Kevin Hart lost a not-so-lucrative gig of hosting Hollywood’s hours-long advertorial farce called the Oscars.
Over tweets he made almost nine years ago that he has long ago expressed remorse for and took ownership of his own insecurities.
Not everyone is condemning Hart, however.
I am not for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that I have no way of knowing who is behind this very well-choreographed campaign. It does not have a grassroots vibe to it, and for all I know, a rival, a racist, a disgruntled acquaintance, or some other group has paid a firm to execute a take-down campaign.
We know social media crawls with bots, PR firms, saboteurs, and fake followers: so why do we automatically accept every troll campaign that pukes out rage from Twitter?
At what point do we ask, Okay, who is behind this latest smear campaign, and can we establish provenance for it? How many “offended” users are real and legitimate human beings? Are they being paid? What are their motives? Who are they? How many of their followers are real or purchased figments?
And why do we expect purity and flawlessness from human beings who are the epitome of deficiencies and deficits?
But the childlike innocence prevents critical thinking, and there is a reason for the societal cowardice, and it is one of the unintended consequences of social media.
The Western world is in a Zero-Risk mindset.
It is why you have spoiled do-nothing Millennials suddenly want the safety of communism. They want to get paid taking zero risks. It is the reason why Facebook and Tumblr are banning sex talk. They want a pristine image and will be fascists in order to achieve it.
When social media first came on the scene, it promised hedonism without effort that would bring instant fame, fortune, and fun. The just a selfie of your lumpy ass and post it to Instagram, and maybe you will be the next Kardashian!
Only if you have rich and connected parents, of course.
Read the fine print, kids!
No one wants to take risks. What if I post my lumpy ass on the Facebook and people call me out for having a lumpy butt? Well then, that’s body-shaming!
Well, yes, it is, and people who do not like to stare at your ass have the right to express their offensive opinions. You are not going to force 7.4 billion people to applaud your butt selfie because I will never be one of them, but I am not going to forbid you from doing it. It’s your damn ass, do with it whatever you want.
What people never realized is that being in the public eye is very risky. People like me know this risk, understand the risks, and will accept the risks. I write excruciatingly well-researched books, knowing some knuckle-dragger who never actually read it will dismiss it as rambling and boring because they are not willing to invest in learning facts that tell them that fame means nothing.
That’s the risk. They are allowed to be openly ignorant. I will not congratulate them, but I am not going to try to destroy them, either. That book wasn’t written for people like that in the first place.
But the Internet’s beginnings showed no sign of this problem. It was an insider’s club. I know because I had a modem before it was mundane, and it was a very different atmosphere.
But then the MIddle Class started wading into those waters, and that posed a huge dilemma that could have been cut off at the pass if tech wasn’t so greedy and impatient.
For all of the bitching how the wealthy are horrible, it is the Middle Class who are mostly responsible for the troubles society has. For one, there are more of them than there are rich people. If it wasn’t for the wealthy, the Middle Class would be poor.
Because the Middle Class have a single phobia.
They fear risk.
This is the risk-averse class. They take gambles, and huge ones, all in the name of avoiding risks because what if they mess up in front of someone who makes fun of them?
The trouble is there is no progress without risk, but there is an inversely proportional relationship between a risk and a gamble: the less risk you take, the bigger the gamble.
And gambles are based on superstition, ignorance, arrogance, passivity, and hope that fate likes you.
The best discussion between risks and gambles I have ever read comes from Robert Greene in two of his books, which I highly recommend.
The problem is the Middle Class have a confirmation bias and tendency to look at half a landscape.
After all, Left-wing, Right-wing is a middle class invention.
So what you have is a large group of people who look for sure things and do not want to take any risk. They will gamble, to be sure, all in the name of avoiding calculated risk.
And journalism used to have all of the power because they disseminated information with authority, and that gravitas played up on the erroneous assumption that there was no risk in believing news stories.
Then came the swaggering new kids of the Internet who upped the ante.
Journalism manipulated their gravitas to promise what they disseminated was true, 100%. No risk. They were the gate-keepers who ensured no risk by deciding what people, issues, events, and stories were worthy of being covered. That was their fail-safe.
But then the new kids laughed at the gate, broke it open, and promised everyone a risk-free good time to the Promised Land if they trusted them instead.
These were two incompatible media.
