Reading too deeply into these things since 1981
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Noiseless Chatter meetup, 2014

I’ll admit this right up front: it’s not pleasant to realize that you’ve said something stupid. Especially since you’re not an idiot.

Really. You’re not. You, reading this, whomever you are: you’re not an idiot. You may do idiotic things. Your name may be attached to idiotic statements. But you’re not an idiot. This is why it stings when you do accidentally dip into idiocy. When you say something that you immediately wish you could take back. When you do something that you know immediately afterward someone as smart as you shouldn’t have done.

But, if I may be so bold…that’s a good thing. Yes. It is.

It’s a good thing to say things that you regret. Regret is a useful feeling. Yet the internet — depending upon the site, anyway — allows us to erase that regret. It’s a nice thought, but it’s unintentionally destructive. It’s healthy to want to take things back…but it’s less healthy to actually take things back.

I’m speaking of a few different things, here, but they all orbit around the same thought: when we say something that we later regret saying, it’s important to stand behind what we said. Not in the sense that we need to embrace the poor judgment that caused us to say it…but in the sense that we leave it there. With our name attached. As a reminder. To ourselves.

In the more severe example on my mind, a journalist recently shared her story about being threatened with rape on Twitter. Yes, it’s the internet, and while these things are by no means excusable it’s also a fact that the vast majority of internet threats are empty. But it went deeper than that. This person shared details about the journalist, making it clear that whether or not he’d ever follow through on this very open threat, he knew where she lived…where she went in her spare time…the names of her friends and loved ones. He’d done his homework, and that’s terrifying.

Worse, however, is that a well-intentioned friend of the journalist reported these frightening messages to Twitter, which then deleted his tweets and his account. Fair enough, except that this threw a fatal wrench into the journalist’s ability to pursue legal action; the evidence was gone. There was no investigation, because there was nothing left to investigate. Whoever this man was, and wherever he was, he’s still out there.

In the far less severe example, I posted a joke on Facebook a short while back. Somebody took offense at the joke, but made it clear through his comments — a steady stream of comments, one after the other, sometimes seconds apart — that he’d missed the intent of the joke. Other folks piped up to let him know he was taking things too seriously. I stayed out of it, but eventually betrayed my better judgment (literally dozens of his irate comments later) to let him know that he was reacting to something I didn’t say. He took the joke, twisted it into something that upset him, and reacted to that instead of what was actually said.

That’s fine. People have every right to get upset. And I’d have gladly apologized if I had actually said something that made someone else upset. The problem here was that I hadn’t actually said, or suggested, what it was that he claimed to be upset about. Eventually he must have realized this himself, because a few minutes later he went back and deleted every last one of his comments. Since there were many people engaged in the conversation at that point — and since they were both addressing the things he said and responding to the questions posed by him — anybody finding the discussion now would only see half of the conversation. The other half isn’t invisible…it isn’t silent…it simply doesn’t exist anymore.

Somewhere in the middle there are hundreds of online discussions I’ve seen where comments go missing, or are edited to say “nevermind” or something instead of what was actually there in the first place.

If these people, and the gentleman who was upset at one of my jokes, came to realize (independently or otherwise) that they don’t actually agree with what they’ve said, that’s a good thing. But deleting their contributions to the conversation is not a good thing for anybody.

As I said before, it doesn’t help somebody who comes to the conversation late; if that person is interested, they should be able to read what actually took place there…rather than only being able to read what’s left after somebody gathered up their toys and went home.

It doesn’t help the people whose comments still stand in the conversation, because it’s no longer a conversation. It’s a string of statements in response to something that doesn’t exist anymore. With one person deleting their contribution, they remove the context from everything else. That shouldn’t be their right to do; if somebody took the time to respond respectfully to something you said, it’s only fair to let your comments stand so that they make sense.

But, most of all, my main point is that it doesn’t help the person who deleted or edited their comments, either. Why not? Because saying something stupid and then realizing that what you’ve said is stupid is an important thing to do, and it teaches us a valuable lesson: to think before we speak.

If we can remove from the internet everything foolish that we say, there’s no reason to stop saying foolish things. It’s important that they stay there, with our names attached. It’s important that we regret saying something before we thought it through. That’s what’s going to help us the next time we think of typing something out in anger. It can give us pause. It can prevent us from leaving that threat. It can prevent us from fighting a perceived insult that didn’t exist. It can prevent us from kicking up a heated conversation that ends with us frantically scrubbing our contributions out before anyone gets a chance to see what it was we wish we didn’t say.

