You have shamed our family, I hereby banish you from ever posting on this website...
YOUNG MAN, YOU'RE GROUNDED!!!!
[Interestingly enough, the conversation that this resulted from was one wherein the discussion centered around 'Canadian-ness'. Oh, and Laurie? Please try to use correct spelling and grammar when posting here. Thanks! - Ed.]
You want to talk about the media, and their influence? Well, first let's go here (thanks to Tim Blair's blog for the tip):
Media Watch | ABC Baghdad: Kids and bombs
For those of you who'd rather not read the whole thing (though I think you should, it's stunning), here's the gist:
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Gina Wilkinson (wife to UNICEF media officer Geoff Keele) is in Iraq reporting on unexploded munitions left behind by the fleeing Iraqi army. Being a TV news reporter, her job requires her to tape a certain amount of footage for use in her stories. Here she is in action (comments from MediaWatch, an analysis group for Australian media).
[W]hat concerns Media Watch is how this story was made. We've been given a copy of Gina Wilkinson's unedited camera tapes.I realize this is not every reporter out there. I realize that most have what is referred to as 'commen decency' and 'common sense.' But dear God! Taking this with New York Times Consultant John F. Burns' latest revelation, I can not help but conclude that while the media business would like to portray itself as 'better' or 'above' other businesses, they are staffed by people just as corrupt as those they try to expose. The hypocrisy is nauseating.
Here's what we saw on the news:The missiles are filled with volatile rocket fuel and two hundred kilograms of high explosives. Locals fear their children could be injured or their homes destroyed by these deadly weapons.
- ABC TV News, 19 August 2003
But why were those children standing on the missile launcher? So Gina could film them. Here's what the camera tapes reveal..................................................
- You want to show the children on there?
Gina Wilkinson: Yeah, that would be good. Yeah, if they don't mind.
- (trans) You want them to stand over there to be filmed?
- (trans) Come on sweetie. What's her name?
- (trans) I'm worried about them.
- Sit. Sit on this.
- (trans) I'm worried about them.
- (trans) Sit on the edge.
Gina Wilkinson: Please God, don't let this thing explode now.
- ABC camera tape
The whole point of the story was the danger these missiles pose to children. So why was Gina Wilkinson asking the kids to do this?Gina Wilkinson: Mr Saadi?
Gina Wilkinson: Can we get these two kids to walk around underneath the missile?
Just around it?
- Mohammad. Mohammad.
Gina Wilkinson: And this one?
- (trans) Come here. Go up there. Go with him. Casually, casually. Walk behind him. Go with him.
- ABC camera tape
Gina wasn't satisfied with the first take, so after re-positioning the camera slightly -Gina Wilkinson: Mr Saadi, could you ask them to do that one more time for me?
- (trans): This time in reverse?
- (trans): No no no.
Gina Wilkinson: Excellent.
- ABC camera tape
I admit, I'm not having a great day so far. My favorite class (Canadian Literature, of all things) had a bit of an 'America bashing' party this morning (not by the prof, but by two of the students, one of whom was certainly not of 'student age'). In his defense, the professor (for whom I have a great deal more respect now) tried to steer the comments away from 'America is bad, Canada is good,' but he was largely unsuccessful.
As to my own responses, I stiffened in my chair, and checked my tongue. I had a million and one witty, devastating rejoinders tucked away in my mind, ready to singe the hair off of these two women's heads, but I didn't. Why? Because I came to the realization that I was seeing Canadians in a way I wouldn't be able to, if I let it be known that I was American. I can get angry, I can corral it all inside, and let it fly on the web; but inside that classroom, I'm seeing the real 'Canadian University.'
So, for now, I'll relegate my comments to the blog. If it gets really bad (and now I know for whom to watch), I'll try and deflate them with a little well-placed observation, but my Americanism is going to remain hidden as long as possible. I'm undercover!
I think it's really odd that my blog was published four times.
[Yes. Yes it was. Just quit pushing the stupid button! -- Ed.]
"It feels like my stomach is eating itself," the question that has eaten away at humankind for the last 2.5 centuries is, with the help of modern science, able to be proven true.
