Enlightened Conflict

how hacks misuse images to make less than truthful points

January 10th, 2017
us-voting-map-hacks-images-misuse-information

………… 2016 Presidential Election Results by county …..

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If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of the country, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of people, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of counties were, overwhelmingly, conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

Shit.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe this was representative of all of America. That is false <only about 60% of voter eligible people actually voted>.

 

Ok.

 

I am not a data wonk nor do I give a rat’s ass about politics and who is conservative and who is liberal.

 

seek_truthAll I care about is truth and good ideas which benefit the majority.

 

So what would be better than this incredibly misleading asshat of an image?

 

I would imagine if I were to ‘dot map’ the country coded by zip codes I would most likely get a better sense for how even in some rural areas liberals lived side by side with conservatives, in urban areas there were neighborhoods of conservatives buried amongst the wackjob liberal and that zip codes reflect a mixed bag of people who think different thoughts and desire a varied list of things <and have a variety of legitimate issues>.

 

And then I would imagine if I tinted my colors by % split between Republican & Democrat we would find that it is very rare for some county <which may be coded in the above image as “red”> to be 100% ‘red’ but rather anywhere between 51% red to 80% red.

 

And how about if I figured out some color coding to show the % split between Independent & Republican & Democrat …. & non voters … well … I imagine we would find that zip code by zip code, maybe even county by county … all the colors are a shitload less bright and a helluva lot more lighter.

 

Yeah. This kind of shit is important.

 

Doesn’t it matter to anyone thinking about this if I have a 1,000 person county that voted 95% Trump and a 100,000 person county that voted 39% Trump <but he still won the county? <answer: yes>

 

And then I would imagine that if I even went down into a household zip cluster we would find that there is a mixed bag of people even living in the same neighborhoods let alone a house.

 

But, no, some hack wanted to make some point and shoveled this shit image round for people to gobble up and spew out platitudes of mandates and elitism voting and working class bullshit.

This map is shit. If only the world were this simple. But it is not.

 

Now.

 

I admit.

 

In my past business life I have not been above not only using selective information to make a point nor am I not guilty of creating an image to showcase a vivid metaphor for the point.

 

However.

 

It doesn’t take you long in business to recognize that decisions are made based off of some simplistic net conclusions. And if you are not careful you could … well … present an image like the one I opened this piece with and make some really important overarching conclusions and, ultimately, some fairly important decisions are made.

 

Here is what I know about that.

 

In the business world people get fired for presenting shit like this and misleading people to make some misguided decisions. I know for sure I would get fired if I tried this crap.

 

Regardless.

 

Disingenuous use of information is what hacks do. They don’t know any better.no brains stupid people jellyfish

 

Purposeful disingenuous use of information is what assholes do. They know better.

 

And maybe this is where I get grumpy with people like FoxNews. In general I think they have some really smart journalists … particularly in the day time when it is more journalism rather than opinion. That said. I think they, as do all major news outlets, have a responsibility to their audience to not only say what people want to hear but to also nuance it with some perspective so people don’t walk away with a misguided simplistic thought.

Their responsibility lies in exactly the same responsibility I, as a business presenter, has … managing the net conclusion <because inevitably I know someone is going to make some decision based off of that>.

 

And, yeah, the burden of responsibility does vary depending on the entity & person. While I do believe everyone has the responsibility to use information properly, factually not selectively, and portray it in a way that makes your point in a non-disingenuous way … your burden increases or decreases depending upon who is dependent upon your information.

 

Someone like FoxNews knows they have a diehard conservative viewership therefore their burden to enlighten is higher than say someone who has a mixed viewership like an ABC, CBS or NBC.

 

Worse than maybe Fox? Republican Politicians. They are chosen to be honest representors of truth so that we, the people, can be better informed and more enlightened as to real issues rather than ‘false flag’ issues <which permits us to better evaluate what is being done and what is important and what are the real issues>.

 

<note: to be clear … I could choose a different topic and make the same point about Democrat politicians and their lack of responsibility on that topic>

 

Here is what I know.

 

Hacks play to their audiences’ worst devils and play to existing perceptions & attitudes.

