Monthly Archives: September 2015

“Mad Max” as Criticism of Car Culture…

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“Mad Max” as Criticism of Car Culture

By Ryver H.

Warning: spoilers ahead for pretty much the entire Mad Max series, including Fury Road.

Cinema, as with most forms of media, has a long and storied history of social commentary. This isn’t really all that surprising, if a creator feels strongly about something, it will often come across in their work, whether intentional or not. Those views tend to be reflected throughout the narrative, though they aren’t always apparent at first viewing. This brings me to Mad Max. While, on it’s face, this franchise (now consisting of 4 movies, 2 video games, and a couple of comic tie-ins) seems to be very much steeped in car culture. Both pre and post apocalypse settings in the series seem to revolve around automobiles and car culture, with plenty of chrome, leather and burnt rubber to go around. Despite this, George Miller (the director and writer for all four movies) seems to put a healthy vein of criticism for the same automobile culture that becomes increasingly apparent as the series goes on.

Starting from the beginning, the original Mad Max follows Max Rockatansky, a member of the Main Force Police, an organization specially charged with policing the extremely dangerous highways of a near-future society on the brink of collapse due to oil shortages. The world that Max inhabits is a harsh one, where violent crime is so prevalent as to be almost unenforceable, and road rage can and does escalate to the point of vehicular murder. While definitely comparable with many of the other “car” movies of the 1960’s and ‘70’s in terms of lengthy chase scenes, spectacular stunt work, and a focus on the vehicles almost as much as the characters, the criticism already starts to show. The movies villains (the Acolytes) are shown to steal gas and attack others, putting their own rides and thrill seeking before the lives of others. They are shown as over the top examples of many stereotypes revolving around “petrol heads” of the time, a picture of unchecked violence and fanaticism in a civilization on the decline. It is also hinted at that the Acolytes aren’t the only violent gang in the area and that the increasing scarcity of oil is driving these “mad” gangs into more and more dangerous behavior to get their thrills/ stay on the road.

In the second installment, The Road Warrior, some of the concepts present in the original are cranked up to 11. Taking place five years after the first movie, the world Max lives in has all but come to an end. Wars sparked over resources have ended in nuclear apocalypse, crumbling civilization and leaving the few humans remaining to squabble among themselves over increasingly scarce supplies. After Max is attacked by raiders attempting to steal his car and the “guzzoline” contained within it, he ends up teaming with a group of survivors and defending one of (if not the) last oil pumps left in the wasteland from the warlord Humunngus and his gang of marauders, hoping of fill his own gas tanks and keep his rig rolling. With the stylized design of the bandits and the main conflict of the story revolving around the oil derrick, the criticism feels a lot more apparent in Road Warrior than the original. Much of the design for the bandits seems to be a twisted take on many themes in car culture, with a lot of leather and chrome in their costuming as well as heavily customized cars and motorcycles to better terrorize the wasteland. The central conflict of the story seems to indicate that despite much of the world going to hell over oil, there are many in the wasteland, Max included, that are more comfortable killing and dying to fuel their engines than there are willing help rebuild others survive and rebuild what little they have left. They would rather die trying to get or keep the gas than be left with an empty tank.

Beyond Thunderdome was the next follow up, taking place 15 or so years after Road Warrior. It follows Max once more as he continues to try and survive in a world gone mad. This time he finds himself embroiled in the politics of Bartertown, a city in the middle of the desert that is caught between Auntie Entity (the leader and head of all the above ground commerce in Bartertown) and Master Blaster (who runs the methane processing plant below the city that helps power the place). It’s probably the weakest of the series, honestly, but the commentary is still there. Methane (a gaseous fuel that can be harvested from animal waste, as opposed to crude oil) is the main export of Bartertown and is traded for all manner of supplies and other goods, showing us once more that humans, Max included (who strikes a deal with Auntie to help fuel his car and have it returned to him), haven’t entirely shook the gas habit that ended their world, though many are shown using old cars as wagons drawn now by beasts of burden for lack of fuel.

Fury Road is the newest film in the series coming out after a nearly 30 year hiatus of the film. I takes place after the fall of society but it is unknown when in relation to the other films. Once more we join Max as he teams up with Furiosa, another driver who is trying to save a cadre of women from their captor and take them to the semi-mythical “green place”, a region untouched by the nuclear fallout that turned their world into the arid wasteland they have come to know. While oil consumption is less of a theme here, as an in narrative explanation shows that “guzzoline” is prevalent in the area, the topic of car culture and the society around that is back in force, certainly making up for what Beyond Thunderdome lacked. If Road Warrior cranked things to 11, Fury Road goes to 12. The central villain of the movie hasn’t just embraced car culture, he has made it into a religious experience for his followers, supped up rigs becoming holy relics, chariots for his followers (the War Boys) to ride into battle, promising a chromed out, muscle-carred valhalla to all those who die in his name. The main baddie himself, Immortan Joe, drives an ultra stylized monster of a rig (named The Gigahorse) powered by two “holy” V-8 engines. Joe’s cult is the ultimate conclusion of over-done car culture. His followers scream “Witness me!” before going (usually) to their death trying to perform some insane stunt along the lines of an extreme “He y’all, watch this!” They drive like mad and dance with death because ultimately they want their leader, whom they worship as a god, to find them worthy of his praise. Miller goes so over the top as to almost parody many of the aspects of car culture (fast cars, big engines, cool looking rides, insane stunts) and yet, in a way, some of it almost seems believable. There tends to be a lot of one-upmanship with people and cars, who is the fastest, who can do the craziest stunts, etc. that the war boys almost seem like the ultimate end to that.

