Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal editors

The following is an email I sent to the Wall Street Journal (email: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com) yesterday after their hit piece on the Youtube star, Pewdiepie, came out. Hard to believe that the Wall Street Journal has now fallen to the levels of the National Enquirer and Buzzfeed but here we are. Without further ado;

Dear WSJ Editors,

 I am writing about a piece that recently appeared in your pages concerning the Youtube personality Pewdiepie. I believe it was written by Ben Fritz, Jack Nicias, and Rolfe Winkler and was, more or less, a hit piece.
     Now it being a hit piece isn’t that concerning. They happen all the time and many papers thrive on them. What is concerning, however, is that the WSJ felt it was necessary to put three reporters on this story. In today’s day and age with the desire for actual journalism at an all time high I find it curious that such an amount of resources would be dedicated to watching Youtube videos and reading a blog to pull quotes out of context to smear a Youtube star. Does that sound like the act of a healthy business or one desperately attempting to stay relevant? Never mind that those reporters could have been allocated to a worthwhile story like investigating the wage gap or discerning the truth about the reports of widespread sexual assaults by migrants and refugees in Europe. But no, why look into serious subjects when you can assist in a libel campaign to silence someone who is making jokes you don’t like.
      If you ever sit in your office and wonder ‘why are we a failing industry?’ look no further than this. The Wall Street Journal, bastion of financial news, commits three full time employees to framing the #1 Youtube star because he is telling jokes or making references some higher up doesn’t like and he decides to try and crush him with the old, dying, dusty paper method of the past. Truly pathetic. 
     Don’t blame fake news. Don’t blame racism or misogyny or privilege. Your industry is dying because you have become a tool of the gestapo who are looking to curtail and limit the speech of anyone who doesn’t say exactly what you want. It used to be people believed not so much in their ideas but in their arguments and that their arguments would persuade people. Nothing has become more apparent to me over the past few years that people have lost faith in their arguments and so seek to silence their opposition because they cannot win a debate.
     You can stand against this trend, WSJ, or you can get sucked down the drain along with all the others who are trying to silence those who are, in black and white, given the right to say whatever they want and whenever they want to say it. Should they? No, probably not all the time but that doesn’t give you, or anyone, the right to try to silence and subjugate anyone who does not express your beliefs.
      We can pretend that’s not what the goal of this piece was but, lets be honest, that’s exactly what the goal was. To try and sever Pewdiepie from the financial powers that allow him to operate on his own, without an overlord, and express his views without fear of getting a pink slip or being socially ostracized (though kudos! You are trying to do that!). That’s the core of this. You, the mighty WSJ, are jealous because some guy in Sweden has more reach, more impact, and is more important than your entire operation. To top it all off he’s saying things you don’t agree with and you are scared. You are scared that you are losing control. Scared that the narrative may be taken away from you. Scared that you are no longer the arbiters of ‘truth’ or the news. Scared that if more and more people listen to people like Pewdiepie who operate on their own, independently, and without your blessing that their arguments may win out against your feeble platitudes. 
      So scared that you assigned three journalists to conjure up this piece to smear Pewdiepie and try to drive away his sponsors because the only way you can compete now is if there is no one playing against you. It won’t work and so I can happily say your fear is not unwarranted. You are a dying institution rotting from within and betraying the very principles you claim to champion.
      Enjoy your last decade in business and good riddance. 
The Mainstream Media is dying a slow, sad, depressing death and the noises it is making as its body fails are truly grotesque.

Aleppo: The 21st Century’s Sarajevo?

Syria.jpg

Since March 15,2011 the nation of Syria has been in the grips of a violent civil war which has since grown into a proxy conflict involving up to 45 nations. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been displaced, and, after all of that the government led by President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. Furthermore, over the past 48 hours, the primary battleground for this bloody conflict, the city of Aleppo, has finally fallen after years of battle to pro-Assad forces who now, according to the UN and various humanitarian watch groups, are carrying out atrocities in formerly rebel controlled areas of the embattled, ancient city.