Making mistakes is a part of life. There are a lot of things online that I wish I didn’t say, or that I wish I’d said differently. In most of those cases, I have editing permissions and could theoretically delete them.

But why would I? The more I catch myself regretting what I’ve said, the more careful I’m going to be the next time. That’s valuable. That builds character. That builds a sense of responsibility for the words we say, and the digital legacy we leave behind.

It’s important to take responsibility for what you said. If you’ve said it and somebody’s read it, it needs to stay where it is. You did that. You might be able to erase your comment and your accountability, but you can’t erase the feelings that others had when they read what you said to them. Your responses need to stand, even if — especially if — you regret them.

Because if you delete them, or you have a moderator delete them, or a site decides of its own accord to delete them, everybody’s being done a disservice.

The fact that we can live Cher’s dream by turning back time and taking back hurtful words — our own or somebody else’s — doesn’t mean we should. It gives rise to problems of its own.

You’re accountable for what you say. Wherever you are, whomever you say it to, you are responsible for those words. If you don’t like that, then take a moment to think about what you’re saying before you post it. The correct way out of that noose is simply not to step into it in the first place.

Accountability is underrated. It has been for a long time. We need to start taking it seriously again.

So by all means, be stupid. It will happen. Say idiotic things. And when you do — which you will, which we all will — leave them just where you’ve put them. Feel free to amend an apology, but leave your original words untouched. Let yourself know that the next time you say something stupid, that’s going to stay where it is, too.

You’ll find before long that you won’t be so quick to say stupid things anymore. And that, I promise you, is an awakening worth having.

Upworthless

January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Philip J Reed in internet - (3 Comments)

Upworthy

I hate Upworthy. I wish I could say that I only hate what Upworthy does, but that’s impossible, because there’s nothing to Upworthy apart from what it does. And what it does is manipulate. And that’s damaging.

First of all, I will say that it’s nice that there’s an outlet devoted to spotlighting positive things. (Hold tight to this sentence, because I’m going to more or less dismiss it later on.) But I do wish that that outlet wasn’t this outlet.

Upworthy is all over the place. People share links from it constantly, and I almost never have to look to see what site the links are from; the headlines give it away.

Look at the examples above. I didn’t pick and choose…those are three side by side articles spotlighted on the front page of Upworthy as I write this post. Are those distinguishable in any way from the presentation of spam advertisements you’ll see on any given website?

You know the ones I mean. “Insurance agents do not want you to know about this trick to lower your rates.” “Doctors are terrified that you will learn this secret to healthy weightloss.” Even, “Here’s how you can impress her…the way it matters most.”

They’re evocative statements just this side of comprehensible, and they say precisely nothing while promising a whole lot of everything. It’s what online marketers call “clickbait.” It’s what you probably know as “bullshit.”

It’s not the content that matters. Contrary to Upworthy’s ostensible mission, the site doesn’t care about giving you anything worth reading or seeing…it only cares about getting you to click. The fact that it spotlights positivity in a traditionally negative world is just set dressing…the equivalent of a car dealership hanging up a banner that says “Eco-Friendly.” It’s a way to get people to think that something is different here — and positively so — when, really, there’s no difference at all.

Again, take a look at three other features on the main page. (Full disclosure: I did swap out one story for another…not because the actual image in its place didn’t demonstrate my point — it did — but it used an individual’s pain and suffering to do so, and I did not feel comfortable perpetuating that.)

Upworthy

There’s no difference between this and worthless spam marketing. Any product or service worth purchasing won’t have to hide behind vague incentives to click through; if it was something worth having, they’d tell you what it was up front. Upworthy doesn’t tell you what it is up front. It’s always “This ______ will blow your mind.” “You won’t believe what ________ said.” “This is a video you need to see.”

None of it means anything. Perhaps that fact would blow my mind. Perhaps I wouldn’t believe what _______ said. Perhaps that would indeed be a video I’d enjoy. But I’m not going to click it. Why? Because you’re not asking me to click it…you’re trying to trick me into clicking it. And that’s precisely what people do when they’re hiding something.

Look at the actual examples. In the middle article of the second row, what would be wrong with revealing the topic? Let’s assume it’s something relatively mild, like divorce. If they made that clear, people interested in reading some commentary about this poem on divorce would click it. Granted, fewer people would click it, but that’s because the folks who don’t will know ahead of time that it’s not an article that interests them.

