Advantage Denton

January 26, 2010

Why is cruelty funny?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Denton @ 2:07 pm

Melissa Denton Maybe I am missing something important.  I certainly am missing a lot of entertainment.  Perhaps someone can enlighten me about why so many shows are popular when they primarily show people being unkind to each other.

Immensely popular shows have been around for quite a few years now showing house wives and other persons in a neighborhood being truly cruel to each other, showing people working together in a horrendous office situation, and “reality” tv shows people voting against each other and undermining each other in unkind ways.  Candid camera was like this, too.  It entertained by embarrassing people.  I heard about a popular Japanese game show where people were filmed at the moment someone screamed in their face.

Why do people enjoy watching immoral unkind acts?  Why is this funny or scintillating?  It reminds me of cruelty like making fun of someone based on a disability or race.   The reality TV aspirants who pretended their son might be aloft seem a natural consequence of this entertainment.

I do get why a stand up comedienne’s shtick is funny when she deflates the balloons  of false pretense.  I understand that political humor can be clever and sarcasm is a worthy art form (within reason).  Of course great literature and film is full of stories about how people deal with adversity.  It just seems to me that watching pointless cruelty is not fun.

You are most welcome to leave a comment.  I would appreciate any illumination you might shed on this issue (or even commiseration is welcome).

January 11, 2010

Are Lawyer Ads Just Lies?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Denton @ 10:03 am
Melissa Denton

Melissa Denton

Don’t believe everything you hear.  Don’t believe everything you read.

One of the major advantages that Advantage Denton lawyer finders bring to folks looking for a lawyer is that we don’t take everything we come across at face value.  In finding a lawyer as well as in other important decisions, much of the data you come across can not be considered reliable by itself.  I am not saying that lawyers lie.  It is just the nature of advertising for lawyers to only say what the audience wants to hear.  If you are trying to sell something, it is foolish not to pick and choose which morsels of information to put before the person who stumbles over your advertisement.  Most lawyers are not foolish and their ads do say things to get you to buy.

When looking for information, the easiest thing to find is the advertisements that someone is paying for you to find. You can learn a lot from a lawyer’s ad if you know how to evaluate the information they serve up and compare it to other lawyer advertisements.  What someone chooses to say about herself or not to say about himself is very telling when you compare.  How desperate for business is the lawyer who has the biggest ad?  This is influenced greatly by which area of law the ad is for.  Even better to evaluate is extensive writing from the lawyer, say in a blog like this.  It is quite difficult to hide your personality and motivation if you write extensively on a variety of topics.

Other sources of information can tell you:

Has the lawyer been sanctioned by a bar association?  What kind of reviews are out there about them? Extremely important – how did they react to negative reviews?  Who are they associated with?  What outside of work activities do they engage in?  If you know how to evaluate the quality of their writing, review of briefs submitted to court or other legal work can be very helpful.

I have talked about this issue of gullibility and not believing what you read/hear within the context of finding the right lawyer for you, a topic near and dear to my heart.  These concepts do apply more broadly.  It is wise to always consider the source of information and the motivation of the source in providing that information.  Making decisions about important things when you are emotional about the subject and you have limited information at hand and limited tools to evaluate that information is not the best way to go.  Comparing information from different sources is a really good idea if you want reliable information.  If you want to influence what others think about you, you need to see what is out there about you and do what you can to make different sources say what you want them to say.  Be aware that a malicious person can do a lot of harm by reverse engineering this advice.  A negative review doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the attorney but how the attorney responds tells you volumes.

No, lawyer ads are not just lies.  They are, however, very misleading (like all ads) unless you know how to evaluate them.

January 3, 2010

Noblesse oblige – the duty to do right.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Denton @ 7:30 pm
Melissa Denton

Melissa Denton

The term noblesse oblige brings to mind the wonderful middle ages history class I had in college.  We learned about how persons born into the nobility were trained from an early age that they were expected to behave in accordance with their status in life.  With the blessings of being wealthy and powerful came the responsibility to be just and generous, to give back and care for those who have fewer blessings.

I started thinking about this concept again because I recently went to a mainstream movie where the major movie stars glorified the smoking of marijuana.  Perhaps it makes me sound like a prude and it probably makes me sound weird, but I never tried the stuff.  It is illegal, it stinks and it is bad for your body.  I also dislike the notion of altering my perception.  Maybe this bizarre status of mine is why it struck me so forcefully how very irresponsible it was for major movie stars to portray an episode of smoking pot as totally delightful and without any negative consequences.  Yes, these middle aged folk clearly indicated that they did not smoke pot when they had little children and it was clear that they knew it was illegal.  Yet, the delight with which they indulged and the line “Having fun is not overrated” glorified pot with no reservations.  If I were more impressionable, I might have been persuaded that smoking marijuana is well worth doing.

This bothers me quite a bit.  I think that the individuals involved in making that movie were wrong to do this.  Back in the day, movie stars were used to promote cigarette the glamor of smoking with great success.  Now they are allowing themselves to be used to promote an illegal type of smoking that is also very harmful to one’s health.  That isn’t right.

Perhaps the movie stars and the producers/director/promoters will all say “we have artistic license” just as a few privileged and blessed athletic stars have said that they don’t believe that they have any responsibility to behave with decorum.  Most of us are not born with silver spoons in our mouths, but it is my opinion that those who have power and influence have a duty to use it well.  Yes, many of us who are successful worked hard to achieve success.  I can assure you, though, that no one “makes it” on her or his own.  People don’t really pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.  We are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before and who provided positive opportunity in our lives.  We all have the duty of noblesse oblige and those who live up to that responsibility are far more worthy of respect than those who do not.

It is such a shame that the movie contained such a terrible flaw because it was otherwise a true delight.   I hope that no impressionable viewers of that film will decide to embrace smoking marijuana just because it looked fun and glamorous when the movie stars did it.  That absolutely did happen when smoking cigarettes was glamorized in movies and TV.  Be careful what you say, someone might be listening.

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