Tests suggest that after landing on the moon, astronauts "Buzz" Aldrin and the-guy-who-is-not-"Buzz" (Lance Armstrong or something to that effect) returned with alien germ-like organisms embedded into their space suits. These organisms then burrowed painlessly into the two astronauts’ skin, and began the infamous symbiosis known by all today. This organism is called Stom-Ache: "Stom" from the Stom crater on the moon (where the germ came from), and "Ache" from the ache that the crater caused in the moon. This name is shortened to "stomach". Before the moon landing, earthlings survived by the "earthworm way" meaning that they put random objects into their mouths in hopes that the correct nutrients would be absorbed before the quick excretion of that object. The Stomachs in the two astronauts grew rapidly, and began reproducing to form a symbiotic relationship with all Mankind.
A symbiotic relationship can be defined as: "A close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but do not necessarily, benefit each member." In this case both members benefit. The stomach has greatly helped humans function by allowing them to eat every now and then, and still survive the day. A great many things have come about because of the newfound relationship, but to invest the time in recalling every benefit would be ridiculous.
Needless to say, humans benefit the most from the symbiosis, but what of the Stomach? Before the relationship, the Stomach did not have a host to grow, reproduce in, and feed off of—a base of operations. The Stomach is of course thankful that it can live out it’s existence in a host. Therefore the two members of the symbiosis benefit.
On to proving the statement. The Stomach does not only digest the food that humans eat, but also it releases special enzymes which enhance the saliva produced by the human host to improve in the pre-digestion of the food. Every time a human eats, drinks, or even swallows, he swallows some of his own saliva. The enzymes are always present in the saliva, and go down to the Stomach. Therefore when a human swallows, the Stomach is eating itself.
The statement "It feels like my stomach is eating itself," is inarguably true, and in some cases even more true (ulcers etc.).
So what was that? evan is apart of the site now?????????
From now on you should end your thingy saying
so sign your name from now on
I've got a new post coming, though it's taking a little time to organize my thoughts. With luck, my brain will soon figure itself out and the blog will be up this afternoon (certainly by Tuesday afternoon). In the meantime, go check out this phenomenal article by Steven Den Beste.
Yeah, I know, I haven't posted anything in two days. I'm a mean, horrible person. Well, Tuesday saw the introduction of my brother Evan as a blogger, and assuming he gets around to posting anything, you won't be missing me - I promise you that. As for Wednesday, I wasn't in the house all day - left for class at 8:30am and returned at 10:30ish pm. A very full day, to be sure - it included class in the morning, followed by lunch, a Celtic Champions League game (won in the last 20 minutes by Bayern Munich 2-1), an intramural soccer game (scouting opponents for Victoria College's team), a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, a late dinner at Cafe Crepe, and a visit to a friend of a friend's house. Whew!
So yeah, I've been busy of late. Things are going very well (recent Hamiltonian events aside). I've been settling into my new place, getting to know my new housemates a lot better (true, they were my friends before, but you don't really 'know' someone until you share confined spaces with them [grin]), getting to know THEIR friends, and just generally expanding my social life. That's something I've needed up here for a few years now, and, of course, with my perfect sense of timing, it's taken me three years to start working on it - right before a possible move to another continent. I'm just insane, I guess. [big grin]
I don't have anything really thoughtful (that Conspiracy Theory post and its follow-up really scratched my 'idea' itch for a few days), but that will probably change soon. Something's bound to upset me sooner or later! [wink]
I'll try and write again later this afternoon, but I can't promise anything; I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed that I don't have a lot to 'blog' about - when things go well, complaints are infrequent.
Ahh, I can post now.
I don't have anything to say right now, but eventually in the everpresent future I'll have something.
As I was sitting in class this evening - more precisely, as I was waiting for the professor to show up (which he did, five minutes late) - I realized that my argument against passive acceptance of conspiracy theories left out an important third reason why Westerners seem so eager, in spite of the freedom they are so privileged to have, to buy into the fact that there are widespread efforts within their own government bodies to subvert their (the citizens') every move. It's rather simple, and it actually occurred to me (I noted it for later use) while I was writing the first piece, but I promptly forgot about it as I was typing. Never fear, however, for here is the third reason:
Political maneuvering. It's related to the idea (as they all are) of blaming someone else for your own problems. This one is more vicious, though. Instead of merely believing that people are out to get you (paranoia in the extreme), this one goes on the offensive, and concocts crazy scenarios that portray one's enemies in the worst possible light, assuming they are true. This is precisely the kind of argument the 'inside job' 9/11 theory attempts.
