Housekeeping Changes

The News Blender Logo. Photo By Lenny Ghoul.

Out with the old, in with the new.

That’s the case in the White House right now, and hopefully there will be many positive changes in store. I admit that I’ve never been a fan of Biden, but I am greatly appreciative of his efforts toward removing the malignant squatter who demanded power, fealty and attention while setting the stage for hundreds of thousands of his charges to die.

I expect to keep a watch on Biden for abuses the same way I did for Trump and, prior to the creation of this site, with Obama and W. before him. When I see what I believe to be oversteps of authority, I will call them out.

I’m far from the only voice on this site, though. There’s also Tiff, and Beth, and Steve, and Richard… and anyone else who wants to join in. Because we want to have you. In mind of that, there is a change to discuss and another I hope comes about.

One benefit of having a new President is that there will no longer be reminders every few hours of corruption and abuse of power. Misinformation will continue to exist, including from the top, but we won’t see a constant direct refutation of demonstrable truth.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to lack material. There will still be plenty of stories available. Everything from historical pieces on states and statesmen to opinion pieces, analysis and discussion about national and world events to simple activities like media reviews, humor pieces, or recipes (all of which have graced our electronic doorstep.)

I’ve asked in the past for contributors, and I’m going to echo that call this morning. I’ll go a bit further, though, and ask for regular contributors… while including a very important caveat. “Regular” does not necessarily mean “daily”.

If you feel you could contribute an article every day, or every week, great! But a monthly or bi-monthly piece would be greatly appreciated as well. There are visitors here from all walks of life, and everyone has something they know well enough to write about. Politics and history are preferred… this is a political blog… but other items can be helpful and would flesh out our weekly output. Three hundred words a month on what medical professionals need to know from patients, or a capsule summary of a relevant legal case, how to safely store and maintain firearms or gardening tips… everything has its place.

So, that’s the first thing: the periodic call for contributions. On to the second thing: memes.

I’ve made little secret of my distaste for memes, specifically political and social memes. I believe they bring nothing to a discussion but they do detract from one. Studies have established that watching television news is less informative than reading or hearing the same stories, because the mind is processing the information in a different way; it simulates a hypnotic effect, reducing analytical thought about the information being received while the brain attempts to store all of the data. The same story is retained by all of the test subjects, but those reading or hearing about it are more likely to have considered the story rather than simply accepting it.

I believe a similar effect holds for memes, and that they are thus particularly useful for stirring emotion in lieu of thought; worse, the information they provide is typically restricted to a line or two of text making broad-based (and therefore inherently inaccurate) attacks or defenses or people, groups or topics.

If the entire purpose of this place is to foster thoughtful conversations, memes that run counter to that should not be encouraged.

For that reason (and for an aesthetic one) we are asking for an immediate stop to posting of political attack or defense memes. This is something that has support from other members of the board, but which I freely admit is triggered by my sensibilities. I’m trying to stick around here, and the one concession I’ve asked for is this, the end of political memes in the comment section.

This doesn’t mean that political cartoons can’t be posted… by their very nature they invite discussion about their intent and meaning. It certainly doesn’t mean that people can’t post remarks from Twitter or other social media sources or video clips… but it does mean that simply posting the latest meme you’ve seen on Twitter or would be restricted. (I’d like to hope that no such site exists, or that if it does nobody would visit there anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

Here are a few examples. The first one is strictly inaccurate, characterizing people through a moment of still frame or putting words into their mouths which were never said, but they “feel” right to many people and cause an emotional response… the exact sort of things which were used by Russia to further fracture us:

Clinton Meme 1

The second common type uses a quote… often an inaccurate quote, but sometime a real one… to push a concept. In this case, if a person truly wants to make the point, posting the quote would be enough; by including the visual, it’s using the psychological effect I mentioned, and its trying to trigger an emotional response while reducing actual consideration of the quote. (In both of these, Bill Clinton was chosen specifically to minimize any emotional attachment.)

Bill Clinton meme 2

We’re trying to encourage discussion here, not simply push emotions in favor or against particular politicians. I hope that everyone is willing to join us in pursuing that goal.

And as always, thanks for reading. Now go enjoy the day with the new President!

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.