Friday, May 30, 2008

Google's "bias"? As usual, truth probably lies in middle 

Colossus of Rhodey has a post up about Google's failure to commemorate Memorial Day. My first thought: More "liberals hate America and your family" stuff.

But upon further review, I'll agree with Hube that this is an interesting little topic, which has been bouncing around each May for several years now.

The gist: Despite noting many minor holidays -- and things like Alexander Graham Bell's birthday -- Google passes on Memorial Day. As right-wing bloggers have gleefully pointed out each year. (One angry, gramatically-challenged commenter calls it "a spit in the face of our soldiers." Kindly get a grip, sir).

Google's explanation as to why they skip it is admittedly quite lame. On that same site, there was a contest to come up with a Memorial Day Google logo, and they got some good submissions. My favorite:

If I ran Google, I would certainly have been honoring the nation's war dead on Memorial Day all along. You see, honoring these brave men and women in no way endorses the despicable braintrust that has waged a sloppy, fruitless war that is crippling and endangering our great nation.

That said, Google-bashers might want to take note of a couple things. 1) Google always notes the most important "patriotic" holiday -- Independence Day. 2) Much more significantly, just a few months ago it honored Veterans Day. Whether they bowed to pressure there or not (2007 was the first time they'd done it), the Google-as-Commie-Bastards theory takes a serious hit. And in fairness, that also makes Google's stated Memorial Day excuse all the more illogical!

So who knows why Google won't budge on Memorial Day. But it's likely another consequence of our unfortunate "red state/blue state" posturing. Liberals rightly loathe being told they have to hump a flag to be patriotic. Such sentiments are often met with a well-deserved "fuck you." But as people push back, it can lead to some unfortunate slights and distortions about the military.

Still, I can't blame Google for not bowing to the pressure in this case, given the offensive "you hate America" subtext of it all. Besides, the right-wing critics will never, ever leave Google alone even if they change their policy tomorrow. They'd just move on to the countless other issues they love to ride the poor search engine about. A quick... well... Google search about it will point you to many an angry article about all of the company's alleged crimes against humanity.

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