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.”


Banning Pax (Updated)

Pax Dickinson, one of many interviewed in “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is the latest Twitter banhammer casualty. It’s not a surprise, given Pax embodies everything the “free speech wing of the free speech party” hates. This wasn’t about silencing conservative voices. Pax’s Twitter ban is the tone police telling the world what jokes are funny and which are unacceptable.

I doubt Pax will cry himself to sleep over a Twitter ban. When you make the cover of international newspapers a social media platform becomes a touch irrelevant. The only possible hit Pax takes from this is an inability to retweet material from his business venture with Got News’ Chuck Johnson, WeSearchr. He will still maintain a platform on other avenues, like Gab, and have the ability to broadcast his message through his own blog if he so chooses.

Twitter’s rationale for banning Pax is unknown at the time of this post. It could be any number of his bad jokes someone at the Trust and Safety Council found “offensive” or “hate speech.” Pax won’t apologize for any of it, most likely. From the day he lost his job as CTO of Business Insider due to his “mildly trolly” Twitter account, Pax has been unapologetic for anything he says in the real or digital worlds.

What troubles me most about the ban on Pax is that it’s not political. It’s not about “hate.” It’s about someone finding a few tasteless remarks offensive and using cyber shears to cut his speech from a digital platform. And before people start chiming in about “social consequences” and how Twitter is a private company, free to ban who they choose, I get all that. The squeaking sound you’re hearing is the dead horse you keep beating.

When social media begins censoring humor, it begins censoring that which keeps us sane in a very dark world. There’s enough political discussion floating around Twitter and Facebook right now and fears of “America’s First Dictator” that voices like Pax Dickinson who, to paraphrase Marshall Mathers “says shit just to be saying it,” are welcome changes of tone. I didn’t necessarily find all of Pax’s jokes funny, but humor is different for every person. What some find hilarious I don’t get. That’s the beauty of a world where Lena Dunham and Carlos Valencia are both considered funny.

Strangely, Twitter continues its clueless ban/suspension policy without realizing people like Pax don’t need Twitter. Rather, Twitter needs people like Pax Dickinson. When you take out a voice on a social media platform known for making a few rude remarks, you’ve made it clear to the rest of your user base the platform’s digital punishment isn’t about politics, harassment, or anything else others might claim it to be.

You’re making it clear you want to remove any semblance of thought you don’t like. You’re cutting off the crude joke or two. You’re putting the rest of your users on notice the moment the Trust and Safety Council takes offense with a statement, they’re gone from your platform.

Maybe this is why we’re seeing more ads for Twitter on television these days.

UPDATE: It appears the Twitter ban was part of the latest Twitter purge to eliminate “radical thought,” according to USA Today. This is disconcerting. While the “alt-right,” whatever this term may mean, does contain elements that are truly despicable, it is a political body the world must accept. Whether Dickinson is truly “alt-right” is anyone’s guess, but silencing voices on social media for political motives is disheartening.

Film Review: “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech”

Full disclosure: the author served as Head Researcher for this film. 

“Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is a picture of free speech in America as we know it today. It is a reminder we live in a society where one tweet costs you a job, and a Facebook argument loses you friends in real life. The ninety minute documentary, directed by Loren Feldman and produced by Mike Cernovich, will grab you by the seat of your pants from the opening until the credits roll.

The movie shows you how America has created a culture of self-censorship in almost every aspect of life. Religion, the law, broadcasting, science, medicine, and even comedy all suffer from the cancerous culture of silencing voices with which we disagree. This uncomfortable truth is presented by the voices of many who have been silenced, including Chuck Johnson of Got News, Pax Dickinson, Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert creator) and more.

“Silenced” attempts to nail down a definition of free speech in the film. It’s not an easy task, and the different views of that which we call “free speech” reflect this. I’m not sure it reaches a concrete definition by the film’s end, but the best definitions are provided by the featured lawyers. Maybe that’s because in the legal profession words actually mean things, and concepts have meaning beyond the feelings of the individual speaker.

Some of the most interesting viewpoints and outlooks come from those who aren’t American or who immigrated to America. Perhaps this is because each comes or came from a place where speech ostensibly has greater restrictions than America. While each subject’s viewpoint was incredibly insightful, these intrigued me most because I am an American who’s lived in America all his life and haven’t really encountered restrictions on speech as they have.

