Thursday, September 24, 2015

Liberal Perception Disorder

Looking at the world through evil-tinted glasses

At today's liberal indoctrination camps around the country (i.e., college campuses), everyone is being trained to be "spring loaded" to perceive innocent phrases/displays as bigoted "microaggressions," dog-whistle words, or racial hatred.   Earlier this week, at the University of Delaware, we saw a classic case of what I like to call "looking at the world through evil-tinted glasses," or what might better be labeled as "Liberal Perception Disorder."

Some overly-sensitive students saw this debris in a tree (it looks like string and coat hangers) and automatically assumed a hate crime had been perpetrated upon their fragile psyches -- and reported this to campus officials.  

Of course the school jumped the gun by crying "Hate Crime!" and accusing people on campus of perpetrating it before even looking at this string. And the reaction of the student body was also over the top -- looking like they had just witnessed a horrific death of a loved one. 
Three alleged nooses were supposedly found dangling from a tree on UD’s Green and had provoked a torrent of outrage within hours from minorities on campus who said they reflected a climate of hate.
“I’ve been called the n-word multiple times. I’ve dealt with a lot of racial BS at this campus, but never, never in my wildest imagination did I think in my last year here … that in the middle of the night I would run up to a tree with three nooses hanging up there,” student Gerti Wilson told Delaware Online. Another student, Morgan Franklin, said she broke down in tears at the horrible sight, and claimed it proved “my safety is not a concern” on campus.
UD officials moved rapidly to condemn the ferocious hate crime via a statement sent to students.

In an absurd demonstration of Liberal Perception Disorder (LPD), for a bit of simple string and wire, this is what they saw:

These days, of course, everyone has been programmed to see racism/sexism/etc-ism everywhere (regardless of intent) -- that there is no other possible explanation for a piece of string and coat hanger in a tree other than an evil white racist perpetrating a "hate crime." (I also despise the concept of "hate crime" but that's an entirely different issue that I do not want to get into, now.) 

Of course, University officials were quick to jump on the "Hate Crime" bandwagon, accusing members of the campus community of racial hatred, and quickly organizing a rally to further indoctrinate the student population.  After a (very) short investigation, the true origins of this heinous crime was uncovered.  These were leftover decorations from a previous event.

University officials -- from the president on down -- should have given the student population a sincere apology for accusing them of this crime, and for stirring up even more racial animus.  Of course, none was forthcoming.  Instead they held a rally to decry the racism that didn't occur.

Of course, LPD can only be selectively applied.  Take the recent events in Irving Texas where a young Muslim student by the name of Ahmed Mohamed brought an altered clock to school.  The administration there, of course, was not allowed to perceive this clock as anything other than the creative invention of a prodigy student, regardless of the fact that young Mr. Mohamed's "clock" COULD have been perceived as something other than it was.

I'm a pretty cynical guy, but even I don't see evil everywhere I look.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

I Hate to Say I Told You So -- Part II

In an earlier post, I wrote (I Hate to Say I Told You So...):

We've seen -- and I fear we will continue to see -- more and more cases of violence as overly-sensitive young adults, conditioned by today's academic environment, encounter a real world which will cause them psychological trauma for every perceived slight, insult, or disappointment they experience.  

It didn't take long before we saw the first case of this (High School Football Players Who ‘Blindsided’ Referee Say He Made Racist Remarks):

On a high school football field in Texas, one player made a beeline for a referee, slamming into him from behind and knocking him down. 
A second player followed up, appearing to dive into the man’s back as he was on the ground.
The two players accused of the hit ... charge that Mr. Watts made racial slurs directed at them. 

So, there you have it.  A violent attack made on a defenseless person simply due to the words he allegedly spoke.  

I'm reminded of this scene from the original Star Trek Pilot (re-packaged into the 2-part episode entitled "The Menagerie"):

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ahmed, the Clockmaker....

... and the self-congratulating leftists

If you've spent even a few minutes being exposed to social media, you've no doubt heard the sorry tale of 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed, who was detained and reportedly suspended from his Irving, Texas school after a teacher thought that his "homemade" clock looked like a bomb.

Let me say from the start that this is clearly an extreme over-reaction on the part of the school and police. They KNEW it was not a bomb. If they were even remotely worried that it was an actual bomb, they would have evacuated the school and brought in a bomb squad.   And since he didn't do anything with it that could be even remotely called a hoax, the charge of "Hoax Bomb" also doesn't hold water.

The school called this "a suspicious-looking device." What, they've never looked inside any sort of appliance or electronics device???? Amazing ignorance on the part of the teachers, administration, and police.  Clearly, the school and police have much to atone for in this case.

Immediately upon seeing this story, I considered this yet another of these horrid, "zero-tolerance" overreactions, much like a young boy being suspended for throwing an imaginary grenade into an imaginary box containing imaginary monsters, or the young school girl who was suspended for talking about her Hello Kitty bubble blowing gun, or the young boy suspended for chewing his pop tart into a shape that looked like a gun, or...  well, you've heard all too many of these stories.

Suddenly, however, all sorts of notable famous people (in politics as well as the tech industry) -- from President Obama and Hillary Clinton to senior people at Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. lauding him in as if he were the second coming of Steve Jobs and inviting him for visits to the White House or internships at Twitter.

You'd think this kid created a life-changing invention that would save humanity.  No, he constructed a clock.  And he didn't build it from scratch, or even from a kit... he simply took the guts (display, circuit boards, transformer) out of a commercial product and put it in his own case. OK, not bad, but there are 14 year old kids (and younger) building more complex things than this from scratch -- designing and building their own circuit boards, programming their own processors, etc.

Yes, this kid should be encouraged to continue his pursuits. Maybe he will find the skills and creativity needed to be a good engineer, someday. But this project is nothing exceptional to be creating the interest that it has.

