Sunday, January 09, 2011

Jumping The Gun

The first reports are always hazy;
No one knows what happened yet.
But, look for facts? I’m much too lazy!
Pure assumption’s what you’ll get.

Liberals know the dude’s a ‘bagger,
Fond of Sarah Palin’s list;
Right-wing thought: must be a fag, or
Mexican, or atheist.

Fingers pointing, pointing wildly
See the accusations fly!
Premature, to put it mildly—
Far too soon to answer “why?”

Social ties or vague psychosis—
Everyone’s an expert now;
Always, though, the diagnosis
Fits their older views, somehow.

Rorschach tests are termed “projective”,
Aimed to read inside our heads—
I’d suggest, for that objective
Simply look at comment threads.

I've said it before, I'll likely say it again: I love comment threads.

But... damn.

Moments after the AZ shootings, not knowing that anything had happened, I brought up a couple of my favorite news sites, and was immediately drawn into a black hole of stereotyping and confirmation bias. Liberals knew it was a conservative, conservatives knew it was a liberal; there were people willing to bet (I saw amounts from 20 to 1000 dollars) that the shooter was Mexican (before the reports came out that he was white), gay (after those reports), a tea-partier, an atheist, and so on. When the list of his "favorite books" came out, it only served to reinforce these preconceived notions.

I also saw comments from people who were actually cheering the event. I'd write about them, but I can't find the words.

Oh, and this is particularly sobering--a timeline of similar rhetoric and events.


InfuriatedSciTeacher said...

Good point Cuttle... thanks for some rational perspective on this one. Even PZ seemed to jumpthe gun this time.

Cuttlefish said...

Actually, I was rather impressed by how quickly that mistake was corrected. You are quite correct, he jumped the gun, but he both A) provided evidence for his jump, and B) retracted his jump when the evidence was shown to be fraudulent. Within an hour or two, I think.

Compared to Wakefield, PZ (though, yes, he did jump the gun) is a model of how to do it right.