Pleasantly Disgusted – Yet Another Stupid Headline

Cycling Stupid HeadlineI can’t stop myself! I’ve just seen my third incredibly stupid or misleading headline of the week and must spread the word.

A Dutch Guy Is Disgusted By America, But He Has A Hell Of A Point screams the headline I first saw when a Facebook friend commented on the story.

The link leads to a YouTube video in which a Dutch cycling enthusiast speaks about the state of cycling in the United States. His channel is dedicated to all things cycling in the Netherlands. He has instructional videos, information on cycling infrastructure, cycling routes in various cities, and many other useful tips.

His tone in the video is anything but “disgusted”. I’d call it the opposite of disgusted. It’s clinical in its analysis and hopeful in tone that biking in the U.S. will continue to grow. He fairly systematically covers some of the difficulties of biking in the United States, how biking in the U.S. is different from that in his homeland, and places where he sees room for improvement. He is critical a few times but nothing he says nor the tone that he uses could possibly be misconstrued as “disgusted”.

Not to mention that he doesn’t really have a “Point” to the video. He mentions a number of things but it is more of an analysis than any sort of attempt to persuade people.

The headline is designed to generate clicks and angry comments. It’s unfair and totally misleading.

Comments were already piling up about smug and nasty Europeans based apparently upon having read the headline but not bothered to watch the video.

Congratulations Upworthy! You are the third winner, this week, of the Misleading or Stupid Headline of the week.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming very, very soon: The Broken Throne

Did Wells Fargo Order All American Flags Removed?

wells Fargo Bank HeadlineWhat’s a boy to do? I mean, I try to have one stupid or misleading headline a week but it’s hard to ignore viciously and completely misleading headlines like this one!

Wells Fargo Bank Orders American Flags Removed from Inside of Branches! screams the completely inaccurate and misleading headline.

The story leads by telling people they should think about closing their Wells Fargo accounts.

Here’s the real story.

I’ll sum up for you. Liberty First News wants you to think that customers complained because an American Flag was flying in the bank and in response Wells Fargo removed all American flags from all their offices.

In reality the flag was tacked to a board and an employee complained that it was disrespectful to the flag to display it in such a manner. Wells Fargo agreed and had it properly displayed on a flagpole.

The vitriol of the people who apparently trust Liberty First News to supply them with accurate information has to be seen to be believed. The story now has a Facebook life of its own and the comments are filled with hate and outrage at the liberals and illegal aliens and foreigners who hate America so much. Looking for someone filled with hate? Look in the mirror.

I have some sympathy for the people who believed this story although not much. It’s easy to trust a news source and I’ve been fooled a couple of times myself while writing this blog. Still, this one seemed so strange that I immediately went out in search of the real story which I found after approximately 30 seconds.

What I don’t have sympathy for is anyone who continues to read Liberty First News and trust it as a source of information. That person is a fool.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming very, very soon: The Broken Throne

Common Core Math – Looked Simple to Me

Common Core Frustrated ParentThere is apparently a big story these days with what is called the Common Core. While I am an educator my focus is primarily on technology and I teach adults. Even with that said I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know much about the Common Core until I read this article.

At this stage I haven’t done much research into the Common Core and I’m not writing this blog as a defense or an attack on it. I was just a bit amazed by the father’s reaction to the problem. I’m sure he’s had a lot more experience with the Common Core than have I and his reaction was likely an outburst related to accumulated feelings.

That being said, I’m a college dropout, not an EE, and it took me about ten seconds to see the method being taught for subtraction and it makes perfect sense. It’s exactly how I do math in my head when presented with a problem. The fact that someone with a degree in Electrical Engineering couldn’t figure this out is baffling to me. The father is also completely undermining the authority of the teacher and basically telling his child it’s fine to mock and ignore teachers. Good luck with that.

The original problem is a subtraction equation: 427 – 316. So, using base tens you subtract three one-hundreds, one ten, and six ones to arrive at 111. In the example the student failed to subtract the ten properly and went from 127 to 107.

The method being taught is very straightforward, and as I said, exactly the way I do subtraction in my head. The line at the top is an excellent representation of how I solve such a problem.

Please don’t take this as a defense of the Common Core as a whole because I don’t know enough about it to make such a statement. I’m just saying that the father’s reaction to this problem is nonsense, not the problem itself. Even then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s likely this letter is the culmination of multiple frustrating events.

The process used is straight-forward and works perfectly. It takes about five seconds and can be done in the head instead of having to use a piece of paper to write down all the numbers. It’s, in my opinion, a better system for subtraction than the one the father presents.

What do you think?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

Cyber Fugitive? Misleading Headline

Cyber Fugitive HeadlineI know, it’s only Tuesday but when you see a headline as stupid as the one I’m about to show you, well, you just can’t resist. The fact that the headline is an extension of a story I’ve already written about doesn’t hurt. Go ahead and read my post to find out the full details of his arrest and the freezing of his assets. The details of the case should frighten any Libertarian.

Here’s the headline:

Cyber Fugitive Dotcom mocks authorities…

In early 2012 the government of New Zealand, with the help of the FBI, raided the home of Kim Dotcom and arrested him. He spent some time in jail essentially being tortured. He had his company and his money taken from him despite the fact that he still hasn’t stood any sort of trial.

Now this headline! Cyber Fugitive?

  1. He’s not cyber. He’s quite real and rather rotund.
  2. He’s not a fugitive. He’s out on bail.

Congratulations Reuters! You win the stupid headline of the week. As an added bonus take pride in the fact that I awarded you the win and it’s only Tuesday!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

Blissfully Incompetent – The Dunning Kruger Effect

Dunning-Kruger EffectWhile at work today we had a short network outage which gave the Web and Software Development team a little time to talk about our favorite subject. How stupid everyone else is.

One of our younger coders mentioned something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I immediately headed out to Wiki and read the article. There is nothing earth-shattering in the article. Even Dunning and Kruger mention in their original study that philosophers from the earliest times have noted stupid people are blissfully unaware of their idiocy while the intelligent are filled with doubt.

What was interesting was the scientific method was used to prove this effect, at least among those raised in Western cultures. A few studies on those from Eastern backgrounds did not show the same thing.

The studies also showed that competent and intelligent people tended to underestimate their own ability much as the less competent overestimate theirs. The idea being that competent people find particular tasks easy and assume that such jobs are, in fact, easy. That anyone should be able to do them without much of a problem.

The studies are interesting to be certain why the blog?

This study, this Dunning-Kruger effect is a tremendous impediment to the Libertarian Ideal. If the incompetent don’t know they are miserable at their jobs and the competent can’t recognize how well they do their job; we are left in a bad place.

What do we do about it? The study itself shows the way. Those people who are incompetent at their jobs recognize their previous inability after they are trained to do the job better! That’s really good news. It means when we see someone doing their job badly, our course is to spend the time and effort teaching them to do it better. It’s a good idea to pat the high-performers on the back as well.

Now that I’ve read the article on the Dunning-Kruger effect it makes much more sense to me. Those who find a task difficult assume it is difficult and everyone has a hard time doing it. Likewise those who find it easy figure that everyone can do it. Now that I at least partially understand the psychology of the effect I’m better prepared to deal with it.

I can’t wait to start roaming the office and telling everyone how to do their jobs … or maybe not!

Still, it’s an interesting piece of psychology and while I don’t suggest telling everyone how to do their job. I do think if you are a supervisor it’s a great idea to spend time with the low-performers and give them a hand. Maybe you’ll have a better understanding of why they struggle to improve.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

Women Can’t Get Divorced in Alabama – Misleading Headline

Same Sex MarriageRight at the buzzer we have our misleading headline of the week! I had all but given up but I should have known that something would come along.

Judge: Married women can’t divorce in Alabama blares the headline from the Associated Press.

So what is the article really about? Two women got married in a state where such marriage are legal and are now trying to get a divorce in a state where it is not legal.

I happen to agree with the judge in that if a state doesn’t recognize a marriage it certainly is not legally possible for it to recognize the divorce. It’s perfectly possible for one state to make marrying your cousin illegal while another state recognizes such pairings. If you traveled all the way to Iowa to get married, then head on back and get the divorce. One state is not obligated to have the same laws as any other state nor recognize said laws.

What makes me angry is the misleading nature of the headline. It reads as though all women in Alabama will no longer be able to divorce their spouses.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

La Chingona – is it a Bad Word if you don’t Know it?

La ChingonaI read an interesting story in the news today about a specialty pizza being offered by the Pizza Patrón chain which is located primarily in Texas but in a number of other states as well. They have a new pizza covered with jalapeno infused pepperoni with more diced hot peppers on top.

I know the very idea of such a pizza will send my buddy Jeff and his daughter immediately to Texas to make a purchase.

The problem is that the chain has launched an advertising campaign calling the pizza La Chingona. What would you think of a public advertising campaign with billboards and signage in the store that offered a pizza called The Fucking Bad-Ass?

The problem is that La Chingona doesn’t literally translate so crudely. It is a slang term used primarily by younger people in Mexico to have such meaning. A literal translation is more like “Cool Girl”. Language is filled with words that can have two or more meanings even without slang definitions.

In response to this campaign a number of chain owners are refusing to put up the advertisements and number of media outlets are refusing to play the commercials.

A quick perusal of the Urban Dictionary T section gives us words and phrases related to Tea bags, a Tony Danza, Turbeville, Thomas, Thot, Tyler, two girls one cup, etc.

All these words have vulgar meaning but they are not on the list of banned words from the FCC. Thus they fit into the realm of the pizza that inspired me to write this blog.

All this fuss over a few words. In my opinion it’s perfectly reasonable for the store to use this term for their pizza. It’s perfectly reasonable for chain owners and media outlets to refuse to play or show the advertisements. If a person is offended then they shouldn’t go into the store. This is the way freedom works.

Freedom is often unpleasant. It involves allowing pizza companies to use vulgarities and allowing hate filled people to protest funerals. Freedom doesn’t involve the government suppressing everything that anyone finds unappealing. It means the opposite.

I see and hear things on a daily basis that I wouldn’t say or do myself. Things I find crude. The idea that we can “protect our children” from the horror of having to see a sign advertising the Fucking Bad-Ass pizza is not realistic. The world is a crude and disgusting place. The best we can do is explain that those who behave in a crude fashion, will be treated as if they are so.

When we try to rid the world of all that is crude we also attack the cause of freedom.

I accept La Chingona. I accept Fred Phelps. I accept but I do not condone. If you like freedom then you have to show some personal responsibility when you see things you don’t like. It’s the price we pay.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

Tesla Banning – It’s all about Service

tesla-store-new-jersey-banNew Jersey became the third state to ban sales of Tesla cars because they refuse to be part of the franchise system. Texas and Arizona have already instituted the ban based on the idea that in those states you are required to be a franchise in order to sell cars.

I wrote about this issue back in August and spoke about how this new model of selling cars hurts those who pay franchising fees and those who collect those fees. In short, politicians in many states have set up a system wherein anyone who wants to sell cars must pay a bribe to the state in order to have a license. Those who cannot afford the bribe or do not want to pay are not allowed to sell product to consumers.

There’s another aspect to the story. Car dealers make most of their money through service calls and financing, not sales. When people take their car to the dealer for routine maintenance and repair they pay a premium for such service. 

If the Tesla method of selling cars catches on; this lucrative form of revenue decreases dramatically. The loan portion of the industry is also severely damaged.

What upsets me most about all the caterwauling from the auto industry and franchise owners in various states is their insistence that they are banning Tesla sales to save the consumers. This is the sort of “it’s for you own good” Liberalism that drives Libertarians like me to drink.

What it really is, is another example of Crony Capitalism where those with money run to legislators and beg to be saved from a new competitor.

