The Attack on Reason
I got 40 likes on a comment, the most likes I have ever gotten on any comment I have ever made on Medium. What was the comment exactly?
It was actually more like a temper-tantrum, directed at Caitlin Johnstone, when she suggested that, and I quote “Actually, Bill Maher, Hillary Clinton Was The GREATER Evil.” To me, this is definitely fake news…or at least, questionable news. While not a total fallacy….
Enough of the Hillary Hatefest!
Something about it wasn’t right. Something just made me want to read Caitlin a little more closely. Now, I’m looking at her, wondering if she is who she says she is. I am wondering if she can be trusted to report facts accurately and honestly. Can she? Anyway, what she wrote touched a nerve. When I read this:
I would like to take a moment to say that this lefty never once accused Hillary Clinton of being the lesser of two evils, and I agree with Bill Maher that such a characterization is indeed absurd. She is very plainly far more evil than Trump, and we would have been bat shit insane to elect her.
I had this meltdown:
Just nope. I was never ga-ga for Hillary. And quite honestly the nonstop Hillary hate fest is becoming a bit disconcerting and feels deeply misogynistic when there are LITERALLY at least 400 White men in DC who walk like her and talk like her and act like her WHO NEVER get called out, by you, or anyone else. At least not as long, and hard and passionately and relentlessly as those with a hard-on for Hillary Clinton.
Yeah, I said it. Cause I am sick of it.
You wanna talk about evil? (If you wanna read the rest click on the link, I basically go on a rant about the failures of Trump as POTUS. But to be fair, I am biased.)
Apparently, a lot of others were feeling the same way, though. I got an awful lot of likes just for venting. I was not expecting the numerous recos or responses. What really ticked me off though, was Caitlin’s comment hardly seemed reasonable. This bothered me because she holds herself out as if she is a serious journalist, out there in the trenches, sleuthing, uncovering the stories the mainstream won’t touch. And people are looking for that. Many beleive that they have certainly found it in her, as she writes long, extensive articles about the corruption within the DNC. It does need to be covered. As one of her followers, Jud Stacer explained to me, in his response
The fact is, the Clintons and their loyalists still dominate the DNC. The party is still corporatist. They are showing NO signs of changing. This must be called out. And legitimate criticism of the establishment-selected insider who lost to a reality TV show star is required if we are to fight back against the media lies.
Well, his point seems reasonable…and I can’t deny it. The Dems have definitely got some integrity issues. A reasonable person, simply can’t deny this. But that wasn’t necessarily the way that Caitlin Johnstone, was discussing the issue, which is to say reasonably. I find this disconcerting because the left is now seemingly pandering to the buckets of crazy that have infected the right, for some time now, at least the past ten years. Are we all just going to say to hell with it, and lose our damn minds?
Everyone is Not a Russian Troll
We, the news team at Rantt News, were very appalled to read Ms. Johnstone’s horridly nonsensical piece, puzzled as to how someone could write something so utterly devoid of logic, common sense, or coherence. We then dug into her background, and it made more sense. Quite simply, Ms. Johnstone is a fake news writer, a propagandist for Russian interests, and has written for Russia propaganda sites before. She spreads discredited information, including things like the Seth Rich story, which makes her no better than Sean Hannity and the rest of the Fox News crew. In the interest of staying true to our mission of Speaking Truth to Power, we feel it is our duty to expose professional trolls such as Ms. Johnstone, and would recommend she go back to her more suitable previous profession: writing astrology books.
Damn! Harsh! (Especially the part about the astrology books. Read the rest here. )
Of course Caitlin quickly responded, and the response was this:
This is a fact-free smear job, and Rantt Editorial Board / Jossif Ezekilov should feel bad about it. Your “proof” that I am a “propagandist for Russian interests” arises from what was very clearly and obviously a joke that I made on a Reddit AMA back when people like you were accusing anti-establishment lefties like me of being fake news and Russian propaganda, which you were 100 percent aware of if you read the thread.
And ummm, she kind of has a point. I mean calling someone a propagandists for Russian interests, it’s the kinda thing, where you really should have more proof than Reddit, if you want your journalism to be taken seriously. Yes, Caitlyn’s approach has credibility issues, but limit the attack to what the issues actually are! Don’t accuse her of being in bed with Russians! Especially not with all of the distrust around all of those narratives.
