Internet Outrage, Public Shaming, and the Modern-Day Pharisee Phenomenon

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Carolla

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This interesting article popped up today on my news feed - Internet Outrage, Public Shaming, and the Modern-Day Pharisee Phenomenon | Scott Sauls

I've been seeing a lot more of this on my 'community FRIENDS' fb page and others lately. The Friends page seems to be becoming less 'friendly'.

A couple of examples - post with photos about "horrific" graffiti tagging. Sorry - but simple non-racist, non-political, not hateful tagging graffiti is not "horrific" - concentration camps are horrific, deaths of countless numbers in LTC facilities might be considered horrific - but tagging? It's vandalism yes and not okay, but "horrific" no. Not IMO.

Pictures of trash cans in parks overflowing with trash after the weekend when lots of people have been out and enjoying the park (that's what they're for right? for people to use?) - "disgusting people coming into our neighbourhood - they're not even from around here" - uh - and you know this how? These sort of posts tend to get a lot of responses.

Comments about others not wearing masks; that businesses are negligent for not providing masks for their customers; people not physically distancing as others think they should ... the list goes on.

Posting a dissenting view, even when couched in the gentlest of terms - often nets one a backlash of nastiness - been there, received that. It's hard to know whether it's worth it to keep commenting with different points of view, but distressing to see the voices of the 'pharisees' becoming more strident in my neighbourhood. Are you seeing similar things on your neighbourhood pages? Do you scroll on by or say something? How do you decide?
 

BetteTheRed

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Comments about others not wearing masks; that businesses are negligent for not providing masks for their customers; people not physically distancing as others think they should ... the list goes on.
I have customers who try to talk me into co-operatively shaming another customer for not following the rules as she (almost inevitably, I'm sorry to say) understands them.

I just back them right off, "whoa, sorry, none of my business; I'm just working".

And on-line is worse.
 

Mendalla

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Social media is a cesspool anymore, not just the public shaming part. It started with the best of ideas and intentions but has devolved. It's why I am largely absent from it and tend to stick to forums, which are generally better moderated IME.

I think that if someone's actions or words affect the public sphere, e.g. a politician, then certainly there is a place for some public accountability. Ditto someone taking an action that creates risk, e.g. not wearing a mask where required or driving while drunk or high. But that's not the same as shaming them, that's reporting the fact that it happened and making them deal with the behaviour in question.

But for someone's private behaviour in their private life? I think it best to leave that in the private sphere. I have no business knowing who is doing what to/with whom IF it is all consensual.

However, there are a lot of things that kind of dance along the line between private and public.

For instance, what do you think about a story like this?


Is there a point to this being public? Is it shaming the business?

I wrestle with that because I think the videographer is within their rights to refuse business that makes them uncomfortable. And, really, if I was the brides, I wouldn't want that videographer doing my wedding and would look for a new one so arguably, it is good they were upfront with the couple, even if they could have been more sensitive about how they communicated it. So I am not entirely convinced this videographer is entirely in the wrong here or should be punished with public shaming for it. At the same time, as a consumer who is LGBTQ, I like to deal with business people whose values I can agree with, or at least live with, and would not want to hire this videographer knowing that they discriminate this way. So there is a public aspect to this.
 
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Luce NDs

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Distraction is good process ... consider the assignment of wrong doings on China for hacking and espionage.

That's a first ... right ... for both sides?

Alas ... twas done by a power so the concept will pass or be dropped for the next distracting bifurcation from the hated truths! Bipolar spectrum????
 

Mendalla

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even if they could have been more sensitive about how they communicated it.
And I wonder if this is the real problem here. If the videographer had just used a white lie and said, "I'm already booked" or "I'm busy that weekend", would anyone have blinked? Basically, they are being shamed for being stupidly open about their prejudices, not for having them. I am willing to bet that plenty of videographers and others have turned down work at same sex weddings because of anti-LGBTQ prejudices but didn't say it this openly so there was no uproar. So this one gets punished for loose lips while the smart ones go on discriminating. Not sure that's fair.

My point being that public shaming only happens when we know what someone does or thinks, so is not a form of accountability as some might argue. It really is about being holier than thou and publicly demonstrating our "holiness".
 