Respectable media gives its audience credit, and letting them decide what they’d like to view or read for themselves is a very obvious form of credit. Upworthy does not give you — yes, you — any credit. It believes you need to be misled and tantalized into finding things you’ll enjoy. And that is, as you know it, bullshit.

I understand the mentality here. Sesame Street was conceived with a similar mindset: advertisements are flashy and funny and engaging, and they work particularly well on children…so why not use the language of advertising to sell them the alphabet?

It worked there. It still works there. I have no problem with that there. So why do I have a problem with someone using the language of advertising to sell “good news” to people?

For a few reasons. For starters, it is a respectable goal to direct children to the things that will enrich them and prepare them for life. The alphabet, basic math, vocabulary words, lessons on sharing…these are the things Sesame Street “sells,” and it sells these things because they’re not the sorts of things children would seek out — or be given — on their own.

Upworthy doesn’t have that same excuse. It isn’t “selling” anything of value…it’s farming your clicks. As evidence of that, ask yourself how much original content Upworthy produces. The answer is zero. It produces no original content. Whereas something like Sesame Street embraces the positive aspects and artistry of advertising, Upworthy embraces the laziest, the most manipulative, and the worst. It’s begging you to click, but if you do, all you’ll find is the work somebody else did elsewhere. In short, they’re stealing clicks from the people who actually did these positive things that Upworthy claims to be celebrating.

They’re profiting off of the work of others. And while they do typically cite their sources, that doesn’t do much good, because Upworthy is reproducing the content wholesale. There’s a link to the original source, but why would you click it? It’s all right here. Far from offering incentive to visit the site in question, they’re collecting all of the incentive and depositing it here, on their own site. Upworthy’s saved you the hassle of actually having to visit the person, place or thing that’s supposedly so inspiring. How nice of them.

It’s no different from a hypothetical site that would crawl the internet for other people’s art and host it locally without permission. Yet when something like that occurs, we get a better sense of the unfairness. We know it’s wrong to download somebody else’s art and upload it ourselves without permission. There’s no question…and if we came upon a website that did nothing but that, we probably wouldn’t bother coming back. It would be obvious junk.

Upworthy, however, seems content to hide behind the “news” side of things. And, to be honest, news organizations do often share sources, and sometimes entire pieces. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this…the AP exists for a reason, after all. But if The New York Times were to copy and paste an editorial wholesale from The Economist without permission, there’d be a rightful shitstorm brewed up.

Upworthy does this all the time, except that they’re swiping content from smaller outlets, and oftentimes independent bloggers and vloggers. There’s no shitstorm, because the audiences are smaller and the stories scroll off the page fast enough that there’s not much time to take action. By the time they get around to responding to your request for removal — if they do — the damage is done. You did, wrote or said something that deserved a larger audience, and Upworthy stole that audience from you. Maybe they’ll take the link down, but by that point the moment has passed, and it’s scrolled down far enough that people stopped seeing it anyway.

That’s…not a particularly “positive” atmosphere, is it?

There’s also the fact that Upworthy’s snatch-n-grab approach results in things getting spotlighted before there’s been anywhere near enough time to determine if it was up-worthy. Take, for instance, this homeless veteran makeover malarkey. Upworthy loved it and pimped it everywhere. Which was great, because poor Jim Wolf’s life fell apart immediately following this session, when he went back to drinking, was arrested, and remained homeless and alone, and nobody had to worry about that because they were still being inspired by this manipulative video full of lies.

If Upworthy wants to use its status as a “news curator” in any respectable way, it needs to issue retractions the way anyone else would. If a website reported the death of some public figure that was later revealed to not be dead, they’d retract it. Of course they would; there’d be no discussion about it. How could there be a discussion about it? Even if that website hadn’t written the original piece, it would be clear that they need to retract what was said. After all, they reported on one thing and then found out the truth was something different.

Upworthy wants to be the positive alternative to general news curation, but it doesn’t issue retractions when the positive content it swipes from elsewhere turns out to be bunk.

Why not? Easy. They don’t care. They only want you to click.

Upworthy’s a poison. It manipulates readers, tricks visitors, and robs from the smaller outlets that are actually doing the work, all in favor of turning a greater profit from the increased traffic. It doesn’t do any good, and it contains literally nothing that can’t be found elsewhere.

