The Things We Think and Do Not Say: James Damore and that Jerry Maguire Moment
Posted at 8:00h, 15 Aug 2017 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

We did a test, inspired by an article we saw following the James Damore/Google debacle. While we literally never use Google search, we wrote ‘free speech is’ in the search bar, and Google filled in – in this order –

  • Free speech is hate speech
  • Free speech issues
  • Free speech is dead

Maybe in the Goolag (sic)…

When we repeated the same exercise using our long-time default search engine – DuckDuckGo – what came up was…nothing. DuckDuckGo did not make assumptions or attempt to direct the search/conversation.

In case you missed it, erstwhile Google engineer James Damore wrote a 3,000 word memo entitled, Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber. How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion. Here’s the original piece, unabridged and uncensored, including Damore’s original charts and footnotes, if you’re interested. No points have been taken out of context.

It struck a chord in both camps involved in the current culture war and forest through the trees and the real problem that the tech oligarchs and their media mouthpieces are having: it shines a light on the Silicon Valley echo chamber, much the same way that the recent New York Times article (Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment) spotlighted the sexual harassment/misconduct that is so rampant in that same tech oasis by the bay.

While the tech media recast the memo into more or less a white privilege screed (it’s a memo) against women and diversity, the New York Times’ Nick Wingfield nailed it early on in noting that The Culture Wars Have Come to Silicon Valley.

While they had been brewing for quite some time, Damore’s memo – and his being fired from Google – brought it to a head. Much more than a so-called diatribe against women and minorities (and we take no sides on his assessments and conclusions): it was a defining moment, and one that’s not going to go away any time soon, despite the best efforts of the tech media to cast it as an alt-right moment.

“Google is a particularly intense echo chamber because it is in the middle of Silicon Valley and is so life-encompassing as a place to work. With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees’ lives. Some even live on campus. For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil.”

“Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits.” As (famed Leftist intellectual) Noam Chomsky once observed, ‘the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum,'” Damore wrote in his Wall Street Journal editorial.

In the memo itself, Damore identifies himself as an Obama voter, in other words stating that this isn’t about politics, folks. We’re on the same side there: this is an attempt to start a dialog.

One which the tech oligarchs, with the unwavering support of the tech press, would like to shut down. Immediately, if not sooner. So best to go for the hot buttons and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Corollary: Make sure to clearly identify any publication that’s not subscribing to the talking points as Alt-Right. We wonder if that now includes the New York Times, which suggested that Google CEO Sundar Pichai resign following the controversial dismissal of former employee James Damore and his equally controversial handing of the situation, which cast doubt on his abilities as a leader, given the number of Googlers and former Googlers who came forth – in many cases, anonymously – to verify Damore’s claims that the company has created a toxic culture.

As The Federalist noted, Okay, Google: How Do You Prepare A Country For Totalitarianism? “To be ready for dictatorship, people have to embrace its habits and practices voluntarily, or at least show little resistance. Google is doing its part.”

While the noble Google might have fired Damore in support of the women et al in its ranks, did the company also raise their salaries to be on a par with the men in their employ, especially in light of the salary/gender discrimination lawsuit it currently faces? Just a point to consider before taking that victory lap here over Damore’s sudden required departure from the company.

Speaking of which, YouTube CRACKS DOWN on Diamond and Silk => Demonetizes 95% of Their Videos ‘For Supporting Trump’. (In case you’re wondering why Periscope is rising in popularity….) Diamond and Silk are two black women – and Google-owned YouTube are denying them ad dollars. Are black women not allowed to express a certain political viewpoint? Smells like racism to us. As well as suppression of an alternative viewpoint that happens not to be in lockstep with Google’s.

Despite the fact that, along with Lucifer and Peter Thiel, Damore has been cast from heaven, this issue is not going away any time soon, especially in light of the fact that Facebook has two billion subscribers – and Facebook Video is coming soon – and Google search, with its skewed results, is the search engine of choice of some 1.5 billion members of the planet. Re Facebook Video, as Business Insider noted, “Among the different sections in the tab will be ones for the “most talked about” videos and ones that “friends are watching.” Viewers will also be able to see comments from others while watching a show.” And as someone on one of the many (this one primarily Left-leaning) listserv to which we belong, commented, “Foreseeing as a 2020 Zuck Propaganda machine?”

The genie is out of the bottle. We’re sure that that listserv poster was and is not the only one who was thinking just that. If Damore’s memo showed us anything, it’s that we’ve hit an inflection point. Enough is enough and these are no longer the things we think and do not say. Free speech is not hate speech. As we see the plethora of articles, tweets and hashtags on all sides of this issues given long-overdue attention by Damore, despite all of Google’s attempts to the contrary, for now, anyway, Free Speech is evidently still far from dead. Onward and forward.