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Author Topic: It's getting more Orwellian by the day
G2
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
G2, your post still doesn't make sense. An Orwellian remark would be factually inaccurate, like "the economy is in great shape".

Axelrod stated just what he stated - the Recovery Act created jobs and helped the economy. He did not state that the economy is peachy, or even that there has been a surge in overall job growth. And the other quote isn't even a statement of fact, it's a statement of intent.

Read the quote again. Pay particular attention to the part where Axelrod says " the Recovery Act is putting millions of Americans to work ". How does that compare to initial jobless claims?

In the eleven weeks of this quarter, we have had only two weeks below 450K. For the year, we have had only three other weeks, making it only 5 in 24 weeks below 450K. It's generally maintained that sustained job creation does not occur until first-time jobless claims drop below 425,000. We have been above that line nearly every month since late 2008. To make any noticeable dent in unemployment, jobless claims need to fall below 400,000 and stay there.

How is it you think millions are being put back to work, as Axelrod claims?

[ June 17, 2010, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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Al Wessex
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I knew it: It *is* all Obama's fault, and it started in 2008! I guess anybody who can fake his own birth could have created a national problem that immense before he was even elected, but how did he do it?!? If McCain had been elected (there weren't enough smart voters like some people around here to get it done, I guess), then Palin would have put the whole problem in God's hands and we'd be way past it by now. Why is Obama making such a big deal out of it??? I bet that oil spill wouldn't have happened, neither.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
G2, your post still doesn't make sense. An Orwellian remark would be factually inaccurate, like "the economy is in great shape".

Axelrod stated just what he stated - the Recovery Act created jobs and helped the economy. He did not state that the economy is peachy, or even that there has been a surge in overall job growth. And the other quote isn't even a statement of fact, it's a statement of intent.

Read the quote again. Pay particular attention to the part where Axelrod says " the Recovery Act is putting millions of Americans to work ". How does that compare to initial jobless claims?

In the eleven weeks of this quarter, we have had only two weeks below 450K. For the year, we have had only three other weeks, making it only 5 in 24 weeks below 450K. It's generally maintained that sustained job creation does not occur until first-time jobless claims drop below 425,000. We have been above that line nearly every month since late 2008. To make any noticeable dent in unemployment, jobless claims need to fall below 400,000 and stay there.

How is it you think millions are being put back to work, as Axelrod claims?

You are easily proven wrong. Axelrod's claims of millions are in fact accurate. Your mistake is in comparing jobs created by the stimulus (which Axelrod is quoting) to net job growth (in the complete economic picture)

Here you go, from Wikipedia:

One year after the stimulus, several independent macroeconomic firms including Moody's and IHS Global Insight estimated that the stimulus saved or created 1.6 to 1.8 million jobs and forecasted a total impact of 2.5 million jobs saved by the time the stimulus is completed.[64] The Congressional Budget Office considered these estimates conservative.[65] The CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs saved in the last quarter of 2009, boosting the economy by up to 3.5 percent and lowering the unemployment rate by up to 2.1 percent.[66] The CBO projected that the package would have an even greater impact in 2010.[66] The CBO also said, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."[67] The CBO's report on the first quarter of 2010 showed a continued positive effect, with an employment gain in that quarter of up to 2.8 million and a GDP boost of up to 4.2 percent.[68]

[ June 17, 2010, 08:56 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
You are easily proven wrong. Axelrod's claims of millions are in fact accurate. Your mistake is in comparing jobs created by the stimulus (which Axelrod is quoting) to net job growth (in the complete economic picture)

Your mistake is buying into the jobs created or saved propaganda. This has been widely dismissed since it is something that cannot be supported by any measurable metric. Why don't they claim they saved 100 million jobs? You can't disprove it. For that matter, why not claim the saved 1 billion jobs? How do you count a "saved" job? You can't. From the wikipedia entry you quoted, the the CBO says, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package." The saved thing is a farce.

"Saved" jobs is such a fiction that they even reported "saved" jobs in places that don't exist. The ridicule over this got bad enough that last December the administration dumped the terminology.

How about jobs created? Let's rely on something real, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for those numbers. According to the BLS, the economy has lost almost 3.3 million jobs over the last year, and 8.43 million jobs since the beginning of the current employment recession. Yes, that means there are 3.3 million jobs less right now than there were 12 months ago - according to the BLS.

Axlerod tells you that millions of jobs have been created. The BLS says that we're at a net loss of over 8 million with a net loss of 3.3 million in the last year. You should believe both * simultaneously* to truly love Big Brother.

[ June 17, 2010, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
I knew it: It *is* all Obama's fault, and it started in 2008!

Non-sequitur.

quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
I guess anybody who can fake his own birth could have created a national problem that immense before he was even elected, but how did he do it?!?

And another non-sequitur.

quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
If McCain had been elected (there weren't enough smart voters like some people around here to get it done, I guess), then Palin would have put the whole problem in God's hands and we'd be way past it by now.

And another non-sequitur.
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
Why is Obama making such a big deal out of it??? I bet that oil spill wouldn't have happened, neither.