It could be that the franchise system is better for consumers. I doubt it, but it could be true. One thing that I know for certain is that it’s not the government’s business to decide what’s the best sales model for a car manufacturer.

We here in the United States don’t have the best cars, the best internet speeds, or the best technology because Crony Capitalism is destroying real capitalism. Are you happy with your internet provider? Your television provider? How many choices do you have? Choices are good for consumers and, in the long run, good for businesses.

In a capitalistic system a business must provide a good product at a price people want if they want to survive an assault from a vigorous new competitor.

In the United States the owner of a business simply heads to the statehouse and bribes the politicians into passing laws to destroy their competitors.

I have a word of warning for all the franchise owners who are trying to legislate Tesla out of business.

Elon Musk has a lot of money and bribery goes both ways. Maybe you should think about changing your business model. 

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Tesla Banning – It's all about Service

tesla-store-new-jersey-banNew Jersey became the third state to ban sales of Tesla cars because they refuse to be part of the franchise system. Texas and Arizona have already instituted the ban based on the idea that in those states you are required to be a franchise in order to sell cars.

I wrote about this issue back in August and spoke about how this new model of selling cars hurts those who pay franchising fees and those who collect those fees. In short, politicians in many states have set up a system wherein anyone who wants to sell cars must pay a bribe to the state in order to have a license. Those who cannot afford the bribe or do not want to pay are not allowed to sell product to consumers.

There’s another aspect to the story. Car dealers make most of their money through service calls and financing, not sales. When people take their car to the dealer for routine maintenance and repair they pay a premium for such service. 

If the Tesla method of selling cars catches on; this lucrative form of revenue decreases dramatically. The loan portion of the industry is also severely damaged.

What upsets me most about all the caterwauling from the auto industry and franchise owners in various states is their insistence that they are banning Tesla sales to save the consumers. This is the sort of “it’s for you own good” Liberalism that drives Libertarians like me to drink.

What it really is, is another example of Crony Capitalism where those with money run to legislators and beg to be saved from a new competitor.

It could be that the franchise system is better for consumers. I doubt it, but it could be true. One thing that I know for certain is that it’s not the government’s business to decide what’s the best sales model for a car manufacturer.

We here in the United States don’t have the best cars, the best internet speeds, or the best technology because Crony Capitalism is destroying real capitalism. Are you happy with your internet provider? Your television provider? How many choices do you have? Choices are good for consumers and, in the long run, good for businesses.

In a capitalistic system a business must provide a good product at a price people want if they want to survive an assault from a vigorous new competitor.

In the United States the owner of a business simply heads to the statehouse and bribes the politicians into passing laws to destroy their competitors.

I have a word of warning for all the franchise owners who are trying to legislate Tesla out of business.

Elon Musk has a lot of money and bribery goes both ways. Maybe you should think about changing your business model. 

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Boobies Win!

I love boobiesIn October of last year I wrote a blog post about the possible Supreme Court case involving boobie bracelets. Today the Supreme Court decided against hearing the case which essentially means none of the justices disagreed substantially with the Appeals Court decision. This means that the boobie bracelets win.

I’ll recap quickly. Boobie Bracelets are designed to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. The Easton Area school district in Pennsylvania thought the word boobie was lewd and obscene and banned the bracelets. Two young girls refused to honor the ban and were suspended.

In court the school district changed their story somewhat and claimed that the bracelets were disruptive. In a series of opinions it was determined that the district could not show that classes were disrupted and the girls were victorious at every turn.

I wrote in my original blog that the school district was stupid for attempting the ban, stupid for pursuing the case, but that it was their right to ban anything they wanted. Apparently I was wrong. If something is not lewd, not disruptive, and there isn’t an existing dress-code rules violation; they can’t ban a piece of apparel.

I thought a quick course in Supreme Court processes might be interesting for my readers. I wrote above that refusing to take the case meant that none of the justices wanted to hear it. That’s technically inaccurate. The justices gather in a conference with just the nine members; no clerks, no one else.

