2160 Ethics In Journalism.

Comic Vote

I could write a long essay about the problems of bias worming its way into the media, but fuck it. Nobody cares.

In the earliest possible drafts of what would become Between Failures the title was Memento Mori. I bring this up because the phrase has been popping up online a lot recently. Enough that I noticed it almost 4 months ago & now it’s getting to the point where even normies are noticing it. People ascribe the phrase different translations, but I’ve always known it to be “Remember that you must die”. Seems like a lot of words to come out of two words. It seems to me that a better way to say it would be “remember your mortality”. Little vestiges of that version of the comic still exist. The town is named Marbleton. A marble town is an archaic term for a graveyard. The town is known for having the largest continuously operating graveyard in the state, within the fiction of the world. Carol’s surname, Graves, is also a holdover. She was originally going to be the lead character. Her design from that time still sort of exists in the form of Gail, a character from another comic I never actually made, but had a loose script for. The skull in the logo, and the one Brooksie wore for a while, are also little vestiges of that early draft. Eventually though it all shifted to the story of a game store, & then to the version I actually reworked into what you know today. The title would probably have still worked, but it had evolved so far away from that it had been that I changed it to Opposing Forces, which sounds more like a military comic, or some such thing.
In any event, the resurgence of the phrase memento mori into the consciousness of the internet made me recall those days so many years ago. It also makes me wonder what caused the phrase to come around. Apparently a very popular youtuber used it as a show title, but I’m not sure if that is what caused it to bleed into my corner of the internet. Something about it feels sinister to me…

I think the gift shop for Disney’s Haunted Mansion is called Memento Mori.

It’s probably for the best that I went in the direction I did with this comic after all. There’s a lot more here to work with than the rather limited scope of the original idea. That was probably a limited series at best, & I’m not sure I had as much to say as I thought I did at the time. That’s what 15 years of perspective can give you though.


I’ll just leave this here, for anyone who isn’t aware whose fault it is…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine

There’s no single fault. It’s too big a failing for one fault to encompass it.

Absolutely there is fault. If you don’t want to blame those responsible, that’s being an apologist. It is possible to blame those that didn’t fix it, but that’s a different thing.

The Fairness Doctrine was an abomination that fully deserved to be repealed. It didn’t actually promote “fairness” and honesty in reporting. Because station owners didn’t want to be forced to provide free airtime to anyone claiming “unfair” coverage, they were reluctant to allow broadcast journalists to cover many sensitive subjects at all. Instead of “fair” coverage, the public often got no coverage, leaving them without the knowledge needed to hold politicians accountable. Since politicians of all stripes often have things to hide, this was a feature, not a bug.

“Fairness” itself is a rather nebulous idea. (Which is why I use the scare quotes.) Since people have widely differing values and agendas, they also have very different ideas of what is fair. Since government regulators are people, with their own biases and agendas, it’s pretty ridiculous to think they could, much less would, enforce some perfectly neutral and objective standard of fairness.

Mister Spock!

What is this: Jour-nal-iss-tiiic…INN-teg-gree-teee, of which he speaks?


There are stores JUST FOR GAMES?!

A decade ago…

A few still exist. But the computer game stores have largely been replaced by online downloads with net-connected copy-protection. Which means your game will only be playable at the company’s whim.

The stores Game Shops still sell physical media and the occasional collectors edition. Now they are mostly crammed to the ceilings with a limited selection of overpriced game related ephemera and walls of Funko Pops [ugh – I liken them to the vinyl offspring of Beanie Babies]

GameStop sucks because they bought ThinkGeek and ruined it. ThinkGeek had all kinds of need, odd geekystuff, and some licensed, franchised, crap from comic and movies.

Now that franchise shit is all they sell under the ThinkGeek name.

May they rot in hell.

I actually know of a few game stores in my area (Chicago/burbs). They have shelves full of board games, along with CCGs and RPG books. Most host game nights. My big worry is that the current situation is going to drag them under.

The “Memento Mori“ uptick may have to do with the many young readers and parents who have read “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snickett. The fourth book in the 13-book series is titled “The Austere Academy”, where the orphans are in a boarding school with tombstone-shaped buildings and the motto “Memento Mori” over the entrance.

“Memento mori” shows up a lot in a “stoic” mailing list I seem to be on.
As for so few Latin words for so many English wosds, that has to do with Latin grammar.
Instead of “that … will”, it just uses “mori”, the infinitive for “die”. And Latin doesn’t stick in a pronoun for a subject when the subject it obvious. To an extent the subject is absorbed into the verb by the process of conjugation.
And “memento” is just “remember”.

