Friday, August 18, 2017

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Whataboutism


Whataboutism is a propaganda technique formerly used by the Soviet Union in its dealings with the Western world, and subsequently used as a form of propaganda in post-Soviet Russia. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union, the Soviet response would be "What about..." followed by an event in the Western world.

The term whataboutery has been used in British English since the period of The Troubles conflict in Northern Ireland. Lexicographers date the first appearance of the variant whataboutism to the 1990s, while other historians state that during the Cold War Western officials referred to the Soviet propaganda strategy by that term. The tactic saw a resurgence in post-Soviet Russia, relating to human rights violations committed by, and criticisms of, the Russian government. The technique received new attention during Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine. Usage of the tactic extended to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

The Guardian deemed whataboutism, as used in Russia, "practically a national ideology" [..] The New Yorker described the technique as "a strategy of false moral equivalences". Jill Dougherty called whataboutism a "sacred Russian tactic", and compared it to The pot calling the kettle black.

Both Sides

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Q&A - 15/8

Jim Jefferies

On the American Dream

This guy..

News

Google has fired a computer engineer who caused a storm in Silicon Valley by asserting that the gender gap among technology workers was down to biological differences between men and women.

Google did the right thing

A company is no place to stir that kind of shit up. You can have your "discussions" outside, start a blog like mine, vent, go to the woods, scream it out, learn karate, do karate chops on wood blocks. Who cares? Don't do it at a company. From a CEO / management's perspective it is already hard enough to get all employees rowing in the same direction, keep them generally happy, motivated, satisfied with their work, offer growing opportunities, and turn a profit at the same time. There is no time or space for such philosophical meanderings. But this guy probably knew this would happen, wanted to make a point anyway, and made it, and was fired. He accomplished his goal.

Now on diversity: it is generally good a company's internal make-up reflects the broader population, in US that would be 50% women, 15% black, Latino, etc. It is good companies striving to get there. How to get there? An approach, and according to affirmative action (law), a company gently prefers the minority candidate over another, at the door, if they have equal skill sets.

But once inside, I add, you don't talk about gender, race. You don't think about gender, race. Inside, it is the diversity club. What is the first rule of diversity club? You don't talk about the diversity club. Simple. If, say, women are huddled in classrooms in companies to help them specifically to improve some of their skills, not okay. Making people aware of their difference, even if sometimes in positive ways, not okay. There is research that shows, while taking tests, some kids are made aware of their minority status, their score went down. Internally companies stay color-blind, gender-blind, purely merit based. If there are two employees equally unfit for a company, one of them woman the other man, both get fired. Affirmative action is only to fight against the discrimination at the door, the rest is up to the person, company stays neutral.

After all that, and the internal percentages are still off due to the availability of qualified diverse candidates or other causes, that is sad and not a company's problem. The larger social system needs fixing.

Question

But does affirmative action work?

It does

The Clinton WH did a review on that, with the intention of removing it, but they decided against it because they found out it worked. Details are in the book All Too Human by George Stephanapopolopopolopoluoplpuoplupoplupououllpulpulpouplpuopuous. Unless there is new research that shows otherwise, I am going to stick with that.

Comment

You just made reference to someone's long Greek last name and made him aware of his difference, if this person saw it it may hurt his feelings.

I am a blogger

I can say whatever funk I want. I am not in public office, write for a wide-circulation newspaper, a politician, an offical outlet, or a reader's coworker. People in such position may not be able to say the things I do.