Mike Hudack is the head of product at Facebook, and therefore a multi-millionaire if not billionaire. But, even with his busy schedule full of counting his money and figuring out how to insert his product further up everyone’s digital sphincter, he finds time to criticize our failed media experiment. Reader B sent me [trigger alert: Facebook] his rant, and I was pretty much onboard until this:
And we come to Ezra Klein. The great Ezra Klein of Wapo and msnbc. The man who, while a partisan, does not try to keep his own set of facts. He founded Vox. Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism in a format that felt Internet-native and natural to people who grew up interacting with screens instead of just watching them from couches with bags of popcorn and a beer to keep their hands busy.
And instead they write stupid stories about how you should wash your jeans instead of freezing them. To be fair their top headline right now is “How a bill made it through the worst Congress ever.” Which is better than “you can’t clean your jeans by freezing them.”
The jeans story is their most read story today. Followed by “What microsoft doesn’t get about tablets” and “Is ’17 People’ really the best West Wing episode?”
Three things: first, Vox is predominantly serious stories, as anyone who reads it regularly will tell you. At this moment, the five stories at the top of Vox’s page deal with the VA, bicycle deaths, Congress, health care and smallpox. Second, the Levi’s story is serious journalism. Levi’s claims that you can save water by freezing your jeans instead of washing them, so the claim is worth investigating. Vox’s short, interesting piece gives a quick overview of the science of why that won’t work. What is that but journalism in one of its purest forms? Third, judging what people read in Vox by what they email is obviously stupid, but I’m not surprised that a douchebag from the company where the “like” is considered the sine qua non of reflective human interaction would choose to judge Vox by that metric.
One of the dumbest, knee-jerk critiques of journalism is that it has to be boring to be serious. Vox is attempting to be interesting and serious, and succeeding a fair amount of the time. Hudack should stick to his bottom feeding eyeball mining operation and leave the journalism critiques to someone who’s not out to be as cute and stupid as the product he supervises.
I only read articles that concern Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and the amount of side boobage visible in the ‘Bound 2’ music video, or anything that Upworthy tells me is bravely, shockingly awesome.
That’s the real news, you old-timers!
The evolutionary impetus for the development of human speech and cognitive thought is the primate need to gossip. I know it’s true because I saw it on the internet (or just made it up and posted it on the internet).
Stay out of Malibu, Hudack!
So Hudack is who I should blame for the ads on Facebook that claim a certain reporter is 86 years old, or a certain entertainer hide a secret from fans for decades and other such leading crapola.
Tunnel vision is an impediment, not a lifestyle.
@NotMax: Pretty sure that’s on the Indiana Great Seal. Though no man marks it.
Yup. There are those who are want to use Klein and his efforts as a punching bag whether or not there is data to support the punches. That was happening here two months ago.
John (MCCARTHY) Cole
We’ll add Vox to the list of things I was wrong about. So much better than 538 to date.
I hadn’t visited Vox before I read this post. So far, I like what I see.
Maybe I’m out of the loop here, but I don’t get the “trigger warning: Facebook” bit.
And, while I agree that Hudack is, to put it mildly, being overly critical, I do think it’s entirely fair to criticize Vox for running baloney such as that stupid bike helmet story. (I do appreciate the fact that Vox needs to compete for eyeballs and, as a result, will be running nonsense from time to time, but I also think it’s fair to call them on it when they do.)
Is “trigger alert” mocking gonna become a standard thing here?
I was just getting ready to complain about that. I love how one (1) researcher in England whose sole test subject was himself is now cited as proof positive that wearing a bike helmet is more dangerous because … reasons.
It was especially ironic because I linked to the bike helmet story from the “why cyclists die” story where his conclusion about much stronger evidence was that more evidence was needed, but if one researcher in England doesn’t like bike helmets, then that’s good enough for him!
Also fascinating that he only looked at deaths while wearing or not wearing a bike helmet. I have a feeling I know why he
left that issue out of the articlehand-waved brain issues away.
ETA: Fix’d because confusing. Time for afternoon coffee.
