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Those of us who read Orwell’s 1984 with a libertarian ethos will always have the greatest concerns about the notion of any thought being a crime but in the last few days we have seen some of the most egregious examples of the notion of the thought police being both real and crushing the face of humanity under the jackboot of political correctness.
The first example that I will touch on only briefly was that of the owner of a NBA franchise making a genuinely racist remark that was overheard, recorded and then broadcast on social media, as a consequence he has been stripped of his franchise, and “fined” millions of dollars. All of this has been loudly applauded on social media but I can’t help thinking that those who have been cheering so loudly may soon rue the day when it became a social crime to say something “offensive”. The reaction has been a rather horrible example of mob rule and the negative potential of social and mass media.
The next item in this litany of political correctness gone mad has been the bullying of Jeremy Clarkson for what can only be described as a slip of the tongue. Like Jezza I learned the eneny meany mineie mo rhyme in its original form where one caught the “nigger” by his toe and I also read the Noddy books as a child which had “golliwogs” as the the primary naughty toys. Such things learnt in childhood are the very last thing to go for the senile and for the the still cognitively functional such notions and well learned rhymes do not lend themselves to change without a great deal of conscious thought. Thus I have no trouble believing that what Clarkson said while trying to deliver his spiel was genuinely unintended and even if it had been intentional I don’t believe that there was any “racist intent” here. None the less the scions of political correctness have leaped upon this off air faux pas with a great deal of malice and spite. Anyone would think that Clarkson was a Kiddie fiddler from the amount of rancour vindictiveness expressed on social media when ion fact he is just a middle aged petrol head who has a good line in witty chat about cars.
By all means lets get upset at deliberate and blatant racism but the quest for linguistic purity that we are seeing in our age of social media is utterly obscene and if only the loudest voices calling for Clarkson’s sacking would think for just a minute they might just realise that what they are calling for will not make the tiniest bit of difference to the sum total of racism on the planet. All it will do is restrict free speech and honest discourse.
Ah be prepared for another large outpouring of “grief” for the death of another “celebrity” and the scions of our own media go into overdrive to praise Charlotte Dawson who committed suicide in Sydney on Saturday . I have been quietly watching this story unfold and examining the reactions from the social media . Especially interesting has been the attribution of blame to those shining lights of humanity who populate the nameless denizens of Twitter. Apparently Dawson was seriously addicted to arguing with them and subject to some rather nasty taunting and suggestions that she should kill herself. Now its probably impossible to quantify just how much this sort of online cruelty influenced that fatal appointment with a rope but given the revelations that Dawson’s whole life and career was in some sort of meltdown and her underlying depression I tend to think that such a suggestion is rather too simplistic. None the less there has been quite a few commentators to the news story suggesting (quite correctly IMHO) that easy anonymity is a great contributor to the meanness, cruelty and level of rancour shown to Dawson in her social media immersion.
At the very least there is a good argument that Twitter and all social media should be required to know who it is that is signing up for access to their service so that those who are using it as a medium for harassment or pernicious cruelty can be both traceable and accountable. Of course there will be those who will make the counter argument that ” the internet” should be free and that there is no need for any accountability beyond the disdain/disapproval of other users. From my experience this is a nonsense especially in something as ephemeral as Twitter, even more so when those who misuse social media just keep reinventing themselves if it becomes untenable to continue with one particular online identity. More and more as the boundary between our online and “In Real Life” existence become ever more blurred and merged the more we have to extend the accountability that we have in the real world to our existence online and the sooner that this is achieved the better all of our lives will be.
With respect Comrades
“Why I Deactivated My Twitter – the racism, classism, sexism, discrimination From the Left is overwhelming”
I love to stir the possum as many of my regular readers will appreciate so when I read the post I quote below I thought it an interesting piece,even though at over 2000 words it is a bit long and repetitive I just loved the way that the author has seen the light about the brutal and rather mindless tribalism of Twitter. Of course I have a presence on twitter but its really just a vehicle to promote this humble blog and I am thankful that I don’t have a dumb phone that has enslaved me to its inanities. Anyway the poor sweet thing who runs the blog took exception to me citing her piece via a re-blog and she has played silly buggers by editing the post to make the claim that I am stealing her work, of course that is entirely untrue and it demonstrates that she understands WordPress about as well as she understood twitter. Anyway please read both the quote below and all of the post it comes from.
Why I Deactivated My Twitter – the racism, classism, sexism, discrimination From the Left is overwhelming
Having recently witnessed a group of self-identified Lefties team up with a Right-wing Murdoch media personality to gang up on an ALP defender, to the point, they were all suddenly trained psychologists who could diagnose all sorts of mental instabilities from 140 characters, I realised that Left wing or Right wing, twitter is just for trolling.