While I think that while, on the whole, the Mad Max movies are a bunch of fun and crazy car action films, there is definitely a criticism to be had of car culture and the warning of going too far with something that runs throughout the franchise. In the real world there have been many cases of motorist violence and accidents caused by thrill seekers that, even as outlandish as the characters seems in the Mad Max universe, maybe they aren’t too far off. Things tend to get weird in places where society breaks down even a little. Who’s to say that as we start running lower on oil, and people get more desperate to keep their own ride, or for that matter their way of life going, thing don’t go a little crazy on the roads? Hopefully our attempts as a society to move away from combustion and toward cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy will also steer us away from “The fastest, the biggest, the meanest” cars in favor of more efficient, cleaner, and economic vehicles. Eventually moving us away from a world where Mad Max would be even possible. Because, really, can you see a smart car putting along in a wasteland at the end of the world?

Technical Difficulties…

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Ep 20:Privacy and the Internet; Where Private Rights Meet Public Wrongs

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang.

This episode, we will be covering Doxxing.

Ryvers offers an explanation of what Doxxing is

Sean clarifies the distinctions in the definition, including that it specifically includes the release of vital information

Bruce asks wherein the line lies between Doxxing and just talking about someone

Sean explains that intent is largely irrelevant in the definition of Doxxing, but that what we will be discussing a more… malicious form thereof.

Bruce talks about things from back in the day that already have personal information that is widely disseminated: the Phone Book (See Whitepages if you do not know what these are).

Ryver and Sean discuss that these are easily stopped if one does not wish to be found in them and that these are not useful in these contacts.

Bruce talks about how if everyone is included in this information, that people are less likely to be terrible to each other.

Ryver brings up the localised nature of these means and how this is different from Doxxing.

Sean explains the differences in celebrity culture between then and now, and how Doxxing effects people in ways that were not likely to be problematic in the same way in the past.

Sean gives a brief history of the origins of what we now call Doxxing.

Ryver wonders if Doxxing can be used in a positive fashion, and that he does not believe it can.

Bruce proposes that most people will believe it to be negative, save in a specific circumstance that can only be resolved via special pleading.

Sean explains that even if we could find an issue where we might find it be universally acceptable, it might still be an immoral means of accomplishing these goals.

The conversation turns ad hitlerum, and Professor Metal takes umbrage at the implication of Hitler as the archetypal villain.

Bruce decides that the use of Doxxing is perhaps immoral, whereas Sean thinks that the practice itself is not immoral, but the uses of it definitely are.

Sean raises the possibility of this being a question of Justice as retributive or preventive.

Bruce and Sean come to the conclusion that Doxxing will likely continue to be used in awful ways, and that it is likely to continue being problematic.

Ryver discusses that there is a certain level of information that is not problematic, and that this information that leads to someone else actively seeking the target out is not an immoral act on the part of the person releasing this information.

Sean debates the fine points of Ryver’s argument.

Bruce talks about the responsibility to protect each other’s anonymity, which Sean disagrees with.

Sean comes back to and further explains his belief that Doxxing is more of a moral grey area than it is immoral.

Bruce and Ryver argue the points of this view.

Sean presents the possibility of Doxxing as social policy issue.

The Philosophers discuss the social and personal implications of Doxxing as it effects jobs, social interactions, personal safety, and general societal welfare.

Bruce and Sean discuss the effects of this on anonymity.

Ryver brings up anonymity in regards to celebrity culture.

Sean and Bruce discuss the impacts of celebrity and whether or not those in the culture should be treated differently in regards to personal information.

Ryver expresses the belief that celebrity does not, or at least should not, confer different status.

Sean expresses disagreement with Ryver’s argument.

Ryver defends his argument.

Sean and Bruce discuss the special place in culture that celebrity occupy.

The Philosophers discuss the difference between gradually attained and immediately gained celebrity status.

The Philosophers discuss the backlash that can often effect people with names or usernames similar in some way to people in celebrity culture.

Bruce expresses the belief that Doxxing sort of comes down to either bullying or vigilantism, and as such is, at best, irresponsible.

Sean suggests that Doxxing is ultimately a power game in a great many ways.

Ryver takes The Last Word

Ryver discusses having met a fair number of people with a great deal of celebrity, and that they are largely just like everyone else. Celebrity does not grant one charisma, confidence, or force of personality that is often expected. Ryver gives tips on how to deal with meeting someone of celebrity.

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The Real Value of Education in the Humanities

(We apologize for the tardiness of this essay for the month of August. Technical difficulties with with Professor Metal’s robotic dog caused it to seek out and devour the philosophers homework!)

The Real Value of Education in the Humanities

S. A. Kehr

We have spoken at some length during the show about the value and role of philosophy to the modern world. Still we are constantly bombarded by the sentiment that nothing is “getting done”. It seems as if Professor Metal’s many decrees ,and mandates fall on deaf ears. So today I would like to address two points:

(for the sake of clarity I would like to point out that I have used herein the term subject in two different ways, one being that of the subject-object relationship in which the subject is the observer, and two being subject as American English speakers will find themselves familiar with from primary school referring to e.g. math, science, art etc. I have tried to mark out these differences but please be aware as you read on.)