@Ash Can: Our esteemed writers have been making a lot of trigger-warning jokes lately.
@Ash Can: John wrote something stupid about how the whole “trigger alert” thing was just so stupid and ridiculous. He then backtracked, saying it was fine, just making them “mandatory” was stupid and ridiculous. Now it’s apparently become a standard “funny” thing among other writers here.
As an admirerer of John Cole, it hurts me to say that this reminds me of old high school friends who do the “Yeah, well, black people can say “nigger” – so why can’t I? Huh?” Very disappointing, weird, unnecessary, awfulness, that without intending to has exactly no result other than mocking people who have been brutally sexually attacked.
Why even go there? What does one win by doing it?
He laments the passing of Tim Russert? That’s all I need to know about the value of his criticism.
Because making fun of trigger warnings is HI-LARIOUS! Rape and molestation victims just need to learn to take a joke.
I haven’t read Vox, so I’ll reserve judgement, but I did read Ezra when he was at WaPo and he was painfully dry and full of Broderisms
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole: Was wondering about that. I haven’t had time to visit either 538 or Vox, but early indications when they launched were that 538 was awful and Vox was better. Sounds like nothing has changed.
Breaking news: Internet mogul finds vapid content on the Internet. Details at 5
@ Pogonip, LT, and Mnemosyne: WTF?? Christ almighty. Maybe it’s not a bad thing if I stay a bit outside the loop here from now on.
@Mnemosyne: I’m not a fan of the phrase “trigger warning.” How about just giving an idea of what the content is: “Warning: contains graphic content of a violent and sexual nature” or something like that. That’s what movie ratings are for. That’s why you read the short synopsis of a book or film or whatever if you want to be aware of its content.
The phrase “trigger warning” is like a set up–You May Get Triggered and Have a Terrible Flashback! Warning! Danger! It seems patronizing. Just outline the content if its sensitive and let the adults who have issues around the content decide if they want to proceed with reading or watching or listening to it.
That’s the internet terminology that’s in common use. I have no problem calling it a “content warning” instead, but quite a few guys seemed to have a problem with the very idea that people might want to know ahead of time that a book or movie they have to read or watch for a class has a rape or molestation in it.
@p.a.: i’m totally reporting you to the internet for posting something that isn’t true. i don’t know what the consequences are for lying on the internet (or just making shit up on the internet), but i suspect it is having a show on either fox news or msnbc… maybe cnn if it’s not just shit but bullshit.
@Ash Can: Let me be more clear. Cole linked to an article where college groups were calling for trigger warnings on things like “The Great Gatsby” and “Hucklebarry Finn”. THAT is fucking stupid.
But here’s what he said, and all he said, when linking to it:
He updated to clarify/backtrack that he only meant *mandatory warnings, but it’s actually not what his words say, But whatever.
John (MCCARTHY) Cole
All of you can shut the fuck up about the trigger warnings. First, if you are going to suggest trigger warnings are there to protect people from things that set them off, then how can you judge me for the fact that what sets me off are Megan McCardle, the Politico, etc.
Second, all of you pined eloquently about how different people have different things that upset them, so it is just common decency to provide a warning before they read something that may offend them. Then, when an actual sociopath showed up and wrote horrifying disgusting posts attacking Betty Cracker about her late mother, something she has written about multiple times and is clearly still hurting and needs the compassion of the community, and you fucking shitheads sat back and said NOTHING.
So yeah, you want trigger warnings. For whatever various shit upsets you (I guess we just have to guess what they are), but when someone in real time is doing something hurtful to someone else, well… I guess your fucking feelings begin and end with what bothers you.
I still don’t get what the trauma was supposed to be with The Great Gatsby. Huckleberry Finn has been controversial for years thanks to That Word, which Twain used for very important thematic reasons. I don’t think it’s beyond the bounds of reason for a professor to say, This book uses the n-word repeatedly. As you read the book, think about what the author’s intent was in doing that.
