“To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or nothing about it.” Olin Miller
Just that. Think about it. Have the character to just shut up, occasionally.
“To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or nothing about it.” Olin Miller
Just that. Think about it. Have the character to just shut up, occasionally.
As there appears to be little to say ‘different’ on a daily basis, let’s just pause the daily updates on the 100-Day Challenge and get back to philosophisin’.
What do you call it when a person of power constantly picks at and picks on a person whose ability to reply is compromised? I believe in the world of work, school and society they call this bullying.
Now, when the person of power is the press or a comedian, and the person they are picking on is a politician, celebrity or athlete, you might be forgiven for saying it is different, because the politician (etc.) has power. I, on the other hand, disagree – conditionally.
First of all, I am not talking about reasonable criticism or analysis. That’s fair comment by any party. However, when the ‘criticism’ gets personal (appearance, language, verbal slips), or uses abusive language (idiot, idiocy, fool, disgusting, stupid, etc.), or is unendingly repetitive – then a line has been crossed.
The reason I say this is because the politician (etc.) has no right of equivalent reply, because the second they respond using the same kind of language they get attacked for that, as well. It is ‘unseemly’ or (the latest one) ‘unpresidential’. And no media outlet ever accepted they were wrong when they were wrong, in the history of ever. They just do it a bit more.
A bit like that bully who kept picking on you at school. The more you cried, the harder they hit. That is why I believe some press coverage amounts to bullying. From all sides and towards most politicians.
Poor old Diane Abbott made a right noodle of herself over policing costs, and the bullying went on for days. Part of that is because every different media outlet to which she spoke afterwards covered it, but in my view, they (a) asked the questions again and again and again and (b) weren’t remotely interested in her answer. I do not like the woman or her politics, but what the media did – and then those so-called liberal comedians who espouse ‘fairness and tolerance for all’, did – was to bully her.
And I have to ask whether that kind of bullying is made easier because we like it. We like it because the person being bullied is someone who we dislike or don’t agree with. Or we like it because they have money and we don’t, or they want our money and we don’t want to provide it. In sports, it’s because they aren’t ‘our’ team and therefore it’s okay to be nasty. Or we like it because it isn’t us.
In the final analysis, too many of us – and far too many so-called journalists – are just flipping kids.
I love the telly, ‘cos it makes me laugh. The devices they use to enable quick resolution of a plot, which they then DON’T use in later episodes because they need to string things out. And other foibles. For example, a recently bought laptop has a geolocator in it, so they can find it in seconds. Next week, they can’t even open its hard drive. This week facial recognition works on a blurry pic, next week a perfect resolution shot baffles the system. And DNA can be done in a minute, not to mention (a personal favourite) a quick telephone call from NCIS to get a bug in a Mosque – I’d love to see the paperwork needed to get THAT done in less than ‘ever’.
This week, I watched an action programme I won’t be watching again. The good guy had one hour to get from an office in central Las Vegas to kill the bad guy. The lift would’ve taken 20 minutes to get to the front door of the skyscraper he was in, for a start. Never mind his lack of available transport. They also glossed over the fact that when the hour was set they had no idea where the bad guy actually was. Strike 1.
That wasn’t the whole howler for that episode. There was the bit when the ever-present access-from-anywhere CCTV hacked into by the goodies said, “They’re heading south on the Strip!” with a bleeping blob where they were – well south of Las Vegas. Good guy set off and caught up with them at Fremont Street (the famous part of old LV where they filmed the car chase in Diamonds Are Forever) – which is NORTH, and completely the other side of the city. Strike 2.
Final nail in that coffin was when the good guy got the the aforementioned unknown airfield, where bad guy was taking off in a decommissioned C130 Hercules transport plane, built in the 60s-70s would be my guess. Pre-internet/Wi-Fi. Good guy’s IT woman said, “I can’t get into the telemetry to switch it off, but I can get into the hydraulics’, so she opened the door for good guy to run up to the moving ‘plane, and jump on.
