Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Writing the True Crime Biopic, The Teenage Bodyguard

Yesterday afternoon I should have had my consult with screenplay and overall film creative consultant Jen Grisanti. More on that below. So I thought I should blog about what's going on with my current primary project.

Lately, I've had a few projects, one being my short little 8 minute macabre horror film, The Rapping (an homage to Edgar Allen Poe and sorry, not Rap music). Here's the trailer as I've submitted it to several film festivals.

I have also produced a shorter short titled, Below in the Dark.

Back to the bigger and cooler project. In 1974 something very unique happened to me. I was eighteen years old at the time. It took place during a single week in my hometown of Tacoma, Washington. A week I never talked about to anyone. That next year I traveled some, my younger brother died, I went into the Air Force, through basic training (always fun stuff), technical school, and got married.

All in that next year of 1975. And then I forgot all about that week.

Until about five years ago when I was looking for a personal story to base a new screenplay on. In running through my mental catalog of things I could draw upon, I came up with several. Stories about my childhood, that week in 1974, my years in the USAF, various orientations on my life related to subcultures, my years during college and for a while working at Tower Records at three stores (Posters, Records and what were the new Video stores), in two different cities and, a few other stories.

I easily settled on that week in 1974 as the most marketable.

Obviously. I needed a working title so I called it Teenage Bodyguard (later, The Teenage Bodyguard, that "The" has an important reason as it's very specific). I thought about it, did some brief research on it and realized, I had something. So I spent some months researching it in depth. It started with a murder, the local mafia and a witness who was female. The more I researched, the more I uncovered, the more fascinating the story became and t more I realized I actually had some connections, more than the one I thought I had.

I realized a couple of my "friends" especially one in particular whom I had known for years since I was in about tenth grade, sort of threw me under the bus to save himself. Now I haven't spoken to him since I started doing this research, so I haven't heard his side of this story. But at this point, it's pretty damning.

This whole thing started with giving a woman a lift to a new home, and a newspaper clipping.

This is a copy of the actual article she handed me that day.

The story is a simple one: damsel in distress asks for help and gets it.

She contended that the mafia types were after her for having been there and witnessed the murder. A murder which she said was of one of their own by one of their own. It was to this day labeled a murder by unknown suspect. She was adamant that it was a murder her bosses committed and they wanted to "talk" to her about it. She was pretty sure if that happened, she would never do anything else ever again. And would I protect her for a week until she could escape and leave town, forever, for her hometown in another state far away.

I agreed. The rest is history and now, a feature film screenplay. Which by all accounts to date is a very good and timely story that needs to be on the big screen. Well? Cool. Right?

This wasn't an easy story to write or an easy screenplay to produce.

So for a while, I put the story away. There were other more immediate things to work on. A year or so later I get a request to contact a producer in London about an adaptation I did for an author on her book. She said it was optioned once and expired and now there was renewed interest. So we converse via email this producer and me. I send him a copy of the screenplay adaptation, a spy romance titled, "Sealed in Lies", by Kelly Abell.

Then the producer asked if I had any other projects of my own. So I make a list of written screenplays and ones I was considering writing. He quickly zeroed right into the Teenage Bodyguard screenplay concept. He said he liked the title and the idea and if I ever write it to please think of him first.

I take that as a green light (as any screenwriter should). I spend the next nineteen days writing it and then sent it to him. He was surprised by the speed at which I got him a copy of a previously unwritten screenplay and sent it on to his readers. He now had two of my screenplays. And I never heard from him again. So, I tucked the situation under my arm and moved on with other things.

The upside in that? I had a new screenplay that I had been too intimidated before to write. Having a work you can work on is always better than one that doesn't exist and may never get written in the first place. Once you have a finished draft it is far easier to work it and it almost has to get better.

I put it away, again. In part because I was bummed at the prospects of having a producer with TWO of my screenplays and then, nothing came of it. Same old story for any kind of a writer really. I'd been through things like that before and more than once.

Then one day I took up the screenplay again. I sent it to a screenplay contest and got notes back on it. I had to pay extra for notes but I researched the contests and found one that was considered good and got the notes back. They were good notes. I got notes from another contest and they had good notes and other considerations.