When wondering to my friends about this, some said that maybe the project wasn't so great, but it's still heartening to see the country stand up for this kid.

You know what?  I'll be heartened when I see the country stand up for ALL kids who have been mistreated by ridiculous school policies and overreactions. At this point, however, I am deeply suspicious of those people (and their motivations) who are falling over themselves to heap such praise and support on this kid.

So what is driving this?  Could it have to do with the fact that young Mr. Mohamed is Muslim and the extreme reaction by the school might be considered (by some, at least) as a case of bigotry?

Like those who vote for less-than-talented talent show contestants with obvious disabilities or sad back-stories, or those who pick a marginally popular transgender person as their homecoming queen, much of this outpouring of support is self-congratulatory fluff so people can very publicly demonstrate just how open-minded they are.  Why else would leaders of various tech industries fall over themselves to acknowledge such a mediocre project?

If I haven't earned enough scorn for this assessment, let me try harder...

Being a cynical SOB, I also see a possibility that the entire event was "engineered" to create such a stir and gain notoriety. Consider the following:

Mr. Mohamed showed the project to a teacher in 1st period. Later in the day, a different teacher heard something beep in his bag. At the end of class, Mr. Mohamed showed her the clock -- which precipitated the events that followed. I don't see anything in the picture of the clock released by the Dallas PD that would enable it to make any sound if not plugged in. The photo shows no battery (one would assume that the picture would show the clock as it was confiscated).

So, what made noise that drew the teacher's attention? As I said, the cynical part of me tells me that he had something else to draw attention to the clock, trying to get the reaction he got. (And make no mistake, I think the reaction WAS wrong and SHOULD be brought to light).

I've seen too many of these stories that began with an immediate rallying of the public in support of some "victim," but ended up being a deception.

I immediately had doubts back in 1994 as Susan Smith got nationwide attention for claiming that a black man carjacked her and kidnapped her kids, leading to a huge demonstration of public support to her, as well as a massive man hunt (it was later found that she drove her car into a lake to kill them).

I was equally dubious when I saw Richard and Mayumi Heene's claim that their little boy had accidentally launched himself in a "flying saucer" balloon, causing a huge in-air pursuit of the balloon and massive TV coverage (it was later found that they deliberately perpetrated the hoax to promote a TV show they were pitching).

Sometimes my cynicism is proven to be unfounded; too often, unfortunately, it is not. Time will tell.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Let's Roll!

On this day, a great evil was visited upon the US. As with everyone else, this day is very deeply etched in my memory. The horror felt as I saw it unfold on TV, the blackness in the pit of my stomach, the despair for the loss of life, and the worry for my friends and colleagues in the Pentagon are renewed afresh every year.

Yet, in the midst of seeing the very worst that people could be, we also saw the very best that people could be. First responders charging headlong into danger, strangers helping each other in the streets, an unprecedented show of support by the general population to donate supplies and funding...

And a handful of passengers on Flight 93. Seeing what had happened on their aircraft, and hearing the stories of what had happened in NYC and Washington, DC, said that they weren't going to let that happen. "We're going to try something."

These are the stories I want to hold on to.

"Let's Roll!"

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Going Backwards at Warp Speed

The fear of words...

It's hard to imagine a fictional world with such a broad fan base as the Star Trek universe. Through multiple series, movies, books, games, etc., many people see reflected the sort of world they'd like to see come to fruition.  Many people, especially those on the left, see an idealistic socialist utopia where everyone gets along and nobody lives for want of anything.  

The 1960's original series, especially, pointed to the idea that people of all races could get along, working and living together.  Although this theme was apparent throughout the series, a few episodes directly touched on this.  One episode where this wasn't an intended theme, however, makes a great point.  In "The Savage Curtain," an alien facsimile of Abraham Lincoln visits the Enterprise.  Upon meeting Lt. Uhura, the following exchange occurs:

LINCOLN: What a charming negress. Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know in my time some used that term as a description of property.  
UHURA: But why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we've learned not to fear words.  
KIRK: May I present our communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura.  
LINCOLN: The foolishness of my century had me apologizing where no offense was given.  
KIRK: We've each learned to be delighted with what we are.

For all their expressed desire to see that aspect of the Star Trek universe made into reality in our time, the left has been fighting (intentionally or unintentionally) to keep it from happening.  They have made many words so feared, so despised, that the mere utterance of any one of them will result in being fired, shunned, barred from polite society, and, in extreme cases, shot through the lungs.  

Instead of teaching youngsters NOT to fear words, we instead teach them not only to fear words, but to willingly, actively seek being harmed by them -- regardless of the intent of the speaker.  Just take a look at many of the concepts developed by the left over recent years:  Microaggressions, trigger warnings, dog whistle words, etc.  

So, rather than trying to move forward towards the ideals that our parents tried to teach us ("Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me"), we are heading backwards to a world filled with people having such fragile egos that the utterance of a single word can be construed as an aggressive attack requiring protection of some higher authority (i.e., the thought police).  And if such protection is not provided by the authorities, then the "victim" of the horrific attack of words now feels justified in stopping the "aggression" by any means necessary.

Think I'm wrong?  Take a look at the recent shooting on live TV in Roanoke, VA.  The shooter (I will not use his name and give him further notoriety) felt justified in attacking and killing former co-workers because they uttered such racist words as "swing" and "field" as in, "Let's swing by Starbucks before heading out to the field."    

Racist?  "How in God's name could this be even remotely racist?" you may ask.  According to complaints filed by the shooter, "swing by" is something that monkeys do, and "the field" is where black people go to pick cotton.  

Again...  Think I'm wrong?  I may be, but I fear not.