The rules state that if four justices want to hear the case then it comes before the court. The reality is that if even a single justice feels passionately about a case the others will generally acquiesce. If the case goes unheard it usually means that no one felt strongly enough to argue for it. There are exceptions of course.

Another interesting insight into this case is that the original suspensions happened in 2010 and it took nearly four years to make its way through the system. The girls are now in high school and making preparations for college. The suspension is but a distant memory. Still, there has to be some feeling of vindication.

As for the Easton Area school district, well, if I were a taxpayer in that district I’d be quite angry about how my money was being used. I’d think about voting for someone else come election time for the school board. But, that’s me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

The First U.S. City was a Melting Pot – Stupid Headline

First US CityAnd we have a winner!

I read a lot of news stories looking for things to write about and this week’s most incredibly stupid headline comes from LiveScience. This is a bit of an upset. Usually the financial markets or one of the yellow journalism rags win out, but when I saw this one I knew I had a winner.

The First U.S. City was a Melting Pot – Blares the headline.

I thought to myself, perhaps they are talking about the early years in New York or Boston, but, no, it’s about a place called Cahokia which is about a half-hour’s drive from my house. It’s a cool site where a large and thriving metropolis of perhaps 20,000 people lived about a thousand years ago.

Anyone interested in the history of the region should visit the Cahokia Mounds website or better yet, come to St. Louis and spend your tourist dollars!

One thing it wasn’t was a United States city. You, see the United States didn’t formally exist before at least 1776 when we declared independence from Britain. Although it can be argued that the country didn’t truly exist as a national entity until the Constitution was ratified in 1798. Either way the headline is utter nonsense.

It’s an interesting article about how various cultures came together at Cahokia and built what was at the time a massive city.

Read the article! Visit the website! Come to St. Louis!

Just don’t believe the stupid headline.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Oscar Pistorius – Why a Trial when he’s Guilty?

Oscar-Pistorius-Trial-On-TVWhen I got up this morning and looked at ESPN3 to see if there are any upcoming events available I noted that the Oscar Pistorius trial is being broadcast live.

Cases like this make me think about the purpose of laws, trials, and the nature of justice. Before I get into my thoughts I’ll recap events in the Pistorius case for those who are not following along.

Pistorius is an athlete from South Africa who I wrote about not long ago in regards to the fact that he has two artificial legs. The article that day was about how mechanically enhanced athletes will soon be dominating those without artificial aid (medically enhanced athletes already dominate those who don’t use PEDs but that’s another topic).

On February 14, 2013 Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. There are two versions of events.

Pistorius claims that he awoke in the middle of the night, heard sounds, assumed a burglar was in his bathroom, and shot through the closed-door four times only later realizing that it was Steenkamp. This is, obviously, a lie.

What happened is that Pistorius and Steenkamp were engaged in an angry, passionate fight heard by neighbors over a hundred meters away. Pistorius chased her into the bathroom where she locked the door. In a fit of rage and madness he fired into the bathroom four times, hitting her three times, once in the head.

It’s clear to everyone that Pistorius intentionally shot her. That his fabricated version of events is filled with logical holes. So why are we having a trial? What’s the purpose of laws? Judges? The nature of justice?

This is what brought me to Wikipedia articles about Law and about Justice. It speaks to why I’m a Libertarian. If we do not have laws then people within society are subject to the whims of those in power. Without the concept of blind justice those in authority can simply do whatever they want.

What happens when law becomes perverted? When wealthy and powerful people can do as they wish? When politicians can terrorize citizens without repercussions? When police agencies can take our possessions on trumped-up charges designed to fleece us?

I’ll tell you what happens: people stop believing that justice is possible in their nation. When people give up on justice they get violent. When people believe that a legal system works and they can have their grievances fairly adjudicated they work within the system.

That’s why there is a Pistorius trail, despite his obvious guilt.

