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YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

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YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Old 02-13-19, 11:34 PM
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YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Thread title is a dumb joke. I'm sorry.

This is an issue that I mentioned briefly in the AOC lovefest thread. It's pretty off-topic there, and tangentially fits into a few other "all in one" threads, but I think there's a few key areas of discussion worth talking about when it comes to YouTube's cesspool. So here's some word salad to feed your brain worms.

1. YouTube’s most popular user amplified anti-Semitic rhetoric. Again. - by Aja Romano
https://www.vox.com/2018/12/13/18136...-right-redpill
The above piece is about a guy named Felix. He goes by the handle PewDiePie and has, to date, well over 85 million subscribers. Whether you like or understand his content or not, his audience is massive. Bigger than most "celebrities" and for all intents and purposes, I would expect that the folks here at DVD Talk dot com have barely heard of him, if at all. This article is about a recent update he did where he named off a few fellow YouTubers that he recommended. This is normal "good guy" stuff for a big channel, signal-boosting smaller creators, so no big deal. Except... one of the channels he recommended has some pretty nefarious anti-Semitism coded into his work. The specific video that Felix recommended (a video essay on Death Note) had some of this going on, including a "joke" about what the real cause of death may be when someone gets hit by a car and has a heart attack... all while playing footage of the Charlottesville incident (clever stuff, boys), and a different video that plays the "name the Jew" game (in this case, showing pictures of famous people, followed or preceded by a set of 'echoes'.
Who gives a shit about this? Well... Felix's audience skews young (data on kids under 13 is tough because technically no one under 13 legally has their own YouTube account, but pre-teens, teens, 20-somethings are all watching this guy) and many are checking out his recommendations, and if they do... well, there you go. One degree of separation from "watching dude who plays video games" to "anti-Semitism." It's also worth mentioning that Felix paid some guys to walk around with "Death to all Jews" signs as a "joke," naturally. Many of the popular gaming YouTubers/Twitch folks aren't much better. But these folks don't act independently of each other at all.

SEGUE!

2. Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube - by Rebecca Lewis
https://datasociety.net/output/alternative-influence/
This study shows the links between different "influencers" on YouTube; when they have certain guests on, and when they appear on each others' shows. This is pretty interesting because it's expected that the audience of any given channel, for example, may start watching other channels if those creators appear as guests on the channels they're already watching. Kind of a "His ideas are interesting, I'd like to find out more!" sort of thing, except many times, those ideas lead to anti-Semitism, white supremacy/nationalism, and so forth. You can navigate from pretty ineffectual "debates" (where a host lets any far-right guest speak without any criticism or challenge to their nonsense), to cute Canadian girls talking about how "people of color aren't oppressed!" followed by some millennial jackass saying shit like "Hitler was a GOOD man" (literal quote of one of the videos of one of the "skeptic" channels that appears in the network path in this study) and finished off with someone saying "We just want to secure a homeland for our whi..." well, you get the idea.
Some people who appear on this study are furious because they claim to have zero connection to the "far-right," which is technically true for some of them, but they're ignoring that they're playing a specific role - intentional or not - where they are used as entry-points to more extreme content, because some of their viewers are already watching it. Which leads to the next piece...

SEGUE TWO!

3. We Followed YouTube’s Recommendation Algorithm Down The Rabbit Hole - by Caroline O'Donovan, Charlie Warzel, Logan McDonald, Brian Clifton, Max Woolf
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...ion-rabbithole
This story goes through some tests using YouTube's "Up next" recommendations. Basically, they started fresh, while logged out, and with fairly normal searches and clicked on the top "Up Next" video see how long it took for it to take a weird turn. Sometimes it's "harmless" (Penn & Teller clips, poker videos, etc.) but sometimes it veers into right-wing nonsense. It doesn't ever seem to swing to left-wing content very often, if at all. How odd.
One query BuzzFeed News ran on the term “impeach the mother” — a reference to a remark by a newly sworn-in member of Congress regarding President Trump — highlighted Up Next’s ability to quickly jump to partisan content. The initial result for “impeach the mother” was a CNN clip of a White House press conference, after which YouTube Up Next recommended two more CNN videos in a row. From there, YouTube’s recommendations led to three more generic Trump press conference videos. At the sixth recommended video, the query veered unexpectedly into partisan territory with a clip from the conservative site Newsmax titled “Bill O’Reilly Explains Why Nancy Pelosi Will Fail as House Leader.” From there, the subsequent clips YouTube recommended escalated from Newsmax to increasingly partisan channels like YAFTV, pro-Trump media pundit Dinesh D’Souza’s channel, and finally channels like True Liberty and “TRUE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES.”
If you ARE logged in, you might see something entirely different because then your own search history plays into it, but if you watch anything vaguely political, then chances are you're getting all sorts of garbage in your recommendations going forward. It might start with "cringe" compilations, but continues onto some of the stuff mentioned in the earlier study on these YouTube networks of influence.

