Don’t Try To Distract Me With Facts

For someone who likes observing the humans and the way they act and treat each other, Twitter has been quite the place to be recently. And like I mentioned to a couple other people I know… I realize that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of the entire population of humans, but even with that understanding it’s still difficult for me to see so many people who operate so differently than I think people should.

Mainly what I’m talking about is people’s tendency to find a controversy, pick a side, jump to a conclusion that isn’t based in fact, logic, or critical thinking – and then scream and shout at other people who don’t share the exact same position as they do. Granted, I’m not exactly silent on a lot of issues – but I try to only speak from a position where I’ve educated myself on the topic, and saying things which (I believe) have facts and logic to back it all up. My problem: expecting the humans to function the same way, hoping that they can understand the difference between a fact and opinion or allegation.

Two “situations” where I’ve found myself trying to bring reason to conversations:

  • The allegations against Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. She has accused him of psychological and sexual abuse during their relationship, and within days his various television shows have been shelved by AMC, his name was scrubbed from the Nerdist site that he founded, and he has lost future gigs hosting various things at different comic conventions.
  • Atari has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to develop and create a new console called the Atari VCS… and there is a small but extremely vocal group of angry “game nerd” YouTube channels who are absolutely certain that the whole thing is a scam, and keep producing angry videos with all sorts of allegations – all in what seems to be an attempt to sabotage Atari’s console launch.

With Hardwick and Dykstra, I’m of the opinion that nobody knows what happened except for the two parties involved, so the public can’t come to a determination that’s anything more than just opinion or assumption. But on Twitter, there are thousands of posts from people who are loudly cheering that he’s lost his jobs and his reputation, despite the only “proof” being that an ex-girlfriend said some things.

These aren’t people who think that he did what she said. These are people that know, with absoluteย certainty, and aren’t hesitant to call him a monster and say that he’s getting exactly what he deserved. There’s a smaller group who are outright calling Dykstra a liar, and then there’s an even smaller group of folks like me who simply say that we hope that someone gets to the bottom of the situation based on the facts, and that it’s unfortunate that a man’s life is being destroyed based simply on an allegation.

For the people who are #MeToo activists, people who advocate that people “wait and see what the facts reveal” are the enemy. A majority of them make a comment supporting Dkystra, and then follow it up with “And I should know, because I’ve been through the same thing or something similar – showing that their view might be a little biased. Evidence is already popping up which conflicts with parts of her allegations, but hell… if he’s guilty, get him. But damn… the man has lost almost everything and has been declared a trash human by half of the internet – all because she said it was so.

With Atari, they put their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, which doesn’t require a working prototype before funding can be solicited. But angry YouTubers are screaming “THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PRODUCT!” as if that’s something that should surprise anyone. Why would anyone expect them to have a nearly complete product, when that’s the point of raising the money? And Atari, for whatever reason, delayed the launch of their campaign once last year – which is another thing that the video creators say indicates a scam. As if no other successful products have ever had delays in their design or production.

What the problem actually is, is that these YouTube creators feel slighted by Atari. They feel that Atari owes it to them, to contact them and provide them more information, or answer the questions that they have about the project. Atari eventually got tired of being badmouthed by this small group of angry people and pushed back against what they were saying, which obviously hurt the feelings of these “reviewers” and caused them to make even more outlandish claims. Most of these angry folks haven’t even backed the project, nor do they intend to, but boy are they mad anyway – because how dare Atari not contact them directly and answer every damn question that they have.

Atari’s project already has nearly $3M in backing, so apparently there were plenty of people who felt like the information on the campaign page was enough. As with any hardware, it will obviously go through all sorts of slight changes before finalized, and people understand this. The angry YouTube mob is furious that Atari won’t give them more information, but why should they have to? If they’re already getting plenty of backers, and it’s obvious that speaking with the angry people won’t make a difference, why would they? Are these folks also screaming at Sony and Microsoft, demanding that they be given more about their next consoles in development?

