When Good Guests Strike

We had guests at the Compound this weekend. A family of four. This meant eight people in a household normally designed for four. You can imagine the productivity in the house went absolutely to shit.

The guests were perfect, surprisingly. One is a badass who works with the State Department and has probably toppled three governments and assassinated a few dictators, if not drug lords. He’s currently studying Spanish for his next job in a country where we’re not building a wall and making said country pay for it. As you can imagine, he’s a completely nice, wonderful guy who has nothing but love in his heart.

His wife is the perfect person for his next assignment. A Spanish teacher, she’s taught everywhere from Africa to Australia as her husband travels. Their two kids are the epitome of everything you’d want in kids: bright, looking into science and engineering, athletic, and inquisitive. She speaks Spanish to her kids just as much as English, and the kids responded in return.

I expected the two days to be a shitshow. No sleep, complaining kids, no help whatsoever. Again, there was a surprise. They did the dishes. They helped with the kids. We took everyone to the zoo yesterday and they graciously paid for all the people needing tickets. They were gracious when we made them dinner.

Today they leave, and life returns to normal. I’ll actually miss the lot of them. It was a nice visit, and one that forced me to relax a bit. Yesterday I got the first chance to really “play” and relax. The four guests were completely wonderful, and the time flew by to the point I didn’t even realize what hour it was and when the kids needed to be in bed.

The weekend was a nice reminder that not all house guests are like viruses. You can have a select few that are good and will give you a good time when they come by. A select few might even make your life easier when they show up. It just depends on the person or people who show for a few days.

Still, horrendous curmudgeon that I am, I waited to figure out when they would leave, what time, so I could put on my nice happy smiley face, wish them a good day, and then get back to my normal business of being an utter bastard. That’s what my people do. We act like we’re the nicest on earth and preach civility until someone acts a fool or tries to be a dick, then the lawyer kicks in and we respond accordingly.

Our short time with the guests was a nice reminder that it’s okay to let our guard down occasionally around those we can trust. The trick, unfortunately, is figuring out who you can let your guard down when they’re near so the wrong person doesn’t get the chance to stab you in the back.

Sometimes you can actually have fun when people come to visit. It’s a nice reminder that there are good folks out there, especially for those people like me in a profession where you see the worst in everyone. Unfortunately, these moments come few and far between.

I’ll actually look forward to these guests coming back. They did all the dishes.

WOZO and the Streisand Effect

Yesterday was a fun exercise in watching the Streisand Effect work its magic. By day’s end more eyes were on my little radio show than ever before, and the lunacy at WOZO’s DJ “team” was exposed for the lying nutjobs they are.

Fault Lines Managing Editor Scott Greenfield contacted me Thursday about The Sit Down’s ban from WOZO. He wrote a post about it at Simple Justice on Friday. That post gave the tiny “People’s Radio” show a lot more attention than it’s seen in recent months. The fact the attention was negative, calling their cowardice for what it was, didn’t help much.

So the station launched its “conflict response team” into action. This “response team’s” acts usually involved posting negative comments to my YouTube channel, trolling producer Aaron Campbell’s Facebook page for “That Midday Show,” and blowing my Twitter feed up with repeated at mentions over how I was a “nobody,” a “toxic person,” and an “amateur.”

If that’s the case, why did WOZO’s DJs take so much time and energy to attempt to shout me down?

Let’s look at what happened.

1. WOZO’s DJ “team” objected to the content of the Sit Down and acted accordingly.

From the beginning, it was clear the leftist DJ staff at WOZO wanted The Sit Down gone. They attempted a number of tactics in an attempt to get rid of the news hour broadcast. The first was attempting a straight ban because my broadcasts contained “racist, sexist, transohomophobic, bigoted, ableist, or other “ist” content. Unfortunately, no such content existed, and the one thing the DJ team could find objectionable was the disclaimer broadcast twice during the show, which one DJ found “offensive.”

The second tactic was to frame the narrative of the ban as me wanting “special treatment” from the community radio station. They couldn’t bear the truth shining on their intellectual dishonesty, that they simply didn’t agree with what I had to say, so they came up with a convoluted story about how I was the only show “host” who wasn’t a DJ, hadn’t gone through the steps of becoming a DJ, and wanted to subvert the station’s “rules,” which seemed to apply differently with every DJ at WOZO.

2. WOZO’s DJ “team” launched an all out attack on me and my producers through social media. 

I am told I was “owned” on Facebook. I have no knowledge of this, as I have no access to any social media showing me how I was “owned.” I also have enough adult sense to understand the Internet isn’t real life, and mean hurty words on a digital screen aren’t enough to hurt me or mine.

I am told there’s plenty of “sick burns” of me on WOZO’s twitter account. I have no knowledge of this, because the official WOZO twitter account blocked me.

