Factory Farming, Fracking, & 49ers (The Point)

Uploaded by townsquare on 02.02.2012

Welcome to The Point. I’m Michael Shure, and we are joined today by three fantastic
guests on the Point. An we have two amazing points and then one little letter from a seven
year old that I think you will find to be a special point. I’m grateful to be seated
beside tonight Mariana Tosca who I would say is an actress, a writer, a producer, and an
advocate. A social advocate. We have Armaiti May. Armaiti, you are a veterinarian and an
animal rights activist as well. And Adam Sakellarides. Adam is a graphic designer, and an animator,
right, who has made what is, what seems is the number two video according to Time Magazine.
According to Time, yeah. According to Time Magazine the number two video last year so
congratulations on that. Thank you very much. Our points tonight are really interesting.
We have Wayne Pacelle who is the CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States.
We have Lee Camp, a comedian and activist himself. And as I told you before we have
a special seven year old who will contribute to our show in his own way tonight. But first
we’re going to start with Wayne Pacelle. Wayne Pacelle as CEO and president of the
Humane Society of the United States. This is our environmental show so remember, this
is all about being green, about being an activist when it comes to the environment and animals,
and we’re gonna set it off right now with Wayne Pacelle. Here’s Wayne Pacelle. Hi
I’m Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Thanks
for having me on the show. My point today is that if we care about animals, we have
to be concerned about the biggest issue of them all, factory farming. You know, we in
our society are opposed to animal cruelty. I mean you can’t find but a handful of people
who would say this is not a universal value. Malicious, exploitative, abusive activity
towards animals is wrong and every state has prohibitions on that broader concept and behavior.
The problem is, we’re not living that principle in the real world. You know, we get a pet
if we’re a pet loving household every few years, we buy products in the marketplace
you know every couple of weeks that may or may not be tested on animals. But every single
day, we’re making a choice to be for animal cruelty, or against animal cruelty with our
food selection choices. Because the vast majority of animals raised for food in America, and
it’s ten billion a year, are raised on industrialized factory farms where the animals have been
genetically manipulated for hyper rates of growth, for enormous body mass which leads
to chronic pain and suffering. And then many of them are jammed into warehouses, and then
within those warehouses they’re confined in small cages and crates, barely larger than
their bodies. Now again, if we’re concerned about animal welfare, we must be concerned
about our dietary choices because there’s no category of animal use and harm that’s
bigger than factory farming. You don’t have to be a vegetarian. You can be an omnivore
or a vegetarian and still make sounder choices with respect to animal protection. So that’s
my point for the day. And we thank Wayne Pacelle for that point. You know it’s so interesting.
We spend our lives, at least I do anyways so I shouldn’t bring you into the royal
we with me there, as such a hypocrite you know. I am an omnivore as he said, and I’m
heavy on the omni lately. But truthfully, the idea that I really love animals. I own
dogs. I’ve had them my whole life. I get them more than every few years, or I’m actually
trying to space it out a little more than Wayne. Wayne’s not really taking care of
his animals it doesn’t seem if he gets a new pet every few years. But the idea that
we spend so much of our time loving animals in this country, in this society, yet we talk
about and we are witness to daily cruelty. We’re not witness to it, and that’s where
the hypocritical part of me comes in. I’m not witness. I didn’t read the books that
everyone was enraged about. The Fast Food Nation books, and all of the books about factory
farming, because I sort of turned a blind eye to it. But I wanna start with Armaiti
because Armaiti is a veterinarian. I think when you’re talking about animals and you
have a veterinarian in the room, that’s where you start. Where does what Wayne Pacelle
said about how we have a universal love for animals in this country, and then theres a
break with that. Why are we so cruel to them so often? Yea, it’s a question that I ponder
frequently, and as a veterinarian in practice, on a daily basis I see people coming in, wanting
to take care of their animals, usually dogs and cats. And I see their tremendous love
and compassion they have for these animals, and how they struggle financially to meet
obligations to meet their pets’ needs. And yet, there’s this cognitive dissonance that
exist in people’s minds where they don’t connect where they get the food on their plates.
