A look into the inspiration behind the work.

Ad Hominem Fallacy #Selfie


It is time to get real. Is Bigotry Logical?  The ad hominem fallacy is the most revolting of all of the fallacies. Bigotry is only one guise of this style of delusion. We see it used nearly every time two political ideologies are in conflict and we see it on nearly every argument on social media. When someone is making a logical argument and then out of left field someone attempts to dismiss the argument based on a completely unrelated character trait of the person, be it real or perceived, of the person making the case.
I want to bring up just a part of a satirical argument that was in the Huffington post piece that railed against the Topeka population for their concern that the First Lady’s plan to speak at the 501 High School Graduation,  titled “If You're Worried Michelle Obama Will Outshine Your Kid at His High School Graduation, She Will.”
It was an ugly piece filled with numerous fallacies as sarcasm typically is. Meanwhile, I was seeing responses online to this piece as if it was FACT rather than a witticism. It was jaw dropping!
It is also typical of what we can find in opinion pieces these days. As they say there is always a grain of truth in jest.
The one argument that made my gut turn was “And, of course, all the parents and students who signed the petition will say, "This isn't about race." Whenever someone says, "this isn't about race," it's about race. Like OJ, or Trayvon Martin, or that black kid who just got pulled over on the freeway. You may say it's about seating and your kid's special day, and that's probably true, for the most part. But we have a sinking suspicion that if somehow, miraculously, Mitt Romney had won the election and Ann Romney wanted to speak at the commencement, it wouldn't be as much of a problem. Just a hunch. Call us crazy.”
REALLY?  I have to say again REALLY? This argument has been beat to death in the last few years… and actually has numbed us to genuine bigotry. Any consideration of “race” in an argument is illogical at its core.
To judge someone solely on their appearance is the most primitive form of group think ever created by man. I suppose it was necessary to some degree when we were cave men having to fight other tribes for our basic needs being able to identify us vs. them. But as evolved creatures, who can think beyond what we see, use fantastic technology like the internet could actually consider more than one fact at a time and move beyond these undeveloped notions.
Unfortunately, no matter how horrible and antiquated it is to use gross generalizations to go about trying to influence people, it works especially if we can charge them with negative feelings about the other guy.
I am a big believer when someone can write something that ugly and be proud enough to publish it in a national magazine or on their timeline, I always pause and consider how the words reflects back on the author of any post that chooses to demean another’s opinion by attacking a unrelated personal feature such as their race. Nonetheless, it is an emotionally charged attack on character that people seem to crave.
Funny thing about it though, it does get our blood pumping, and it is the bad, ugly news that sells whether or not it is logical. It is this kind of mindset that attempts to illustrate, despite our best efforts, not much has changed in our national consciousness in 60 years and all things considered maybe it is just humanity. We seem to want to see the worst in each other instead of celebrating the best in us. I would like to think that we would want to be better than that.
Let’s try to be a positive role model rather than a destroyer of dreams.  Opinion pieces written in this way are only created to divide and not to heal. This is only one outrageous example.
Maybe we should reconsider which news we prefer. Because when it really comes right down to it, it is the public who gets to decide what news is worth paying attention to and we have that control with our actions, the newspapers, online sites and TV programs we respond to.
I am truly grateful that the First Lady chose to change the date of her speech. Then found a way to address these young citizens without raining on the parade of their hard earned day while still celebrating the Brown vs. the Board of Education 60 year anniversary with her presence and insight. Isn’t that much better solution than sardonically debasing a bunch of kids and their entire community who only wanted their ceremony to be about the graduates’ accomplishments and not a national media circus event?

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Gamblers' Fallacy #Selfie


Are you on a winning streak?

Life is like the Roulette wheel, every day is a new spin of the wheel and as you hope that your ball will land on red once again as it has for the past couple of months it is inevitable that your ball will land on the statistically equal possibility of black. Expecting that little white ball to land on a specific number, that would be too much to ask for.