It is a conflict that the UN and the international community as a whole have been unable to quell and, it could be argued, may have even exacerbated the conflict. It is certainly true that without Russian-Iranian intervention on the side of Assad and US intervention on the site of the Syrian rebels that, most likely, this conflict would not have lasted as long as it has and the toll in human suffering would not be as high. From the “red line” talk that President Obama declared and then backed away from to the use of chemical weapons which may or may not have been used by the rebels instead of Assad, to the airstrikes from both Russia and the United States that seem to go astray every now and again to kill each other’s personnel on the ground in Syria, this conflict has, truly, devolved into a miasma of violence and confusion to which, seemingly, there are no winners and only losers.

Continue reading

Tweet-delete

twitter-blocked

Following the 2016 US election I made a decision that I think not a lot of aspiring writers would make. I deleted my Twitter.

Now, in writing this, I know what I have done was probably naive. It was probably ill advised and, ultimately, was probably a step back from where I want to be as far as outreach and views and publicity. However, I felt that I had no choice after seeing what Twitter has become. Maybe Twitter had always operated this way (I don’t think so, signed up in 2012) but the selective application of their Terms and Conditions to essentially silence dissent and their manipulation of whatever algorithm they use to either promote or hide trending topics effectively controlling what gets ‘airtime’ and what doesn’t made me realize I detest their business practices. I felt that they were hypocritical, biased, and intentionally attempting to limit, control, and police content that they did nothing to produce or create other than creating the platform through which these ideas were communicated.

Then I realized, why am I using it then? Why am I helping them get bought? Why am I engaging, entertaining, and conversing with people through a platform I dislike? My livelihood isn’t tied to Twitter or the internet. I don’t rely only public opinion or clicks for my paycheck so why subject myself to the thought police and the moral finger waggers? Why operate in a social space that seeks to silence dissent and promotes echo chambers? To watch people fight and yell over the internet at each other using 140 words at a time that they would never use in real life? I couldn’t come up with a good answer for myself.

So…I stopped.

Continue reading

Civil Dissonance

america

With the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States I was legitimately baffled by the response of the Democratic party supporters currently protesting. I didn’t understand their anger, I didn’t understand their frustration, I didn’t understand their objection to a democratic election. You lost. It is a possible outcome. You weren’t cheated. You weren’t suppressed. You weren’t silenced. You lost. That is what happened.

Then, I got it.

This reaction is what happens when objectivity is lost. Make no mistake, there would’ve been an equally stupid and short sighted reaction from the right had Trump lost. No, it wouldn’t have been marching in the streets of America’s cities but you’d be hearing about it. Militias forming and all sorts of nonsense in rural America. But that didn’t happen so now we are graced with the ever impactful protest/riot. Like the Clinton dynasty this is the swan-song for protest movements. The High Water Mark. How do I know this? Simple. This protest will never work. It is, currently, an impossibility. It only exemplifies how powerless their cause is and they know it.

Continue reading

#Activism

With the shooting death of Alton Sterling the new cycles are awash again with racial tension as another African American man was gunned down by police officers in what can only be called cold blood. The shooting took place in Baton Rouge, LA and, as expected in today’s day and age, has touched off a firestorm of reactions and emotions. This blog isn’t really about the shooting though. The officers should be tried and, in my opinion, convicted and sentenced to many years in prison but the real issue I have is with the method of protest that has become a favorite in 2016, the hashtag.

The hashtag embodies everything that is a fucking problem with how we go about discussing issues nowadays. Its a simple, easy, bullshit way that people try to mark themselves as martyrs or social justice warriors without taking any of the risks or actions that have marked them out in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those on social media who do rally and protest and that Twitter, among other platforms, is key in organizing such events but the vast majority of postings are coming from people who just see something trending and decide to jump on the bandwagon.