    1. The humanities are not many subjects each with their own distinct spheres of influence as the natural sciences are. This remains a common misconception, the basis of which is the adoration heaped upon the natural sciences in our modern era. But let me say also that I do not by any means begrudge science the influence it has. I will address this in point 2 but for now just know that this essay is not anti-science. In the academic culture that has developed in the western world S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields are seen as the core of academic rigor. This leads to the belief that the humanities should similarly break down into clearly defined categories of study. Where science is easily broken into categories like biology, physics, and chemistry (with some admitted overlap of fields but still clearly defined even in those cases) and math breaks down to arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and calculus (My apologies if I have confused these categories) the humanities do not break down into art, music, literature, and philosophy in the same way. While each defines a discipline used to study the totality of human experiences they do not refer to different objects or examine differentiated categories of experiences. Instead the humanities are a single toolbox holding many tools but all of which approach the same singular subject matter. When a painter paints, they are engaging the same subject matter that a musician, an author, or a philosopher might. Now there are, of course, differences between individuals and, as mentioned, the tools are different from method to method; this is less akin to the difference between biology and physics than it is to the difference between Louis Pasteur using a microscope and Stephen Hawking using a telescope (for clarification this is merely a hypothetical). We would not expect the two scientists to produce the same work nor would we expect them to use the same tools in that work. It is because of the vast contributions of the sciences to our current prosperity that we have organized our academic institutions in a way that suits them. This is not an issue until we come to people who are not educated in the humanities. Within academia those misconceptions are of little importance and to the segment of the populace who receive direct education in the humanities the distinction is clear. But to that portion of the population that has received little to no humanities education the only framework that they have to apply is the one found in modern academic institutions which is inherently biased in favor of a reductionist model of the world that traces its roots back to the sciences. Whether this lack of education is because of the failure to fund such programs during compulsory K-12 education or because they did not attend post secondary education programs that emphasised a broad education, e.g. vocational programs, the outcome is inevitably that the population sees the humanities as many different spheres of influence. More damningly each is seen as a frivolous waste of time because it fails to get anything done in a concrete way. This expectation of a tangible result is itself a byproduct of misunderstanding the project of the humanities as being many separate domains; the inability to see the totality of such endeavors renders each less significant. Failing to see the transmission of a car as essential to the project of driving makes its workings seem indescribably unimportant, which is clearly not the case. This is the impetus for my concern about this seemingly simple misunderstanding.
    2. I believe strongly in education. Full stop, no qualifiers, at its core education is vital to the progress of human beings. Don’t confuse this with endorsing anything that can be “taught”: education comes from a community of truth seekers not ideologues spreading their particular flavor of dogmatic belief. Here, I’m looking at you anti-vaxxers, and I humbly apologize to any of Professor Metal’s many propagandists; clearly I mean other ideologues. I believe that a fundamental education in the S.T.E.M. subjects can become the foundation for a broader understanding of the world. My problem is with the attitude that education should be a zero sum game (a zero sum game is one where, as with chess pieces, in order for one side to gain the other must lose in equal proportion). We must develop strong educational programs in S.T.E.M., but not to the exclusion of the humanities. While the fundamental building blocks of understanding our world are indeed nested within these subjects they do not compose the whole of it because they deal with only the object and not the subject. This is where the humanities should fit into our picture of a complete education. To know our world, we must also know ourselves and our relationship to it. Without the subject in our subject-object relationship we can not know of the relationship to the object and vice versa. But why should we care beyond just a more complete picture of the world (which I would argue is reason enough but fails to address the “getting things done” concern)? I submit that the S.T.E.M. subjects are like a tool which has the power to shape the world. I would also submit that the humanities are the technique for using that tool. It is only in both having the tool and understanding how it might be used that we become capable of utilizing that tool to its full potential. In this we see that both are vital and that without both we can not exercise our will upon the world (the relationship between them being our understanding).

If we continue cutting humanities programs from our educational curriculum in favor of an ever increasing focus on S.T.E.M. education we risk becoming a society of technicians capable of executing the operations of progress but lacking the creative vision to pursue what lies beyond our current stage. We risk becoming a rudderless ship adrift on an ocean of de-contextualized events. While the humanities alone do not correct this, their addition to the educational landscape allows for the possibility, if not the inevitability, of our future generations having the capability to proceed where we have fallen into stagnation. I said earlier that education should not be a zero sum game but in order to escape this we need to make changes to how we educate our populace. Firstly we need to be willing to pay for education. There is no magic bullet that prevents the need to raise more money to properly fund more education. We must fund education at all levels, including graduate studies, if we want a world that has room for progress. This means reversing course and undoing the system of higher education that turns students into debtors, it means paying higher taxes even if you don’t personally have children who benefit, it means paying teachers at all levels a wage that respects the value they add, it means more teachers and smaller classes so students aren’t lost in the shuffle, it means funding early childhood education. It means longer school years and the expansion of lunch programs to make sure students are able to learn, it means spending on development for better materials and curriculum, and it means investing in protecting children from violence and abuse so that schools can be a safe place to focus on learning. And what I’m sure will be the most controversial of my proposals, it means that education dollars and resources are distributed evenly between urban and rural schools as well as across socioeconomic groups rather than being based on the tax collected in that specific area; for this we will require a centralized agency to oversee both funding and curriculum. I know some of you will disagree with this because of concerns over the specter of bureaucracy but I ask you this: Is what we have now working? I don’t think it is and while we can disagree amicably about that, it remains my opinion, barring significant evidence to the contrary, that vast systemic change is required to fix our convoluted and antiquated educational system.

Ep 19: Anonymity and the Internet; Just Who Do You Think You Are?

welcome one and all to Professor metals like a great debate and calamitous commentary with the philosophical chain gang. Today’s episode and in the media on the Internet just who do you think you are. I’m your host Professor Meadow and river. I’m Sean and I’m burgers and some things may have been changed to protect the innocent. I’ve also blurred your faces to protect our identities further you know because I just built this really cool machine I want to try it out. Oh I did feel a little bit if you will say in theory will learn and that’s a great question. We’re doing science here. All right I just want everybody know this is a special episode and do the content. There are a lot of F. bombs in this so if you don’t want to hear those might not be be absurd for you just let me know. We hope you enjoy it anyway. This is the Internet. Yes the concept of a pseudonym or there was no name whatsoever just lame lists chillis face in the maelstrom as it were. Well not even to face them and to be honest most people are most closely associated you know insular community of internet personalities by an avatar which has nothing to do with Face it has to do with an image that you associate in a sim. More kind of way but it’s certainly not required to be out of it and I may be represented by a robot dog. Sure a lot of people pick an image that they think goes with the type of voice they want to convey. This used to be almost all of the Internet. Are you thinking you know the mid to late ninety’s early two thousand and it that pretty much was everything was what I would call pseudonymity. You come up with a name and Avatar and it starts to build a reputation within that community. So you have a certain amount of degree of caring about what you say because you want to create for better or worse a particular reputation for that identity you created for yourself. Since then we’ve got those like four chan which go for like Universal anonymity where there really isn’t even an identity that you have that you’re trying to get across there’s just the message and things like Facebook which are pushing for just open this is who you actually are. Well to be fair with fortune you can have a site you can choose to voluntarily create a username that goes onto your post you just want to try to I think where we saw a larger degree of the pseudonym and you’re talking about I think the old online service days back in the air wells and Compu Serve as an adult when your ability to walk into that system necessitated this particular unit because it was after that that we developed the ability to have multiple users which didn’t create anonymity in the sort of distributed way but true and I was no longer responsible for what Mr X R five three said. Right I was only responsible for what I said on my main account. So I would use my dummy account to save the other things. But there’s still a lot of places that kind of do that I mean something awful still around Fark still around. Pen is mightier I think it’s still around and we do see some artifact ing from Earth. Earlier there that includes this but you’re right I think in a sort of distributed way we see more and indignity where if you want turf basically burn your account you can you can shut down the account and start a completely new one if you felt you’ve done something wrong or there is nothing more you can do with that account or you pissed off somebody to such a degree that you don’t want to be associated with it anymore or something. Well and I think any discussion of IN THE UNION going to have to touch on the changes that have gone on recently in places like you to comment search that were subtle is mostly vicious. Before the change that they said we can’t have an annuity anymore you don’t deserve anonymity Internet people instead we’re going to make you start a war in the end if you want to say something through an accountant we can measure. Now you can have multiple accounts or ways to get around that to have various things but yet it was by at least forcing you to use that system you created a certain level of accountability even if it’s just your trolling dummy account address and trouble at least you can shop. Yet don’t think Islam is them thinking you know who deserves what and I think a lot of people think about the decisions that sites make in those terms. So I just want to have better content. That’s what they’re viewing it as I mean what went through your commentary is a joke. That’s something you just want to improve and it isn’t about whether you like or dislike or what they deserve what they say they should have gotten this is trying to come up with this is going to generate better read it does it an interesting way they’ve got the karma system so that you know identity is a great you have a reputation you may actually care about this one you want to say more popular things sort of gets more points but then again you can have as many throw away counts as you want you can quit of them over the same email address. Absolutely and recently we started to see this term for the burner account. Harken back to sort of the burger photo and cell phones that you would use to make illicit transactions or you wouldn’t want to keep or rather you just break and toss out or get rid of in some fashion. But we’re seeing it in an Internet space where you create an account you say what you want to say and then you let it fall by the wayside affectively or call it when you want to say something unpleasant or if you want to troll someone there or say something that isn’t popular maybe. So the seem to be kind of a range of overlap between full anonymity which is I’m sort of maxed out with the fortune without a log in and some form of pseudonymity. But even so it is not and it’s not so much in the days when the of really the only identity you can present yourself is the log in that you need for your eyes to the one that you can’t escape. There’s a whole range between then and then there is the real identity pushing out which one thing Facebook pushes or which created a lot of interesting those are quinces lately. Oh certainly there are some problems as it were with folks that have gone under pseudonyms and they’ve run into some problems with Facebook for one reason or another there are other without their real name and with this whole identity you have to really be you sort of thing there’s it’s caused some very big problems. I got on Facebook in some hot water about it. Facebook is in some sense only responding to a larger sense that there needs to be an accountability for the kinds of things that go on. Right now you may want to be the center of that accountability and you want to be the profile that you used to be accountable for things of that responding to other places on the Internet wanting accountability from the users there. That’s certainly fair and I do think we’ve seen a greater push for accountability like you mentioned the You Tube having to be. Connected directly to the plus and the red carpet system although that’s a little more favorable. I don’t want to say as far as reputation goes there are proven tactics to improve karma. Why doesn’t I was thinking of the pictures are always in verging on Reddit and in the real world especially for you and Standard Time on a Monday morning. Eventually if you pick up the one of the some of the really good one that somebody posted at sixty six and then reposed So we’re getting down to the real meat of this which is why why do these sites want you to stop. Why does there have to be accountability and the answer to that is fairly obviously trolling or similar behavior to trolling in the federal action intended account which is hard for I think is the point where we need to bring a real greater Internet. Very I agree wholeheartedly. River. Get real. Greater theory comes from one of the creators of Penny Arcade comic that’s been around for a number of years at this point and illustrates the problem with the theory itself states that if you have a normally reasonable person that abides by social norms and what have you and you add open access to the Internet and the promise of you end up with kind of a bastard that person will use that to make me say the things that they didn’t think they could get away with Otherwise they will say the hateful things and this sort of catharsis almost So the reason that having internet to it is so important because it has not yet put someone out there for them to speak to in a way that causes them. Do you then want to say things that will attract more attention. Whether those things are positive or negative attention grabbers