And another non-sequitur. Wow Al, you pitched a perfect logical fallacy post, nothing but non-sequitur. Seriously now, you're running a gag right? You gotta be. Good one, you had me going there for a minute! [LOL]

[ June 17, 2010, 09:56 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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JWatts
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quote:
The CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs saved in the last quarter of 2009, boosting the economy by up to 3.5 percent and lowering the unemployment rate by up to 2.1 percent.[66] The CBO projected that the package would have an even greater impact in 2010.[66] The CBO also said, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."
So "it's impossible to determine" but "the CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs saved..". Hmmm, I'm not going to put any stock in comments like that. They could just as well have said 21 million jobs were saved since, by their own admission "it's impossible to determine".

I think we should reserve this kind of faith based commentary to the churches.

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TomDavidson
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G2: do you know what a non sequitur is? Because you seem to be using the term incorrectly.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
G2: do you know what a non sequitur is? Because you seem to be using the term incorrectly.

Yes, but you seem confused. Non sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow"), in formal logic, is an argument in which its conclusion does not follow from its premises.

G2 would suggest you google it so you understand. There are many examples that will make it clear but we can work with Al, he provides plenty of examples.

G2 made a post pointing out the difference in claimed millions and actual statistics. Al responded with, among others, " I guess anybody who can fake his own birth could have created a national problem that immense before he was even elected, but how did he do it?!?"

Al is using the non-sequitur of the birther comparison (G2 assumes that, that Obama was born is pretty obvious - his birth was not faked! [LOL] ) coupled with another non-sequitur of the job losses from the recession beginning in 2008. Neither of those are in any way relevant to the points being discussed and have no bearing whatsoever on the claims of the Whitehouse or the statistics provided.

[ June 17, 2010, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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TomDavidson
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Ah. I didn't realize that you sincerely believed Al was putting that point forward to contest your statistics. Do you understand why Al made both those points?

In the same vein, do you understand why I pointed out that "engaging in blatant falsehood" is something that Bush did a heck of a lot of, and why that's not actually a non sequitur -- even if it doesn't address the statistics you have put forward?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
The CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs saved in the last quarter of 2009, boosting the economy by up to 3.5 percent and lowering the unemployment rate by up to 2.1 percent.[66] The CBO projected that the package would have an even greater impact in 2010.[66] The CBO also said, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."
So "it's impossible to determine" but "the CBO estimated 2.1 million jobs saved..". Hmmm, I'm not going to put any stock in comments like that. They could just as well have said 21 million jobs were saved since, by their own admission "it's impossible to determine".
"We cannot give a precise number" does not mean "We cannot put a solid upper and lower bound on our numbers"
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
How about jobs created? Let's rely on something real, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for those numbers. According to the BLS, the economy has lost almost 3.3 million jobs over the last year, and 8.43 million jobs since the beginning of the current employment recession. Yes, that means there are 3.3 million jobs less right now than there were 12 months ago - according to the BLS.
This isn't a static flow in one direction or another- the net change in jobs is hires minus separations. Even when the economy is doing great, there are millions of separations each year as people switch jobs, retire, or what have you. It's just that the hiring rather is higher than the separations.

So, taking that 3.3 million as roughly accurate (though a much smaller one year total than it was las month, and larger than the same statistic will be next month) then it means that 3.3 million less people were hired than stopped working for whatever reason in the past year. But their easily could have been a few million fewer hires, which would have pushed up the total number of losses. It doesn't take anything more than simple common sense to see that 1.6 million or so additional jobs could have been created and 2.5 million weren't lost, but that they only, at that point, served to slow the ongoing losses.

We only lost 3.3 million jobs where, without intervention the net loss would have easily been around 7.5 million and growing.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
You are easily proven wrong. Axelrod's claims of millions are in fact accurate. Your mistake is in comparing jobs created by the stimulus (which Axelrod is quoting) to net job growth (in the complete economic picture)

Your mistake is buying into the jobs created or saved propaganda. This has been widely dismissed since it is something that cannot be supported by any measurable metric. Why don't they claim they saved 100 million jobs? You can't disprove it. For that matter, why not claim the saved 1 billion jobs? How do you count a "saved" job? You can't. From the wikipedia entry you quoted, the the CBO says, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package." The saved thing is a farce.
G2, I just showed you that multiple independent macroeconomic firms found around 1.8 million jobs created from the stimulus. Period. You are squirming away from it, but that single sentence defeats your entire argument, which is now contorting around the language of "saved" jobs (which aren't even in any of the quotes you brought up) and the total economic picture (which is not the stimulus) or the fact that the CBO cannot produce an exact number (but did produce an estimate).

There are so many things you could criticize - why not just admit it when someone has found counter-evidence and move on to something else? You could just say "fine, but the stimulus hasn't done nearly enough" or "we still should never have tried a stimulus because of xyz". Instead I'm just going to keep underlining the facts from Wiki unless you can prove them wrong.