I took the notes and rewrote the screenplay while doing more research on it and finding more. I contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's office and had them search for the murder report. They couldn't find it. Which fits how corrupt that era was in that area back in the 70s.

I sent the screenplay to another contest and updated it appropriately. Then I found The Blacklist. I spent $75 for coverage and did a new draft and posted it. Then I got another coverage again, this time two. I fixed the issues and reposted it. It sat there for a while.

Then one day I met someone who had a friend in the industry. We were able to get him to read the latest version of my screenplay. He liked it! Although he was an entertainment attorney with long standing in Hollywood, he said now was the time to hit with this kind of screenplay but he wasn't the one to get me there.

I realized after years of not spending literally thousands on one screenplay, as some have done and some have done getting nowhere, it was time to spend some money and get to the next level.

That was when I contacted Jen Grisanti. She isn't cheap, but there are others out there costing a lot more who just aren't worth it. Jen is. I have a meeting on Zoom with her tomorrow but just her screenplay notes alone were worth a bundle.

BLACKLIST's own coverage said, "pursue to production." BlueCat contest: "Why this isn't on screen yet!" Well-known entertainment attorney said: "It's the perfect time for this story." Sex, drugs & rock-n-roll meet sex, drugs & mayhem. For a week in 1974, a naive but well trained & savvy young man is asked by a more experienced woman to protect her for a week from local Mafia-type crime family for witnessing their murder. of one of their own.

And here we are today. I have a screenplay that is almost polished enough and ready to go. I have the rights to the screenplay, the story no one else knows about and my own story.

I'm ready to go.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Don't Let Fears End A Dream Before It Begins

Recently, Stephen Colbert humoroUsly harangUed Rachel Weisz about the use of the British spelling in the title of her new film, The Favourite.

It reminded me of an argument I had in 10th grade in high school with my English Composition teacher who noticed I was using the British spelling of words in my compositions. I really liked her. She was a great teacher. I think I became one of her favourites.

I explained to her that I read a lot of older writings and British authors and as well, I believed that the words had more, shall we say flavour, when pronounced with a Brit spelling. Less terse, more rounded and full. More, artistic. More entertaining.

I stuck to my guns.

At first, she was confused by this kid and his editorial reasoning. Then she realized my what my orientation was in my standing firm and in sharing with her my reasoning.

She looked at me for a moment, then said, "Well, I will still have to mark you down a point if you continue to do that. I mean, we are in America after all, not England."

I thought about it for a moment and then looked at her and said, "Sure, I understand. That sucks. But it's a writer's prerogative in how to present their writings in form and substance. It's my literary license, right? Even if I have to suffer for it."

She gave me an odd look and then it changed across her face. I can only think it was a look mixed with confusion, compassion and in the end, a little respect.

She later tried to get me onto the school newspaper because, in her view, I had a talent for writing.

I know it came across as being too full of myself, but really it was just sheer terror when I asked if they paid. She laughed and said, "No, of course not. It's a high school newspaper. But I think you would do well on it and you would be a good addition to the staff."

I then said, "Well I have a job at night at a drive-in theater. So unless they pay, no thank you."

I was terribly intimidated by the consideration of being an actual writer, believing I had no skill (well I knew I had more than most in the class but couldn't accept it). As I saw it, a real "writer" was some kind of creative God or something. That...could never be me. Yeah, I had some self-esteem issues.

As bullies hide their cowardice in aggression and invoking fear in others, I hid my issues by affecting indifference and perhaps, unintentionally, superiority in talent. It would be many years before I deserved that kind of rating... or respect. But I did finally arrive at what was once only hope and desire. It took many years of hard work and practice, and in fighting off repeated disenchantment and failure.

To be fair, I had been reading the best authors in human history since fifth grade when I discovered the library some blocks from home. It was the only place I was allowed to go, so my mother knew she wouldn't be getting a phone call that I had gotten into one kind of trouble or another.

My mother taught me to always find the best possible teachers you can find for anything.

