In Defense of Sensible Message Delivery

The following is a conversation that I had with another YouTubee, regarding the nonsensical use of a song with blatantly explicit lyrics within the first few seconds when attempting to spread the word of why weed legalization should be considered. My foremost argument was that the attempt should have been made to reach the widest possible audience, not merely rationalize that people should just disregard offensive bits.

The video (here, note the very NSFW lyrics at the immediate beginning) about the rationale to legalize weed is a decent message and well-made conversation, but the opening song makes the potential for spreading to relatives and cow-orkers dramatically lesser due specifically to the opener.

It’s not something I’d rather forward to my grandmother, or post on here as I try to keep things as clean as possible. Further, it is my assertion that the vast majority of swearing is purely unnecessary — that emphatic statements can be made without using language many regard as woefully inappropriate.

Keep in mind that YouTube comments have a maximum character limit of 500, so retorts are naturally brief. Words inside [brackets] are corrections in my original post to clarify.

ablestmage – Video would be loads better if the opening song didn’t have swearing. It is now not sharable with friends and family due to the obscenity at the very beginning. Nice.

casemon – Maybe you should get friends and family that are adults and can handle someone else’s expression without feeling they’re being violated?

ablestmage – The idea when spreading a message is to appeal to as many people as possible, not limit your audience. There are millions of Americans who will not tolerate swearing [in] music, and will be automatically turned off from any message that contains swearing because it is utter insensitivity from the very beginning. The idea is to appeal to EVERYONE, not just people you consider adults. Why limit your audience like that?

casemon – You say “everyone” but then discount use of aggressive language as a means of expression. This is the very core of hypocrisy (hip-hopcrisy?) Closed-minded people who “turn off” from a few uncouth words, imposing outdated morality, are the very closed-minded people who got us into this. I don’t care for the music either, but as a thinking person, I choose to not let it tarnish the core message. Otherwise I’d be apart of the problem, not the solution. Don’t mistake the forest from the trees.

ablestmage – I don’t discount it as a means of expression. I discount it as a means of appealing to the widest audience possible. The idea is to get the message out to both the open AND the close-minded people. Insulting your audience’s standards is not conducive to getting a message out, and may inadvertently re-inforce the idea that drug legalization propontents lack common decency — regardless of whether the message is legitimate. Simply excising the offensive language solves the entire problem.

casemon – Cow-towing to a self-imposed moral center will get us nowhere. I contend such is the very same thinking that got us here (your rebuttal?) What you’re suggesting is censorship; voluntary, but still damaging. I don’t know where to begin to explain how many ways that is harmful. What I do know is supporting insular, xenophobic thinking, that serves to distract from the message, will not help us move forward. Perhaps you can channel your conviction into creating a pro-pot video for the dainties?

ablestmage – Catering to the sensibilities of your audience is fundamental in the essence of effective message dispersal. If you are trying to spread the message about the benefits of democracy to an Islamic nation, you don’t make a video with the opening song bellowing, “Mohammad was a douc[h]ebag.” It’s just common sense. You’re not sacrificing your journalistic integrity by being cognizant of your intended audience’s sensitivity — you’ll have their rapt attention if you acknowledge it.

casemon – Ok, so let’s follow your point (as you ignore the ones I make). How is the opening music anti-american as you suggest? I believe tagging other people’s videos with your own bumper music / logo is stupid, but surely this content is available without the uploader’s tag, unbranded? Why not find those and send those links to your sensitive friends? Or again, why not make your own? This is YouTube. Basically why not be a part of the solution that you so covet?

ablestmage – I never suggested the opening music was anti-American. I said there are millions of Americans, who could certainly do well to hear this message, which also find curse-filled lyrics unacceptable. Part of effective message dissemination is establishing credibility as a messenger, and by insulting the audience you’re trying to communicate with is detrimental to that goal. The argument is not with the branding, the style, the music genre, the artist, or the beat — it’s the explicit lyrics.