Continue reading

The Speech We Should Be Hearing

We are at war. We have been at war for far longer than any of us have realized but the time to remain ignorant or to underestimate our enemy has long since past. The Radical Islamic movement currently embodied in Daesh and taught in extreme madrassas across the globe is diametrically opposed to our way of life, our values, our allies, and our nation and are committed to the slaughter and subjugation of everything and everyone we hold dear. They have manipulated the poor, the uneducated, and the ignorant into waging their war to hold on to their political primacy atop the societal structures of many Islamic nations. They seek to conquer new territories and impose their archaic religion as law where women, the LBGT community, and all non-Muslims are seen as subhuman and may be imprisoned, disfigured, or executed without trial, without representation, and without reason.

This evil will not stand. It will fall. It will fall because it rages against progress. It rages against common sense. It rages against humanity. It will fall because, like all other forms of tyranny that have ever, and will ever exist, it will be toppled.

Continue reading

Limits

In light of recent events where, time and time again, the United States government, in particular that dilapidated branch named Legislative, has proven itself dysfunctional and broken it has become self evident to this author that a fundamental change in America’s governmental process has now become a necessity. The vitriol and angst that has become so pervasive and intoxicating to the esteemed members of the highest legislative body of our nation is such that there is simply no avoiding the inevitable change that must occur to breathe new life and hope into our civic process.

That change is the implementation of Congressional term limits.

Continue reading

Glance

Everyone has those moments that seem to have a permanent residence in their memories. Snapshots from days gone by. Mental photographs that remind us of who we are and what we felt at a moment in time where we were shaped, where we were formed. Their first kiss. A cherished moment with a grandmother. That first surge of triumph, of accomplishment. A warm family memory where, for that moment, the universe and everything in it made sense because you felt the purity of love beating inside your chest. Most of these memories are tied to those closest to you. To family and friends, those still here and those who have gone.

There is the rare one though, the rare one of these memories that are caused by a stranger. By another soul that brushed by yours and left a mark forever never to be seen again. Nothing drastic. Nothing life altering, in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless something resonated on a deeper level that won’t let go. Nothing profound but something permanent.

Continue reading

PC: A Piece

Over the past few years the idea of PC culture or political correctness has become near omnipresent in not just American but human society. While there are undoubtedly drawbacks to the extremes of PC culture (as there are to any extreme) and I do think if, unchecked, it could threaten to silence voices of dissent which, to me, is the first step in the death of a free society, I am not confused as to why it is happening.

This isn’t some phenomenon perpetrated by the liberal media, or the New World Order seeking to move the sheep from one pen to another. PC culture is just the extension of ideals into the populace to debate from any segment of that popul. More people than ever are talking more frequently to anyone everywhere. There has been more sharing of cultures in the past 20 years than the preceding 200. The volatile and sometimes vitriolic social media discussions is a by product of these ideas and conversations. The internet is the change, the upheaval that has made the word such a connected place. Thousands talking to millions talking to billions. We are at the peak of literacy, of communication, of being able to understand one another from corner of the globe to the other. We are uniting.

Continue reading

The NFL has an NFL Problem

NFL Shield

On the heels of Antwaan Randel El, yet another former pro coming forward disclosing health issues and regretting his playing days for the shield, it is becoming more and more evident that the NFL has to change. The way it is currently constructed, with Roger Goddell at its head, simply cannot stand the onslaught of public relations hits that they are taking. Granted, the NFL has proven seemingly invincible to the slew of revelations, realizations, testimonies, and events all of which have pointed to football being not only dangerous but calling into question the NFL’s handling of player health and care.

It goes much deeper than that though. Somewhere along the way the NFL went from a budding, beloved, and celebrated league representing, perhaps, the finest sport humanity has created and has become a shadow organization. A place where facts are hidden or distorted to control the message. Where responsibility is shirked with a check and an avalanche of non-disclosure agreements. Where families are told what to say and when to say it even when they are memorializing their own husband and father. Somewhere along the way, the NFL became evil.

Continue reading