Gotcha Jerks Part II

If you have not read Gotcha Jerks, then please do first. I recently ran across The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb which goes further. Here is my favorite quote from it.

Sharing links that mock a caricature of the Other Side isn’t signaling that we’re somehow more informed. It signals that we’d rather be smug assholes than consider alternative views. It signals that we’d much rather show our friends that we’re like them, than try to understand those who are not.

It makes a great point that part of what makes discussion politics on social media problematic is the false-consensus bias where we assume people we like should always think the same way we do because they are awesome like we are. Liking the posts of Facebook friends who state things with which we agree or defriending / unfollowing people who disagree, leads to the algorithms creating an environment for ourselves where the information coming to us drives the FCB into overdrive. If we are only seeing the stuff where we agree, then we are blind to other positions out there. Going even a leap further to knocking down Straw Men certainly alienates the Other Side. They will defriend / unfollow us which leads to the same result.

I reluctantly have culled people over their behavior during the election season. I also did not expect things to get better November 9th. In my mind, this animosity has been ever increasing since 1998, so I saw no reason for it to end. Both candidates held unfavorable numbers by majorities of likely voters, so  whoever won would cause butthurt.

Family Feud is a game show where people try to guess the common answers to a poll question. If people had no FCB, then the game would be completely pointless. People would provide fairly accurate responses leading to people only uncommonly getting answers wrong. Instead, from what I have seen of the show, it seems hard for contestants in general.

Advice from The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb to consider:

A dare for the next time you’re in discussion with someone you disagree with: Don’t try to “win.” Don’t try to “convince” anyone of your viewpoint. Don’t score points by mocking them to your peers. Instead try to “lose.” Hear them out. Ask them to convince you and mean it. No one is going to tell your environmentalist friends that you merely asked follow up questions after your brother made his pro-fracking case.

Not long ago, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling for a very conservative coworker to call me the only liberal he knows that he can discuss things. We disagree, but we respect each other enough to discuss things. I am not hurt by our disagreements. And as much as he tries to act radical, I suspect a lot of it is poker bluff acting.

Further reading:

Memic Straw Men

Well, calling the current political, social, or even game discourses debates is probably too generous. That implies discussion which means an attempt at listening to the other if only to hear their point of view enough to counter it. At this point, much of what I see are the use of memes to perpetuate Straw Man fallacies.

It seems like memes are perfectly positioned for this purpose. They are cute and funny. This leads to people backing the ideology in them to think of them as non-threatening so they more easily share memes. Very topical, they get across the shot at the enemy in an amusing way.

A couple examples:

i-did-not-have-textual-relations-with-that-server-hillary-clinton-meme
I did not have textual relations with that server
596d04d28e
Congratulations! Your liberal butthurt just made Trump a little bit stronger.

None of this seems to be about convincing people to change their opinion so much as attacking each other. This whole thing is disappointing.

Prom Signalling

“Prom season spending is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other,” said Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education for Visa. “It’s important to remember that the prom is a high school dance, not a wedding, and parents need to set limits in order to demonstrate financial responsibility.”

From Average prom cost tops $1,000 per teen.

Actually, just like a wedding, it is an opportunity for parents through their kids to exploit signaling theory to communicate they are doing fine financially to members of the community. Some economists complain of similar signalling such as cars that cost more than a house, expensive clothes, and elaborate parties. I seriously doubt children, even teenagers, force their parents to buy things the parents are not willing to buy. Otherwise there would be lots more boys dying in 100+mph car wrecks because they got a muscle car. (Boy do I love to use strawmen.)

Plus, prom is a status war. This year’s people have to out spend last year’s. You want to show you are doing better than the previous year’s people. This is because prom is a replication of debutante balls. But again, I think it is the parents outspending each other not the kids.

This may be the one time it is good for me not to have children.

Invented Peoples

Apparently former House Speaker and current President candidate Newt Gingrich, made an offensive statement that Palestinians are an invented people.

Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.

His point is that Palestine as a state was created in the aftermath of the First World War by the British and French carving up the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Modern Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia mostly exist today where the British Arab Mandates established them. Lebanon and Syria were the French Mandates though more highly re-arranged. If Mr. Gingrich questions the legitimacy of the former state of Palestine, why not Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria? Also, maybe he forgot Israel as a state was created in the aftermath of the Second World War also by the British? The creation was just as artificial or invented, if you will.

Americans, as we in the United States call ourselves, are also an invented people. If Palestinians should give up their claim on the land because Israelis have a stronger historical claim despite modern treaties, then it seems to me as President Newt Gingrich should push through Congress giving up United States territory to Native American tribes who claim those lands despite modern treaties. (Yes, I know this is a Straw Man.)

There is one other thing. The Palestine Mandate established protections specifically for the Jewish people to give them a home. So it is not like Palestine was created in opposition to Jewish interests. Further, Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike were all called Palestinians. The same as Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike are called Israelis. The modern anger stems from expansionist policies by force of arms.

Mr. Gingrich had another point that it is difficult to negotiate when being attacked. The United States government would have a hard time being nice to Mexico if rockets were lobbed at our cities. The example would be more accurate to say the rockets were lobbed at our cities in response to U.S. bombs dropped and tanks invading.

These are complicated issues for which simple analogies are apt to offend someone.

Guard Dead Paper?

Seth said, “What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper.” Whenever, I read “mere”, “only”, or “just” as a descriptor, it makes me sad someone (even me) relies on obvious straw men.

Librarians already do more than guard dead paper. It just makes it easier to knock them down and kick them while they are down to portray them as such. Of course, the point is that Seth wants to see “… a librarian who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear…” which describes… every… librarian… I have ever known going back to age 5. Maybe growing up in and working in libraries gives me a different perspective than Seth?

The librarians I know…

  • Help patrons learn how to find information.
  • Learn quickly what the patron knows and how to connect the dots.
  • Have a master’s or doctorate in librarian (information) science but an undergraduate in something else because almost no where offers a bachelor’s in it.

How about this? “What we don’t need are mere scribes who throw words on paper. I want to see an author who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and communicate  information.” Yeah. Still just as demeaning without being at all helpful.