In the 1995 comedy, Billy Madison, starring Adam Sandler, Sandler’s character is a childish 27 year old who finds he needs to prove to his father that he is mature enough to inherit and lead the family business. While mildly entertaining, believe me, it was not among the Best Picture nominations. One of my younger colleagues sent me the clip from the movie in the link below and referenced that it summed up the debate on Tuesday night. In it, Billy is one a game show and the game show host says
“Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.”
I can imagine that most of us had similar thoughts as we watched and I know many people tuned out early on when it was apparent that there would not be a discussion about anything meaningful to us. I know that most of us remember a time when civil discourse was the norm and not the exception. This type of discourse is not limited to presidential debates. We see it when we attend children’s sports games, in the grocery store, on the road, and certainly online. I believe that online communication where one is able to say what they want with anonymity and without having to look the other person in the eyes is a major contributor to this problem. I look forward to a time when this trend is reversed and we all deal with each other with humility and respect.
You will have to endure a 15 second advertisement on YouTube if you view it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKjxFJfcrcA
This week’s selection is:
The Social Dilemma
Film critic, Devita Girish, writes “That social media can be addictive and creepy isn’t a revelation to anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. But in Jeff Orlowski’s documentary “The Social Dilemma,” conscientious defectors from these companies explain that the perniciousness of social networking platforms is a feature, not a bug. They claim that the manipulation of human behavior for profit is coded into these companies with Machiavellian precision: Infinite scrolling and push notifications keep users constantly engaged; personalized recommendations use data not just to predict but also to influence our actions, turning users into easy prey for advertisers and propagandists.