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I'm winding down on a big refactoring project and have had some free time on my hands. The question was, how do I spend it? Well, glad you asked! I've heard a lot about 'fake news' these days and I started digging around. One thing led to another and before long I came across an article stating that Amazon has quietly shelved all books relating to the Holocaust that do not promote the traditional view I learned. Low and behold, it was true. To find out what the brouhaha was about I looked for one of the books that was dropped. It is titled "Debating the Holocaust - a new look at both sides" by Thomas Dalton. To see what all the fuss was about, I found an online copy and started reading it. Well now, I've only just gotten through the first chapter, I must say it makes a number of very intriguing points, raises some very interesting questions but, from what I've read so far, does not offer anything that resembles 'hate literature'. I'll keep reading and see what else it offers. The question is, did Amazon cave in to 'special interest groups' and this is another example of how our civil rights and liberties are slowing being distorted and curtailed? Stay tuned, I'll let you know once I've finished the book.
Perhaps you don't comprehend that hate literature is, as often as not, wrapped up in honey. Essentially, build a large background of subtle denials. Then use them to reference one another to prove their point.
That, however, now leads right back to your post - perhaps the concept of fake news is. in actuality, your posting this as though said books were suppressed. That, alone, goes a long way to qualify as hate speech of its own. Just say "they" are suppressing some secret truth or taking away some right. "Special Interest Groups" - who are you bullshitting with that line? Who could you possibly mean? Nod. Wink. Wink. Perhaps your jackboots need some polish?
Your post, in it's special way, isn't up to the standards of the Soapbox. There, at least, we stand up and scream aloud!
Lighten up and stop taking yourself so seriously. My original comment was intended as a light hearted banter on finally having some free time, the evils of fake news, Amazon and what certainly is my very first conspiracy book - without having your heated breath on my neck. Looks like RyanDev was bang on the money when he said this can easily get inappropriate. Now is a good time to bow out. Enjoy your day.
Thank you Matt. Nice to see someone who does not get his pants in knot and does not lose all perspective. I am starting to get a notion of what all the brouhaha is about just by reading the comments being posted here.
To answer the question : no. Amazon is a private entity and as such can choose what they want to sell. We do not have the right to tell them what they can and can not sell. This means our rights and liberties have not been distorted or curtailed in the slightest in this case.
Yesterday, I spent the morning looking for the book. When I tried Amazon.com (and Amazon.ca - for us Canadians, eh?) I received a notice that "the URL was not available" and to go to the main page. I could order the book from Barnes and Noble as well as European web sites but then found an online copy at archive.org. Anyways, I'll give it a read - if only to tick off Balbos.
The question is, did Amazon cave in to 'special interest groups' and this is another example of how our civil rights and liberties are slowing being distorted and curtailed?
No, but it could be coming.
It's a dangerous line we are on right now (well many lines as we are approaching the singularity of humanity and its definition but that is a different topic).
On one hand we have a flood of disinformation intended to confuse and distort actual truth. In the middle we have bias true information that is riddled with opinion to lead the readers perception in one direction. On the other extreme we have white papers that have no opinion are fact based but criticized by the earlier (disinformation flood) for not promoting their political or religious agenda.
Science is under attack and so is truth. If we come out of this mess with an overseer allowing one to bubble up over the other we as a society will be OK, but only for now. The fact is society changes. Only a few generations back we have to go to find slavery (actually it still is in effect around the world, but society shuns it) as excepted by society. This means even if we created the ultimate AI or watch dog agency that could with 100% provide truth vs. fallacy we would have set ourselves up for failure. Why?
Back to the middle. Those media pieces that use fact to state their opinion are a sign of society. In general, they come about because society is lashing back against something (be it state, corporation, a person, any entity really) about following a path that the writer, the writers sponsors, and often the readers want changed. If something contains this they how do we as a society improve or evolve?
My thoughts on this are we need society itself to wise up. Most people on this forum (yes most, not all) are quite smart and can read between the lines of bias articles and still take out the content. Most people on this forum can see a BS article for what it is, and most can read through a white paper without falling asleep. This is simply NOT true for "Most" people in general though.
