Paul Bliss sues CTV and others. Does #MeToo’s power extend to the courtroom?

Former CTV reporter Paul Bliss is suing CTV, his initial accuser, and those who covered the story.

#MeToo has proven to be a powerful movement in the US. In Canada, its results have been mixed. The courtroom’s rigging is one of the factors that triggered the movement in the first place.

What happens now? It remains to be seen, but the strategy is the old He-said/She-said defence, which was always a problem; on the other hand, the multi-million dollar amount isn’t just a pipe dream; it is a big turn-off to Canadians who do not like those kinds of numbers in the first place…

The National Post’s Woman Problem

Nothing is perfect, including #MeToo, but #MeToo forcefully addressed the issue of what happens to women when they are sexually harassed and abused in such a way that it is difficult to prove it. Predators have practice and prey are ambushed.

The United States was always Canada’s bolder and braver counterpart. The Americans fight for what they believe in. Canadians try to maneuver and appease to steal away what they can. When Donald Trump called Canadians “smooth”, he was letting them know he sees the gambit, and isn’t impressed by it.

#MeToo is an un-Canadian movement, and that is unfortunate. Canadians do not like confrontation. They do not like to admit there is a problem. If everyone just shuts up and endures, then the façade is good enough.

#MeToo was the admission in the United States that all was not well. You have highly educated women in positions of real power who were cornered the same way the high school drop-out waitress was cornered by a superior. The women who who spoke out did not want to do so. They did not want people who wished them ill to get any pleasure knowing they were down because those same people are going to gleefully make jabs that the story is either a lie, or the woman did something to earn her abuse.

No civilized society can tolerate that.

#MeToo used social media in a novel way, and it did so because the courts are rigged in such a way that victims and accusers are not even afterthoughts. Most of the measures of guilt or innocence are not even scientific or empirical. There are a lot of assumptions based on folksy logic, nothing more, and there is also the assumption that the only way to determine guilt or innocence is for an accused to be innocent until proven guilty.

If you object, then, of course, people jump down your throat, and assume you want people to be assumed guilty until proven innocent, and that isn’t the case.

We need a system that makes no assumptions one way or the other. We have never quite gotten out of our binary reflexes.

#MeToo’s longevity is thanks in part to the fact women are not served in the justice system, and nothing has changed.

But to the National Post, the women who dare challenge an Establishment is a horrible, terrible thing.

As soon as there was a tiny lull, they pounced again, trying to reclaim the narrative that the status quo is glorious because women cannot be trusted to tell the truth, using the UK as an example.

Who cares what another country does? We are dealing with our country. Canadian women do not file reports or press charges over there.

It is an attempt at misdirection: let’s look everywhere else but our own nation. We have a justice system that has no understanding of the dynamics of abuse.

For starters, there is a base assumption that if a woman goes back to an abuser, there was no abuse. There was no crime.

If that is the case, then husbands who murder the wives they have beaten shouldn’t get charged because, hey, she lived with the guy; ergo there was no abuse or crime.

Of course there was abuse and crime. I don’t care if someone goes back. We need to establish why people go back, and we do have clues. We see it with cults. We know there are economic factors. We know about grooming and priming. We know about cultural expectations. We know about habit formation.

We have to stop focussing on irrelevant details and start asking simple questions: did you hit her at this point in time? 

And then start asking more questions from there.

We cannot have a functional justice system unless we have a better understanding of human behaviour, and we don’t.

Because we have journalists who aren’t schooled in psychology. You cannot proclaim to study people and then be utterly clueless to how people actually think and behave.

The National Post is a depressing read: there is no connect to humanity in its pages. It is pure seething sophistry trying to prop up things that need to be questioned.

You do not have a static system and then expect progress or improvement. Women are dealing with the same basic justice system that was around when they were still considered properties of their husbands.

And that’s a serious problem.

But the Post has decided to be apologists for rot and ignorance. They have a serious women issue because of it.

If you are going to proclaim to be a chronicler of reality, then you have to start dealing with the whole of reality.

And the reality is you have too many people who are being abused with no true recourse to correct it…

Reality is reality. Why journalism — and immersive journalism — are snake oil that won’t resurrect a dead profession.

I always found this review in Skeptic magazine of the Disinformation Company a bit peculiar. I wrote an article for Skeptic magazine about objectivity in journalism way back in 1998, and Disinfo published my first two media criticism books in 2005, and neither book was different from the article; so I have dealt with both of these outlets professionally. The review included a mention of Don’t Believe It! (as part of a list), but I always suspected that the author of the review did not actually read my book, but just threw it in thinking that it was of the same ilk as the others, never actually doing the requisite homework because of the narrative that Disinfo was Skeptic’s “evil twin”.