And truly for the first time, the Middle Class had to make a judgement call.
Not a risk, but a call.
Who do they believe? The stodgy journalists who ignored their little precious cupcake’s winning of Miss Small Potatoes at the county fair?
Or YouTube where they could upload a video of the sacred moment for the whole world to see?
It was an easy call, and journalism lost out, but never humbled or learned why their old model became antiquated.
The Middle Class just assumed that all they had to do was mug and make fish faces on their smartphones, and they would be “discovered.”
That’s all it would take, The End.
And it was a young generation who bought into it in the late 1990s.
And now that they are too old to be “discovered”, are broke, have the same tats and neon-coloured hair as everyone else, and never got what they wanted from the Internet, they suddenly want champagne socialism as a consolation prize.
But then things got weird.
The Internet is not a tough steak at a restaurant that gives you an excuse to abuse a waiter with a temper tantrum and demand freebies: once you are out there, you can’t take it back or be compensated.
If we went back to the first postings of Facebook, and then followed the progression of the middle class youth who honestly thought they were superior to their parents and would set the world on fire with their decrees and selfies, we’d see cocky and smug young turks telling everyone they were musicians, artists, actors, models, and software gurus.
Facebook’s biggest mistake was throwing those memories in their user’s faces with their “On this Day” section. That is the daily reminder that these middle class kids didn’t get the brass ring.
It was a tactical error, and the idea was most likely from some successful and well-heeled charmed executive who achieved his or her own dreams and ambitions, and didn’t think the idea through with empathy. When we say people are “woke”, we merely mean they have been divorced from their dreams of success and now are ready to pulverize anyone who may end up reaching their own dreams. How dare they!
We cannot allow that to happen! Let’s take away their success! Let’s move the goalposts so far away that no one can actually reach them, and if they do, we’ll declare them evil cheaters, and take the spoils for ourselves.
Because we were always too cowardly to take risks, and social media promised us to reap the benefits of risk without ever having to take a single one. We want safe, sure things, and then brag to our siblings all about it.
It isn’t happening, and now bored people think they are enraged and righteous, when they are neither.
My mother grew up in socialist former Yugoslavia, and there is a story she is fond of telling that I think about a lot these days.
When she was in grade school, she did a lot of creative writing, and one day, a school official was coming, and the school decided to have an assembly and recital with students reading their stories and poems.
And it turned out that every one chosen was written by my mom.
So, she did all of the work, and if the school was fair, they would have recognized her talents, allow her the entire recital, and praise her for being an able writer at such a tender age.
But that’s not what happened.
At first, the understanding was that she would read all of her work. Fine, she said.
But a little later, the rules had changed: because it wouldn’t “be fair” for her to get all of the attention (not that was getting positive attention before that, mind you) — but it was fair for the school to exploit all of her work — other students would read it, but she would get credit.
She did not like this idea, but agreed.
But then a little later, it wouldn’t “be fair” to mention her name, and no names would be mentioned.
And it just so happened that the kids chosen were the ones various teachers liked the best.
Would you assume the kid reading the poem or story was the one who wrote it? Of course you would.
At this, my mother balked, and pulled out all of her work, a brave thing for a kid to do in the early 1960s.
And the night was cancelled, the teachers and principal got angry at her, calling her “selfish”, but she wasn’t going to be a chump or a dupe.
If her work was good enough to be used in a recital, then she was good enough to get the credit for it. I am certain the plan all along was to move the goal posts with a foot-in-the-door technique. The trouble is my mother doesn’t play. She is easygoing enough, but cross a line, and she lets you have it. The school overplayed their hand.
I am the same way. When I was looking for a publisher for my first book, I thought I had found one university publisher who would go for it. They did it by peer review, and the reviews were mixed: some said yay, others said nay; so the publisher decided to get more feedback.
Then came one that made snide remarks about my credentials, as if writing for media trade publications was some sort of deficit, but I should “team up” with a veteran columnist in Chicago, who had no background in doing stories about journalism.
Now, if you looked at a book and saw a “veteran” columnist’s name first and a younger journalist’s name after his — who would you think thought up the idea and wrote the book?
I guarantee you that you would think I was just there to fetch the coffee and give him blow jobs just to get some pity credit.
So, I said no, surprising the publisher who re-iterated that I had a good idea, but wouldn’t get a book deal all by myself.