 

It is the cheap way to use good information <and cheapens not only the information but cheapens the truth>.

 

It is the lazy way to present.

 

And it is admitting no personal responsibility for portraying the real & total truth.

 

Sigh.

 

As for this stupid map and stupid <but somewhat important> information.

 

Would I use an image showing voting districts? Sure.

But only internally.

If my job was to elect someone and therefore I had to figure out where and how to spend my money, I would use it.

 

But everyone should be clear that voting districts have been bastardized to maximize their party voting base so much that voting districts are meaningless to anyone outside of those who are looking to get someone elected. They misrepresent general takeaways.

gullible CharlieBrown

I say that because I think it is not only disingenuous but also misleading to people by showing shit like this in a mainstream way. People who know better should be better than this. Its crap like this that not only divides people even more but encourages further discussion on elitism versus ‘working people’ when the truth is significantly more nuanced than that.

 

Using images like this only hurts the discourse and increases the sense of divide between the haves & the have nots, the intellectuals versus the manual labor and the city folk versus regular folk.

 

Look.

 

Set the maps aside.

 

A shitload of ‘elitist’ rich people voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of ‘creative artsy types’ voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of smart blue collar hard working people voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of smart hard working ‘intellectual’ people <who poorly articulated their thoughts> voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of rural/suburban people voted for Trump and a shitload of urban/suburban people voted for Clinton.

 

I have written far too much and far too often on the real issues behind the most recent election in frustration over the simplistic bullshit people throw out as for ‘why Trump won’ and ‘how Trump won.’

 

If I were to reference one thing I have written for people to think about it would be ‘the death of the malls’ which, to me, reflects the complexity and nuances of what hollowed out non-urban America and created some attitudes which

.......... searching for water ......

………. searching for water ……

governing officials have ignored <and Trump hasn’t acknowledge either … but a camel dying of thirst will drink any water … even poisoned>.

 

That said.

 

It is using information improperly in images like this that actually convince some of us everyday camels we are actually dying of thirst … when we are not <that is a warning to citizens and politicians>.

 

It is using information improperly like this that actually convinces some of us to make some fairly important misguided decisions <that is a warning to business people>.

 

I hate crap like this.

 

Fucking hate it.

elitism versus experience

December 20th, 2016

 intellectual-intelligence-emotions-feelings-facts

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“Success is a lousy teacher.

It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

 

Bill Gates

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“We’re all working together; that’s the secret.”

 

Sam Walton

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Original commenter:

It isn’t scientists’ role to package facts and theory for the general public, let alone the most willfully ignorant.

 

 

Response commenter:

Surely scientists have some responsibility to make their findings understandable to the public?

Otherwise how do their findings get incorporated into policy?

 

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So.

 

With so much discussion going on about “the working class” it may become easy this-is-the-part-you-find-out-who-you-are-contrarianto ignore the implicit backlash against ‘intellectualism’ or ‘the out-of-touch elite.’

 

I do not believe there is an anti-intellectualism crisis.

 

I do not believe we have reached an era where any influencers who are smart, or intellectual, are dismissed as the reigning voices of truth & expertise.

 

But.

I do know that elites, or so-called elites, are despised and the opinions of experts are disregarded in favor of emotions or gut feelings, i.e., feelings are as important, if not more important, than facts.

 

And I do know that Michael Gove said “people have had enough of experts.”

 

Whew.

Not only is that a bullshit quote … it is a scary thought.

 

I could walk into a crowded blue collar bar and after some discussion I could be construed as ‘thinker not doer’ … despite the fact I have over 30 years of doing practical experience.

And therein lies the issue.

 

Depending on how you articulate your experience you can sound intellectually elitist <too smart for your own good> or you can sound pragmatically hard working. And within those two bookends is a fairly wide spectrum.

 

There has become a blurring of … well … everything actually … but in this case … true experience & expertise and ‘elitism.’

 

This is creating a horrible thing in society and our culture. If you have gobs of experience you are labeled as out of touch with the everyday schmuck.

 

If you are an everyday schmuck you are immediately labeled as anti-intellectual and, far too often, less educated.

