Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Petition This Web Site Totally Opposes

Really.

The position of this web site is that even hatespeech should not be censored unless there is solid evidence that, along with emotional feelings of ill will, it's also perpetrating fraud, slander, theft, or a plausible threat of violence. In other words, if people want to say or write "I hate you, you're stupid, you're ugly, and you can't come over to my house," until they turn blue in the face, adults should act like adults and ignore them.

So, the position of this web site regarding President-elect Trump and Twitter is: if you don't like looking at Trump's name, face, or Tweets--which this web site fully understands--you don't have to follow him. It's that simple. You can even "mute" him from your Twitter feed. Twitter is customizable; you're meant to sort out the Tweets you want to read and not even look at the billions of other Tweets people post every day.

Other people want to read Trump's Tweets, and that is their right, with which people who don't like Trump have no right to interfere. The whole point of Twitter is that everybody's news is out there, in headline form, and you pick which headlines you want on your own personal news feed--but not on mine, or on anyone else's.

Last week I heard a certain popular comedian spouting ethnic stereotypes on a radio show. "These women were all Mexican, so you know they had all been pregnant." I heard laughter and wondered whether he was playing a laugh track in the radio station, or pulling a funny face on stage, because to me there's nothing funny about that remark. It's ignorant, but not in a funny way.

Somewhere out there, although she probably wasn't listening to an early-morning radio show in English, there has to have been a Mexican woman who's been trying very hard to achieve motherhood for fifteen years, who would have heard that alleged joke as just plain mean. Well, y'know...that, too, would have been her problem. She has a right to know that this so-called comedian is ignorant and not funny, so that she can avoid listening to him in the future.

But if we try to give her the right to censor him, then what about some other person out there in radio-land, whose son was killed in an accident, who feels pain every time he sees a child, sees a car (or maybe it was a boat or a school bus) or hears someone say something like "I love my son"? (This hypothetical person is based on composite memories of real individuals.) His pain is real. It's immobilizing, disabling. His eyes fog up so that he can't read the document on his desk. His mind goes into that widely documented emotional spiral of "Why can't I be dead instead of my son?" Very likely he suffers a lot more than our hypothetical Mexican woman who's been sneering at the gringos estupidisimos for thirty years. If we censor the clueless would-be comedian, we have to censor all the statements of parental love in the world, too, for the sake of consistency.

And what about, er um, me? Y'know, I'm barely making ends meet here. If I took the time to think about people trying to sell me silly gimmicks I wouldn't even want to own as gifts, I certainly wouldn't feel happy about that. If we censor all obnoxious content, bam! There goes every commercial advertisement on Earth! Because hearing somebody else's radio or TV set (or cell phone or computer) blaring words like "You need a Brand X grape peeler!" when I can't afford what I'd prefer to eat for dinner tonight is very obnoxious to me! Actually, although I happen to be middle-aged and barren, I often feel more annoyed by advertisements than I do by the stereotype that all women are, have been, or have ever wanted to be pregnant!

The position of this web site is that we need to end the insanity, before we get into a position of having to enact laws making it a crime to speak or write at all. Twitter needs a clearly stated policy that all account suspensions must be reviewed by humans and must be based on genuine evidence of criminal activity, as distinct from content that merely offends somebody. Twitter might, however, benefit from a policy that people who try to activate a mechanical banning system to block someone they happen to dislike can be banned from Twitter, and possibly tracked down and prosecuted--maybe we need legislation classifying that sort of thing as defamation of character?

This petition was circulated by Avaaz. This web site therefore calls on people who have, in the past, supported other petitions circulated by Avaaz, to express their condemnation of this petition to the "Avaaz Team."

"
There's nothing Donald Trump loves more than Twitter. What if we could take it away from him?...

Just last week Twitter banned white nationalist leaders after a popular outcry. And they specifically told a reporter that their Rules apply to "all accounts", even Trump's. Let's build a multi-million person worldwide call to hold them to their word -- add your voice:

[link removed] Call on Twitter to ban Trump...

With determination, 

Danny, Nell, Mia, and the rest of the Avaaz team
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