Carano can, but she thinks she can’t

Remember when social media became significant enough that employers would check current and potential employees personal accounts to ensure that their behavior fell in line with the company’s morals, mission and expectations? While individuals are entitled to have a private life separate from work that needed to balanced with a organization’s desire to not employ an admitted homophobe, bigot or blatant idiot. Getting fired for what you decide to post publicly is a very real risk, but it’s not new. Gina Carano joins a slew of others who elected to post and suffered the consequences.

After tweets questioning the validity of the election, mocking mask wearing, joking about the use of pronouns, Carano posted this masterpiece on Instagram:

Lviv Pogrom, 1941

Carano compared the brutality that this woman (and Jews) suffered during World War II to the hate she’s had to deal with for stating her political views. Apparently, hating someone for their beliefs is equally as violent as beating someone for who they are. Tone deaf much?

The first myth to dispel is that this is cancel culture. As I stated before, employers firing employees for online behavior is not new or uncommon, it’s at-will doctrine at work. When you’re on the company’s dime, you gotta toe the company line or to paraphrase Laura Ingraham, shut up and act.

Working for Disney, one of the biggest media companies in the world, comes with massive responsibility and huge amounts of attention. Why would Disney keep someone on the payroll who’s mouth (or fingers) might cost them money? To answer that, internet sleuths found a tweet from Carano’s former co-star, Pedro Pascal, from June 2018 to help prove hypocrisy. The problem is he wasn’t employed by Disney then. Carano’s recent tweets were all under contract. And the final one, wasn’t the first one. What do they call people who make the same mistake over and over?

The second myth is that she’s being targeted for her conservative viewpoints. Is Nick Cannon a conservative? Joy Behar caught heat for her insensitive comments about Mike Pence and I think Kathy Griffin has finally come out from the hole she was in for the past couple of years. Whatever end of the political spectrum you reside on, it comes down to money. Carano’s unwillingness to see herself as turning into a liability gives her an excuse to play victim. The only difference between Carano and the others who sank into hot water, is they apologized. She’s avoided doing so as if it would be an affront to her principles, when in reality, it’s a bold refusal to be even the teensiest bit reflective.

Maybe she didn’t need to apologize. Maybe a brief clarification like:

I get that not everyone understands the point I’m making, but I’m just talking about hatred. Hatred that pushes people into separate spaces and makes it hard, almost impossible to be a good neighbor. We shouldn’t be happy to make life hard for other people. We can live and let live.

Nevertheless, Ms. Carano moved on, within days, to a second chance at The Daily Wire where she will star in a movie from the conservative website.

The blessings of another opportunity…something I’m not certain the tortured woman in her post got.

Parler & Big Tech’s Control of Speech

There’s usually no monetary cost to post your thoughts online, but there’s definitely a price to pay. Being that more and more digital spaces are becoming the favored ground for public discourse, how much control should private interests have in deciding who’s on or offline?

Parler fell victim to its inability to moderate/remove content found offensive, not necessarily by its users, but by its service provider, Amazon Web Services. Last month, Amazon terminated Parler’s contract effectively pushing them offline. Parler’s return last week is a victory. I would prefer a business fail because it couldn’t make a mark in the market, rather than the gatekeepers threw them out.

Many people cheered when Trump was silenced online by numerous social media sites, some of the bans were pre-emptive, as the former president hadn’t broken any rules within the terms of service. This raises an important question: should we co-sign the ability of a handful of individuals to silence someone online? Google Chrome has approximately 64% of browser market share. If Google decides the content of your website is problematic or, better yet, you are problematic, without any interference, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (who retain controlling interest in Google and parent company, Alphabet) can teleport you to obscurity.

The people running spaces we think of as public (perhaps because they are “free”) are few, homogenous, and not serving the public interest. Alex Jones, Donald Trump, and others removal from Twitter had nothing to do with what people wanted or safety. It came down to the bottom line: they were bad for business. Turns out, Trump was right on this one. Lack of regulation has never served this country well. In order to clean the playing field, the government is going to have to help create boundaries because hoping that internet companies will draw lines when it affects their money is wishful thinking.

We need better. There are serious side effects to social media use, especially among pre-teens and teens. And if the Capitol Riot has taught us nothing, it showed what kind of actions can be galvanized online and on social media.

It’s not enough to encourage people to get off social media. It’s 2021. Capitalism will not let social media die. It’ll kill us before it does that.

#WildWestWendy and the Insidiousness of the Machine

Today we celebrate our nation’s birthday and usually on birthdays, it’s a time for contemplation and celebration. I am thankful for the miraculous experiment that is the United States of America. And as we look on 244 years of history as a country, I wonder about the danger of the new faceless oppressor that has led and controlled our language on some of the most pressing issues of our time; the one that encourages us to vilify and destroy one another in the the name of justice.

The machine has taught us to look at this video and see a hero and a villain.

It has taught us that, in situations like these, a gun is both the problem and the solution.

It has taught us that making a definitive assumption about someone is both racism and justice.

The miracle of America, is that our heterogeneity, in all it’s ugly glory, made us who we are and has not killed us….yet. But the machine’s power is using strength and turning it into weakness.  A place where once,  opposites could co-exist, now a place where you can either stand as black or white or a muddled gray. What makes America great is how well we’ve evolved towards ‘e pluribus unum’ without collapsing on ourselves. But the machine learned that money mattered most and that perhaps our motto was the only thing standing in it’s way.

When Twitter Goes Wrong

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ bravery against segregation. The moment was memorialized all over Twitter with one tweet from the RNC receiving hundreds of retweets. It reads, ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.’ Yeah, that ‘ending racism’ part didn’t go over to well and made the comment the butt of more that a few jokes. I was sure it was fake, so I checked it out and it turns out, it’s real…and two years old. That’s right. One of today’s most tweeted is a goodie, but definitely an oldie. When a sharp eyed reader pointed it out, AJ Plus (a digital media provider from Al Jazeera) made no comment; very slick (and questionable) move for a content provider tied to a news organization, but that’s the power and danger of Twitter: the word gets out faster than anyone can bother to say ‘retract’ and even if there’s a correction, who cares?! Hundreds have already spread the word on their own feeds, in the process, giving the fledgling channel a much needed boost, and a easy target, one more kick.

aj plus