So, I always had the best teachers she could find. Be that in Martial Arts (fifth grade onward), firearms (jr high onwards), flying airplanes (junior high onwards), emergency services and search and rescue (junior high onwards, which I got myself into ... Civil Air Patrol, when every adult around me tried to talk me out of it), SCUBA diving (10th grade onwards, well I found that myself), skydiving (at 17 and onward), and so on.

In reflection, to be sure...I was a fool. And perhaps a coward as that decision delayed my writing career until after the military and into my first year of college when a prof cornered me and nailed me to the wall and... convinced me. Finally giving me license and permission to be what I'd always dreamed of being... a writer.

Follow your dreams!

Don't be intimidated by those who came before you.

And certainly not by or because of yourself and your fears.

You may never be one of one of those great authors in history. But you may one day be that very person to others, who so desperately need you.

Like the old adage says, "Be the best you can be!" In whatever form it may take because of who YOU are and not who others were.

Let posterity take care of the rest.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Few Things About Liberalism

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! And holiday weekend!


Irish and Thanksgiving

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program:

Yeah, apparently I'm writing a political blog now. I really don't want to be. I have other things to do, that I'm doing. But this current administration is bent. Started that way and got worse. So between being reticent to check the latest news, minute by excruciating minute, I'm still trying to get some work done.

Quick update, then down to business...I have finished a short horror film titled, The Rapping. I've submitted it to some film festivals around the world. I'm reviewing my screenplay, The Teenage Bodyguard for a script consultant meeting Tuesday (Jen Grisanti if you're curious). I have to quickly make up a trailer for, The Rapping this coming week. I need to start filming a new project with the notorious Dragon Boxer. Then some more audiobook production. Not feeling bored.

Okay. Now. Moving on....

Something for the conservative mind to digest...I've never much liked the term liberal. It gives the wrong impression and opponents something to incorrectly dig against.

And yes, there's some weird liberals out there. There are some weird ones out there in every group.

Conservatives love to claim their lineage to the 1776 declaration of the founding of American ideas and liberty, equality, fraternity as the French did in their 1789 revolution.

Modern American conservatism is a travesty of the original and has lost its way. Look it up sometime. it will surprise you.

I feel I'm a progressive because to be conservative is to go toward or desire what is backward.

Standing still takes you backward, maintaining a status quo, it takes you backward, not leaving you to remain in place. It's the biggest fallacy in modern American conservationism.

To move forward, to be progressive, to progress, is how one maintains a status quo which conservatives proclaim to want so badly. MAGA and all that nationalist crap is just that, crap.

But even then, it changes. So they are being delusional. Ignoring reality as they do so well.

There is no achievable status quo. To think otherwise is a delusion, much like time is.

"Liberal" comes from liberty. Not "in large or generous amounts. In a way that is not precise or strictly literal; loosely." It does NOT refer to loose, lazy, ignorant, as many conservatives mistakenly believe.

Middle English: via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was ‘suitable for a free man,’ hence ‘suitable for a gentleman’ (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts . Another early sense, ‘generous’ (sense 4 of the adjective), gave rise to an obsolete meaning ‘free from restraint,’ leading to sense 1 of the adjective (late 18th century).

Liberal Arts - liberal, as distinct from servile or mechanical (i.e., involving manual labor) and originally referring to arts and sciences considered “worthy of a free man”; later the word related to general intellectual development rather than vocational training.

"General intellectual development" and conservatives for some reason hate "liberals". Just confusion and needing someone to lay blame on.

Lack of enough citizens with a liberal arts education may be part of our American problem. And conservatives appear to hate education, love to defund it, avoid it, argue against it. We hear the term "college stupid" even from many conservatives for decades now.

That, is embarrassing. For America.

The main argument against that is, "Not everyone needs college. What's wrong with vocational school?" Nothing. That's a pivot to a non sequitur as usual. It's disingenuous. It's reacting to a person self-esteem issue for those who didn't get or want a higher education. And so want others to be, or feel to them, to be equal to them. In America, we should all be seen as equal but those same people, many of them, see others and less equal to them at the same time: minorities, ethnics, the poor, immigrants.