One of the most hard hitting segments was the one involving comedy. Paul Provenza and Dulce Sloan’s remarks hit hard in “Silenced.” Standup comedy is supposed to be the bastion of truth, and something that gives us laughter while making us think. Instead, it’s been muzzled to the point comedians can’t work college campuses unless they keep in their repertoire a “super clean” set in addition to their standard set.

“I’m offended every day…I just choose to not be a little bitch about it.”–Paul Provenza

At the film’s end, one final question is left on the table. Will America ever return to a land where people can say what’s on their minds without fear of societal repercussions, or will we continue down the dark path of self-censorship and refrain from having honest discussions on subjects vitally important to us? I don’t see that question resolved, but the final scene before the credits roll gives me great hope for the future.

I’m not one for documentaries, but I found “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” compelling enough that I’ve watched it three times since its release. It’s a nice length in a world where people are forced to sit through three hour films. And most importantly, it will get you talking with those around you about free speech in America.

If you are looking for light-hearted fare, “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is not for you. If you want a film that will captivate you, keep your attention from start to finish, and have you talking with those around you more by the time you finish it, “Silenced” is your best bed. If you’re an American who’s ever had a moment where you deleted a tweet draft or a Facebook post because you were afraid of the potential repercussions, you owe it to yourself to see “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech.”

Currently, “Silenced” is available through Vimeo On Demand. You can rent it for $4.99 or purchase it for $9.99. It’s an important film, and one you won’t regret watching.

On “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech”

The next release of films I’ve worked on, set to release any day now, is “Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.” This was by far one of the best projects on which I’ve ever worked. When I first learned of the project via Kickstarter, I chipped in a little coin to make sure it met budget. Later, I learned Loren Feldman, the director of “Silenced” was looking for research assistants to help with the film. The initial phone call between Loren and myself solidified the two of us were on the same page when it came to our passion for this film.

“Why do you want to work on my picture?” he asked me.
“Because when I can’t watch the Dukes Of Hazzard because the General Lee has the Confederate Battle Flag on it, there’s something fucked up with America.”

That statement seemed to click with Loren, and we went to work. I would get assignments from time to time, draft up information for him to work with, and we would go from there. I don’t want to disclose any of the research I did, but I will say working on “Silenced” was one of the most fun, fulfilling projects of my life. I learned so much from working on this film about the way we view “free speech” in America right now that when this film finally hits the distribution outlet of your choice you’re going to have your mind blown.

“Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is going to serve as the definitive snapshot of what “free speech” means like in America right now. According to Executive Producer Mike Cernovich, it’s going bigger and better than just the movie Loren Feldman created. There will be a YouTube channel devoted to all the interviews that didn’t make it into the film, called the “Silenced Project.” There’s talks of this even going into the Library of Congress.

The film is called “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” because we are deliberately censoring and silencing ourselves. This isn’t an outside attack. We, the American people, chose to self-censor and silence ourselves and others for fear of any number of reasons. When the film finally reaches you, you’ll have a better understanding of why and how this happened, plus implications for the future if we continue this war in America.

“Silenced” is already drawing controversy and it’s yet to be released. Right now, it’s building enough steam to become the most important documentary you will watch all year, if not of all time. When the film finally releases, expect everyone to be talking about it. Don’t wait until you hear someone telling you about it after the fact. Get ready to see just how we’ve created a war on ourselves through the eyes of people who want to be able to say and do as they please, but can’t, because of the way America really views free speech.

You can check out the movie so far at this website. Below is my favorite of all the trailers.

Coronation Of A Salesman

That guy’s a racist asshole!  Did you hear what he said about Mexicans? Simply indefensible! 

It started with a balance between two areas: Freedom and Equality.  Both are concepts everyone loves. It’s natural to want freedom, just as it’s natural to want equality. What happens when the two collide?  Is there a specific area you choose?

Some will pick freedom over equality. That may sound taboo to those who can’t handle nuanced discourse. Reality dictates none of us will be equal in our lifetimes.  We are all different, and that’s what makes us awesome. Each of us has different experiences, different lives, and different values that make us who we are, and that’s perfect.

I will never know what it’s like to give birth to a child.  I will never know what it’s like to have a living human being grow inside me and bring it into the world. That doesn’t make me any less of a human being. It just means I’m different. I won’t know what conducting surgical procedures are like either. I won’t know what it’s like to bring a patient back from the brink of death.  Again, that doesn’t make me less of a human being.  I’m just different.