How it gets there. Yea, the cognitive dissonance is a really important thing because as I understand
that, it’s a separation from what is real, and what is happening in your life. Mariana,
what do you think when you sit down, and I don’t know if your a pet owner or not but
I’m guessing you are. I have companion animals and I consider myself a guardian, not an owner.
Right. And I just wanted to say something. You should not feel like you’re a hypocrite.
You’re just uninformed. And most of the people in America are. I wanna interrupt you
for a second. Oh sure. I feel like I’m consciously uninformed. I feel I’m uninformed because
I choose not to want to know about factory farming, and in preparing for this show for
example, I think we all read some things that were really disturbing. And I just...why do
I eat a hamburger ever? Why do I do that? But I love hamburgers. But Michael, there
are products that taste just like hamburgers that you can get that are plant based so you
can still satiate that need that you have for whatever taste. You’re right expect
for the “taste just like hamburger” part. O no no no no. After the show I will give
you a list of products. Ok, that’s fine. But continue. I interrupted. That’s ok.
There is a socialization, a desocialization process that occurs throughout our lives.
It’s from the media, it’s from advertising. It’s at every meal, from the moment we are
born all through our lives what we eat at every meal desocializes us to what is happening
to these animals. Most people don’t understand that. I’m gonna sidetrack here for a second.
There’s something called the Animal Welfare Act, and it’s a law that was enacted to.
It’s not perfect but it does afford some protection for the animals that we are the
steward of on earth. What most people don’t know is that farm animals are exempt from
the Animal Welfare Act. That means it’s a free for all with them. And with the Humane
Slaughter Act, birds are exempt from that law which means, if you’re a chicken, if
you’re one of the ten billion chickens or 300 million turkeys that are being processed
through our factory farms over the course of a year, you’re really in trouble. Well
yes, you’re clearly in trouble. You know, everything that you hear about that. Adam,
tell me what you think when you hear Humane Slaughter Act. Isn’t that just an oxymoron?
I’ve never personally experienced slaughter before so i wouldn’t know, but I understand
what it’s like to be an omnivore and feel very guilty and be like “Oh, it’s just
so convenient. There’s a burger stand right over there.” And I feel most of it is actually
about convenience. If you were to put a Whole Foods Express on every single... if there
were just as many locations right across the street from a McDonalds, people would open
up to that and gradually move the other way. We’ve seen that as time marches on, people
end up coming around to a certain way of thinking. It was interesting because with the industrialization
in the fifties, it would be like, “Oh, eat your meat.” That made actually a very strong
generation. But now we have an imbalance where we’ve gone too far the other way and it’s
too meat heavy. I agree with that. We’ve gone too far the other way but it’s also
the way we’ve gone too far. When you’re talking about farming verses factory farming,
I find it so interesting. I don’t know if any of you have seen these new McDonalds ads.
And what McDonalds is doing is they’re talking about the farmers. There’s a man sitting
on a pile of potatoes talking about how lucky he is, these potatoes are that they will one
day be at McDonalds and taste a whole lot better than they do right now, etc. The same
thing with the beef farmer. When in fact that’s a ruse because these farmers, eighty percent
of the farming that’s done in this country is owned by four major companies when it comes
to creating beef. Yea. And so this whole idea that we fancy that Whole Foods on every corner.
We fancy the family farmer out there. That’s gone with factory farming. This is an industry
right now. So as animal lovers, I mean you’re a veterinarian. Where do you draw that line?
You have to say at a certain point the welfare of the animal has to be taken into consideration,
but we are a carnivorous society. We have big business. What is humane slaughter? I
mean, I don’t understand that. Yea, the Humane Slaughter Act is grossly misunderstood
unfortunately and the vast majority of animals raised for food are not covered under this
act. Birds for example, who comprise over ninety five percent of the animals slaughtered
for food are not even protected under this law at all. And the mammals who are protected
presumably are not really protected because it is not enforced. And time and again, undercover
investigations have shown terrible mishandling and gross abuses of these animals which baffles
everyone. How does this happen? But the reality is, animals are going through this line at
such a rapid pace. The workers may stop to sneeze and in that time, three animals can
go by the line and not be properly stunned before their throats are slit. And when you
say that Armaiti, I’m thinking, how in the world can i buy into this? Because I do, you
know. How in the world can I be a part of what goes on? And I think at certain times
all of us have been, whether as children. And it doesn’t sound as if there’s a lot
of meat eaten at the middle of this table, but maybe at the end. You know it’s funny.
