Friday, December 23, 2016

Adam Saleh: Post-Truth, Fake News Poster Boy

YouTube prankster/troublemaker Adam Saleh is in the news because he claims he was kicked off of a Delta flight from London to NYC because he spoke Arabic on the plane and it freaked people out.

Now, if this is the straight up, absolute truth, yes, indeed, that isn't cool. But, there are more than enough reasons to doubt the fact that this whole thing really is about him speaking Arabic and why this is a perfect example of post-truth fake news.

Adam Saleh uploaded a video onto twitter of him and his friend being hoofed off a plane as he called everyone around him racist and was loudly complaining about how he was being kicked off for talking to his mom on the phone in Arabic.
It has been shared around the internet and seeming every major news outlet grabbed onto the story. It kicked off a #boycottdelta hashtag and people screamed about discrimination and how this is the new norm in Trump's America, etc, etc.

Now, a number of sources (including countless of people on social media) are saying he was kicked off the flight and the whole thing was caught on tape. His supporters are saying it can't be refuted because there it is, right on tape. People are convinced that it happened...because of this video evidence.

Well, what does the video ACTUALLY show? It doesn't show the incident that happened that led up to him and his friends being kicked off the flight. It doesn't show that at all. Not on there. Can't be seen. Evidence doesn't exist. All we see in the video is Saleh calling everyone around him racist, berating people and being a loudmouth claiming he was being kicked off because he spoke Arabic.

So, no, the whole thing was NOT caught on video. Very little of this event was actually caught on video. And yet, there are those claiming that the whole thing was caught on video and the evidence is irrefutable. And people are angry, saying Delta is racist and they will never fly with them again.

Now, I was not there. I don't know what happened anymore than most of those who have decided they won't fly on this airline do. Yet, people believe that based on the video they know exactly what happened. don't. This is post-truth thinking. It seems people are almost convinced that they have seen something they actually have not seen. Mix that with the knee jerk outrage people are showing online, and voila, you have a perfect fake news story going viral.

Now, this video needs to be put in context. Adam Saleh is a YouTube "star" with thousands of followers. He is known for making "social experiment" videos to try and catch people in the act of being racist or "islamophobic". He agitates and "race baits". And, he pulls crazy stunts.

Look, the possibility does exist, of course, that despite this problematic reality, what he says happened actually happened (although there seems to be enough statements, including from the airline itself to cast significant doubt). But, all of the evidence has to be looked at here.

All kinds of people all over the world get onto a plane every single day speaking all kinds of languages. Very, very infrequently do people get chucked off planes for racist reasons or because they are Muslim. It's extremely rare, even though I have seen people on twitter say it happens on a daily basis. It does not. It isn't because there are very few companies willing to put themselves under that level of scrutiny for making a mistake such as that, even though it has happened at times. But, the last thing most airlines want is to be caught up in a controversy. It's bad business.

So, given that, what are the chances that the one dude, out of very few, that got kicked off a plane for speaking a different language or being Muslim just happens to be a vlogger who makes a living off of pulling stunts EXACTLY like this one? Think about that, honestly. That is the context here. We have a man who would go to the ends of the earth to make a video trying to prove society is racist and "islamophobic" and an airline that really does NOT want bad publicity? Who do you think would be the agitator here? Who has the most to gain...and who has the most to lose?

Now, it has been pointed out that, yes, indeed, these kinds of weird things have happened before, but, once again, VERY rarely. One incident was a Muslim couple who were kicked off a flight because the husband was nervous and sweaty and the wife was on her cellphone and the word "Allah" was mentioned. This made a flight attendant uncomfortable and the couple were removed from the flight. It was a BAD mistake. The couple were perfectly innocent and the airline admitted their mistake and did what they can to make amends. It was a sad case that every airline should, and most likely did learn from. And, no, a major airline will do everything it can to avoid a mistake that will make them look bad and start a call for a boycott.

In the end, we may never know the actual truth. Few people were there and saw what happened. The story has taken on a life of it's own and being used as an example to push certain agendas, whether it be the idea that everyone and everything is racist and islamophobic...or that Muslims are liars and there is no racism and it's all made up. Both sides...are very wrong, and this story has fed into both of them perfectly. It is a story sent from heaven for both sides who insist they know the truth here...but don't.