I've never had a problem with respect and acknowledging someone else is more than me. I don't argue about something I know less about than someone else whose job that is or has expertise in it. Unless, they are purposefully or ignorantly being disingenuous, or lying for their own benefit against that of others. A typical Republican party tactic anymore.

"The 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States founded the nascent republic on liberal principles without the encumbrance of hereditary aristocracy—the declaration stated that "all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness",[1] echoing John Locke's phrase "life, liberty, and property". A few years later, the French Revolution overthrew the hereditary aristocracy, with the slogan "liberty, equality, fraternity" and was the first state in history to grant universal male suffrage. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, first codified in 1789 in France, is a foundational document of both liberalism and human rights."

"But Democracy, this is a Republic!. The Democratic party is not American." Really. Thomas Jefferson started the Democratic-Republican party for a reason. Republicanism itself was an American reaction not to Liberals but monarchies.

Democratic-Republican Party, originally (1792–98) Republican Party, first opposition political party in the United States. Organized in 1792 as the Republican Party, its members held power nationally between 1801 and 1825. It was the direct antecedent of the present Democratic Party.
During the two administrations of President George Washington (1789–97), many former Anti-Federalists—who had resisted adoption of the new federal Constitution (1787)—began to unite in opposition to the fiscal program of Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury. After Hamilton and other proponents of a strong central government and a loose interpretation of the Constitution formed the Federalist Party in 1791, those who favoured states’ rights and a strict interpretation of the Constitution rallied under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, who had served as Washington’s first secretary of state. Jefferson’s supporters, deeply influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution (1789), first adopted the name Republican to emphasize their antimonarchical views. The Republicans contended that the Federalists harboured aristocratic attitudes and that their policies placed too much power in the central government and tended to benefit the affluent at the expense of the common man. Although the Federalists soon branded Jefferson’s followers “Democratic-Republicans,” attempting to link them with the excesses of the French Revolution, the Republicans officially adopted the derisive label in 1798. The Republican coalition supported France in the European war that broke out in 1792, while the Federalists supported Britain (see French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars). The Republicans’ opposition to Britain unified the faction through the 1790s and inspired them to fight against the Federalist-sponsored Jay Treaty (1794) and the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798).

American conservatism is a broad system of political beliefs in the United States that is characterized by respect for American traditions, republicanism, support for Judeo-Christian values, moral absolutism, free markets and free trade, anti-communism, individualism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense ...

I could go on about how conservatism is a defective form of political thought. And this is not as mistakenly believed, a pure republic.

Traditions need change to survive. And they do. Many just do not realize that.

Judeo-Christian values...don't get me started on that. Moral absolutism is a childish form of morality, the rest of the definition just goes into things conservative give lip service to but really aren't concerned with.

Individualism? Why pro life then? American exceptions have led us to nationalism, not patriotism. On and on.

All the rest of the noise from the right, is just that.

Noise, and distraction.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Writing Yourself Back Into Sanity

Gun control. Hang on, hang on! Give this just a moment. Let's use that as an example, as well as address it, just for the moment.

I'm a writer. I write myself into impossible situations in fiction, or my characters anyway. Then I write my (their) way out of it so at first, my reader thinks my character is lost. Then, not lost, but in a fun way. Hopefully.

When I build into those situations both as the author and character God, I try to write cleverly. Whenever I can't, when I'm just as lost as my character (happens all the time, that's the fun of it!), I first have to realize, I'm lost. I consider all the rational, logical, even illogical ways out of the situation or scene, or picadillo. Once I find I have no solution, it's like there's a click, and I realize where I am. Stuck.

That's when it occurs to me to look 180 degrees about in order to see where to go. It's jarring at times. It's counter-intuitive. It's at times humorous. Or feels insane. But then, I ruminate about how to make whatever it is that rises to the surface, to work. Not forcing it, but jostling it about in my mind as mental attachments are formed and then, solutions begin to spark into life. Exercise at times aides that along. Also, removing oneself from the problem. Rest, entertainment (but be careful, that can also be a trap).

So often, that realignment to 180 degrees, becomes the actual and best solution. At times, the only solution.

I first discovered that in my life. With heavy contrast comes obvious elements previously unseen in the situation. Counter-intuitive, like I said. It's not always intuitive. So you have to break out of that mindset you are locked into.

That's what I've meant about conservatives and Republicans of late. They seem to have difficulty with situations that require counter-intuitive solutions or, ways of viewing things. They can'/t see the forest for the trees you might say, so much of the time.

I've shared this 180-degree concept with people over my lifetime and they've been surprised at first how often it works to their benefit in giving them insights or perhaps, outsights. It's a technique for thinking out of the box. Or realizing there was never a box to begin with. Now that's thinking outside of the box.

When I look at guns, the gun situation in this country, gun control, mass shootings, where we are at now...the obvious solution, for a child...is arming everything and everyone. It is an ill-informed, juvenile consideration,.

It is where the, "Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun" solution comes from. But it sounds like the solution of a five-year-old. Or, the NRA, or the Republican party. Of conservative gun owners and those who cannot see clearly any other solution. Because it's not obvious. It's lost among all the other chatter in the situation.

It's low contrast, obscured because of a reverent almost religious attachment to the US Constitution. Which is not a God. And once you consider the destructive dynamics of a God consideration, outside the blanket goodness attributed by theists to deity worship, one begins to see what is truly there.

Welcome to my world!

Remember a long time ago? Further up the page here when I mentioned getting out of tough creative solutions to fictional problems? Yes, those were the good old times, weren't they? The good old days of a moment ago. Before all this insanity in the world was boxing us about the head and brain, mind and morality. Yet, we really must continue on....

So, to summarize, IF you turn about 180 degrees you can frequently clearly see potential solutions.

And in this case, that is...the reform of gun control laws. Or going further in turning up the contrast levels, a rethinking of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. I know, I know, all that and the rest.

If you cannot see that, well...that's how the NRA and the extreme conservative Republican party and how so disingenuously they ard the travesty in the oval office, Donald Trump, have all continued to trick and con us all. To subvert reality to their own ends and not ours.

The solution isn't usually all that hard. It's just hard for some to see. But once it's been seen, you really cannot unsee it. That's the problem with atheists, you see. I went through that myself. I was raised strict Catholic. Old school, old country, old Slovak Catholic. Then I came to understand I was only half that. The other half was Irish by way of my father's family. I realized I was more Irish Catholic. That broke with the old strict traditional Slovak Catholic I had been all my young life. This was about the beginning of high school for me.

There were some other issues that helped me along, which aren't relevant here today about this. But you get the picture. I started looking around. In reading science fiction all my life, brilliants thinkers had given me a methodology to see when you are blinded by your reality and not THE reality. After a decade or so of theistic and philosophical, then college and studies in anthropology, sociology, and a degree in psychology, it all became clear.

Then I had to shake off the remaining vestiges of a lifetime of fear invoked by religious dogma and finally one day, after being a devoted theist, an adamant agnostic, a staunch atheist, I found the reality that wasn't in that box built by humanity and found one that was always there in form, a part, and parcel of the universe itself.

That is when one has to act.

That has been nearly impossible.

But times are now a changing yet again and those who are conning us are on the way out. Demographics are changing starting to fit a reality we have lived for some time now. We just have to open our eyes, our minds, and take in what is there and where we are headed. We can get in front of that train and get run over, or we can help it along and gain the love and respect of all those feeling abused because we refuse to see them or...to respect them. In ways they know, they deserve.

We will all one day, our descendants will one day, all look back at now and marvel at how really damned stupid we were and for so very long.

Really, it just takes courage.

And being honest about what is and what isn't, If only or even for a moment as we study it, we can see what is there without us in the picture. Then put us back in and see how we truly fit into what is and what has been. And what we haven't been able to see. For whatever reason.

Whatever it takes. And if that is looking about oneself 180 degrees, or counter-intuitively, so be it. Or if you have another way, one THAT WORKS, great! Use it. But do...use it!

Because we have to stop not seeing what is there and start seeing what others can clearly see while we refuse or simply cannot see it. Or see it all.

Especially when the solutions were there, staring us all right in the face.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Socially Posting Reality

First up, Vote!

