Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An Ignorant Slogan: “Don't Be Evil”

Atlas Shrugs posted the other day on the evil Google does. Or as she said, “The Eeeeeeevil Google Does”.

Linking to Filou’s blog, Views on World Affairs, she noted what many of us have seen since Google first started doing its news bit. That is, Google is a fellow-travelling, sympathizing Islamist-gospel spreader. When it was Red Communism, we called such folk pinkoes. I think the appellation fits Google to a T. Only it is Hezbollah, not Moscow, which calls the Google tune.

Googly EvilWhen they first started up the news section, I signed up for Google Alerts on Muslim women. Shouldn’t have bothered. What you get is non-news and little meaningful mention of what is really happening to women in Iran or India or Pakistan. Today’s list was the usual MSM blather. Here’s one story from the section; it doesn’t differ much in tone or motive from the rest:

ISLAM AWARENESS WEEK (From today’s Hartford Courant)

Though Islam is viewed by many as a faith that restricts a woman’s freedom, four of every five converts to Islam in America are women, says Jane I. Smith, who has studied the experiences of American Muslims in general, and American Muslim women in particular.

Smith is one of several scholars attempting to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam this week during the first “Islam Awareness Week” at Trinity College.

Bridging the Gap: Islam’s True Colors” includes daily events through Friday that explore topics ranging from the controversy over images of Muhammad to the pressures faced by Muslim students on college campuses.

Just what we need, more awareness of this predictably p.c. meme. Don’t you wonder who paid for it? Yawn or puke, your choice.

Here’s what Filou said:

What a rude awakening this morning. As I opened my Google News, the source of a main article regarding the Middle East was Hezbollah’s Al Manar…Since when the is the news agency of a major terrorist organization considered a mainstream news source? When will Google start acting in a responsible fashion and stand by its “No Evil” principle?

But the wording of their "principle" is inherently flawed, and thus cannot be adhered to. By now, we all know Google’s fatuous motto, “Don’t Be Evil.” When I first saw that slogan — is it the shorthand for their mission statement, maybe? — I was taken aback by the enormous ignorance it took to come up with this phrase. Whoever dreamed up the wording is woefully uninformed about how the mind works.

The New Agers learned something in their quest for…well, for a number of things, but mostly self-improvement. And it is an awareness that spiritual teachers have always known. The monkey brain inside all of us — the one which you have to put to constructive use or it will undermine all your good intentions — listens to what we tell ourselves in a very selective manner. If we propose an affirmation for ourselves, the worst thing we can do -- the foremost thing guaranteeed to sabotage our effort -- is to start with “don’t.” You see, the monkey mind ignores the negation and moves on to the meat of your proposal. So “Don’t Be Evil” is translated into…you guessed it: ( ) “Be Evil.”

Google, if it wanted to be effective, would have said “Do Good.” Were they wise, the word ‘evil’ would not have entered into the equation.

Many of the Ten Commandments contain “don’t” statements in the form of “thou shalt not.” It shows how truly ancient this list is, and how it probably evolved from very simple proscriptions like, “no kill,” or “no lie” — things that would make community life tolerable. However, also notice that “Honor thy father and thy mother” and “Keep holy the Sabbath” are positive rules, so the process was alwys maturing.

Judaism evolved from there into a more complex relationship with others, including the need to provide for the anawim, the poor. Christianity, in its two commandments, is phrased in the positive: “to love God with your whole heart, and your whole spirit, and your whole mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” A lifetime project.

The notion of using positive ideas to change how one thinks is a technique that Roberto Assagioli, an Italian psychiatrist, used to help his patients cure various addictions, or disorders of the will. One method he used, much like the nuns who made those unruly boys write repetitiously on the blackboard after school, was to have a patient choose a passage from Scripture or literature to write repeatedly, every day, for hours on end, for months at a time.

This practice worked for many, much as Sister Benignus’ order to write on the blackboard “I will sit still and listen in class” worked on some of the recalcitrant middle school boys. Of course, the person giving the assignment has to have some of moral authority with the person assigned to the task, or the monkey mind will skew it every time. Such is the nature of the will.

Some will dismiss this as “re-education,” but that’s what the MSM and their cabal have been doing for generations. I, personally, would like to dig up Walter Duranty of the New York Times and give him a good, bone-rattling shake for his years of lies and propaganda about Soviet Russia. That facile reporter from The Courant, above, could use some help… at least she’s still breathing.

Google is another matter. They’re big, powerful, and despite their best corporate intentions, they have a malevolent slogan driving them.