Difference isn’t enough for our society. Modern discourse demands we seek “diversity,” “inclusion,” “tolerance,” and “equality.” All of those concepts at facial value are great. Everyone loves to be tolerant. We all want to be included. And equality? That’s a concept we’ve been fighting for since arguably the birth of America.

The problem is when those concepts are weaponized and used for an attack. If an institution doesn’t follow certain “civility codes,” they don’t promote “inclusivity” and “equality.” If you express anything other than the popular opinion, you are an “intolerant bigot.” Go far enough beyond the Overton Window and you become an “ist.” You’re racist, sexist, ableist, or  transmophobic. Without as much as asking for further discourse, those weaponized concepts shut down communication.

You silence those who might otherwise be open to hearing you out. And that silence breeds contempt. And that contempt breeds anger.

Oh my goodness! Did you hear what he said about a woman’s menstrual cycle? Did you hear about his position on breastfeeding in the workplace? He’s a disgusting misogynist pig!

I referenced a concept earlier: the Overton Window. This is rather loosely defined as the spectrum of what is acceptable in modern discourse. The current state of the Overton Window is incredibly narrow, far more than to which society has ever seen. Put the wrong name on a test and you’re sent to “reeducation training” after a complaint is lodged with a “bias response team.” Internet provocateur and Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopolous once posited a theory of a second window: the Underton Window, or that which is considered unacceptable in modern discourse. Milo theorized during his presentation of the “Underton Window” that if society reached a point where it became larger than the Overton Window, society was in trouble.

The signs were coming a long time ago. We should have seen them, and reacted. When the scolds, the nannies, and the language police started telling the world “You can’t say that” or began name calling, the Underton Window grew. Every “racist” or “misogynist” accusation hurled widened that window even further. Publication of articles with titles like “As a Straight White Man, I’m Surprised More Women Aren’t Tweeting The Hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen.” Every time a person lost a job over a tweet, lost friends because people can’t discern the difference between reality and the Internet.

The window kept growing, and no one paid attention.

I can’t believe it! Now he’s gone after Muslims! What the hell is this whole “Let’s ban immigration until we sort the whole thing out” about! No one can take this guy seriously!

The problem with taking the side of the nannies, scolds, and thought police is inevitably you become the target. All it takes is one improper pronoun use and you are anathema to the Church of Social Justice. Fail to correctly identify the latest trend in intersectional third wave neofeminism and you’re excommunicated. The best and the brightest in society are subject to silencing by the new moral majority normalizing every aspect of behavior.

And when you push someone away, it fosters resentment. Turn your back on those with meaningful contributions to society, even if in the form of words, and you create space for absolute chaos.

Now he’s done it! Can’t you see this guy is dangerous? He wants to bomb our allies! He thinks war is a good thing! He admires the heads of state that are our enemies! Completely unfit!

With every hurl of an insult, every “If you disagree with me, disconnect with me,” those among the silenced, the outcasts, those who are deemed “a basket full of deplorables” grow stronger. They are connected by a shared trait, being disaffected. They seek someone who can speak for them. They desperately search for someone who can give them even a slim glimpse of hope that a massive pushback will occur and society will change for the better.

Even if it’s a salesman.

That’s an insult if I’ve ever heard one. “I love the poorly educated?” What a jerk! He’s clearly insulting people! Why can’t they see that?

When that salesman came, people embraced him. They chose him as their national spokesperson. They said “So what” when people tried to convince them he was completely unfit. Every new insult was met with another round of attacks, jeers, “fuck yous,” and more. He was the chosen one for those who wanted the cultural pushback.

Let’s put America First Again?? That’s the same kind of talk that came out of Hitler’s mouth! Don’t people see this? He’s Literally Hitler reincarnated! If you elect him we’ll turn into another version of Nazi Germany! Hell, even white supremacists that talk with green frog cartoons and mention a dead gorilla like a deity support him!

A well established rule of the Internet is Godwin’s Law. This, again loosely explained, states any online discussion will eventually spiral into mentions of Hitler, Nazis, Nazism, or the Holocaust. No inside pundit could expect Godwin’s Law to cross into a Presidential election cycle, and yet this time it has.

His campaign is dead now. He’s fat-shamed Miss Universe, starred in a sex tape, and described sexual assault against women! No one can possibly vote for him! His career is tanked!

