about legendary Detroit social and political activist Saul Wellman and, most recently, 1st Amendment on Trial: The Case of the Detroit Six, focused on the Federal government’s trial of Michigan Communist Party leaders in the ‘50s.
One of Aronson’s lifelong concerns has been to study and write about the nature of hope, especially as related to political commitment. Since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, he has been active in the Huntington Woods (MI) Peace, Citizenship, and Education Project.
I guess I don’t understand the need to learn to live without something I don’t believe ever existed. A lot of people seem confused by this. Their thinking is that I’m living devoid of something or I’m denying some integral part of me, as if though I was chopping off an arm or my tongue. I don’t see it that way, but it’s hard for others to. Being labeled as “someone who doesn’t believe in a supreme diety”, which is the definition of the word atheist, doesn’t exactly help my confusion on this matter.
The simplest explanation I can give is this: I didn’t go bowling last night, nor did think about not going bowling. I didn’t bring up the thought to not bowl, I simply didn’t do it and it never crossed my mind. From my perspective, the concept has to be conjured up, not rejected. It’s the same with religion, my perspective is that everyone else has added something to their thought-process and their lives, not that I’ve excluded something.
As for the argument that there “has to be something more” and that, somehow, I can’t have any hope if I don’t believe in an afterlife, I can only say this: there doesn’t have to be more of anything, it’s neither my choice nor is it my concern. People feel the need to make sense of chaos, but that’s not how the universe works, there aren’t always tidy explanations for everything you see and hear. Finding comfort in the fact that my time as a living, sentient being is limited is no more strange than the idea of living forever on some other plane of existence. I’ve simply chosen to accept what I am and moved forward. I find hope in my everyday life, in the relationships I have with friends and family, and in myself. I find happiness in my accomplishments, in living my life on my own terms, and in happiness for the sake of happiness. I hold my morals and beliefs up to anyone who follows Jesus, Muhammid, Zeus, Osiris, or otherwise: a person isn’t morally pure or corrupt by default, no one gets a free ride that way, being a good person takes a lot of insight, work, and strength; you cannot claim rightousness by saying one thing and doing another, you can only claim it if your actions define your morals.
My faith is my own, my beliefs are the things I know and see. My understanding of the world changes as I grow, the path I walk is my own and I force no one else to walk it with me. I do not believe in the ceiling cat you believe in.
Now, let’s end this on a funnier, if not happier, note: