The Griffin Head joke

I hate that I need to reiterate a point I’ve already made, but the week’s story that everyone seems to be talking about – for reasons I do not fathom – is the one where comedian Kathy Griffin holds aloft the severed head of the President of the United States.

TJ Kirk’s video effectively sums up my thoughts on the scenario.

I loathe getting into left-right labelling, because it immediately paints people into categories of “them and us”. People will squeal, “Oh the lefties do this” or “those right-wing nutjobs are at it again” trying to convince whoever is within earshot that there is a good “us” side and a nasty “them” side.

When the truth is we’re all the same kind of dumb animals.

Kathy Griffin’s photo in this instance is grotesque and not to my taste. Like TJ Kirk, I think it boring, pedestrian, and unchallenging. Ooooh, you hate Trump? Great. Join the millions of others on the pile. Fucking yawn.

However, I do not feel it a good idea that I be some kind of arbiter as to what kind of speech is palatable for the masses. God knows I hate a great number of comedians, artists, musicians, and would love to have them never perform a single piece ever again, but I am not that kind of person. Not because I am of high moral fibre, or because I am smart.

But because I possess an “off” button on my technology. I can choose to not listen or watch or taste.

Griffin has since lamented the apparent loss of her career, and many have bayed for her dismissal from any kind of public role. As I said in my previous post, I do not think that instances like these warrant attacks on peoples’ livelihoods. If not because that effectively stifles free speech, then because it reduces all discussion into milquetoast inoffensive words that dare not push any boundaries – even if (and especially if) boundaries need to be pushed. Sometimes we need to be confronted with views.

I don’t mean to say that Griffin’s photo was a necessity, either. As I said, it was boring. There are far more interesting and important debates to be had than “I hate Trump”. But if our reaction to an actual debate is to attack the livelihood of those who engage in it, then this is a path to destruction.

“But the other side does it” is a fucking lazy excuse, too. Do better than your supposed “other side”, and maybe then some moderates might come around to actually listening to you.

As I’ve said: the behaviour you exhibit is the behaviour you endorse – even with your opposition. Especially with your opposition.

Remember Fake News?

This is an old issue, but when I look at the term “Fake News” I am remembered when it was gleefully rolled out by the media when they were trying to come to terms with the Trump election victory in November 2016. So quick they were to discredit non-mainstream media, they deployed “Fake News” whenever they could in order to make sure their readers never strayed from their official, polished line.

There’s an adage in martial arts in that you never bring a weapon to a battle if you don’t have an effective defence should it be taken away and used against you.

And this is what I saw after CNN stupidly reported on a story involving Trump’s alleged behaviour in a Moscow hotel room. Having reported a false story, CNN had the term “Fake News” volleyed back at them.

Suddenly the media was caught with their pants down. Their weapon had been turned against them, and it was all on display for the public to see. There was no sweeping it under the rug. They had misreported and were quickly lumped into the basket with those they had initially sought to discredit.

Scrabbling for a defence, media decided to “retire” the term, and Seth Meyers admitted that “Fake News” as a thing was busted.

The media has since distanced itself from the term, although I do see it regularly deployed in conservative circles now, usually to mock the very media who had created the term.

I personally will never forget how “Fake News” seemed to be the cherished cry from traditional media – no matter how much is it now a baby of far-right dens. The media dropped the ball there, failing to make sure their house was in order before the decided to smear everyone else.

I hope they see the lesson.

Casey Neistat Network

Some could read Casey Neistat’s recent announcement of establishing his own news feed with cynicism. The more amused among people could consider that the Casey News Network shares the same initials as that other bastion of “fake news” CNN, which is only further entrenched when we consider that CNN has a fairly hefty stake in the venture (I understand).

The aim of the venture, Neistat claims, is to provide:

“raw, unfiltered, unedited newsfeeds. Delivering that without context strips away the noise. It leaves you with exactly what’s taking place.”

As others have pointed out, there is also this extra word which adds a question mark or two (bolding mine).

Neistat and his team are now developing a journalist-curated app

This naturally has people wondering about the honesty of Neistat’s aims, but until we see the end product, many should probably reserve judgement. Well, except me, of course. Because I’m going to render judgement right now.

I’m not an avid watcher of Youtube, and I don’t profess to being knowledgeable on the personalities who flood the platform. When I frequent forums, I see people talking about these personalities of whom I have never seen before with the fervour of fans and analysts. But, there is something about Neistat’s meteoric rise to prominence that gives me reason for pause.