My producer has no knowledge of this either, as WOZO’s DJ “team” banned him from their listserv, blocked him from their DJ only Facebook group, and blocked him outright from their personal forums for communication. If I or my producer were getting “owned,” it’s WOZO’s DJ team acting out the film “Mean Girls” in real life.

What I do know is during the day random Twitter accounts associated with WOZO came to attack me. DJs at the station left comments on my YouTube videos about how I would find another platform for my “Breitbart trollathon bullshit.”

I screwed with these people as I chose, because I’m a Southerner who enjoys a good fight, even if it’s an online one. However, at the end of the day, the digital conflict amounted to one final result for WOZO.

WOZO now has negative publicity internationally because of their interactions with me. 

One of my Twitter followers, @MachMinotaur, summed the issue perfectly.

This nothingburger would’ve never been a story were it not for two-bit tyrants…at a local radio.

That radio station will still not matter to people not in that area, but now it’s known for its poor behavior. Win?

People as far as Germany came to ask the Twitter eggs that are allegedly WOZO DJs if the continued replays of butthurt feelz were really worth it. The response was a continued double down on stupid, rather than engage in an honest discussion about what really happened. Now instead of being known for honesty, a commitment to free speech, and inclusivity of all ideas, WOZO is seen as a two-bit station with a “team” of teacup pirates behaving poorly when confronted with speech they don’t like.

Here is the truth of the WOZO “ban.”

Aaron Campbell was a dues paying DJ at WOZO who went through their arbitrary process to become a DJ. He came from commercial radio and several of the DJs at the station hated him for it.

He launched a four hour show on Tuesdays called “That Midday Show” which quickly became one of the most successful and listened to shows on the station. In fact, he pulled off a live broadcast at Scruffy City Hall during the Scruffy City Comedy Festival featuring several of the festival’s headliners.

I was a part of that broadcast, as I was a part of many. One of the first people to pitch an idea to Aaron for that Midday Show, I ran the “news desk” and developed the “Headlines” and “Final Thought” segments. During “Headlines” we would riff off stories that I’d find during the week that were funny or unusual. The “Final Thought” was pulled straight from the Jerry Springer show, and we made great fun of it by playing the Jerry Springer music at the end of the segments.

Early January, Aaron came to me to see about rebranding the fourth hour of That Midday Show with a new name, and have me as the “host.” I was never a DJ, and never had any intentions of paying the station’s “dues.” The name change was well within his rights, and as a DJ he had every right to kick me off the air whenever he chose. If he felt like a line was crossed, all he had to do was cut my mic and excuse me from his home studio.

We started the Sit Down. Our listens doubled within two episodes. By Episode three people were objecting to content they’d never heard. Eventually, the station’s DJs concocted a narrative that I was disrespectful to their DJ staff and the station, that I wasn’t a DJ that had ever contributed a single bit of time, money, or energy to their station, and that I was asking for special treatment on their platform.

Yes. I was disrespectful to the people who allowed a DJ to assault my producer, then banned him for being assaulted for the end of calendar year 2016. The way I see it, they deserved what they got. I never had any intention of paying DJ fees. I actually encouraged my producer to split from the station after the assault and subsequent suspension, but he decided to play nice with WOZO and kept broadcasting once the “conflict response team” lifted his suspension on That Midday Show.

Taking “The Sit Down” and repackaging it as deeply conservative was a move on my part to stick it to the people who wronged a friend. That the content struck a nerve with the “progressive” leftists at WOZO meant we were doing something right. They called for Aaron to censor or force me to tone down my social media posts. He refused to do so, being a sensible adult, and pointed out that if I were to tone down my attacks at WOZO for stifling free speech, then WOZO’s DJ “team” should extend the courtesy of not attacking me.

Three episodes later the station now has negative international attention, lost their biggest show, and gifted That Midday Show and The Sit Down the ability to run ads, make money from the broadcasts, and do whatever we want. We are now uncensored, no holds barred, 100% politically incorrect if we so choose.

Every attack WOZO’s DJs take to “own” me simply gives me more attention. Attempting to “blacklist” me from performing “comedy” is ridiculous move as I don’t even do standup or perform at comedy shows. What it does do is expose the Tolerance Police for what they are: cowards who can’t stand ideas with which they disagree.

And I’ve got more eyes on me than ever before. Suck it, haters.

Cease Fire Between The Sit Down and WOZO

As of last night, the war between WOZO in Knoxville and The Sit Down with Chris Seaton is over. WOZO’s top brass indicated they support free speech and the open exchange of ideas. They are to be commended for their support.

The Sit Down’s genesis came from the “Headlines” segment I used to do for producer Aaron Campbell’s flagship show “That Midday Show” on WOZO. It was a four hour long live show dedicated to comedy, geek culture, and entertainment. They had an “open door” policy when the show began and were looking for new ideas.