Someone is disappointed, frustrated, angry, or whatever, about the Bush administration's post-9/11 popularity, so (possibly subconsciously, though that's very hard to envision) they try to cast the White House in the most horrible of scenarios - that of killing a huge number of their own citizens - in the hopes that an investigation will be started, and will uncover the (supposedly) terrible secrets lying underneath the worst act of US domestic terrorism in history. Or perhaps (and this is a more plausible scenario, for the fabricator knows that the end result of an inquiry will be his or her own exposure as a fraud) the perpetuator of the vicious and deadly rumor desires not an investigation, but merely to plant seeds of discord in the hearts of those who would normally (and rightly) give their support to the President in his efforts to defeat world terrorism. After all, no one wants to be aligned with a murderer. (Well, okay, MAYBE, but only if that murderer is Saddam Hussein).
Again, though, just like the first two reasons (not having experienced life without absolute corruption, and desiring to blame some mystical entity known as 'they' for your own difficulties), at the core of this motivation for crafting a Conspiracy Theory is deceit, self- or otherwise.
Hitler used a tactic to deceive people called The Big Lie. If you tell an outrageous lie often enough and convincingly enough (not with logic and facts, but with emotion) thinking people will believe it. And it worked. The same principle applies to CT.
I suppose you could consider this an expansion on the earlier "Musings" post that I wrote a few days ago, and it does fit in that same genre of 'thoughts on a subject;' but this morning's post wasn't brought up by a walk through the park after a religion class. This is a subject that has kept my insides all churned up for about 24 hours now, because of the way it introduced itself.
A 'friend' of mine accused me of murder yesterday; or at least, of being complicit in the execution of more than 3,000 people. And this 'friend' accused not only me, but my family as well. So you'll pardon me if I'm a little upset, and write in a somewhat harsh way (believe me, if I had written in the heat of yesterday, there wouldn't have been a single hair left on your body, dear reader). I'll try to remain rational, and thoughtful - as that's what will really drive my points home, rather than anger - but don't be surprised if a bit of rage seeps through.
With that out of the way, I'll begin. As I wrote a few days ago, human beings have a strange love/hate relationship with this thing known as 'the Truth' (with a capital 'T'). We both desire knowledge of it, and fear it at the same time. Evidence of this is readily available in everyday life, and part of that evidence is the existence of 'Conspiracy Theories.' (There was even a movie about it). The drive behind these 'theories' is the search for Truth - which, in this case, the government is hiding from us - a quest for all the secrets that have been supposedly hidden from our eyes. Unlike Hollywood, however, real life doesn't usually have a lot of 'conspirators' - not in the 'Conspiracy Theory' sense of the word, anyway.
The basic suggestion that was posed to me yesterday, in response to my earlier post about 9/11, was that the tragedy was really a result of an "inside job" - that the government, which I and my family helped vote into place (and are planning on reelecting), was more than a passive victim, that they actually encouraged and aided the terrorists on their journey of destruction. You'll pardon me while I take a breather.
I'm not going to address this specific theory here, as it's not worth the time I would spend debunking it (though Ockham's Razor is a good start), but I do feel it's important to explore why such theories arise, and why there are so many people around the world who readily accept them (yes, even outside North America). There are several such theories around, the most famous of which are probably the JFK assassination, and the Apollo Moon Landing (that last link is for you, Eric). There's even a "Conspiracy Theory conspiracy theory," though it's really more of a humorous attempt to communicate an important message.
So why do they exist? What is it about humanity that makes us so ready to believe these crackpot theories? Well, I've noticed that those people who have spent a lot of time suffering under corruption tend to view the world from that perspective. They have to, they have no other experience, and a human's outlook on life is, at its core, based on experience. This helps to explain the proliferation of conspiracy theories in the Middle East, say, where people have lived under repressive regimes for quite some time; but this explanation fails to account for people living in North America (specifically Canada and the United States) and Europe, who enjoy more freedom than anywhere else in the world and more than any other time in history (except, perhaps, for that period when we hadn't actually invented 'government' just yet).