But the more that these people shout “SCAM! DUMPSTER FIRE! FAKE! LIES!” in their videos, the more that their followers start to get nervous, and end up drinking the kool-aid and repeating the same claims that are being made in the angry videos. If the creator has 100k followers on YouTube, and is spouting whatever… there’s a good chance that their followers will start spouting the same thing in the comments and elsewhere, even if just to look like they “think just like a video creator who has 100k followers.” It’s toxic and sad.

So yeah… whether I’m trying to convince people that they should hold their venom for Hardwick until the claims against him have been proven, or if I’m pointing out that all of the “signs” that angry video creators are using against Atari are just normal things that happen in almost every crowdfunding campaign… people just continue to rage. You’re expected to either hate Dykstra or hate Hardwick. No middle ground. You’re supposed to accept that Atari is scamming $3M from people, and shouldn’t dare suggest that it might not be the case. Hardwick might be guilty, Atari’s console might be a flop or a scam… but people’s eagerness to convict others of this or that, with only assumptions or “feelings about it” to back it up… it’s just bizarre, and the amount of people getting caught up in it only seems to be growing.

I know, I shouldn’t bother… but I wanna believe that under the surface, people really are capable of unbiased, critical thinking – and I wanna say or do things that encourage that, or try to bring it out of them. Every now and then I might get one or two of ’em… heh… but not surprisingly, the irate people who claim their passion-filled opinions as fact just don’t seem interested in considering alternate views of a situation. ๐Ÿ˜ It’s still my method of escapism though, for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything in my own life, in those moments that I’m sticking my nose into other people’s thoughts… so at least I’m getting a small benefit from it all, eh?

Advertisements

Willfully Ignorant / Indignant

The overwhelming amount of ignorance surrounding the shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the resulting activism… it’s simply staggering. ๐Ÿ˜‘ It falls anywhere on the spectrum from people just not realizing that they’ve been misled, to people who are straight up morons. And most of them are really angry as well… like, so angry that even when people are expressing sentiments that are supportive of the students and their security, they’ll still attack those people if the thoughts don’t exactly parrot what they or the students are saying. ๐Ÿ˜  Free thinking has already become a much lacking trait in society, and boy does this movement demonstrate that over and over again.

I’m sure that I’m like a lot of people who generally support the things the students have been asking for, but who is also growing tired of being attacked by the people that we’re trying to support… so much so that their activism now feels more like a bunch of kids complaining and making noise, but not actually seeking solutions to the problems at the center of it all.

The point where the kids started to lose me was when a slew of new security measures were put in place at their school, to provide additional protections while the students continued to strive for bigger changes via gun control laws. Limited access points to the school buildings, student IDs, increased security personnel, new backpack/bag rules, etc. ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Not only did the students not appreciate these changes, but they actively rebelled against them – and are still doing so to this day. Most of the complaints revolve around the bag rules, which prohibit anyone from coming into the building with bags or backpacks that weren’t issued by the school. And because they are clear backpacks, the kids and their supporters have lost their damn minds. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

A woman on Twitter, when I said that I supported the clear backpack rule and noted that Nikolas Cruz used a duffel bag to bring his rifle into the school, just replied to me: “Umm… then maybe ban bringing DUFFEL bags into the school??? An AR15 will NOT fit in a backpack. Good grief!”ย This is an example of that angry stupidity. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ The school is now banning people from carrying in bags other than the school-provided ones… something that could have prevented Cruz from even making it past the gate if the rule was in place back then. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But this woman was mad that I pointed it out, then called for duffel bags to be banned (which they are), and followed it up with a “Good grief” as if my logic was exhausting her.

