The Selfie

An occasional picture of oneself celebrating a milestone of some sort is completely acceptable – even welcome – when we haven’t seen a picture of you for some time. It’s fun (and teaches one to keep one’s mouth shut) to see how the years have treated our loved ones and friends.

I don’t know if it’s narcissism or conceit. Why in the world would you want to show me how banal your life is??? I’ve got my own banality to deal with. “I just woke up” selfie; “Me in the bathroom”, “My cat” (which I notice is sprawled across a kitchen counter and reminds me never to eat at your house) “My shoes”, “My lunch”, “Me with tree”, “Me”, looking as stupid and vapid as you did in the other hundred pictures you’ve posted on FaceBook.

I simply do not understand the driving need to publish one’s face all over FaceBook all day, every day. Are you afraid we’ll forget what you look like? Are you afraid YOU’LL forget what you look like? Is this how you prove to yourself you’re still alive – still have a pulse?

It’s a good thing to have self-confidence; it took me many years to become comfortable with myself. I’m all for self-confidence but that is not what selfies are all about. It’s about a constant need, constant craving for approval; we are expected to comment to the selfie poster how great they look or how wonderful that brown mess in the bowl on the kitchen table looks. That the doggy/kitty/gerbil/bird/snake is just adorable. Applaud the selfie showing selfie poster walking from one room to another – YAY! Perambulation! You’re only 45 and you’ve mastered it! Hurray!

Drives me berserk. The same with the pictures of the kids. Once a year, say, it’s great to see how the kids have changed; their passage of time makes us come to grips with our own passage of time. It’s fun to spot how this one has grown, how that one has gotten so pretty. That kind of parental adoration is fine with me; I get it. But I don’t need to see Bubba every single day, sometimes three times a day, laying on the couch watching tv. Or eating. Or yawning. Or any of a million things parents think are noteworthy. They aren’t. Read a book. Actually t-h-i-n-k about something other than yourself. Or your kids. Or your pets. Or your dead pets (that really gets my goat!).

You would think, after the long ago start of the selfie, I’d become immune to the gag reflex selfies engender in me. Well … I’m not. Stop. Just stop. In my best Yiddish – Ganoog, already!

Random Observations.

Walking among the flowers and thorns of YouTube, I discovered some things I thought I would share with you.

You can tell it’s summer. Shawn Hannity and Tucker Carlson have sunburns. Tucker’s looks really painful; Shawn’s is not so bad. We can tell there are no makeup employees because they wouldn’t be radiating that ‘glow’ if there were.

Lon and I are tall therefore, ergo, we don’t have a noose on our garage door.

“Where are the police when you need them?” Right where you put them – out of the picture and leaving in droves. Didn’t take much thought to figure that out.

The Biden Polls are wrong. Well, as we used to say, “No sh–, Sherlock!” Listen, folks here’s the thing about polls. They only count the number of people who respond to them. So what is being measured is a finite group of folks who were so ‘moved’, I guess, to take the poll. The reason no one saw Trump coming is because people like me – millions of them – don’t do ‘polls’. The only poll that matters happens on election day.

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are Marxist groups. Ya think???

Dave Rubin used to be a minor voice on YT. He studied at the feet of Jordan Peterson for a year, traveling with him, appearing with him, worshiping him. Now ‘he’ is the voice of reason. Umm … ok.

Democrats Block GOP Policing Policy. Ok – and you’re surprised why, exactly?

There’s a young father in Oklahoma who videos his home farm (not like real farmers, but he’s into chickens, pigs, that sort of thing). I watch his videos because he kinda-sorta looks like my son who lives in Texas and whom I miss dearly. When he goes into the porch or into the kitchen for whatever reason, the place (a pretty big house, actually) is stuffed, crammed full of STUFF. Would drive me crazy but I’m kind of a neat freak and I try to remember they have three children but it’s not toys that fill that house. Yesterday, he posted a video that they have purchased 40 acres and going to go off-grid. I started laughing – how are ya gonna power up that camera, sport? But he plans on solar panels and windmills. (Still laughing) Ok, then! I will continue and watch this debacle as it unfolds.

