A Good Rhetorical Lesson

I had linked to Brian Niemeier favorably on this blog a couple times but that was before it turned out that he’s an idiot. On my personal blog, I made, what I thought to be, an innocuous comment about something stupid he said. He responded by attacking… a bizarro world version of me.

Read the whole thing and when everyone who knows me stops laughing lets look at this.

A blogger named for the president who normalized relations with the ChiComs…

Puts the idea in people’s head from the get go that this Nixon fellow he’s a communist sympathizer.

The addict lashes out at friends trying to cure him of the vice that’s destroying him.

Nixon = addict. Brian = nice person who just tries to help people!

Nixon’s clumsy effort … sounds more like the squealing of Disney paypigs wallowing in the muck, shivering for their next fix of poz slop.

Wait, wait, I’ve got to wipe away a tear with my Kylo Ren t-shirt.

…a shopworn rhetorical jab of the Left…

Who uses leftist rhetoric? Leftists.

…Nixon is clearly proceeding in bad faith…

Easy way to discount something that’s said without actually addressing it.

It’s not on me if being confronted with the true moral character of your entertainment choices triggers your amygdalae.

Projection. I wrote a post which was less than 200 words on a blog which nobody reads and he does this. Somebody’s amygdala was spun up, but it wasn’t mine.

As an aside, that sentence is also an example of why it’s very annoying that English doesn’t have a distinct plural second person pronoun.  On first glance it might look like he’s referring to a single “you” but amygdala is plural so it can’t be.

…this guy’s pearl-clutching…

From the image of a genteel woman clutching her pearl necklace in shock… (idiomatic, derogatory) Prim, prudish, or easily offended.”

…that shit test…

Shit tests are things that women do. He just called me a girl.

Niemeier went on to continue in this vein on Google+ especially with the accusations of being girlish, the best being where he orders me to “Grow up, talk to me like an adult male instead of a cat lady with PMS”.

His post is an excellent illustration of rhetorical attack. The point is to trigger the target and make them cry (metaphorically or not). This is the sort of rhetoric you’d expect to see used on an SJW because, not being able to reason with them, people kick them instead.

What happens if the target isn’t an SJW? What happens if the target is someone who’s been studying rhetoric and trying to teach himself how to spot and use it? Well, not what it’s supposed to do that’s for sure. This is another reason why studying rhetoric is so important. It gives you the tools to be able to spot attacks like this, see what the aggressor is doing, and if you’re inclined to be hurt by silly insults, understanding where they’re coming from and why should certainly help to avoid being hurt. Knowing rhetoric also allows you to hit back and to analyze what you might have done wrong in responding to the other person.

It’s a tool like a hammer. You use a hammer with nails. You don’t use a hammer with screws. So in order to use rhetoric, you need to make sure first that you’ve got a nail. If the person shows up and starts calling you a cowardly piece of shit instead of addressing points, as seen here previously, then it’s a pretty safe better they’re a nail. But in that case, I googled every one of them. I also didn’t go far enough because my response one in particular would have be different if I had taken the time to read more of her blog and see that she was bipolar.

You won’t be able to research everyone who attacks you, but you also don’t have to respond to everyone who does. I know this is hard for internet egos to understand but when someone talks about you on the internet when you’ve set yourself up as public figure, they’re not actually talking to you. Sure, there’s some “notice me, sempai!” types but some people just want to have discussions and make comments without wannabe e-celebs butting in.

Learn rhetoric.  Learn how to use it.  Learn when to use it.  It’s good for you.

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Somebody’s STALKING ME

I’m LITERALLY SHAKING.  Do you have any idea how creepy and sickening it is when some weird, unknown person on the internet is going around talking about you to other people and sharing links to things you said publicly on the internet.

You know, like this:

SJWs share a link to AG and say it's creepy

Who is this “Brenda”, who is her anonymous “friend”, and how dare she read my public blog posts?!?!

I’m kind of “amused” too– that she thinks blue haired feminist was supposed to be an insult.