But yeah, the kids are mocking the backpacks, saying that the increased law enforcement presence makes them scared, equating having to carry student IDs to being in prison, complaining that additional fences and barriers only give the appearance of security, saying their 4th amendment rights are being violated and people will be able to see their tampons in their bags now, and bitching because they have to show up to school a little earlier to get through security. ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป All the while complaining that none of those changes do anything to protect them, with several of them going so far as to say that all of these new measures should be removed – leaving their school in exactly the same state as when they were originally attacked. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

None of those changes, in their minds, provide any additional security. Instead, their minds are laser focused on banning “assault rifles” as the change that is needed. In interview after interview, you can see that these kids don’t even know what guns the term “assault” rifle should include, with some of them not even knowing the difference between a semi-automatic and automatic gun. I’m not faulting them for this, since they’re just kids, but these are also the people that we should be listening to for answers, according to their movement. The kids who reject any and all security measures as being a “false sense of security” while also believing that banning some semi-automatic rifles will make them completely safe.

In trying to have discussions with the humans on Twitter, I’ve learned that if you want to “be a supporter” of these kids and their goal of more safety, you can’t say any of the following: ๐Ÿ™Š

  • You can’t suggest that they try to understand that the new security measures are “better than nothing” while they continue to fight for gun control. They don’t accept the increased school security, so neither can people who claim to support them.
  • You can’t point out that the clear backpack rule, if in place when the shooting happened, could/would have prevented the shooting from happening since Cruz and his bags wouldn’t have been allowed through security. You’ll be told that an AR-15 can’t fit into a duffel bag. (It can.) You’ll be told that he’d have found a way in anyway. (So all security measures should be just thrown out as being worthless?)
  • You can’t tell them that mocking the new security measures may be off-putting to people who want to support them. You’ll be told that they don’t want or need your support then. They’ll say that they didn’t ask for the new security. They’ll say that nobody has a right to say anything to the students about their opinions. (YOU WEREN’T THERE! THEY WERE!)
  • Their goal, when it comes to gun control, is to ban assault rifles. But you can’t question anything about that goal. I support some of what they’re trying to achieve, but I don’t believe that banning one particular type of gun will make them that much safer than they are now. But to support them, you have to support their goal of banning a small subset of guns, because they believe they’ll be safer.
  • And even when you are suggesting things that could help them achieve their goals, you’ll usually be told that your input isn’t needed… not by the kids, but by other supporters. “I don’t remember her asking you for your opinion!” “He seems to be doing just fine without your help!” “Your generation didn’t help when it had the chance, and we don’t need it now!” And they wonder why they’re getting less support, less media coverage, and a more apathetic response from the public in general.

One more thing to mention… they love using the age of the student activists to manipulate the whole situation. When people are dismissive of what the students are saying because of their age, hordes of people will come forth and comment how they are almost adults, almost able to vote, almost able to join the army, and are more mature than most “grown-ups” are these days. But if you disagree with something the students have said, or just appear to disagree, you’ll be blasted with post after post of people being “shocked” and “horrified” that adults would bully these children, that you can’t expect them to not act like kids sometimes because that’s what they are, and that people should be ashamed for how they are treating someone’s child. Yeah, it doesn’t matter if they’ve thrust themselves onto the public stage, and it doesn’t matter how foul-mouthed and insulting they can be… people attempt to portray them as untouchable. โ™ฟ Like a kid in a wheelchair who verbally bullies his classmates, because “Nobody will hit a kid in a wheelchair.”

I even had people get mad at me the other day because I commented about the school newspaper putting out a memorial issue, featuring the names and stories of the 17 people that died that day. I said that it was great to finally have a resource like that with all of the information in one place, because despite the activist students being on TV almost non-stop for a while, I rarely heard them mention the names of the people who were killed or get to talk about them. Part of that is because there is a limited amount of time in a TV segment, so it logistically just couldn’t fit most of the time… but yeah, I was praising the students who produced the memorial issue. One fella just wouldn’t let it go. He was legitimately mad, despite me praising the newspaper and being happy that I could learn more about the people who were killed. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I imagine it was because he doesn’t like when something potentially makes “the people that he supports” look uncaring or whatever. So despite talking about something that 99.9% would agree with – being happy to learn more about the fallen… he just kept replying and replying, pointing out that the kids said the names of the dead at the march in DC. Yeah. They did. That’s fine. I’m glad they did. But as I pointed out to him – I didn’t say they never mentioned the people that died, I just said it was rare enough that weeks later I still didn’t know much about them. I’m surprised he didn’t start sharing YouTube clips where their names were said, or demand that I share clips where they didn’t. People are just fucking nuts, man…