I’m gonna tell a quick anecdote Last year, two years ago I found a baby sparrow that
had fallen out of it’s nest into my little yard. I made a bunch of phone calls, and I
found somebody about an hour away from me. And I drove this little baby sparrow to this
woman’s house who had this bird sanctuary on a Sunday. And I went and this story ends
poorly. You can nod and say how cute and great but it isn’t cute and great. And then I
came home and I went to a Japanese restaurant and I had chicken. And everything that happened
to me in that moment when I took this bite of chicken. What did I just do? I mean I spent
two hours of my life saving this sparrow and eating this chicken. I think we all have this
kind of hypocrisy who eat meat in this country, do we not? Yea, and the same with the treatment
of animals in the farms compared to how we treat our animal companions in our homes.
I mean, I do spades and neuters on dogs and cats, and we always take the upmost care to
not only anesthetize the animals, but give them proper analgesics or pain control medications.
Yet pigs, who are just as conscious and capable of feeling as dogs are get castrated without
anesthesia. It’s extraordinary. You’re absolutely right. These animals have no protections
under the law. And whenever somebody goes to a restaurant and buys a piece of meat,
they are entering into a relationship of complacency. They are allowing someone else to do to these
animals what they themselves. Even if they are the most compassionate person on the planet
and you’re still engaging or buying into the product of this industry, you are allowing
someone else to do what you yourself would not do. And as Armaiti was describing, the
way these animals are killed is really extraordinary. The way they’re kept on factory farms, not
just slaughtered but the way they’re housed there is really egregious. They’re denied
basic instincts. They’re denied the ability to move around. They’re denied space. Exactly.
I mean, the injuries that these animals sustain, just from not being strong enough is incredible.
Now ok. So let’s say we know these things, right? What would you say, and very quickly,
like what is one thing that one person can do to make a difference? It’s gonna sound
trite but I would highly recommend going to farmsanctuary.org. It’s a non-profit organization
that’s been trying to raise education about these specific issues for decades. Farm sanctuary.
Personally, I don’t like to say, “Stop eating meat.” I don’t think that will
help the problem. Educate yourselves on the. Grains and legumes are so much more cost effective
for us to grow, and in terms of health. They’re much better for us than the meats that we’re
eating. Right, but if I opened a legume restaurant and I wanted to make a living. I would be
there. You would be there and you would be dining alone I would imagine. No I’d be
there with her. Alright, that’s fine. But if we were in Debuque, Iowa, I would. Yea
but then you’d be getting those legume subsidies. You know, we also heavily subsidize the meat
industry and corn to feed all these animals to the point where it’s not even practical
monetarily to be a vegetarian. Not to mention to feed them corn which is not part of their
natural diet in the first place. You’ve done your homework. There’s that whole trickle
down for this. In any case, you’ve all made good points. Wayne’s point was interesting
and it does make us think, and we will be back with another point shortly.
Welcome back the The Point. Michael Shure with you. We have a fantastic panel. We’re
going to go right to our next point. Our second point, it comes to us from Lee Camp. A comedian
and activist. And we’re going to be talking on this environmental show about the dangers,
or perhaps not if you think it’s that best thing in the world of fracking, which is i
would say a subject that is causing a lot of controversy in the energy and environmental
work right now. Without further talk, here’s Lee Camp. Hey guys, Lee Camp here. I’m just
gonna rant for a minute about fracking, and hopefully at some point I’ll have a point.