I picked about four or five stories from the news I thought were interesting and we would riff off them for an hour or so making bad jokes. It was a fun endeavor, and the highlight of my time with the show was getting to do a live broadcast from Scruffy City Hall during the Scruffy City Comedy Festival.

The show was a drain on my business ventures, though, so eventually I had to scale back what I was doing and concentrate on other areas of my work. I would still pop in occasionally for the odd bit, plug a project like “Silenced,” and then pop out in a heartbeat. Still fun, but not as much of a time commitment.

Something happened to TMS at the end of 2016. A comedian on the show made a joke that was admittedly off color and might have run afoul of FCC standards. The funny thing is the quip was so quiet it can’t be heard on the recording of the days’s events. What can be heard is another station DJ calling in, objecting to the joke, and saying “What that guy said was offensive and inappropriate. I’m coming down to settle this.”

Any reasonable person would think “I’m coming down to settle this” meant “I’m coming down to talk over what was just said.” This “DJ’s” interpretation of “settling” a problem over some words involved an assault and potential multiple FCC violations with live mics.
When I learned of the incident, I encouraged my producer to file a police report and have the two individuals responsible arrested for assault. The vitality of his show depended on it. Certain individuals begged Aaron to not file a police report and instead handle the matter through the station’s “conflict response team” in a “mediation.”

During the “mediation” Aaron Campbell, my producer and friend, got an apology from the two jackasses who assaulted him in the studio. The “conflict response team” also penalized Aaron and That Show Productions by pulling them from the air for the rest of 2016.

To this day That Show Productions hasn’t done a live broadcast at WOZO Radio’s studios.

“The Sit Down” found a home at WOZO when Aaron Campbell agreed to give the fourth hour of That Midday Show to a project I’d been working on, a highly conservative talk show featuring news, entertainment, lifestyle subjects, and in a one hour format. The best part of getting to use Aaron’s home studio for the broadcasts is the beer in the fridge, and the setup is light years better than what WOZO had. In fact, That Show’s production facilities rival those of most major radio stations.

It didn’t take two episodes of an ultra-conservative talk show airing on an incredibly leftist leaning community access network until the station’s “DJs” started calling for the show to get axed. One person at the station said since I was a “host,” that automatically made me a DJ subject to the fees the station’s DJs paid each month. I argued I was talent, not the DJ, and the DJ granting me that slot had the right and privilege to axe the program as he saw fit.

Others objected to content they’d never listened to. At the beginning of each show and during the break a “disclaimer” runs to the effect of “Warning. The following program may contain language or subject matter the listener finds racist, sexist, transohomophobic, bigoted, ableist, or any other “ist” or “ism” you can find. If the listener finds the program offensive, the management would respectfully request you suck it up, snowflake, and find something else to listen to.” It was a poke at the notion words used to silence others in the past didn’t work anymore, and a light hearted reminder that no matter what we said someone was going to get outraged.

The outrage poured in as quickly as Episode 2. “Station DJs” were combing through both hours of the program trying to find something, anything they could label with an “ist” or an “ism.” so they could say the program was in violation of their “station rules.” The DJs were moving to have the program banned from WOZO, my producer banned from the station, and me from ever appearing on WOZO content again.

Outrage poured over to Twitter, where an egg I assume was a station DJ claimed I wanted special treatment and attempted to circumvent the rules. Another got upset that I “disrespected” the DJs calling for the stifling of conservative viewpoints on the station. Another egg started the discussion off the bat by calling me racist and sexist and demanding WOZO pull That Midday Show and The Sit Down immediately. From Canada, allegedly.

The tension came to a head last night when Aaron Campbell met with senior WOZO staff who acknowledged no one at That Show Productions violated any rules. I’m told Margo referred to me as an excellent “shock jock,” which baffles me as I don’t mean to “shock,” but I’ll take what I can get, especially if it’s a compliment from someone who has as much clout as Margo at WOZO.

The conflict brought eyes to the show, and for every new listener we greatly appreciate your support. To Margo and all the DJs at WOZO who supported “The Sit Down,” we appreciate your commitment to free speech, an open exchange in the marketplace of ideas, and tolerance of really bad jokes.

“The Sit Down with Chris Seaton” airs every Tuesday at 4 PM on 103.9 WOZO LPFM in Knoxville. I’m reliably informed that if you can use Winamp you can hear the station broadcast live. Replays go up on the podcast networks like iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and TuneIn on Wednesdays at 8 AM EST.

You can also go to the show website and listen.

If you like what you hear, consider becoming one of our Patreon sponsors.

Is there a War of Words in America?

Dave Rubin declared in a recent “Direct Message” segment of his hit YouTube show “The Rubin Report” the “War on Free Speech” has officially begun. I’m putting the video below so you can listen to Dave’s arguments for yourself.