Now I have to go back to cyberstalking Shia LaBeouf because He Will Not Divide Us IS BACK but he isn’t there like the dancing monkey he’s supposed to be. 😡  Come back, Shia, Pepe is waiting for you!

 

A Short Guide on How to Talk to SJWs

Brian Niemeier knows how to do it:

Experience shows that the best advice on how to argue with SJWs is that you shouldn’t. You should mock them relentlessly instead.

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It bears repeating: Do not attempt to answer SJWs’ loaded questions or engage with them rationally. They do not want information and are only giving you enough rope to rhetorically hang yourself. Go on the offensive, and punch back twice as hard!

He provides an illustration on how it’s done in a twitter conversation with an SJW.

JD Cowan, in the comments, adds this:

It’s easy once you keep in mind that they’re being dishonest and have no desire to be rational about anything.

Turn every question against them. No matter what you answer it will be used as ammo against you, so twist it into being about them instead. They will soon get frustrated and wander off trying to “win” before usually coming back with one massively spergy comment to end on.

Keep in mind that they think you’re evil and they want to destroy you. Once you remember that it’s easy to see everything they do coming before it does.

This is gonna seem like harping on the subject, but people don’t get it.  I can’t turn around without tripping over another conservative trying to insist that if they just use facts and carefully answer and refute each point of the SJWs argument, then they’re going to win somehow.  It’s a waste of time; don’t do it.

Facebook Censors Christianity

It’s no surprise by now that Facebook is censoring and throttling all sort of people, groups, and content they deem “problematic.”  Their most recent target?  An image of the crucifix.

‘He was despised and rejected’ … by Facebook

Facebook rejected a Holy Week ad placed by a Catholic university featuring a picture of the San Damiano Cross because of its “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.”

The Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, responded:

The San Damiano Cross. Jesus in glory, reigning from his cruciform throne. This is what the monitors at Facebook consider excessively violent, sensational, and shocking.

And indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things. It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God.

It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was “obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.

“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews, an absurdity to Gentiles. But to those who are called, both Jew and Gentile, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

As Father Mike Schmitz points out in today’s #ShareJesus message, it was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross: he was God, he could have descended from the Cross at any moment. No, it was love that kept him there. Love for you and for me, that we might not be eternally condemned for our sins but might have life eternal with him and his Father in heaven.

This is sensational, this is shocking. This is only possible because of the excessive violence that he endured for us.

“He was despised and rejected of men.” It was ever thus and will ever be, for those who do not see with the eyes of faith, and love with a love unquenchable.

The San Damiano Cross is actually quite mild as crucifixes go.  The Censors at Facebook are either very ignorant or very deliberately coming up with dumb reasons to keep Christian content off Facebook.

The Facebook-banned San Damiano Cross, while perhaps foreign and jarring to Facebook censors, is an iconic image well-known and venerated by hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world for close to a thousand years.

Censoring Christian messaging is nothing new among social media and tech giants, and in fact, the tyrannical suppression of Christianity’s presence on Facebook may well be growing.

When Facebook adjusted its algorithms earlier this year in order to ensure the promotion and dissemination of what it deems “quality news,” websites purveying “conservative”  news — including LifeSiteNews — noticed a precipitous drop in traffic and reach.

Last year, Facebook blocked a traditional marriage campaign page. Sky News reported, “This is bullying. Respectful debate is being shut down; Facebook has taken sides (in the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate).”

Facebook also blocked or removed more than two dozen pages belonging to conservative Catholic organizations and individuals, affecting many millions of devoted followers of those pages. While the pages were eventually restored, Fox News’ Todd Starnes, author and host of Fox News & Commentary, said, “You might recall that Facebook has a dark history of blocking conservative and Christian pages.”

The State of Entertainment

What is entertainment?  How are compelling stories and interesting characters created? I find it hard to define what makes a good story.  Many others have attempted to make this definition and there is plenty of disagreement about it.  However, there is plenty of agreement that the current state of entertainment is rather lacking.