For those who don’t know, hydraulic fracking is the process by which total assholes stick
their massive shafts into the earth, even though the earth has clearly stated she doesn’t
want anything to do with their shafts. They then ejaculate a massive load of chemical
cocktail into the earth and it forces out billions of dollars of unnatural gas. And
according to them, there’s no ill effects of fracking whatsoever. It doesn’t contaminate
the water table or the land, or cause massive earthquakes, except when it does. There are
a few cases of people finding out that their tap water is now flammable, but haven’t
you ever heard of the expression, if you can’t handle the heat of your tap water, then get
out of the kitchen. Clearly the easy solution is to get out of the kitchen forever. And
don’t think the tap water. Or any water. On second thought, you should probably condemn
the entire building just to be safe, or move to another county in Spain. See, easy answers.
And yes, fracking is now causing earthquakes. There’s been eleven earthquakes in Ohio
alone, some as big as 4.0. And I don’t know if everyone’s aware of this, but earthquakes
are not so good for living. Yea, living and earthquakes often butt heads. They very rarely
get along. Something tells me nobody’s going to be fracking thrilled about their affordable
natural gas when their goddam apartment is coming down on their heads. And I bet soon
enough these companies will come out with a positive spin on all this. They’ll go,
“Those weren’t earthquakes. Those were love snuggles from mother nature. You know
women. After being fracked, they always wanna snuggle.” That’s right. This is greed
so immense, it’s literally causing fracking earthquakes. What the fracking fracking frack
of a fracked up situation is this? So anyway, I hope you see my point. Lee Camp is really
fracking good. That was an unbelievable video, but come on. We need energy. We need energy
in this country. We need it in this world. Every single way of deriving energy has it’s
problems, whether it be wind and solar, whether it be you know fossil fuel. Adam, come on.
What do we do? Do we need energy bad enough we’re gonna frack? Well we shouldn’t necessarily
do all the fracking that we’re fracking doing, but what the frack, why not. Ok, you
get one frack joke and you get one frack joke. And it ain’t no more frack jokes. I’m
apologize. It’s fine. I’m sorry. You have to. I know. It’s called fracking. It’s
too fracking fun. It’s fracking called fracking. No we don’t necessarily need to frack and
when I was involved in this animation that I made, it was based on a song written by
a friend, David M. Homles. And he wrote this wonderful song about the effects of. Actually
just explaining what fracking is. And it blew up on the internet. You should go see it.
Plug plug plug. It’s called my water’s on fire tonight. And I animated it with my
coworker Lisa Rucker. And when I researched this I discovered that it’s so much more
dangerous than anything we should be doing. It’s polluting water all over the place,
and it’s just a really big problem in general. Here’s the thing. We have all this natural
gas in this country, and we have the ability to cut through the shale and send that pipe
down there, blow through. And they’re saying that the dangers are limited. That they’re
really minor dangers. They’re saying the dangers are limited because there are two
different types of drilling. There’s conventional and unconventional drilling. So when you’re
hearing these statistics from the industry, they’re using conventional drilling statistics
to push their agenda. With conventional drilling, you have a well. You bore a hole, you go down,
you stick a casing in, and when you get to a joint in the Marcellus shale layer, if there’s
gas in it, you’re great. You’re in business. If not you move a mile down. You drill another
well. With unconventional drilling, what happens is, you down down and they need four different
types of new technology that’s just been developed over the last sixteen years. The
first of it is directional drilling. So now they can go diagonally, latterly, and vertically.
So what happens is they drill it down, and they get to that shale layer. Now they’re
going to be going out a mile or two in that shale layer to make sure they are absolutely
grabbing as much of that inventory as possible. That’s where the problem lies. Cause when
they’re forcing all of this fluid, essentially giving the earth an anema over and over and
over again, that is busting these fissures in that shale layer. And everything is manmade
here so you’ve got potential dangers from the casing itself. Yea, that’s the whole
thing. That it’s all manmade, and all these dangers exist. And you know, in 1974, Gerald
Ford said, “Ah. We’re gonna have the Safe Water Act.” And as they signed the Sage
Water Act, and then what happened? 2005, they said “well we’re going to revisit this.”
And a little company called Halliburton, I don’t know if you remember Halliburton.