The newest round of discussion revolves on his alleged treatment of women yet again. This coming after discussions of a 900 million dollar loss on a tax return twenty years ago. There’s fear at work here, even if the big dogs barking the loudest won’t admit it. When you start down the path of repeating the same insults over and over again, and every new “leak” of information confirms what you already thought about the Salesman, you’re fighting a losing battle.

The only reason each new revelation comes is because they’re afraid he might win.

Few legitimately think the Salesman fit for the Presidency. I think even fewer find him fit for the Commissioner spot on Monday Night Raw. And yet, despite all this, he continues to grow in support. His numbers stay the same. Each new accusation falls on deaf ears for his support base. Their minds are set. It’s a month to the General Election, but in their minds the ballots are already cast.

After the Salesman became The Candiate, Jon Stewart took to his former colleague Stephen Colbert’s show in an attempt to denounce the Salesman’s supporters. He told them they just didn’t “get it.” He told them America “wasn’t theirs.” He told them it wasn’t their time, their people, and their place. As his angry rant bordered on violating FCC regulations, a look crossed his face only those who look for what’s not there could see.

It was fear.

What the scolds, the progressives, and the thought police don’t get is they created the Salesman. They gave him a voice. They gave him a base. Many might “park” their vote elsewhere. Many might stay with the Smiler to avoid losing loved ones or with someone in a third party. When November is over, and the final die cast, one thing will be certain.

Those who gave this Salesman a voice will either learn the lesson of silencing dissent, or they won’t.

Banning Glenn: Silencing Law on Social Media (Update x2)

Glenn Reynolds wears many hats.  He’s a professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law.  He blogs at a site called “Instapundit.” He’s a columnist for USA Today.  As of this morning, it appears Glenn gets to add one more bullet point to his already impressive resume.  He’s banned from Twitter.

What justification does Twitter have for placing a law professor in the ranks of those once deemed internet trolls, “monsters,” and purveyors of “hate speech?”  Did he send his followers to harass a celebrity on the social media platform?  Did he make a direct threat to someone?  It was none of these, actually.  Glenn’s egregious sin was expressing an opinion on self-defense in regards to the violence occurring in Charlotte.

At 8:51 PM last night Glenn retweeted this tweet from WBTV News in Charlotte, North Carolina regarding the violent protests in the wake of another police shooting.  It encouraged those on Twitter to avoid I-277 as protesters were surrounding vehicles.  At least one news report from the news station’s website confirmed protesters were throwing rocks at vehicles on that section of the interstate.  Glenn’s response was simple.


That tweet was enough for someone at Twitter, most likely a member of their Trust and Safety Council, to throw the “suspend” lever on Glenn’s account.  A glance at Twitter’s Rules could justify Glenn’s ban from the site on the basis of either “Violent Threats (direct or indirect)” or “Hateful Conduct.”  The former prevents you from making threats of violence or promoting violence, the latter adds in “directly [attacking]” people based on their race, sexual orientation, nationality, and a whole host of other factors by which most choose to express their current victimhood.

On face value, though, Glenn did none of these things.  It appears as if he expressed his opinion on what those caught in the mobs of protesters should do if they found their car surrounded.  It may not be the most palatable opinion for some, but it’s not threatening anyone specifically or directly attacking them.  Glenn’s three word tweet apparently summarized his views on self-defense if someone found themselves caught in a situation like that on I-277.  Those three words were enough, though.  No more justification needed.  Throw the switch and ban him.

The ban, in less than twelve hours, has strangely amplified Glenn’s voice more than before.  #RunThemDown and #FreeInstapundit are both now trending on Twitter.  More people are talking about the violence in Charlotte and what they would do if needed to defend themselves and loved ones.   It’s almost as if a certain “Dangerous Faggot’s” remarks on how attempts to silence someone just makes that voice louder universally applies.

The downside to all this is Twitter’s image continues to worsen at a time when they need some positive uptick for their social media platform.  Banning anti-feminist Robert Stacy McCain almost immediately after Jack founded his “Trust and Safety Council” started serious whispers about the “Free Speech Wing of the Free Speech Party” only caring for ideas with which they agreed.  The ban of Milo Yiannopolous led credence to claims Twitter didn’t care for conservative voices.  Now with the ban of Glenn Reynolds, Twitter’s new image is they can and will ban whoever they like, whenever they like, for whatever words hurt someone’s feelings at any given moment.

