My Blog Week: July 21 to July 27
A Word on the Week
Taking Up Arms
It’s a good week to talk about trolls. Not only because they’ve been active in social media lately…even, bizarrely, in response to a CNN Twitter post about the need to cut back on consumption of hamburger, apparently something the American Lout should oppose.
Makes you want to say, “Now do incandescent lightbulbs!”
(If you don’t know, there is a weird culty thing…maybe to do with fluorescents’ magnetic fields…)
Our Senate majority leader blocked two bills this week that would have made American elections more secure. Remember that the Mueller report has taught us trolls play both sides of the aisle. Being a skeptical liberal won’t necessarily spare your eyeballs. One thing we can do is to ditch a couple of troll-friendly beliefs about social media “etiquette”. If you practice and repeat that every time you follow someone, that person owes it to you to follow back; if you help promote the idea that people who don’t follow back promptly are committing a fault…
Well, it should be easy to see how trolls gain from this an advantage. A troll has a message he’d like fifty thousand people to see… He uses a bot to follow fifty thousand accounts. How many of these cowed people will, not to be criticized, make themselves customers of his content?
The second thing is somewhat contradictory, but bear along.
We all remember signing up for our first social media account, and being grateful for our first followers. There will always be new people…and not all will come aboard with 20,000 personal friends. If we promote the idea that every user with fewer than several hundred followers is a troll, we make it possible for actual trolls to befriend and win the loyalty of all those poor little souls, humbly reaching out, who just haven’t gained followers.
So make use of the list feature in Twitter. If you like someone’s content, but don’t yet trust that person, you can see their things without following when you put them on a list. You can also filter out, or in, the news you hate or prefer. You can have a 60 to 70% Trump-free social experience, and it might make you a less volatile voter.
The Pope of Corruption Science
Normalizing has been a pundit’s theme, for a few years now. I think the proposition that we are being numbed to depredation and malfeasance is not altogether on point. The usual thing is the likelier reaction—which is procrastination, and its partner, magic thinking. We feel helpless to stop the horror; more seems piled on every day…there is not much (other than see above), we can do on a personal level to improve the environment. So we set the evil of the day aside, and look ahead to 2020. But, and I include this item in my poem series on propaganda, there has long been a thing I call abnormalizing. The technique was well demonstrated during the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton made a face on TV, and was “speculated” upon by rightist newscasters, as to whether she had some disease affecting her nerves.
When people want to discredit someone’s competency, or push that person out of a job or post, they magnify or spin any number of everyday things: a fit of temper, an unsteady walk, a flushed face, a slurred word, into illness or mental deterioration. We all have frustrations, and some of us may have arthritic feet, rosacea, a reaction to medication, dentures…or imperfect enunciation. But whether we do or not, it’s nobody’s business. We meet at the interface of our transactions, and if the transaction is fine, the background is immaterial. A person you disagree with can hand a cup of coffee to you, etc.
Remember Occam’s rule, that the most unelaborated explanation for an observed thing, is the explanation.
Now, as to the Mueller hearings (Mueller much accused this week of being old and feeble), the only impression I had was that he does not want to be positioned. His speech was cautious—and the danger of not sticking to a tight line would be the false creation of an authority that the special counsel does not possess. Then falsely-attributed authority will be used to play the role of straw man. Bringing charges at the end of Trump’s term in office means reopening the investigation, reexamining what was concluded, in light of new witness testimony…probable enough, once the threat of “executive power” is removed.
There won’t be any, “This is old news, why raise it again?” The end, in this case, is the very beginning.
The week began with a little humor piece, in poetry, “Patter”. Tuesday’s Sequence of Events, the next to last episode (finale this week), had Rose acquiring Florrie’s box, and Gersome walking voluntarily to his reckoning. Wednesday, the sixth Tourmaline gets a run, part one of the short story “Authority Weighs In”, with Herward taking Mary Wainwright to meet with the Ftheorde. Friday, a new Yoharie, Val’s conversation with Trevor going into the mother of conspiracies. And Saturday, another poem in the Jumping Off series, “Bears the Punishment”.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: July 21 to July 27