I know some people are going to read these words and try to politicize them. Blame Republicans or Democrats for violating the spirit of the law. I’m both with you and against you. I’m with you in that, yes, Republicans/Democrats are eager and willing to ignore the law when it benefits them. I’m against you in that one side is in greater violation than the other.

This is largely the problem. Most people seem to have no objection whatsoever when the group they support violates the law to pursue their ends. Anything to win an election as long as it’s your political party.

When we stop looking for justice and merely want to expedite our agenda we tear down the fabric of our nation, one law at a time. If you don’t like it when the other side violates a law, I suggest the solution is to come down hard on your side when they do the same.

So I got pretty far from the headline of this post but the trial itself doesn’t interest me much. Pistorius is murderous scum regardless of the outcome. It’s the reason for the trial that intrigues me. In a totalitarian state Pistorius would either be hanged already or been given his freedom by a sympathetic dictator.

Be happy if you live in a republic (like South Africa) and do what you can to preserve it (regardless of your political affiliation).

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Thomas M. Harrigan and Marijuana Stupidity

Thomas Harrigan MarijuanaAm I the only one who doesn’t like being stupid?

I’m going to tell you a personal story and in it one of my five sisters is not going to come off looking all that great. I just want to be clear that everything is all patched up now. The events depicted in this story happened many years ago and I have nothing but love and good feelings for said sister. All is forgiven.

When I was a young lad my sister used to have a favorite word. “Tommmmmy” she would say after I did something not so smart. She then used a facial expression that left no doubt to anyone witnessing it that I was possibly the stupidest human being on the face of the planet. That drawn out recitation of my name still sends me weeping to the corner of shame.

The end result of hearing “Tommmmmy” is that I don’t like to be wrong. People often mistake it for always having to be right. It’s not that. It’s being wrong that bothers me. It literally causes me to have an upset stomach. When I’m wrong I get physically sick. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Thanks, sis.

What’s the point of all this personal information? I just don’t understand how people can say incredibly stupid things. Things that have no possible chance of being accurate. And yet it happens.

Thomas M. Harrigan is the Chief of Operations for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and has been a DEA Special Agent for nearly 25 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from Seton Hall. This is an intelligent man.

He told a Congressional committee that “Every single parent out there” opposes the legalization of marijuana.

He said: We also know that marijuana destroys lives and families, undermines our economy, and insults our common values. There are no sound scientific, economic or social reasons to change our nation’s marijuana policies.

This is a man whose salary I pay! We pay! He has been a DEA agent for twenty-five years.

There are reasons to oppose the legalization of marijuana just as there are very compelling and good reasons to decriminalize it.

I fully understand why Harrigan wants to keep marijuana illegal. It means he gets to keep his job. If we ever decriminalize drugs then the people enforcing the current laws won’t have a lot to do. This includes Harrigan. Maybe they could spend their time chasing down child molesters, rapists, and murderers.

But, seriously? A Master’s degree from Seton Hall and you say that every single parent is opposed to decriminalization? He later amended his incredibly stupid and false statement by saying “most” parents would oppose decriminalization. That’s reasonable and polls suggest that parents support legalizing marijuana at a lower rate than the general public which favors it at about a 55% rate.

I don’t want to go on yet another rant about how the War on Drugs has fueled violence, crime, and done nothing to limit the supply of illegal drugs. I do want to ask you, my loyal audience, a question.

Do you hate to be wrong? Do you try to think out your statements before you make them so you don’t say something stupid? When you do make a mistake, are you embarrassed? I’ve made a few with this column of mine and I always try to immediately post a retraction and admit my mistake.

I’m always astonished when I see someone make such an incredibly inaccurate statement. I don’t get it and I never will.

If I was Harrigan I’d be hiding in the corner and I know what my sister would be saying … “Tommmmmy!”

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Tiger Woods Wins … for the most Stories Written about a Golfer

Tiger WoodsThe golf season is upon us and that’s good news if you’re me. The fact that golf is now in the news means that we’re seeing a lot of stories about Tiger Woods despite the fact that he hasn’t come close to winning a tournament this year. Why so many stories?