Telemetry – implies ‘transmission of data’. Hydraulic systems are independent units with fluid controlled operating systems. How the hell could she NOT do ‘telemetry’ but COULD do hydraulics? Even assuming she could do either? Strike 3.
(Not to mention how Good Guy shot the pilot dead and then bad guy jumped out with the only parachute, so good guy jumped out after him. Me, I’d have got in the pilot seat and hit bad guy with the ‘plane, then landed it with ATC assistance……)
I know that this is all cobblers, really I do. But my experience in the police shows that the general public actually believes this stuff is do-able, so when I can’t detect their crime in 20 minutes, including ads for a cuppa, they go all ballistic on me. And given HM Government’s belief that a computer-centred enquiry can be done with a 28-day bail period indicates that they have been watching the same programmes, where Good Guy deals with one thing at a time and concludes it (a) quickly and (b) before other problems arise.
On the other hand, I do laugh at these script devices, and that is something.
Now, is the ‘Detect Crime’ button to the left or right of ‘Ctrl’?……
“Revel in the ordinary.” M J Ryan
This isn’t a criticism of ‘self-help’ literature – a term I detest – but the well-motivated hype of some of the books and seminars just doesn’t suit a lot of us. We don’t all want to be millionaires and we don’t all want to be super-fit and we don’t all want big houses and big cars. We’d like some of those things, certainly. Our upbringing may have instilled in us the false belief that ‘money’ and ‘stuff’ are signs of a life well lived.
Some of us, on the other hand, just want to be ‘good people’. Living honestly, without conflict, with extreme levels of inner peace from living with integrity. And above all, without the expectation and even imposition by others that we should care for the things they are passionate about, and that if we don’t we are at fault.
Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern illustrate my ‘desire’ for that. In the ‘outer’ Circle of Concern is pretty much everything we hear about, see, or affects us, even if only tangentially. In the ‘inner’ Circle of Influence are the things that are in that bigger Circle of Concern, but about which we can do something. Including ‘care’, as in ‘care about’.
So when someone else demands that I care about things that aren’t in that Circle of Influence – guess what, my response will be indicative of my disinterest. And that’s when the fights start!
(My intent is that I won’t let myself get dragged into such debates, but (unfortunately) I am human and if there’s one thing that will grab my attention, it is when someone uses enormous generalisations about a group, attacks them with vitriolic language, and then tries to use an academic argument to justify what, once a general ‘lumping together’ was used to start the attack, is automatically unsupportable simply because of that initial generalisation! For example, as soon as you say ‘ALL politicians are corrupt’ you cannot then use an academic argument to justify that case because you haven’t met them all. It’s an academically unsound argument! Nor can you say ‘all (opposing party) politicians are corrupt, because your ideological separation is all too specific – and obvious.)
Back to the point. Just because I want to be an ordinary man who occasionally does something great doesn’t mean I should be subjected to someone else’s hyperactive and enthusiastic counsel to spend hours trying to build big piles of money. As a result, while I am in no way ‘affluent’ I am ‘comfortable’ and secure and have no fears. My goal, for now, is to be wholly congruent with my beliefs and values and to encourage others to do the same.
Be congruent. But remember that congruence for you does not mean that I have to believe and value the same things as you. AND in recognising that, we can respect each other’s’ viewpoints without necessarily adopting them. We can disagree and both be congruent with what we believe, and neither will be less for that unless the generalised attacks begin.
And just ‘cos I ain’t rich doesn’t mean you are better than me, or more successful (by society’s standards). Nor does it mean I am better than you because I have neither money nor ‘societal success’. But rest assured – being rich doesn’t make you successful.
Being congruent does.
I’ve recently found that well-motivated people do like to spread the word through social media about issues that they find disturbing. This is all too frequently done through the inclusion of a video of whatever it is that causes this emotional upheaval. Societally the convention is that this is considered a ‘good thing’ because (they say) it ‘raises awareness’. The awareness it has raised in me is annoyance. Why so?