I’ve never seen a group of people that actively tries to eat their own as much as this bunch of humans. ๐ŸงŸ๐ŸงŸ๏ธ Half of the people barely know what they are talking about, and half of them don’t even care if they are wrong as long as they are being loud and people are hearing them. ๐Ÿคฌ The whole goal of student safety / safety for humans in general has been lost in the cult of personality, with movement leaders wasting time on boycotts when someone hurts their feelings – even when not related to gun control or the shooting… and then when security measures are put in place to protect them, they reject it – and in a way that magnifies how immature they really are, while they shout at the world that “WE TOLD YOU TO LISTEN TO US!” etc. I know they’ve had all kinds of behind-the-scenes help when it comes to PR, finances, and organizing things, but someone is dropping the ball right now – and something that could have produced real, positive changes has a chance of being forgotten like every other tragedy. ๐Ÿ˜”

RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on thatย specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impressionย – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?

Mob Mentality

It’s frustrating to go on Twitter and see the digital lynch mob going after Joel Osteen and his church over the past 24 hours. Apparently part of the facility was flooded, as is much of Houston and the surrounding areas, and several of their own staff had to be rescued from their homes due to the rising water – so it wasn’t until yesterday that they were able to open up the church to anyone that might be needing shelter.

But none of that mattered to the angry cavemen. It doesn’t matter that he’s hosted charity concerts thereย to raise money for flood victims. It doesn’t matter that the church was offered and used as a shelter for Tropical Storm Allison victims. It doesn’t matter what “good” the church has done for the people of that community, because the outrage junkies caught word that the doors weren’t open for some reason, and they were out for blood.

There was a “re-tweet campaign” that was demanding that Osteen open the doors. Demanding. That’s the word they chose. “Why aren’t you helping?” “Are you going to donate your millions of dollars?” “This shows how much of a Christian you aren’t!” “Fake Joel Osteen, you’re a crook and a liar!” “The false prophet bows to pressure on Twitter” “Opening your church now is only PR damage control!” “(insert any flavor of cursing and name calling here)”ย and some asshole even went down to the church himself to film an “AH HAH!” video, showing that the church wasn’t flooded, even though he didn’t go inside to actually see one way or the other.

Good going, guy. You’re making a fuss about someone not doing enough for the victims, but you are using your time and energy doing this – rather than something productive to help people. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป And when the doors opened, it’s not like there was a huge queue of people waiting to get in. In fact, maintenance people inside the church said that the facility was open for quite a while before anyone even showed up. See, we don’t even know the state of affairs down there… like, are all of the other shelters full? Have people been forced to sleep in the streets because Osteen’s church couldn’t open until yesterday? Or are people just being pissed off for the sake of being pissed off?

A staggering amount of people are using this as a trigger to attack religion and Christianity specifically. They’re ranting about how false the mega-church pastors are, how it’s not about God and only about money, and using it as a “SEEEEE?!?!” moment – where they can feel vindicated in their thoughts about Osteen being a hypocrite and only in it for the cash and fame. It’s an amazing(ly sad) thing to watch. ๐Ÿ˜ข

  • “I can’t open the church yet. It’s a bit flooded and staff can’t make it in.”
  • YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT YOU LYING BASTARD! FUCK YOU!!!
  • “Hey, we got it cleaned up enough and have some air mattresses now, c’mon down.”
  • YOU’RE ONLY OPENING BECAUSE WE MADE YOU! FUCK YOU!!!

*sigh*

Someone get me off of this planet. ๐Ÿ˜’

EDIT: Click here for a more in-depth version of the story from the Osteen’s side of it.