This is the process I try to follow for posting\sharing information on social media. It is important that we post the best and most accurate information possible. We need to pollinate social media with reality and accuracy. We have got to get a handle on it, somehow. It's not just all up to the government or the platforms and companies who own, support and run social media.

"Post Reality."

Whose Reality? As objective a reality as is possible to divine from current and available information. I don't see a lot of that today.

Not to mention by one expert's account to the Congressional Intelligence Committee: "1 in 25" partisan memes\postings are actual American human beings, the rest are bots. Mostly if not all, Russian bots. Which means, we not as partisan as it appears. Well, that's SOME good news anyway.

That being said, EVERYONE screws up sometimes.

Whenever I do I try to be gracious about it if someone points it out, typically posting in public, sometimes to embarrass.

IF it is something extremely obvious, and I am correct, and the person is being outright stupid, I deal with them appropriately. That can be anything from pointing out their mistake with supporting evidence to cutting them down to an appropriate size in their mind (that takes a degree of skill or talent and I see many screw that up and embarrass both parties). Mostly it's best to be compassionate and polite.

But some just need a kick because others need to see that on their side and feel some catharsis on my side. I say that because there are too many bullies out and about, trolling for fun not to educate, not to be accurate. Like children.

Just be aware that nowadays they may simply be a waste of your time in trying to educate them. If they are obviously not interested in actual education, in better and more accurate information, they are just being stupid, and by definition (my definition).

As hard as I try, and I'm a university trained researcher but, I make mistakes too, I may act too fast. I'm human. I may be tired, nor feeling well, distracted, maybe I really shouldn't be posting, etc.

These here are my gold standard points however for how I do try to act in trying to be helpful to others and to be as accurate (and mature) as I can be. Consider that when you read some things online that people post.

IF trained researchers can make these same mistakes, what kind of information do you think is being passed about by those who have no idea what they are sharing or how to go about it? What percentage of information do you think is accurate? Because today one really needs to ask instead, what percentage of information do you think is inaccurate?

When you have other nations like Russia trying to subvert our path, to add chaos to our nation, with national leaders like the POTUS Trump constantly being incorrect and constantly outright lying, constantly escalating the numbers of already inaccurate or irrelevant information. along with people with vested interests in dis- and misinformation, just how much bad information do you think is out there?

Information you may pick up and inadvertently become a part of sharing incorrect information.

Traditionally all through history, we have had incorrect information simply because of an overabundance of poor information, and a lack of available accurate information. Either by accident and simple human fallibility.

Today we have it because people want it there for questionable purposes, vested interests, greed, espionage and political purposes. There is also the allegation that many people actually do like and prefer wrong information ("Study Finds People Like the Wrong Stuff on Social Media Better").

Weird, right?