“Don’t Be Evil” indeed. They seem to be following only the last two words of that statement. Sister Benignus could tell them a thing or two about change and motivation.


Dymphna said...

Uncle Pavian:

I like your second motto: "Happy Motoring." Much more effective than "don't be an idiot." How about "be smart, UP"?

One of the things I love to hear parents say is "don't let me catch you doing that..." Notice the behavior is not forbidden, it's just not to be done with the parents' knowledge.

Dymphna said...

The point still holds:

If you're training someone, or yourself, using a negative to do so reinforces the opposite. As in, "I Will Not Smoke."

It fails every time.

And if my point is less than congenial to your way of thinking, oh well.. I liked writing it.

Google, which could be such a change for good, is stuck in some groove that (from the outside) appears to limit access to the news on the one hand, and gives legitimacy to terrorist news outlets on the other.

And that's a major disappointment. MSM redux.

The Tetrast said...

Not too long ago I heard that Google would be helping finance political causes in some way. Then I saw online on a non-Google site some ads "Sponsored by Google" and they were mostly leftist & islamofascist political, including one from Kuwaitis with friends/relatives detained at Gitmo. That really peeved me, so I thought, I'll go to and post about it there. And what do you know, an article about Google's new-high stock price was top of the Must Reads, so I posted my comment there -- pasted the text of the Kuwaiti anti-Gitmo ad, along with links in the ad, and I said, "nice to know that Google is with the terrorists." That was the first comment on the thread. The rest of the thread chimed in. That night I found I couldn't access, and was unable to access it till the next day. I haven't run into Google-sponsored ads of that kind since then.

Wally Ballou said...

I honestly think you folks are way off base. The reason you are going to see a lot of news from unpleasant and left-biased sources is because if you take the totality of online global media, that's where its center of gravity is (by a long chalk).

Google News does NOT humanly select sources to search or display, any more than they select results to display for a search (and if you beleive they do that, you must think they have some very fast and clever humans).

I use Google News successfully all the time. I would never have discovered some interesting news sources if I didn't. It says right on each link that the story is from Al Jazeera or Reuters (same thing) If you don't want to get their slant, clink on the link that says "All 999 related" and choose your own. Use your onw discretion and there is plenty to enjoy and be enlighened by. If you are just upset that they are offering views to other people that they would rather not they have, my advice is "Forget it - it's Internettown" (mangled Chinatown quote)

Every story about the Middle East, for instance, will have a story from Al Jazeera and one from the Jerusalem Post. and one from the Malta Times - Forbes - The Scotsman - the Cleveland Plain Dealer - Bangkok Post - Monsters and Critics - ABC News (South Africa). Come on - celebrate diversity. Real diversity. It's in there. You just have to look around.

The only way they could make you folks happy is to purposely skew their links in the "right" direction (too much work). Or filter out the "baddies", like they are doing in China.

I know you won't believe me, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wally Ballou said...

raw data:

On this page, Google says the motto is "Don't Be Evil". I guess they don't know themselves.

Baron Bodissey said...

Cato -- there is one way that Google intervenes "manually": by excluding or including a site as one of its news sources.

Little Green Footballs has been repeatedly excluded from Google News, even as the most rabidly left-wing sites and forums, and Hamas, and so on, are included.

There's definitely bias at work there.

That said, you're right that you can find what you want by clicking the "all related" link. It's just that LGF won't be listed as one of them.

Wally Ballou said...

I think LGF is an interesting blog and it's near the center of your web universe, but it's not really a news site - anymore than this is. They do include some news-oriented blogs. Maybe they shouldn't include any. Search the web and you will find tons of sites and blogs alleging Google's rampant "hard right" bias. They were blamed for torpedoing John Kerry by "promoting" the Swift Boat story.

They do tend to fold when they are told that a site promotes "hate speech" (left OR right). They will not drop a real newspaper or service on those grounds, but they may drop a blog. You can complain about fringe sites and they may listen, but don't expect them to drop al-jazeera.

Take a look at this site for some objective information. Notice that the most frequently cited source to date this year is Forbes.

Baron Bodissey said...

Cato -- I'll agree that LGF is mostly a news aggregator. But, then, so are many of the websites that Google uses -- wire service stories, with a few human interest items thrown in.

Not only that, Charles does use sources that are not available otherwise -- Zombie's photo-essays about the lefty activities in the Bay area, for example, which won't appear on any other news site.

Go to LGF and hunt down some of the examples that Charles has dug up that Google considers "news" sources, and you'll see what I mean. They are no more "news" sites than LGF is, and maybe less.