Let me say that I don't believe the proliferation of Conspiracy Theorists (CTs) in North America is anywhere near as widespread as in places with little to no freedom. They do exist, though (I was faced with one yesterday - and, in all fairness, my 'friend' has spent a good portion of life underneath an oppressive regime, so perhaps the accusation is reflective of that), and lately they seem to be getting more plentiful. Everything from a 'cabal of Jews secretly running the British government' to a 'cabal of NeoConservatives pushing their agenda on the world' comes flying out of the woodwork nowadays, and from a variety of places.
I think, as I referenced earlier in this post, that it all boils down (in the free world, that is) to humanity's desire for the Truth, which has been perverted (as all things are, when allowed to run unchecked). We desire Truth so much that when we finally know all that we need to, when we finally realize that there are no 'hidden secrets of the evil government,' then we invent some, to satisfy our insatiable desire for 'Truth.' This, paradoxically, is almost saying that Truth should be hidden, purely for the sake of finding it. And, of course, if you've read my earlier posts, you know that I prefer to view every piece of Truth that reveals itself to be a good thing - so inventing hidden 'Truth' so we can 'find' it is a bad thing, because, at it's heart, it is the antithesis of Truth.
There's another reason, too, I think. We tend to believe, as selfish beings, that everything in this world is required to go our way. When it doesn't, it must reflect poorly either on us (ie. we haven't done things right) or on everyone else (ie. they are keeping us down). Never mind that this is a flawed view of the world - it doesn't really matter, because most every human, at their core, believes this (or constantly struggles against believing it). Of those two choices, the easier one to accept is the one that blames everyone else for our troubles. People get frustrated with the way things go - perhaps it's counter to your philosophical ideals, or your political agendas, or your religious doctrines, or your 'scientific' assumptions - and so, rather than do the hard thing (self-examination) we tend to invent conspiracy theories that comfort us, that let us continue to believe that we're not wrong, that we're not at fault.
Recently, this has become much more prevalent in the public eye. The Left-leaning politicos in the US, of late, have been crying 'conspiracy' since the Clinton era, just to pull a few stories from the headlines (anyone remember Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy"?). Now everything from an 'Iraqi war for oil' conspiracy to the 'Bush wants to bring back the Nazi Party' conspiracy is getting air time. People get frustrated, and rather than thinking they might be in the wrong, or might need to make adjustments, they blame others, and wind up stretching logic and rationality to the breaking point. The problem with this 'crying wolf,' is that when something real and tragic happens - out in daylight, without a hint of hidden conspiracy - people tend to ignore it. It isn't 'juicy' enough for them.
The trouble is, 'checking your mind at the door' when it comes to buying into conspiracy theorizing is intellectually dishonest, and ultimately divisive. It may very well have cost my 'friend' and I our friendship (it was pretty rocky, anyway). Are conspiracies possible? Certainly. Here, the CTs and I agree - I can't intellectually deny the possiblility of conspiracy, because I believe the depths of human depravity are vast, and unknown. Are they probable? Well, here I differ from most CTs:
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's RazorIt's one thing to be informed, to have shaken off the naivete of early youth, and to understand that there is evil in the world. It's quite another to fall into complete and utter cynicism.
I am writing a story
for your information!
Darcia really likes it...I haven't written a lot but she told me to finish it so she could read the rest, she really likes it...or so she says.
I'm sorry that you're a little bored at the moment. I'm sure there's plenty for you to do around the house (not that you'd be really eager to go there, I'm sure [grin]). But, you know, if you're really bored, and aren't just avoiding some work that our parents are trying to get you to do, why don't you compose a short story, or a comment-style letter, or something, to post here. I'd really like to read what you think about some of the things that are going on.
And it doesn't have to be anything 'worldly' or 'political' (not that my posts really are), it can be about whatever you'd like. I really do want other people to post here, and I'd rather those posts be a bit more substantive than "I'm bored" or "When are you coming home?"
Hopefully, next time, you can come up with something that will blow us all away...or just give us something to think about. No matter how old you are, your thoughts are important. Let 'em out!
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