It was a gambit, and it revealed itself as such because by the time my first book was accepted for publication, Disinformation was heading in a different direction (which had been noted by others), making the author’s assessment dated by then.

The entire review had claimed my book and the others were determined to “blow the lid off reality itself.” As someone whose complaint is that journalism has never had the means nor the inclination to examine reality directly, I found the phrase amusing. 

Disinfo was a controversial publisher back in the day, and its subject matter was not for those who used the mainstream middle class as their reference point, which suited my needs perfectly. The biggest problem I had with finding a publisher was that none of them thought my growing list of fake news found in mainstream publications was a problem. Those were one-off errors, I was told time and again.

Stephen Glass was a serial fabricator. So was Jayson Blair. From the Weapons of Mass Destruction to the babies and incubator hoax to the Hitler Diaries to Enron to WorldComm, my manuscript showed case after case of lies, hoaxes, and propaganda, spanning from the 1800s to the present day. From fake heroes to fake tycoons to fake victims, I had hundreds of cases of where mainstream and national media outlets got it wrong. These were not one-off problems: this was a systemic deficiency that was polluting the information stream, and destroying the industry.

I did my research and thoroughly. I had tracked down original broadcasts and articles, which wasn’t always an easy thing to do. There was “Hunting for Bambi”, for instance. There was a US soldier who went AWOL, and then posed as an amnesiac teenager to avoid detection, and the press bought it.

It wasn’t just big stories. It was those little “feel good” ones, too — the ones that are supposed to restore faith in the competency and benevolence of the Establishment. From fake overnight sensations to fake FBI agents, there was no shortage of fake news presented as real news. You had culture jammers who deliberately went out of their way to fool the press to make a point. You had journalists flat-out lie in their stories.

You even had children who fooled the press.

Even the subtext of #MeToo is that the entire glamorous narrative of the Hollywood segment of the American Dream was a bald-face lie. Those smiles on the red carpet hid the ugly nightmare actresses in the business endured, knowing they were going to be blacklisted if they revealed the horrific abusive conditions of their workplace, and journalism never shone a light on it until Ronan Farrow started to nose around Harvey Weinstein’s Vault of Sins.

So, no, it was not a little problem. It wasn’t a one-off. It was a full-blown crisis.

In fact, what we call “fake news” in 2018 is merely a subset spin-off of the lies and hoaxes that are also still present in mainstream outlets. We still have fake news in traditional outlets, but now you also have those who just bypass the middleman because the old guard lost so much credibility that fake news is less likely to be believed in legacy outlets; so they are presented as alternative publications as well.

And my book wasn’t an attempt to blow the lid off reality, but to expose the actual reality of journalism.

But I had publishers who were afraid of confronting that monster, and then I found the publisher that allowed me to confront it the way I needed to expose it. There was no meddling whatsoever.

There have been many other hoaxes and propaganda that happened since the publication of my book in 2005. From Balloon Boy to the Hijab Hoax to the Gardasil Scare. The New York Times has presented more than a couple of grifters as genuine businessmen. I have chronicled numerous hoaxes and propaganda pieces on this website, even though that is not my primary focus for the simple reason there are just far too many out there, and then journalists get miffed when they are accused of being fake news.

The central problem for journalism has always been the blinders of narrative that absolutely prevent the profession from seeing reality. The notion that we cannot see reality because of our faulty filters is rubbish. We can make allowances and bypass our filters if we delve into our own perceptions and challenge them.

Take hearing, for instance. Do you assume what you hear is reality? It isn’t: it is filtered reality made for your own convenience. Your mind deceives you by excluding as much irrelevant noise as it can and groups chords of sound together.

You do not have to believe me, but if you want to hear it for yourself, you can use earplugs and not take them off for a few days.

Then remove them and have a listen.

You will suddenly hear your voice bounce off walls when you speak. You will hear echoes and all sorts of other noises for a few moments, and then suddenly, your “normal” hearing pulls everything together as your mind remembers what it is it I supposed to do.

This was the backbone of my undergraduate thesis in psychoacoustics that was inspired by two separate events in my teenage years when I stumbled upon this phenomenon, and then got inspired to study how else our baseline perceptions worked.

That should have been journalism’s specialty: finding the atoms of reality, and then boldly testing and exploring them.

But journalists has always had an absolute revulsion to having to deal with reality. They ignore it, and replace it with narrative.

And that’s why we have no understanding of what is journalism.

We have those proclaiming to be pioneers in snake oil known as “immersive journalism” using virtual reality just so they can run away from actual reality.

Virtual, by definition, is almost real…but not real.

In other words, a lie.

Virtual is doublespeak for deception. It is a genuine imitation reality.

Virtual reality = not reality. Immersive journalism = propaganda.

