Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wild West? Run Awaaaaaaay!

The recent www incident involving Roger Ebert, his comments on a drunken daredevil’s race to die (and kill), and the daredevil’s friend’s understandable lashing out whilst grieving has me rethinking some long-held, but abstract, political views.


My libertarian streak runs deep. In addition to really believing it, I derive great personal pleasure from knowing that I’m simultaneously further left than all of my self-righteous pinko friends, and further right than my neo-Nazi tax-hating friends. I get to be a contrarian to everyone.

My abstract principles run up against difficult choices all the time: regulation of meat-packing plants, inspection of vaccines, shit like that has Big Brother everywhere, and bro’ don’t seem so bad. But I largely like a real wild-west, free-to-ride kinda society, and a minimal government interfering with it.

But the unregulated internet, which I adore (and take advantage of) also demonstrates that the mob mentality, and mob action, predominate, and are dangerous. In part because really stupid people seem to like joining mobs.

Hundreds of thousands of complaints “flag[ging] for impropriety” getting Ebert Facebook page shut down, and thousands of comments hurling vicious invective (and more-than-occasional threats) on Ebert’s blog don’t -- probably -- mean too much in the real world. But they do show just how ignorant and angry people can act.

There are at least fifty contributors to this blog – and more than half of them are dead. It is undeniably an “anonymous” blog where I can hurl absurdist thoughts, half-baked (but hopefully stimulating) rants, and immature political views. And occasionally photos of naked broads. I have additional reasons for anonymity (hmm – chief of staff to semi-important legislator typing here. . .?) beyond not wanting to paste my mug next to my ideas. As anyone of the few people here who really knows me can tell you, I always want my mug plastered on everything that’ll hold it. But I think twice now knowing that ideas that are broadcast that anger or offend can so easily incite.



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PS I think that learning that this Dunn fellow had a BAC twice the legal limit, had rolled cars in this very spot before, and was going 140 when he killed his passenger (sorry, when he lost control of the car. Killing himself and his passenger) legitimizes mister ebert's original comment. For those who wonder what ebert meant, he discussed the tweet, and the reaction from fans, in this blogpost. And for Bam Margera to say that someone has "gall" for publicly commenting on a performer who made his living by performing outlandish stunts to shock the public and publicize those escapades (see Jackass) seems misguided to me. But again, he was a grieving friend, so I think I understand.

13 comments:

Mythical Monkey said...

The internet -- from reactions to Roger Ebert to the typical comments about the Washington Nationals -- reminds me daily how difficult communication really is, particularly when people want to misunderstand.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I dunno. I'd have thought Roger would have wanted to give Ryan's family and friends 10 minutes to grieve before starting in with all the moral hectoring and the "let this be a lesson to you" stuff that you know is going to come a-flowing from a million pens and TVs anyway.

mister muleboy said...

Who, I guess my geezing shows. If you're grieving, but you're grieving on Twitter where you even come to learn of Ebert's comments, then it's not a grief that I recognize.

If you're grieving in 148-word chunks, I guess you can expect to go through a quicker cycle.

If you're really grieving, and someone calls you up or phones you to say "have you seen what Roger Ebert said?", then you should explode at that friend, not at Roger Ebert.

And yes, more time would have been more seemly. It would, of course, have also built up greater emotional defenses, and lost the immediacy of the observation.

As for my post, the bigger question is whether you, in critical response to Ebert's moral hectoring, took any steps online to remove his posts or threaten him.

Or whether you said "wow; that was a dick move. . ." and moved along.


Now that I re-read your post, it seems to me that the "million pens and TV lesson" argues for immediacy if you want your observation to pierce the moral indifference and information saturation.


In protest, I filled tomanonymous with Jack Black and put him on my motorcycle. . . .

mister muleboy said...

I hope this doesn't mean that we can't be friends.

I don't want to lose you over one movie critic's observations.

Mythical Monkey said...

I'd have thought Roger would have wanted to give Ryan's family and friends 10 minutes to grieve before starting in with all the moral hectoring

Normally I'd agree with you 100%, Who, and I've always thought of myself as the type to refrain from moral hectoring generally, but I was recently reminded (in my favorite post of the year, so far) I'm the kind of person who urges suicidal pals to jump out of windows, so I can't take it for granted that I would do the polite thing and let the grieving grieve.

Fortunately, Twitter is well beyond my technical capabilities, either to follow or to participate, so it's almost certain my moral hectoring wouldn't be particularly timely.

mister muleboy said...

but I was recently reminded (in my favorite post of the year, so far) I'm the kind of person who urges suicidal pals to jump out of windows,

Uh, I believe it was intended to make me laugh, and get me out of my funk.


Or at least to get me out of the room. But I think you hoped I'd take the elevator. . . .

tomanonymous said...

Jahhhk Blahhk from a flahhhsk


Fucchh!


MOVE!!!!!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I hope this doesn't mean that we can't be friends.

Holy moley, no. I’m just saying I thought Roger could’ve waited 10 minutes, that’s all.

