F.R.E.E.D. isn't about holding your hand to tell you everything is going to be okay.
Journalism pandered to keep audiences from running away and screaming to their own destruction.
I gave a talk a few years back at the Burlington Art Centre (now known as the Art Gallery of Burlington) about the topic of art crimes in Canada and how Canada was vulnerable to it. I had mentioned many examples, including several heists and thefts of paintings.
After the talk, I had one woman come to me with confidence, saying that then it was far safer to keep your expensive art at home. I had informed her that was absolutely no better, especially as there were gangs who broke into houses of the well to do in places such as Montreal and stole those paintings. Galleries and museums at least had adequate insurance. Her swaggering airs just vanished as her faced blanched and she quickly walked away.
That wasn't what she wanted to hear.
No, sorry, there isn't a safe rule that will be an easy answer. You keep expensive art in your house and show it off, you become a target. There is no security system that can't be overcome.
I thought a lot about that interaction. She was obviously in her mid-70s at least, and she still had some notion that life could be fair and the bad guys could always be thwarted.
I have known a lot people like her: the kind who think people get sick or robbed because they did something wrong, and then when those people have the same fate befall them, only then do they see that bad things can happen to anyone.
Like the old punchline to the joke, just don't step on a duck, and there will be no shackles placed on you in Heaven.
Except sometimes you get shackled to someone even if you are careful, just like the joke goes.
The joke makes light of the concept of a rig: no matter what you do, sometimes the same thing happens -- except in one case it is spun to seem like a bad thing, and the other, it is spun to seem like a positive thing.
But how positive is it to be chained to a resentful person for eternity?
No matter how attractive they are. Their ugly attitude can turn your Heaven into a Hell.
There is a lot of subtext in that silly joke.
Journalism eroded over time, and it begin to serve as a social pacifier, making bad things seem good, when they were horrible. People were trained to seek bad things for themselves, and be grateful for an environment that led to their ruin.
But if they got facts without any spin, would they be as happy with their environment?
No, because they would be facing reality. There would be no sophistry-based nudge to calm them down.
F.R.E.E.D. just provides facts so that we can see how much we should be satisfied with the current reality -- is it good, bad, ugly, or something to be feared?
If we face the ugly reality, then what truths do we need to solve it?
And then instead of being lulled into accepting something toxic, we seek to correct it, solving our problems.
There may be conflict and disagreement, but when there is a hard reality to face, explaining away facts as a form of misdirection becomes blaring.
The woman who ran away from my comments would have been wiser to ask me other questions, such as what would make her artwork vulnerable to theft to whether there were patterns to thefts to what resources or specialists were there to minimize the risk. I could have easily answered her.
If only she had been braver and more open to finding facts.
Journalism forgot about the power of facts, and thought opinion and spin was mightier.
And it never is...