casemon – Ok, I’ll bite. So how does your example about sending an anti-Muhammad message to a Islamic nation compare here, if you’re not suggesting the opening music to this video is anti-american? From where I’m sitting, you’re using double-speak; draw contentious inferences to flame the fire, but then deny doing so and try to shift focus away. Poison-pill. I understand your views on marketing strategy, you needn’t repeat them. Perhaps instead you can rather rebute the points I’ve made? Perhaps not!

ablestmage – The example applies because the original message (of democracy) has nothing to do with the alleged douchebaggery of Mohammad. Including an offensively-worded song as an opener for a message you want to speak to people who would naturally find offense with the song, is just nonsensical. What other points in particular have you made, other than misunderstand mine?

casemon – The music and the video do speak to a similar venue; that we’re no longer a republic “of for & by the people”. You’ve made your point, the music conflicts with your _personal_ views on what is offensive; “nice”. I do disagree the uploader should change for you or the supposed millions you apparently have no qualms speaking for. I know there are just as many who have no problem with it. But if you can’t read, don’t get snarky with me for giving you a chance to not sound like a dinosaur…

ablestmage – It is not my opinion that they are offensive — I can dismiss them just fine. My remark is that a very large potential audience exists who would find the opening lyrics offensive. In order to better communicate a message to a wider group of people, a peaceable form of speaking should be utilized, instead the sort that is widely known to elicit irritation, regardless of whether that irritation is well-founded. In order to convince dinosaurs of a valid point, you’ve got to speak dinosaur.

casemon – So many assumptions, so little humility; amazing! Twist & bend what you’ve said as being something else, go ahead. Ignore the points I’ve challenged you on, no problem. I understand such is easier than _actually considering_ an alternate view; best to just repeat yourself and accuse anyone who questions who as being simple (oh the irony!) I _was_ curious as to why you don’t do a better job yourself, rather than criticize others… but your attitude speaks for itself. Hope that works for you! As of press time, there were no further replies. Should there be any more, I will append them.

ablestmage – The reason I’ve been repeating the same thesis is because you keep trying to derail the original argument and make it about unrelated side issues. Sure, feel absolutely free to have grand, exquisite, lightning-spooge victory on the side points all you like. I haven’t bent anything — I’ve repeated my original argument continuously. My criticism is constructive and makes the potential audience larger, thereby increasing its effectiveness.. I *do* a better job, and I’m passing along tips.

casemon – It’s ok, people lie to themselves every day. Don’t feel you have to justify yourself (unless you want to).

ablestmage – Bothering to justify oneself is evidence of credibility. If you prefer not to justify yourself, I’m sure your intended audience will have their tomatoes ready.

Lawbreakers Arrested By Lawbreaking Police: Legitimate?

I understand that it is occasionally necessary for police to break the law in order to apprehend fugitives — but I grossly disagree with the operations used by police to set up potential law-breakers by providing deceptive temptations. What I mean, for example is the article on this guy.

The headline, Police: Man Uses Fake Money To Buy Fake Drugs really caught my eye because I was curious as to how exactly someone could be arrested for buying fake drugs — because what exactly is the crime? By that rationale, could you not also be arrested for killing a fake person? His other charges made quasi-sense, in that he did use counterfeit money (despite how poorly manufactured it was, a few bills even only being printed on one side).

However, it seems grossly dishonest (to the point of obscenity) on the character of the officers and officials that permit such behavior by deliberately lying and setting up a completely untrue circumstance in order to catch someone commiting a crime. I mean, by that rationale, a friendly officer could loan you a ten dollar bill when you were down on cash, but then arrest you for trying to pass off that secretly-fake ten dollar bill that he just gave you. That’s the same thing, to me.

I can understand if an officer needs to speed in order to catch a speeder (not always true), but in that case, the crime has already been committed and the officer is simply acting in pursuit. For officers to stage an overt lie, and get follow through with it enough to arrest someone for doing things they wouldn’t have done without that temptation present, is a very terrible disservice to the reputation of police in general, if not on the United States for having absurdly corrupt law enforcement.

REVIEW — Fallout 3 Anchorage Addon: Don’t Bother!