[ June 18, 2010, 09:14 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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Al Wessex
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==>"And another non-sequitur. Wow Al, you pitched a perfect logical fallacy post, nothing but non-sequitur. Seriously now, you're running a gag right? You gotta be. Good one, you had me going there for a minute!
...
Al is using the non-sequitur of the birther comparison (G2 assumes that, that Obama was born is pretty obvious - his birth was not faked! [LOL] )"

Is there any point in pointing out that G2's fake persona has no idea what sarcasm is? That, btw, was yet another "non sequitur", because it responded to something G2 said by applying a different concept than he used. Here's another example of the G2 logical phallus rule:
quote:
Dick: Hello, G2 says it's going to snow today.

Jane: You're kidding, right? It is 80F and sunny, which is normal for a late June day here in Michigan. He must be looking at the weather map upside down.

G2: Non sequitur!!! Dick didn't say anything about G2 holding weather maps right side up or upside down. G2 will help you out, Jane: G2 doesn't need a map! G2 is always right when G2 predicts the weather, so it *will* snow all day. It's even worse than that, because there's this, too:

"...woods...snowy evening...fill up with snow..."

Old Frosty's got the facts Jane doesn't want to see, and he *agrees* with G2. More proof that Jane is an *idiot* [LOL] [LOL] [LOL] .

FWIW, for future use, non sequitur is not hyphenated.

[ June 18, 2010, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: Al Wessex ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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People with functioning senses of humor understand that non sequiturs are a major ingredient of many jokes.

People with functioning senses of pity understand that when entities like G2 treat obvious jokes as serious logical arguments, said entities deserve our pity.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Quoted from someone somewhere: "Yr a 1000 times more likely to die because of what some urban banker did n 2008 than from what sm terrorist did n 2001."
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G3
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We are, finally, at the pinnacle of Orwellian statements from this regime.

Harry Reid on the senate floor this morning:
quote:
"Despite all that good news, there's plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they're being told all over America," said Reid.
That's right, every last person who says they've been harmed by Obamacare is lying, according to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. There is nothing but good news, it's a perfect world.

My new favorite:
quote:
...Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sparked controversy on Tuesday when she contradicted her own previous statements by denying that the Obama administration aimed for seven million Obamacare enrollments by March 31.
That's right, despite multiple statements about aiming for 7 million they never said 7 million.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
People with functioning senses of humor understand that non sequiturs are a major ingredient of many jokes.

Talking about jokes and Orwellian speech, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/thats-not-funny/399335/
quote:
When you talk with college students outside of formal settings, many reveal nuanced opinions on the issues that NACA was so anxious to police. But almost all of them have internalized the code that you don’t laugh at politically incorrect statements; you complain about them. In part, this is because they are the inheritors of three decades of identity politics, which have come to be a central driver of attitudes on college campuses. But there’s more to it than that. These kids aren’t dummies; they look around their colleges and see that there are huge incentives to join the ideological bandwagon and harsh penalties for questioning the platform’s core ideas.
Harsh penalties indeed if you don't say the right things. Great article.
quote:
They wanted comedy so thoroughly scrubbed of barb and aggression that if the most hypersensitive weirdo on campus mistakenly wandered into a performance, the words he would hear would fall on him like a soft rain, producing a gentle chuckle and encouraging him to toddle back to his dorm, tuck himself in, and commence a dreamless sleep—not text Mom and Dad that some monster had upset him with a joke.


[ August 10, 2015, 08:56 AM: Message edited by: Rafi ]

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TomDavidson
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Poor whiny a-holes.

Kids today and their respect for human dignity. What is the world coming to?

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Greg Davidson
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Rafi, since you bring up another example of your Obamacare predictions, when are you going to take personal responsibility for the flawed predictions you for May 2015? Ever?
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Fenring
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Man that article was too long and said too little. However, Tom I'd like to ask you if you really find the topic of the article as ridiculous as you seem to claim. Do you remember the comments Seinfeld and Chris Rock made about playing college campuses?

It seems silly to equate kids overeager to use SJW buzz words with false outrage with having "respect for human dignity." Any kind of Orwellian rewriting of language and attempt to shut down conversation on certain topics (which we know for certain college groups try to do, using the strongarm tactic of calling any topic they don't like "hate speech") seems to me the opposite of respect for human dignity. If this seems strange then just remember the language subversion that occurred in Soviet Russia, where "comrade" meant "say what we tell you or die", "party member" meant "overlord," and "happiness" meant "everyone not working for the party living in squalor." They used the right words, and yet calling people 'comrades' did not mean they had any respect for human camaraderie. Thought control is always destructive to human dignity and to the spirit.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Do you remember the comments Seinfeld and Chris Rock made about playing college campuses?
Absolutely! And, yes, I consider those comments the whines of entitled old people.

