If your zip code is 94027, congratulations

According to online information, if you live in the Silicon Valley town of Atherton, you probably already know that the average cost of a house there is $7 million and that 94027 is the most affluent zip code in the country. Marketers, political pollsters, and online data dealers also know it. Everyone who wants your money or your vote knows where you live and wants to get to know you better.

We are always worried about data breaches on sites like Facebook because our personal information–zip code, address, shopping habits, etc.–is used by marketers in targeting audiences for advertising. As for Atherton, we shouldn’t be surprised that the town is both affluent and in California because the state has 91 of the United States’ most expensive zip codes.

My first thought is that I cannot imagine buying, much less living in, a multimillion-dollar house, that is, one that’s worth more than all of the houses in my neighborhood. Second, I see one reason California has a homeless problem: regular people with regular jobs cannot afford the housing costs, much less people below the poverty line.

I was born in the San Francisco Bay area, a place I could not afford to live now, and I found that when I identified California on Facebook as my home state, I ran into a lot of trouble in political discussions because people assumed I was not only rich and entitled but probably believed in absurd concepts like sanctuary cities. (I don’t.) So, I changed my Facebook “hometown” to the one in Florida where I grew up.  That stopped a lot of abusive, profiler-style comments.

However, it opened up other nasty remarks because most people know I live in Georgia now. The default view people outside the South have of a Georgia resident is that s/he lot only longs for the purported glory days of Dixie and the Confederacy, but is more likely than not a racist. This makes it difficult to have meaningful discussions on Facebook about politics, race, immigration, and similar subjects because I’m suspected of being a white supremacist until proven otherwise. That’s hard to do at a time when the politically correct belief is that all whites are racist whether they know it or not.

We used to worry about a future in which an oppressive “big brother” government controlled everything. The government already knows too much about us. Marketers probably know more. But the most dangerous thing is other people who want to take my state or zip code of residence and pair that up with everything I say or write and then compile that into a worthiness profile that tells them whether I’m with them or against them. The fact that I don’t know who “them” is doesn’t factor into the PC algorithms.

What a mess.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing

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Are you afraid to say what you think?

Many have said we are losing our freedom of speech. Basically, large segments of society don’t want freedom of speech, and they are making it less and less free by imposing penalties for using it. The daily news is filled with stories about people who spoke out and then got fired from their jobs, banned from the organizations they used to call home, or kicked senseless (or worse) on a city street.

People no longer consider there’s any reason to be civil to each other: just look at the name-calling in the social media or the public statements made about newsmakers that are so vitriolic they would have been considered libel a few years ago. It’s not much of a stretch to say that if we–as a society–are now allowing violence under the threat of more violence, we’ll soon de-criminalize violence. One deterrent to Freedom of Speech is mob-enforced political correctness.

This means bands of thugs can torch a building, burn a car, or kick a person to death–all fully documented by videos and eyewitnesses–then they’ll continue doing it because–as one apologist said–violence is pleasurable–and we’ll begin living lives as though we’re all in a jungle of fang and claw. In some cities, we’re already there.

In some ways, the current chaos of violence occurs because people feel entitled to be violent. So it is, that I no longer feel safe enough to:

  • Put a political bumper sticker on my car
  • Display a candidate’s yard sign in front of my house
  • Post about the pros and cons of parties or candidates on Facebook
  • Wear a political hat or tee shirt
  • Be seen with anyone wearing a political hat or tee shirt

The problem is larger than this list, of course. But I no longer feel safe enough to say how much larger it is on this blog. I will say, that most of us see and hear enough stuff daily to know how and why the problem is larger and what it takes to solve it.

–Malcolm

 

The OSCARS risk becoming irrelevant

Once upon a time, I watched the Academy Awards on TV without fail. I loved the movies and everything about them. But not anymore.

What’s changed?

On a practical note, I’m too hard of hearing to go to movies. I don’t see them until months after their release dates when they finally appear on TV with closed captions. So, as of OSCAR night, I have seen none of the nominated films and, other than a few news stories and trailers, have no clue what they’re about. That pretty much kills my interest in the broadcast.

But even if my hearing were fine and I had seen a fair number of the nominated films, I wouldn’t watch. Yes, I might care about the winners, but I’d learn about that the following day on the news.

I am tired of actors and actresses using the OSCAR broadcast as a political pulpit. Like most viewers (I hope), I see the broadcast as being about the movies, not poltical statements in opening monologues, sketches, and acceptance speeches. I get more than enough of this from the news and social media day in and day out and think it’s out of place on an awards program.

Hollywood stars have just as much right as anyone else to express their opinions. Nonetheless, the Academy Awards broadcast is not the forum for that.

When they speak of politics during the broadcast, they appear to be stumbling over each other to prove that they are the most liberal, the most intelligent, and the most politically correct person in the theater. Do they not realize that everyday people see them as members of the so-called filthy rich? I want to shout, how dare you lecture me on politics when you earn more in a year than I do in a lifetime and own multiple homes, each of which is worth more than my entire neighborhood.

You, dear actors and actresses, who can afford the taxes that you might be forced to pay if your left-leaning social programs were implemented, fail to realize that the rest of us cannot afford a government that looks like an unlimited charity. Sure, we support many of the same ideas, but you go too far because you can afford to go too far. You stand on that stage in clothes worth more than my annual income and–with a knowing wink and nod to the audience–advocate programs that will raise my taxes to the point where I cannot afford to live in this country.

Of course you believe you can do this because believe you are America’s royalty, right? We wish we were you, right? We wish we could sit for a few moments in your presence, right? We go to your movies because we love you and know that you care about all of us, right?

Frankly, I would be embarrassed to be you.

So you are turning the OSCARS into a PAC, so to speak, that’s out of sync with most of the country. That’s why, one day soon, we’ll stop caring about you and your awards program. You want us to think OSCAR night is about the movies. But that’s not true, is it?

–Malcolm