The Gamblers’ Fallacy is the mindset that has made Las Vegas a destination in what is otherwise a desert waste land. It is the idea that given even odds a winning streak happens independently of the statistics. I find that this logic happens in everyday life whether you are in the casino or not. You can plan a lot of things in your life but you can’t control everything.  

I wanted to paint a painting every day and boy howdy, I was on a 50 plus day winning streak! I conscientiously scheduled my time to meet my goal all was working and I found myself in the middle of the euphoria of meeting my goal and painting every single day! What a wonderful place to be in! I was snugly wrapped in meeting my realistically unreasonable expectations that were doomed to fail.

The first day to fail to meet my daily painting was pretty awful; I started beating myself up emotionally and mentally. It was this toxic self-talk that lead to the next few days of failure. As each day passed I painted but failed to finish the painting or failed to post it. This coupled with a few other personal disappointments in one short week I found myself spiraling down a funnel of depression and lack of confidence.  I just wanted to stay in bed.

I had to snap out of this madness! I knew too what would do that is an attitude adjustment on my expectations of what I was reasonably able to do. Slowly I came to the realization that much like a gambling addiction I was really expecting the impossible for myself because it is inevitable that the roulette wheel of life was going to fall on a losing number. The only way to avoid it was to completely sequester myself from life and that wouldn’t be a way to live.

With my new expectations adjusted I am moving forward and I believe that this was a lesson that I needed to learn. I don’t know how many times I need to learn to be kinder to myself through my expectations but I suppose life will continue to beat me over the head until I have it down.

Winning streaks are great, but life with loved ones and even with the occasional unforeseen challenges that come with them is what makes life worth living. It is these ups and downs that teach us the most about what it means to be alive. The best we can expect is to keep breathing and adjust our schedule to make room for the things life throws at us.

I will be getting back to “Being My Selfie” series but I am going to post them a little less often so that I can allow myself to experience all that life has to offer, the wins and losses.

Now it is your turn, I would like to know from you is what was your most recent life’s winning streak like and how did it end?

P.S. As I was preparing today’s upload would you believe my Lenovo computer crashed again! This was the second time in my 3 months of ownership. I had gotten it back 2 weeks ago from the manufacturer repair depot. Good thing my intuition told me not to trust that machine… Office Max took care of me and I should be getting my laptop back early next week… then I have 2 weeks of trying to get everything back on it once again! Life is so much better if you don’t play Russian Roulette with your data.

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Special Pleading #Selfie


I'm special! Your expectations don't apply to me!

Human beings are comical creatures, we will say about anything to keep from being wrong.  This is the fallacy of special pleading.  Moving the goals or expectations when it is revealed that we made a mistake is a natural. I think as children we come to this faulty logic naturally we will invent ways to cling to our old beliefs rather than changing our mind and learning through better understanding.

Here is an example of special pleading that works for the Blue’s Brothers: Jake’s List of Excuses for leaving his mystery woman at the altar.

I know we’ve all taken this position to cover-up or make ourselves feel better about the things we have done to wrong another no matter the magnitude of the error. Even if it is a tiny white lie we use to beg our case, it is still a fallacy in logic.

The worst of this is the position of “it wasn’t my fault!” when in reality it is our fault and we should be held accountable. Has humans this is one of the most difficult things to do, admit our shortcomings. I think that our fear of repercussions overtake our logic ability to learn from our mistakes.

The most contemptible of these is when through our own action or inaction we create circumstances that force another to repair our mistakes while not taking responsibility for our own role played in the state of affairs. While special pleading can seeming repair the deception, it doesn’t correct the original wrong and the situation is free to escalate just like Carrie Fisher’s character in the clip, the third party ends up in the sewer muck.

There seems to be a lot of this mindset running around in social media, best exemplified by our nation’s leadership and mimicked by our youth. Until we can stop and hold ourselves and others accountable for actions and repercussions we will not see any peace or growth in mankind. Then when we take a look at history, maybe it is simply not possible to eradicate this human instinct to plead special for our mistakes.

