For a Good Time, Call Wanda
Gotta love social media.
Here’s the thing. You know how sometimes, if you’re using a public bathroom, somebody might have written something on the wall. There might be a message scratched into the paint in somewhat murderous-looking letters. Obscenities, crude poetry, random rants, unflattering caricatures, etc.
For some reason I remember seeing in the bathroom stall of the boy’s room of the middle school I attended, “For a Good Time Call Wanda,” followed by a phone number.
Obviously, I never once wrote down that number and tried to call Wanda. Even if I had done so, I would not have expected Wanda to answer in a sultry voice, saying, “Hey, you must have gotten my message, sailor. Wanna have a good time?”
No, I naturally assumed that it was a bad joke, that there was no one named Wanda, or, indeed, any other person of any description who would be delighted if I called. If it was a working number, then it was the target of a prank, their number maliciously placed so the intended victim might be called at all hours by randy strangers, or really, in this case, it being a middle school bathroom, mischievous sixth-grade boys.
This used to be how we looked at such information in general, wasn’t it? We knew, instinctively, that it was bad information. We knew this because the information had no knowable source–we had no idea who wrote it. It could have been anybody. And some people are crazy. And some people are just, well, not very nice. The information also had a bad context. A bathroom wall is a terrible place to transmit serious or important messages. Because of these, and other factors, the information had a very low probability of being useful or accurate. We knew this, even in middle school.
But then, the internet came along.
Nowadays people see unsourced, anonymous, messages that aren’t transmitted in any credible context and they suddenly launch into dire flights of ideation. Staying with the bathroom wall analogy, they think, “Oh, my God, is that true? Is Wanda soliciting men for sex? It could be Wanda Jankowitz! Why does she need the money? For drugs? Oh, my God, Wanda Jankowitz is turning tricks for crack! And she’s only in sixth grade! What is this world coming to?”
That’s kind of where we are at, people.
Admittedly, this is not a completely fair comparison. A lot of great information is transmitted all day long, zillions of times per second, on social media. And the good information, like the bad, is also anonymous and unsourced. For instance, I often trust the people on line commenting on the recipes I’d like to try out. Technically, I have no good reason to believe these strangers have my best interests at heart. But, I also have long experience with human nature, and I know that there aren’t scads of people that get their kicks out of giving deliberately bad and misleading cooking advice in the comments section of a food blog.
However, when it comes to politics, which is intimately tied with money and power—well, we all have long experience with that, now don’t we? We know that anonymous, unsourced comments, accusations, innuendo, gossip, etc., have a high probability of being politically motivated fabrications, and should not be taken too seriously until independently confirmed.
We know that, right? I mean, no journalist would ever write a newspaper article about what a group of anonymous people are saying on social media. That’s not news. They would no sooner write an article titled, “Wanda: Should we Call Her for a Good Time? We Ask the Experts.” Journalists have integrity, and readers are discerning—they would never put up with that…would they?
Of course they would! Journalists do that all the time! Because, you know…the internet. It’s like they are looking at one, long, continuous bathroom wall and going, “Say, I notice a lot of occurrences of this name ‘Wanda,’ often associated with some kind of phone number and a sexually suggestive offer. Could there be something to it?”
[Sound of a long, exasperated sigh.]
At this point you may be wondering what all this has to do with Direct Legislation and The Democracy Straight-Up Project.
Well, the very good news is that once you form a Direct Legislature in your district, and provided you are a member of it, you can ignore social media for the rest of your life. You can do this and still get all the information and guidance you want when it comes to the issues of the day, and the legislation that seeks to address them. And it will be much higher-quality information, it will summarized for your convenience, and it will be tailored to your demands.
Oh, yeah, people, that is what we are offering up here. That one reason alone would be enough to make the Direct Revolution a wondrous thing. But, of course, it is only one of many wondrous things.
To be clear, you should engage in social media to your heart’s content. It’s not like we could stop you! But you know what it is like when you hear something that someone said somewhere on line. Is it true? How can you trust the bathroom wall? Now, some people will do a deep dive and research the hell out of things on their own. Good for them, but as a general solution to the problem of confirming the veracity of information online–it stinks. Most people don’t have the time, or the inclination.
And if that is you, then you are already in a position where you have to try to figure out who to believe. You might even have someone you turn to and ask, “Is this legit?” They are probably one of those people I just mentioned, who likes to research the hell out of things. What The Democracy Straight-Up Project does when it helps you set up a District Direct Legislature is it makes sure you are hooked up to someone like that. You join something called a Pod, which is a small group of voters that is like a mini Voter Caucus. If you are curious about that, here’s a link:
A Pod by Any Other Name
When you join a Pod, you elect a First Delegate to represent you and your Pod mates. Your F-Del, as we like to call them, is one of those people we mentioned—an I-Do-My-Own Researcher—and, what they can’t do on their own, they can get help with, via the system of putting forward delegates that we call ‘Direct Representation.’ Just as you have delegate that your can literally order around, your F-Del has a delegate that they can literally order around, and get you the answers you asked for.
And remember that journalist we talked about in a previous paragraph? The one who was reporting on unsourced, anonymous information, and making a story out of the fact that people were repeating that information in an equally unsourced and anonymous way? Well, now that reporter will have something much better to report on. They can talk about what Americans are really thinking when they are not hiding behind avatars and sock puppets.
So, you don’t have to read the bathroom wall anymore! You can go about your business, whistling a happy tune–your business being, in this case, living your life, not the other business done in, you know…bathrooms. But, what the hell, whistle a happy tune while you are doing that too!