April 4, 2011

Blog Entry #2

by Richard Lee Nieto (author's profile)

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Richard L. Nieto
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Blog Entry #2

In ending my prior entry I touched on what my topic of conversation would be for this one. The subject has both to do with who blogs and the content of the blog.
I'm wondering if somewhere a survey poll has been done - probably, what DON'T they survey? - that deals with the people behind the blog. Does it affect you the reader's opinion of what is being said if you know who the blogger actually IS? Or at least something about his/her past or background? It's "possible" that is what MIT is trying to find out. But as an example my blogging on a network that is made up specifically of convicted felons you KNOW what's up (more or less) with the blogger. You know "Ok this is written by a prisoner" and you form your opinion on that knowledge; be it negative or positive. You can say "OK, this guy's a loser, he has absolutely NO credibility and therefore everything he says is total BS, or you can voice a more neutral (favorable even) opinion based on that tidbit of info. That's not to say a negative categorization is wrong or bad, because even I would be skeptical of what someone with questionable ethics (at best) has to say on any given subject. Having said that I wouldn't discount the truth of something based on that alone. But more to the point it seems that anyone with an opinion can blog - this is America and so you SHOULD be allowed that right - but I wonder which percentage of bloggers are squeaky-clean? Have you ever wondered? Does it matter at all to you? I'm not saying it should or it shouldn't, it's only a curiosity that came to mind.
It's similar to a company promoting a product that they know to be defective or outright harmful and they don't tell you. But then too in business the goal is to make $ not lose it. I am by no means a moral compass - let me be the first to make that clear! I believe in doing what it takes to succeed, be it ruthless or with satin gloves. Whatever works. A lot of you will cringe at the thought of being deceptive or ruthless. To each their own. It seems that especially now the goal isn't to be honest, or to be real, the goal is to make NOISE; to draw attention; to scandalize. You've probably heard the saying "There's no such thing as BAD publicity." Again, in my opinion this isn't necessarily "good" or "bad". It depends your goal and your standard. The question is if this tendency towards all this is a moral issue (a decline in moral values) or if it's just a less tolerant means to achieve something? Do morals = toleranCE? If you tolerate something, does that mean you have good morals? I doubt it. In my opinion - as corrupted as it may be - it's human nature to desire things. To be tempted. To want what you can and can't have. There's nothing wrong with that. The religious readers will talk about sin and temptation. Call it what you want, but doesn't change the fact that it's happening. If you want or desire anything you must be ready and willing to fight for it. And that "fight" can sometimes be "dirty". We do what it takes.
I have a continuous discussion with a friend of mine who seems to believe (naivety) that selfishness is limited to those of us selfish individuals. I definitely put myself in the category of being selfish, but so is everyone else. The person that says they are not is only attempting to make a smoke-screen to divert attention from their selfish nature. What people say about themselves matters little; people will say anything. Selfishness is not limited to only worrying about "you". People consider the world "selfish" to be a negative thing. Maybe it can be depending on how you view it. But selfishness is defined as "overly concerned with one's own interests and having little concern for others." I'm pretty sure that all of us in one way or another are selfish in certain areas of our lives. You can be selfish in love; selfish in business, or in your opinion. If you've ever said something with no regard for how the person will take it, that qualifies as a selfish thought or opinion. Who doesn't want things done "OUR" way? I do. Who wouldn't want - given the chance - the ability to control an outcome or situation? I would. Is there supposed to be something wrong with that? Says who? I am overly concerned with my own interests. Who ISN'T? We all get caught u in our lives. We all do things that don't always necessarily take into consideration how it affects others. Or maybe we do and just don't care enough to not do it. You can judge the act based on whatever criteria you want (like how much damage is done etC) but it doesn't change the fact that it's a selfish act.
You see, a lot of people are so deceptive that even admitting to something so simple and trying to appear innocent or incapable of such things, those are the people who usually have the most to hide. Some think they deceive you. others attempt to deceive themselves. Maybe it makes them feel better about themselves. That's cool. Nothing wrong with a little false confidence-building. You should at least be able to recognize truth when you see it though.
So that's my BS rant for today. Not so much a rant, cuz I enjoy the psychology behind it. I just enjoy debating these things.
Real quick for those of you who car,e as far as life in here is for me. Just another day. I try hard to keep moving forward. I study a lot. Lately I don't hit the books as hard as I used to - sometimes you got to take a break. You can get burned out. But right now I'm reading 3 books. Not all at once of course, but I'll read some of this one, some of that one. These 3 books are:
#1)The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (the 3rd time I read it. Love this book. Total classic)
#2) March of the Titans: A history of the white race. By Arthur Kemp
#3) Sarah (Palin): How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political establishment upside down.
I'm reading that last book because we recently had a debate about her here, and I didn't know enough about Mrs. Palin's politics to actually form an opinion. I still don't. :( She's hot I know, THAT much. :) Got my vote Ha Ha. I'm kidding! I would love to read a more in depth book about her though.
Any comments about these books, or others you think I'd enjoy reading please feel free to comment.

- Richard Lee Nieto

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froggy1869 Posted 10 years ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years ago   Favorite
I heard about this blog on the radio, and have some fear about responding. Part of that fear is creating an expectation of an ongoing conversation, and I won't promise that. I've often thought that simple incarceration is a stupid response to crime, in that there's probably not great individual support and motivating factors in prison.

I am impressed with your thoughtfulness and curiosity.

You question about whether people judge the blogger by their history. I try not to. One of the norms at the church I attend is that history is left behind. For example, occupations and incomes are not usually mentioned. A truck driver and a doctor might have a conversation on equal terms. For me, your interest in fascinating books is separate from a crime you committed.

I agree that we're all selfish is some ways. We just hide it in different ways. Recently I recognized another way I seek approval, if I can figure out how to describe it. I was in traffic court and the judge asked a two part question: "Is there anyone who a) came in late or b) whose name wasn't mentioned?" I announced that a) I was on time but b) my name wasn't mentioned. Later I realized that I didn't need to mention that I was on time, but only that my name wasn't mentioned. Since then I've seen more of that kind of behavior in myself, saying something that's irrelevant to the conversation but intended to get credit (acknowledgment, love, etc.)


Charlie DeTar Posted 10 years ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years ago   Favorite
The rest of MIT might have other motives; but as for me: I work on this project because I want to change the way the general public perceives prisoners. I believe that we're all people, that we all have the possibility of screwing up, and that we all deserve a second chance. I think that punishment-focused incarceration is counter-productive; and social stigmatization of prisoners is even doubly counter-productive, for everyone involved.

That said, I agree that the framing is what it is: this is a blogging platform for prisoners, and each blogger is a prisoner. So people will already be thinking about that when they start reading. My hope is that if people come by and see thoughtful writing like what you have here, they will be surprised, for the better - because it doesn't match their stereotype of prisoners as heartless, thoughtless thugs.

Thanks for making me think!

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