Take the 2004 election for example. In that election you had a guy that could barely form a complete and accurate sentence against a guy that would ramble on about facts and data and can come off as condescending when not easily understood by the listener. Well in case you are not sure the guy that could not manage putting sentences together won. Someone once pointed out to me that not everyone wants to be told why and how, they just what to here what is going to be done. That's it. Keep it simple and to the point. Intellectual's do not work that way. If you tell them what is going to happen the first thing they will like ask is "Why" followed by "How". They want to know and if you can't explain it, they do not trust you.
How does this relate to fake news?
Both types of politicians use it but in a differing way. This time around we hit an extreme on one side in that not only are the sentences incomplete and the grammar makes no sense but the person also references content from terribly unreliable sources as truth. This is done of course with his own affirmation bias, but the repetition and frequency of it is so high that actual truth is now under attack.
Those that claim a news org like CNN is fake are his flock. While CNN may be bias they source their material properly and by no means is fake. In comparison, the National Enquirer (which has been known to be Satire all my life) was used by him as a reference to black on white crime and is now repeated over and over by his followers. When asked for references they pivot the argument and claim the numbers documented are lies and not all criminals are caught so there is even more. This is not an argument. This is straw man.
This is not to say things are not opinionated in the mainstream media, but to claim fake is a fallacy and ignorant to actual data.
Computers have been intelligent for a long time now. It just so happens that the program writers are about as effective as a room full of monkeys trying to crank out a copy of Hamlet.
The interesting thing about software is it can not reproduce, until it can.
I did not intend my OP to be taken so seriously. But I do appreciate the time, thought and consideration you put into your comment. Nevertheless, we should refrain from further commentary as it will entice the 'jackboots' (e.g. Balbos) to come out of hiding - my bad!
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment "Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst "I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle
A great idea, but just not up here (i.e. Canada) and just now. Up here, the lakes are frozen over. But we always have a few who win the Darwin Award of the Year for not 'believing' a truck and ice house are not heavy enough to go through the ice.
Could you be right? Sure. Are you likely right? I doubt it.
As you pointed out, there are two sides to every story (at a minimum!) So Amazon's side of the story is probably something along these lines:
People (generally) don't know how to think critically anymore. A person can still be smart, but people (especially those in Amazon's first and presumably still primary market, the US,) are a rather ignorant and easily cowed lot anymore. If we (Amazon) offer to sell books that hold an unpopular opinion, we (Amazon) will most likely be seen to support that point of view. This will lead to loss of customer base, and lost revenue, which is obviously a bad thing.
Any special interest group can go to Amazon and ask them to stop selling X or Y product for A or B reason. But being a business, they aren't going to do anything that negatively affects profits. Could they be bribed enough money to more than compensate for lost sales? Maybe. But could you imagine the even bigger hit to sales if that bribery ever came to light? I doubt there's enough money available in circulation to compensate for the precipitous fall Amazon could be subjected to for a misstep.
Now, as to the Holocaust issue (I promise to keep this lounge worthy,) I am not a Holocaust denier. I'm only 31, so obviously I have no first hand proof one way or the other. I've also never met a survivor to hear their story, so no second hand knowledge either. However, it seems silly to deny that the Holocaust ever happened, given that it would require millions of people to have lied about what happened during that period (which borders on conspiracy levels of paranoia to think that everyone would cover it up...)
I also believe that the motivations leading to the atrocities of the Holocaust are many and varied. I won't go as far as to say they were justified (because seriously, any grown person should understand that what happened was objectively wrong,) but sometimes situations get so far out of hand that it is beyond one person to correct. I'm glad that someone took the time to explore the issue from both sides and get it published. At the very least, understanding the reasons and motivations of the Nazi party will help prevent something similar from ever happening again.
Another thoughtful and considerate respond. Thank you. But again, as I have stated and implied in other comments, my intention was never to spark a political discussion. I am just coming off an intense refactoring session and am just blowing off a little steam. The honest truth is I simply needed an interesting diversion that will help me to relax, I inadvertently came across a blog commentary about Amazon and this led me down the proverbial rabbit hole.
For the record, I have never and do not deny any of the atrocities that were committed in WW2. I am a strong believer in hearing both sides of every story and my curiosity leads me to read this particular book. What I find most interesting is some of the 'blowback' I have received so far and this is another of the points addressed in the first and only chapter I've read so far. I am getting the impression the issue is comparable to religious indoctrination and must never be questioned. If this is true, that would be a very, very interesting and telling observation.