Are we in a society where the War on Free Speech is underway? With riots like that at UC Berkeley over Milo Yiannopolous’s appearance are we truly in a “war” on free speech? I’m going to respectfully disagree with Dave and say there is no “free speech war” unless we choose to make it happen.

Because it’s important to define terms, and Dave knows words mean something, let’s go with the Merriam-Webster definition of “war.”

Definition of war

  1. 1(1):  a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2):  a period of such armed conflict (3)state of warb:  the art or science of warfare c(1)obsolete:  weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic:  soldiers armed and equipped for war

  2. 2a:  a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism b:  a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end <a class war><a war against disease>

Well, crap. It would seem I’ve trapped myself with this definition,wouldn’t it? After all, isn’t what happened at UC Berkeley and UW Seattle “open and declared armed hostile conflict?” At worst, are we not in a “struggle or competition between opposing forces…for a particular end?”

I would submit that if we’re in a free speech “war” there’s no other nation or state that’s declared hostile conflict over things American citizens have said. That may change when our President twits something out that pisses off a particular nation-state, but right now those who would declare our current turmoil a “free speech war” are abusing the language in the same ways Fox News and other outlets declare a “war” on Christmas with Starbucks cups.

Now the second definition becomes a bit more problematic to refute. It seems there’s a “struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end.” On one side, you have the “social justice warriors” demanding diversity and inclusion for all. The other side, well let’s call them the “anti-pc” crowd. Both have conflicting views on free speech and how it is best utilized. Does that make it a conflict worthy of the term “war?”

My response is “no.” It’s a conflict, but “war” is a strong word. It connotes open and hard conflict between opposing sides. While we’re seeing small skirmishes break out among opposing views, this really isn’t a “war” in the sense of the term. Until there’s an all out battle “declared” by one side or another it’s just a series of decisions whether we self-censor or we risk something by saying what we really mean.

Start with Justine Sacco and her horrendous joke about being safe from AIDS in South Africa because she was white. The Social Justice mobs landed on her in a frenzy. By the time she landed in South Africa she had no job, no hotel room, and no way of getting back absent her own resources.

That was a sort of cultural turning point, I think, for the alleged “war” on free speech. This was the time when an ill-conceived twit could cost you a job. Now people had to set their Facebook settings to “private” so prospective employers wouldn’t find a political opinion someone found offensive. Blog posts were carefully written so as to keep the Internet Hate Machine from coming down on a person.

If there was a war on free speech, it was a bloodless war, and it’s already been fought.

The violence we’re seeing right now is an extension of what happens when one side gets tired of losing battles and pushes back. Conservative and libertarian types are pushing back against the “progressive” groupthink and saying “what you do and say doesn’t matter anymore.” Worse still, they’re using progressive tactics against those who would silence them, and it’s causing the “progressive” movement to come unhinged.

One recent example is MILO’s demands people stop calling him a white nationalist and threatening lawsuits if publishers don’t print a retraction. This is a progressive play, taken straight from about a decade’s worth of their own tactics. Yet when a conservative speaker like MILO uses it, the progressives laugh and call him a “special snowflake” seeking a “safe space.”

None of them understand the plays being called, and they’ve used them for ages. The fact these plays are working on them now doesn’t make it any easier for then to recognize.

No outside force is causing a “war” on free speech. If anyone’s doing it, we’re doing it to ourselves out of fear for losing something important, like a job, income streams, or friends. Until we can reach a climate where everyone can listen again without needing to agree on everything we’re going to continue this silent conflict, potentially for the rest of our days.

That’s why the film is called “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech.”

 

There’s Nothing Like A Good Notebook

I keep at least one notebook with me wherever I go. This is funny because among my family members I’m considered the most tech savvy. That means, according to modern thought, I should use some sort of app to take all my notes.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing like putting pen to paper. And notebooks, unlike tech products, don’t crash. The trick is finding the one that works best for your needs. Here’s a quick picture of the three I use.

Yep. Three separate notebooks for the sake of everyday work, plus four pens. Each has their own specific purpose. I’m going to break down the focus of each, and hopefully give you some tips on which would work best for you. We’re going to work from left to right in this photo.

1. Moleskine Smart Writing Paper Tablet and Pen+

This is about as close to high tech as I get. The black Moleskine has been a staple of my notebooks ever since I got my first one. With the Smart Writing set Moleskine took writing to another level. The Pen+ records everything you write and saves it to the M+ app as you write it. If you want voice recording on the pen, it’ll add that to your notes too. The entire set up is like something out of a James Bond movie.

If you don’t have the app open when you’re writing, no worries. The pen will automatically transfer the data to the device with the M+ app installed when you open it next. You can also specify notebooks and more. I’m still getting used to the functionality of it, but it’s been a handy device when my MacBook isn’t around.