Just be aware, that special pleading can lead to harm to others and will not really solve the problem. I must simply ask myself to try really hard to be accountable for my own actions and hope others will do the same. I guess that is really all I can logically expect. 

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Strawman #Selfie


Where's the beef?

Where’s the argument AKA where’s the beef? When we exaggerate someone’s argument to make it easier to attack we are creating a Stawman fallacy. This is done extensively in the political arena. Nearly every political argument will eventually succumb to the Strawman argument.  This is so common place that we often seem them as valid arguments.

It is much easier to exaggerate or completely fabricate a disagreement to present our own position as more reasonable than to face a valid cold logical conclusion. Typically a logical resolution is not always as emotionally charged as a misrepresented argument. If the rebuttal is full of emotion, more than likely you are being duped with a Strawman argument.

The reason these are so popular?  It is such a natural human response to want to feel emotionally charged about the things we care deeply about, these fake issues sell a lot of newspapers and win free media time. No matter how erroneous the issue we still fall prey to this faulty logic because our emotions are always at the ready to stir us into action.

Here is a classic commercial arguing that all burger restaurants are offering you less beef in their burgers than Wendy’s. I love this commercial and it ranks in my top 10 of all-time favorites with or without the fallacy – who can’t love these little old ladies taking a stand for their beef.

The crux here is that no burger place would ever offer a burger as represented in this commercial or they would not be in business very long. The argument here is that Wendy’s quarter pound hamburger has more beef in the sandwich than any of their competitors. There really is no argument presented other than a made up comparison.  A quarter pound hamburger is a quarter pound hamburger and as far as I’m concerned it is the preparation, condiment selection and bun that makes the difference one from the other. Even though this is my all-time favorite commercial I still prefer a Big Mac (no matter how bad it is for me) over the Wendy’s single every time. 

You might have noticed that I left out any political arguments. I have done this for a reason – I worry that people won’t pay attention to the logic if I start using emotionally charged political issues as examples.

So the next time you are faced with a wildly passionate argument that doesn’t actually do anything but distort the competition, you must stop and ask yourself where the real beef is. You are most likely facing another common Strawman fallacy designed to sway your opinion while disguising the actual truth.

What examples do you have of the Strawman Fallacy? 

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Slippery Slope #Selfie


Don't get body slammed by bad logic!

We see logical fallacies in the media and it politics every day they are part of the human condition and the art of persuasion. The Slippery Slope Fallacy is a string of cause and effects that do not necessarily add up to the assumed conclusion. Usually the argument is a series of events that will lead to an unreasonable catastrophic end.

To illustrate the current series of Direct TV commercials uses this logical fallacy to catch our attention with humor. By warning us with many ridiculous outcomes if we subscribe to cable such as we will “Get body slammed by a low land gorilla.

When you pay too much for cable you feel down. When you feel down you stay in bed. When you stay in bed they give your job to someone new.

When they give your job to someone new he has a lot to learn. When he has a lot to learn mistakes are made. And when mistakes are made you get body slammed by a lowland Gorilla.

Don’t Get Body Slammed by a Lowland Gorilla.

We all understand that this is a series of events that is very unlikely to happen to us personally so it is humorous and obviously intended to grab our attention; however it is a perfect illustration of the Slippery Slope Fallacy. 

Where this dishonesty and muddy logic gets nasty is when the chain of events is much more subtle and seemingly more likely. It can be used to persuade our opinion on much more important issues. The strength of this argument is only as strong as its weakest link.

This argument is a parental favorite and I have been known to use it myself and my parents used it on me. “If you don’t study you will not get good grades. If you don’t get good grades you won’t get into college. If you don’t get into college you will be flipping burgers for a living.”  Although this is a scenario that is more likely than getting body slammed by a lowland gorilla – it is also not the only conclusion that can happen from not studying.