Luce NDs

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Loose Lips ... what a concept of the side of the great parietal void ... said to be an image of it in those not suffering ...no-brainers!

Inky creations without a thought ... psyche-like test ... may be elephants! Guess stalled images ... constitutionalized crap ...
 
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And I wonder if this is the real problem here. If the videographer had just used a white lie and said, "I'm already booked" or "I'm busy that weekend", would anyone have blinked? Basically, they are being shamed for being stupidly open about their prejudices, not for having them. I am willing to bet that plenty of videographers and others have turned down work at same sex weddings because of anti-LGBTQ prejudices but didn't say it this openly so there was no uproar. So this one gets punished for loose lips while the smart ones go on discriminating. Not sure that's fair.

My point being that public shaming only happens when we know what someone does or thinks, so is not a form of accountability as some might argue. It really is about being holier than thou and publicly demonstrating our "holiness".
You can’t criticize someone for what you don’t know about what they didn’t say. If you only suspect it, and point out your suspicions, prepare to be skewered for guessing their intentions - even if you got it right. Can’t win. Criticizing behaviour that is out in the open holds accountable the behaviour, the attitude behind the behaviour, not simply the individual. Sometimes we are criticizing things bigger than us, bigger than one individual. Bigger than a first name, for example. I don’t think enough people understand that in our self-righteous world.

I also think Facebook is a great gossip outlet. People like to gossip about their neighbours over petty things and make veiled prejudiced remarks about “those people not from around here”, in RL, behind people’s backs, in kitchens and living rooms all over a North America - all over the world. Facebook is that on steroids. That’s how it started. I’m not on it, and I won’t go on it. I don’t want to support its creator. Unfortunately, I miss worthy Facebook and Instagram discussions because of that. I wish well meaning people who use Facebook to disseminate important information and discussion would also make their initiatives accessible on other platforms - especially those around social justice. - it’s an oxymoron to use Facebook for social justice, considering its corruption. It’s frustrating what I miss because I won’t do Facebook.
 
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Luce NDs

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You can’t criticize someone for what you don’t know about what they didn’t say. If you only suspect it, and point out your suspicions, prepare to be skewered for guessing their intentions - even if you got it right. Criticizing behaviour that is out in the open holds accountable the behaviour, not simply the individual. Sometimes we are criticizing things bigger than us, bigger than one individual. Bigger than a first name, for example. I don’t think enough people understand that in our self-righteous world.
However speculation is fantastic ... just fling some mud and watch the reactions in the mob ... they'll go with the b*ll-aye!
 

Mendalla

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It’s frustrating what I miss because I won’t do Facebook.
I feel this way sometimes. Then Zuck opens his mouth and blabs pablum soft ball answers when there's another privacy or disinformation scandal and I stop worrying about what I'm missing because I know I'm also missing all the BS.
 

Luce NDs

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FB is insane ... don't go there unless you can spew similar stuff to maintain uncertainties ... as some dark power certainly made it here and now!

Don't drumpf it now ... for the indication is a down coming for the nation if not for the proprietor and his assistants that are going to lose the labouring contingent to plagues. This will cut expenses and the priors will be required to carry their own chit out of the water closet ... since they don't know the difference between cess, swamps and clairewells/Clarabells? Honkers ...
 

Carolla

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The wedding photographer dust up is an interesting example. I'm also of divided mind on that matter. There are many churches who routinely refuse to extend rights protected under the OHRA - and yet no clamouring and public shaming seem to occur. More a sense of resignation about change ever being possible in some circles. I agree with Mendalla - it seems this particular business could have skirted the issue, lied about availability, and carried on. Covert discrimination is more the Canadian norm I think. Until something ... like this honesty?... triggers us - then the hue & cry is loud and widespread. Probably a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of situation.
 

Mendalla

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There are many churches who routinely refuse to extend rights protected under the OHRA - and yet no clamouring and public shaming seem to occur.
Churches are explicitly exempted in a lot of cases where rights conflict with their beliefs, as that article points out. For same sex marriage, that's right in the federal act that made same-sex marriage legal and no one has challenged it in court so far that I know of. One of the protected rights both constitutionally and in provincial rights laws is freedom of religion so something has to give when that conflicts with another right. However, the degree to which that can be applied to individual beliefs, vs. institutions, continues to be a subject for debate as we see here.