The entire setup runs about $139 at Barnes and Noble.

2. Rite in the Rain Journal And Pen

This number is what I carry everywhere. It’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket and designed to take notes even when it’s raining outside (hence the name). The pages in the notebook are waterproof and the pen’s cartridge allows you to write on wet surfaces. I keep a Space Pen with this when traveling out and about in case one ink cartridge runs out. It’s great for jotting down brief thoughts or notes. The notepad and ink cartridges are naturally replaceable and easily findable if you have a nearby REI.

If you have the complete case with the cover, there’s also two pockets inside you can use to stash a few items of interest. Not really something I’d use often, but the notebook is the key.

You can get the set for about $40 at your local REI, or online.

3. Best SELF Journal

This is a personal choice, and one that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to anyone. It’s a journal designed as a daily planner for people with a specific goal to achieve. The start of the journal is a brief overview of their 13 week system to help you figure out a specific goal and achieve it. Then you sign a pledge and date it to fully “commit” to the process.

There’s space for you to outline months in your 13 weeks, and spaces where you’re asked to write about specific goals and steps you took in every process. Every day you’re encouraged to plan your day to the hour, set a goal and define targets to hit that goal.

Best Self encourages reflection on your day as well as gratitude. You will be asked every morning to write down three things you are grateful for, and do the same in the evening. There is a space devoted to “lessons learned” for the day and a “brag zone” where you list what you achieved that day.

There’s also space each day for you to list your appointments and such, but you have to make sure you plan those in with your goal setting.

Does the process work? Yes and no. The first few days I had issues getting what I wanted out of the journal, because I didn’t really grasp the focus. I suspect new users won’t as well.  That’s why they have an “online community” for you to join that will allegedly help you reach your goals. I am not a fan of “communities” that I have no relation to, but I do enjoy the structure the journal provides.

I’ve definitely become more productive with the system once I started and stuck to it.

You can buy the Best Self journal for about $40 at Amazon if you’re so inclined.

There you have it. Three separate notebooks, each with their own usage, and each promoting a sense of productivity about them. All a part of this writer/lawyer/hell-raiser’s toolbox. Hope some of this helps you.

Cumulus and the Slow Burn of Terrestrial Radio

Last night I got word Cumulus Media, a Knoxville based terrestrial radio conglomerate, fired half the staff in a “cost-cutting” measure. The losses ranged from ad executives, on-air talent, and more as yet to be determined across the spectrum of their stations.

This isn’t something anyone with an eye on the world of radio couldn’t have seen. A local business incubator/startup meeting saw a legendary radio personality glumly admit “terrestrial radio is on its death bed, and maybe it’s time I started looking for work elsewhere.” That’s a grim statement from someone in the trenches and firmly rooted in the radio business.

Cumulus isn’t to be blamed for the decision to cut costs. Fewer people are listening to talk radio, no matter the personality. With the prevalence of satellite radio and podcasts, people are less interested in what’s available over the airwaves locally. That means ad revenue once plentiful to the radio organizations is getting more and more scarce.

Yet decisions have to be made, especially in the areas of news and talk. Do you work with local talent interested in showing their chops to the world if given the chance? Or do you keep paying out the exorbitant fees and ad percentages to guys like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to keep your conservative cred? It’s a tough choice to make, as the local talent would have to make an immediate impact and show they could bring their chops to the table.

On the other hand, you have the big names like Rush and Sean who would attract listeners at the right times. The problem becomes that these are national shows, not local, and there’s going to be less listener interaction with Rush and Sean than the local talent. And part of the appeal for the local “call-in” shows is for the listener to have his or her few moments of glory for the day on the radio.

The Cumulus talent let go in the coming days will have some difficult choices to make. Do they go the terrestrial radio outlet and find another station at which to work? The sports guys might be able to land a gig at another station, since their job is to cover mankind’s successes. Someone with a talk show that has an esoteric bent might not fit in the alt rock or country station of choice.

Satellite radio is basically a no-go unless you’ve already got a national platform. The Breitbarts and wellRED types will get a show at the drop of a hat, because the game in town is getting the biggest and best talent at the biggest dog in the yard, SiriusXM. Even there, where the FCC allegedly has no restrictions, the satellite talent still has issues with the “social consequences” of what they say. Just ask Anthony Cumia.

I have a feeling the talent with Cumulus that left will go the podcasting route. It’s an easy barrier for entry, the cost for each would be minimal, and there’s no restrictions on topic, language, or subject matter unless the hosts place it. Monetization of the product would be simple, and those with a dedicated fan base could make a monthly donation or subscription type service work.

Dave Rubin’s done it. He left ORA and went completely fan-funded. It was a big step for him, but now he’s free to talk with whomever he wants about whatever he wants. There’s no reason the highly motivated talent without work now couldn’t do the same. And something tells me un-shackling from the FCC’s restrictions would produce some amazing content you wouldn’t hear from the talent otherwise.

