Recently I decided to give Twitter a go. It’s part experiment, part connecting with people and cracking sarcastic jokes, part self-promotion. This far, I can say it doesn’t look promising, to say the least. I feel blessed my brain development happened on other decades, long before this mess.
Here’s a teachable moment about the dismal state in which “dialogue” lays nowadays.
As if you needed any confirmation.
Trump vs. Clinton
Disclaimer: I am biased in favor of Donald Trump, due to the fact that I think he is one of the best possible choices for US President, and also because I’m obtaining a monetary gain if he wins.
Background: as you probably know, while Hillary Clinton is running for US President, the Clinton Foundation scandal doesn’t seem to matter a lot, at least to the low information voters.
Remember, it’s a pro forma charity receiving millions from foreign countries that mysteriously seem to also benefit from policies enacted by the Clintons in all those years…
It’s the kind of corruption scandal that you’d imagine would nuke even the prospects of victory of a wannabe dog-catcher, let alone someone running for the most important job on the planet.
This level of negative publicity would be normally damning even before actual responsibilities of penal relevance have been ascertained, if any. Or, like in this particular case, even if there is no ground for a formal investigation, in the eyes of prosecutors.
You know, at a certain level, even justice is about politics.
Here Lawrence Bland, typical Social Justice Warrior I had no pleasure to meet before, charges head first against Trump, who’s campaigning on the level of corruption of the Clinton Machine. Bland is clearly 100% in Clinton camp.
Please appreciate their logic, I’m making it explicit: “We’re never gonna let our adversary score”. Any argument should be met with a counter-argument, usually a change of subject or a non sequitur. Your side should enjoy the feeling of always coming up with a clever rebuttal. That somehow translates into always being right.
The bull charges
In this case Bland asks for a full disclosure of Trump’s tax filings, which is akin to saying: let’s talk instead about your skeletons in the closet!
Let’s put things in perspective.
♦ On one side, we have a story that would be huge. It’s not being buried by major media outlets, but it’s been downplayed as much as it seemed reasonable. Politifact “fact checked” it with some embarrassment, reluctantly.
Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.
♦ On the opposite side, we get innuendo: there’s hope that journalists could find something damning in Trump’s tax return documents. Maybe he’s got stuff to hide (cross fingers)!
Consider how complicated it is for professionals to audit a company (or a tycoon’s empire!)
Now imagine how easy it is to sell to the general public the idea that some obscure item in a filing is proof positive of wrongdoing. Exactly.
No wonder Trump may be reluctant to disclose tax returns: no one in his position, in the crosshairs of the media, could ever come out clean.
Do these two attacks somehow cancel out? I don’t think so.
It’s like with the Clinton email scandal: people get used to it and see that public officials and news networks are cool with it, so it’s probably not a big deal. But everybody look instead what Donald Trump could be hiding! Look at the inappropriate words he used! He’s a crazy, dangerous type!
I reacted to Bland with with my 2nd Twitter account @blumudusplain, pointing out the double standards of the media. A random, spur-of-the-moment answer. (BTW, look at Bland’s page in the screenshot, please appreciate his sophisticated photos).
ProChildVA comes to the rescue.
Notice how they spontaneously form a tag team.
Because, y’know, Experts!
She uses a Harvard study, no less, to silence me! Gasp! Apparently, contrary to a bazillion examples I could come up with, Hillary Clinton is the helpless victim of a media onslaught of attacks. They try to portray her in very bad terms, and give Trump instead a free pass. Yeah, right. Experts say so!
Bland chooses to come out as immensely superior to me (a trumpkin, apparently!) He gets to condescendingly explain that Harvard is a College level school (I didn’t know that a University could be called school, but I confess my ignorance on the subject).
I wonder if he is capable of coming up with an impression of a decent Harvard accent.
Problem is, you can’t act so smug and intellectual, while at the same time botching your spelling.
On this occasion I discovered that mixing up “allot” with “a lot” is a real challenge to some Americans.