Playing college campuses has always been a challenge for the previous generation of humorists. Every generation comes up with its own reason. In the early '80s, comedians were constantly complaining about starched-shirt yuppies not getting pot jokes and slacker humor. They all wanted prop comedy and sex jokes, went the refrain of the day.

quote:
It seems silly to equate kids overeager to use SJW buzz words with false outrage with having "respect for human dignity."
It seems, but it's not. This is the same mistake that people made when trying to evaluate the admittedly onerous talk sessions that killed the momentum of the Occupy movement: they assume that the kids are just using the buzzwords and feeling "false outrage," but a significant number of people really do mean it. They are, in other words, honestly trying to create spaces where people can feel unimposed-upon by majority attitudes, and genuinely take this very seriously. A lot of people in my generation, because we grew up steeped in both sarcasm and defeat, see this effort and think, "You know, it'd be a lot more effective to pull an 80/20 on this and just accept that those 20% aren't going to be satisfied." And we might be right. And there certainly are cynical bastards who use the language and methods of "social justice" to just promote their own agendas (or sabotage other people's). But the core of "political correctness" has always been and remains the idea that it's just good manners and sensible governance to treat people with respect, in the way they'd ultimately wish to be treated. It's not always practical, and sometimes it seems loopy. But it's a huge step forward, even if it means some people need to adjust to it.

What marks this generation as slightly different from the one before them, and what causes more problems for comics (and public figures in general), is the very Millennial idea that people should be in constant two-way communication with their celebrities. So if a celebrity offends you, you complain -- and then expect them to do something about it. When I was a kid, if you were offended by a Dice Clay joke, you maybe complained on a BBS or to some friends; if you were a reporter or an activist, maybe you'd be able to whip up some press or organize some people to protest. And if it got big enough, maybe Clay would come out and say something like, "Babe, it's jokes. Don't get your panties in a twist." Now, though, you post something to Twitter and five thousand people retweet it and suddenly the whole country gets to see Dice Clay reply to your Tweet telling you not to get your panties twisted, and now half that country is offended on your behalf. The idea that everyone's opinion can now have potential reach and demand respect is a scary one for people whose job is to be controversial.

The idea that someone might genuinely not care about their opinions is very hard for Millennials. It may even be harder than it was for my generation when we were young. But I expect that everyone will learn to adjust to this, too.

[ August 10, 2015, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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D.W.
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What is the world coming to?
To a place of tranquility, peace and acceptance punctuated with the occasional suicide or murder because some fragile little snowflake cracked under pressure?

Or... less doom and gloom option. You fracture people into two identities. One the public face where they wouldn't dream of offending anyone and are introverted and non-confrontational if not outwardly polite. The other, an anonymous internet persona where they are vulgar, offensive and confrontational lashing out just for the cathartic release or expressing their 'power' in a safe setting.

[ August 10, 2015, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
One the public face where they wouldn't dream of offending anyone and are introverted and non-confrontational if not outwardly polite. The other, an anonymous internet persona where they are vulgar, offensive and confrontational lashing out just for the cathartic release or expressing their 'power' in a safe setting.
Do you believe that every parent who teaches his child polite behavior through spanking creates a child who tortures cats in private?
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D.W.
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quote:
Do you believe that every parent who teaches his child polite behavior through spanking creates a child who tortures cats in private?
Not everyone. I can cite various feline witnesses to that statement.

But I'm confident that there are a lot of "good kids" who's parents would be in total shock to learn what their sweet children do and say online when they don't believe anyone will know who they are or don't believe anyone who might call them out on it is watching.

Much the same way I think people who grew up with siblings will on average have 'thicker skin' than an only child. And I'm not just referring to spanking induced ass calluses...

Conflict resolution skills are gained through conflict. There is a big difference between protecting people and insulating them from the world.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:

Any kind of Orwellian rewriting of language and attempt to shut down conversation on certain topics (which we know for certain college groups try to do, using the strongarm tactic of calling any topic they don't like "hate speech") seems to me the opposite of respect for human dignity.

Not finding certain jokes funny and not wanting their entertainment money to go to them is not the same as shutting down conversation. In fact, it starts a different conversation. If people want to defend their use of offensive words, they have to engage in conversation rather than just taking potshots. These issues are probably conversed about more than ever.
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D.W.
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If you look at it as trying to cater an event with a dish the largest amount of people can enjoy while avoiding some... food alergies. I suppose it makes a lot of sense. You do tend to get a non-adventurous 'tame' meal out of the effort.

[ August 10, 2015, 10:39 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But I'm confident that there are a lot of "good kids" who's parents would be in total shock to learn what their sweet children do and say online when they don't believe anyone will know who they are or don't believe anyone who might call them out on it is watching.
Amen. But perhaps the problem here is in anonymity coupled with a lack of close regard, not in expectations of polite behavior.

quote:
Conflict resolution skills are gained through conflict. There is a big difference between protecting people and insulating them from the world.
I agree. But a huge part of "political correctness" is in recognizing that there doesn't always need to be conflict between what you call someone and what they want to be called. There are people who wish that they didn't need to go through a moment of self-doubt when they choose a restroom; addressing this doesn't require "conflict resolution."
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KidTokyo
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A college campus isn't a comedy club. It's a terrible atmosphere for stand-up. Young people are learning to take themselves and the greater world seriously in a way they haven't had to before. It takes a few years before you're secure enough in your own world-view to have a sense of humor about it all again.
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NobleHunter
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It occurs to me (finally?) that the thing with ******** on the internet is that the internet allows private speech to be public. Where the Victorians could get away with "don't be a dick in public" and be thought the epitome of prudery and propriety, we have to strive "for don't be dick when using ubiquitous technology."
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D.W.
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I thought the thing about the internet was that people aren't as empathic and nice as we like to pretend. Take away consequence by adding anonymity and you get people letting their inner jackass shine.