There’s a 30-something gentleman on YT who does ‘reaction’ videos to music he’s never heard before. I enjoy him because he’s funny, winds up loving the music of MY generation (can you imagine being almost 40 and hearing Meatloaf for the first time???) and because he’s got a good heart and a gentle soul. George Floyd came up in a ‘special’ video. I was so afraid to listen – he gives me so much joy and laughter, I didn’t want to have to write him off. But I forced myself to listen. He was spot on. What he said was folks who watch his videos are black, white, American, international, young and old. And that on his channel, all we’re going to see and hear is peace and love. He’s right; that’s all we get and we’re grateful for it. Love you, Jamel.

Since ‘quarantine’ or lockdown, or ‘shelter in place’ – depending on what it’s called where you are, there have been no new bigfoot sightings. All I can imagine is the ‘foots are tickled to death to be able to scratch their behinds, take the kids out for a walk, and get a little romantic in the privacy of their woods. But I miss you, buddy! Recordings of your vocalizations are simply not enough.

So that’s my take on this morning’s romp around YouTube. I wonder what kind of observations you’re making. Maybe list them in the comments below?


Of Bias and Banning

Ben Domenech wrote at The Federalist this week on the bannings we are seeing lately.

So regarding this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no more censorship than a bar owner kicking out an unwelcome patron is censorship.”

That’s a particularly libertarian perspective. But is that really how people think about and define censorship? Or is that an uncommon definition at odds with one more commonly held by American citizens?

We have a current example relevant to this question from yesterday in the knitting site crackdown which will permanently ban any accounts posting content in support of Trump or his administration (as representing hate speech and endorsement of white supremacy).

Now, this may not seem like a big deal. But if you’re a mom in Wyoming who’s been making money off of selling your knitted projects for more than a decade – as one of our writers at The Federalist is – does anyone honestly think they don’t view that as censorship? That kids or family don’t view this as grandma getting censored just because of her support of one of the major political parties?

I doubt a narrow definition of censorship which is limited solely to governmental activity sounds that believable to most people. Of course it’s not a First Amendment violation; these are private businesses. But it is pretty obviously a form of market-based censorship: you can’t post on our marketplace if you think X or your product is perceived as supporting X. That view is a lot more common than the narrow “only the government can censor” view.

(I’ve always called it “market based censorship” because there isn’t any natural right to access these markets, but I’m open to a different term. It’s the equivalent of banning a book. You can still print it at Kinkos or post it on your own website – assuming your server isn’t targeted – but you won’t get access to Amazon, book stores, etc.)

An obvious comparable situation would be: If you oppose gay marriage, you can’t advertise your business on Google. That would, by the uncommon definition, not be censorship. I doubt very much the business owners would agree.

When I’m theoretically not involved, I tend towards that very definition, but Ben is correct, it’s a narrow legal one, not really viable in the real world, nor would I think so if I was the one being squelched. He right too, we’ve always relied on the Michael Douglas rule (on both sides) to wit: “Republicans buy shoes too.” It’s served us very well, I doubt we should give it up.

The particularly destructive aspect of this from my perspective is not the “deplatforming” of political speech, but the deplatforming of totally legitimate business activity. I don’t really care (other than being irritated) if as a primarily political entity you get permabanned from Twitter or Facebook for supporting the president. I care more if your business gets hosed from a market – where you spent a bunch of money to access it and build your customer base – entirely because of your political beliefs.

Or from the financial services that allow you to do business in that market, as we are seeing with the big banks, Paypal and all that. Ben ends with this:

A future in which Americans narc on their business competition to get them permabanned from a marketplace is the most pathetic late stage capitalism version of the Cultural Revolution I can imagine. But that possibility seems increasingly real.

It does indeed, and what’s more, it’s gonna be a fast trip from the apex of the first world to being a third (or worse) world shithole, because that is the unavoidable outcome of such a decision. It not that the grocery store can ban you for wearing a Trump cap, that’s one thing. What we are talking about here is all grocery stores banning you for owning (not necessarily wearing) a Trump cap. Read all of Bias At Tech Companies Hurts Americans More Than You Think, and think it through for yourself.

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