But that's not really the subject of this thread. One of the problems we are seeing now is that shaming is being used as a kind of vigilante justice. Who cares if someone really did or did not break the law when you can just f*** with their lives online to punish them? It's really a "you are guilty if I think you are guilty" situation and doesn't seem to allow for any kind of defense. If you defend yourself, your defense gets used against you.
 

ninjafaery

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Blood sport. Pent up frustration, fear, deep anger, and then off on an adrenaline rush of outrage and shaming. Even getting on a moral high horse and being judgemental about the _______. This happens in polite society as well. Reputations and sanity compromised because of this repugnant practice of blame and shame. Might as well have the pillory and stock. Groups of people really frighten me sometimes.
 
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What if they’re being really repugnant a-holes, by any reasonable person’s standard of decency though?

I think what ‘we’, includes me, have to remember is to “punch up - not down”. That is to say, the powerful corrupt and their allies deserve harsh public criticism. But aiming it at the marginalized is itself awful...and I think deserves some calling out because putting down the marginalized not only further marginalized, but it serves the powerful in their continued efforts to oppress.

I’m okay with punching up in my verbal critiques, actually. And almost everybody is up from me. If they’re being a-holes I don’t mind critiquing it.
 

Mendalla

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What if they’re being really repugnant a-holes, by any reasonable person’s standard of decency though?

I think what ‘we’, includes me, have to remember is to “punch up - not down”. That is to say, the powerful corrupt and their allies deserve harsh public criticism. But aiming it at the marginalized is itself awful...and I think deserves some calling out because putting down the marginalized not only further marginalized, but it serves the powerful in their continued efforts to oppress.

I’m okay with punching up in my verbal critiques, actually. And almost everybody is up from me. If they’re being a-holes I don’t mind critiquing it.
I think there's a different between attacking powerful elites and shaming an ordinary person for living in accordance with their sincere beliefs, though. I have no problem with someone calling out Donald Trump or JT for something they did or said. That goes with the territory when you enter public life, really. But it's this thing where people get hounded and lose livelihoods or families because someone online decides something they said is unacceptable. If you really think they broke a law or denied someone their rights, we have courts for that. Courts are set up to ensure fairness and that the defendant gets their say. But social media is pretty much just about persecution, not prosecution, and there's no judge to ensure that both sides get an opportunity and that the defendant's rights are protected.
 
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I think there's a different between attacking powerful elites and shaming an ordinary person for living in accordance with their sincere beliefs, though. I have no problem with someone calling out Donald Trump or JT for something they did or said. That goes with the territory when you enter public life, really. But it's this thing where people get hounded and lose livelihoods or families because someone online decides something they said is unacceptable. If you really think they broke a law or denied someone their rights, we have courts for that. Courts are set up to ensure fairness and that the defendant gets their say. But social media is pretty much just about persecution, not prosecution, and there's no judge to ensure that both sides get an opportunity and that the defendant's rights are protected.
What Carolla is talking about is not that, though - it's more akin to neighbourhood gossip. Which is a problem in itself.

I can think of a couple of people this community has punched down pretty hard at, shamed regularly - their family relationships, their lifestyle, their financial status - no matter what they said, even without provocation- and to be honest, I hope they're okay - because they are no longer allowed here. I don't think that was a good decision.

I try not to punch down. And I don't think I have here. People punch down at me usually. Although I have taken a few "swings", it's usually for reasons that I strongly feel have to do with privelege and ignorance - which is often unconscious - that's impeding the world. Even if I like them, I will say if I think they're wrong.
 
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I think Internet shaming is far more damaging that neighbourhood gossip just due to its scope.
Except if it's a pretty limited group discussing a petty problem in their neighbourhood, it's the same. If it's singling out a person in the group to beat down on, that's different.
 

Mendalla

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Except if it's a pretty limited group discussing a petty problem in their neighbourhood, it's the same. If it's singling out a person in the group to beat down on, that's different.
That happens in neighbourhood gossip, too, though. Often there's that one person or family no one likes.
 
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