I played through practically the entire Anchorage addon for Fallout 3 in under three hours. It’s not worth ten bucks — seriously. Wait until the GOTY edition comes out and get it when it’s included in the bundle. Don’t waste ten bucks worth of MS Points on this silly thing.

PROS:
* Rather awesome plasma sniper rifle with 72dmg afterward (uses one entire MF Cell per shot)
* Rather awesome winterized armor afterward.
* Rather awesome special sword afterward.
* Graphics that are different than the same boring desert wasteland all over again.
* Tons of ammo and health regeneration everywhere.
* Tall cliffs, large caverns, fighting against a tank, a few big explosions, some cloaked enemies.
* One of your squadmates seems almost completely immortal, as if he had one of those crown icons from Oblivion, so he can come in handly.

CONS:
* Not free-roaming. You can only go in very limited areas. Very BIG con! The added size is about as big in areas as perhaps two of the harder Oblivion gates from ES4:Oblivion. You’re not allowed to wander about, you’re pretty much set within either terribly steep cliffs with nowhere to go but the path, or between trench-like cliffs taller than your head that you can’t climb over.
* You don’t get to bring your gear, and start with practically nothing.
* A very confusing moment when teammates start shooting each other/you, seemingly unprovoked.
* Really corny, unrealistic, absurdly simple miniboss at the end.
* Stylistically terrible copypasted use of the Nirnroot sound from Oblivion to locate ammo/health/weaps.
* Can’t open boxes, garbage cans, toolboxes, or anything else.
* Can’t pick items off bodies, they disappear after death.
* Harder enemies hinding in the distance easily outsmarted by novice-level VATS usage.
* Supposed immense treasure trove at the end is a very small, single room and a few shelves of regular junk, most of which you probably already had.
* Forced “fast travel” moments when, as you’re done with a particular task, you’re just blurred out and back into wherever you’re supposed to be instead of letting you walk around and pick up the pieces.
* No need for money, repairing weapons (since you can’t collect them from fallen enemies), lockpicks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Fallout 3 so far, despite my initial frustration with many of the non-intuitive aspects of the game — but the Anchorage add-on flat out removes a lot of what makes Fallout 3 great (just while you’re in the simulation) and doesn’t add but perhaps a few nice weapons and maybe five hours tops, to a game I could easily spend 80-100 hours playing without even completing the main quest. Bad Bethesda! Bad!

Official Ablestmage.com Boxxy Stance: DO NOT WANT

I’m not gonna just leave this right here, I’ve gotta say something. inb4troll

If you have randomly abstained from 4chan lately, specifically /b/, then you may not have been aware of a recent civil anonywar that has caused mods to initiate a blanket posting ban on the word Boxxy (came up for me as an error to the effect of, “Post about something else,” even when mentioning one’s distaste). I’m siding with the anti-boxxy revolt here, although technically I’m breaking the anony-oath by identifying myself as an anon. It’s better than had I dared to reveal the secret phrase to identify one anon to another, “do u liek mudkipz.” Oops.

A good historical account of the seemingly anti-meme can be found above, and after having seen one of the videos (one was enough), I can officially state that has squarely wedged herself into the terrifying position of my do-not-want list, which also includes Shakespeare and the over-replayed Christian tune (which is even worse when sung by well-meaning people who can’t sing), I Can Only Imagine.

I’ve tried to bring a rise of the Anti-Boxxy, the wonderous and magnificent Alona, without success. May the name of the Boxxy be forthwith accursed in this land. That, and Break.com’s stank flash video player which is like getting handed prepared soup in a wicker basket.

