Drunk man shouts 'Heil Hitler, Heil Trump,' does Nazi salute during intermission of Baltimore performance of 'Fiddler on the Roof'
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- Christina Tkacik
- Nov 15 2018
- Word count
- 306 words
Is this really significant news? An idiot shouting something offensive? A week from now, will anyone remember or care that this happened?
Should I be removing this type of "outrage content"? Personally, I don't think it's quality content and has practically zero discussion value.
I think it is relevant for a couple of reasons.
One he said this during a Jewish play right after a wedding was interrupted by an anti-Jewish Pogrom occurred "on screen". The fact that this guy felt comfortable yelling white nationalist slogans in a public and crowded place shows to an extent how normalized white supremacy is becoming in the United States and its frankly terrifying. We just had a mass shooting three weeks ago where another white supremacist shot up a synagogue and killed a dozen people. We cant just ignore the fact that neo nazis are gaining momentum and call it outrage bait.
Second, I'm struck by the fact that most people at the theater apparently thought this was the precursor to another mass shooting and flooded towards the exits. Again, this is absolutely horrifying and shows the current state of mind for the average American. We cant go a week without another mass shooting and are at the point where a crazy person yelling nazi slogans isnt shunned or screamed down, but people believe they ate literally about to get murdered instead.
Finally, this event demonstrates another aspect of the ongoing debate of free speech. The man all but yelled "fire" literally in a crowded theater. People thought they were about to be killed, and yet he was not arrested. Should yelling nazi slogans be cause for arrest for hate speech or inciting a riot? I think that is something that is worthy of debate and discussion.
Those are good thoughts, but I think it helps make my point that the article has now been updated with information that, according to the police report, the man was extremely drunk and "was motivated by his hatred of President Donald J. Trump".
So the outrage-machine of rushed internet journalism and social media seems to have gotten everyone riled up about a situation while jumping to the complete wrong conclusion about the motivation. Now instead of a few hundred people being affected by this drunk moron's dumb idea, there are probably a thousand times that many upset and worried about something that didn't really happen (at least not for the reasons they're worrying about).
(@Algernon_Asimov - I won't reply to your comment separately, but I'm curious if this updated information changes your opinion about whether it was worth posting and paying attention to)
~news is for live and current news, not for well-considered retrospective analyses of events from long ago (that's what ~humanities.history is for!). News organisations can only report information as they get it. If we wait for the news organisations to finish conducting their full investigations into every nuance of an event... then it won't be news any more, it'll be history.
Anyway, regardless of the man's condition and motives, he still did shout those things, and other people did panic. Those events still occurred.
Maybe we have different ideas on what constitutes "news"? To me, "news" is a (hopefully neutral) reportage of events as they happen: "A man shouted these things in a theatre last night. After he shouted, other people ran around and left the theatre." Investigating why he shouted those things isn't news, it's analysis.
Right, but based on the comments here and elsewhere, the main reason people cared about this story was because they thought it was demonstrating things that—as it turns out just a few hours later—it wasn't.
If Tildes is going to be better about not spreading misinformation and outrage (and especially outrage based on misinformation) like all the other platforms do, maybe we need to think about being more careful about rushing to post outrage-oriented news when important facts aren't known yet. I'm probably doing a poor job of expressing it, but it's more that bigger picture that's my concern, not whether this specific story can meet a definition of "news" or not.
If we can't post outrage-oriented content here, then even the results of U.S. presidential or congressional elections have to be blocked. Because they certainly induce outrage in significant portions of the population! ;)
I understand your goal, but I think it's extremely difficult (maybe impossible) to come up with a clear and unambiguous definition of what would be considered "outrage-oriented news". You might try to write up some standards which would restrict certain under-baked stories, but the news article we're discussing here is not under-baked by any means (even before the updates). It's objective, it's inclusive, and it's reasonable. The article itself is not trying to induce outrage. The outrage comes solely from the readers, not the writers. And that's extremely hard to police.