None of this is to say that YouTube has a right-wing bias specifically; the platform itself, and its algorithms, I think, are fairly unexciting. It's that "the right" is pretty clearly a whole lot better at gaming this system in their favor through use of interactions as mentioned above, as well as keywords, etc.

But if you combine these three things and look at them as a whole:
- major YouTubers doing hateful shit, and casually pointing people to more questionable/hateful shit,
- center-right and far-right "talk shows" all having each other on as guests, and facilitating more interaction from moderates who can be swayed further, and
- YouTube's algorithm getting gamed to push such content on unsuspecting oblivious viewers
The whole system seems set up in a way that passively allows the extreme right to have a larger and larger platform with a younger and younger audience. An audience that may not be developed enough to exhibit the necessary critical thinking skills to question the type of content that is put in front of them. Teens are smart, sure, but they're also quite impressionable. "Get 'em while they're young" right? The right is pouring money into certain types of YouTube content (see the Kanye video by Some More News for specifics) while it seems like the left is still trying to figure that shit out.

So, tl;dr who gives a shit about any of this? What's the damn point, Dan??

It's this: Most kids (by which I mean pre-teens through early 20's) are watching a ton of YouTube. A lot of them like video games. A whole bunch of them are likely extremely familiar with Felix and other such "watch me play games" e-celebrities (whose fame is far more real than we, the olds, understand or give them credit for). If they're watching relatively harmless content now, they're probably getting recommendations for the shitty stuff. Maybe some of them don't go down that rabbit hole, but surely... many of them do. And as they do, there's an existing network of content creators whose content is ready to tell them that "it's not anti-Semitism/racism/sexism/homophobia/etc, we're just asking questions!" This is vastly different than a "slippery slope" fallacy because what these three pieces show is that 1) the content is there, 2) there's a clear path from harmless to harmful content, and 3) the algorithm is being gamed to encourage people down that path.

I'm not suggesting censorship; I think healthy reasonable good-faith exploration of heavy topics is necessary, but there's not a whole lot of that going on unless you seek it out beyond what gets recommended by default. Forums ain't it. "Blood sport" talk shows ain't it. Challenge-free interviews ain't it.

The trouble is when truly nefarious ideas can sound good, just by how the person says it.

3-minute video:

And bad ideas - truly bad ones, not just "inconvenient" ideas still worth debating - are getting more attention because of "civility."
4.5-minute video:

So to answer my fellow forum member:
Originally Posted by cultshock View Post
So in other words, we're fucked? It's bad enough having your parents indoctrinate you in all that crap, but jeezus.
I mean... pretty much, yeah. The dystopia is here, man. The internet was a huge fucking mistake.

Sorry for the novel. I hope at least one of you reads 1/4 of half of it.

Last edited by Dan; 02-13-19 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 02-14-19, 05:37 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

I will agree. Social media, in its current form, is a waste of humanity on multiple levels. People are not getting smarter nor are they more informed as a collective. They are getting LESS information...just more of it on a recycled basis.
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Old 02-14-19, 06:25 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Since kids are getting major exposure to social media and a young age, I believe it should be part of coursework in school, so they can get an educated perspective about what they are watching. I don't think courses like that should be reserved until college.
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Old 02-14-19, 07:13 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Wow, I just heard of PewDiePie yesterday for the first time ever. A couple people I follow on Twitter were pushing people to subscribe to him. I checked out his channel for about five minutes and was like, no not for me.
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Old 02-14-19, 07:21 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Since kids are getting major exposure to social media and a young age, I believe it should be part of coursework in school, so they can get an educated perspective about what they are watching. I don't think courses like that should be reserved until college.
I agree wholeheartedly. I honestly don't know what's being taught today, but one teacher in my family has suggested that it's mostly just "the internet is forever so be careful what you share" sort of stuff. I think the focus needs to be more about how to navigate through the most popular online spaces, critical analysis, and understanding that a huge chunk of what you're seeing is being fed to you via complex ad networks and recommendation algorithms. heavy topics for kids, right? I don't know how schools could do this while managing to hold kids attention ot even getting their parents to really understand the underlying issue (exploitation of childrens minds, regardless of "ideology")