In the super-long thread, most of the people who said they had a bad experience said it was because they were surprised to stumble across a rape or molestation scene that seemed thrown in (like my friend who freaked out at the molestation scene in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), but if they know ahead of time, it’s not as big a deal. But apparently it’s a HUGE IMPOSITION to tell people ahead of time, Hey, this book/movie/TV show that you’re going to read/watch for class has a rape or molestation scene in it.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
And some of us had left the thread by then and didn’t go back, so good on you for complaining that we didn’t protest things we never actually saw happen.
I saw a couple of references to it in other threads but I’m not entirely sure who did it, since the person being accused by others is still posting.
ETA: If it’s the person who others have accused (starts with a C?), he’s in many people’s pie filters.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
Seriously? When was this? I remember someone saying something horrible about Betty Cracker and people smacking the troll around. Not sure if this is the instance you’re referencing. Are you sure people said NOTHING?
“then how can you judge me for the fact that what sets me off are Megan McCardle, the Politico, etc.”
Comparing that to what “trigger warnings” are used for in their most common use – for people who have been brutally sexually assaulted – is about 80 floors beneath you.
I didnt’ see what you’re talking about with Betty Cracker. Fucking horrible. I have a hard time believing that most of the people here, if they saw it, “said NOTHING” in the way you infer. Are you saying people here were okay with that? Sometimes people are just so disgusted they shut down the computer.
That’s nothing but anger speaking, and you’re not making sense, or being fair. I guarantee you it’s not true about me.
You’re a good man, John Cole. I admire the hell out of you. I think you said something stupid about trigger warnings. And life goes on.
@Violet: To be honest, I haven’t visited either, but my initial impression was that 538 was operating on a really thin premise, and after Krugman and others crushed it with negative reviews from the onset, it’s never really recovered.
I hope Silver enjoys his money while he cans – I doubt the site is earning the site traffic that Disney thought it was when they signed him away from NYT. And I’ve actually been mildly surprised by the replacement section ‘The Upshot’ on NYT – I don’t find it to be groundbreaking, but it certainly doesn’t suck anywhere near as hard as I thought it would.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole
Cannot deny that what you said took place happened, but will say it is fresh news to me that it occurred.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole: I will always like and respect you, but Megan McArdle’s idiocy is not on the same level as something that causes actual, diagnosable PTSD. Also, I for one was not at all aware of any asshole who spewed shit at Betty Cracker re her mother, and would gladly have called out same had I seen it. Also, despite the very lenient approach to commenting here (which I very much endorse), I should hope that any commenter dumping on Betty about her mother would have been summarily banned.
You guys just managed to convince me to try something I had already written off. It has to be better than enduring the America hating caricature Putin-Assad apologist hipster douchenozzles who comment at Raw Story.
You guys just managed to convince me to try something I had already written off. It has to be better than enduring the America-hating caricature Putin-Assad apologist hipster douchenozzles who comment at Raw Story.
hells littlest angel
…the company where the “like” is considered the sine qua non of reflective human interaction…
I don’t use the phrase “pretty fucking awesome” lightly. That is pretty fucking awesome.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
1) I generally avoid responding to trolls because it just encourages them. I use Cleek’s excellent pie filter so that I don’t read most of the regular trolls and won’t respond to them.
2) You’re the fucking blog host. If you think somebody is acting like a sociopath, you have the ability to give them a timeout or ban them. Why didn’t you stick up for your co-blogger by breaking out the ban hammer for somebody who you clearly feel was breaking the social norms of the blog?
Before you complain about the mote in your neighbor’s eye, get the fucking sequoia out of your own.
Clearly I’m going to need to go back and read that original “trigger warnings” thread….
Also, surprised to see no “balls on his face” jokes.
Vox rocks as mm points out, but this is a slow news week/month. My favorite liberal blogs of late have been headlining the latest outrageous thing said by somebody no one cares about. Maybe no news is good news, or we should try to go back to some news.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole: I missed the sociopath. I hope you banned him.
