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Soundtrack: In Defense of a Former Pushover

Posted by Ben Collins, Today's Soundtrack  August 11, 2010 06:07 PM

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Google CEO Eric Schmidt (or, as you may know him, the Wizard of Oz of the Internet) scared the ironed, woolen pants off of some First Amendment lawyer-y types this week when he said this:

The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it.

Then this:

Privacy is incredibly important. Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It's very important that Google and everyone else respects people's privacy. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal.

Ooph. Looks like my days of photoshopping Alex Rodriguez’s face into pictures that were considered illegal until the late-1960s are over.

But what if we already have a seamless instrument to narrow down the job title of anyone posting a comment on the Internet? And what if it’s something as trivial as the comments section of the current story of the moment?

Yep, it’s the one you think it is: Jet Blue’s swearing, swilling, sliding, and invariably arrested flight attendant Steven Slater.

Let’s take Michael from the Globe’s Facebook page:

I didn't laugh or crack a smile when I 1st heard this story. Not only is it unprofessional, but it's just a lame ploy for attention. I would NEVER hire this person after hearing this story. I hope other "future" employers feel the same way. Also, I am glad that he was charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing. Holding up a plane like that is inexcusable, and all for his own benefit. I really can't believe this is getting the attention that it's getting ---> Mr. Slater WIN, and it's a shame. He really should go to jail for this.

Or ColeRyan from the Globe’s reprint of an AP article:

Is this clown seriously going to get off without a crackdown by the whip of the FAA???? Deploying a slide in a non-emergency situation??? That's worse than tampering with smoke detectors in the lavatory.

Oh no! Not the lavatory smoke detectors!

So we get it. These people clearly manage rules and/or other people. For a living. Those two were freebies, Eric Schmidt.

The other thing our comments section barometer can do? It can narrow down people we would want to hang around with, too.

Here’s the punctual goatfool23, who provided the first comment of the AP story:

lets face it, we all wish we could quit our jobs by going down a slide beer in hand

Or pjabed from the comments section of the profoundly off-base, completely discordant with public opinion, tsk-tsky Globe editorial about the topic:

Are you nuts? This guy is my hero!! Not only did he leave via the exit chute, he stopped to take a beer (or two) with him! I've walked out on a few restaurant jobs (Want stress? Wait on tables!), but, damn, I never thought to get my after-shift cocktail first!!

And then there’s this last one:

Most people, when it's raining and they're tired and it's two miles through a ghetto back to their hotel, most people will call a cab. They would think it was nuts not to, or at least they would never question the choice. But I was born to raise hell, and I invariably walk that distance in the rain, through the ghetto, dead on my feet, because life would seem incredibly banal otherwise. And sometimes an adventure takes place, some encounter worth retelling or some vignette worth remembering, that I can point to as "the reason" I went the hard way. But that impulse to cut across the swamp, to eat the purple berries, to walk the rest of the way while everyone else drives, it's not about telling stories. It's about questioning received wisdom, resisting seduction by comfort and routine, pushing out the borders of what you know and where you're comfortable.

Okay, so that’s from an interview with The Long Winters’ lead singer John Roderick. And he’s not talking about this story at all.

But I’m sure he’d be happy to be grouped with the authors of those last two quotes, running away on the tarmac, cutting across the swamp, fumbling around with a bottle opener and smiling, watching their own anonymity disintegrate and waiting to be arrested by those who love the rules and manage people, those who would wind up following Roderick types all along.

Today's Soundtrack: The Long Winters - Pushover

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About the author

Ben Collins can't help but search beyond Feist for the zeitgeist of Today's Soundtrack, his pick of a song or songs capturing the mood or events of the moment. His musical tastes vary from Strawberry Fields to The Magnetic Fields, from Low to Skee-Lo. A North Shore native, Ben has worked at The Boston Globe and Spin and is an Emerson grad. Make your own nominations to him at ben.t.collins@comcast.net or on Twitter @globesoundtrack. More »

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