The worst part, IMO is not the awful things people say, but that they often do so almost without intention to be awful. They want people to react to them, so they use language guaranteed to provoke a reaction.

It was annoying and a little sad when I first started seeing it in online video games by teens or twenty something trash talking. Now it's spilling over into prime time news. In a world flooded with information people know that acting badly = attention.

We use to grow out of it at a very early age but now it's becoming a way of life.

I even do so from time to time. I intentionally over simply my views or express them in a way that is raw or incendiary in order to provoke a response or drag someone from logical to emotional. It's addictive. Both because you can learn a lot about people when you get them 'out of their shell' and also it's a power trip knowing you caused it.

If we really want a more respectful society I think we need to turn all our junior high and high school students into amateur anthropologists and psychologists. Don't shield them from bad behavior. Teach them why we (or some?) do this to each other over and over. Help them to realize real threats vs. those looking to take power you must surrender.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Do you remember the comments Seinfeld and Chris Rock made about playing college campuses?
Absolutely! And, yes, I consider those comments the whines of entitled old people.
Did you see Maher's reaction to the open letter to Seinfeld too? I found the whole thing funny but also scary. Because you have a situation where people who are not professional comedians and don't know the mechanics of what makes people laugh telling comedians what should or shouldn't be funny. What's worse, there is a notion that a comedian is just a joke-teller or something, when in fact some comedians are also comedy theorists and even have deep insight into human nature that only someone whose job it is to see everything from a bird's-eye-view will tend to have. Those at the top are not just joke tellers, they are also experts in pattern and hypocrisy. When an undergrad poseur thinks they know better than Seinfeld or Chris Rock about some intellectual notion of racism, decency or thoughtfulness, as Seinfeld put it, they just don't know what they're talking about. And based on my experience I will say that most undergrads' ratio of what they know to what they think they know is very near zero. But even an astute student ought to realize that unless they are specifically studying comedy or learning from masters then they will simply have no clue what comedy fundamentally is, really does, or what the true meaning is of bits that on the surface sound insensitive but are actually about something serious. Satire takes on funny forms and honestly these kids cannot possibly understand it. I had to work in semi-professional theatre for years before I really understood what satire was on a technical level. Calling top comics "whiny" when they object to an attitude in a potential audience is tricky, because as comedy is one of the most subversive forms of speech when comedians feels their material is being censored you know something mucky is afoot.

By the way I've seen plenty of comedy acts that really did offend me, because the only content of the act was playing on stereotypes for cheap laughs. There was no ironic meaning or statement about the stereotypes, it was just a regurgitation of tired tropes meant to offend but not educate. Yet while I hate this (and consequently tend to avoid stand up these days) I wouldn't ever approach one of these comedians and tell them to stop. If the bucks roll in they're doing great, and if not they're alter themselves. Requesting someone else comply with my sensibilities just seems sick to me.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
This is the same mistake that people made when trying to evaluate the admittedly onerous talk sessions that killed the momentum of the Occupy movement: they assume that the kids are just using the buzzwords and feeling "false outrage," but a significant number of people really do mean it.

No question. When I speak of "false outrage" I don't mean at all feigned outrage; they are not pretending. What makes it false outrage is not the falseness of the feeling of outrage, it's the falseness of the context to justify it. In other words, they have been armed with a glossary of terms of all which are meant to trigger feelings of outrage, and when these terms become the object of one's thoughts outrage will ensue, regardless even of other considerations. It reminds me of the 10 minutes hate, except here it's the 10 minutes outrage. Find an easy target, use your key words, and attack! Some of it is geared towards "protecting" and not attacking, as you say, but note the fine distinction between aggression and passive aggression: in the former you appear militant, in the latter you appear supportive even though your action connotes a basic accusation about the environment. But even for the 'supportive' types of activists one doesn't have to think too hard to see the inevitable connection between saying someone has to be protected from undesirable speech, to moving on to try to halt that speech in the first place. And here we get to the crux of false outrage: Its real function, unlike real outrage, isn't to open up lines of communication and let the truth speak for itself, but rather to exert control and shut down lines of communication so that no statements are made but those that are deemed acceptable. You do know where the phrase "politically correct" comes from, right? It is a hallmark of the Marxist/Soviets, and in reality means that incorrect thoughts and words will be punished, and the state (or its powerful movements) will determine which types of speech are politically acceptable.