Oh, but it does take the time to spotlight the positive news stories in such a negative world. Right? Isn’t it nice to have a news outlet or curation service that bothers to report on positive things?

Sure. It is. And we’ve had it all along. I’m not sure I’ve ever sat through a news broadcast that didn’t feature uplifting personal interest stories or reports on some seasonal puppy parade or something. The myth of disproportionately negative reporting is exactly that; it’s a myth. We tend to remember and focus on the negative stuff because that’s what sticks with us by nature. If a woman is murdered in a local park, we’ll remember the story about that, even if the same amount of ink, or more, was given over to the winner of a chili cookoff.

Yes, professional news outlets do report on positive things. What’s more, they actually check their sources, and are held accountable for what they get wrong.

On top of all of that…this is the internet. You can find anything you want. If you want uplifting stories they’re never more than a single Google search away. You can find them. There are good people everywhere, and you can seek them out in a way previous generations could not.

You don’t need Upworthy to do it for you. And you definitely don’t need them to profit off of treating you like an idiot while they do.

Upworthy is greed. It might be greed with a smile, but in the end it’s still greed. Start circulating the positive stories from the sources that actually produce them, instead of contributing to the profit margins of a company that swipes them. That would truly be upworthy.

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EDIT: I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THIS SHIT COME ON
Upworthy

An Xsms Carol

December 16th, 2013 | Posted by Philip J Reed in books | internet - (11 Comments)

Since the dawn of time, mankind has worked tirelessly to adapt Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into as many forms as possible. The original claymation special has been translated into all three languages, and has also been reworked in film, on stage, on paper, on differently-colored paper, and as a thing with Bill Murray in it. But until now, St. Chuck’s dream of an all-text-message version of his tale of ghosts and old people has gone unrealized. Which makes me, if you insist, a kind of literary hero.

But, yeah, basically I just wanted to play around with the idea of how a story like this might unfold in an age of electronic detachment. I think you’ll agree that NONE OF THE IMPACT IS LOST.

Enjoy. And don’t forget to come back one week from today, for the First Annual Noiseless Chatter Christmas Party, which is totally a real thing and it’s live so if you miss it then you might as well kill yourself because it’s gone.

Happy Christmas!

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

A Christmas Carol, in text message form

Jim Wolf, United States Army Veteran

There’s been a video circulating over the past few days of a homeless veteran getting a makeover. I…am kind of surprised that I could type that sentence and then still need to follow it up with an explanation of why that’s absurd, manipulative and outright demeaning, but with 5.1 million views on YouTube and counting — and a constant presence in my social media streams — it seems that it really does need to be discussed.

So, please, if you haven’t already, add one more view to the video, and we’ll continue. Because as many times as I’ve seen this referred to as “inspiring” and “magical,” it’s really just offensive. And exploitative. And we should be embarrassed by it.

When I first came across the above video, it was spotlighted in this post. The title of that post assured me that the video would give me chills. That was kind of interesting since the thumbnail and description pretty much suggested they were just giving this guy a haircut, but I figured it was worth watching. After all, why would that give me chills?

Maybe at the end his little daughter that he hasn’t seen in years would come out and hug him, or something. That would still be manipulative, but it might also successfully provide “chills” so…okay.

But, nope. It’s a haircut. Oh, and they trim his beard and give him a tie.

Wow, chills. Except for the fact that I grew up in southern New Jersey, and “hairy guy trims his beard and puts on a tie” isn’t uncommon to anyone familiar with the concept of prom night.

So, fine. Chills or no chills, that’s not the point.

This is the point: as a culture — as a society…as a civilization — we’re already doing our damnedest to give every man, woman and child body image issues. All this video succeeds in doing is extending that particular neurosis to the homeless as well.

It’s sickening. And I realize that this requires further unpacking. So, hey, I’ve got some time. Do you?

Then let’s proceed.

The balance of content in the video is the giveaway. Or, rather, the clear imbalance. In a video that’s about two minutes and fifty seconds long, two minutes and twenty seconds are spent on the makeover. The assurance that the veteran Jim Wolf has turned his life around is relegated to two vague slides of text.

Ask yourself what’s more important, as far as the video is concerned. Is it the way he looks? Or is it the more positive direction his life has now taken? It’s not a matter of opinion; there’s a clear answer here. It comes down to the fact that he looked like a hobo, but has now been groomed and dressed up.