And yes, there will be people who reiterate the numerous tropes and fallacies surrounding free speech.  They will also point out Twitter is a private company, free to censor and ban those they wish with absolute impunity.  These are the people Twitter will come for next.  As soon as the latest wrongthink echoes from their account in 140 characters or less, that person will find themselves wondering how it all happened.  Here’s a hint: it happened because you did nothing, you refused to raise your voice when others were silenced, and you were complicit with every aspect of the censorship of those voices you didn’t like and deletion of the nasty bad words that hurt your feelings.

Another scary aspect of this is Glenn’s status as a law professor and USA Today columnist.  A Twitter ban for Glenn signals his views on the law as less important than someone like Mary Anne Franks or Danielle Citron.  It chills the concepts of teaching the law as it stands, in a fashion that some might find uncomfortable, “triggering,” or lacking safety.  It also actively encourages stupidity, and promoting the cardinal sin of making people dumber when they encounter a legal professional.

The gig is up for Twitter, and they know it.  Now that we’re past justifying suspensions and bans on the basis of “promoting hate speech,” and Twitter is perfectly ready to censor academics with truly intelligent voices in their field, this realm of the information superhighway where people interact more on a daily basis with each other loses a bit more credibility.  If Glenn’s ideas were horrid, let them be exposed and ridiculed as such.  They weren’t, though.  This ban wasn’t even close to justifiable.  It’s silencing a much needed voice.

If you’re interested in learning more about what “free speech” truly looks like in America today, check out “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech.

UPDATE: Glenn’s account was reinstated after he deleted the offensive tweet pictured above.  He’s also posted his view of the situation on the Instapundit blog, which deserves a full read.  I quote one portion of it here to show my initial analysis was a little more on point than I expected.

I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.

UPDATE x2: Apparently even Glenn’s nuances aren’t enough for the University of Tennessee School of Law. Now, with the full support of Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, there’s an “investigation” into Glenn’s nasty, hurtful words.

“I am aware of the remarks made last night on Twitter by Professor Glenn Reynolds and of the serious and legitimate concerns expressed by members of the UT Law family and the University of Tennessee community, as well as concerned citizens across the country. Professor Reynolds’s comments do not reflect my views and opinions, nor do they reflect the values of the college and university.

University administrators, college faculty, and I are investigating this matter.

The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas. My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful civil disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.

Professor Reynolds has built a significant platform to discuss his viewpoints, but his remarks on Twitter are an irresponsible use of his platform. (emphasis added)

Birdcloud and Artist Politics

Birdcloud is a satirical country music band that plays music for the purpose of riling up crowds.  According to the reaction they’re getting from at least one hater, they’re pretty good at their job.  Knoxville artist Daniel Blaine McBride is conducting a one-man smear campaign against the duo in an attempt to have bookers pull them from dates, according to a Nashville Scene article.

Apparently McBride took offense to the Birdcloud song “Black Guys,” which you can listen to below if you are so inclined.  It’s not my bag, but it’s kind of funny.

I can see where people would enjoy the humor, and it’s apparently something that gives them a strong enough fan base to where they can pull $500 in a night at a merchandise table at the Pilot Light, which is a tough place to draw money in the Scruffy City.  If you’re an independent artist, that’s a heck of a night in a very small venue, and deserves congratulations.  McBride didn’t just think the song bad, or in bad taste. He used it as an excuse to try and have promoters shun Birdcloud from upcoming tour dates and venues.  Here’s an example of the Facebook posts he’s slung at promoters.


The problem with this is it’s not just a false statement, it could constitute grounds for false light invasion of privacy should Birdcloud choose to pursue further action in the legal sphere.  McBride’s actions aren’t anything new to the special snowflake crowd.  It’s easy enough to denounce that which you find offensive racist, sexist, homophobic, or whatever denigratory term you wish to use.  When you make statements that cause harm to a person’s image, and that person suffers from it in a monetary capacity, that can lead to legal action.  Fortunately, it looks like that won’t be necessary for Birdcloud, as the promoters McBride continues to message seem to get Birdcloud’s antics more than McBride’s irritation.


It looks like McBride went on a copy and paste spree with his antics, as the above is a screen shot of an exchange between McBride and a venue in Chattanooga, Tennessee called “JJ’s Bohemia.”  Apparently JJ’s caught onto the act and didn’t really care too much for what he had to say.  Just in case you can’t read their response, I repost it in full below:

Daniel, you must have mistaken us for someone who gives a shit about the opinions of a self appointed dishonest social justice warrior.  Birdcloud has been friends of ours for over 5 years and will continue to perform whenever the fuck they want at JJ’s.