Yes, both sides really are as bad as each other.
While we seek comfort in conforming to the opinions of others, not risking having a different opinion, as long as we tweet-nice to the biggest bully on the block, we are safe.
Be different, and you risk being a victim, like the smallest gazelle in the herd, cornered by the lions and hunted down and eaten.
Run with the herd, say what everyone else says, conform, don’t think, don’t be different – and you too just may be accepted for who you are.
My people. My community. Your opinions are welcome… until we decide they’re not.
I have witnessed Lefties swarm, hunt in packs, gang up on one person they don’t like, round-up a posse, and bitch and bitch and bitch, attack, attack, snipe until their victim sets their account to private, then they move on to target all the people who follow their victim, all based on whether they prefer Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard as prime minister, or their religion or postcode or sexuality – or something else just as trivial and insignificant.
I see Lefties all day making appallingly sexist misogynist vile comments about women. But apparently I’m supposed to laugh, because they come from a Leftie.
Um, no, voting for the ALP or Greens doesn’t somehow magically make your sexism and misogyny evaporate.
I see the most vile hateful inaccurate comments about Muslims (just tweet “Muslims deserve the same rights as all other Australians” or similar, and watch the racism and religiousism hit you thick and fast), apparently saying outrageous comments like “let’s get all the facts before we accuse people based solely on their assumed religion” is enough to warrant a torrent of abuse. Who knew that “all Muslims should be shot” – seems some Lefties on twitter seem to think so.
I have witnessed some viscous bitter on-going sagas, based on who is following who else… What is this like, you know, High school? I won’t be your friend if you are friends with that person?
This is the comment I attached to my original re-blog:
I must say that I enjoyed this post immensely because I just love it when someone see’s the light of truth about social media, especially when that social media is Twitter. If ever users of a social media have been deluded it has to been the lefties who have taken to Twitter like pigs to shit and the whole thing so reminds me of the blogging environment Pre-twitter. Now that the idiots have migrated to twitter it is surely entirely sensible to leave it to them. To think that the author of this blog banned me from commenting at her blog even though my comments were polite and on topic, Ah well its good to see her learn none the less.
- Social Media Must-Haves for Every Business Blog (homebiz.bukiki.com)
- Where are all the left-wing rebellious Old-Etonians? Or are they all brainwashed? (tompride.wordpress.com)
- When Men on the Left Refuse to See Their Sexism (muslimreverie.wordpress.com)
In the seven years that I have been playing the blogging game I have seen some big changes, well the fact that broadband has become the ubiquitous norm rather than the exception has been a biggie. Now we bloggers can put up a far more attractive page with graphics and many photos without concern that it will be too slow to load or despised by readers because it uses too much of their download allowance. I have seen the rise of twitter and the migration to that platform of many of the snark artists that used to haunt the bloggosphere. This has also seen the decline in a vast number of blogs which existed only to accommodate the eternally mean and vicious, well good riddance to bad rubbish, such loses are not mourned in this part of cyber space. Now we are finally beginning to see an end to the online free for all that is just so beloved of the trolls and scum bags. The law is beginning to hold online miscreants responsible for what they say and do which is a trend that I am pretty certain will continue and which will help to create a new normal where one will have to be as decent online as we are expected to be in the real world.
It may well take a while for the lawmakers to fully address these sorts of issues, heck it may even take the suicide of a few more victims of cyber-bullies (although I hope not) but there is no doubt in my mind that the tide has turned against a totally unregulated online environment and we can only hope that the right balance can be struck between adequate disincentives for despicable behaviour and the maintenance of our rights to free expression online.
- From mindfulness and care comes civility , and civility is the foundation of a well functioning society (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Online Presence For Internet Network Marketers (powerhouseforprogress.com)
- Handbook for Bloggers and cyber- dissidents #mustshare (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Would we still blog? (miriammiles.wordpress.com)
- I Believe in the Power of Blogs: They Make Us Understand (zemanta.com)
- 50 Most Memorable Blogging Tips from Zemanta in 2012 (zemanta.com)
- Blogging for Authors: Boost Your Creativity and Your Website (marketyourbookblog.com)
- Blog of the Year 2012 award (ardentpt.com)
- How to be a Successful Professional Blogger? 8 Easy Tips [OFFICIAL] (mokshis.com)
From mindfulness and care comes civility , and civility is the foundation of a well functioning society
Of course the other side to the online anonymity issue relates to the use of social media in and about the workplace, and its the possible employment repercussions from online interactions that advocates for anonymity usually cite as a reason for their position on the matter. However I think that they are quite mistaken on a couple of levels.