To me, it’s more important to know whether or not Jim Wolf left the studio to sleep in a gutter again that night. To the makers of the video, it’s more important to know whether or not he was wearing a tie when he did so. And that’s disgusting.

It comes down to more than just the amount of time the video spends on each, though: the execution is also telling, and more important when interpreting what’s happening here.

We start with an image of our subject, alongside a caption that reads “Jim Wolf, United States Army Veteran.”

That’s a name, and that’s a fact. That’s not a description.

Who is Jim? What’s his history? “Army Veteran” says precisely nothing. Did he serve overseas? Was he involved in any wars or conflicts? Where was he stationed? With whom did he serve? What years was he active? What was his role? What was his specialty?

Does any of that matter when determining whether or not to thank him for his service? Of course not. But it’s meant to illustrate just how vague a descriptor “United States Army Veteran” is. One veteran could have served in Vietnam and been the lone survivor of an ill-fated recon mission. One veteran could have served in Texas during a time of no conflict and filed paperwork all day.

I’m not suggesting that one is inherently better or worse than the other, but I am suggesting that the two human beings would have very different experience from each other. They’re both veterans. Fine. But that means nothing. As human beings, they’re worlds apart.

Of course, the video isn’t interested in treating Jim Wolf as a human being. When we aren’t even made privy to his years of service, there’s your giveaway that this isn’t about helping an individual; this is about the manipulation of the audience.

It’s also telling that Wolf doesn’t get any chance to speak. We don’t get to hear his story. I’m sure he has one, but the video is more interested in the fact that a disheveled man gets a haircut. What, exactly, is meant to be inspiring about this again?

Well, I’ll tell you: the music and the editing. That’s what’s meant to inspire. Not the substance (because there is none), not Wolf’s story (because it actively prevents us from hearing it), and not the assurance that Wolf is going to be any better off (because…well, we’ll get to that).

The score builds and layers and rollicks toward triumph, and the time-lapse nature of the editing hurtles toward a grand reveal. It’s a bait and switch, and one borrowed from the most deliberately misleading film trailers. It wants to generate a certain feeling in us, but it’s a feeling that the material itself cannot provide. It’s the hollowest possible kind of “inspiration,” and it’s one that only works because it withholds the humanity.

What if Wolf spoke? Well, he probably wouldn’t sound like Ryan Gosling or Alec Baldwin so it’s not worth hearing him. After all, he might sound human. Or, worse, he might sound like the actual homeless guy that he is. You know…raspy and sick and probably a little upset that the country he served is now content to let him sleep outside on frigid nights. We can’t let that come across, otherwise the haircut might seem…oh…a little silly.

Wolf has a problem. That problem is the country he lives in. That problem is that country’s approach to dealing with the sick and the poor and the unemployed and the homeless.

That problem is emphatically not going to be solved by a haircut, a shave, and a necktie. And yet this makeover video wants you to come away feeling that it is solved that way. Because that’s easy. That’s visual. And, what’s more, it’s easy on the eye.

This constant whitewashing of our problems is the problem.

You don’t fix what’s wrong with your society through makeovers, through songs, or through speeches. You stand up and you say, “This is wrong. This is a problem. And we are going roll up our sleeves and we are going to fix this because if we see something is wrong and we don’t do that, then who are we?”

And then you know what we do?

We actually do that.

We don’t make a video about it.

We don’t circulate a link on Facebook.

We don’t wear a ribbon or put a sticker on our car.

We get. The fuck. To work.

And if we don’t do that…then who are we?

Of course, all of my points above are moot in the face of the fact that this Homeless Veteran Magic Haircut (patent pending) turned Jim Wolf’s life around.

Right?

…right?

Well, let’s look at all two of the unverifiable sentences that suggest that that’s the case. The first one reads, in its entirety, “Since filming, Jim has taken control of his life.”

Huh. Well, ya don’t say.

What does that mean exactly? What can that mean? The lengths to which the video goes to keep any specific information about Wolf away from us is almost frightening.

Forget Wolf for a moment. Do you have control of your life? Do I? Of course not. How could we? Life is full of curveballs and unexpected obstacles and problems that need to be overcome. What does it mean to “take control” of one’s life?

Does it mean you find employment? Find love? Manage to scrape together enough change to buy groceries? Live through the night? Get handed a blanket by a good Samaritan?

It’s different for everybody. Which is why it’s entirely meaningless. It’s a nice thing to hear, but it says, again, precisely nothing.