are still attention grabber and anonymity and that person can grab attention with any outlandish statement they wanted and we can say something like over curtains there has been some five hundred sixty five and you can have a lot of people who are fans of The Beatles being like I beg your pardon and kind of come up with these outlandish theories and the other thing and you have this like you said a captive audience. You may find it hopeful or you may find depressing relatively speaking. But when we see all of these Internet five words from the theory out there we think it seems like somewhere between forty and seventy percent of humanity is just horrible horrible horrible people all the time when actually in real They’re perfectly OK people every once in a while they can’t help just saying the horrible thing and then going back to being a perfectly OK person. If pressed on those if they have a response to the excuses Well this is all fun. Nobody really cares what goes on online. That was more true in the earlier days of the Internet when people didn’t rely on it so much from people didn’t take it quite so seriously when it was a smaller subset of the general population using it and they were using it less. Now there are serious consequences to people for the things that people say online and there’s not so much oh we can just discount it or ignore it. So the good news is that it’s not that there are a whole bunch of really really awful people out there it’s that we’re all almost all of us a little bit and occasionally awful which I’m not sure if that makes you feel better about humanity or worse it makes me feel a little bit better knowing that there aren’t like you know about half of a population are just horrible horrible people. We’re just all a little bit horrible and it creeps out every once in awhile. Specially when we’ve got the opportunity. Well one thing essential nature of human interactions under. He’s actually very old question it seems like all of us posting on those artifacts of living in modern era when in fact it’s not as a matter of fact if we went back pointer will see that there is an example in the gives in what he calls the ring of graduates so the red ink Guy G. story a man finds a magical ring sort of Lord Of The Rings that makes him invisible except that not always making them completely detectable so he cannot be hurting him. Snow sleet and ice is present is unknown when he gets access to his reply to his question is what is you do with it what is the first thing that a person given this power would do the question is about what human beings would do if there were no consequence for their actions. Which is essentially the problem then. For Plato the answer is he murders steals a cruise power has sex with his brother’s wife when he was just a terrible terrible part was for having access to our house you answer the question of what one does with the limit got a G.’s reflects what you think the essential character of human beings as a whole is when presented with the ability to be ominous. Why do you think I locked away when a woman gets here. Well not in this room so just convert other rooms. Maybe other places. However sometimes a group of people working in him that he can come up with better decision making because know that it’s tied to the status or particulars or point expertise and let’s get another serious philosophical example John wrote below ignorance to determine fairness in utilitarian elations you imagine what if we could decide what the rules of society would be before we’re born into society. This part analogy in and out of it if you’re into it imagine there are a bunch of souls who are about to be born into a particular country and you don’t know who your parents are going to be or where you’re going to be born. If you could. Side what the Constitution the rules of the society would be. Without knowing where your chips are going to fall did what you agreed upon reasonably would be a just society. So there’s a case where anybody can actually help the decision making in German. What fairness can be. I guess my question is why does that go so arrive from what we’ve seen in modern age. Sometimes groups of people acting in the one of the sle can be really great. Sometimes it can be really awful. I think part of the problem is that Rawls proposes an area in which you know you’re going to be part of this society but you don’t know where you’re going to fall in the socioeconomic hierarchy you want everybody to have a fairly similar sort of set up that way no matter where you felt your interests will be served. However once you know some information about them if I send out the same scenario well that instead of not knowing where you’re going to fall I’ll tell you you’re definitely going to be in the top half people right. All the sudden your decision making system changes. Bollocks since there is at least in terms of energy. No great unifier as to how all people should be treated. Instead there’s only how you never been and should be treated. We still make decisions based on which we find ourselves and then the difference would be there’s no loopback. The people being honest aren’t suffering the consequences of their own behavior they’re externalizing certainly and I think this kind of ties and the concept of her mentality for bad or for good you can do a lot of good things as a large group of people and the praise goes to everyone you know everybody gets an equal amount of praise but it doesn’t really work the other way around where if they do something bad as a group. There’s going to be scoring but chances are the individual members of that group are going to be like well I wasn’t that bad so I’m maybe not deserving of as much scorn everybody’s going to lift up the highs and diminish the lows in this case where a group of anonymous peoples on the Internet may do something really kind of turkey and a lot of them feel that they are particularly at fault for it. They were just following what the rest of the group was doing. Well whether we agree that in general the enemy of the Internet has all and more bad things or more good things. One thing that seems clear about we all like anonymity and we don’t personally I don’t want other people to be anonymous. Well we certainly want our own hand. Sure it’s attractive. It’s seductive in some sense. Some Why if we don’t want to use it to do bad things we like disassociating from ourselves which is I think to that end there’s a certain freedom you don’t have to take your baggage with you so you don’t have to worry about even that if you’re not doing bad things if you’re doing good things. You don’t have to worry about the external outcome of that. For me it’s the same reason that I like for us to chase you down. You’re known can claim appeal to authority. No one needs them selves too much because of how others might rip on their true life. Wherever the idea may take he was where it’s going to take you and there’s no restriction but that and I like that purity good fellows and some people like to see more casual than they’re allowed to be in their room and their speech and so forth I think the real problems with me is not so much individual behavior. That herd mentality when someone goes for something in the ten thousand people decided to pile on the same thing at the same time it would have been better to just a few of them but for whatever it may be and create huge problems. What I think is interesting about the way that we interact a notion that you know over and over again in a lot of different circumstances. Most of it with people like this that human beings desire in some way shape or form within it in a very specific set of circumstances under which it used. If I say I could give you the power supply people immediately think of a set of centuries in which they would want to fly. If I say I can give you the power to teleport around you can imagine a certain areas in which you want strength super speed all sorts of things like that any kind of ability to perceive there we immediately imagine a set of circumstances under which it forms that we would want to use it and it is different because we have mention immediately well if I were someone who wanted to do things that others wouldn’t approve of I didn’t want to be anonymous in that circumstance I would want to have the ability to shield myself from social consequence but it also works in the other direction. We see this over and over again in fairy tales where a prince or it came the worse of a higher being does count themselves as one of the RAM as somebody who can’t be discerned for who