So “immersive journalism” is cult indoctrination and propaganda. It can be nothing else. If you are using computer simulation as a facsimile of reality, you are not dealing with reality, but your narrative interpretation of it.

And if you have not explored reality, you know nothing about it.

You cannot immerse in reality. You can only immerse in lies. Immersion requires a suspension of belief the way you do when you read or watch fiction. You are trying to drown out your every instinct and grain of knowledge to be able to enjoy a story. That is the reason you have to immerse.

Reality is not about immersing. It is about riding wavelengths to learn. It is about action. Looking through VR is passive, and you cannot understand reality through passivity. You have to move and interact with reality constantly.

Journalism is about facts and confronting them. Narrative is about letting go and immersing, as you spin and look for ways to employ sophistry to justify a point of view.

Cults function on immersion techniques, from chanting, rote repetition, removal of free will, and regressing to emotional illiteracy, including, but not limited to being in an unnatural and altered state — isolating people from actual reality to form unnatural habits by first immersing — and then drowning in an unnatural world. Appeal to authority, the confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance takes care of the rest.

Journalism failed to study reality. There is no such thing as a virtual reality. The Matrix this is not.

But immersive journalism is cult indoctrination made to seem deep and future-forward. The digital is not the future. It is the present.

Journalism has always been obsessed with façades. They look at the medium (i.e., the delivery system) first. Then they look at the narrative content. The end.

They aren’t looking at the factual content. They are looking at the structure of the product they are disseminating.

Because if they did, it wouldn’t matter what media they used — the focus on facts and structure would withstand any technological shift.

The Internet proved to be the undoing of journalism because the structure and methods of the profession were always deficient. The Internet merely allowed more of reality get exposed to a global audience who provided its own feedback. That’s it.

You compared the reality journalism presented in traditional outlets to the one the Internet provided — and there was no comparison — every narrative was proven to be wrong. Facts that had been suppressed were exposed, nullifying countless news stories. That ‘s what happened.

And journalism is fighting tooth and nail to try to  shove that genie back in the bottle. They are trying to get a great re-set button so they can go back to the days when they could meddle and tell people tall tales that suited their own worldview, not reality.

If we learned to deal with reality, we would have full control of our lives. We would understand the reality out there, and how to deal with it, as well as know how well our methods were working, and what still needed to be done — and there is always something needed to be done. Things evolve, bringing in new factors to consider.

Don’t Believe It wasn’t about blowing the lid off of reality, but blowing the lid off of lies. There is a universe of difference between the two. You cannot have a virtual reality. You can have reality and see it as it is, or you can superimpose a lie not based in reality, meaning you will always be off in your calculations, and your solutions will never work because they do not deal with reality. You will always miss the obvious as well as the subtle.

People want to shove their own narratives into your mind because deep down, they know what they are shilling is a lie, and then think if everyone believes the same lie, it will become a truth rigged in the control freak’s favour. It never works.

Wars and unrest happen because a rigged lie turns into a nuclear bomb ready to explode.

Immersive journalism is pseudo-science, and it was that kind of unscientific thinking that took down journalism.

But the profession is always looking for the easy quick-fix that gives them back the power they never earned, and this destined to be obsolete technology is not going to save their dead profession, either.

Julian Assange loses his Internet. Facebook under attack. This is a tintinnabulation for Internet power. Is #MeToo going to be next?

You can feel a tide turning. First Facebook gets smeared in a targeted and coordinated media and government assault with other Big Tech distancing themselves from them, and now Julian Assange has been grounded.

Freedom and liberty are being made to be bad things, as if the truth, and the obedient middle classes will be given a scary story about bogeymen, as if their own governments aren’t spying on their citizens (that’s right, China: we have human trafficking and illegal arms dealing, but let’s make sure those jaywalkers are put in their place!).

I do not agree with Apple’s Tim Cook’s assertion that Facebook should have regulated itself. It would not have mattered. They allowed anyone to have a presence to a global platform to say or show whatever they wished, and their success placed that target sign on their backs.

Assange is a spoiler. He is both cunning and naive. I do believe he is a chess master, but never realized it was a game of Go he was playing — he may have honestly believed that if he showed the world how they are being lied to, abused, and subjugated by their governments, people will revolt.

No, sorry, Julian, they are way too busy gossiping about the creepy Game of Thrones and making kissy faces in their selfies to get up and march in the streets, and when they do march in the streets, it is to demand the government has given them too many rights and should nanny them as they take their rights away.

You will not hear me bad-mouth Assange or WikiLeaks, as that is the closest thing we have to journalism left, and I do believe he has planted seeds that is too late for the governments or media to pull out and kill, despite their best efforts, but he will pay a dear price for it.