Hell, this stuff may be more critical for future generations than sex ed!
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Old 02-14-19, 08:14 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

A good and appreciated post Dan. My sons are still young enough that this a non-issue today, but it’s an area I’ll be thinking of a lot as they get older.
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Old 02-14-19, 09:36 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

My favorite part was when you smugly assumed people haven’t heard of Pewdipie.
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Old 02-14-19, 09:54 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
My favorite part was when you smugly assumed people haven’t heard of Pewdipie.
My favorite part was when you posted this garbage two hours after another poster said they just heard of Pewdiepie (whose name you misspelled, by the way).

And yes, social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and even our own beloved DVDTalk are vectors for the spread of some hateful right wing propaganda (I’m not particularly worried about DVDTalk since I doubt anyone under 30 ever finds this place).

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Old 02-14-19, 09:57 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
My favorite part was when you smugly assumed people haven’t heard of Pewdipie.
Smugly? OK Mabuse. OK.

An earlier reply:
Originally Posted by IDrinkMolson
Wow, I just heard of PewDiePie yesterday for the first time ever.
Maybe I should have been more clear: surely SOME folks here know who he is, but the old folks of this forum are not his target audience. That's fine. I didn't know anything about him until a couple years ago.

Good slayin' though.
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Old 02-14-19, 10:14 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

He was parodied on South Park for goodness sake. Like 4 years ago!

I definitely don’t like the guy. He’s a Swede or some kind of foreigner. There’s evidence that he dabbles in kiddie porn.
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Old 02-14-19, 10:20 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Dan your whole post has a kind of Jerry Maguire “stayed up all night because I had a vision” kind of thing. It also has a kind of PaulSD conspiracy theory thing going on. It’s not really anything new that we are all just a few clicks away from coming across weird freaky shit. Not too long ago right here on dvdtalk somebody posted a nasty video in Other that involved a subway train dismemberment. That shit got taken down. (Sometimes there’s actually some good moderation around here.)

Anyway, much ado about nothing new. Right wing anarchist shit has literally always been on the internet. You gotta be careful.
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Old 02-14-19, 10:31 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

It doesn't sound so tough. I think I was 11 or 12 when our school showed us a movie on how to recognize tricks used in advertising. That was in the 1970s.

Now I want to see if I can replicate their results and go from CNN to white nationalism in half a dozen videos.
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Old 02-14-19, 10:43 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Dammit, how the hell did I get in the Politics forum? I saw Youtube and clicked.

Forget what I said...

I should've taken that tricks in advertising class.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:07 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post

My favorite part was when you posted this garbage two hours after another poster said they just heard of Pewdiepie (whose name you misspelled, by the way).

And yes, social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and even our own beloved DVDTalk are vectors for the spread of some hateful right wing propaganda (I’m not particularly worried about DVDTalk since I doubt anyone under 30 ever finds this place).
Oh, so DVD Talk is free of Left-Wing propaganda which is also hateful and just plain ignorant.

Not surprisingly, it's a biased statement like yours that Social Media continues its assault on intelligence.

Social Media has all kinds of prejudice, not just in one political form or another. ALL of them. Social Media is a magnet for people who hate.

---

As an aside, who is going to teach kids about the bias in social media as today, you can't find a neutral professor or teacher.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:12 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Oh, so DVD Talk is free of Left-Wing propaganda which is also hateful.

Not surprisingly, ot's a biased statement like yours that Social Media continues its assault on intelligence.
I’ll say this and then drop the subject, because it’s arguably off topic and about specific posters.

But there have been people here who repost content from right wing hate sites. Use alt right iconography as their avatars. Parrot white supremacist talking points. There is no equivalent on the left — the closest is the stuff that PaulSD posts in the conspiracy threads, which are about specific people (e.g., Donald Trump) and not about whole classes of ordinary people (e.g., liberals as a class), and therefore qualitatively different.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:13 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

There is nothing to see here...because you're putting a blindfold over your eyes. That's your choice, although I believe it's not a wise one.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:24 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
There is nothing to see here...because you're putting a blindfold over your eyes. That's your choice, although I believe it's not a wise one.
What makes you think you see things any clearer?
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Old 02-14-19, 11:34 AM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post


I’ll say this and then drop the subject, because it’s arguably off topic and about specific posters.

