Another way conspiracy displaces real anxiety

Oregon’s fires have a LOT to do with power lines. But it’s easier to blame (and try to shoot) Others.

Social media disinformation on US west coast blazes ‘spreading faster than fire' | Oregon | The Guardian theguardian.com/us-news/2020/s…
Going after the power company? That’s HARD. Even in states with strong state governments, you’re dealing with a combination of rural electric cooperatives, out-of-state large providers, municipal systems, leased lines, lines on private property and a Public Utilities Commission.
And all of those layers — however many — exist *in part* to limit any single entity’s liability.
They’re already paying in-house lawyers. It doesn’t actually cost them much more to keep liability suits in court until the plaintiff runs out of money for *their* lawyer.
State level Public Utilities Commissions are often captured agencies, because they’re not *flashy* offices, but do need expertise.

And Ms Smith, down the street, that local dynamo who has been on city council & school board? Well... but what does she know about energy markets?
If governors appoint PUC members, even liberal-progressive governors tend to appoint people with energy company experience.
Because it’s not a flashy job, and it needs to be handled efficiently.
And people from the industry tend to sympathize *with* the industry.
It’s bias.
Conspiracy theorists are not stupid — they’ve perceived this governmental problem too. Their brains HAVE deduced that it’s incredibly hard for regular citizens to take down the Powers That Be.

But you can’t shoot the power company. And bringing a class action is boring.
It’s WAY more fun to role play this, with yourself as a Wolverine (Red Dawn, not Logan Howlett).
While conspiracy theories ARE primarily a way of displacing a real anxiety in favor of a fantasy...
They’re fun. There’s a community of validation. A jargon. Secrets. Decoder rings.
A conspiracy theorist believes they’re completely unlikely to win against the Powers That Be.
But they’re ALSO the hero of their own story.
And they don’t want their hero being thwarted by some accounting geeks and slick lawyers.
Their hero deserves a worthy opponent.
A HYDRA.
See? Isn’t it WAY more fun to imagine HYDRA’s after you, than realizing the planet has too much carbon in the air, and fixing it is going to be weird and hard and will go on forever, and until then, our forests are going to keep burning and putting MORE carbon in the air...
And if imagining HYDRA is the real villain, it means there are HYDRA foot soldiers (who are conveniently uniformed in black & brown skin, or are blue haired women who don’t give The Hero the time of day...).

It’ll be just like Call of Duty crossed with Deadpool.
Come for the real anxiety displacement & suppression, stay for the LARP.

I’m not the 1st person to call this Live Action Role Playing.

(I think that goes to @SlacktivistFred, who you should be reading
patheos.com/blogs/slacktiv…
And this whole tag.
patheos.com/blogs/slacktiv… )
Doing the work — be it taking on the power company, or running a real nation, or just organizing to force frackers to give us a measly 2000 feet between their rigs and our public school — it’s work.

I’m not saying it’s not fun. It can be.
But it’s not as fun as the LARP.
When you’re organizing to tell the energy sector that they’re busted anyway (seriously — debt to their hairlines, god bless them every one)... you’re one of many.
There are times where you’re *a* hero, but you don’t get to often be *the* hero.

The LARP keeps the fantasy alive.
And the fantasy is what keeps the REAL, existential, true fact threat anxiety at bay.

See how the cycle draws someone in, ever deeper?
See how admitting any crack into the fantasy is itself an existential threat for a conspiracy theorist?

They’re TRYING to hide from anxiety.
The way to break through this is to keep asking for sources, citations.
Keep asking the LARPer “Well, what do you want to do about it?” Poke at them to articulate concrete plans of action.

(If their answer is “shoot the Lege”, superglue their guns & call for backup.)
And acknowledge how truly frightened they must be to live with this.
Because this is about fear and control. The more we acknowledge the fear and figure out if there are points of control available and how to use them, the closer we get to the REAL anxiety.
Which can be worked.
The goal is ALWAYS to get to the REAL anxiety.
The REAL guilt.
The REAL shame.
The real sadness that comes from being duped by an abusive ex, or a rapacious minister, or a conman on TV.

Real feelings can be worked. Fake ones must be dispelled.
And... for most of you: this crap is WAY above your pay grade. If you can’t be the pro-am therapist for your batshit dad every day?
Don’t. Please step away.
Put the oxygen mask on your face first.
Then protect the innocents.
Because behavior like this is a CHOICE.
That’s it for today.
I’ll talk about the behavior choices that go into conspiracy thinking tomorrow or the next day.
This thread goes with the one from earlier today, but it doesn’t much matter which order they go in.
Companion pieces, not sequels.
PS: Seriously, on the superglue & guns — if you live with someone you’re not 100% sure about?
Think through your plan to disable everything you can reach.