Pardon my inevitable retort:
Then I just made a declaration regarding the scarce credibility of such a study; but of course there’s no development of my line of reasoning there: I was arguing with stubborn random strangers on the damn Twitter!
There’s an obvious fundamental flaw in said study, notwithstanding the prestige of the experts.
But I’m not going about it here. I’ll get to that in a future post.
See them gain the upper ground while I’m sound asleep
Subsequently ProChildVA calls me an idiot. Her pretext: checking out my profile activity, she saw I satirically used the word idiot before, in a couple of tweets purposefully contrasting each other about PokemonGO (my point there was to emphasize the ease with which people are labeled as idiots while on opposite sides). Then she calls me idiot again with this:
This is precious. Even after pointing out the obvious grammar mistake, she’s piling on it! :-D
It’s not just misspelling, they think it’s a correct expression.
2 for 2. They really are an impromptu tag team!
Sure, I’m the one having language issues.
Notice how stale is the air inside their bubble? All they hear is the echo of their voices.
They blocked me! Oh, the punishment!
Let me add: so, ProChildVA, if you can hear me… you are saying that my …ehm… bottom is white and privileged.
I’ll let slip the fact that my spokesperson is a brown bear :-)
Ok, my bottom is white. I’m Italian, I don’t live in a country where people are obsessed with racism.
It’s not my fault when I grew up Africans were nowhere to be seen (to me, blacks were mostly Americans, as seen on tv). There was no privilege involved!
Please, stop living in a toxic fantasy land where everything has a label.
Pretty shallow, huh? It’s worse than I expected.
Sure, many people use Twitter differently, just to exchange jokes or something. But the real beef here lies in this form of hostile interaction.
In the example above there were no actual attempts at starting a conversation of any sort. Not even a hint.
The medium itself is actually preventing it. But it’s not just that you can’t possibly bring up and explain meaningful ideas in a few short bursts of 140 characters.
The point is that people are being served every day an incessant stream of “news” and points of view that suit their tastes. This is a way of turbocharging a confirmation bias. Facebook operates on similar principles, but it doesn’t come even close to this kind of overexposure. Yet, the effects of the various social media are cumulative. Even Google searches nowadays are targeted to the user; everybody now is encouraged to live in a bubble.
People get easily angry and frustrated because some idiots somewhere don’t seem to get what they know for a fact. Maybe they are evil, stupid or something…
Sure, it’s a problem on both sides of any issue. You get on one side people convinced that Hillary is Hitler, and on the other side fellas who are certain it is Trump who is Hitler instead.
And their convictions grow stronger and stronger. Occasionally they pay a visit to the opposite camp, and it’s a war. Everything is like black and white. You don’t try to find a common ground, learn new stuff, let alone question yourself: you fight. With gusto.
UPDATE- August 11
Just hours after I wrote this article, news came out that the US Department of Justice refused to open an investigation on the Clinton Foundation, as was requested by the FBI. Lots of obvious conflicts of interest and eyebrow-raising connections here. How could people trust a system, and a party, that has the power to decide if the candidate they are pushing for should instead be prosecuted, counting on media support when they brush aside the relevance of the accusations and close the case?
Who’s calling the shots? It’s the same Attorney General Loretta Lynch who had a very inappropriate airport meeting with Bill Clinton, apparently to exchange pleasantries and warm family stories, just before Hillary got off scot-free from the email scandal.
Here you can find some of the allegations. It’s difficult to fathom how people get so easily to explain away anything. But, again: bubble!
I was right after all to point out yesterday on this very page:
Or, like in this particular case, even if there is no ground for a formal investigation, in the eyes of prosecutors.
See? Nothing to see here. Just crazy conspiracy theories by trumpkins.
You know how those things go. There is a saying in Italian: “Per i nemici le leggi si applicano; per gli amici si interpretano” (You apply the Law to enemies; you interpret the laws when friends are involved).