Hollywood and recent TV (which includes things produced quite a while ago) are frequently criticized for poor quality (amazing special effects and beautiful scenery don’t make up for lame stories) and the annoying, if not infuriating, constant liberal propagandizing.  Cable TV subscriptions have been declining for some time, probably dropped in favor of internet streaming and other ways of accessing entertainment.  Having never lived in a household where there was a cable subscription I find it surprising that so many people continue to pay buckets of money for a service that forces you to watch advertisements and whose content is 90% crap.  You may have to pay for streaming, but at least you have more choice about what you watch.  This doesn’t really solve the problem that 90% of what is and has been produced is still crap.  It does help a little to be able to choose from multiple decades of movies and TV.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about YouTube, other than the “controversial” political and social commentary they’re busy trying to scrub off the internet, is the old movies and television shows.  Due to over-zealous copyright enforcers these things are prone to disappearing.  The sad thing is that much of this is simply unavailable anywhere else.

Unfortunately, YouTube apparently has a plan to turn itself into a streaming site requiring a paid subscription a la Netflix (see Razorfist’s commentary about YouTube’s future).  The general response to this seems to be: well, there’s a reason I liked YouTube; it wasn’t like TV.  I quit watching TV ages ago because it sucks.  If YT is going to be just like TV, forget it.  This seems like a poor move after all the uproar that’s been caused by their censorship and demonetization.  They deserve to lose both their content creators and their viewers.  When they lose those, advertisers won’t be far behind in abandoning the platform.  All the reasons people have abandoned cable for the internet are going to be done away with if these companies in the pursuit of profit have their way; and then we’ll just have “cable” on the internet.  Oh, joy.  No wonder some people have no problem with pirated content.  We’d be willing to pay if they’d just give us what we want.

Do these producers of entertainment even deserve our money?  Probably not.  But it’s awfully nice to just be entertained sometimes.  A little escape from reality now and then can be good for one’s mental health.  Life, when it’s not full of unpleasant drama, can be drudgery.  It’s often just hard, even when full of happy moments and an awareness of one’s many blessings.  Humans have been seeking to entertain and be entertained forever.  It should be one of life’s little joys.

What isn’t particularly joyful is watching something that insults your beliefs or makes you feel like you’re being emotionally manipulated.  An awful lot of shows are like this.  The ones with content insulting to conservatives and Christians may have good parts, but can you sift the good from the chaff?  It’s hard, if not impossible, to find something to watch without a liberal bias and objectionable content.

How about those shows that start out really good and are subsequently ruined by manufactured drama?  There’s nothing that makes me lose patience with a show like the feeling that I’m being jerked around emotionally in a deliberate attempt by the creators to keep the show going to make a buck.  It indicates a major lack of creativity: you can’t come up with anything better to prolong the story than recycling the same old relationship problems or the same old story-lines?

It’s also frustrating when a likeable character (that must have been created by accident through some fluky combination of writing and the actor’s talent) is ruined as the series progresses, ruined in a way that doesn’t fit with the original representation of the character.  The flip side of changing a character in a way that doesn’t fit the storyline is not changing the character at all.  When a story is handled well, a character may have certain problems or flaws at the beginning, but as things happen in the story he changes, even if he continues to struggle with some basic flaws.  He actually learns from things that happen; he might even not repeat the same mistake 300 times.  But in standard entertainment, he does just that: even when it appears that he has learned from something, give it a couple episodes and he’s back to doing the same dumb things all over again.

This doesn’t mean that characters that stupidly continue on their paths to destruction are never appropriate.  It is possible to write a novel about people making a long line of poor life choices and the misery wrought by those choices and still have a satisfying story.  Take Anna Karenina, a hefty Russian novel, devoted almost entirely to just this and considered a classic; I found it to be quite good and enjoyed reading it, though it is by no means a happy read.  Things that evoke strong emotional responses can also be very well done and not feel manipulative.

