Saturday, January 9, 2016

Do you see what I see?

Just a quick and dirty post today. Mostly because I haven't written much this month and I've reached the point where the lack of writing is overwhelming me. I have too many story ideas battling to see who takes the lead, too many rants pent up trying to gut punch their way to the front and too many blank pages screaming to be filled, so today you get a quick and dirty post just to get the words flowing again.

This morning there was a video on my feed. It was Chris Kyle's widow talking to President Obama at his CNN Town hall on Gun Control. Or I should say it was "President Obama shuts down American Sniper Widow's Gun Control Argument BOOM!" or maybe "American Sniper Widow makes Obama's Gun Grab Look Foolish! BOOM!" Literally both headlines had the BOOM! in them. Same video, two different headlines. They watched the same thing, they saw the same arguments, they took away two completely different things. Though I will say one of them cut out a little quicker than the other so their point could be made a little stronger. But everyone edits. Blatantly or in their heads.

And this is why we can't have nice things.


We see what we want. We hear what want. We edit information to fit our needs.

Anti-vaxxers will dig their heels in more firmly the more studies you show them that vaccines are safe. This has been studied.

Republicans and Democrats actually use different language when making arguments for the SAME points. And will fight with each other because of the words used not ever realizing they are arguing for the same outcome. This has been studied.

Which that one, for me, has always been funny. When I worked in advertising my first go round the owner of the company and the media director would do that same thing. They would be saying the exact same thing. Just using different language to describe it and would argue. I would have to interpret for them, "So what you are saying is..." "I hear that you think we should..." and they would understand me, but not each other. It was wild.

We see the world the way we see it. We filter and we edit and we parse words and we share stories that support our arguments and we ignore or rationalize things that don't. Biased source! Unsubstantiated! Or my personal favorite, They did it too!

We all suffer from confirmation bias. We give higher weight and great credence to things that agree with our views and less to things that don't. And no matter how open minded you think you are, you still do it. You can't help it. You can try. You can really try to put things aside, but you have a view of the world that you filter everything through. And everyone else can see your bias clearly. So when someone points it out to you, you should probably understand that they can see what is invisible to you. Of course, their own bias will be in full effect as they point yours out. So there is that as well.

Basically you can sit in the bar with your friends and all agree completely that only an idiot would vote for Donald Trump and as you all agree nobody would point out that it was only one point of view. Meanwhile across town in another bar another group of friends is talking about how Donald Trump is the only chance we have at making America Great Again and only an idiot wouldn't be able to see that. And because they all agree nobody points out that maybe that's wrong. Same candidate. Same ideas. Same coverage. Totally different reactions. Different filters.

So as we head in to a really contentious political season (my personal filter, I see it as bad) I am trying really hard to remember that everyone is wearing their own set of homer glasses. Every video, every opinion piece, every link that has BOOM! in the title, all of it, it's been filtered and processed for one specific audience. It's been processed and posted to make one point. And odds are strong you can find a video, opinion piece or link that also has BOOM! in the title that is for the opposite audience. Showing the same thing. Just spun a slightly different way. Or edited at a slightly different point.

And this is why we can't have nice things. Because we will just spin them until they are unrecognizable.


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