they are so they can engage in a different way to do things that are free from social confluence. But in order to do things the burden of their social standing with the mysteries of angels who come dressed as partners today to see if people are honest. You see stories about princes who come to the streets dressed as partners so that they can find true love from people who aren’t concerned with their money. We see stories about wise men who come into town dressed in rags so that they can find out who will do. What was their vision without their presence. We see over and over again the story of being freed from social consequence as an important human milestone. He was doing all kinds of waves not because we all wanted for one thing because we all want it for something and all of these examples you citing it seems to me usually what the people who do this are trying to get some sort of true that the way that we treat others socially is consuming something from the behavior that we take when we imagine we are in ones US stance is different from the others. That’s a good thing. It’s good that I don’t act in the same way when I’m hanging out with my parents that I want to act when I’m at a strip club with my friends. Right. It’s good that I don’t act in front of a judge the same way that I act. Wait and I didn’t learn better about myself. Those things are different social circumstances I mean to behave differently here. But that’s also a restart that’s also confined to feel that you have to act in certain ways under certain circumstances and to go back to work saying I think this offers a kind of freedom that we all as Google is a freedom that contains a truth of my identity more than the shell of social circumstances around ourselves that I think is worth bringing up at this point. Well Internet evidently used thing in many ways it is kind of illusory it doesn’t really exist we still access the internet from computers that have dedicated addresses and stuff like that and yet we see a lot of people who think it exists who who have this sort of faith or their anonymity hides them from from consequence. Well and love that title. What you mean by that. If you mean I am not immediately passable in the same way my face talking to your faces than I do have a kind is. You mean total anonymity where I cannot be found out I am in the sea weed and invisible and there are many layers protecting me from ever being found out and no court process is what it amounts to is there is a finite amount of time and trouble and knowledge it would take to find out who you are whatever that whatever that amount might be and it can be more or less going to be more or less worth the most trouble to try and I think actually it’s on the greatest anonymity that we can have on the anonymity of being one in such a great mess. Nobody actually cares who you are at work and lots of data processing market research stuff I’ve done lots of operations on files containing tens of thousands of people’s names and Social Security numbers. I didn’t care about any single one of them. I think one of the greatest thing that ever heard about this is that if a market research company has your own gender and month of birth I believe result in person and narrow you down to a given name and Social Security number if given the amount of data of a valve there and the ability to parse it. Yet the problem with that of course is that they don’t care they don’t want to know your name social security number they already have all the information is that if you are a male or female in this age range living in this area going beyond that would actually be a waste of resources for their purpose. Trying to find a needle in a needle stack. On the one hand you found the needle there it is on the other hand the needle stack. I think that kind of comes down to the sort of mutual respect for lack of a better term. That unless people on the Internet have for the end of the Internet the well I’m going to be anonymous and I might as well let other people be anonymous Also I don’t want to bother with having to do all the work to find out who these people are. It isn’t of consequence to me to be willing to do this. Well and does national calculus I found very helpful in my do they why there is two levels and when one extends the other you will be found out on one of the men a trouble that would be for you to be found out and level two was the amount of interest you generated in someone’s mind. I use this calculus when it comes to my car. If I don’t want my heart to be broken into either my car I have to be champion of and not have anything of value in it that even though it’s not very hard to break into and nobody wants to bother or if I have a valuable car with a lot of stuff on it I have to mention I have very high difficulty Very good I’ll never achieve impenetrable security and I will never achieve impenetrable anonymity. But in one side coordinating bombings across countries and involved in fairly various actions I’m probably not worth finding out who I am and most people here are lacking respect at the very least I’m too much trouble. Makes me wonder is being blamed being beneath everyone’s notice. My point started becoming work some point in the future be an asset and certainly I mean nobody can really fault him for just listening. There’s If you’re not on interactive in any sense other than observing. If you don’t create ways you don’t create the motive for someone to try to find you out or try and interact with you. So the ultimate is no and there were the years of course the lurker. Even the name reflects that right when we think of something lurking. Imagine someone in the shadows someone off to the side not someone standing in the middle of the Rings and I am the finest of all examples. Instead someone quiet who stays out of the way not contributing anything to the conversation or just reading in both pseudonymous and unless there is if you start to act or start to talk. Publish What have you without being there for a long time. Often times the response you’ll get or if you act ignorant in that space of that space the response you will get is more. You know obviously don’t know what’s going on here or what we’re about. So step back and listen. Pseudonymity that’s I think something really interesting about that. And I like to see more of it. It’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the Internet is because it is the most we’ve ever had to have to claim the right to tell our own stories to tell people and show people who we are intentionally and to the best of our ability. More so than real life where we make blunders and there are things going to control that people judge us on identity that you create and try to build a reputation around. That’s this is really I think in the purest way us telling or showing the creating who you are. That’s true to some degree. What hide their identity on the Internet. And soon after that we make former selves. Do I want to appear in the Vela while I am in fact actually being a good guy. Do I want to say mean things to people but have points and the site end up sort of a joke or what I choose to make that persona into is an extension of who I am in some way shape or form the same as a writer can write a story in which a villain does something terrible that they don’t. Themselves it’s terrible if you use your main name identity to try and make you know the best high minded arguments you can to try to get a reputation doesn’t lie or you may try to be that someone who throws in the funny quips into the middle of a conversation. Whatever you can do to try to get it. Generally I think most of us naturally wants approbation. One positive feedback. There are course the trolls were intentionally going or does that provision for whatever reason. Well and I think that on some level that comes down to whether or not you are essentially more of an infinitely more of an extrovert on some level for some people it might be the greatest opportunity ever to gather secrets to listen to other people’s stories and not to be removed from that process in a way that they can’t in a person conversation. I can’t sit there and gather all the things you say as a human being standing in the room that you’ve been noticing them standing and I can’t enter I didn’t follow around someone I can cyber stark someone I can gather information or learn about someone else’s point of his or her a great many of those points of view and even possibly find things to try and hurt the world a way to gain power without being recognized in the same way. Certainly and it’s kind of