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Posts tagged culture

Iran’s blogfather: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are killing the web (The Guardian)

Even before I went to jail, though, the power of hyperlinks was being curbed. Its biggest enemy was a philosophy that combined two of the most dominant, and most overrated, values of our times: newness and popularity. (Isn’t this embodied these days by the real-world dominance of young celebrities?) That philosophy is the stream. The stream now dominates the way people receive information on the web. Fewer users are directly checking dedicated webpages, instead getting fed by a never-ending flow of information that’s picked for them by complex and secretive algorithms.

I miss when people took time to be exposed to opinions other than their own, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares, and best time to post.

The whole article is worth reading but that last paragraph is a truth I can’t agree with enough. It seems like it is harder and harder to just write something and have someone read it or take a picture and have people enjoy it. Instead everything has to be “curated” and cared for to catch as many views and likes as possible.

I am even guilty of it here. On Twitter I linked to my link post here rather than the article itself. I want people to read my thoughts on the article rather than the article alone…

Joe Wilson’s explosive comment during President Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress was inappropriate. He apologized, end of story. Right? Wrong.

His two words have caused an uproar on the internet, the television and the radio, diverting attention away from the real issue; Healthcare. One blogpost writes Wilson’s comments off as poor “civility” and claims such a virtue is not one at all:

Civility is one of our favorite fake virtues. Real virtues like kindness, charity, or honesty ask something of us—but civility is satisfied so long as we speak in a certain tone and refrain from using certain words. We might spread lies that lead to unnecessary war—but we do so politely. If we grind the faces of the poor into the dust—at least we do it with well-polished boots. We are a nation of wealth and taste.

Sure, it sounds like a decent argument on the surface, but the tactic here is to add language that again, distracts from the argument. Lies are lies are lies, no matter who spreads them. The disturbing part is the recent revelation that the two examples of where healthcare failed used by the President in his speech were embellished. Ok, so he didn’t tell the whole truth, but wait, that sounds familiar if you listen to the rhetoric on Bush’s Iraq policies.

It is just more proof that neither side is better than the other and they both have their share of crooks, liars, and whackjobs. Trying to claim moral high ground on the basis of political ideology is about as dumb as looking into a gas can with a lighter. Your politics may be shaped by your morals but loose blanket statements on issues doesn’t pass the muster test. If you believe in virtues, then you have to abide by all. It’s not some moral buffet where virtues can be cherry picked when they suit a purpose.

So maybe it’s time to forget civility and try kindness, humility, temperance, charity, patience, diligence, chastity, and justice. I’m sure that out of those eight civility will become a given.