My Authors
Read all threads
Social media will only ever stop being a troll farm when there are costs to *not reining yourself in*.

Example: the Polemical Habitual Plural.
Mr Smith, your longterm political opponent, does something discreditable - or is credibly accused of doing something discreditable - on one occasion. Say he kills a rabbit - or is credibly accused of, etc. Say he's also been caught out in a lie (once).
Rein yourself in: "We know that Smith doesn't always tell the truth - and apparently he once killed a rabbit"
Let rip: "Smith, who lies and kills rabbits"
No, really, go mad: "What about all the lies Smith has told - and the rabbits he's killed?"
The Polemical Habitual Plural is justifiable, sort of, if you squint a bit - if you have killed a rabbit at least once, then by definition you are "the kind of person who kills rabbits" (on at least one occasion).
But it's wildly misleading - there's a huge difference between doing something once (or being credibly accused, etc) and doing it repeatedly or regularly; the second is much worse than the first, for a start. And it's really hard to argue against (because of that justification):
if you're admitting to doing something bad nobody cares if you only did it once; your argument is effectively "they never call me Stavros the Boatbuilder".
So it's a good hack: if someone's credibly accused of doing something once, you can mouth off about them doing it multiple times and/or habitually safe in the knowledge that they won't be able to defend themselves credibly.
But by the same token it's a very bad hack, tending to load people credibly accused of one (1) bad thing with bucketloads of opprobrium - and tending to make the people levelling the accusations believe their own rhetoric and grow stupider and more hateful.
People will do it, though, because it delivers the goods - in terms of polarising the debate and giving your side the advantage - and because there aren't any costs to failing to rein yourself in.
This train of thought was sparked off, not by a reference to Corbyn endorsing antisemitic murals (for once)[1], but by a tweet earlier today about the Suffragettes:

[1]*One* mural! He endorsed one *partially* antisemitic... oh never mind
"Packed train carriages"? That the Suffragettes had moved on from bombing and setting fire to empty property, and planted bombs intended to kill people, was news to me. A quick online search of Dr R's book - which I do intend to read - brought up one instance...
of explosive devices found in a train carriage full of passengers; they didn't go off (or not before they were discovered), so there were no casualties. Maybe there were others, I don't know. But the evidence that the WSPU bombed occupied "train carriages", plural, seems thin.
Everybody does it, to be fair. A trawl through Twitter could probably bring up examples of me doing it. Victor Jara did it, for goodness' sake (saying that right-wing students "played with bombs and assassinated Generals", when they'd killed *one* General...).
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Phil

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!