In the comedy world Maher even named his previous show Politically Incorrect just to state that he would be discussing topics others considered too taboo or disallowed. The intent of the show was to both get ratings and also do what comedy does best: be irreverent and talk about the things not talked about in polite society. Anyone who truly cared about wisdom and knowledge would welcome subversive speech on all kinds of topics, with the proviso that such speech shouldn't include incitement to commit crimes, personal threats, doxxing, etc etc. And yet the famous open letter to Seinfeld read more like a friendly note from the KGB than anything about what makes comedy what it is, and the truth is that the author of that letter cares nothing for comedy itself; his only concern was to define how he saw comedy insofar as it could co-exist with his set of dogmas. He thought he found a way to make it co-exist, and as many detractors pointed out his examples of how this can happen were all internally inconsistent and also factually false. The ugly truth behind that letter is that it wasn't about comedy at all, but about creating uniformity and eliminating dissent. Very scary stuff indeed.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
What marks this generation as slightly different from the one before them, and what causes more problems for comics (and public figures in general), is the very Millennial idea that people should be in constant two-way communication with their celebrities

It's funny how "two-way communication" using social media often takes the form of person A stating his own opinion or making his own joke, and persons B on social media demanding that he speak differently or alter his narrative. What I notice is that social media has largely been used to exert control over and bully people, even if sometimes for 'a good reason.' But since the ends justify the means it's seen as completely legitimate to silence or censor someone if the result is a sanitized environment. Certain aspects of what you say are quite true, and it's wonderful we can have things like celebrity AMAs and exchanges over Twitter. But the true power of these media is only beginning to show its face and things are starting to look scary if you ask me. Speaking one's mind is not the protected safe thing it used to be, as now an offhand comment will cost you your job or worse.

I'm quite sure there are some well-meaning and wise online activists who do not at all fit into the things I mention, and so naturally what I'm saying isn't any kind of condemnation of activism itself. It's about people who use the guise of topical discussion as a thinly veiled threat.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:

Any kind of Orwellian rewriting of language and attempt to shut down conversation on certain topics (which we know for certain college groups try to do, using the strongarm tactic of calling any topic they don't like "hate speech") seems to me the opposite of respect for human dignity.

Not finding certain jokes funny and not wanting their entertainment money to go to them is not the same as shutting down conversation. In fact, it starts a different conversation. If people want to defend their use of offensive words, they have to engage in conversation rather than just taking potshots. These issues are probably conversed about more than ever.
Yes, but this is only one side of it. The other side of it is consumer culture breaking into meme-thought territory, where not only does a fast food customer feel entitled to demand service as if he's a king, but now intellectual fast food customers feel entitled to have everything they want too, and feel innately deserving to be catered to by anyone and everyone. Weak and cowardly money-oriented administrators are all too quick nowadays to give whiners everything they want rather than take any kind of stand on any kind of topic. We see this major problem equally in the school system as well as in the private sector. "The customer is always right" and "leave no customer unsatisfied" has produced both a material and an intellectual culture where any kind of complaint is automatically treated as the priority, and where any 'group' issuing a complaint has real power over institutions that don't otherwise need to give them that power. And once a shark smells blood he'll drive right in for the kill. Power given is power taken, and no one ever stops taking it unless one stops letting them.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Those at the top are not just joke tellers, they are also experts in pattern and hypocrisy. When an undergrad poseur thinks they know better than Seinfeld or Chris Rock about some intellectual notion of racism, decency or thoughtfulness, as Seinfeld put it, they just don't know what they're talking about.
See, I dunno. You may be ascribing to stand-up comedy a bit too much wisdom. After all, most of the people complaining here about taboo topics are not trying to teach comedians how to be funny; they are trying to tell comedians that, in the process of trying to be funny, they are hurting people. And no one, I hope, is seriously going to claim that comedians are experts at not hurting people.

quote:
Yet while I hate this (and consequently tend to avoid stand up these days) I wouldn't ever approach one of these comedians and tell them to stop.
Why not? Would you object to a friend voicing the same opinions in your presence, even if just to get a laugh? Remember, that's really the key difference between kids today and us old farts: they don't see a distinction between telling something to a friend and telling something to a celebrity, since they use Twitter to talk to both of them.
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D.W.
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quote:
See, I dunno. You may be ascribing to stand-up comedy a bit too much wisdom. After all, most of the people complaining here about taboo topics are not trying to teach comedians how to be funny; they are trying to tell comedians that, in the process of trying to be funny, they are hurting people. And no one, I hope, is seriously going to claim that comedians are experts at not hurting people.
No, what we are (I am) saying is to be a healthy well adjusted person, you must have a social immune system which can withstand some forms of hurt.

A good comedian can act as a vaccine. A non harmful version of the hurtful ideas so you can protect yourself from an actual attack. Or just from a world that isn't all rainbows and kittens.

Are some just using the label of comic to excuse their hurtful actions? Sure. But not all of them. Some are more wise than their outraged audiences.