It’s an interesting phenomenon that I think brings up an interesting paradox. More on that in a moment.

A few years back Tiger ended a spectacular run of golf when he won the 2008 U.S. Open Championship with a badly injured leg. In 2009 his extra-marital affairs became public knowledge and his wife divorced him.

This was a turning point in the trajectory of his popularity. Up until then he had his detractors but was far and away the most popular playing professional golfer in the world. Certainly Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus still have legions of fans but both are no longer playing the game professionally. When the news of his despicable behavior came to light there arose a large group of people who do not like Woods and aren’t shy about saying so in the comment section of news articles.

Tiger is off to a poor start this year and yet almost every article about a golf tournament has at least a mention of Woods and he is often the focus of such articles. Those who dislike Woods complain vociferously about this. They accuse the media of glorifying Woods as someone who can do no wrong. They use as evidence the plethora of stories about a golfer who isn’t performing well.

If you find any story about Woods and you read the comments you will find that it’s about 80% filled with negative comments about him, his fans, and the writer of the article.

That’s what I find interesting. It seems very clear to me that the reason there are so many articles about Woods is because so many people click on those articles and write comments. Not nearly as many people feel compelled to comment on a wonderful tournament win for Russell Henley in an exciting four-man playoff.

Because there is so much interest, mostly negative, in Woods we get more stories about him.

Thus the people doing the complaining about the veritable cornucopia of stories about Tiger Woods are actually the ones guilty of causing the stories to be written! The paradox.

My advice? If you don’t want to read more and more stories about Tiger Woods, then don’t click on the ones that are there. Don’t write comments.

This isn’t just about Woods though. This is an important idea in life. If something is making you angry, if something is driving you crazy, or if something is bothering you so much that you are enraged. Get away from it!

It does you no good to immerse yourself in that which you hate. You are hurting yourself. The old saying is that life is short. I disagree. Life is long and longer yet if you insist on spending your time hating everything. Find what you enjoy in life and try to maximize the time you spend doing it.

I like writing blogs and novels. I don’t much like going out to bars and mingling. I like quiet evenings with a few friends (or none at all) not loud nights with a bunch of strangers. You might be the opposite. That’s great.

If you hate something, avoid it. If a particular topic makes you angry, don’t read about it. Don’t talk about it. You might find that your life becomes a little better every time you avoid that which angers you.

In writing this blog I’ve been doing exactly that. Doing something I love before I move onto something I don’t like as much. Proofing my new novel, The Broken Throne. I don’t like proofing but it is something I have to do if I want to finish my novel. Ah, life.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Despicable banks, Greedy Business, Palin, and Tesla Crash

I’ve been working on my next novel quite a bit and haven’t done a Stupid or Misleading Headline in over a week so I thought I’d just do a quick perusal of the hot news stories to see if I could find anything worthy.

Yep.

Here’s a group of four to excite your fancy if you’re a Republican, Democrat, conspiracy theorist, or just about anything else.

I’m not going to get into a deep analysis of any of the four but they are all special in their own way.

Despicable Bank Bank of America is up to shenanigans with the way they process debit statements. It is a pretty obvious and ethically questionable move to try to get more defaults but hardly the most despicable thing of all time.
Greedy Businesses First off, the economy doesn’t suck. It’s not humming along at an early to mid 90’s rate but all economic indicators show mild growth and decreasing unemployment. Secondly the country is changing. Enterprise business is now dominant where once small businesses had the greatest influence. Greed plays a role but it’s hardly the only factor in the game.
Sarah Palin I suppose it is news when my fellow University of Idaho alumnus says something that turns out to be prophetic instead of nonsense. Still, does this make her a foreign policy expert? Hardly.
Tesla Crash Elon Musk is a bit of a P. T. Barnum type and his wild claims get on my nerves but just because he makes outlandish statements doesn’t mean his entire business is going to come crashing down.

Anyway, that’s it. A quick recap of headlines designed to seduce you into making that all important click. Don’t do it!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne