I continue to find myself facing ethical questions I do not really feel comfortable dealing with. About a year ago, I created a YouTube video, These are not very bright guys – All the President’s Men. It is just a clip from that movie where Deep Throat tells Woodward that that he shouldn’t believe everything that the media said about the Nixon administration being brilliant, “The truth is, these are not very bright guys.” I put it up because I come back to it again and again in life. We are fooling ourselves if we think we have things under control. And that’s especially true in politics. I used it as an illustration of the potential dangers of the Republican Debt Ceiling hostage taking. That could have gone very wrong and it still could.
The video is only 15 seconds long and half of that is titles:
The video has never gotten many views, which is not surprising; I think I’m one of the few people on the planet for whom the line has any special meaning. And I had never received any comments on it. Until today.
I got a comment by a guy I’ll call WM. I’m not giving you his name because I don’t want him coming around here for reasons that will be obvious in a moment. And also, I think the nicest thing we can do for him is to leave him alone. In addition to what is most obviously offensive, the whole structure of the comment strikes me as being very much like what I’m familiar with of marginal schizophrenics. I don’t know, of course. But I feel very sorry for this guy.
What I don’t think most people understand about schizophrenia is how the person suffering from it has the experience of not being quite sure what reality is. This tends to make them very frightened. We see it as paranoia, of course. But from their perspective, this is rational. They can’t know that the conspiracy is not “out there” but rather “in here.” So I really do feel bad for anyone suffering from such a thing.
Here is a slightly formatted version of what he wrote:
In 2014 the DoD budget including the NSA, CIA, NASA, FBI, and MTV is at about 500 Billion or 1/2 the National Budget! The 911 attack was very effective since the jews own the Intelligence Agencies and the MIC in jewish America.
Just to clarify a few things. Pakula directed All the President’s Men. Harrison Ford starred in Pakula’s last film, The Devil’s Own. LIE is Interstate 495 in New York. Pakula was killed in a gruesome car accident but I’ve never heard anything to suggest that it was anything else. I think he is implying some kind of conspiracy that must involve Ford, since he still walks the earth. Frank Stallone is the name of both a Suffolk County detective who was involved in the case and Sylvester Stallone’s musician brother. Is he suggesting a Hollywood connection there? I can’t say. Nor can I say if he actually worked at NASA, but given all the guy knows, he is clearly smart.
Of course, what most people will notice is that this comment is about as antisemitic as you can be in writing. But based upon other things the guy has said and done, he seems to be one of those people who think the world is controlled by reptiles mascaraing as humans. I guess they are who he thinks the “jews” really are, which is an inventive take on an old bit of hatred about Jews not being human.
My guess is that he was a smart and creative young man and the disease came upon him in his twenties, as it usually does (late teens, early twenties). And maybe he was working at NASA until he became unstable and they got rid of him. The society is particularly bad about helping the marginal cases. And think about it from his perspective: the world starts to come unglued, he loses his job, and largely becomes isolated. You’d want to find answers and I think he can be forgiven for coming up with reptilian jews who rule the world.
But my ethical problem is much simpler than trying to fix all the problems of the world or at least our nation. Should I allow the comment to stand? After all, I’m kind of a free speech absolutist. What he wrote was vile, but he does have a right to say it. Just the same, it doesn’t lead anywhere good. For one thing, it has nothing to do with what my video was about. And at best it would be ignored. But it might start a flame war. And it would certainly make anyone even marginally Jewish feel at least somewhat bad.
The more I thought about it, the more I began to see the moral imperative to be about him and not the rest of society. For his own good, I canned it. (YouTube had already flagged it as spam.) If I can’t get the guy help, the least I can do is to not give him any exposure. I looked at his comment thread on YouTube and it was filled with very understandable reactions to him that certainly don’t help. So the less attention the better. But it’s sad.