Personally, ya, I'm highly sceptical of Adam Saleh's account. But, I acknowledge that I wasn't there. I acknowledge that I don't possess the absolute truth here. I may not believe him, but that doesn't mean the chances that this happened are zero. Who knows. I don't see it as an example of how crazy Trump's America has suddenly become as some want to sell this as. I don't believe for a second that the majority of people who are true victims of hate and abuse are faking it, as some seem to say a video like this shows. It's clear that something happened, but it's difficult to say exactly what. I can only look at the evidence we have...and, in my view, it seems to stack up against Adam Saleh and we appear to have a bogus event that has triggered knee jerk reaction and proved that the truth really doesn't matter here at all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Stop Trying To Educate, Woke Peeps

You know what people absolutely LOVE? When they are told what to think, how to act and what to do! Yes, I do mean that sarcastically. Clearly, there are few people on this planet who like it when people belittle them by telling them how they should conduct their business. This is where my fellow friends on the left are failing. All these "woke" peeps intent on educating the masses by blasting everyone about how racist or bigoted they are isn't going as smoothly as some would like it too.

The fact of the matter is, too many of these woke folks are intent on controlling what people think and do. They haven't figured out that no one can control anyone else but themselves. You can't control the masses. You can only control how you, personally, conduct yourself in the world. Instead of badgering, lead by example. That's about all you can do.

Oppose racism? Don't be racist. Oppose sexism? Don't be sexist. Oppose bigotry? Don't be bigoted. It's pretty simple. You can't just go around thinking you'll educate everyone that you think are doing life wrong. It just doesn't work. It pisses people off. They get their backs up. They end up loathing you. And you have achieved nothing. If your goal is to achieve nothing, well, there you go. You are a success!

Stop trying to educate, and focus on how YOU act. Be an example, not an unsolicited educator. Make the world a better place through your actions, not through your aggression or egotistical self serving attempts to educate everyone you disagree with. Be the change...not the jerk.

I should also note before ending this that I have often fallen into the trap that I rail against here. I am getting older now. I'm 42 years of age and my understanding of the world is altering all the time. My ideas develop and grow as I learn and experience. That's the way life is...a constant learning experience. Enjoy!

Originally posted at Allthink.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Who Said It First. Donald Trump or SJWs?

I wrote this originally as a Facebook status. Then I put it on AllThink. Now, I'm re-RE-posting it here...

You've heard the story no doubt about Donald Trump being upset that Mike Pence went to see "Hamilton", was booed and then at the end called out by the cast. Trump tweeted that the theatre should be a safe space and the cast should apologize to Pence. Here was my Facebook status response. "Donald Trump says that theatres should be safe spaces. HAHAHAHAHA! NO! No. They are places where ideas should be challenged. They are places for ideas to be expressed. The Arts is a place for the mind to take a million different paths, some comfortable and many that aren't. NOW, if we can just get the ban, censor, dox happy, no platforming, safe space demanding left to realize this, we would be getting somewhere. Whether it is a concert venue, a play, a comedy club, an art gallery, or a book store, the space is not safe. There will be something there to offend at least one person, whether it be the name of a band, lyrics, writing from a dark place, uncomfortable paintings or sculptures, performance pieces, or a comedy routine that uses off colour and disturbing ideas, we must stop demanding a complete cleansing of these environments. No, a homophobic and scary VP is not immune to being criticized at the theatre. And no, a left wing social justice frontliner is not immune to being offended in artistic settings.

But, furthermore, this should be the case not only in artistic settings, but also colleges and universities, places where ideas should be openly discussed, challenged and hashed out. You are most likely aware of the situation that exists on some campuses, and how free speech and the free flow of ideas is being heavily curtailed. It isn't right wing Trump supporters who are doing this. Not in the slightest. It is the left, or at least some on the left, who are doing this. So, before anyone on the left gets too high and mighty and starts to mock Trump for a very mockable statement, you should look and apply the same mocking to the idea some on the left have that they, as well, should exist in a massive safe space free from challenge.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Protesting Trump Is The Right Thing To Do

When a man threatens to punish women for having abortions, demonizes huge swathes of the population, surrounds himself with the scariest of far right politicians like Mike Pence who has done everything in his power to block any laws protecting the rights of LGBT people, openly brags about sexual assault and treats women like pieces of meat, condones and encourages violence, declares war on the media, has made it a top priority to take away health insurance from millions of Americans, makes enemies of neighboring countries, mocks disabled folks and refuses to pay taxes, ya, you bet people are going to take to the streets. It's not a matter of being sore losers. It's now a matter of fighting to protect rights and dignity. It's now a fight against promises of increased oppression. It's now a fight against a list of ideas that can only be described as fascist. That said, don't destroy shit. 

And, when protesting, do keep in mind that if Trump supporters protested, it would probably be mocked and derided in the same way that anti-Trump protesters are being treated. So, don't get too pissed off at them. Understand that if everything was reversed, Trump supporters would be upset as well. They wanted change. They were unhappy as well. This whole campaign was SO polarized and the differences between the two sides so stark that there is no way that this was going to end on election night. No matter who won, someone was going to be taking to the streets and it wasn't going to be a pretty scene.

So, protest. Everyone has that right. But, destroying property and violence can't be seen as acceptable. Go forth, speak your mind, scream, yell...and as said above, don't break shit.

