, 51 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter

Here's a thing.
The right currently has a bee in their bonnet... a Babylon Bee, to be specific. The Babylon Bee is a specifically Christian satirical news site that is feuding with Snopes right now, as Snopes released a fact check of some claims that were circulating from its stories.
"Snopes factchecks satire now? Are they going to factcheck The Onion, too? Obviously this is anti-conservative bias."

Well, here's a factcheck for you: Snopes doesn't factcheck specific sources and declare them true or not. It factchecks claims that circulate on the internet.
And when stuff from The Onion makes the jump from people clearly sharing it as funny Onion articles to showing up on the news, in email forwards, context-stripped screen shots on social media or whatever...

Snopes fact-checks the claims and traces them back to their source.
Here is one example I found in five seconds by typing

site:snopes.com "the onion"

into Google and reading the results. It was not the only one.

Snopes, factchecking satirical claims that originated in The Onion.

I remember when I first started seeing "You trust Snopes? laughcryemoji LOL" in response to people posting Snopes links in response to right-wing conspiracy theories. The idea that Snopes is a radical leftwing site is older than the weaponization of the term "fake news".
When reality has a liberal bias, conservatives have to demonize the very idea of fact-checking as being slanted against them.
As much as I would agree The Onion is more liberal than conservative and more progressive than not, it isn't as though they actually go easy on Democratic presidents or liberal causes.

Their perception as being left-wing comes from refusing to be biased for conservatives.
The actual news media is more interested in talking to Republicans no matter who is in power, and more interested in blaming Democrats no matter who is in power, but even that is not enough slantedness to overcome the useful myth of a widespread and powerful "liberal media bias".
There was a short thread last week... and I'm searching for it as I type here, which is why some of my tweets are coming slower than others... but there was a thread about how conservative comedy fails because good comedy requires empathy.
If anyone knows the @ person who wrote it or has a link to it, please feel free to drop it in a reply.
Okay, here it is. Rob Sheridan! Sorry, I've been wanting to speak on this for more than a day now and then completely blanked on who wrote it.

Anyway. Yes. The lack of empathy, the studied and cultivated lack of even intellectual curiosity about how other people see the world and where they're coming from, has profound implications for humor and also for debate and argumentation.
One of the reasons it's generally not worth it to debate with reactionaries is that you'll spend all of your time addressing their misconceptions of what you even believe and they'll declare victory, or you'll ignore that and they'll say you haven't refuted them.
Oh, yes! Very much this. I saw some of their earlier stuff and it seemed more like in-jokes for church folks, to the point that I wasn't sure it wasn't made by somebody who'd left the church, poking gentle fun?

Like how all we culturally Catholic folks have got a lot of Catholic jokes. I've seen the same thing among former Lutherans.
Anyway. Returning to the subject.

So, you can see this deliberate lack of understanding pop up in a series of false equivalencies and false claims of hypocrisy/bias from the right. Assuming Snopes is fact-checking TBB in order to suppress it is an example of the latter.
In their mind, the only reason to "fact-check" something is to discredit it. Snopes is confirming that claims originating in The Babylon Bee are satirical, because people were wondering. That's what Snopes does. It's a non-partisan mission and it definitely includes The Onion.
They can't understand someone taking the time and energy that Snopes puts into things just out of personal interest in the taxonomy of urban myths and folklore or to perform a public service. They know THEY would have an agenda, so they assume everyone does.
Here's another example.

As word goes around that the Dayton shooter had apparently shared support of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren online, conservative Twitter started deploying this as a (pardon the phrase) trump card.
"He was an Elizabeth Warren fan! So now we can say that her hateful rhetoric incited this violence! Or you have to stop saying Trump caused El Paso! WE'RE USING YOUR OWN LOGIC AGAINST YOU!"
Anytime a right-wing personality or troll (but I repeat myself) says they're using someone's logic against them, whatever comes out of their mouth will bear no resemblance to anything an actual human being thinks. It'll be a bizarre, unrecognizable caricature.
We can connect specific phases that the El Paso shooter used to those same phrases in Trump speeches and tweets, in Fox News drivel, in right-wing op-eds that appeared in every major newspaper (including the "liberal MSM" ones). There's a direct line there.
Plus he left a manifesto saying that he was doing it to prevent a future where Democrats can win and keep the Republicans in power forever.
The right has a meme (intersecting the "people who disagree with us are just mindless NPCs" meme) where they reply to any criticism of Trump with the words "Orange man bad." in order to imply all criticism is as simple as we just don't like him.