The first thought is, “The dude comes from money” which is a fairly cynical conclusion to make, I know. However whenever I read about him, the articles just scream of a copywriter using emotive language to sprinkle bullshit over somebody’s body of work. I mean take the opening line of this article:

For Casey Neistat, life is all about motion.

The line just screams of someone trying to make something more than what it truly is. I think to myself, “Who is backing this guy?” but then I see that he’s basically a selfie-ing billboard, and it kinda makes sense.

However, I simply cannot go past his hyper-partisan video about voting for Hillary Clinton.

 

To me this is the greatest red flag over any concerns about his claims to be making contextless, unedited news feeds. Regardless of the results of the election, when you consider this video, and the body of work he has of being some kind of commercial to anyone with a chequebook, I do not have any faith in Neistat’s supposed impartiality.

Not to play the two personalities against each other (as I understand they know each other and get along alright), but I would have far greater faith in Phillip DeFranco’s news venture, which is launching. DeFranco has been an internet personality for over a decade now, and has built up his channel over a greater period of time, which I would think means that he is more genuine.

Considering his most recent videos have been critical and supportive of both sides of politics, this too lends him far more credibility than Neistat. He is also far more reserved in his judgements of situations, pausing briefly before flying off the handle, which would suggest that he’s not wed to any particular cause and willing to jump at any opportunity to smear the opposition.

Many may disagree with my beliefs – and fair enough – but I have far greater faith with someone who has done the hard yards over a longer period of time, suffering through the low points where they might have questioned whether their work was worth it, and coming out on top. Neistat – to me – doesn’t appear to have ever had such experiences with developing his audience.

I feel that his lot is one of money, whereas DeFranco’s is one of work.

I’ll be watching with interest. My money is on DeFranco’s venture. I think Neistat undid himself when he locked hips with Clinton and CNN. He is compromised, and I am wary of any claims to impartiality that Neistat might make.

What the fuck is this?

I just want to make sure that I am clear here, because I would hate for anyone reading this to think I am being cute, or that I am somehow trying to comedically be incredulous as to the bullshittery I have witnessed here.

But what the everloving fuck is this, Guardian?

Trump possessing a bathrobe is not fucking news. Trump watching TV in his bathrobe is not fucking news. The Press Secretary denied him having a bathrobe, but there’s photos of him in one? It’s still not fucking news. Let alone Political news.

I loathe the internet’s insistence that rebutting someone’s arguments must involve insulting them, but for fuck’s sake, Guardian, help me out here.

It’s exactly this kind of bullshit that got him elected, you know? The attempts to smear his character only made people think he wasn’t getting a fair go, and also made them think they were being manipulated into disliking him.

If you didn’t get the memo from November 8, 2016, it didn’t fucking work back then, and it’s not gonna fucking work now. The people rejected that shit.

Look at this clip from, of all places, CNN.

LOOK AT IT.

The guy is clearly telling the media to stop with the attempts at taking Trump down, and the anchor is still trying to justify their actions.

It’s not fucking funny anymore, okay? God, I hate that we’ve gotten here, but I am livid. Do you guys honestly want 8 years of Trump? Because this is how you fucking get 8 years of Trump. Hell, the way we’re going with all the violence in the streets, all Trump needs to do is set fire to the White House to get justification to suspend all civil rights while he tries to “fix the problem of Communists trying to usurp the Government“.

Going back to that CNN clip, the anchor seems completely oblivious to what he’s being told, and still tries to sell the idea that the media is somehow on some righteous path. No. Even if the media was, they have long lost the trust of the audience. Loooooooooong lost it. Now he insists on telling his ever-dwindling viewership that the media is in the right, when instead he should be saying that he will be trying to earn that trust back. Let me be clear on this point. I’m going to bold it for emphasis.

Don’t tell people to trust the media. Show them reason to trust the media.

Because you know why I’m fearful? It’s not because I don’t want Trump out of power. It’s because the media’s continued efforts to take him out are potentially going to result in conflict on the streets. When those who voted for Trump see that their elected President ousted (whether or not you think it was a legitimate victory or not) they are going to revolt. Trump’s support base believes there is a hidden establishment that is against them, and the act of ousting Trump will only confirm their biases.

And they’re not going to fucking like it.

And they’re the ones who champion the second amendment.

They’re the ones with assault weapons.

You fucking idiots.