You guys’ comment discussion about steak dinners that turn into sales pitches reminded me of the time my friend Jeff and I went to a speed-reading seminar. The Evelyn Wood method — remember her? The pitch was, you got one free lesson and then they leaned on you to sign up for the whole course.
As I recall, one of Jimmy Carter’s first actions after winning the election was to take a speed-reading course, which says so much about him — such an earnest schoolboy thing to do. But speed reading, as I recall, was total bullshit. The teacher showed us her technique, which involved sliding your fingers down the page, reading a page in about two or three seconds. And I don’t care how many classes you take, that isn’t reading, speed or otherwise.
I forget what we did after that first class, but I remember going outside and laughing uproariously.
What ever happened to Evelyn Wood speed reading? Let’s ask Professor Google:
Put another way, the problem with speed-reading claims is that speed-reading is really just another way of saying “skimming.” You can flash as many words as you like in front of your eyes, and though you may be able to understand each word on its own, they won’t mean much as a collective whole. Language processing just doesn’t work that way.
Yep. I read fast enough, although I never measured it, because who gives a shit? As a writer, I like to savor sentences, hold them on the tongue a moment or two to consider their flavors. No crime in that.
Boy, you can tell it’s bleak January, can’t you? Been indoors all day, except for a brief dog walk. Got the bathrooms cleaned, got a workout in, and now I’m too lazy to even take a shower. I did start the day reading this hair-raising account of a Canadian man — and many others — targeted by a mentally unstable “super spreader” of online slander. The perpetrator, a homeless woman, has targeted him and his entire family, as well as others who have crossed her in some way, for years, and guess what? Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The sites where she has proclaimed these people to be pedophiles, scammers, cheaters and worse? Say they can’t do anything about it.
This, more than anything, makes me insane. Lots of people make fun of newspaper editors for our once-quaint, and now-abandoned, belief that we were gatekeepers of information, but at its heart, it’s about taking responsibility for your use of a very powerful tool. That belief is absent in tech. Forgive the longer-than-usual cut/paste, but here’s the gist:
Many of the slanderous posts appeared on a website called Ripoff Report, which describes itself as a forum for exposing “complaints, reviews, scams, lawsuits, frauds.” (Its tagline: “consumers educating consumers.”)
He started clicking around and eventually found a part of the site where Ripoff Report offered “arbitration services,” which cost up to $2,000, to get rid of “substantially false” information. That sounded like extortion; Mr. Babcock wasn’t about to pay to have lies removed.
Ripoff Report is one of hundreds of “complaint sites” — others include She’s a Homewrecker, Cheaterbot and Deadbeats Exposed — that let people anonymously expose an unreliable handyman, a cheating ex, a sexual predator.
But there is no fact-checking. The sites often charge money to take down posts, even defamatory ones. And there is limited accountability. Ripoff Report, like the others, notes on its site that, thanks to Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, it isn’t responsible for what its users post:
If someone posts false information about you on the Ripoff Report, the CDA prohibits you from holding us liable for the statements which others have written. You can always sue the author if you want, but you can’t sue Ripoff Report just because we provide a forum for speech.
With that impunity, Ripoff Report and its ilk are willing to host pure, uncensored vengeance.
When these greedheads lose their protection, this will be why.
Just as an aside, has anyone considered what’s going to come of the insane overuse of the charge of pedophilia? It’s one of the worst things you can label a person, and yet, it’s more abused than ever, which means sooner or later it will lose its power; I mean, when Hillary Clinton is called a pedophile, what does the term even mean?
Which reminds me: You fans of “Lolita” might enjoy “Lolita Podcast,” which I’m working my way through now, on the recommendation of my daughter. It suffers from some podcast bloat, but in general it’s well-done, thoughtful and thorough. The episode I listened to while cleaning the bathroom was about Lolita in psychology, as well as the treatment of both survivors and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. The latter, it seems, is lacking, and a pre-abuse recognition of so-called minor-attracted persons, i.e. pedophiles, who haven’t committed any crimes yet.
A few years ago, when a little girl was raped, murdered and dismembered in a Fort Wayne trailer park, we had a comment discussion about the result of restrictions on where sex offenders can live, post-release. Because they can’t be near schools and so forth, and because their names are public, etc., many find themselves with few options, and end up in scuzzy apartment buildings and trailer parks, etc. Who else ends up in this borderline housing where no one else wants to be? Poor people, especially single mothers with young children. Bad policy, maybe.
Man, this has meandered, hasn’t it? That’s what happens when you skip your shower to clean the shower. Anyway, soon it’ll be Monday. Enjoy yours.