[ August 10, 2015, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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KidTokyo
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quote:
Because you have a situation where people who are not professional comedians and don't know the mechanics of what makes people laugh telling comedians what should or shouldn't be funny. What's worse, there is a notion that a comedian is just a joke-teller or something, when in fact some comedians are also comedy theorists and even have deep insight into human nature that only someone whose job it is to see everything from a bird's-eye-view will tend to have.
I would think that any "professional" comedian would have the exact opposite view on the matter -- i.e., it is ultimately the audience that tells them what is funny. A comedian wants laughs. It's their job to figure out how to get them. A comedian who takes the position that he/she is a "professional" and that the audience are mere amateurs is not going last five minutes.

And anyone putting themselves out onstage as a "comedy theorist" deserves each and every tomato.

[ August 10, 2015, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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D.W.
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That depends on the professional. Some see a project as an opportunity to express themselves and will do so within the confines of the job. Others measure their success based upon how close to the client's ideal they can achieve. I see both types in my line of work. Neither makes you "better" at the job.

Sometimes you upset or loose a client because you didn't listen. Sometimes they really don't know what they are asking for and your experiance benifits them by pushing your contrary design/opinion.

quote:
And anyone putting themselves out onstage as a "comedy theorist" deserves each and every tomato.
I expect that would be part of their lab work and they would carefuly document the number and ripeness of those projectiles. [Wink]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
See, I dunno. You may be ascribing to stand-up comedy a bit too much wisdom. After all, most of the people complaining here about taboo topics are not trying to teach comedians how to be funny; they are trying to tell comedians that, in the process of trying to be funny, they are hurting people. And no one, I hope, is seriously going to claim that comedians are experts at not hurting people.

Despite what currently fashionable thought says, someone hurting you isn't the same (linguistically or otherwise) as you ending up hurt as a result of something they say. Do comedians cause some combination of pain/annoyance/offence in an audience? Sure. In the case of a great comic some of it is intentional if it's about pointing at a painful truth, some of it will be collateral damage, and some will be really a matter of audience fragility more than anything the comic said. It's not the job of a comic to 'not hurt people'; it's their job to produce laugher and also ideally to educate in a strange way. The most famous comedians always used their art to bring light to truth. This was true of the commedia tradition (exaggerating real behaviors and habits) and clowning, carrying on to physical comedians like Chris Farley and Michael Richards, and finally down to bit comedians who often use strong language or imagery to approach topical issues. George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, and the list goes on - comics who were "offensive" but with the spirit of enlightening and entertaining. The inherent idea is that laugher is a good teaching tool, not that most comics probably think of themselves as educators. But that's what a great comic can be if he has real insight. Would a young George Carlin survive today's climate?

As for whether comedians have the wisdom I ascribe to them, I think it often isn't conscious. With some of them it definitely is, such as with intellectuals like Carlin, Denis Leary and Eddie Izzard, and with others I think it's more that they are savants. They somehow know how to tap into something real and true but they don't intellectualize it. I believe many great playwrights are quite the same, where they know how to write and know what they're writing about but don't have it planned out as a schema and don't think about it in philosophical terms. But they know they did something important, all the same, almost as if they channelled it. Obviously there are levels of quality in a comedian and so someone who's only decent or even lousy will probably be lacking in both insight and in humor as well. I've definitely seen comedy where the comedian's technique was excellent but the material was fluff. But from what I can tell most of the greats had important things to say. Even Seinfeld's routine as an aggregate is very much about the joy of seeing each other's differences and just finding it cute rather than a big deal. The essence of his bits has more to do with intolerance and hate than some essay written by an undergrad for his class, and furthermore it actually does more to help fight these things.

quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
quote:
I would think that any "professional" comedian would have the exact opposite view on the matter -- i.e., it is ultimately the audience that tells them what is funny. A comedian wants laughs. It's their job to figure out how to get them. A comedian who takes the position that he/she is a "professional" and that the audience are mere amateurs is not going last five minutes.

It's not about condescension. Of course a comic wants to make the maximal number of people laugh. But they neither do it by telling the audience what's funny, nor do they do it by letting the audience tell them which jokes to make. There is a culling process that the audience guides where the bad material is discarded, but it's based on the discretion of the comic of how well it works, not based on a few people not liking it. And this is the whole point: In the current climate a vocal minority can have more of an impact than a pleased and less vocal majority. What's more that minority is increasingly acquiring more power than the majority in some cases and it quite intent on forcing their opinion down the writer's throat. Don't forget we're talking about Seinfeld and Chris Rock here, not some newbie trying to make his mark. You don't have to worry about whether Chris Rock knows how to make people laugh and won't last 5 minutes. And he is absolutely entitled to think of himself as a professional who knows better. Part of his skill set in developing material involves the audience's reaction; that doesn't mean they are going over and telling him how to do his job. Those are two completely separate things.

quote:
And anyone putting themselves out onstage as a "comedy theorist" deserves each and every tomato.
Who said anything about that? The theory comes from talking with their peers, being in the Friar's Club, seeing comedy their whole lives, and considering their profession and their material. As with all performance-based professions you have the theory to work on your craft and you leave it at home when you go to perform. On stage you are a performer. And I doubt they are calling themselves theorists because they don't think of it like that. They would just say something like "I know some things about comedy." I'm calling them that because in the case of discussing comedy abstractly (such as what the dude with the open letter did) they are the best theorists there are.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
someone hurting you isn't the same (linguistically or otherwise) as you ending up hurt as a result of something they say
This would be, I suspect, a point of contention among many of those to whom this observation would be directed -- not that there isn't a distinction, of course, but rather that they'd argue that being hurt by something someone said is still reason to ask them not to say that thing.