The problem is there is a crackdown on liberties in the Western world — idea-shaming didn’t work. Journalism didn’t work. Trying to get people to retreat won’t work because the Internet wasn’t something people did strictly for work — it was always about fun and adventure without the effort that hinges on vanity and greed. Take that away, and people will become angry at those who spoiled their fun and games, and will retaliate in a devastatingly passive aggressive way. They waited about a decade too long to strike, and it will get away from them.

Why?

Because social media shortened attention spans and loyalties. The world has become more mercurial. Remember how loyal people were to the Clintons after Trump’s victory? Then came #MeToo and made them seem bitter and icky — and Hillary is no longer a rallying cry, just a crybaby.

The wavelengths around the world have shifted and changed — and you have old schoolers trying to wrest control with outdated sensibilities. The pendulum keeps swinging wildly with a world that is both perpetually self-entitled and offended, and that creates an unstable environment.

I would not be surprised if wars and skirmishes break out. It is already beginning to get ugly in Kosovo, for instance, and with a connected world, people become inspired faster than they ever did before. All it takes is One to bring chaos to the Infinite, and all order is lost.

Assange is being punished for kicking the hornet’s nest. Facebook is being punished for unleashing an entire hornet’s nest to sting whoever they desire. Both are being demonized with dread tales about their alliances and “sinister deeds”. Unfortunately, those doing the smearing and accusing are doing a lot worse than both put together.

WikiLeaks, Facebook, and #MeToo are all threats to the old order, and so far, two thirds are under attack, meaning expect #MeToo to be under fire as well.

It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out, but that Assange is still standing for over five years is shocking…

Is #MeToo making any changes? No. Why? Because you cannot change a system. You can only build a fresh from from scratch.

Contrary to ABC After School Special indoctrinated opinion, you cannot actually change a system. It creates unnatural habits, takes advantage of the weaknesses you are not savvy or strong enough to admit you have, and it establishes rigs that favour those on top of the pecking order. It will always snap back to the status quo because the content is driven by the silent structure of thought.

Western society is Patriarchal in thought. It is not egalitarian in thought. It is not Matriarchal in thought.

It is all about the One, and the One in this society will always be the white male.

It is the reason why you need a replacement for journalism. It is so entrenched in Patriarchal spin that it is very oppressive to anyone who is outside this stratified system.

Look at the New York Times’ profile on Barry Diller:

Barry Diller knows your weaknesses.
He knows how to intimidate you, if he wants to, or charm you, if he chooses. Because he is a taskmaster and a visionary and a billionaire, people in Hollywood and Silicon Valley pay close attention when he speaks.
He has so many vests from Herb Allen’s Sun Valley retreats for global elites that they’re taking over his closets.
“There is so much fleece,” says the chairman of IAC, laughing. “I’ve been going for 30 years.”
On this rainy afternoon, by the fireplace in the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired stone and wood living room of his dreamy mansion, Mr. Diller is all charm, with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. He’s dressed in a red checked flannel shirt, a burgundy Hermès hoodie, baggy jeans and black Tods loafers.

Spy magazine made fun of him. The New York Times defers to him as if his word was God’s. Guess which publication is still allowed to exist. And this was written by Maureen Down, the Grey Lady’s highest ranking female scribe.

#MeToo has changed nothing. We now have a movement that has youth and their fears being exploited in them begging for their rights and freedoms be revoked because they don’t see the simplicity of their own solution. They have their future in their hands alone, but somehow it seems easier to ask the Establishment to think for them as they restrict them.

#MeToo may be about unleashing women from the shackles of workplace abuse and rigs, but #NeverAgain is about deferring to authority. It is a conscious decision to be reactionary in mindset, meaning it seeks a Patriarchal solution to a problem that requires an alternative approach.

And who better else to be the “breakout star” to a Patriarchal movement than the white boy who swaggers and speaks in an authoritative voice.

Daniel Hogg’s surname is eerily appropriate as he reminds me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The lad could not be less original with his words and voguing, but he is the one getting to be the face and the voice — something that #MeToo never truly had.

He is mistaken if he thinks the “people in power are shaking” — no, Mr. Hogg, they are salivating at taking away personal freedoms of their citizens, especially when they are demanding to be enslaved just to have a mere perception of security.

This is textbook propaganda: find the white boy who wants to be the centre of attention, and then let him rant as if he were qualified to know something. Humanity has been down this path repeatedly. Nothing has changed.

And that should worry feminists. #MeToo did nothing to challenge the structure of thought — the very rigs that always was a trapped to spring on challengers when the timing was just right, and make no mistake: it was been set off.

The Great Men are still seen as Great Men whose opinions matter — notice that Maureen Dowd didn’t interview a Great Woman about #MeToo because such an entity does not exist in Western culture.

And now, who gets the attention to an well-orchestrated trap to take away the rights and freedoms of a future generation?

The Great Man in Training.

