Shmooze News: Debate Dos, Reddit’s Bandit & What’s Been Left Unsaid

Wha’ happened?  So you’re not LATE TO THE PARTY.

1. Man, it’s like there’s a debate a WEEK here.  Oh… oh.

Home stretch, y’all!  And this one on Tuesday night was kinda fascinating: townhall style, so undecided voters asked the questions, and our candidates had to answer each with an eye to swaying that beleaguered voter in front of them, WHILE wedging in every big issue associated with that topic they possibly could.  It was a little kitchen sinky.  And with all those sinks flying around, the competition definitely had an element of danger: Romney & Obama’s tension was CRAY, and the rules of debate went out the window (for example: it’s apparently in violation of the code for one candidate to ask a direct question to the other.  Portfolios, anyone?).

But the real story was, while working incredibly hard to be/seem civil to one another while aggressively attacking each other’s policies, we actually learned a thing or two about said policies.  For anyone who’s ever said “I wish they’d just talk about the issues” this is either a hallelujah or a “wait a second… it was funner before.  Go back to that making fun of what that guy did to his dog once thing.”  The two of ’em had a super duper heated debate over energy & the use of oil — and how it all relates to those insanely high gas prices.  And another one about foreign policy regarding the Libya debacle last month — during which Romney tried to “gotcha” Obama on playing politics with ambassadors’ lives & Obama threw on his Commander in Chief hat and smacked Romney down so hard we all got to go, “what debate last week?  No memory.”  Heh.

Despite dick lines like the one above (or perhaps because of ’em) Romney held his own and seemed — oh god, this term — presidential to enough people, but Obama spoke about the issues & their complicated interconnected variables in a way that reminded us that he’s actually been president for a little while now.  He knows stuff.  He knows how complicated it actually is and doesn’t try to sell the public on something simple that’s reductionistic & misleading.  Talking about which, you know what else is reductionistic?  Turns out calling pieces of paper with CVs printed upon them “women” d0esn’t go over real well.  Romney’s binders comment was this week’s Big Bird & stormed Twitter almost as hard.  AND the stormiest part of all: his story wasn’t even true.

Sidenote: OMG, the audience’s accents!  From the Nuyorican gal with the seemingly impossible name (yeah, Lorraine is SO foreign) to that adorable Minnesotan lady who thought she was memorized… this little dialect coach nerd was lovin’ it.

I mean… it’s too easy.

2. From the barely civil to the totally un-.  Reddit is Facebook & Twitter’s bastard uncle, and the embodiment of its free-speech-at-all-costs social sharing machine is a man who was, this week, unmasked.  “Violentacrez” was notorious for beginning the wildly high trafficked Reddit forum “jailbait” among other trolly platforms for creepy dudes to post images… on a WIDE variety of subjects from women getting beaten to women getting choked to women getting raped.  Really is the spice of life.  Of course, his provocations only work to garner attention because of the hive-mind method that Reddit’s uploads get highlighted — wherein if no one talks about something it’s moot (and mute), and if everyone does, well, they get what they asked for.  So who’s really to blame for Violentacrez’s ubiquitousness on Reddit?  Gawker writer Adrien Chen’s outage of the man behind the mask raised all kinds of questions like this, and caused all kinds of very public drama.  For one thing, turns out Reddit?  Not so free-speech-y after all.  So there’s that hypocrisy.  Second of all, where did Adrian get off blowing dickwad’s cover & costing him his job?  Anonymity is even more protected among Redditers than free speech!  Well, as a lovely blogger pointed out: Adrian Chen was actually just being a journalist.  He also gets to the bigger issues here, like:

The “free speech” aspect of this is largely nonsense [and…] it’s not anonymity or pseudonymity that’s the issue. The issue is people being assholes while anonymous because they don’t believe it’s ever going to get back to them.

And then there’s the whole Wild West new frontier issue: when does the lawless internet become the law-ful real world, and trolls are held accountable in a court of law for their deeds online?  As Slate writer Amanda Hess writes:

That’s how it works in real life, anyway — you notice a man in your community harassing teenage girls, and you report him.

3. Finally, what’s not being talked about.  Two images that say it all (especially if you’re a beer drinker).  (Or a person who’s noticed the heat.)

And the all-revealing:

Bottom line?  Put down your Bud Light and vote for a few of those guys with tape over their mouths.  And hope they rip it off.


Quote of the week, care of vaudeville-era, award-winning actress Pearl Bailey — and in honor of me getting married tomorrow (wha-what?!):

What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.

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