Regarding facts that come to light later, @Whom has already ably pointed out that we will never know whether all relevant important facts about a story are known.
There is another possible approach to take, which was indirectly suggested by @Rocket_Man, and which you've hinted at previously: what if you simply didn't have a ~news group at all? I've often read an article and thought it would make a great news topic here... then, on second thought, realised that it belongs in ~science or ~tech or ~enviro or even ~sports - because it is news about those subjects. ~news is therefore a bit of a miscellaneous group for subjects that aren't covered by the existing groups on Tildes: it's an ~other group under a different name. And, because the biggest subject which doesn't have its own group here is politics, that means that ~news contains a lot of political posts by default. And politics inevitably leads to outrage.
I know you've previously expressed ambiguous feelings about having a news group at all - and, with this news group becoming a politics group by stealth, which I know you don't want, maybe you should consider whether this group should be here at all. (But that's a discussion which deserves its own post in ~tildes.)
I was hoping the lack of a score count/karma would help mitigate this aspect on ~news by mostly removing thd need to "post first, post fast, post catchy". Hopefully people will be able to develop a distinct Tildean posting behaviour over time, one that doesn't ape other sites, and is more considered and focussed.
I'll admit that I try to post fast (although not necessarily first). News is only news while it's current. It doesn't take long for news to become olds. There's no point posting about a hurricane, for instance, a week after it hit land!
That said, some news stories need to mature before they can be posted. For instance, I'm waiting for an outcome to be declared in the recent Fijian election, rather than posting projections and half-finished counts.
There is a trade-off between getting posting timely news and complete news.
Anyway, how would anyone know to hold off from posting this story about a man shouting things in a theatre? I believe this story was published the day after the incident in question. To most people, that would be a reasonable time to post a story here. Remember: if we leave it too long, it becomes olds rather than news.
As for chasing karma: for me, this has nothing at all to do with topic scores or karma. Sure, I check my posts to see if they get voted on - but that's just to confirm that people are actually seeing and reading what I post, rather than because I'm counting karma.
I definitely get the need to post news and not been and gones.
And I wasn't suggesting you were chasing karma, I was trying to say that I hope the removal of the need to chase a high score would make for more considered posting, in the way you're waiting for Fijian results.
Do you honestly think any current posters on Tildes are chasing high scores? I don't think so. I'm not seeing any evidence of that. If anyone could be accused of chasing karma, it would be the most prolific poster - me - and I'm certainly not chasing karma.
I think this is just a matter of someone seeing an interesting news story and deciding to share it here because that's what Tildes is for: to share links to interesting articles. I think it's not really more complicated than that. The posting history of the OP here doesn't indicate a karmawhore. I think this is just posting to share a story.
I don't think there will ever be "a distinct Tildean posting behaviour". Posting is posting: you see an article you want to share, and you share it.
I think old habits die hard, and while no one is chasing points here, the point chasing style of posting is hard to break, especially for long time reddit users, myself included.
I'm not accusing anyone of being a "karmawhore". I'm saying that behaviour is habitual for many people, and my hope is that it can be broken over time.
I'm not calling anyone out on what they post, or why they post, just musing.
I don't think there is any way of avoiding "post first, post fast, post catchy" behaviour in a news group. In all the other groups, I'm not seeing much evidence of people rushing to post first at the expense of quality. The posts are generally of good quality, and are generally not shallow or rushed.
But a news group almost requires fast posting - otherwise you're posting been and gones.
What way could that possibly be done, other than not posting news in a timely manner ever? There's always the possibility of more facts coming to light, and Tildes isn't doing the journalism itself so it's not like it could be decided how thoroughly an event must be investigated before being published. It all looks the same to someone submitting or reading a link.
Although it is totally possible to be better than Reddit when it comes to a story changing. On Reddit, the best you'll get is a sticky or maybe a flair saying that the title is misleading...if it's a goal to combat misinformation, it could be made much much more obvious that something has changed or is incorrect.