That said, I largely agree with you: I think great comedy can and arguably must be challenging, much in the same way that most great entertainment of any kind should be. And where that comedy is observational, challenging observations are highly likely to intersect something that might cause offense. Certainly conservatives watching The Daily Show can expect ridicule, just as an example, and might well be offended.

I think the issue here, though, based on what I've seen of this sort of thing in play, is where identity humor is being used as lazy shorthand. Gays lisp, transvestites hit on unwitting "victims" in a bar, blacks drink fo'ties and sit on the stoop all day: it's no lazier than "airline food is terrible," but I'd imagine that unless the audience is full of airline chefs, it's more likely to rub someone the wrong way.

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Pete at Home
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A close friend of mine, a black professioonal comedian, got himself in hot water with a stand up gig on a cruise ship. Apparently he expressed that he "hadnt seen so many brothers on a boat since Amistad." the cruise actually cancelled the rest of hiseaking engagements citing racial insensitivity. I suspe4ct their outrage had more to do with the implied reference to poor food and crowding that actual racial sensitivity. Racism is such a hobby horse in America.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
In the current climate a vocal minority can have more of an impact than a pleased and less vocal majority.
When is this ever not true? It's practically tautological.

quote:
Don't forget we're talking about Seinfeld and Chris Rock here, not some newbie trying to make his mark. You don't have to worry about whether Chris Rock knows how to make people laugh and won't last 5 minutes.
And yet they do have to worry. I'm sure both comedians have had to play charity benefits, awards ceremonies, private functions, etc. where there is a whole roster of verboten topics and words. And you never know how a room is going to be. It's a standard part of the profession -- self-doubt is a constant. In fact, there is a great episode of the TV show Louie dealing with this exact phenomenon, in which Seinfeld appears. And every comedian on every late show appearance faces similar restrictions. This is nothing new, I don't know why it's controversial. Was Lenny Bruce allowed to say what he wanted on college campuses 50 years ago? Lenny Bruce wasn't allowed to say what he wanted anywhere. He was hounded by undercover cops. Comedians these days have unprecedented freedom of expression and it's just bizarre to complain that college kids are uptight and oppressive to the Profession of Standup when any of them can catch the uncensored act at a club whenever they want to.

For what it's worth, I think PC-ness had actually driven comics to innovate. The quality of material by the newer generations is so far beyond the kind Don Rickles/Joan Rivers-vegas-style harangue. Comedians now actually say interesting and nuanced things. I would say the limitations imposed by a more PC audience have been a contributor to this. The audience for comedy is more thoughtful and reflective than they used to be.

[ August 10, 2015, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think the issue here, though, based on what I've seen of this sort of thing in play, is where identity humor is being used as lazy shorthand. Gays lisp, transvestites hit on unwitting "victims" in a bar, blacks drink fo'ties and sit on the stoop all day: it's no lazier than "airline food is terrible," but I'd imagine that unless the audience is full of airline chefs, it's more likely to rub someone the wrong way.

I think the issue here, interestingly, is not about great comedians. It's about how mediocre and bad comedians scrape the bottom of the barrel for recycled tropes and desperately re-use them by rote. It's like a kid who sees an adult make a dirty joke and then thinks cursing is what was funny. Bad comedians are more likely to offend me precisely because they insult the intelligence of the audience and use degrading comments to do it. But I don't recall ever been offended by a great comedian, even though I sometimes recoil at a specific line or don't like a bit. I know that not every joke will be a winner, and sometimes an adventurous comic will go too far or make a mis-step. This is really required of those of them who want to push their craft far and not remain sanitized and safe.

For my part my main concern about the kind of activism that I see as seeking to shut down conversation is that it will be counter-productive in the long term for the better kind of activism, which has a positive and embracing spirit. If we think of activists as those who are trying to help society become better or heal, then we might think of them in light of what an actual healer might be like. Although it's possible to heal someone by telling them to shut up and listen (a la Dr. House) in general people are receptive to healing effects when they feel opened up rather than shut down. I think, as many do, that laugher is one of the universal forces that bond people together, and even the physical effects of a laugh are freeing and invigorating. I suppose in this sense I hold comedy as such in very high regard and feel that its practitioners should be given quite a wide leeway even compared with other kinds of public figures. Naturally the quantitative majority of comedians out there are bottom-feeders (as in all the arts) and any critique of comedy as being needlessly offensive is probably more applicable to these than it is to the greats. Great comedians, as you implied, are needfully offensive. It's the difference between a surgeon and a thug cutting you with a knife. The surgeon may have a license, but more to the point he cuts in order to reveal and to heal.

[ August 10, 2015, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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