Many wildly successful entrepreneurs do not have any education past high school and who is to say that flipping burgers is undesirable or will not lead to owning a chain of restaurants. My point being that there are many possible outcomes even if the argument sounds reasonable.

Just be aware of the slippery slope or you too could find yourself getting body slammed by bad logic.

What are some examples on of the Slippery Slope Fallacy have you come across?

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What? #Selfie


Do politicians and the media ever use reasonable arguments?

Humans are funny creatures we can find ourselves believing in impossible arguments designed by masters of the art of persuasion. In college I took Logic 101 and first learned about logical fallacies. It was an eye opener. Even though I know about 24 these nemeses of logic I still fall prey to them.  

With my next group of #Selfies I would like to explore a variety of ill formed arguments that are found in social media on a daily basis. Hopefully I will be able to solidify my own knowledge of the false arguments to help me remember them.

 You experience a fallacy regularly through sneaky media creators and politicians who use them masterfully to sway your opinion.  They do this because it works if you don’t know how to ferret out their corrupt logic.

Simply put a logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. They are thoughtful illusions crafted to trick you into believing some argument or point of view is true. If a story doesn’t quite add up there is probably a fallacy hidden in the story.  

Most of the time there are several fallacies that are stacked up in a story or a speech.  The writer will cover all of their bases by twisting the logic in several directions to make sure that their faulty reasons stick like glue and you will more likely hold on to their truth rather than think about how their argument is screwed up.

It is really all just part of our own flawed human condition because we want to believe and we’ll defy logic to fit in and get on the bandwagon.

Do you too fall prey to logical fallacies?

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Loss #Selfie


What are your thoughts about personal loss? Who do you trust with your fears?

Everyone handles loss differently. Some find comfort in company while others prefer to confront their losses alone. Being a highly visual person it is extremely difficult for me to face death and major illness visually. I tend to avoid funerals and hospitals because the last memory of someone I care about in those situations is not a memory that I care to have. I would much rather remember people while they weren’t suffering or lifeless.

Funerals are the worst because it never seems to be really about the deceased but the extended family. In my experience family members who most likely haven’t seen or talked to each other since the last death in the family suddenly begin to position themselves in a hierarchy of who is grieving the most. There is an unspoken competition as to who was impacted the most or who was more important to the departed, basically selfishness in their grief becomes paramount.

We are forced to face our own mortality in these situations and it appears that our fight or flight instinct is turned up to maximum. Emotions during these moments are on the edge and even personal observations are taken in offense, unless of course it is geared to be put into an application for sainthood.

Real concern for fellow mourners confronting their grief can be in conflict with family and friends. We become witness to a dramatic affair and the very worst of character is revealed in these moments.  This is another reason I have difficulty with these situations and prefer to meet with personal loss alone or at the most surrounded by people who I truly trust to understand the worst in myself.   

Our own mortality is something we all must confront as each passing moment we race to the same inevitable end. No one lives forever… yet.  Until technology finds a way to solve that universal fear we will always have to find ways to comfort ourselves and others through our losses.

What are your thoughts about personal loss? Who do you trust with your fears?

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My Way #Selfie


Do you have difficulties in your life that lead you to the childish impulse to hold your breath until you get your way?

How easy it is to revert to our childhoods and attempt to hold our breath until we get our way or answers to our questions. I have been trying to find out what artist painted the most self-portraits.  Naturally I turned to Google to inform me.  There is a gap in this particular nugget of information on the web. So I must ask if Google doesn’t know it, who does?

When I started this project and realized that this was turning into something larger than I expected I decided that maybe I needed to figure out a goal and define my purpose for creating all of these selfies. In my experience, as creative projects typically go they often end up in a completely different place than you expect in the beginning.

With time, growth and unseen obstacles that happen through the process we can expect that the vision will evolve into something more interesting than what we thought in the beginning. This is the number one thing I love about working in a series. Half the fun is to see where it goes and the discovery of what keeps the idea going.