interesting because there are other Web sites like Tumblr where you can ask each other questions like this one the T.V. is of Tumblr is a Web site is you can go to some of these pages if you want to ask them something even personal or work related to what they like or about like you said an artist after work you can ask it and there are two options you can either ask with your name your account like it’ll show your name it’ll have a link to your account. This question or comment or what have you will be. It included it was tied directly back to you or there is a box you can press to be anonymous that moves all four of the folks that you don’t want to not be associated with the question for whatever reason either they feel it’s unfair or sing or there are signs that something may be spiteful or unpopular war they feel they don’t want a direct connection to this person they don’t want to directly address this personally want to drop a question in the proverbial mailbox and maybe have the answer or respond to it in some way but they don’t feel like either they’re worthy or that they are appropriate to be connected to this person. It’s an interesting dynamic that the tumbler and two people the incentive to try to draw each other out by asking each other questions that are just telling each person put in what you think that there’s an interesting dynamic to get the people to help to try and draw each other out to generating we’re going to help but want to vanity Facebook thing. Whenever an instant Google is trying to go more that way to your actual real world identity being online and what it means I’m not really sure why these sites want to do that. That’s going to be the central basic you know the rich person the most important one that you have is the one that has your real name on it. Well with the rise of Facebook as Facebook has become more and more popular and the web of people that you’re connected to becomes more more important right. You see people guarding that identity in careful not saying terrible things because you’re connected to your real world friends and the people who didn’t know you have cited names and have social consequence or be. It’s hard to establish a fake identity and farms. It’s very easy to fake count but the fake account isn’t enough by itself. Webs of friends connections to places things that happened. Showing up at events checking in in places adding photos of the papers and all the generated totality that’s difficult to play and so it has a certain value to an external Web site to have a long interface or a long into Google in which case you are using that to pay for simplicity right. I ain’t paying you for the simplicity of modern create a whole new user on your Web site by linking it to this other account and in return I am signing up for a certain amount of social consequence. If I use it if I use that primarily to separate vision although there are legal consequences there could be arrested for this on Facebook and confess to crimes or it will cost jobs. I can’t remember where it was in fact that one’s own Florida again but it did in least one state is now we will serve the worst arguments be a Facebook if you have tried all other means you cannot reach person or I mean that that definitely points to that totality reflective self as it were of the total souls or the clothes that you’re going to get to a real self on the Internet if this account the state has this account. Close enough to you as a person that they feel that it’s going to stand in legal documents at least you know that actually had a run in with needing to verify your right and for some reason Facebook Google plus have told me my name’s not free. The problem I have. There are thirty five different spellings of the name genitals on Facebook and yet somehow Mine’s not real if you don’t want to make a counter to respond. I feel like the primary student in the whatever you tend to use the most as a pseudonym and the the things that you say under that I think that is actually a true reflection of who you are then your real name account with pictures and and all of the real life information if you will says more about who you really are. When when you’re free to say whatever you want but you’re also trying to create a reputation for someone from scratch I think there is a more true you inside you than the circumstances of your life which is what ends up all over this book in Google plus I mean there’s certainly something to be said there but with a completely separate sit in them even if it’s your main it is artificial in some sense you can construct the user that you want people to see. Well it will reflect on you in some sense it isn’t necessarily who you are. I don’t I feel the opposite of this is kind of true or not the opposite. I feel that there’s there’s an other side of the coin as it were to this with regards to the actual person and the actual you of Facebook and stuff like that. And in some ways I think this would support your argument Bruce where are people who are or who go by different names or people who are friends who don’t go by their given name or haven’t gone through the legal steps to change their given name as their identity changes have been running and a lot of problems with the well you’re supposed to use your real Your real. Well what is a real name is the name the top your birth certificate it is the name the courts call you by his name or your friends call you by because it’s the last one. Then Facebook shouldn’t be coming down on people with well you don’t have or this isn’t your real name when that’s the most closely identified with self. Yeah I really do think that who you choose to be is a better reflection of who you are and who your circumstances and what your circumstances tell you who you are what one thing keeps me from deciding to be someone carrying no student loan debt. Yes and there are also of social value to me having to live with the consequences of what’s gone on before. Obviously against rebels talking about trans people we want to allow for people to have room to change and grow and these people changed in very distinct ways something very realistically want to change how they are for to out in the world. Another reason someone might want to be referred to differently is to escape their past and why it actually was any tangible consequence circumstances of your life. I’m not saying that those should be eliminated. I’m just saying that those shouldn’t be who you are and try to do bigger quirks and family they still apply to you and you still have to deal with them but I guess some of divorced from your identity in the N.T. should more be more about how you communicate how you present yourself what you put out other people choose to word things with which to do the circumstances of your life are there but I still feel that the choices you make and how you present your says much more about who you are than the circumstances of your life that fit the circumstances of your life don’t still exist but you know a great example where that divergence of who you are the circumstances of your life is trans people and making that. And getting people to go and get on board with it to the difference between circumstances of your life being part of your current I don’t know your part of your history they could call you and your history will check if they need to personally who purpose other than that they don’t need to be what you put out there. That’s certainly fair and I don’t see this somewhat to you but it’s a bit of a hairy subject to put it that way. Just the whole pseudonymity vs who you present versus who you are as to how we’re going to say that there. So I guess the question at this point is why have anybody why continue to have an especially in the case of this push for more real identity on the Internet more physical or real you and less suited and you know as it stands just because we CAN I don’t think anybody ever really planned to make everybody communicate anonymously with each other I think it’s just a byproduct of other units developed phone where they could go back into my internet history file as it were and talk about the fact that the creator of four chan created fortune was better than anybody in mind especially after he had been booted off the Something Awful forums for multiple of fractions and stuff like that but it is something that’s kind of come and went as it were almost naturally leads into the positives and the negatives of them in this conversation at least some of them. I imagine that there are probably as many as anyone to tend to. But let me propose a reason