The dead profession of journalism hasn’t changed one bit. Women’s battle tactics are failing their future. The propaganda hasn’t budged one inch to give way to the truth and reality of an issue.

And it cannot change. If you want a better system, build a new one from scratch. Keep the rot away. Social media destroyed the gates, and now there is a void — a perfect time to begin something new to move away from the same old stories that are nothing more than lies of convenience…

Deconstructing Propaganda, Part Four: sycophantic narrative dishonesty.

Two seemingly unrelated propaganda pieces: one from Canada. One from the US. Both about multiple deaths.

And both so badly mangled that they are truly propagandistic in nature.

I have always maintained that narrative has no place in journalism. None. I have had grand old fights with editors over the years over it. I dug and found facts that were not just important — but almost impossible to find, and believe me, it took more than just finesse and doggedness to find them. Those facts told the story more than my spinning ever could, and that was the reason I didn’t spin.

Then I had editors want that spin instead, saying what I was presenting was “mere reportage.”

They wanted colour. They wanted filler. Never mind I had found something that others missed that was extremely important to the public discourse. In every case, I pulled my story because if it was a case of getting published with junk, or not getting published at all, I would rather hold back then tell a fairytale that didn’t exist.

It was a pathology I noticed time and again. I had pitched to one Toronto editor a story about that city’s increasing gang problem, and how it was inevitable that civilians would be gunned down in the streets. I was accused of being some sort of hysterical female…and then came one Boxing Day where civilians were getting gunned down in the streets, with a teenaged corpse in the aftermath.

I had facts and troubling ones. The graffiti on the walls, for instance, hinted that things were coming to a head. That alone should have gotten attention — you had someone fluent in it, and could decipher it, but editors did not want to hear it because it clashed with their sycophantic narrative that Toronto was a “world-class city” filled with well-to-do sophisticates who held dinner parties and had their Botoxed mugs plastered in the society pages of government-funded magazines.

That narrative may have flattered the denizens of Hogtown, but it wasn’t the truth.

A few years later, some of those same gang members were revealed to hang around Toronto mayor Rob Ford — showing a link between a politician and a street gang — everyone was so obsessed with a mayor doing crack that the fact that you had politicians familiar with these urban soldiers seemed to slip everyone’s notice. Journalists were so bent on destroying the mayor that they failed to ask how many other politicians could have also had ties to violent elements and groups.

Gangs are unsanctioned armies fighting a war in peacetime (and often, during times of war, those same gang members become war lords). They don’t just attack without a financial reason. Graffiti is their coded communication…

And yet, the Toronto media refuses to open their eyes to it.

Because it spoils the narrative that Toronto is the centre of the universe.

Which means narrative drives the news. Facts do not play into the product.

The propaganda model is a simple one: Us Versus Them. Them may be Devils, but Us are the Angels, and possibly even Gods. You do not question Us on any account.

The trouble is Us Versus Them rarely actually exists. Not all of Them are evil, and not all of Us can be trusted.

The National Post is using such a ruse in their article about Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur.

In this piece, it is a real Us Versus Him narrative with McArthur being falsely portrayed as some evil genius who covered all of his tracks…

Which implies the default Good Guys — the police — were stymied, and of course, they couldn’t have known…

The big kissy to the police is interesting as they have been criticized for not acting on finding a serial killer sooner — so now the Post has spun a pleasing narrative to authority by making the case that the Evil Genius took all sorts of precautions to avoid detection.

Except he was not all that good at it. He had a criminal record and was questioned by police multiple times over the years. That means the narrative itself is a fraud. You are imposing a story to drown out what the facts truly mean.

It’s propaganda because the narrative does not align with reality.

But when you rely on narratives, you are faced with a problem: you designate a hero and a villain — and it is not enough that the hero has some good qualities, and the villain some bad — somehow, in each retelling, the hero has no faults, while the villain has no redeeming qualities. It becomes a farce.

For example, I have talked at length about #MeToo — and while I have said it was necessary and has done good in many cases, I still have issues with it. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect…

But sometimes you see problems and you outline them not to dismiss, but to correct — or at least be mindful of it when you are planning your next steps.

#MeToo does have its faults, and one of the biggest ones is that it is not exactly an inclusive issue. It’s not about all women. It is about upper middle class to wealthy white women, and there have been numerous commentators who have pointed this out — quite rightly — as in, I will not defend or justify the omission.

Journalism only knows Big Issues as being suburban white. It is Eurocentric, and pathologically so — even if there is a token Person of Colour, it is insincere, and the representation will not reflect that subset of the demographic as a whole.

When a serial killer or wife killer target Caucasian females, it is plastered all over the news as being America’s problem. If the race is anything other than white, it gets buried and ignored.

#MeToo has not faced the same scrutiny and disdain as, say Black Lives Matter.