Firstly when you are on the boss’s dollar you really have no right to carry out personal business or commentary on life instead of devoting yourself to the tasks for which you are being paid. It has never ceased to amaze me just how many people who comment on blogs (including my own ) or tweet madly away during work hours and this trend has become even more common with the advent of internet capable smart phones which circumvent any restrictions on the use of workplace computers.
Secondly there is the matter of how what you may post on social media will reflect upon your employer and the incidents described in the image on the right (from the AGE) are good examples of the possible negative consequences for being an online fool or smartarse.
Rather than whining about employers taking note of stupid or malicious online behaviour perhaps those who advocate for the impunity of anonymity on the net should instead realise that the other side of the equation is that if people were as well mannered and respectful online as they are obliged to be in “real” life then the chances of them having any negative consequences for an internet presence will be very small indeed.
I have been blogging for exactly seven years this very day* and during that time I have seen a great deal of change in the online environment the electric country has become populated with far more ordinary folk rather than being mostly populated by the early adopters of the personal computer and as the demographic has changed so to has the expectations of society about this online part of life. No longer do is anarchy and a mostly pseudonymous interaction the norm. Most of us have face-book, twitter or some other sort of social media presence and its up to us all to use our online presence with mindfulness and care for the consequences of publication. This is a good thing as I see it because from mindfulness and care comes civility , and civility is the foundation of a well functioning society, which is after all what we want isn’t it?
*Happy Blog day to Moi 🙂 🙂
- Social media facing bans in workplace (theage.com.au)
- Employers pull the plug on social media sites (smh.com.au)
- Social Media Agency fishbat Reacts to the Rise in Social Media Policies at the Workplace (prweb.com)
- CEOs Avoiding Social Media Are Missing Out | Domo | Blog (domo.com)
- Social Media No-Nos (clericalchick.wordpress.com)
- Social Media Maxima Observes Changes in Marketing as They Celebrate Two Years (prweb.com)
- Anti-social media? Mind what you say online when you go away – Confused.com (confused.com)
- Truth and Consequences: Social Media Is The New “Permanent Record” (thenarcissisticanthropologist.com)
- Is social media the new McCarthyism? (withglitterinherveins.wordpress.com)
Ah the joys of social media!
To be entirely frank I am delighted by this development because it means that those people who have believed that twitter is a place where the malicious things that they have blasted out into the ether would never have repercussions for them are now reaping what they have sown. and the man who has been so cruelly defamed with the most vile accusations that can be imagined is showing the arrogant that there is no such thing as a free pass on the electronic super highway.
More power to Lord McAlpine’s arm Comrades
The issue of cyber bullying is something that I am rather concerned about, so this announcement from Tony Abbott and the coalition is most timely and welcome. Having experienced some of the worst of online bullying myself anything that makes life harder for online scum-bags gets my tick of approval.
- Stop the bullies – Abbott puts his case for cyber house rules (theage.com.au)
- Abbott releases cyber bullying proposal (bigpondnews.com)
- Abbott releases proposals on cyber bullies (news.smh.com.au)
- Oppn releases cyber bullying proposal (bigpondnews.com)
As horrible as the rape and murder of Jill Meagher was I can’t help but think that this expression of secular piety is rather misconceived:
Why misconceived? Well sadly its not as if this was an extraordinary rape or murder, the major difference between this and other vile crimes is that there was the hue and cry via social media in the time between her disappearance and the discovery of her gruesome fate. So all of the twitterai clearly feel invested far more in this case than the sadly too many other cases where women have been abducted, abused and murdered. This social media involvement struck me at the time as somewhat futile. Where were the friends of this women when it came to ensuring that she got home safely? This appears to have been an opportunistic crime and I can’t see how “marching’ is going to make the slightest bit of difference to the safety of any vulnerable person stumbling home form the pub in the early hours of the morning.
The calls for more CCTV brought a wry smile to this aging cynic as well because it has not raised the usual outcry about civil liberties that. Is usually raised by your friendly minions of the left but then again this victim of crime was one of their own being an ABC employee and all…
The simple fact of life is that we won’t ever entirely remove the threats of sexual predators and the only real prophylactic is to ensure that the vulnerable make very effort to avoid putting themselves in situations where they are in harms way.
Its those found guilty of horrible crimes like this one that deserve a capital sanction but the bleeding hearts who take part in this march are not likely to endorse that even though real justice requires it.
With respect Comrades
- Rape, murder charges likely in Meagher case (abc.net.au)
- Man charged with rape, murder of Jill Meagher (abc.net.au)
- Social media helped the hunt for the murderer of Jill Meagher (leaderswedeserve.wordpress.com)
- Adrian Bailey Raped and Murdered Jill Meagher (aussiecriminals.com.au)
- Jill Meagher’s body has reportedly been found as the man arrested in connection is expected to be charged (thedailyshift.com)