The Internet, podcasting, and YouTube are some of the greatest areas to earn money as an artist, talent, or creator. Guys like Mike Cernovich and Victor Pride will show you how to do it if you just do a bit of research and put in a little bit of effort. Whether the new radio ronin will take their advice is another matter entirely. Sometimes it’s just easier for people to stay in a rut instead of forge a new path and try new outlets.

Cumulus will have some time for reflection in the wake of their cost-cutting. If, as I suspect, it was done to keep the bigger names on the air, was it really worth the measure when local talent would take the spot in a heartbeat and run with the ball in ways the front brass couldn’t expect? There’s no easy answer to this. No one ever said life in any business was easy.

In the meantime, I’ve taken the time to dip my toes into this new world. This is still a formative project, and something I’m really excited about, so stick with us. You can find my newest experiment on iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Sit down with me for an hour. I hope you like what you hear.

“I’m all for free speech, but”

“I’m all for free speech, but”

No you’re not. You don’t believe in free speech. You have no love for honest conversations.

“But wait, you didn’t hear met out! All I wanted to say was”

See there’s that little word “but” in your statement. It immediately tells me you don’t believe in the concept you’re about to argue. What you’re more  concerned with is protecting the speech you like and suppressing the speech that makes you uncomfortable.

“It’s perfectly acceptable to suppress hate speech.”

Do you have a definition for hate speech? Words mean things, you know. Without a working definition for “hate speech” we can’t decide what needs suppression.

“Hate speech is…”

What? Milo Yiannopolous saying “birth control makes women unattractive and crazy?” Richard Spencer saying stupid white supremacy shit? Mike Cernovich saying the media is lying to you? Organizations like FIRE fighting the madness of campus kangaroo courts designed by fiat to handle sexual assault?

Here’s the problem with your argument. We don’t have a working legal definition of hate speech in America because courts haven’t taken up the issue. If and when they do, don’t expect your French Lit professor who doubles as an “unofficial rape counselor” to have a say in the opinion.

You see, America has a history of protecting all the speech you think is nasty, hurtful, or wrong. We do this because a bunch of those people you call white cis heteronormative shitlords a long time ago realized if you don’t allow some people to express their opinions then you’ll miss out on the best ideas society has to offer.

In order to get there, you have to let everyone speak. Even the people you mistakenly label “literally Hitler.”

“But allowing the speech of others silences or marginalizes the speech of women, specifically women of color and LGBTQIA women”

How? No one has yet to explain how allowing everyone to speak makes it harder for women you deem “silenced” or “marginalized” to express their viewpoints. And doesn’t your statement actually infantilize or demean strong people who by your own admission undergo adversity every single day?

“Maybe it’s time for us to adopt laws like Canada or the UK’s so we don’t have so many problems with harassment online.”

Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. You want us to throw out existing law and precedent regarding free speech in the United States and replace it with something similar to another government’s. Changing laws isn’t an easy task, but it can be done.

There’s an issue with changing laws, especially laws that affect your rights. When you start getting rid of those laws and overturn precedent that protects one right, you’re putting up all the rest for consideration.

“Fuck you, you misogynistic bigot.”

Well. That means we’re out of ideas. The next time you want to have an honest conversation about free speech, I’ll be here. Have a nice day.

The Dying New Year’s Eve Fight Tradition

A tradition used to exist in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) that some promotion would run a New Year’s Eve super card. The largest promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) bucked tradition this year and held their card Friday nigh with UFC 207. Now the World Series of Fighting has taken the mantle with a card. The question is why did the largest promotion in the world drop the ball on the New Year’s super card tradition?

The New Year’s Eve fight card, as best I can tell, started with Dream Stage Entertainment’s (DSE) PRIDE Fighting Championships. The Japanese entertainment company staged its biggest card of the year because most of Japan observes December 31 to Janary 3 as a quiet time to spend with family and reflect on the year that was, as well as the year to come. Most families would sit at home and watch television, so DSE used that time to focus as many eyes as possible on its product and fighters.

DSE’s PRIDE during its heyday, and the years of the traditional super cards, were packed with talent, fights people wanted to see, and always carried a big fight feel. It was MMA’s version of the Super Bowl, if football suits you more than combat sports. Star athletes like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, Wanderlei Silva, and Takanori Gomi would make appearances on these nights. Each fight was memorable, and the card’s opening, the “Parade of Fighters,” always defined “spectacle” for an athletic event.

If watching something like that doesn’t get you excited to see a night’s worth of fights then nothing will. That’s WWE-worthy spectacle in place with real fighters, and that’s just the start of the fights. Unfortunately, PRIDE got mixed up with the Yakuza and tainted the promotion’s reputation. Once word broke that DSE’s top brass had dealings with organized crime it made the promotion’s ability to secure visas for out of country fighters nearly impossible. Without the drawing power of “The Russian Cyborg” Fedor Emelianenko or the potential of a CroCop knockout win, eyes turned toward singing contests.