The "outrage-oriented" is the important factor. Like Algernon_Asimov said, if you remove the outrage aspects of this story, it comes down to "a drunk man shouted in a theatre last night and scared some people." That's not really significant news that deserves national/international attention, and surely there are other things that we'd all be better to spend our attention on.
The current state of the internet has made it extremely clear that reactionary, outrage-oriented content will dominate if you allow it to. If we don't want the same thing to happen here we'll have to do something to counteract it, because it won't work to just hope that people don't fall prey to the same biases here as everywhere else. The fact that this was one of the highest-voted and highest-commented topics of the day demonstrates that it's already failing.
To be fair, most of the comments here are meta-comments triggered by your original comment asking whether this article should have been posted.
Also I don't know if I'm the only one but I keep voting on post by accident because I expect to go to the comments. I think it's an old Alien Blue habit.
Hm, then I don't think I can agree with your goal. The world is outrageous and any news saying what happens in it will be that as well. Keeping that outrageous news grounded in fact and being aggressive with making it clear when false or incomplete facts are mistakenly shown is a goal that's both noble and very achieveable, but I don't see the point in trying to keep things that cause outrage away from the site. Of course, it's not my site or my call to make.
Do you think we should have a ~news group then? I don't quite see the value in speculating about events if there's no accompanying context/analysis.
Whelp, that is pretty shitty. Thanks for the update.
I have no idea how dumb someone would have to be to think yelling hail hitler hail Trump and throwing a nazi salute would be seen as condemning Trump considering that is literally exactly what nazis like Richard Spencer have been doing to show their support / appreciation of him. That's not even satire or exaggeration.
I also still think that guy should have received a harsher penalty and not sure he should be let off just because he was "pretending" to be a nationalist. I'm not sure if the person from the ACLU who provided their comment on that did so before or after more information came out about this guy, so yeah pretty frustrating that this article was rushed out.
Knowing more information now, I would lean more towards not sharing this article. It's unfortunate that this was published before we knew these details.
I'm still in favor of other articles being shared that may be considered outrage bait, like the article about the "hero" black security guard who got shot by the cops after stopping a shooter.
I said earlier that it wasn't worth discussion, but I think I've changed my mind after reading your comment. Yes, this is alarming and should be discussed.
It may not be high quality, in and of itself, but it does feed into a broader discussion about the spread of fascism, antisemitism, and bigotry in modern America. It's not only the large acts which count. These are the smaller acts which are enabled by the larger acts. This is a demonstration of fascism manifesting in ordinary everyday life.
Also, in a future, larger, Tildes, this is exactly the sort of local news item which will be posted in sub-groups for news at a state/province/county level.
The problem is that giving massive attention to small acts doesn't help prevent them in any way, it just amplifies them. It was an act done for the purpose of offending people, and by spreading awareness of it we make it impact (and outrage) orders of magnitude more people.
Instead of taking the approach of not feeding the trolls, it's trying to feed them so much that they explode. That makes things worse, not better.
Is that part of Tildes' mission, though - to prevent fascism? I thought Tildes was a link aggregator and discussion platform. Like a journalist, this website is nominally neutral: it's just here to allow people to share information, even if that information is distasteful.
We also inform people that this sort of thing is happening at a local everyday level, not just at the level of governments and racist organisations. It might help people consider how to prevent these small acts of bigotry, or how to respond to something like this if they see it happening in their city one day.
I understand your point of view, and even partly agree with it: we don't want to give these people more of a platform than they deserve. But, on other hand, sticking our fingers in our ears and shouting "La la la la!" won't make these things go away. Also, "know your enemy" is good wisdom.
It should be the mission of every single "link aggregator and discussion platform" out there to favor high quality content, promote healthier debates, etc. I'll go beyond that, it should be every single community's mission statement. This idea that the website is "nominally neutral (it" is not -- it is heavily moderated) or even should be is kind of absurd imo.
I completely agree with @Deimos that this type of content should be removed. It's 100% the type of content that feeds the "two camp divide" that has been growing in the US for the past decade, for no other reason than to feed it.
I call it elevator farting. In the gamergate days for example, the participating subreddits on both sides were flooded with elevator farts. People screencapping some idiot on twitter saying something extremist and absurd and acting as if whatever was said was a popular opinion. All it served was to make people feel good about pointing fingers to the other side and tell themselves "phew, I'm one of the good guys because I'm not like them". That, and give a random unknown tweet with maybe two retweets, a platform where they're upvoted hundreds/thousands of times.
It's a fucking plague. Please keep elevator farts out of Tildes @Deimos. Much love.
I don't disagree, but that's not what Deimos and I were discussing. We were talking about whether to suppress stories about certain activities in order to not promote those activities to a wider audience. That's different to favouring high-quality content. I might write a long essay about pro-fascist activities in the USA, listing lots of examples such as someone shouting "Heil Hitler!" in a crowded theatre; for you, that would count as high-quality content but, for Deimos, that would probably count as giving attention to small acts of fascism.
I know. That's why I wrote "nominally neutral" instead of just "neutral".
Do you think Americans should not know that other Americans are committing antisocial acts? Out of sight, out of mind. If you don't know there are people shouting "Heil Hitler!" in theatres, you won't even see the problem, let alone do anything to fix it.
What is your definition of nominally neutral? I'm not sure I understand your distinction.
That's not what I said, but I want to address your question in general. I don't think this person's actions are relevant to americans outside of a tiny, tiny circle of people. Do you think people in every country should know about every drunk dude's actions in their country?
I think things like this (funnily, currently at the top of Reddit) matter a lot more: Texas Students Will Soon Learn Slavery Played A Central Role In The Civil War - NPR
Educating about what random dudes in the US are doing, what's the point of that? Random people commit all sorts of atrocities everywhere, everyday. We write about maybe 1/1000th of them. We read maybe 1/1000th of those.
"Nominally" means "in name only". The phrase "in name only" is used in English to refer to someone or something that says it is X but really is not X, and "nominally" is just a fancy version of "in name only". "He says he's a vegetarian, but I've seen him eat meat. He's a vegetarian in name only. He's only nominally a vegetarian."
This website is nominally neutral: it's operating under neutral principles and says it welcomes all people. However, in reality, as I explained in that linked comment, its supposedly neutral principles are not going to lead to neutral outcomes. The website is neutral in name only: it's nominally neutral, but not actually neutral.
Not all those atrocities are related to a growing culture of racism and bigotry in a country, which can be linked directly to its elected leader.
Each individual act of racism and bigotry in the USA is not important in and of itself but, taken as a whole, they indicate a growing cultural trend. However, one can not detect that trend without knowing about the individual acts which make up the trend.
I actually did just that earlier today
I appreciate your point if view, but I am not sure I agree. I think we as a society tend to not want to acknowledge these extremist ideas or events and it can end up biting us in the ass.
I would take the neo nazi rally in Charlotesville as a prime example. There has been a marked rise in altright personalities and ideologies for years on the internet, with most of these folks growing in prominence from the "anti-SJW" movement and Gamergate going into/ pol/, 8chan, and many corners of Reddit. For folks that pay attention to these fringe online communities it was not exactly surprising to see marching and chanting the same things they say online every day, but most people were not aware of these this growing trend and it was completely shocking.
Another example would be Pizzagate. No reporter for a long time wanted to touch on this far right conspiracy theory because they didnt want to give attention to it. So rather than bringing it's ridiculous to light and discredit it, the movement festered online to the point where a man from North Carolina drove up to DC and shot up a pizza shop here. A lot of journalists realized they should have been discussing these fringe movements more and we ate now seeing a huge change for instance in the coverage of Qanon.
What I'm getting at is that bringing more attention to these topics does more good than harm in my opinion.
You're right, but I don't think the article facilitates that broader discussion. Tildes would be better served by an article/post that aggregates many of these local events. Which not only serves to show an event isn't a one off occurrence but also helps that broader discussion identify potential trends.