Those were my sane and reasonable thoughts. Doesn’t matter. Jossif accumulated 65 recos for his spiel against Caitlin. What am I taking from this? If you want to be read, if you want for anything to be taken even remotely seriously, you are going to have, abandon reason, at least a little, get your hands dirty and start slinging some mud and just rant!
But, the Misogyny is Real
And I know what you’re thinking, now. Hey Amber! You’re no innocent in all of this, you (albeit subtly) accused Caitlin of misogyny.
I did. And I will admit this was not entirely warranted. But notice I did not hurl that accusation at her directly. And I only did it because I truly believe that there is an endless amount of misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton. Intentionally, or no, Caitlin’s remarks are a dog whistle of sorts to followers who want to engage in misogyny. Stuff like this from Autistic Man for example:
The English use the word “cunt” a little too liberally in my opinion. But no word better describes Hillary for me. Her “prevent and cure” speech brought to my mind one verbal response. Is this some normie cunts’ joke that us autistic cunts do not get? Because I am not fukking laughing, Bitchery. Read the full comment here.
So yeah, just wow. I challenge everyone to consider, what does this say about us? That these are the kinds of discourses that we are engaging in over social media? And, this is relatively sane! You want to see some really crazy antics, hop on over to Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. It all gets way uglier, crazier, wilder, over there.
I wish Hillary Clinton WAS the evil supervillain the far right and far left think she is. I wish she did have the power to rig elections and murder her enemies. How fucking amazing would that be? It would make Game of Thrones look like Eat, Pray, Love.
Ummmmm, do any of us really want that Val? Like, what are you saying!?!?!?! Val says a lot of crazy ish. And like, I think it’s funny. I really do! But, I don’t think it should be taken seriously! Do you?
See, the thing is, I think a lot of people do think she should be taken seriously…and my thing is this is, it’s just not going to solve any problems.
Civility Among the Alt-Right
But the Dems are taking a page from the alt-right playbook. It seems to work…so why the hell not. I have often wondered, are there any reasonable sane, Trump supporters?
By the looks of what one can see of them on social media, I’m thinking, no. But I found a Trump supporter, Steve McGrath who doesn’t sound totally insane. Listen to this:
As Michael Moore correctly prophesied during the campaign, President Trump was our “human molotov cocktail”. I agree with you that President Trump has a tendency to avoid responsibility for his politically incorrect actions or Tweets, and I understand how his occasional abeyance of decorum can be frustrating and infuriating to many. This character flaw was evident throughout the campaign and it continues albeit attempts by others in his administration to moderate it. Nevertheless, for his supporters, this will never be a measure of President Trump’s success or failure while in office. There is no buyer remorse. Many of us view it as a harmless side effect of his greatest asset — an insatiable ego that fuels his drive to succeed.
I read this and was like wow! He makes totally reasonable, rational and civil argument, about why people initially supported Trump and continue to do so. I call this: How intelligent people justify their vote for Trump. Check the rest here.
I pointed out that this is an entirely narcissistic reaction to a bad situation. Yes we get it. Trump supporters are very frustrated. They are suffering many losses right along with the rest of their countrymen. But the solution isn’t to burn down our metaphorical American house! Is it?
Steve accused me of hyperbole, which, yes, I have to admit, on occasion, I am guilty. (See, it’s not so hard to have a civil conversation with those with whom you will never agree.)
Although, perhaps I think Steve’s civility might be a little disingenuous, as, after commenting that he enjoyed my response, he provided the above visual to drive the point home 0f what the conversing with me was like. That’s not nice.
So much for civility!
A Reasonable Debate Anyone?
My point is, we need more moderate, reasonable, sane, compromising voices…now more than ever. Like those belonging to Kady M.. also a Trump supporter. When anyone admits to actively supporting Trump, I just generally want to avoid all engagement and conversation, for fear of vomiting on their shoes. So, I almost never have these conversations in real life. But somehow, on Medium, I got to talking to Kady M. (texting really) about feminism. In the course of that conversation she revealed that she was a Trump supporter. After a series of back and forths, that she described as “f*ck you, NO, f*ck you!” (I thought was funny!) I came to realize our views really are not that different on your basic every day things.