The problem is, they believe it.
Replying "Orange man bad." only marginally moves the needle on what other people think of Trump or criticism of him, but it gives the group of people doing it a set response, internal or external, that precludes actually engaging with what is being said. They just throw it away.
So they themselves are operating on the level of "orange man bad" when they see people talking about the direct line connections between Trump's rhetoric, right-wing rhetoric in general, and El Paso.

They think we're scoring a point by saying "He liked Trump. Trump is bad."
And so they think they can counter that point by connecting another killer to Democrats and progressives in the same way.

But it's not the same connection. They haven't stopped to understand what the connection is.
Same topic but working another angle, they're trying out the line that President Obama "demonized police officers" and so "by our logic" he's responsible when they got killed.
Of course, he never did demonize police officers. He criticized them on a couple of occasions in terms that were only less than tepid by the standards of discourse in which no one is allowed to criticize police officers.
He never spoke about them in terms of an invasion or infestation, never laughed when someone suggest that they be shot. Never did any of the things that we've been talking about with regards to Trump.
But they think these things are both huge gotchas, and they think the fact that the media is still talking about white supremacy and Trump's rhetoric when they evened the score is proof of media bias, and that we are is proof of our hypocrisy.
This studied lack of understanding, this complete lack of any curiosity... it makes the right bad at comedy. It makes them bad at argumentation and debate. It makes them bad at crafting policy. It makes them bad at solving problems.
We're social animals. At the end of the day, it's hard for us to do anything meaningful without communicating with one another. And communication is impossible without a shared frame of reference.
What the right *is* good at is controlling the frame. Setting the terms of debate, changing the terms of discourse, working the referees, moving the Overton window. They're very good at the metagame aspect of it all.
But that lets them win power. It lets them exhaust opponents, change subjects, and build a future where their priorities go from political impossibilities to near inevitabilities.

And we've got to stop sitting back and letting them do that.
But while they win, they're destroying the world they want to rule. Burning the physical world, destroying their own ability to make any kind of advancements or progress, shattering the economy.

Because their false frame isn't real. It doesn't *work*.
And it's distressing, but I think it's also part of how we win. Once we stop letting them control the frame but we stop trying to debate them... heck, refusing to debate them is part of how we yank their hands off the frame.

They can't be convinced and they don't want to be.
And I said the right is good at the metagame stuff but I have an inkling they're actually as bad at that as they are at everything else, it's just that no one else is competing on that obnoxious of a level.
So how do we argue when they answer us pointing out the El Paso shooter's explicitly white supremacist motivations and their connection to Trump with the Dayton shooter's professed political leanings?

I mean.

We don't.

Why would we?

Keep repeating the truth.
There's indication the Dayton shooter was also motivated by racism. There's no connection between that and his tweeting some pro-Sanders or Warren stuff. There's no need to engage with claim that are not made in good faith and have no basis in reality.
These spurious claims, which will be repeated no matter how many times they are refuted because they aren't coming from a place of facts or logic in the first place and your answer just sounds like "orange man bad" to them, function like a DDoS attack on us, on the discourse.
Time and energy spent dealing with them is just time and energy cast into the void. No return on investment, no getting it back.
Take that time and energy back by not spending it in the first place. Use it for something useful, or even something you'll enjoy, something that makes your life better even if it's only to the extent of one moment of joy.
Spending your spare time on yourself instead of arguing with Trumplanders is a net gain. It means when you do have the opportunity to do something useful for cause or country, you'll be fresher, more determined, less burned on.
If you have it in you to spend that same time marching or shouting or calling Congress, by all means. Go ahead.

But the thing about trying to debate the right on social media is... it's got a very low cost of admission, which makes it appealing.
You feel like you should be doing something, and here comes some low-hanging fruit. A Twitter comment. You can reply to that! It's so easy. Don't have to leave the house. Don't even have to leave this site.
But because it's easy, it's easy to keep doing it. You can beat your head against a wall as much as you want, the wall's not going anywhere.

And while the entry cost is low, those hidden fees will get you every time.
So understand: the more wrong someone on the right is, then paradoxically, the less point there is in correcting them, in debating them. Keep scrolling. Doing something you enjoy is closer to "doing something" than martyring yourself to troll logic.
And here ends the sermon.

We aren't just better at comedy, we are better at joy. We are better at supporting and upholding one another. We are better at compliments - you can compliment someone better if you understand their point of view!
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