These events are also much more substantial on the local level as they relate to a person's community. If I feel this content shouldn't be allowed on tildes as it is. How do we transition to allowing it for local groups? Especially if those posts bubble-up, does the fact that it rises to the top imply it's significant or important?
I tend to agree, "Bad person said offensive things, is bad", doesn't really leave a lot of room for discussion and mostly just serves to allow said individual to shout not just at the people in the room, but everyone who reads the headline.
These people have more attention than deserved as it is, and we don't have any requirement to help broadcast them.
To me, it does not contribute to an overall discussion of high quality; it just keeps people stirred up and pissed off (in one way or another).
This is only news in the most literal sense possible.
Like you said below, without the ultimately meaningless political identifiers, this post is "random guy yells offensive stuff".
No productive purpose is served. Only the dangerously cathartic experience of outrage is left.
I'm so happy that this is concerning to you. I think the distinction can be be reasonably understood, with some guidance, and that this goal is acheivable.
I don't think this should be the criteria - news cycles move so fast now that there's a ton of important news that will be forgotten within a week. Hell, the midterms in the US happened just over a week ago and it already feels they're ancient history.
By that criteria, any mass shooting in america should not be shared. You have so many, at such a high rate, that each one simply disappears into the news cycle.
They could be tallied and shared on monday, "7 mass shootings in America last week, down 10% from the week before"
That's simply a way to normalize mass shootings. The reason they are treated like special, horrific, one-off events is because for the majority of the world the average american mass shooting would be a horrific, one-off event.
Its a satirical comment about how American mass shootings have basically been accepted as a normal event.
I can't even figure out what you're trying to say with this. Me saying this isn't important... supports it somehow? In reality, it's the opposite—giving these kind of acts outsized amounts of attention is what supports them and encourages other people to do similar things.
Personally I think that this is a complex issue that deserves level headed discussion. I'd suggest that if the gets nasty and inflammatory take whatever action needed. I agree that protected speech is important. I also see that an entertainment venue is a potentially hazardous place to stand up in the audience and start shouting.
This one's tough with many nuances of what and where speech is to be protected. Yes he was ejected from the theater but no he got the lightest ticket from the police and isn't being watched further. So I take it we won't ever know his motive. Ok, I don't want to know it. But what about the police? As I said, lots of nuance. Hopefully no one here is a potential copycat.
all i can say: i'm honestly not sure what goes into people doing things like this. presumably the answer is not much, but you'd think that people who have presumably paid quite a bit to attend something like this would have a vested interest in not looking like a complete asshole and probably getting blacklisted or charged with a crime for doing this.
I sort of wonder whether the outburst represents the guy's actual feelings, or whether he just suddenly needed attention or whatever, and yelled the first horrible thing that came to mind.
I don't mean to sound like I'm excusing his behavior -- yelling about Hitler for attention isn't much better than yelling about him because one's a fan -- but like you say, it's just hard to imagine an ardent Nazi paying to attend what looks like a pretty upscale musical theater event because he wants to do a little impromptu outreach.
My money's on him being dragged there by his SO
What about the possibility that he deliberately bought a ticket to go to the right venue for spreading his message of hate?
it's a possibility but i mean, there are much better and likely cheaper methods of outreach than this, so it'd be somewhat bizarre and stupid.
Who mentioned outreach? I'm talking about going to a Jewish-themed play which likely has a lot of Jewish people in the audience to start shouting anti-Jewish hatred. Why waste your lung power shouting "Heil Hitler" on a street corner when you can find real live Jews to shout at?
I'll admit, it is only a possibility.
It wouldn't be the first time a Trump-supporter disrupted a public venue.
If the fascist asshole had caused a bigger panic that resulted in people getting trampled to death, I don't think Matt Jablow would get away with talk of "protected speech". This is terrorism, and it's fortunate that for once a white terrorist managed not to hurt anybody. I think it stands to reason that you don't throw a Nazi salute and shout "Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!" at a performance of Fiddler on the motherfucking Roof in front of an audience full of Jews less than a month after some other fascist asshole shot up a synagogue in Pittsburgh unless you intend to frighten or provoke people.