Originally posted at Allthink

Monday, November 7, 2016

Yes, It Is Perfectly Fine To NOT Vote

As we get closer to the election, the "YOU MUST VOTE!!!" rhetoric is ratcheting up. The message is that if you don't vote, you are being an idiot who is passing up on your right and that is WRONG. Ugh.

Look, yes, countries like Canada and the US are democracies. You have the right to vote for who you want to lead the country. BUT, you also have the right NOT to vote if you wish. It is your choice. Don't feel guilted into voting. If you don't see anyone on the ballot you wish to vote for and you decide to not vote, that isn't a bad thing. You have not done anything wrong by doing that. Yes, elections are important, but democracy doesn't end at the ballot box. You still have a say on issues between elections and there are still ways to make your views known. If on election day, you decide not to vote, there really is nothing wrong with it and anyone that says otherwise is being stupid.

For example, right now, I am on twitter and I am looking at a tweet that reads, "If you don't vote you have no right to complain." Yes, you do. You still have a right to complain. You have a right to complain about a lot of things. You have a right to complain that there aren't any options you wish to vote for or even feel good about voting for. You can complain because, as I said above, democracy doesn't end at the ballot box. Just because you aren't part of election day doesn't mean your voice is gone. It just means you chose not to be part of that particular exercise. All of your rights are still intact and don't disappear if you decide NOT to vote.

 Also, you know what, if you decide to vote, you should not feel guilty about who you decide to vote for. What I mean in this case is that if you decide that you want to vote for a third party candidate, do it. Vote as you see fit. It is your voice after all. Ya, there is a lot of rhetoric about how a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump or it means you are throwing away your vote. No. You are voting for who you feel you want to vote for. You have that right and no one has the right to take that away from you and you should not feel guilty. And I say that hoping that each and every American doesn't vote for Trump and puts their votes towards making Hillary president (because as a Canadian, she is the one that would be best for MY country in the long run). But, even though I feel that, it is ultimately YOUR choice to make and you should make it free of guilt.

 So, let's recap. You are not a bad person if you decide not to vote. You are not a bad person if you decide to vote third party. It is totally up to you. It isn't up to anyone else. It is up to YOU. It's YOUR decision and you deserve to have full control over that decision.

(Originally posted at Allthink)

Friday, August 26, 2016

So, You Say You Can't Be Racist?

I've been told that someone who is not white cannot be racist. Hmmmm. Okay.

That's fine. Okay. Even though racism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against people based on their ethnicity or skin colour and that skin colour is not specifically stated to be anything but white I'll play along with that for the sake of argument.

But then, I see the same people break into the exact same rhetoric that someone who is white would be chastised for because it's racist. Okay. But, we have determined that you can't be racist towards someone who is white. Got it.

So, let's make a new term for it. Well, not even a new term. Let's bring in a tried and true term. We won't use racist...we will just say that if you choose this type of rhetoric you are an asshole. You may not be racist apparently, but you are still being an asshole. Copying the rhetoric of other assholes that you have a problem with because you see it as racist is still being an asshole. You are no better than the person you dub racist if you are saying the exact same type of things but justifying it by saying you can't be racist because you aren't white.

So, the fight against racism is against people being assholes, if you really break it down. So, being an asshole as well accomplishes...what? How does this further us as humans? How does it improve discourse? How does it break down barriers? How does it encourage love, caring and bonding? How does this build bridges?

Oh doesn't.

So, what kinds of rhetoric am I talking about? Glad you asked. I just happened to have a blog post full of them from my personal blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted at Allthink

Friday, July 1, 2016

Guns, Guns, Guns!

I don't get guns. I don't get why people want them. I don't get the appeal. I don't get the need, for the most part. I just don't understand how people can equate guns with freedom. No one is free if they are shackled to a gun and always looking over their shoulder. That isn't freedom. To me, freedom is NOT having a gun...not needing a gun. I don't see freedom in guns. I see death. I see destruction. I see war. I see violence. But I don't see freedom. Yet, there are people who cling to their weapons and claim that it is giving them freedom. It is a concept that is beyond my understanding. But, whatever. If you love your hunks of murderous metal that much, have them. Enjoy. Just keep them away from me and for gawd sakes, don't frickin' shoot me. Go off and play bad boy with a gun. Have the time of your life. If it makes you feel special and all tingly, enjoy. I don't want to take away anyone's gun...well, unless that person is bound to end up slaughtering people. Then I think it's a good idea to make sure that a person doesn't have a gun. But, whatever. If a person has a gun and they aren't bothering me with it, knock yourself out. It's you and your families life, statistically, that you are playing with. As long as you don't play with mine and put me in danger, then go nuts.

Originally written for Allthink