It is not just a US problem — in Canada, we have had a subtle genocide of First Nations women in this country — but it is never personalized. Have a bunch of white women vanish into the abyss, and the reaction would be completely different.

Because that is an attack on Us.

I am not comfortable with the racism of omission from #MeToo for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that I do not want to be discriminated against just because I am female — but I am not so self-absorbed that I don’t think everyone else in the same boat should be included. Of course they should.

It is not supposed to be getting attention for people, but a systemic problem.

At first, it didn’t matter how inclusive #MeToo was for one reason: one group reached the spotlight first and that was fine, but it should become more inclusive immediately after that as other groups reached the same spot and had a light to see where to come to expose their realities. It never quite happened that way.

Journalism was in a bind as a disportioncate number of men on the Hitlist came from their own profession. There was a lot of naysaying about it, but the consensus was that this issue was about women in general…when it really wasn’t.

It was about some women. The problem was the first who reached the spotlight set the terms of the narrative right off the bat, and made no effort to go beyond the scope that was being rewarded with attention and the firings of men who made the dubious list.

In many ways, #MeToo coverage become propaganda itself. Not the cause per se, but how it was treated in the news media.

But not as bad propaganda as #NeverAgain.

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Time magazine’s story is probably one of the most deceptive propaganda pieces I have seen in a long time.

Gun Control is one of those empty causes that cannot solve the problem. Countries such as China, have strict gun control laws, and yet, it is those smuggled weapons that end up in many a murderer’s hands globally. Canada, for all its smugness, has a serious violence problem, despite having very strict gun control.

In the UK, you have had numerous terrorist attacks and vitriol-throwing. There is gun control there, and yet there is plenty of violence. Most of Europe does as well, from France to Germany. Let’s not pretend.

And now you have a group of teenagers waste their time voguing (yes, voguing) on a cover of a magazine demanding gun control…

It is a sycophantic narrative deception. We have decided the teenagers are Us, and…the guns are the Them.

Which says a lot about the emotional disconnection a new generation has to humanity — they have chosen an inanimate object for an enemy, and it is not a step up from having people as one instead.

It was a fellow teenager who slaughtered students, just as you had a young adult male in Texas set off bombs. It is not Us Versus Them. It is Us versus Us. The end.

The United States has a very serious violence problem, and it isn’t triggered by holding a gun.

But the narrative does not offend parents who may be raising a future homicidal maniac and do not have the courage to face that reality, nor the teenagers who are the ones snapping and slaughtering fellow students with chilling ease.

It is the reason why the narrative is propaganda.

Because it does not align with reality.

A more helpful and accurate approach is to find facts.

For instance, we know very little about most of these killers. They are not personalized, and they have to be personalized. Not to excuse them or make people feel sorry for them, but to see the ugly truth that these are not monsters — these are normal-looking teenagers who look no different than the teens they are murdering.

When the Austin bomber’s picture was released, an anchor on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto kept mentioning how the killer looked average and normal — as if killers all looked like the devil complete with horns, a disfigured face, and a maniacal laugh.

That is narrative.

The true horror of school shootings isn’t the guns because if you leave the gun alone, no one gets killed.

If you leave the killer alone, he may very well murder you anyway.

What makes school shootings terrifying is you are in a building filled with teenagers.

And some of them will be murdered.

And at least one will be their murderer.

Now walk in and guess who will fall in one camp and who will end up in the other.

The terrifying thing is you cannot tell on first glance, but journalism is nothing but about first glances and ruses.

Kiss up to one side of an issue, and then demonize the side who cannot fight back. People will hold on to that narrative structure and will not let go because arrogance prevents people from ever admitting that they were wrong.

Except for social media, where divergent voices can interject, as I am interjecting right now.

Gun control is a waste of time and resources.

Violence control will save lives.

So why do we pick the one that will not produce results?

Is it because we are that stupid and unteachable as a species?

Or perhaps we don’t really want to solve the problem?

It is precisely because people do not actually want to solve the problem: they may be required to alter something major in their routine, be held partially accountable, or lose a job that hinges on a problem continuing to plague their world.

I find it funny that the latest whitebread social issue’s hashtag is #NeverAgain.

And then another school shooting happened right after that unkeepable promise was made.

So the name is a lie right from the start.

If we had real journalism, we wouldn’t be making decrees or deciding who we should cheer like empty heads.

We would be finding facts. We would be finding facts without narrative. We wouldn’t be having teens posing like they are from a Gap ad on Time — but the dead bodies of those teens killed in Florida.

But journalism was always insincere about who they were, what they did, how they did it, and why they were doing it.

They want an easy narrative instead of facts…and that is why we are still groping in the dark in 2018 the same way our earliest ancestors did before they discovered fire…

Memo to the National Post: #MeToo was a positive development in the workplace. But thinking there are instant solutions is childish.