They’re a little outfit out of Texas. Never heard of them. And the president and the Congress
decided that there’s going to be a little loop hole in that Safe Water Act allowing
for the hydraulic fracturing that is going on. The fracking that we’re talking about
today. But Armaiti, when that happens, sometimes it’s with a good reason, sometimes it’s
not. Natural gas is very very expensive right now. We have a lot of it in this country and
we need access to it. Why is it not ok, if it is largely safe, if we see a safety in
this. On balance it is as safe or as dangerous as fossil fuels. Certainly more safe in a
lot of people’s minds than nuclear energy. Why are we having such a problem with fracking?
Well I think it goes back to regulation of safety and taking care of the environment
to the extent that we are able to. Being responsible. Putting in place restrictions when, as Mariana
eluded, when they’re getting to where it’s causing the earth to have it’s limitations,
we need to put limits on that so it doesn’t get so out of hand. I mean, this is getting
to the point where people’s water is flammable. That’s crazy. How can someone even. Ok,
but then there’s always the extreme cases. I mean they’ve been fracking now for years.
Not everybody who’s having a glass of water is having the water catch on fire. Michael,
this statistic they’re using is 99.9 percent safe. That means one in a thousand wells will
cause environmental damage. When you’re looking at an industry or company that has
a hundred thousand wells, that’s a hundred instances of environmental damage. Right now
there’s something close to half a million of these wells up. That’s a frack of a lot.
I got mine in. Armaini’s the only one with a frack on the board. I hear what you’re
saying and it does make sense, but listen. We gotta get our energy somewhere, don’t
we? Up, go up. Go up into the sky and get all solar energy, but there’s a cost to
that and yes, I think it would be terrific if we could use solar energy all the time.
It is impractical. What is amazing though is that solar energy I’ve learned, can help
make this fracking process a lot safer, because there’s a way to not have to frack, get
the chemicals. By the way, the chemicals they use in fracking. They don’t even have to
disclose what they are. Exactly. Unbelievable. They’re proprietary. They don’t have to
say what the chemicals are that they send into the frack hole. We need transparency.
We need transparency, we need to get the Frack Act passed. Once that happens, these industries.
Another thing that needs to happen is fines. Substantial fines need to be imposed for contamination,
for spills. Because what needs to happen is these really big numbers have to be slapped
down on these people’s wrists so that it becomes a deterrent as opposed to just the
cost of doing business. Right, well I understand that. The reason I’m bringing this up though
is because we have to get our energy from someplace. Well if everything was plant based
we wouldn’t need as much energy to being with. If I start eating plant based foods.
Absolutely. Which brings it back around. All the way back to veggie burgers. It all just
comes back to veggie burgers, doesn’t it? It does. Seriously Adam, we have to light
our homes, we have to do this, and cost does become an issue. We live in a world where
money does matter. I’m not defending the big people with the factory farms and the
factory fracks and all that. I’m just saying that we need energy in this world. That’s
the basic thesis. We’ve come to a point where solar energy is actually reaching the
point where it’s actually a little bit cheaper than coal. And that means that it’s actually
affordable because right now probably much of our energy is coal. It’s not worth the
cost when the fracking companies say, “Oh don’t worry. We’ve put a concrete wall
here that’s isolated from the aquifer.” Well you’re breaking the ground anyway.
What makes you think that this concrete wall you’re creating isn’t breaking as well?
There’s so many points of failure, and without the regulation because, you know. The Safe
Drinking Water Act that Bush signed, wasn’t necessarily about making safe drinking water.
The Safe Drinking Water Act though, it was at the time when Ford signed it, it was about
safe drinking water. It was about preventing those things because Ford as we know probably
would have been a democrat. It was a different kind of control that money had over politics.
But forgetting the politics of it, I mean, you make a great point. There’s dangers
all the way down the line. I disagree a little bit on solar energy. Yes, the solar energy
itself is cheaper. The infrastructure for it is not there and would cost a lot of money
over time and we all know that. And I’m not in favor of this hydraulic fracturing.