We simply have to be more careful and do our best to flood social media with the most correct information available that we can access. So....
  • Think before posting.
  • If possible, click on the post, following it. Does it exist? Check the date it was originally published.
  • Do a quick search on the title or topic to see how recent (or valid) it is and what and if the source is reasonable. Especially if there is no publish date or if it is not obvious from content exactly when it was posted.
  • The more important or controversial the information the more vetting (validating) is necessary.
  • Post less assuredly from others you do not know or do not know well.
  • Triangulate (see footnote1 below) research on a post prior to posting (find one or more other relevant, trusted and disparate sources to vet information). Typically cyber-vetting is used today as it can be highly effective and quick...and accurate when done properly. Highly inaccurate when done improperly, which we see a vast amount of from right-wing extremists. 
  • As a general rule, if something agrees with your POV too much, it's probably a lie or Russian type disinformation attack on social media. So give it trust only once you've vetted the information.
  • When friend or foe challenges your post, do not do an ignorant, or conservative "knee-jerk" type reaction. It's immature and counterproductive. Instead, although you can initially reply with something clever or snarky if entertaining to others in some way and especially to your challenger. But do then go and vet that information to be sure you are correct about it. Especially if challenged by someone you trust or is known to post valid information. There is nothing more foolish than to be caught in a mishap and then double down on what is then your stupidity. Do not be a Donald Trump. Best rule is after guessing it is correct and posting, always go vet that info at some point in the next hour to 24 hours and come back to correct it if you find issues with it, or to clarify it if you realize it may come across with options for being incorrect in part or whole.
  • IF you post something incorrect, especially if it's gone viral before (or after your posting), leave it up online. Then, add to the initial post to indicate what is incorrect so as to allow others to read the updated post and attached thread below so they can understand WHY it's incorrect, along with links to associated vetted information. In that way, you help to decrease the incorrect information online. To simply remove it, typically so you are not embarrassed, leaves others who might have seen it, open to making the exact same mistake. 
  • Never call something "fake news". It is immature and has too much Donald Trump, Republican, and conservative negative baggage. 
  • Show don't tell. Telling is fine if accompanied with value-added information. But it's also all about the orientation and who your post is actually addressing. frequently we get emotional and address our side, not the other side and may even say things to force the other side to "dig in" and worse, "double down."
  • When you vet information, research down through several levels or layers and over several sources of information. Use sources who should know, not just any source with that topic. Sites like InfoWars, typically do not know a damn thing. IF you find something on a site like that, you then have to vet THAT information several more times and it can go exponential, so best to leave them to the nut cases and ill-informed (you cannot help them, they are not interested in reality and really not interested in being correct, especially not by a member of their as they see it, ignoble opposition...ironically enough, they are typically the ignoble ones). Most incorrect postings on social media are not verified at all or sometimes worse, vetted only one level down, or out. I say worse because then they tend to incorrectly think that they DID do due diligence. Typically it takes two, three or more to finally know if something is true or not and that all the related and relative supportive information has been acquired.
  • More questionable sources require ever more vetting.
  • At times you may find something requires excessive vetting of never seeming to be enough sources, or you cannot seem to vet it. That's not hard to deal with. You simply admit it's merely your (maybe informed, maybe not so informed) opinion. Or that you tried and cannot fully vet it and/or that you got the information from some public figure who should know or whatever. The point is to state it in such a way so if you are later proved to be incorrect, it reflects not on you or your vetting process but on others. 
  • That last part of the last point does NOT refer to "plausible deniability", a method used by national leaders and greatly abused by the Republican party. Don't stoop to their level. Though I do admit to using that at times for reasons that are hopefully overt, obvious and the biggest reason, humorous. 
  • Truth. That is what is important. IF you should find you are wrong, and in vetting your information you learn something new and contrary to your beliefs, you have two choices. Absorb those beleifs, incorporate them into your overall beliefs. Update, reprocess and look at your understanding of things with this new updated information. Do no ignore it. Worst case,place it to the side and DO NOT FORGET about it. The other thing you can do if it really disturbs you is to start again and revet with this new information. You can try to prove your original beliefs right, or the new ones right. Just be careful of ending up with your beliefs being verified, when they shouldn't be. Because in the end if is not about you, not about your beliefs, but about what is really going on. Share the new information and help humanity. 
  • Humor is almost always useful and one of the best ways to persuade or handle difficult information. Just be aware and careful, it can backfire. Joking about a mass shooting, typically will. 
In the end, we all want (or should want) ACCURATE information. Not Donald Trump type incorrect news and information, inaccurate and constantly changing information and faux facts and disinformation and misinformation all which benefits incorrectly one viewpoint over another.

There is a distraction involved in all this. One that has led to many new conspiracy theorists. Many new conservative Republicans who spook at a shadow in ever corner.

"How do you know what is true and accurate?" The ask.

That is for another article, this is for the foundational concept of sharing Truth. Next is the consideration for what is true or can be true or who to trust to disseminate what is true. But basically, a country has got to trust it's intelligence and law enforcement agencies over it's elected officials. See, for the most part, most of those people are like you or I. That is like most of us. We have a given job, we do our best to follow the mission set before us. To be honest, truthful. To do the best we cvan for our country.

Republicans and Donald Trump would have us distrust those people, until we distrust ourselves, until we have to trust only HIM. He wants us to believe we cannot trust our government, our judciary, our law enforcement, our intel agencies.

WHEN that is PROVEN untrue, then you act, you ignore, you refuse to believe. But at that point, you have far worse problems. Personally, AND socially.