Cuddle & Coo Doll Comments Summary

After looking at the zillions of comments I’ve gotten from people in the past couple months of my video’s run, here’s a list of all suggestions submitted.

islam is the light
israel is the light (pronounced iz-RY-el)
ismaliz delight
a smile is delight
ichabod needs the mike
israel is the life
aslan is the light
we all look alike
is lamb on a kite
Hitler is the reich (and thus invoking Godwin’s Law)
e-slaw is delight
his mom is a dyke
a smile in the night
I.S.K.C.O.N. is the light
anyone got a light?
it’s not near the light
islam is alike
England is the light
Eggland is the light
if you’re not here tonight
is mom here tonight
islam has my knife
lives long in the night
is mom alright
which one is alike
slammin down the light (in an aussie accent)
it’s sunny delight
i glow in the night
it’s on israelite
is ron in the lake (aussie accent)
his law is the light
his long israelite
kiss mom goodnight

There also appears to be a big rift between many of the commenters:
1. many are perfectly capable to discern individual syllables from the sounds and make up nonsensical “ig-la-ig-de-like” translations, others understand how “islam is the light” might be heard by someone who doesn’t know any better but just find it to be incoherent murmurs,
2. more suggested comedically that the message is actually a garbled version of “the [insert sports team] rule,” (or some otherwise unlikely variation), others who reason that “ig-la-ig-de-like” doesn’t make any sense therefore it must be some other combination of real words,
3. a few muslim commenters revelling in the victory of islam over American capitalism,
4. yet still others will adamantly *insist* that there is a message present of some kind and that it is ultimately some act of corporate conspiracy to destroy the minds of children and demand its removal from the shelves or they may just have some kind of aneurysm right this very second and it is all your fault.

I am among the first group, and I am frankly baffled by the last group. Here are a few from that last bunch:

//
“This doll obviously says “Islam is the light.” I can’t believe people aren’t fighting to get this trash out of America!

Um hello ITS CLEAR AS DAY!!!!!

Look IDIOTS…the point is the doll is defintely saying something. The timber of the voice changes and their is a meter to it’s speech. It is no longer “cooing”. So what is FP toys trying to feed our kids? They could clear all this up by simply making it public. It’s obviously saying something and since FP is “politicaly correct” it probably IS saying Islam is the Light to garner support from the enlightened peoples of the world. (roll eyes)

It sure sounds like “Islam is the light” to me. Regardless of what it says, I don’t appreciate a toy manufacturer slipping something other than a “coo” in this doll. I don’t trust their message and their messing with the minds of our children!!

I bet some oil rich Musim @%&*!$# bribed Fisher Price just to get this out on the market!!! It’s to bad some Americans will sell there soul for a quick buck. And I wouldn’t buy one for a buck today even if I could sell it tomorrow for $1,000,000!!!! And anyone who buys one is supporting Terrorists! Think about it!!!!

official response is, “The only ‘word’ the doll is programmed to say is ‘mama’. all else is ‘cooing and gurgling”. asked her if she heard it herself. she said no. i told her that i had, and mama was not the only ‘words’ this doll said. i told her i will be boycotting fp/mattel products until they acknowledge the problem and make a public apology. whether they intended to produce this or not; it happened and they need to take responsibility for it.

I only have one thing to say: What in the hell is the reason for making these children’s toys to say things like I just heard. I am not deaf or hard of hearing. I will no longer shop at Target or any other store who carries these types of dolls or other toys that can send messages that parents should be giving their children. What happened to plain dolls that help little girls to learn to be good mommies? They went out in the the 60s. When I was young. We don’t need talking dolls at all.

Whether that is what it is saying or not, it is close enough to warrant concern on the part of any Christian. The doll will not be recalled for fear that it would offend the Islam community in the US. Christians have been offended and ridiculed for way too long now and I certainly do not want any child that I love and care for to have one of those dolls and, unless there is a formal apology, it will be a cold day hades before I purchase a F-P or Mattel product again.

What do you think it is saying? I hear it saying ‘Islam is the light’.
Obama, the secret muslim, is in cahoots with Fisher Price to brainwash America. This is a very sinister thing that has been uncovered.

//

Even still, I am thankful there are a few people with some sense out there:

//
I’m hearing “Ichabod needs the mike [microphone].” Either way, it’s just an example of apophenia. And not even a particularly good one; I’ve heard much better examples. Check out episode #105 of the Skeptoid podcast for some really uncanny examples made from only computer-generated sine waves. (BTW, I’m not associated with Skeptoid at all, I’m just a fan of it.)