With PRIDE on its last legs, the promotion turned to American rivals Zuffa, headed by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. The Fertitta brothers would buy out PRIDE. Initially the two companies would remain in operation, acting as competing entities. This idea wouldn’t last long, and the final Dream Stage Entertainment PRIDE show opener strangely seemed prophetic of that.


The use of “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” to open the show speaks of days gone by, good times past, and something ending. Although the opener speaks of “New Beginnings,” the final PRIDE, dubbed “Kamikaze,” was really the last blaze of glory for the Japanese bastion of MMA. The organization would soon close up shop, and the talent the promotion could sign would head to the UFC.

Moving to the UFC would prove difficult for many PRIDE alumni. “CroCop” and “The Axe Murderer,” Wanderlei Silva, would be two fighters that struggled in the American juggernaut. The dimensions of the UFC’s “Octagon” were different from a PRIDE ring, forcing the fighters to relearn the ways you could cover the distance to your opponent. Flaws in fighting styles were laid bare as former PRIDE greats struggled with new regulations and time periods.

The UFC would hold a few notable New Years Eve cards, but they eventually stopped with television deals rolling in. Tradition meant nothing when you had deals with Fox Sports and Reebok. Now the new owners, WME-IMG are looking towards competing with the Super Bowl for eyeballs, which doesn’t bode well for ratings in America. Promoter Dana White’s saying about everyone going to the street corner where a fight is might ring true, but in America the Super Bowl dominates television.

While the promotion is finally developing new stars like Conor MacGregor, replacing the old guard like Tim Silva, Pat Miletich, Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, and more, it’s hard for fight fans to see business owners who know nothing about the product tank an MMA stalwart because they don’t know a damned thing about what they got for their money.

 

 

Understanding MILO, Understanding Donald (Update)

The world learned yesterday MILO, the self styled “Dangerous Faggot” landed a quarter million dollar book deal. A bunch of people lost their collective ever loving minds over this. As of this writing MILO’s book, “Dangerous,” sits as the number two best seller in all of Amazon. The crazy part is his book won’t be out until March of 2017! How does someone who describes himself as a “virtuous troll” achieve such instant success over a book that isn’t in print?

Understanding the cultural phenomenon that is MILO means understanding the America that elected a reality television star President. You may love it or hate it, but you’ll have a better grasp of the America that allegedly rejected “progressive” values. Taking a moment to examine the events of the last twenty-four hours surrounding MILO’s book deal will help you get a better grasp of where America stands culturally as we move forward into the new year.

MILO represents a rejection of identity politics. 

Identity politics have been quite the rage. It’s common to see someone start a social media post labeling themselves “As a” before launching into an argument or stating a position. When your “As a” label is offended, it gives you a chance to express your outrage and call someone a racist, sexist, transohomophobic bigot. That outrage sets the internet social justice posse in motion, silencing you for your viewpoint. It makes you think twice before you hit “post” or say something in public.

MILO is part of the cultural nexus that holds up the viper of identity politics, cuts off its head, and throws both pieces of the snake into two separate fields. His “Dangerous Faggot” college tour holds talks with themes like “Feminism is Cancer,” “Fat Shaming Works,” “Why Do So Many Lesbians Fake Hate Crimes?” and other ridiculously outlandish topics. The stated purpose of each talk is to make people laugh, piss people off, and maybe make people think.

It would be easy for people to dismiss him if he were simply a white guy. Under the mantle of identity politics, he gets a following for being a gay Jewish Briton with a German mother who has a propensity for dating black guys. It also makes him damned near bulletproof from the Social Justice mobs.

People love him for his outlandish antics, and his talks are often to standing room only crowds as a result. When college campuses pull off a stunt that either shuts down a talk or cancels it completely, it makes headlines. Shouting him down only amplifies his voice to the people that want to hear him.

Silencing MILO only makes his voice stronger, and people hate that. 

The “Heckler’s Veto” is a common tactic for those who want to silence someone with whom they disagree. Shouting someone down produces no honest conversations that lead to productive exchanges over big ideas. Yet society continues to do this and ask for “honest conversations” at the same time. You can’t have an honest discussion if you’re unwilling to listen to the ideas and concepts you can’t stand to hear.

Silencing MILO, for some reason, only makes his voice that much stronger. It’s the real life equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader “Strike me down, Lord Vader, and I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” When Twitter suspended MILO’s @Nero account during the Republican National Convention he dominated press row the next day. Every time a campus shuts down or protests one of his talks it’s a newsworthy story.