But we are not there. Not by a long shot. Those whom extremists call the "deep state" or in some cases the "swamp", are just patriotic citizens, who remain in government from elected administration to elected administration. What conservatives have done in calling these people out is to sow fear into the basic fabric of America. Refuse them their fear mongering.

IF all information online were accurate and properly vetted, America would suddenly take a leap forward in education, politics and social interactions. Much of our bickering today is due to people either arguing the same point of view from different perspectives because one or both sides is lacking relevant information. Or one side is vastly incorrect and the other side has little or no grounds from which to debate the issues. It's like debating with a crazy person. Not to say the other is insane, but the dynamics are very similar.

In the end, we can help to alleviate this current situation by posting only the best information we can access. Also by focusing on the facts and not emotional reactions. Falling back to that old adage of "Hate the sin. Love the sinner." We have got to find a way to communicate, to see our opposition as noble opposition, and to help them find a way to become once again, noble. Just don't put yourself in that position where they have the same problem. Because then, we are all truly lost. Even though we have been seeing that effort pushed at this time by Donald Trump as POTUS. 

We find ourselves now at the point since Donald Trump became president, to truly need to make America great again.

We have got to get back to the basics, to pollinate reality into social media, politics, and culture. To get back to the facts, and back to...reality. 

Footnote 1:
Triangulation is three points, one being your POV. So one or two (usually at least two) other sources. A university professor of mine once explained this to our class saying to always get three other and disparate sources. Even better if you can find at least one on the opposition side who agrees with your POV. The other form is to go out to disprove your POV and if it proves true, you win. Either should be neutral in orientation so you don't involve personal information bias.

Either way: "'...triangulation ’ originates in the field of navigation where a location is determined by using the angles from two known points. Triangulation in research is the use of more than one approach to researching a question. The objective is to increase confidence in the findings through the confirmation of a proposition using two or more independent measures.2 The combination of findings from two or more rigorous approaches provides a more comprehensive picture of the results than either approach could do alone.3"

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Modern American Ignorance Defined

Pres. Trump and the Republican party today are spreading and seeding ignorance to further their own agendas and those of the Russian president Putin. Accidentally or on purpose, it damages America and their own base who are one or another kind of ignorant. But what exactly is ignorance and how many today are truly what we once understand ignorance to be?

A few of my personal quotes from the past on what we see so rampant in America today, especially from #Trump the oval office and the #gop, real or worse feigned #Ignorance. These were gleaned from my blog pages Quotes Along the Murdock I, II and III where you can see other quotes I've posted or published elsewhere over time.

Ignorance is the provenance of Anger.

If as has wisely been stated, travel is the antidote to ignorance, Donald Trump is most definitely going to need a starship. And he should take most of Congressional Republicans with him.

It's sad when you're talking to someone new and you realize, your own ignorance is still far more informed than their best "facts"

Ignorance is the greatest threat humanity faces.
Beware always those whose words may claim even to crave knowledge, but whose actions deny it.

Religion is the Art of using Guessing and Desire to explain Ignorance, rather than trying to find and use Reality based Explanations for that which we do not yet understand.

Ignorance is noble but as practiced today, it's disgusting.

Ignorance is noble. Everyone starts out ignorant.
Sustaining ignorance, however, especially in this day and age, is a cancer that is easy enough to fight against, with knowledge. But you have to want to fight against your own (and your group's) bias and agendas, which is another cancer.
Knowledge, by the way, is actual information, verified information; not just what sounds good to you or yours.

Beware of false ignorance, it is ignoble and more dangerous than knowledge.
[The opposite of false ignorance is not knowledge. To be falsely ignorant would be one who is being ignorant, but not really, so that they have chosen their ignorance. This presupposes a kind of agenda that actually propagates false knowledge. It is a kind of behavior that is both insidious and fundamentally, dangerous.
Example: "Monsanto was exhibiting false ignorance in their understanding that the chemicals could not give children deformities."]

"Ignorance is noble. Stupidity isn't."

"Ignorance is not a pursuit. Stupidity is."

Finally and most important:

"Everyone is ignorant, it's a normal state of being. Stupidity, however, is consciously choosing to remain ignorant."