Everyone is nuts!!!! it just sounds like baby talk…blah blah blah…People have way too much time on their hands.

This is the power of suggestion at work; it sounds like “Islam is the light” because that’s what we’ve been told to listen for. Fisher-Price has released the original (uncompressed) recording, and it’s clearly nonsensical baby talk.

Just go find the Chinese people that recorded and made this doll and you will have your answer. It probably really is something Chinese for “More American dollars for us!” XD

I rate you five stars for the way you present the video. It’s sounds like “Islam is the Light” to me, too. Of course, nobody really ever says “Islam is the Light” except this doll, so it’s hard to believe it’s a Muslim product. I think it’s supposed to be burbling like a baby, not saying anything. I have to admit, I would freak out if a doll I bought suddenly said something religious.

if i had listed to the doll without reading what it’s supposedly saying, i maybe would have just said that it was random mumbling but like you said, a case of suggestion, so i’m sitting here expecting it to say “islam is the light”

“ikluh eh da light” – That is what it sounds like to me. Sounds like babble…… What an amazing concept, a baby the babbles. Wonder if somebody put that in a doll. Hmmmmmm? How any of you hear Islam at all in the first word scares me. The doll clearly makes a keh sound in the first word. Unless somebody has changed it and not told me, and Webster, there is no “K” or keh sound in the word Islam

Im pretty sure that if you listen to it with the words Islam is the light going through your head then that is what you will hear.I have to admit,I couldnt make out anything other than an unclear voice saying Islam is the light.Somebody made the point about free speech,people have the right to suggest that Islam is the light.But,and its a BIG but,if as were meant to believe this is a crude attempt at brainwashing children then the disturbing thing isnt the words but their vessel.
//

However, there were a handful of people who took the opportunity to make light of the mess and post silly, funny, and smile-worthy remarks to lighten up the discussion:

//
It’s saying “I snort the nose, Lucifer! Banana! Banana!”

I want a Bud Light.

Afternoon delight. The doll is obviously a fan of “The Starland Vocal Band”

“Staaaaay in school! Bruuuush your teeth!”

Too bad it’s not uttering stock tips.

It also says: “Americans are paranoid !!”

“obama is white”

“e-slaw is delight” I’ve never tried e-slaw, but I did have an e-hotdog once.

it said “anyone got a light?” cus it’s a cool smoking baby

I just got done taking a shower! i just watched ur video while im naked! lol xD w

it says Estrella delight! 50 % Less Fat!

//

One final goofy commenter is while I’ll close with, which gave me a good chuckle it was so random:

igla is delight. This dates back to the original doll series back during the time of hedges which was shortly before the wheel. Igla was a shrewd fellow who enjoyed fig daltons (later becoming the infamous fig Newton) but spent quite a many nights with a fake friend dollumnaum. After many years of mispronouncing this fake creatures name, he decided to cut it short and just call it doll. Many years later….awe crumb..I’ve dropped my fudge.

I’m done.

Researching “American Agencies” @ 1-877-728-8912

Note: This article is taken as true on “presumed honesty” and is more just a culmination of the Internet version of group-think — people posting semi-random remarks on the same subject, and drawing a conclusion from the total. The article’s authority is based on unknown degrees of honesty from anonymous sources.

After doing a little research online and looking up 1-877-728-8912, random-ish and mostly-anonymous reports seem to pop up from number-alert sites that a company called “ACA Receivables” (that may or may not appear on Caller ID) may be the one making these calls (according to a few commenters here and here): under the guise of a collections agency. Another commenter reports being told they owed money for AT&T and that after checking with AT&T him/herself, that AT&T hadn’t used them for collections for at least four years.

There’s a website for AmericanAgencies.comAnother similarly-named company, AmericanAgency.com deals with insurance, and I suspect they may simply have a similar name — plus none of their contact numbers appear to match up.

CallerComplaints.com’s Entry lists around 35 reports for this number, a few citing actually calling the number and getting runaround about past debt and asking you to verify your information by telling the “first five digits” of your SSN. Yikes!