@Mnemosyne: I was assaulted once myself, and I still find trigger warnings silly, if kindly meant, so I didn’t get as mad at John as some of the others did. It’s not a thing I care much about one way or the other; efforts at kindness should always be appreciated, even if they seem a bit silly to us.
John (MCCARTHY) Cole
Because you don’t know what you are talking about. When I invite to join the rest of us on the front page, I give them all the access that I have. If Betty felt that it was an offense worthy of banning, she would have done it. She doesn’t need me to do it, and she doesn’t need to explain why she did it.
Not to mention, Betty is tough enough to take care of herself, and probably looks at things the way I do, which is when someone is an asshole in the comments (or on the front page), as I often am, that it reflects on them, not her.
They can definitely get out of hand, and John posted a particularly silly example. But I also don’t think it’s out of line to request that professors let students know that there will be uncomfortable material (like rape, molestation, or torture) in the book they’re going to have to read for class. It seems courteous to me, but to others it was apparently horrible, horrible censorship that could not be allowed at any cost.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
So let me see if I have this straight. Betty must not have been too badly offended by the guy because she could have banned him any time she thought he was out of line, but we’re a bunch of idiots for not engaging with a troll to back her up. That’s completely incoherent.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
“well… I guess your fucking feelings begin and end with what bothers you.”
I am going back to lurking. You all be tripping. These threads are SO much better the next morning when I am bored at work.
Yeah, the worst kind of selective and lazy commentary.
Pull the other one.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
I, for one, got the attention of a front pager as quickly as possible and requested the troll in question be eradicated.
There are sensible trigger warnings, and there are silly trigger warnings.
We live in a world where both of these things can be true at the same time.
I’m surprised I have to explain this to you people.
Forget the 5 o’clock details, I already saw it on Twitter and shared it on Facebook.
Trigger warnings do not censor content on the part of the poster. They allow the viewer to self censor, if they are so inclined. So fuck you again, Mix and Cole. God, you people have been assholes about this. It really does read like Freep. You don’t need them, but damn, skippy, if the a large portion of the same voices deriding them don’t squeal when something marginally NSFW is not appropriately listed.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole: I have recently had 2 different assholes living on my street scream in my face because I had objections to their mistreating dogs. One of them took to standing at the property line with his arms crossed glowering at me for extended periods for days afterwards. I know good and well neither of them would scream in my face or practice BS intimidation tactics on me if there were a husband in this house. But people always say, Oh Muddy, you are a badass and you always handle it for yourself, good for you!
But you know what? Why do I always have to handle it? Just because I can fight my own battles doesn’t mean I always want to. Maybe I am not up to it right then. Maybe I am just fucking tired of always standing up for myself, when in life, no one stands up for me because they “know I can do it”. Having someone say they have your back, especially when said to the offender, is really valuable to me. I wouldn’t ask someone to leap to my defense, but gods damn, I appreciate it. Or I guess I would if it ever happened. If I held my breath for that my face would be as blue as my eyes.
That was a hard time for Betty. Maybe she didn’t feel up to waving a banhammer around that day. Maybe she thinks it’s your crib here and so banning ought to be your business, John. Just because you say someone has the keys does not mean they will feel comfortable doing it.
Once before when your bud T&H went off with disgusting out-of-the-blue vileness on Betty in the afternoon, I told you about it, and you gave him a week’s time out. You also gave Cassidy the same week of timeout, because he used intemperate language while sticking up for Betty in the situation. I saw him being kind of bitter in here for a while after that, and I don’t blame him. The 2 were in no way equivalent.
I am really disappointed that you are taking others to task on this issue.
As far as trigger warnings go, I was one of the people who said that just giving a heads up was what was wanted. For things where you don’t expect some bizarre content to crop up. I don’t fold up and go to the hospital because I see some unwelcome content, but really, just saying heads up is just too much to ask I guess.
I didn’t care too much about whether there were trigger warnings here, but I do care now that warnings are a funny funny joke.
All of y’all that are doing that can go fuck yourselves. Inside out.
@different-church-lady: What fucking weirdness. “You do NOT admire Cole!!!” Grow the fuck up, you digital shitstain.