Those early drafts will be of interest to literary academics in the future studying the phenomenon of online comics. Hang on to them. Better still, publish them on your web site or elsewhere.

Back when this kind of thing didn’t happen all the time, and way before the internet, some disturbed white male sophomore at my college brandished a firearm at a woman (another student). He had some misplaced idea about an attachment to her affection.

I was only on this story because I saw the aftermath of it from the window of an evening class I was taking. No shots fired, just unusual to see an assortment of cop cars in that parking lot in the dark.

I put on my reporter’s hat and started asking questions. My editor and I wrung our hands about every detail and word in the story I was writing. It was the most newsworthy thing to happen on campus in ages.

We got things right which the Professional Newspaper in the City (which shall rename nameless) got wrong.

All the time? It’s become less common over the decades according to police statistics. The public’s perception of how common it is getting is basically a function of the public’s interest in news stories about it, and news agencies’ willingness to run such stories.

(Of course, any statistics based solely on shootings which get major news coverage will corroborate the bias.)

The public’s perception of “all the time” and the news’ perception of it is when there is one shooting every week or two, which was heavily covered during the Obama administration.

While it isn’t ALL the time, it isn’t NONE of the time either.

Truth is important. The problem with Journalism is that water is clear. But if the glass you pour it into — if it is not clear, the water takes on the color of the glass it is in. So the truth gets framed in a way that individual reporter (or editorial board) sees it,… or wants (needs to) to spin it. And worse, history books change it to meet their emotional needs, leaving out inconvenient truths.

Memento Mori was a phrase I last saw during the European Middle Ages…. I mean it was a very popular ring style. Coffin on one side, skeleton on the other and memento mori across the top. See, there was this plague going on and like one of every four People died. Or maybe one in every three, …uh, it was a long time ago, and my memory ain’t so good now a days. Anyway it was to remind people to act authentically, because with no understanding of the cause of disease Ol’ Mr. Death ™? ®? Seemed so random. We never knew who He was coming for! Or when! Gosh it was scary! You looked around and wondered who was gonna die next. I mean – it was so unlike to- …. ,…uh, never mind, I shut up now.

To not have truth in journalism is honestly nothing more than a failure of the profession and a complete tainting of the First Amendment. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum people fall on, if they’re not willing to accept that sometimes certain circumstances don’t benefit their party interests, then that’s not the fault of truth, that’s the fault of their beliefs and their unwillingness to face facts.

This crap got ramped up by a factor of 10 after the Trump administration took power.

Thr problem with “professional” journalists is that many no longer care to hide their political bias. When entire major media outlets are owned and directed by people with specific political agendas that maintain their power, control and financial dominance over the general populace, that is a problem.

Coupled with this lack of professional ethics, the general populace (in the USA) has become lazy and easily led by the media, which results in an uncritical electorate voting for whatever is deemed “nice” or popular according to what little attention they pay to junk media, which is full of opinion presented as fact and people on “news” channels who actually say, on live TV, that people in the US are “too obsessed with freedom”.

The unfortunate result is a polarized society that is teetering on the brink of a totalitarian socio-communist regime where the poitical elites and their wealthy supporters mandate what we do, eat and say. If you wonder what it might look like, take a look at China.

The current media system is polarizing but to state that we’re on the verge of a totalitarian socio-communist regime is nonsense. Unlike China, we at least have open forums to freely discuss our political views, regardless of how polarizing they are. I sincerely doubt we’ll transition over into totalitarianism based on the mindsets of Trump supporters.

Plus, this is 2020, not 1940’s Maoist China where information was more limited to the masses and there was more disdain against the Chinese monarchist dynasty.

I’d have to disagree a bit. The problem isn’t that journalists are openly biased, it’s that they try to claim that they’re not biased. I don’t really believe in the idea of perfectly neutral and objective reporting; even if reporters are scrupulously honest with the facts, bias can still manifest through what subjects they choose to cover or not. I’m far more comfortable getting news from sources that are honest and upfront about their agenda. Knowing their angle makes it easier for me to know when the information they’re presenting is probably reliable, and when I should be more skeptical.

One thing a lot of folks fail to realize is that what a lot of people think of as ‘professional journalism’ was a historical anomaly–it was in existence for about 50-odd years, at most. Prior to that, journalism was pretty much exactly what it is today–the expression of a publisher or broadcaster’s personal biases. And even in the peak of the ‘professional’ era, there were biases present, they were just more subtle in nature. I stuck a link at the bottom of this post–check for the “Mr. Gates” study.

