Trump, the NFL, and the Streisand Effect

In 2003, Barbra Streisand sued a photographer taking pictures for an endeavor called the California Coastal Records project. Meant to document the erosion of the state’s beaches, the CCRP took one photo approximately every 500 feet all up and down California’s coast.

One of those pictures showed a particularly ritzy part of the Malibu coast, which happened to house Streisand’s mansion. The picture had been downloaded six times before Streisand’s suit, which alleged that the CCRP had violated her privacy, demanded the image be suppressed. The publicity brought by the suit brought a massive spotlight to the image, and it was downloaded nearly half-a-million times over the next month. In attempting to erase the image, Streisand brought it far more attention than it ever would have had otherwise.

This “Streisand Effect” is now cited whenever an attempt to stamp out information only makes that information more available.

Over the weekend, President Trump employed a version of the Streisand Effect to bring a massive spotlight to something that, before, had almost totally faded away from the public eye: NFL players taking a knee during the singing of the National Anthem.

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Graham-Cassidy is Dangerous, But It’s Also Political Theater

GOP Senators are threatening to take a last-ditch vote to repeal the ACA, in the form of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. Obviously, I’m alarmed at the prospect of the ACA facing repeal once again, particularly for a bill as odious as Graham-Cassidy.

It’s a dangerous bill, from desperate politicians who need some kind of win to justify their own existence. It has broad Republican support. It could pass.

But my gut is telling me this whole thing is political theater, rather than an actual attempt to pass a law.Read More »

21st Century Conspiracy Theories #1: Apocalypse Meh

A great comet descends from the heavens and smashes into the Earth, at the same time as nuclear missiles leave the safety of their launch tubes and begin their journey skyward. Sickness ravages the people, while the world economy collapses and money becomes worthless. Meanwhile, great religious feasts of different faiths line up, while the planets themselves intricately dance together in a column starting at the Earth and ending at a distant galaxy.

The world heaves and thrashes. Billions die. Leaders turn on their people. Society destroys itself and descends into anarchy. And the survivors live in a burned-out husk, stripped of their livelihood and freedom, unless they had the good sense to listen to prophets and prep for the end times.

Some or all of this is what’s forecast to come down from God when the world ends on September 23, 2017.

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R/Conspiracy Is Just Asking Questions About 9/11

Virtually every major new media technology, from the printing press to lithographs to radio and TV, have been adopted early by cranks and conspiracy theorists.

So it went with the nascent internet which was immediately embraced by cranks. A 1999 book called “Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture” describes the early 90’s USENET as a fertile garden of posts about government plots, UFO’s, JFK, and “on topics such as who runs the Federal Reserve, Lyndon LaRouche’s [conspiracy] theories, and the credibility of well-known conspiracy theorists.”

When the September 11th attacks hit, then, the internet was perfectly poised to become a virtual ground zero of accusations that the attacks were “an inside job.” For years, conspiracy theorists and skeptics battled it out over the tiniest details about the attacks, with a variety of plots put forth (The government did it with bombs! The government let it happen to invade Iraq! The Pentagon was hit by a missile fired by…someone! Flight 93 was shot down! The planes never existed!”) and beaten back with evidence.

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Rush Limbaugh Doesn’t Think Hurricanes Are Fake

Let me get this out of the way now: I think Rush Limbaugh is a sausage casing stuffed with norco-infused Twinkie filling. I think he rots brains and poisons hearts and has a truly harmful effect on the people who listen to him.

But I don’t think he thinks hurricanes are fake.

You’ve probably noticed we’re in the middle of a hurricane pandemic, with Harvey having laid waste to Houston, Irma bearing down on Florida, and Jose and Katia forming up. If this were a SyFy Channel movie, we’d be at the point where all the hurricanes merge into a hypercane, and the war-happy president orders the hypercane be broken up with nukes, but all the nukes do is make the hypercane a nuclear hypercane, and the only person who can stop it is Michael Dudikoff, or his millennial equivalent.

(side note, I will absolutely write this movie for money)

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