There is a column in the Financial Post that walks lockstep with the Post’s narrative that #MeToo is a bad thing.

#MeToo opened up a crypt of horrors: it exposed that even female CEOs faced abuse from their male colleagues in the workplace.

It was a movement that is flawed, but long overdue.

Why?

Because women endured, and it didn’t make it go away. They broke glass ceilings, but it didn’t go away. They filed complaints with HR, it didn’t go away. They sued in court, it didn’t go away.

So, for the first time, women decided to air this problem and then they decided they, too just weren’t going to go away.

That is not a minor victory. That is a major key breakthrough victory of a major battle in the war against workplace terrorism.

But it wasn’t the end of the war, and the columnist — who is a workplace lawyer who is usually more sensible — treats the next battle as proof that #MeToo was a bad thing for the workplace.

No, women couldn’t get to this stage unless they won a key battle of exposing the serious problem out in public, the place where the workplace terrorists were revealed to be as such, and didn’t have lawyers who could make the problem go away or, have the boor in question pay anyone off.

Now, it is a new battle, which is part of that victory.

A war is fought in battles. You do not fight once, and then everything works out perfectly as everyone Learns A Valuable Lesson and stops being a predator.

So now there is a new battle, and this is one that women can win — and win far easier than the one before it.

First, it is illegal to discriminate against gender in the workplace — so if a corporation doesn’t mentor its female employees and doesn’t groom and promote them to be CEOs, there are resources to penalize their illegal and oppressive behavior. They cannot use fear as an excuse for withholding what an employee has earned.

We can expose these companies, and demand that they make public the percentage and proportion of women who get trained, groomed, and promoted — if it is anything less than 50%, we can take them to court, and as women are the driving force in the economy, they can boycott those businesses.

We can demand that women be trained and mentored effectively — so the excuse that men are too afraid is hogwash.

What you have is a passive aggressive retaliation tactic to prevent women from giving them what they have earned — with interest.

And unlike #MeToo, this battle is easier to win.

So if the executives and board of directors are too male and too white, I have the recourse of not doing business with them — and making my reasons for my boycott public.

Women have and can buy stocks for the specific purpose of demanding that executive bonuses be directly tied in to the number of women (minorities, what have you) that are mentored and promoted.

So far from this being a bad thing, it is a great thing to happen to workforces. We can hold HR accountable for methods of dealing with workplace terrorism. We can strategically spend our money to favour those whose power structure reflects the real world.

You don’t retreat after you won a battle — you move forward ready to win the next one.

And if there is a setback, you regroup, learn from your mistakes, and fight again and again until you win.

You do not earn a major victory and then surrender to the forces you humbled. That is patently ridiculous, and there is no time for being afraid when there is a legitimate chance of turning bad workplaces into good ones that progress and thrive…

Deconstructing Propaganda, Part One: There is They. There is Them. They are very different, but neither One exists. There is only Us in the Infinite.

Propaganda works because it offers two seemingly desirable things: (a) someone to blame for all of your screw-ups, and (b) someone to clean up your messes and save you from yourself.

It works because it uses intellectual sleight of hand, and does it effectively, but when you think about it, even though its results end up bloodshed and destruction, how it tricks people is very funny.

How so?

Propaganda thrives in Us versus Them. Us is good. Them is bad.

It sounds simple.

But Them and They are not the same groups in propaganda.

Them we blame, but They will save us.

They should do something about it. They ought to make a law. 

So while we see Them as the enemy, They are a benevolent and hyper competent and efficient organization whose sole purpose is to fix everything so that we do not have to do it ourselves.

We have no responsibilities. We are without blame or fault.

We see this faulty and self-serving theory all the time in the news. We can look at US students protesting for gun control. They should take gun away from Them.

Notice that there is no Us in this equation. Us aren’t shooting guns. Us are not the ones to do the heavy lifting to make things safer.

In this case, it is a Divine Us: it’s everyone else’s fault and everyone else’s responsibility.

There is no why are we killing each other? It’s Them. They are the killers. There is no what can we do to reduce violence?

We used to ask about the Us and even the We. It doesn’t happen. We have lots of Me’s out there, as in #MeToo. It is not Us, however. It is not We. That implies no solidarity.

It is all about the Me. That is the reason #MeToo never had a face or an official spokesperson. It is a selfie-spawned movement. Leave the face blank and insert-your-own-face-here.

Just like Time magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year.

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But there are plenty of Them. Harvey Weinstein was the first one of Them. Kevin Spacey was one of Them. We had many lesser-known Them’s.

But no Us. Just MeToo.

Why is this happening?

Because it is the Age of Propaganda.

People are divided by every imaginable factor, from race, gender, and political affiliation.