Well, consider it like this. If something makes me angry, upsets me, or even worse distresses me – why on earth do I want to visually inflict it on my friends and cause them anger, upset or distress?
The news channels, the newspapers, the charities and so on already provide this information copiously. There is rarely a day goes by without some bead news being visually communicated to me, often by a charity justifiably seeking funds. In their defence they do so with more measured video snippets because they believe that distress should not be inflicted by accident. If something IS likely to distress, they warn us.
(Have you noticed the repeated charity adverts saying the ‘situation is getting worse’? If that’s so, the money already sent isn’t working, so why send more? OK, that’s a bit tongue in cheek, but Michael Sheen is starting to get on my pip. See also an interesting article on why Ethiopia continues to breed an ever-larger population while still having no food and water.)
Anyway, social media users – if you like me enough to consider me your friend, here’s a suggestion.
If you really feel strongly about an issue, provide a link instead of a video, and let me decide if I want to see it. Provide it so that it doesn’t automatically upload the video e.g. put a gap between the . and the com. Don’t force upsetting scenes on me. Start a conversation about it with me, and see if I engage. If I am interested, let’s talk – if not, let’s move on. Or just use a poster raising the issue, one that doesn’t anger, upset or distress people, but just raises that awareness.
PLUS – and here’s just a thought – please don’t try to involve me unless you intend to do more than just spread the word. If you want to actually DO something, DO IT! Otherwise you’re just pointing and saying, “Oooh, look what they did!”
And that’s the Daily Mail’s responsibility.
In the end, it’s simply a case of your Circle of Concern v my Circle of Influence. If one or neither of us is willing and/or able to do something about the issue other than just shout, let’s waste no further time on it.
English Lesson for Professionals
Notwithstanding geographical colloquialisms, first languages and making small allowances for spelling mistakes, here’s a quick guide to how to alienate potential professional clients.
I’ll thank you for using better English, and I’ll also thank you for not criticising me for helping you by telling you when you’re the one talking badly. And reminding you when you insist on doing it even after you’ve been repeatedly told.
“Principles are the simplicity on the far side of complexity.” Stephen R Covey.
The legal system is a poor example of principles in action, even though you will often hear it quoted as such.
I say this because of the (money-generating, anti-justice) focus on the observance of process over the principle of truth.
UK readers will know of Nick Freeman, ‘Mr Loophole’, whose expertise is on getting people found not guilty of things they did, on the basis of – well, loopholes. For example, a drunk-driving client who was charged by a civilian and not a police officer, so the court erroneously let them off even though I can’t find ANY legal requirement that a police officer read the charges out. Charge-reading is no more than a means of bringing a suspect to court. The message, “My client did what is alleged but you didn’t dot a t and cross an I” does not serve justice, it serves the procedure – and the lawyer’s pocket.
They call this ‘legal ethics’. They are the ethics that allow lawyers to NOT ask their client if they did it because to do so might prevent them defending that client. But here’s a question – if you have to pre-describe a term, doesn’t the term become redundant. In other words, doesn’t the word ‘legal’ before the term ‘ethics’ mean that they aren’t ethical at all?
For me, the overriding question in all human endeavour should be – what is the ultimate purpose of this process? If the process has not been followed, can the principle still be achieved reasonably fairly?
Such a question would rule out the use of deliberate or even grossly negligent errors in convicting people who endanger society, while still allowing us to prevent ‘honest error’ letting criminals and other dangerous offenders getting away with it.
Alternatively – some courts, judges, magistrates and prosecutors should just stand up and be counted.
The paper and internet press obtains video of someone being shot, or someone dying in tragic circumstances. In the public interest, they elect to show the video, or part of it, on their website. At the moment it is the shooting of a 12-year old boy brandishing what looked like a pistol, a while ago it was the shooting of Michael Brown. I’ve seen it on the MH-17 flight reports, any racing crash and so on. It’s the norm.
Convention appears to be that they ensure the placement of an advertisement, one that can’t be bypassed, before the video that is the source of the story.
My quandary is this – who is the sickest? The press for trying to make commercial gain from the ‘death video’, or me for trying to watch it in the first place?
The truth is we are all intrigued, interested or infatuated by death and injury, provided it isn’t our own. So it is (almost) inevitable that we would watch at least part of something like that. Maybe not you, but most people. There is also a ‘safe distance’ between us and a video of events that took place thousands of miles away.
But adverts? They aren’t an essential part of such an experience, and I must question the morality and ethics of s business that insists on trying to sell me alcohol, a car or a Sky channel on the back of a tragedy.
I’ve just been reading “Effective Time Management Using Microsoft Outlook to Organize Your Work and Personal Life” By Lothar Seiwert and Holgar Woeltje. Luckily I bought it ‘Used and New’ from Amazon for under £3 because to be frank, it’s hard work.
I am a great believer in and user of a paper planning system, but as someone who uses a computer all the time I was interested in seeing how I could use Outlook as a time management tool, not only to see if it would be of benefit but also because I am a quasi-time-management consultant in my own mind and it pays to be familiar with alternatives.
It may have been poorly translated but although I pride myself on having a slightly above average IQ (about 101?) I spend half my time re-reading paragraphs to understand what the book is trying to tell me to do. Occasionally the book introduces a concept as if you know what the writers mean, then says ‘we’ll explain later in the chapter’, leaving you wondering whether you should jump ahead and learn something so you can follow what you just learned.
Anyway, I have concluded that while life management through Outlook or other computer planning systems has its place for those who sit at a computer all day and have no life away from it, and it IS a good system IF you can understand and fully utilise it – to be fair it’s a good system if you can only use half its facilities – you cannot beat a paper planning system for simplicity, adaptability and portability. I could understand Charles Hobbs Timepower and Hyrum Smith’s “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management: Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace” in one or two readings. The same applied to Dave Allan’s Getting Things Done, another simple system.
The only caveat is repeated appointments and tasks can be done once on a computer, while they need to be repeated on a paper planner. And you may have to wait until October to start planning next year properly. But how lazy do you have to be to be unwilling to write something more than once? And if it’s repeated often enough and is routine – why do you need to rewrite it anyway?
Paper for me. Probably always will be.
Don’t get me started on driverless cars.
“Let’s make this news report more visually impactive”, someone once said. So they first had that camera zooming in and out ‘thing’ which has fortunately now stopped – it was giving people headaches. Including the cameraman.
But we still have two things that bug me. (Only two? Today, just two.)
First of all, the minor one is the hand waving. In the 60s and 70s we would watch the news and see a static, male (usually) outside broadcasting news reporter standing at attention, mic in hand, brow furrowed as they regaled us with news. Okay, a bit dull if informative, but we now have reporters waving their hands around like windmills, pointedly emphasising every word – so much so that they effectively emphasise none.
But the biggest bugbear for me is the ‘I can walk AND talk’ reporting that is so false it is a farce. It is not THE LAW – reporters and presenters MUST walk towards the camera as they speak. Furthermore, occasionally they must end their input by walking away past the cameraman, like a full stop.
Yesterday I watched a presenter. She was at the bottom end of what was clearly the top ramp of a series of ramps between levels in a building. She then talked at us as she walked up that last ramp to ‘end’ the previous footage and introduce the next article.
Why did it look like she was starting a conversation with us from 30 feet away half way up a ramp, when no one would do that in actuality? Why would anyone start shouting at us from that far away to tell us something that could wait 5 more seconds for a civilised word in our ears? Did she climb up all the ramps – or did she plainly walk down the ramp in order to walk back up it again? Did that movement make any difference at all to the quality of the report?
It’s a cliché. And I hate clichés.
That’s just the way I am.
And a THIRD thing! (I knew there would be.) Why is one newsreader interviewing another newsreader necessary? That does not make a report authoritative, it just costs twice as much! (Why does FOX News need ‘Five’ republicans to criticise Obama – isn’t one vapid, nasal blonde enough?) Etc etc etc.