Unforgettable

     I don’t often wax philosophical (mainly because the wax is really painful), but I couldn’t help it last week.
     This happened after the European Court of Justice ruled there is a right to be forgotten.
     A right to be forgotten?
     That was the phrase used in most of the news reports. What the court really said was that people can have search engines remove links to damaging reports about something that’s been resolved. As far as I know, no guys in black suits are going to show up at thousands of doors with memory-erasing guns.
     I hope not, anyway. If they did, I don’t remember that happening.
     What does this really mean? Is it even possible?
     Isn’t the concept the very antithesis of the Internet?
     I had a brief period a couple of years ago that I deeply regret now when I encouraged anyone and everyone to friend me on Facebook. (There was a reason for this, but I’m not repeating it here, so don’t friend me.)
     I won’t be doing that again.
     Suddenly, I was inundated with people telling me how wonderful their spouses were – literally. One woman kept referring to her husband as “Mr. Wonderful.”
     In post after post.
     And there were people informing me of their game scores and imaginary farm statuses.
     And people’s vacation pictures.
     And people’s pictures of themselves at sports events.
     And weird political diatribes.
     I felt brain cells exploding just by looking at Facebook.
     I think you know what I’m going to say next.
     We don’t need a right to be forgotten – we need a right to forget other people.
     I want to be able to instruct all search engines to remove links to anything that will annoy me.
     If I can’t have that, I want to be able to annoy others freely. It’s only fair. None of this forgetting nonsense.
     Take the European Court case. The plaintiff (or whatever they call the guy complaining in Europe) wasn’t worried about vomiting-at-party photos or racist rants or nude photos before the lap band surgery. All he wanted was removal of links to some debts that he’d paid.
     If you’re going to get worldwide publicity for setting a precedent, you’d think the links would at least include a couple of hookers, photos of body parts, and maybe a Canadian mayor.
     But no. It was just a few debts that he didn’t want people to know about.
     Can you spot the flaw in this guy’s (or his lawyers’) legal strategy?
     Yep. Now people all around the world know about Mario Costeja González’s debts.
     The links to the debt reports may be gone, but the links to the ruling removing the other links are very much there.
     The only way to have gotten around that would have been to bar links to all reports of the ruling – which would have made the ruling nonexistent.
     Maybe his name could have been edited out, but what’s the point? If you have to request removal of a link, it means there was a link. The cat’s already out of the bag (and the Internet loves cats).
     No, the only solution is the right to add to the story (and annoy others freely).
     Instead of requiring search engines to delete links, require them to add links to the resolution of that debt problem.
     Or to the photos after the lap band surgery.
     Or a statement from your spouse forgiving you.
     Or a rehab report on some Canadian mayor.
     
     A Subtle Attack: In case you missed the news report , a Florida legislator has exposed a sinister attack on America’s youth – “Common Core” educational tests have been designed to “attract every one of your children to be as homosexual as they possibly can.”
     No word yet on how the Common Core is destroying Christmas.
     If you don’t believe this is possible, consider a basic math question: What is the sum one plus one?
     Is the answer “two?”
     Or is the answer “fabulous?”
     It’s easy to manipulate impressionable children and legislators.

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