 

This is a horrible situation for everyone <because no one wins>.

 

Simplistically … education and experience are two different things. I can certainly intellectual-elite-asimov-false-notion-ignorance but it shouldn’t diminish experience wisdom <and vice versa>.

 

And that is where the whole communication and communicating aspect comes into play.

For if neither side can clearly communicate their value then … well … everyone assumes the worst.

 

It would be far too easy for me to suggest that if someone has the experience, and the wisdom that comes with it, they should be able to articulate it and communicate it in a way that anyone would not feel condescended to or diminished or simply out-of-touch with either hard working or ‘thinker’.

 

But experience doesn’t necessarily translate into effective communication.

 

And it gets even more challenging when both sides have a pair of perception filtered glasses on as they view the opposite they are seeking to communicate with.

 

My prime example is easy … climate change.

 

The simple fact is that climate activists cannot sell their story effectively – they fall back on … well … facts and numbers. This is deemed as ‘arrogance’ because they get frustrated you don’t see the truth in the numbers and you are deemed ‘ignorant’ as you get frustrated because you aren’t a scientist and don’t want to extrapolate numbers … you just want a simple truthful story.

 

Even non-science people  recognize that cherry-picked statistics and trends & projections are not the same as long-term accurate predictions and effects. But if the case is so strong it must be possible to bring it forth in a compelling way combined with compelling measures to address it.

 

That said.

 

intellectual-behave-as-intelligenceThe most egregious act with regard to elitism versus experience actually takes place when people smart enough to know … undermine other people smart enough to know … within the leadership we seek to take our cues from <or let’s label them what the everyday schmuck would call ‘the ruling intellectual elite’>.

 

They sacrifice acceptance of the value of their ‘competitor’ for undermining the value. And in doing so they undermine everyone’s value. Some would suggest this is ‘not seeing the forest for the trees.’

 

I would suggest this is actually a doom loop. If every day people have no one to trust with regard to their experience they become anxious. And, then, in this state of anxiety, many of those same people no longer trust the experts <let alone anyone attempting to lead by thought leadership>.

 

If you cannot trust experience it all falls apart. Because then gaining experience just doesn’t matter <or specific experience doesn’t matter>.

 

In addition … it seems to foster an environment in which individual thinking is discouraged, the value of scientific/researched fact is diminished and, contrary to belief, the power shifts to some authority figure who leads through opinion rather than fact <and people follow off of ‘feelings’ rather than truth>.

 

That said … all things being equal, it means this issue comes down to its most basic level <which actually creates a real divide in ‘us versus them’>.

 

 

Here is where the biggest gap in skills & experience exists.

 

Survival skills.

 

test think smarterSurvival in corporate America is significantly different than survival in … well … survival.

 

If all of urban/suburban America lost their microwaves and fast food restaurants … well … they would be screwed.

 

Sure.

Most people know how to light a fire <with a match>, wash underwear and make soup but that basic skill set is not even close to the survival skills of the majority of the world let alone rural America.

 

Therefore … experience is measured in two different ways … basic survival versus ‘elitist’ survival. And neither side values the other’s skills equally … or maybe worse … they devalue the other’s skill set.

 

It’s a dangerous state of affairs.

 

 

We are shortchanging our ability to shape events by having each side believe they are the only ones capable of shaping the events.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who are much more confident in the assessments of what to do and when to do it.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who understand that in any situation and in any choice there are winners and losers and just because you may have lost smart and stupid peopledoesn’t make you a loser.

 

And, of course, we shortchange the people who don’t have the experience to lead by undervaluing the experience that they do have … and what they have to offer in terms of thinking & ideas.

 

We don’t know what we don’t know.

 

And in those words of wisdom resides our biggest challenge with regard to this crisis of elitism versus experience … we need to figure out how to better articulate expertism and experience … because if we do not … the inexperienced will seek to take on the responsibilities of the experienced … and we will be doomed to fail.

 

 

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“The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, but the wordsmith would do well to welcome the blacksmith back into the fold, so that artisan craftsmanship the world over may fend off the ravages of industrialised homogeneity and bland monoculture.”

 

Alex Morritt

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Enlightened Conflict