And I do know I’m a bit of an outlier on this one :-)

But I do think webby writers, myself most definitely included, sometimes forget there’s actual humans who might be reading our barbs. I remember over at Charlie Parker, when people were a-waiting the Phil Spector case, there was lots of 'and let this be a lesson to you' type rage in the comments against Phil & all psycho killers & rock ‘n roll excess in general … and then Phil’s actual kid (at least it seemed it really was his kid – he had his own, "hey I’m Phil’s kid" website & blog & whatnot) writes in with this plaintive … “would you mind terribly just waiting for the trial at least.”

I don’t think it ever even occurred to anyone of us that Phil’s kid would be reading anything we wrote. Not that knowing that would in itself necessarily have changed anything, but we’d probably have gone about our business with a different perspective.

Here on the other hand Roger had a very good clue the dead guy’s wife if he had a wife & kids if had kids and friends if he had any friends were going to hear about the Ebert Jackass tweet right quick (if I even know what a tweet is, having never tweetered myself).

Roger meant for his remark to be widely noticed, he knew he had a big audience and he knew everyone’s online nowadays.

it seems to me that the "million pens and TV lesson" argues for immediacy if you want your observation to pierce the moral indifference and information saturation.

But to me it seems that if your point is worth making it will stand the test of (10 minutes) time. Granted it might be that you’ll draw more attention for yourself if you’re first out of the gate with the wagging finger.

On the other hand, I think what the world needs now is more instant real-time proclamations about the Moral of the Story like I need a hole in my head.

And again, I understand different folks feel differently, but I just vote for waiting until the body has cooled before publishing your bon mots about the dead guy and his friends being idiots and lessons to us all. And besides, I always wanted to end a comment with bon mots.

I love your blog Mr. Mule, I really do. And thanks again for reaching out to me back in the day & introducing me to you & Myth.

P.S. Bon Mots!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

You know how you can use your google email address to alert you when someone's commented on your blog and also sends you a copy of your comments on other peeps' blogs? Well my silly 5-hour-old post to Mr. Mule's blog showed up in my google email just fine but not on yon Mr. Mule blog, so this here is a testing, testing ...

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Ha! The Google moves in mysterious ways! But this calls for a copy & paste of yon previous un-posted post, which now will probably post twice and believe me is anticlamactic in any event.

But I'm just annoyed by technical glitches even if the price is right, that's all! Coming up next! Unless it doesn't!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

And here it is, an old unposted but posted post from 5 hours ago which i may no longer agree with (i contain multitudes) but probably do!

Thank ye!

Who Am Us Anyway? noreply-comment@blogger.com to me

show details 6:26 PM (5 hours ago)

Who Am Us Anyway? has left a new comment on the post "Wild West? Run Awaaaaaaay!":

I hope this doesn't mean that we can't be friends.

Holy moley, no. I’m just saying I thought Roger could’ve waited 10 minutes, that’s all.

And I do know I’m a bit of an outlier on this one :-)

But I do think webby writers, myself most definitely included, sometimes forget there’s actual humans who might be reading our barbs. I remember over at Charlie Parker, when people were a-waiting the Phil Spector case, there was lots of 'and let this be a lesson to you' type rage in the comments against Phil & all psycho killers & rock ‘n roll excess in general … and then Phil’s actual kid (at least it seemed it really was his kid – he had his own, "hey I’m Phil’s kid" website & blog & whatnot) writes in with this plaintive … “would you mind terribly just waiting for the trial at least.”

I don’t think it ever even occurred to anyone of us that Phil’s kid would be reading anything we wrote. Not that knowing that would in itself necessarily have changed anything, but we’d probably have gone about our business with a different perspective.

Here on the other hand Roger had a very good clue the dead guy’s wife if he had a wife & kids if had kids and friends if he had any friends were going to hear about the Ebert Jackass tweet right quick (if I even know what a tweet is, having never tweetered myself).

Roger meant for his remark to be widely noticed, he knew he had a big audience and he knew everyone’s online nowadays.

it seems to me that the "million pens and TV lesson" argues for immediacy if you want your observation to pierce the moral indifference and information saturation.

But to me it seems that if your point is worth making it will stand the test of (10 minutes) time. Granted it might be that you’ll draw more attention for yourself if you’re first out of the gate with the wagging finger.

On the other hand, I think what the world needs now is more instant real-time proclamations about the Moral of the Story like I need a hole in my head.

And again, I understand different folks feel differently, but I just vote for waiting until the body has cooled before publishing your bon mots about the dead guy and his friends being idiots and lessons to us all. And besides, I always wanted to end a comment with bon mots.

I love your blog Mr. Mule, I really do. And thanks again for reaching out to me back in the day & introducing me to you & Myth.

P.S. Bon Mots!

mister muleboy said...

Who

Last week, my comments on powerpop would disappear

Don't understand google

Got yer posts by email

You are my hero

Live from mister muleboy

Mythical Monkey said...

Uh, I believe it was intended to make me laugh, and get me out of my funk.

Are you sure? I was awfully tired ...

I kid.