But, it seems that there has to be a happy medium with a lot of this that will make the
environmentalists happy and will make the fuel companies happy. I mean, natural gas
would save a lot of money for a lot of people. A lot of poor people in America too if we
had our supply of natural gas. Where do you start to say, ok we’re gonna be ok with
this if they put these measures in place. Or do you say absolutely not, goodbye. See
you later. Frack you. I couldn’t say frack you because then that would be twice. That
would be twice. I’ve already violated, yea. Um, what was your question Michael? My question
Mariana is where do you say it’s ok? Where is the happy medium here? I don’t know if
there is a happy medium to tell you the truth because people’s lives right now are being,
significantly destroyed because of this practice. This I found astounding. The industry is being
allowed to drill in our national parks. Why is that happening? Because the government
does not have the mineral rights below the surfaces. They only govern the surface rights.
It’s public and private land that is at risk when they do this and it’s all people
everywhere that are at risk as well. And they are on schedule now to drill fifty million
more of these wells and go in and frack the hell out of us. We need to lobby the frack
out of our Congress people. There you go. She got it. And that is the point. Let’s
lobby the frack out of our Congress people. I’m Michael Shure. We’ll be back with
another point in just a moment.
Welcome back to The Point, I’m Michael Shure, and we have a fantastic panel tonight. We’re
joined, come in this way this time. Adam Sakellarides, Armaiti May, and Mariana Tosca. We have a
point now that we’re not gonna show a video of necessarily. I’m gonna tell you what
this is. Last week there was a football game played, and I know not all of you are football
fans. The San Francisco 49ers played the New York Giants. In that game, a player from San
Francisco, Kyle Williams, a wide receiver and punt returner, fumbled twice. But his
last fumble was a devastating fumble for the 49ers and their fans because it allowed the
other team to get the ball in overtime and then proceed to win. I happened to have been
watching with my seven year old son and we are 49ers fans. My son Owen, it was his first
sort of interaction with the devastation of being a sports fan. And there were tears,
there was inconsolable crying, and I didn’t really know what to say. I should have expected
it. I said to him, “Owen, imagine if you feel this badly, how Kyle WIlliams must feel
right now.” And at that point, he said to me, “ Well I think I’m gonna write him
a note. I wanna write a note to him.” Which was sweet and then of course any father would
be proud and think it’s fantastic. This is the note he wrote. Dear Mr. Williams. We
just watched the Playoff game. I feel really bad for you but I wanted to tell you that
you had a great season. You should be very proud, so I wanted to say thank you. I am
your #1 fan. Owen Shure. P.S. You’re awesome. And of course there are all the misspellings
of a seven year old. And I’m not saying this to talk about what a great son I have.
That is implicit because he’s great. But what I’m talking about is where we have
come in this world of anonymity. Because what happened the next day, and that night, and
that evening to Kyle Williams were death threats. I wanna kill your family. I wanna kill you.
I hope your wife dies. You should jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. I hope somebody hands
you the ball next year and it explodes. And here juxtaposed to my sweet son, and any sweet
child who’s looking at this and saying, “I hope everythings ok and you’re still
a good player.” The power of anonymity. Where does that...where have we come now where
you can write a comment to somebody and be so cruel, and be so uncaring? Why is that
happening now and is it one of the real faults of the internet? It’s a fault of the internet
but it’s also one of the benefits of the internet. Like you know. Anonymous can go
out and do their crazy activist things just as much as somebody unfortunately can say
these horrible things and make a player feel really horrible about a screwup I’m sure
they didn’t want to happen. But you know, there was activism Adam before there was Anonymous.
There were people protesting wars and protesting civil rights. There were people protesting
the Equal Rights Amendment. I mean there’s everything that we can think of until the
internet had proud activists. People who were proud to oppose what they saw. But sometimes
you need that anonymity for whistle blowers and stuff like that. And sometimes these people
wouldn’t have been saying the things that they would be saying, these good things, if
there wasn’t that anonymity. Well, you know Armaiti, I want you to continue on that subject
a little bit because I don’t really agree with Adam here. Of course we can say that
there are benefits to the internet. We know a lot more. We know a lot more quickly. Whistle
blowers. All of these things that he’s listing, they were there already. I mean, we’ve had
them already. And of course we don’t want to have an ID law on the internet that you
have to be you, because that would be a violation of every kind of civil right, but is there
anything that we could do? Is there something wrong with our society and that’s just it?