to have something I think again links back to this idea of freedom and I’m going to start by outlining something that some of. Our listeners may not even remember a time before the Internet a time before the world wide web of interconnected everything runs on the Internet. When I die I will be. Yes it is for that day back in the old days when you had to specifically access a message board or some committee people via computer in a different way than you do now when you didn’t have everything flows from one end of that. What was beautiful about that was the society they created. Yes bad things happened. Yes people swap files. Yes people puzzles people how to make bombs. All of the bad things about the Internet were already barren but it became a kind of autonomous people an outlet for the need to have that in their lives. And we’ve seen this over and over again in societies that there are tons of black market underground drinking clubs during prohibition somewhere where the walls are broken not because breaking the rules is good for us because it is important to us to occasionally went off the steam of living in a society that we can control in some sense the older Internet the Internet that was before the end of the Internet that is at the dawn of the web page is not one of us. So for people living in societies that are ever more controlling myself that our ability to go on and be jerks the terrible results of all the other horrible things we are is actually a pressure valve for all the crap that could come out in our day to day lives. This is a way for us to get away with all of those things in the least terrible possible consequential time ago saying before it’s not that half the pocket would go up with solutions are always all powerful people is that we’re all occasionally awful people. The trolls we have met the trolls and they are us. I definitely can see it as a form of because Tarsus just kind of letting everything go. Like you say a place where one can act regardless of social consequence and not have to worry about it too. I was one of the social norms in some cases you know this this can be expressed as always and I think there are ways that is expressed nowadays I mean we’ve definitely seen other ton of The Stones come about four chan is for the best example of in some ways rather older that has gotten their feet put to the fire a couple of times in regards to certain things. Both sides and we still see ones like Tor and I want to say I do us and other large World Wide Web based internet protocols that have kind of come about or have been around but the new implementation in recent years. Usenet in particular has developed a huge culture. Absolutely alt dot of Usenet one of the nine main quote unquote Usenet categories Altaf is probably one of the best post previous to examples that autonomy and constant migration of that. I mean if one of them dies another one’s going to grow. It’s always seems to be shifting from one place to another does require not before there is no true in ANY it is merely a question of how much trouble is only to go to to find out who you are but it can be a lot and it can always be changing and you can always just throw that identity overboard and start up a new one. Bruce silence Sean. I grant you the last word. Well thanks professor. So I’d like to take this opportunity to run down one theory of my own about the way that pseudonymity end. Then the Internet work. I like this. Are we all assholes online. And the answer might surprise you. Imagine for a moment that we are examining a person called Mr X. Mr X. has a tendency to go online. He uses the pseudonym Mr greater than less that for his online participation. While he’s online he acts like the worst racist terrible mean spirited cruel jerk ever. And over the course of that process developed quite the reputation online for being that way in his day to day life. Mr X. is completely reasonable. He’s a kind person and he helps old ladies cross sidewalk whatever you can think of that makes someone not a bad person is what he does in his day to day want. The question becomes Is Mr greater than less than actually different from Mr X. in some sense. Mr X. minus social conformity norms and other consequences is Mr greater than less than. But are those really something you can remove without changing the essential nature of a human personality. I’d say no they’re not. As a matter of fact we have a little bit of a jackal and Hyde situation on our hands. One of them act out the best parts of this nature while the other one gets to feed dark desires blinders. If we imagine this we might ask why. Why does he want to do these terrible things when he’s in those circumstances. The reason is because Mr X. has no reason to do them in a day to day life but in his anonymous life in his life elsewhere Mr X. has no reason not to do when he is lacking in those social circumstances. Mr X. is given the freedom to act in term ways without consequence consequence keeps Mr X. and wondering if day to day life not because he is a terrible racist or a cruel spirited person but because quieting this. As he has no reason not to do the easiest thing. As I stated earlier we have very engine example of this in the ring of gaieties but we actually have a more visceral modern example. That’s something I like to call a little room of guy G.’s as a matter of fact it’s the men’s room in the men’s bathroom is a perfect example of what happens when we remove social consequences from a group of people they act like the worst immoral shit available to them. They smear racist things and coop on the walls they can in the corners that carve things in they tell terrible jokes all because they have no reason not to. There’s no payment value things the truth that none of us want to imagine it is that on some level being bad feels good. So if we have an example do we have a counter example. We do the women’s restroom. Women’s restroom is rarely kept in this kind of condition. You’ll find some of them a little bit abused and treated badly. But for the most part you will find a far less visceral level of disgust at any person working at their reason. Simple men are taught but they are alone when they are in the bathroom. Women are taught that they are in groups that they are part of a social contract that they have certain responsibilities. People will watch people will see if you know what you actually do your business but they’ll certainly know who came out of the room. Men on the other hand look away don’t acknowledge each other’s presence. We are not part of a social group when we are in the bathroom that allows us to act in a truly deplorable ways. If you still lack the confidence that this is in fact an underlying phenomenon look back at all of the terrible things that people have been able to do when they had no reason to fear the consequences. We see this in things like in what has now been called much to my chagrin affluenza. When people have too much money and do terrible. Things because they don’t feel a sense of connection to right and wrong. Why. Because the money removes social consequence over and over. We see the people minus social consequence equal problems. What we are seeing a greater Internet one theory writ large across a society we see is that when we give people the opportunity to receive any kind of benefit and no repercussions from writing badly they will act badly. Does this mean the essential nature of human beings attack they have no essential nature of human beings is to be in social circumstance. We all live with a certain level of social consequence dumped into the way that we’re supposed to act. When you remove us from that all of a sudden there are problems. Our brains are not able to process that we can act in the ways that we think we would want to because we have not been trained for the circumstance. So when we come down to the eventuality Yes Mr greater than less than different from Mr X. He is the Mr Hyde the Dr Jekyll of Mr X. He is in fact another person a person who exists only in those circumstances and that person is in fact an asshole. So when you come to the question are we all assholes on the Internet. The answer writ large is yes but we’re also not ourselves. Well that’s all the time we have for today. Don’t forget subscribe interview on i Tunes follow us on Twitter send us your questions and if you like what we’re doing here so Faurisson Patria I’ve been your host at the chain gang. I’m Bruce Kevin Carter. I told her wonderful recently and I’ve been having Dr underscore Potato Head was not right. Oh that was nice. It’s there. No.