American-Agencies-Complaints.US appears to be a written by someone uninterested in web design, but contains a bit of info about a lawsuit that occured in 2003 involving ACA Receiveables.

I also looked up a few governmental fraud reporting sites for possible scams, and FTC Complain Assistant seems like the best place to official submit alerts if you’re in the US, as they need reports to track areas that are being hit. From the CallerComplaint site above, it seems various parts of the country may be getting singled out and some complaints date back to around October of 2007.

Hope this helps out! This very well may simply be a legitimate credit agency who has a wrong number for someone who does actually owe money. However, it hasn’t gotten to the point of irritation that I’ve yet been bothered to call the number to find out. If you do or did, please tell me your results in the comments below! If you recorded your conversation — send it to ablestmage@gmail.com so the rest of us will know what to expect. Don’t give out any pertinent info like SSN digits of any sort, but perhaps just with exploratory questions to see whether they might actually be kosher.

Debunking Forwards: Columbo Scratching His Head

I’ve been sent yet another bizarre forward by the usual sources — the “underground” truth factory that insists that the media will not cover issues that desperately need covering. The reason they’re not covered.. is that it’s not even a story worth mentioning. Get over yourself already!

The latest epiphany is that a bunch of Obama’s transcripts and such are “not available” and “not released,” and that “the American people” are supposedly in adamant demand for such information be made available right this very second —


1. Occidental College records — Not released
2. Columbia College records — Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper — ‘not available’
4. Harvard College records — Not released
5. Selective Service Registration — Not released
6. Medical records — Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule — ‘not available’
8. Law practice client list — Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate — Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth — Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published — None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles — None
13. Your Record of baptism– Not released or ‘not available’
14. Your Illinois State Senate records–‘not available’

Okay, so, tell me how exactly #1-7 applies to anything regarding Obama’s elligibility for presidential election. That’s an entire HALF of the items on the 14-item list that have nothing to do with anything, meaning that you’ve got your undershorts in bunches over nonsensical misgivings that hey, someone might just want some privacy, and as an American citizen who has not yet been elected president, I think he may retain that right. Because you, as a voter who will be responsible for making a decision of whether he gets in or not, should be held to an even higher scruitiny about whether you are actually sane enough to make that kind of judgment call.

Oh wait, you get to exercise that right by simply being a citizen. My bad. While we’re at it, let’s review the necessary presidential elligibility — 35 years old, natural born (meaning that someone born out of country can still be elected if his/her parents were citizens at the time), and have lived here at least 14 years. I’m pretty sure those check out. As for the others on the list —

#14 – What do you mean, the Illinois State Senate records are not available? You mean that you didn’t want to actually go thru the paperwork to get them, or that they’re just mysteriously absent from all knowledge? I’m sure there’s an Illinois version of C-Span that has those details. I’m very skeptical that those would be hard to find. We’re not counting web 404’s, are we?

#13 – If you were a Christian and actually concerned with whether Obama is a Christian, his baptism record is not proof — and as a Christian, you would know that. A baptism record is one of many possible public signs to that one church he goes to that he trusts Christ as his righteousness in place of his own before the gavel of YHWH’s throne. Asking for a baptism record as proof is like criticizing someone for being good enough for heaven — totally missing the point.

#12 & 11 – So you’re getting upset that he hasn’t published any scholarly articles? How is that even remotely a point worth even bringing up? I’m sure he hasn’t written any scholarly articles for the Times Record News, but you don’t see me forwarding propaganda across the nation yakking about it. Big freakin’ deal.

#9 & 10 – Practically the same thing. #10 is not necessary in the least if you’ve already got #9. Pretty necessary, but I’m so beyond certain that this information is well known enough that just because you, John Q. Citizen can’t get ahold of any other random person’s birth certificate either is a sign that you really have no idea what you’re even going on about.

#8 – – Law practice client list. Umm.. what? I think you’d be pretty hard pressed to find very many law firms who would be willing to release client lists. I think that’d be a privacy issue with the clients themselves, not with the practice.

So there you have it. America is concerned with maybe one of these things, Columbo. Any by the way, you’re fired.