Regarding newsworthiness, this person has committed a terrorist act, in my view. To invoke nazism in a Jewish event, and proclaim a belief that the same forces are resurgent, is an attempt (apparently successful) to grossly manipulate people with fear.
We should be paying attention, identifying the vectors of this terrorism, and talking about how to stop this bs.
If this could be considered terrorism then its about as minor as it can get. Most terrorism involves mass murder
Why do people have to die for it to be terrorism?
Because otherwise it's not terrifying.
The reason the people in this theatre were terrified by the man shouting was because they were scared of being killed. The reason they were scared of being killed is because there have been mass killings in other places around the USA.
Those other mass killings have instilled terror in the American people.
If all the people who had killed lots of people in previous public attacks had merely stood there shouting... noone would be scared from that. When you hear another person shouting nasty things, you wouldn't think "Run! He's going to kill me like all the other ones!", you would think "Oh, it's just another one of those crazy shouty people."
The terror comes from people dying. That's what a terrorist attack is: it's an attack that instils terror in people. People don't get scared of someone shouting, they get scared of someone shooting.
You're saying there's nothing terrifying short of death?
You're saying that shouting in a theatre is terrifying in and of itself?
A terrorist attack has to inspire terror. You don't get terror just from someone shouting "Heil Hitler!" in a theatre. There has to be something more to it than that to make it terrifying. In this case, it was the memory of a recent attack in which Jews were killed in a synagogue. That's what terrified these people, not some drunk man shouting.
Maybe severe maiming or disability would count as a terrorist attack. Someone could release a nerve gas that caused permanent damage to its victims. Or even a mass shooting in which victims were left permanently disabled due to injuries to their legs. Or crashing a bus, causing spinal injuries to all passengers.
But there needs to be something for people to be scared of for it to be terrifying - and a man shouting bad words just doesn't cut it.
I think death or extreme violence itself is insufficient. It is not just the threat of violence by other people that makes what this guy shouted terrifying. It's that he shouted it with the imprimatur of government sanction via trump.
To the more general question of terrorism-it is not just loss of life or property or liberty, it's loss of control (security) that generates the terror.
One way to create the sense of loss of control is threat of violence, but it is by no means the only way. Another would be destabilization of money and/or commodities. Another is by segregation.
But there have been lots of terrorist attacks which do not have the government's imprimatur, and they still inspired terror.
I would suggest that the threat of losing one's property would not induce the same degree of fear as the threat of losing one's life. In the cliched situation of a mugger saying "your money or your life", the idea is that a victim is much more afraid to lose their life than their money: money can be replaced, after all.
Threatening to destabilise money is not going to make people flee in fear from a public venue. Nor is threatening to segregate them. If you want to make people flee in fear, you need to offer a much more immediate and serious threat.
You may be right, however, fleeing in fear from shouting is only one symptom of being terrorized.
We're talking about terror attacks, not terror in general. I might be terrified that my government is about to pass a law which will force all people like me into a concentration camp to be tortured and killed; that does not mean that passing that law is a terrorist attack.
Personally, I'm talking about terrorism, which includes many forms, not just single point "attacks." And if passing a law to torture a group of people is not terrorism, what is it?
From our chain, though, it appears you agree that in this case, it was, in fact, a terrorist act?
I do not agree that shouting "Heil Hitler!" in a theatre was a terrorist act. It was stupid, and intended to cause trouble, but it was not intended to cause terror, so it was not a terrorist act.
The terror that these audience members experienced came from their knowledge of other terrorist acts, which often included the attacker shouting hateful things. They were afraid that this person shouting hateful things might be another terrorist. He wasn't a terrorist, but they didn't know that at the time.
While it's pretty impossible to prove intent conclusively, I have a very hard time dismissing the shouters intent as anything but an attempt to elicit terror in the theater patrons. We'll have to leave at disagreement on this one.