CSotD: Noblesse Oblige

(Tom Toles)

(Clay Jones)

We’ll start out with our Juxtaposition of the Day, taking on Zuckerberg’s Theory, which is that you have to take the money because you can’t figure out whether the source is legitimate or not.

Which is a substantial part of the freedom that sites like Facebook enjoy: The theory is that they are simply ways for people to publish and that they are neutral in terms of what goes up on their sites.

It’s a little shaky, which is why, as Clay points out in the essay accompanying his cartoon, Facebook does have some sort of censorship/review capability, mostly about boobs.

That’s either appropriate or ironic, depending on how you view things, since, for all the high-falutin’ balloon juice Zuckerberg now puts out about the purpose of the thing, Facebook began as a way for Harvard students to check each other out, which I would suggest was more oriented towards guys checking out girls.

Which theory is based on my not having been born yesterday, and on the simple fact that we had a facebook back in 1967 when I was a freshman. It was called the freshman directory or something like that, and included our class and the freshmen at St. Mary’s College across the road.

These things were, IIRC, often referred to as “dog books” because, well, because that’s how male freshmen behave. Some grow out of it, others become billionaires.

Facebook decided not to become a porn hub and so — being still locked into that 17-year-old’s fascination with boobies — when someone would post a picture of one (or, generally, two), they’d take it down.

Which (A) destroys the argument that they can’t control what’s posted there and (B) means a lot of cute breastfeeding pictures and serious figure drawings were taken down.

Facebook’s review process grew, but remains sufficiently inept that political opponents can complain about each other’s posts with some success, which is often how, as noted in Clay’s essay, people end up in Facebook jail without knowing why and often with little hope of appeal.

But here’s another point: There’s a substantial difference between what a casual user posts on Facebook and how an advertisement ends up there, and the difference is that the ad needs to go through an approval and payment process.

It may be very automated, but, at some point, someone at Facebook said “yes, we’ll take the money.”

Therefore, it’s reasonable for them to claim that, when an angry ex-spouse posts libelous accusations, they never saw it until someone complained.

But it’s bullshit for them to claim that they can’t check out ads before they run.

And, FWIW, back when I was in broadcast, political advertising went through a particular review because it was, legally, in a different category than ads for dishwasher detergents or automobiles. I don’t suppose those laws apply to the Internet but perhaps they should.

Because counting on rich people to do the right thing is … well, okay, it’s the basis of our civilization, but it’s a flaw, not a feature.


On the other hand, sort of

xkcd suggests that we’ve long since crossed the watershed, and I’ve bitched enough about the topic that it should come as no surprise to Constant Readers that I agree.

I do find it kind of funny that everyone claims to be an introvert, but nobody can simply go to the store alone, but must keep up a constant dialogue with an unseen friend, the benefit to society being that, if they actually dragged the friend along, the two of them would clog the aisles while they chattered away.

Anyway, it’s a damn peculiar sort of introvert who can’t stand to be alone.

However, Google has approved some apps to help you get your nose out of your phone.


My favorite is Unlock Clock, which is simply an active wallpaper that shows you how many times you’ve unlocked your phone that day.

Granted, it counts on you having some sense of shame, but, then again, if you’ve made the decision to install it at all, you are presumably searching for help.


Runner-up in my opinion is Post Box, which I recommended to my kid-writers because it lets you set four times a day when your messages will be delivered. I suggested to them that they could have one set for lunch period and another set for a free period sometime, and save one for after dinner to keep from annoying their parents.

As noted in the comments, it’s hardly perfect, but the concept is good and there has to be a way to have a face-to-face conversation with someone without their damned phone chirping every four minutes.

Of course, the real way to control all this is to actually be an introvert, but let’s not be absurd.


When the Company Store owes YOU

Speaking of counting on rich people to do the right thing, Pat Bagley notes the failure of Trump’s promise to restore coal jobs, opening the question of whether coal miners will remember it in 2020.

Trump has been lying about his accomplishments in creating jobs, the question being whether he knows his numbers are phony or whether his handlers are giving him false statistics to forestall a tantrum.

And he has just announced his intention to withdraw more environmental protections related to coal mining, but with eight mining companies having gone bankrupt this year, making it less expensive for them to operate may only have so much impact.

Coal mining jobs have held steady, but he promised an increase, while, with pressure on Asia to cut its reliance on coal, falling exports may seriously cut into the domestic industry.

Meanwhile, the miners’ main concern these days is not whether their paychecks will be gobbled up by rent, groceries and tools for which they owe the Company Store but whether the company will issue those paychecks at all.

The miners might well adopt the old sailors’ saying

“To work hard, live hard, die hard, and go to hell after all, would be hard indeed!”

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Noblesse Oblige

  1. I don’t have a tablet or a cell phone or even a flip phone, and I never have had one (I think I *used* a relative’s flip phone once, many years ago; she had to make the connection for me)..

    My only computer is a desktop and my only phone is a landline, and I’m not on social media. Do I win the Introvertier-Than-Thou travelling trophy this month?

    P.S. Get off my lawn.

  2. For a long time I have held the opinion that most Internet functions ( and all of social media) have been directed by guys who couldn’t talk to girls in high school.

  3. Robb, that includes two of the most devastating cartoons Feiffer has done, which is saying something. Nixon as King Kong “We can’t stop him! … It would tear the country in two!” And the procession of talking-head Presidents justifying Vietnam to the kid in front of the TV.

    Been quoting both recently.

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