And while every one of these splinter groups have different Them’s to blame, fear, and hate, strangely enough, these same groups have the identical They that is expected to change everything to the in-group’s vision of Utopia.

Propaganda seemingly thrives in the Manichean universe of binary groups. Us. Them. Propaganda works precisely because it forces all of our attention away from Us, and strictly on Them.

But there is also They. They will change things based on our demands so it is absolutely what We demand, and we vanish as we no longer have the power to improve or solve, but must be dependent on They to do it for us.

Yet They and Them have lots in common. For starters, They are all walking lockstep to the demands of Us. Them are also all alike and all out to get Us. Even though They and Them imply plurality, both are seen as One.

A patriarchal narrative.

Which means They and Them do not actually exist. There is no They to clean up your messes. There is no Them out to get everyone.

There is only Us.

And We are Infinite.

We are the architects of our society. We live in society, not outside of it, even if We believe We are a fringe group.

The allure of They and Them is a mirage — a defence mechanism we have so that we do not have to admit any wrongdoing, as we can expect someone else to correct things for us.

And that is a childish and unrealistic assumption.

You want change? You have to stop thinking in terms of They and Them.

And understand it is about Us.

We are Infinite, but we are sharing the same planet.

Every one of us needs to carry our own weight to ensure we are not at risk of getting overburdened by those who mistake us for They, and then pile their demands and dictates onto us.

When we think in those terms, we do not create artificial linear divides.

But most importantly of all, we regain control of our lives, learn from our mistakes as we change and improve — and we do not fall for propaganda that pretends it is all about Them, when it is a question of Us turning on each other for some nonexistent gain…

 

Terry Gilliam’s rant and why the #MeToo mob was the backlash to the original terrorist mob.

Director Terry Gilliam thinks #MeToo is mob behaviour.

I think a lot of rich and powerful men don’t get what happened; so let me explain it.

For decades, the communications industry was run by a mob mentality of bosses who ganged up, abused underlings, and then smeared their names and blacklisted them if they refused to give in.

They called these women crazy, disgruntled, gold diggers, you name it.

That was the original mob mentality.

A terrorist mob who made it clear that if a woman wanted that glamorous job, she had better put out with a smile on her face, and take it.

Sooner or later, there will be a backlash, and #MeToo was it.

No wonder the traditional communications industry despises the Internet: it gave an outlet for all those abused underlings to make public their grievances.

If Hollywood didn’t want #MeToo to happen, then it should have learned to treat employees with dignity and respect.

People fight fire with fire.

And mob with mob.

The pendulum just swung the other way…like a wrecking ball, destroying old structures in its wake.

It would be more helpful if people stopped seeing this movement as a “mob” or “witch hunt”, and more like a reaction.

It’s like stepping on someone’s foot, and then whining about them screaming at you, and then pushing you off their foot, accusing them of being drama queens for it…

#MeToo was never native to Canadian sensibilities, and it shows with the very different fates of two journalists on the Hitlist.

The National Post may have their whiners lamenting in columns that CTV’s Paul Bliss was doomed because #MeToo is just a big old mean witch hunt (“There was no other way this story could end but in Paul Bliss being ‘disappeared'”, didn’t you know?), but that’s just a confirmation bias speaking.

Steve Paikin was also accused, but he is still not “disappeared“. He hosted the PC leadership debate. He is still on his show and still has his blog, with the latest entry begin on March 8. Journalists all enthusiastically marched lockstep in support of Paikin, but those same apologists stayed deafeningly silent when it came to Bliss.

So the notion that getting on that list means a foregone conclusion is highly inaccurate.

The impact of #MeToo — a strictly Made in the USA movement has been profound in the US far more than it has in Canada. The impact on Canadian politicians has been more significant than it has on US politicians. Patrick Brown got shown to the door at lightening speed, and no one was happier than his own party. They weren’t hanging their heads down in shame. They weren’t condoning his alleged behaviour. They were relieved and marched on in uncharted territory moving ahead in that ensuing chaos quite cheerily.

But when it came to some other men on the list, journalists got pouty and indignant. How dare anyone accuse journalists of being less than perfect?

While the US #MeToo also enthusiastically got rid of some swamp insects in their communications, Canadian has been much slower to act, even though sexual harassment is just as prevalent here as it is over there.

Bliss was turfed, but so far, it looks like Paikin will have no trouble weathering this one out. #MeToo is not a witch hunt here, no matter what the fear-mongers decree. The US had its shock with Trump’s obvious victory that they didn’t see coming or had the cunning or clout to stop. Canada had no such overt reckoning to face. It is a difference in ortgeist, not zeitgeist, and why two neighbouring countries are having very different outcomes with an identical movement.

But, as usual, the National Post does not have the savvy or the sensitivity to see it.