I think there’s definitely something wrong with our society, and when we see comments
like these, it is alarming that...there is something very deeply troubling, first of
all that we take a sports game so seriously to respond in this manner. And then to attack
another human being in such a vile way. I mean it reflects something within ourselves
that we need to address and in that way, hopefully we can turn it around and make it into something
positive and heal ourselves. Because we’re clearly in trouble if this is the type of
comment that’s being put out there. And I like the flagging aspect that websites have
where comments can be flagged as inappropriate and people rate them. Yea, it’s a bandaid
though. It’s a bandaid. I don’t have the cure but it’s a bandaid, and you know Mariana,
I think that this just goes beyond sportsmanship too. There’s something that I think is fractured
to continue a theme, but societally fractured when people feel that they have to vent their
venom and anger online at a football player. But it’s not, we know it’s not just a
football player. It’s a politician. It’s somebody in another class, and it goes to
bullying. It’s all over the place. I cannot wrap my brain around this. I really can’t.
I’ve don’t understand what would compel somebody to behave that way anonymously or
otherwise. The anonymous internet use does embolden people to think that they can get
away with a lot of stuff they would never have the courage to do face to face with someone.
I think what it comes down to is that for a lot of people, myself included, our daily
lives are things that just aren’t, they might dislike for whatever reason and so we
need distractions to kind of pull us out of that. And entertainment, sports, music. Where
the problem lies is when our identity becomes so immeshed with that outside activity that
we have no control over. And when something goes awry in it, then we react personally
as if it’s happening to us. And that’s what I see with this poor man Kyle. I mean
he fumbled the ball. I’m not a sports fan but he fumbled the ball. Yea, no. I mean,
this example is egregious. This is a terrible example but there are smaller examples, and
there are bigger examples too when somebody really does screw something up. I remember
writing a letter to the editor when I was young. Remember you would open the newspaper
and there would be letters to the editor, and it would be Fred Smith in West Covina.
And you knew where Fred Smith was. You knew where West Covina was. The idea that we now
have to communicate using aliases. It’s scary man. I think it’s just scary that’s
how this goes forward. And I don’t know what the cure is and my point here is that
we have to take a look in the mirror at what’s going on. But it’s a pretty weak point I’m
make. So we take a look in the mirror and realize we’re not doing it, but there’s
still people out there doing it. There’s still people out there like seven year olds
who actually get it. And that gives me hope for the future. And I know a lot of people
agreed with you and it was flattering as his dad to hear that. But again, I don’t want
to focus on Owen and Kyle. It’s more about the idea of being powered by our anonymity
rather than being proud and taking a stand. You know Adam, you did bring up Anonymous,
and there are good things to be said about that. There are good things to be said about
a world where whistleblowers can thrive. But you know, a whistleblower can also type a
letter, lick an envelope, and slip it under the boss’s door. And in many cases that
was how whistle blowing was done before. Isn’t there a better way than anonymously being
on a comment because what if we just got rid of the comment section of every website, of
every blog. But then you would be repressing speech. We would be, right. And it’s always
something, you know? I think this is just a necessary evil that we end up living with
when it comes to free speech. Somebody says something you don’t like. How about having
a moderator for removing objectionable comments. But again, that’s no different than saying...no
comments to me is better than putting a moderator in there, because a moderator is a person
presumably who has an opinion themselves. If somebody watches a video on youtube. They
watch this video and say, “Michael Shure is long winded and boring and we don’t ever
want to watch him again.” Well that’s his opinion. So then to progress to say something
that is threatening. That is not acceptable. That is not acceptable. Or violates their
privacy rights. Right. We don’t have any privacy anymore Mariana. I mean that’s the
thing. Everybody knows my name is up there. I think, if you got rid of the comments section
completely in life, it’s better than a moderator. Do you really think that because I have to
tell you. I have learned so much information through comments sections on you know videos
and blogs and stuff, that I would not have found otherwise. It just seems to me a forum
of vitriol. I agree with that. And it’s extreme what I’m saying. It’s never gonna
happen. Oh isn’t this a forum of vitriol though? Well no, but we know you’re Adam
Sakellarides, and we know you live at 314 Oak Street. But the truth is, we’re out
here with out opinions sharing them with each other. That’s a risk we’re taking. And
I guess that’s a good point you make saying isn’t that what this is and don’t we want
to hear someone who disagrees with us. We’re not putting our feet down here and saying
this is the way it is but. At the same time you want to make somebody look in the mirror,
but how can you stop someone form taking something a little too seriously. We all want to belong
to something, and sports fans want to belong to the team, you know. It gives them some
meaning, whether it’s belonging to a particular group of people who like to own really shiny
computers with a certain fruit logo on the back or whatever. You like to belong to something
and when something happens, you just can’t help but take it a little too seriously. Right,
but Armaiti, when you’re belonging to something, we’re going along with what Adam was saying.
When you belong to something, and you wanna defend that, or you just want to put it out
there and not have it be torn to pieces, whatever it is. Isn’t that a right too? Why are we
risking so much all the time just by having things out in society? You know what I’m
saying? Why do we take such risks? We wanna be recognized. Oh, very well said. Very well
said. I completely agree with that. I didn’t mean to cut you off but when you said that,
it resonated because I do agree. I think a lot of people that are perpetuating this kind
of behavior are people who don’t feel empowered in their lives. They’re insecure in the
inside and they feel they have to lash out in order to make themselves feel more important.
Are these all the shy people that were just too afraid to stand up in public speaking
class and say what they’re saying? And now that they have this area that they can go
into and say these hateful things? It’s so much more tempting to, on twitter, pick
up 140 characters of “This is exactly what is on my mind at this very moment.” And
you don’t give it a second thought, you hit send, and there you go. Then you say maybe
I shouldn’t have done that. Well there is regret, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton
of regret when so many people are doing this. There’s regret in an individual, anecdotal
way, but in a broad sweeping way, people are still doing it constantly. I guess my only
question is, I wonder if the people who were tweeting, they were tweeting this to Kyle?
They were tweeting this to Kyle and I guess there were other comments in other places.
I wonder if they would continue their train of thought or actually have the courage to
say that to him in person or if their opinion would change. That’s my point. If you’re
sitting next to somebody, your opinion is definitely gonna change. You can scream at
the driver next to you and say “You have no idea. You can’t drive. You’re terrible.”
and any other things you might say to them. They get out of their car and come up to you
and they come up to your window and start screaming. Well Ahhh. Sorry sorry sorry. So
it is very different. It’s that distance, it is that anonymity and that’s exactly
what I’m talking about. That’s what I think is so scary about where we’re going
with these things. And again, there’s nothing short of a FIrst Amendment violation that
would stop it. But there has to be some kind of awareness that we instill in people because
this is the way that kids are growing up now. This is how people are communicating. This
is what’s going on. Not your kids. Well not my kid but he is. He’s gonna be twelve
years old and he’s gonna be tweeting. And somebody could be bullying him or he might
even be a bully. Who knows? Bullying is a very serious issue in schools these days and
I think we do need to address it. Educate people, especially educators who are themselves
teaching these kids and instilling them with values they’re going to carry for the rest
of their lives. You know what Armaiti. Bullying is a big issue. When we were in school or
when I was in school anyway, bullying happened in the yard or in the classroom. Now it’s
happening from Bullier 463 @ so and so. So people don’t know where it’s coming from.
In any case, it is not something that we have been able to solve here, but the truth is,
and this is my point. The solution is in the discussion of it and it doesn’t get discussed
enough. So there. We made our point. I’m Michael Shure. Thanks for watching the show
tonight, and I thank Adam Sakellarides, Armaiti May, and Mariana Tosca for being with us tonight.
And we hope you make your point.