Bravo to JJ’s for not falling prey to McBride’s attempts at shaming Birdcloud out of business.  As an aside, this just smacks of sheer jealousy.  McBride’s a musician as well, and he’s attempting to have another performing group lose out on business just because he doesn’t like their work.  That’s fine, but what happens when people decide they don’t like McBride’s music for whatever reason and attempt to have him shamed into silence and driven from venues?  Why not spend time creating music you care about,  building up your own work, marketing and playing your own music, and enjoying your craft instead of trying to shut others down?

As a bizarre oddity to all this, it now appears McBride’s attempts at shutting Birdcloud down only served to amplify the duo’s work.  It’s odd how that happens when someone tries to silence the voice of another with whom they disagree.  It’s also managed to tarnish McBride’s own personal work, as people won’t associate him with the quality of his music following the debacle.  They’ll remember his attempts at taking business away from another band in an attempt to look virtuous.  Something tells me that doesn’t bode well for him.

The arts (writing, music, painting, acting, etc.) are areas open for critique.  People are allowed their opinions on each. Daniel McBride is free to call Birdcloud racist as he chooses, and boycott them at his will.  Sinking to the lows of spreading false statements about their shows and their work in an attempt to drive other musicians out of business is an entirely different level of sleazy.  It’s time to cut the garbage and let Birdcloud be as foul as they please.

Disavow the current notion of “Disavow.”

The first time I remember hearing the word “Disavow” was in the television show “Mission: Impossible.” “The Secretary of State will disavow any knowledge of your actions.” Now the word “Disavow” is being used to influence the current Presidential campaign, and it’s time to have a clear discussion on what the word means, how it’s being used today, and why you need to disengage from the word “Disavow.”

Disavow (transitive verb) 1. to deny responsibility for. 2. to refuse to acknowledge or accept.

There’s a certain candidate who’s getting national attention because he won’t “disavow” a white supremacist organization that hasn’t been relevant or held power in years.

“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” he said. “So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”–Donald J. Trump

That sounds like a pretty clear example of the word “disavow.” Trump knows about David Duke.  He knows that white supremacists are out there.  He’s not as stupid as some people would have you think he is.  That’s Donald Trump “refusing to acknowledge or accept” the endorsement of David Duke, an alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan.

It’s not good enough for the media though.  You must worship at their altar.  They decide what words mean, not some silly dictionary.

Disavow (transitive verb): To expressly, explicitly condemn someone or something in a manner or fashion with which a mainstream media outlet agrees. –Mainstream Media Dictionary

It gets to a point where the term “reductio ad absurdum” applies when Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is taken to task for not “disavowing” Trump by a “conservative” news network.

The creator of Dilbert went on Fox News to talk about how Trump’s candidacy was a significant event in studying the human condition.  He even managed to implant suggestions in Tucker Carlson’s head without Tucker realizing it.  And Adams has never “supported” Trump.

Yet this is the reaction he gets after giving that interview.

“Apparently I didn’t disavow the right way. I got labeled a supporter anyway.”–Scott Adams

Watch the video here.

Scott Adams didn’t say he was a Trump supporter.  In fact, he said up front he “disavows” everyone.  Yet he was labeled a Trump supporter shortly after giving that interview to Fox News.

The “news” networks want you to think as they “think,” say what the “say,” and do as they tell you, without ever considering what might happen.

Here is my suggestion.  Disavow the notion of “disavowing.”

You don’t need to take your counterpart’s suggestion that you MUST explicitly reject an idea, person or anything else when communicating.  Your message is your message, and getting it across matters most.

When you “buy-in” to the modern definition of “disavowing,” you buy in to another person controlling you.

That’s embracing conflict.  It is the antithesis of MiD, and it is the antithesis of living a “conflict free” life.

Don’t play into the hands of “Disavow.”  People will make their own decisions on who you are based on your own personal conduct.  People will expect you to conform to their demands and decisions because that’s how life works these days.

Disavow the notion of “Disavow” as currently played in modern society.
Then you’ll live the “wrongless approach” to life.

It’s already met its goal, but I may have to chuck some funds into the production of this no-bullshit documentary against the war on free speech as a result of writing this.