This is why MILO’s book deal dominated the media world for twenty four hours and put his book at number two on all of Amazon. Announcing an alleged quarter million dollar advance for a book due in March caused an incredible number of celebrities to decry Simon and Schuster for “normalizing hatred.” The Chicago Review of Books announced it wouldn’t review a single S&S release in 2017.

The effect of this was an insane number of pre-orders for a book that’s going to launch with a $26 hardcover price. A comparable hardcover sells for approximately $17. This is what people mean when they speak of voting with their money. People want to hear what MILO has to say so much they were willing to launch money at him three months before his book ships.

Understanding MILO means understanding America in 2017. 

If you take a moment to examine the meteoric success of MILO, you will understand why we have Donald Trump in the White House. Both men represent a group of people tired of being told they were a bunch of things they weren’t, like racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bigoted, ableist, or whatever label you could put on them. Both men listened to the America that was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Both men took time to listen to those more concerned about rising health care costs and lack of employment than discussions of which bathroom or pronoun to use.

Both men were unapologetic in their actions. Both men said and did whatever the hell they wanted without fear of repercussion. When people tried to shut both men down the public that was mad as hell lashed back with time, money, and energy most thought never existed.

Examine MILO. Instead of trying to shut him up, take a moment to understand why he dominates public discourse. When you understand that, you’ll understand America in the coming year.

Watch American Milo here.

MILO is in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.

His YouTube Channel is a repository of his college talks.

UPDATE: “Dangerous” is now the number one book in all of Amazon. The self-styled “Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet” strolled past Carrie Fisher’s “The Princess Diarist.”

Score one for the bad guys.

Has Pantsuit Nation Imploded?

Pantsuit Nation started as a secret Facebook group where supporters of Hillary Clinton came to coordinate wearing pantsuits on election day. Once Clinton didn’t win the election, it became something of a collective grieving space for those who couldn’t believe we didn’t have our first female president. All that changed one week ago when Libby Chamberlain, the group’s founder, announced she’d landed a book deal.

The Huffington Post quickly called Pantsuit Nation a “sham.” Apparently someone didn’t like the New York Times reporting on Chamberlain’s book deal the previous day. Chamberlain also filed a trademark application for Pantsuit Nation, despite allegedly seeking no profit or compensation from the group’s activities. HuffPo writer Harry Lewis called the move “a branding machine.”

Elizabeth Chamberlain has every right to make a living. Are her activities a “sham?” Is she guilty of scamming people? All signs, from this deception artist’s perspective, point to “no.”

Assuming the facts least favorable to Ms. Chamberlain, she isn’t under any obligation to abstain from profits under a book deal she signs. People are allowed to make money in America. That’s part of the good stuff in this country. Starting a Facebook group isn’t illegal, and getting a book deal for “stories” told in the group is a testament to the power of social media.

Ms. Chamberlain is under no obligation to pay any participant who chooses to submit a story for her book. If that changes, I’ll change this post. What sticks out as interesting is her decision to only include stories submitted with express permission. Obtaining that “express permission” would arguably require sending each potential participant a contract for signature and return. The terms of such a document would be worth examining, and each participant would be well advised to look over the “permission slip” with an attorney.

She also, according to my understanding, does not owe the collective, invitation-only Facebook group she created any sort of “duty” to tailor its activity to anyone’s liking. That argument’s been tried before at other sites, and with no rules placed other than what Chamberlain and the group’s admins set the “duty” is whatever Chamberlain and her friends say it is.

The issue people seem to take with Chamberlain’s actions is they’re not active enough. Over at Slate, Christina Cauterucci finds several members of the (approximately) four million member Facebook Group wanted to do more than just share their stories. A book didn’t live up to their expectations.

“We came to fight Trump,” [one Pantsuit Nation member] continued. “Instead, [Chamberlain] made a coffee table book? Really? Not only are there millions of us, but we are passionate and ready to go. A coffee table book feels like a kick in the teeth.”

A book may not have been what brought Pantsuit Nation together. That book may be the group’s undoing. But for now, if Elizabeth Chamberlain happens to make money off the Facebook group she created, that’s not a scam, sham, or any other negative word you might choose to label it. Asking for additional transparency won’t do any good. Someone got lucky and secured a book deal.

Unfortunately for the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, they can’t even be happy about that.

I accepted an invitation some time back to Pantsuit Nation for reasons I can’t explain. Part of me was fascinated at the alternate reality some of its members saw. Another part of me was curious at the alleged fear its member base “felt” in the aftermath of President Elect Trump’s rise to power.

Now that it’s disintegrated to infighting, it’s time to move on. There’s more important battles to fight, and more conflicts worth discussion than the self-destruction of Pantsuit Nation.

The book deal Elizabeth Chamberlain has is far from a potential scam. Some people just can’t accept her refusal to do more. That’s expectation management, not deception.