Jim Wolf is not a human being. At least, not in the eyes of this video. Jim Wolf is a homeless veteran, brought into a studio to be made a spectacle of. The filmmakers don’t care about him, and they didn’t. If they did, they’d know something about him. And therefore so would we. Instead, for all we know, he’s back on the streets.

Oh, but the second slide reads (again, in its entirety), “He is now scheduled to have his own housing and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time ever.”

Well, that’s more specific. …kinda.

What does “scheduled to have his own housing” mean? It still sounds suspiciously like “nothing” to me. And does that mean he’s still sleeping on the streets? Couldn’t Degage Ministries — who so kindly pulled a homeless man off the streets to solicit donations and then released him back onto the streets — give him a place to stay? Maybe they did, but then why wouldn’t they say that?

After all, if their objective is to inspire me with this magical video, I can say conclusively that I’d be far more inspired by hearing that some ministry gave a homeless man food, clothing and shelter than I am by hearing that some ministry gave him a haircut and a pat on the back. And I’d hope to God that you would be, too.

There’s also a grammatical issue with the AA claim, as you can’t keep “attending” something “for the first time ever.” Due to that I’m not even sure what the truth is. Did he go once? Does he keep going? I think it’s the latter, but how would they know that? He can stop at any time. And even if he doesn’t, should this really be his priority when he still doesn’t have a place to live?

The video isn’t inspiring. The video is sickening. By taking a homeless man and framing a shave and a haircut as the solution to his problem, they’re robbing the problem of its bite. They’re making it something we need to worry less about. And, what’s more, it makes all those dirty, bearded homeless people look like they just don’t care. After all, if they really wanted to turn their lives around, they’d put on a tie. Just look what it did for old Jim Wolf!

Don’t circulate the video. Please. And if somebody you respect does, send them here. Or talk to them about it.

You’re not stupid if you looked at this and felt inspired. That’s what it was designed to make you feel.

But you shouldn’t feel inspired by anything that takes a serious, profound problem with the very core of the society in which you live, and presents it as trivial and easily overcome.

You’re better than that. And Jim Wolf, whoever he is, wherever he is, deserves better than that. The truly respectful thing to do for Wolf would be to treat him as a human being. This video decidedly does not.

Thank you for your service, Jim. And I’m sorry this happened to you.

Peaking Good

September 20th, 2013 | Posted by Philip J Reed in internet | Meta - (6 Comments)

Breaking Bad graph
Click to make graph bigger. You didn’t need me to tell you that. I told you anyway.

Every so often I’ll log into Google Analytics. There’s nothing for me to do there except laugh at some incoming search terms, say to myself, “I should compile them all into a very funny article!” and then spend hours upon hours not doing that.

But the last time I checked, I saw a pretty big spike in visits. I usually hover around 100 per day. Sometimes more, sometimes certainly less. But it’s a nice number and I’m happy with it.

I saw the spike was almost 500 though, and wasn’t sure what to make of that. I reached out to a friend of mine (who sometimes can be spotted in the comments, like a cybersasquatch) and asked if she could help me figure out what caused the spike. I thought maybe somebody posted a link on Reddit or some such thing, which would account for a whole host of new faces that saw what they came to see and then moved along.

And we never did identify any specific culprit, but as I looked back down the line, I noticed more spikes. Each of them on a Monday, each larger than the one before. And then this past Monday hit, and I checked again, and what do you know: 1,564 visits…and 1,438 on Sunday night. That’s Breaking Bad time.

So…well, I just wanted to say thank you. This is incredible. I would have thought I was doing pretty well to pull 200 hits a day at some point…now I’ve hit about 3,000 in two days. Even though I’m not getting an extraordinary number of comments on the reviews, they’re obviously pulling in visitors…and those that do come in seem to be coming back the next week, along with even more new faces.

This means more than I can say, so thank you. And I do hope you stick around when the show ends, and I find something else to aimlessly rattle on about.

Seriously, this is by far the most attention my blog’s ever gotten, so if anyone out there wants to let me know how you’ve been finding me, I’d appreciate it. I can’t shake the suspicion that some kind soul is funneling folks my way, and if that’s the case I’d like to thank him.

I know it’s not much in the grand scheme of things…but to know that anything I’ve written had a readership that numbers in the thousands? That’s enormously flattering.

So thank you. Again. And feel free to get in touch or leave comments. They tend to be better than anything I said in my reviews anyway.

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