But there have been people here who repost content from right wing hate sites. Use alt right iconography as their avatars. Parrot white supremacist talking points. There is no equivalent on the left — the closest is the stuff that PaulSD posts in the conspiracy threads, which are about specific people (e.g., Donald Trump) and not about whole classes of ordinary people (e.g., liberals as a class), and therefore qualitatively different.

Exactly right. There's no equivalence on this, at least not here.
And the responses from Mabuse and DVDP are right in line with the dismissiveness expected from those who want to downplay the real influence that these networks of people have by being connected in the ways that they are.
I would love to see someone tackle the core ideas in the articles (which are backed up by real examples not just projection) but I'm not going to pull a (name removed) and pester people to engage. It ain't really worth it.
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Old 02-14-19, 12:23 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Yeah, there’s definitely someth8ngbweird going on with youtube.

A few years ago I watched a couple of Skrewdriver songs (a neo-nazi punk band) and I was getting recommended white supremacist bullshit constantly for about three months.

I don’t watch political videos at all — I view mostly music, tv/film commentary, people doing pranks and other stupid shit — and I get all kinds of recommendations for right wing bullshit, Jordan Peterson, Red Pill crap, racist crap.
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Old 02-14-19, 12:42 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

You’re the one who watched a neo-Nazi band. Once you’ve done that how can you say anything YouTube recommends is something “going wrong”?
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Old 02-14-19, 12:46 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post


There is no equivalent on the left
Hysterical. You know damn well there is. We have an actual avowed communist on this forum who openly states that he wants to dismantle the state and rewrite the American Constitution. His views, if implemented, would lead to genocide and starvation.
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Old 02-14-19, 02:47 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
You’re the one who watched a neo-Nazi band. Once you’ve done that how can you say anything YouTube recommends is something “going wrong”?
Because that was one out of, maybe one hundred videos I viewed that week alone, yet they’re recommending Stormfront shit to me for three months?

Makes it seem like they’re a little too eager to push crap like that, doesn’t it?
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Old 02-14-19, 02:50 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)


Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
His views, if implemented, would lead to genocide and starvation.
Been there, done that...



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Old 02-14-19, 03:58 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

So, more of that. Gotcha.
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Old 02-14-19, 04:10 PM
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Re: YouTube and six degrees of Kevin Bacon (if Kevin Bacon was an anagram, for, um, hate)

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post


I’ll say this and then drop the subject, because it’s arguably off topic and about specific posters.

But there have been people here who repost content from right wing hate sites. Use alt right iconography as their avatars. Parrot white supremacist talking points. There is no equivalent on the left — the closest is the stuff that PaulSD posts in the conspiracy threads, which are about specific people (e.g., Donald Trump) and not about whole classes of ordinary people (e.g., liberals as a class), and therefore qualitatively different.
For the most part, I agree with you. But I'm going to make one observation and then let it go: extremely derogatory and sometimes hateful statements about evangelical Christians are made fairly regularly on this forum from people across the political spectrum, though moreso from left-leaning posters. I've attempted to point out repeatedly that these statements should be directed at the Religious Right and not broad evangelicalism, even backing up this position with linked data sources, and each time I've been met with, "nah I'm justified to stereotype all evangelicals, data-be-damned." For the record, I don't think it's equivalent to some of the white supremacist garbage supported/spouted by some members, but I do find the selective stereotyping slightly hypocritical. I'm sure I may be written off here as another Christian screaming about imagined religious persecution, but that's not where I'm coming from. I don't feel oppressed in the least and I'm not on a crusade for "religious liberty" at all. What I do care about is basic and consistent respect for people and their respective people groups. I've called out racial prejudice manifesting in generalizations made here about African Americans just as I've called out religious prejudice manifesting in generalizations made here about evangelicals. I don't always get all this stuff right and I try to remember that I don't have any moral high ground to stand on, but I do think it's somewhat unfair to characterize right-leaning posters as the only ones who ever defame whole classes of ordinary people around here. The propensity to apply selective prejudice is ultimately a human trait - not a left or right or centrist trait.
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