In some ways, our biggest issue bias by the individual media outlets; it’s the bias of the viewers. It’s simply too easy to wrap yourself into a bubble that confirms everything you believe, without ever acquiring an outside viewpoint. It requires effort and personal integrity to search out the opposing view, and the vast majority of folks just aren’t up to the task.


It may be that I am a bit older and have an interest in antiques but my non-internet experience with the phrase “memento mori” is a small item kept in remembrance of a loved one who has died. This was often a lock of hair or some small item specifically associated with the person. Art containing bits of a loved ones hair was popular among the Victorians.

Are we talking about teachers?

The best hard teacher I ever had was my economics teacher. Looking back, I think we both got along and butted heads so often because we agreed on so many points. He taught a class on how the government has no idea how to run a nation because they have no idea how to run money. Then he taught us how to run money. Then he warned us to get rich you have to be a jerk.

Memento Mori was the title of a chapter in Scapula- an utterly ridiculous webcomic which nevertheless managed to have a nuanced and transformative storyline for a while.
As to bias in the media-yeah, it’s always been there, but it seemed like they used to make some tiny effort to hide it. No more.

A quiz for the readers.

Q1: Where on the body is the scapula?

Q2: In which excellent fantasy book did scapulomancy play a quite minor but still memorable role?

1. It’s the shoulder blade
2. No idea about the fantasy book, but I believe it was actually practiced in Bronze Age China. The scapula of a sacrificed animal (ox?) was heated with a red-hot poker and fortunes told by how it cracked.

Quite correct, and the book is the excellent Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, set in ancient China. Highly recommended!

My favorite Latin phrase by far is ‘Veni Apud Me, Frater,’ which translates to ‘come at me, bro’ in Latin. It’s not a historical phrase, just my favorite one.

Hee hee hee! :D

My favorite Latin term, is: adepto a vita, which means- get a life.

[That may not be proper, Latin grammar. I don’t know.]

It would be Adipisce Vitam actually. There are a lot of nuances there; first, adepto is a participle of adipiscor, the word for ‘to take/to overcome,’ ‘a’ in Latin is actually a word meaning ‘from/away from’ and vita is in the nominative, which means that it’s the subject of the sentence. So the sentence you had before says ‘Life (implied verb ‘is’) getting away from (implied object ‘me’).’ Now first you change adepto to the verb adipiscor and put it in the imperitive case, making it adipisce, which translates to ‘Get a ___ !’. Take out the ‘a’. Finally, you want vita in the accustative (objective) case, which makes it vitam. So there you have it! Correct Latin grammar! This is the first time I’ve really used my 4 years of Latin class on something outside of DnD, interestingly.

Thanks. I really like learning the phrase- ” Adipisce Vitam “.

“Adepto a vita”, translates to, “Life is getting away from me”?
Eek. Yeah, I [don’t] want to walk around saying that! :D

I got the term, “adepto a vita”, from the 2004,…from New Zealand, TV cartoon, named-
bro’Town, aka bro town.
I guess I’ll stop learning Latin from TV cartoons. :D

For more information, here’s wikipedia’s page on bro’town:

I know of at least one heavy metal song that uses the name Memento Mori. I’d guess I know at least three and a band, but a quick search has turned up two from bands I listen to, three I haven’t heard and one album. I can post the ones I know, if anyone expresses interest.

Since I can’t seem to edit these, correction the second: everything is a song, the youtube link was ambiguous on the last one. So that’s six songs all using the same title, and most likely using the theme of inevitable mortality.

Ethics in American journalism died when 5 families managed to buy up all the major news outlets.

If you want good journalismb you pretty much have to find a good independent source.

I personally am of the belief that if honesty were absolutely inviolate in the media that the world would not be near its current state. Honesty is a much much bigger deal than anyone makes of it. I blame Ronald Reagan for the repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine”. Things have been a steady slide downward since.

To be fair, the U.S. had been sliding downwards since the days of Richard Nixon but that’s another debate altogether!

“Fairness Doctrine” had one purpose-get rid of conservative media. While mainstream media masquerades as “objective” talk radio and such is overwhelmingly conservative. Liberal talk radio has failed miserably. Unlike CNN and such which live on in some zombie-like existence-radio requires an audience and advertisers. The “Fairness Doctrine” would have required stations to provide similar time to liberal programs which have already done so poorly and caused them to lose listeners,or-and this was always the intent-get rid of the conservative programming in favor of some innocuous music or such. Think about it. If it really meant what the name seems to indicate, There’d have to be about 10 more Fox News channels. Even I wouldn’t want that. Probably not enough skinny blonde anchorettes to fill that many.

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