Even though I identify as a feminist (gasp!) and to many on Medium, (Including Kady M.) that’s like saying, I am a satanist. She and I found common ground on many issues…so I say, if we are going to heal this country we need, way more of that.
But, how do you do it? How do you find common ground when people are so sucked into this idea of someone saying a bunch of totally outrageous things, and if you agree with even a portion of their ideas, just blindly signing off of them and or/ viciously attacking those who do not?
Because honestly, this is the phenomenon, I see with Caitlin Johnstone. She has non-traditional, unusual ideas. Some should be entertained. But, the way she expresses them…the vileness and bile it brings out in many who follow her! (Revisit Autistic Man’s comment about Hillary Clinton.) And her followers really want to argue with me (several of them took me to task, on this) that the discourse around Clinton’s failures as a political leader are not steeped in misogyny. Really? Cause calling someone a cunt is such an appropriate was to express a political opinion.
Scott Frady pointed this out about Caitlin’s crew, Her followers are a nasty lot as well. I was told to drink bleach by one of them because I dared question her.
My response was:
She does attract buckets of cray-cray, cause she gets deep into her hyperbole. She could just be passionate, but anyone sowing seeds of division and hate, well you just got to wonder, whose side is she really on? Click for full comment here:
The Anti-Feminist Manifesto by my own Russian Troll
(Just kidding Svetlana! Don’t sick your followers on me!)
But really, I am no stranger to uncivil discourse. I took on the untenable assignment of challenging Svetlana Voreskova’s views on feminism (which honestly, from an academic perspective, I don’t know a lot about it, certainly not as much as Svetlana Voreskova claims to know. (Marxism? Really Svetlana? I take your word for it!)
Svetlana, much like Caitlyn, has a band of devoted followers who applaud her every word against feminism as if she was one of Jesus’s apostles. I mean it’s insane to the point of being comical. It’s actually quite cult- like!
Here are some of the things Svetlana has said to me:
That is disgusting Amber.
In response to something that really wasn’t.
Don’t you ever get tired of making a complete idiot of yourself?
Oh I think you make it quite clear what kind of feminist you are. The kind that knows nothing about feminism: The garden-variety indoctrinated useful idiot who goes about babbling off the most ridiculous nonsense because you think it makes you sound enlightened or something.
And…that’s only a handful of the buckets full of Svetlana insults I have collected. Think I can sell them to her followers? If you would like to read the full rant against me, click here. Her followers love these ferocious personal attacks, which I usually enjoy. But the fact that she has so many sycophantic followers…well it’s just creepy!
I had to leave her alone, lest she rile up the lynch mob. There is nothing that I will ever say that will change her mind (or any of her follower’s minds) about the deep evil that they believe feminism represents. They simply will not entertain reasonable conversation! (Just click on this manifesto she wrote to me!) It just goes on and on and on.
If you think feminism is a bad word, you’ll love just about everything Svetlana writes. If you are trying to have a reasonable conversation about it, you will quickly pick up on the fact that it’s not happening with Svetlana, or any of her followers. And my point is, these aggressive, angry, hostile, rants, while, they completely shut down intelligent conversation and civil discourse, they sure get, lots of recos, and plenty of attention. Is this really what we want?
I don’t think it’s what I want. So I am asking, all of you, who either liked or didn’t like my response to Caitlin Johnstone, how do we do this? How do we find middle ground? How do we engage in civil, social media debate that’s not all:
“You’re a Russian spy!”
“No, you’re a feminist Hillary lover who deserves to rot in hell forever!”
“No, You’re a despicable Hillary hater, who should be sterilized or eunichized!” (I don’t think that is a world actually. Sometimes I make up words.)
“You are a hateful, racist, sexists, Nazi Trump supporter who makes me wanna vomit on your shoes!” (Don’t get me started on racism…it can get ugly…and yes I can be a bit condescending. I will own it.)
Shouldn’t we try to listen to all alternative views and perspectives in a sane, calm and rational manner? Are we just, as a society, passed this? Let me Know!
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