@LT: Yeesh, what a grouch…
Has anyone here been on tumblr recently? They use the most ridiculous trigger warnings there – I’ve seen multiple trigger warnings for mentions of dieting on different fat acceptance blogs. Yes, I like to torture myself by reading idiots. Anyhow, I thought Cole was making fun of those people.
Just because the right abuses the term “loony left” doesn’t mean there’s no such thing, although I like to think most liberals grow out of it after college. Having graduated a few years ago with a degree in the social sciences, I can vouch that a fair number of young people really do act like the caricatures of PC-police liberals that inhabit Rush Limbaugh’s pill-fueled fever dreams. I find the appropriation of the term by every keyboard radical slacktivist kind of offensive to survivors of sexual assault, personally – much moreso than Cole’s little joke, at least.
This is why I read this blog.
This is why I read the comments. I wish I lived in your neighborhood so I could have your back.
I don’t necessarily get along with all of my neighbors. A couple of them are definitely tempered differently than I am.
But don’t anybody fuck with them, any of them, ever, not even as a joke. When the floods came, or the power was out, or the snow was X-teen inches deep and drifting over everything, they are the ones who open the door when you knock in the middle of the Gaia-damned night, and they are the ones you open the door for no matter what time or day or condition it is. I would do just about anything for these people if they but ask, because they do the same for my clan.
@different-church-lady: Hey, I’m sorry, one gets attacked here from so many different angles – and so bizarrely – I thought you wer serious.
Fuck you, you little ageist prick. What fucking difference does it make how one “interacts w/ screens,” as if the screens, or iNternet-nativeness (Th’ fuck?) are the important thing here rather than actual “content.” Cretin.
@LT: No need for apologies, I *was* poking you after all. (Don’t forget: the humor in Art Carney’s “what a grouch” shtick was that it always came after he had driven Ralph up a wall.)
You know, I also poked Cole for the very same statement you did.
It’s just typical BJ — Cole is being ridiculous about somebody else being ridiculous. You kinda had to be there. Dope slaps work better than screeching for those situations, IMO.
@John (MCCARTHY) Cole:
A hale and hearty fuck you Mr. Cole. There were at least 400 fucking insulting comments to people who said that they could appreciate that trigger warnings could be useful in an academic setting especially considering how fucking common rape and sexual assault are on college campuses and how fucking inadequate the response has been by college administrators. I will also add that you got all the facts wrong but that is pretty standard for your first pass at a lot of topics.
It was a disgusting display even for a site known for vitriolic jackals. Cassidy came in and did exactly what other commenters were doing. I did not approve of it and said so. I did not say one insulting thing to anyone unlike you and just about everyone else on that thread including Betty. Your oh so empathetic response was to attack me, my parenting, and my kids. You can say all you want about me because I have survived much worse (as a child when I couldn’t defend myself) but don’t fucking pick on people’s kids.
I don’t think books need a trigger warning, but if a professor wants to do that in class, fine. Same with films, most of which already include warnings. But having a long list of, frankly, silly triggers is ridiculous and then mandating their use is asinine. Once you open the flood gates for items beyond those of a violent or sexual nature, then it begins to lose any potency.
There is so much pain & misery in the world and very little of each other’s terrible life that we can know. It is impossible to know what passages or images may be hurtful or trigger painful emotions in others. It can’t just be any discussion that might make someone feel blue – almost anything could do that to someone somewhere.
Paul in KY
@Mnemosyne: My cousin (age 18) died years ago in a bike wreck whee he wasn’t wearing a helmet & he landed on his head on concrete. Bike helmets are what smart riders wear (IMO).
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: Good point, Roger.
Paul in KY
@ruemara: This does not read like Freep. Not near what those evil clowns would say.
Paul in KY
@Seanly: I think a professor/teacher should give a brief overview of a book & should mention various graphic/violent sections as part of syllabus or just speaking to class before the book is to be read.
If he/she has assigned it as required reading for the class, then all students need to read it (IMO).