The first thing that usually gets me started is the simple desire to paint. Individual images tell stories and when you work in a series the paintings start taking a life of their own and they can often become a novel.  There is a personal delight in uncovering the bigger story the paintings begin to tell that reaches beyond the primary fulfilling the need to express myself.  

One obstacle that inevitably pops up over and over again is the question of what the purpose of the story and I always want to answer that question prematurely. I have to remember that the story is being revealed with each piece and pushing the envelope too early may crash the story.  I cannot hold my breath until I have a clear vision and the journey is more revealing if I don’t know all the answers.

Maybe with the mystery that Google has created for me is part of the process as well. I know I can research the answer in traditional ways, or I could seek out an expert. But I have decided that the question of who painted the most self-portraits is unnecessary information for this journey.  I think the better goal is simply continue until I can’t stand the subject any more.  However, if anyone knows the missing Google information of which artist painted the most self-portraits please let me know.

Do you have difficulties in your life that lead you to the childish impulse to hold your breath until you get your way?

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Overwhelm #Selfie


Who isn’t creating selfies? The trend, the ease, the opinions, the disorders, the overwhelming awesomeness has taken over news feeds across all media sources. Even the President is found taking selfies at commemorative events such as funerals and Red Sox games, now that is mainstream!

All of the attention that #selfies are getting validates their importance.  As authorities malign the practice the more curious they become.  Heated discussions are sparked on the subject and not a single opinion is impartial. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the practice.

The one thing that I’ve noticed is that many selfies are beginning to be more realistic. Instead of the search for the perfect selfie most people creating them are creating not so perfect images that would never pass the muster of media publishers and they are simply celebrating their lives through candid snapshots.

If you want a quick view of the variety of selfies being taken, Selfeed.com is a site dedicated to real-time updates of the #selfie tag on Instagram. It is a blur of activity and will give you an idea just how many selfies are being taken every moment. As the images flash on the screen, it is as difficult to process as it would be to see each individual in a crowd but you can see the frankness of what is being created. Warning: If you are an epileptic don’t go to Selfeed.com it is sure to put you into a fit.

So if you haven’t already taken and shared a selfie, it is time for you to start doing it right now. Please overwhelm me with your own awesomeness! Post your selfie pic here and share your honest life shot with me on my Facebook Page.

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Monday #Selfie


Where do Mondays come from?

Monday, Monday, Monday! Aren’t you so glad it is here? Back to work and back to the grind… The big thing that I have to look forward to is that as I try to get things done spending a ridiculous amount of time looking for things I just had! No matter how organized I try to be it seems to be an endless search for tools or pages that I need and had just a moment ago.

Tell me please that I am not alone with this phenomenon.  After giving it some thought I’m wondering if it isn’t a right brain/left brain thing.

I know I often shift into right brain dominate when I’m working. My first clue is I lose track of time while doing the job, especially when I’m in a groove.  I think I get into whatever I’m doing and lay things aside absent (right brain) mindedly after using them and move forward with the next step. Somehow when I come back to the real world (left brain) there is enough of a shift and I have completely forgotten where I put the tool aside.  

I have tried many things to reduce this effect including a container to hold all the items I need for the project and this doesn’t help. I still put things down wherever I finished with them.  Then the next time I need it, the hunt is on. This problem seems to get more troublesome when things are already out of disorder. Last week when my computer hard drive went down this “lose what I just had” problem seemed to escalate even if I was working on a non-computer item or maybe it is just the state of being discombobulated that leaks all over everything.

The way I got through last week was to adjust my mindset to accept that things were in disarray, just roll with the punches and know that eventually this too will pass. I am hoping that this weekend has washed away all of the disorganization and everything will fall into place as they should.

My computer is back, I have reinstalled most of the programs that I use and have downloaded all items from the backup. All should be right in the world even if it is a MONDAY!

Have a great day, week and month! Via la Monday!

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