Mine happens to be superglue. From the nail store. Big bottle.
With accelerator (91% alcohol/baking soda & h2O).
I have been bad about this, but yeah, this is the commercial. (Everyone else runs ads, right?)
I write! Fiction, even! A series! I FINISHED IT.
Epic Fantasy, heroines, making a better world.
(Also intrigue, assassinations & some people get laid.)

smashwords.com/books/view/891…

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More from @CZEdwards

17 Aug
Dear OP:
Congratulations on single parenthood, if that’s what you want! I think you’ll be a great mom, since you’ve CLEARLY put a lot of forethought into picking a place to live.
Your sister is wrong.
Your boyfriend is showing ~10 things that are relationship poison.

Thread.
1. Your life before him is absolutely yours. He has no right to disapprove of it. You’re a package deal. Especially when your life gave you security.
If this was a moral objection (rather than wanting to control you) he should have walked 18 months ago, because nothing changed.
2. He doesn’t like that you have independent security apart from him. Demanding you give up your independent security to entangle your security with him means you would be *giving* him an asset, as well as tying yourself to him.
Read 14 tweets
10 Aug
I’m so tired of dudes who won’t understand textiles science.
Polyester is a specific synthetic fiber, often blended with cotton.
Polypropylene is a specific synthetic fiber, usually melt blown into nonwoven fabric, commonly used for filters thanks to its electrostatic properties.
Dudes act like textiles are coated in girl cooties.
What it really shows how dudes make themselves ignorant by pretending actual experts aren’t real.
Dudes need to get off their high horses and learn to use words properly.
Dudes need to recognize they can’t bullshit specificity.
And yes, I used won’t specifically.
This behavior of dismissing fields because they’re coded as girly crosses a lot of academic realms.
And it makes for significantly worse science because the prior generation perpetuates misogyny into the next by refusing cross discipline work.
Read 8 tweets
4 Aug
Thread.

(Expect to see more of these kind of deals. Universities are missing a lot of cash flow this year. They need to replace it.)

(Check out the public HBCUs’ online programs. They’ve been doing it longer, ethically, on even tighter budgets, with no for-profit taint.)
And I’m serious - for profit colleges are nothing but a money suck. They don’t provide you with an adequate education, and they’re terrible employers.

Their incentive is keeping you coming back every semester, with more federal loan money.
They really don’t care if you learn.
(Or GI Bill money, or employer match/tuition money. Or all of the above!)

I’m one of the last people to say the only way to learn is through formal classroom time — no, that’s also a lie designed to part people from money.

And some class work is better in 8 week intensive.
Read 4 tweets
2 Jul
A pilot program that crossed my mind:
I want to see a county combine the public defender budget and the prosecutors’ office, then divide the sum 50/50 between the two.
Because the people needing defense are MEMBERS OF THE STATE.
(Or better, just flip the budgets for a year.)
To an extent, I’m looking down the road: ending the carceral state starts with defunding the police, but it also means defunding the prosecutors, who act in our name, without sufficient oversight.

I also want walls between prosecution, investigation, and law enforcement.
Cops should never think of themselves as allies with the DA; DAs should be as skeptical of police and of police-gathered evidence as they are of the defense; investigators should consider both DAs and defense to be drama llamas who don’t understand science.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jun
Did you know your local police likely has a publicly accessible blotter or call log?
Yes, you can see exactly what your police do with your tax money!

I’ll pick a (pre-C19) day to show what Boulder CO PD does.
Boulder is
1) college town
2) rich
3) white
4) about 100K
1/?

🧵
May 17, 2019 was a Friday. The weather was perfect: sunny, low of 47, high of 70.
Log is here: bouldercolorado.gov/police/call-lo…

BPD started the day with a traffic stop at 0207.
Traffic stops are pure money makers that cost cop lives.
2/?
At least half of all cop fatalities over the past 20 years were because they stepped into traffic in the dark or someone driving past flashing lights has just had their night vision ruined.
More cops die in traffic accidents & traffic stops than due to criminal action.
3/?
Read 49 tweets
30 May
Per request:
Bloc for everyone! 🧵
Or how I misspent my late teens & 20s.
Caveat: I learned bloc tactics from East Coast and West Coast activists, who learned from European environmental and anti-racist activists. And I learned a long time ago, as these things go.

BLOC EVOLVES.
A.
Bloc is a tactic, not a group. I first heard bloc tactics described as passive-aggressive resistance — More direct than pure sit-in/die-in, without being aggressors. The tactic INTENDS to put your most resilient people as a defense line, because your cohort has fragile people.
2. (Recall, I come into this via HIV activism. LOTS of fragile people to protect.)
Read 46 tweets

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