There is a difference between making things true and making them “realistic.”  Current entertainment often seeks to embrace a shallow “realism” while failing to be true to life.  Let’s make it more realistic they say; so they throw out happy endings and happy interpersonal relationships.  Let’s make every character severely flawed and probably not very likable.  Let’s blur the lines between good and evil and make sure there are no good choices to be made.  And no objective moral standard that anyone follows.  And lots of misery.  And… voila!  Reality!  No, not even close.  Though it is accurate to say that there’s a lot of unpleasantness in life and people are generally quite flawed, it is not true to deny the goodness in people and all that is noble and true and beautiful in life.  Because that’s there too.

Poldark is the most recent in a long list of shows I have begun only to be disappointed for all of the above reasons.  It was always rather soap-opera-ish with its excessive drama, but at first the characters were interesting and likable enough to endure some of that.  Ross was flawed, too stubborn and too proud, but very principled and trying to do the right things.  Demelza was always spirited, but also grateful and respectful to Ross and generally sweet and good.  Their relationship was appealing because it fit better into more traditional gender roles than what we’re typically offered.  But of course that could not last.  By season three, Ross seems more proud and stubborn and less principled than in season one, and Delmelza is turning into a harping, ungrateful bitch.  These people need marriage counseling about how to treat each other.  And it’s not fun to watch.  For example, Demelza chooses to confront Ross about her disagreement with a choice he made and how he’s not listening to her advice and that he’s neglecting her (wah!) right when he’s reeling emotionally from having learned that a relative has died.  Demelza does have some valid points; Ross frequently acts like an ass and acts too quickly without considering the counsel of others.  But how stupid can you be, to nag your man at a time like that?

Also really annoying in the third season is the portrayal of religion and religious people.  There was little mention of religion in the first two seasons.  Church was seen in social events: funerals, christenings, weddings.  One not-good character was overzealous and unkind in his religion, but seemed an outlier not the norm.  The main characters didn’t mention religious things.  Now, however, there is much dismissal of religious belief by many, if not all, the main “good” characters.  A truly evil “religious” character has been introduced.  The pastor of the local church is just a puppet to the main “bad guy.”  I begin to doubt the story’s historical accuracy: was 18th century England really so heathen?

All “good” characters are rejecting God and his commands for what they see as the better way of just being “good” by their own standards and embracing what little good and pleasure they can find in this life.  Is it any wonder they are selfish and stupid?  The choices they keep making, and are threatening to make, will be their undoing of course.  The show’s creators will undoubtedly manufacture yet another break and then reconciliation between Ross and Demelza after dragging their misery out to another season.  If you cared about the characters, it would be too painful to watch; and if you’ve ceased to care because there’s only so much repeated stupidity you can stand, it’s dumb and pointless.  And it’s too annoying to watch even as a lesson: see what happens when you reject objective moral standards and only care about your own selfish needs and “happiness”?  See what happens when you fail to learn from your mistakes and acknowledge your faults and look realistically on your blessings with gratitude?

I am terribly sick of the standard state of entertainment.  It would often be nice to read an entertaining book or watch a show or movie that serves as a form of escape or maybe something cheerful or funny, or informing or even a lesson learned.  Maybe even good conquering evil, or the triumph of human goodness in the face of great challenges?  There’s only so much human stupidity one can take.  And there’s plenty of that in reality; who needs to add more from fictional characters?  Life actually has plenty of drama in it if you’re paying attention.  Sometimes it’s nice to get a break from the drama of real life.  Realism isn’t very entertaining.

All the Tori that’s Fit to Print

When I first saw screenshots of BBC’s pidgin news service, I thought it was some kind of joke.  But no, it’s the real deal.  The news service is aimed at west and central Africa.

The site has stories like “Only politicians dey happy with Nigeria economy – Expert”, “Cameroun: Why lawyers, teachers dey vex”, and “Why dem dey call Hurricane human being name“.  English speakers can read it too… sort of.

Di biggest storm wey United States of America never see for 13 years don land for Texas.

Dis Hurricane Harvey don scatter plenty houses and tori say e even don kill five people.

Hurricane Matthew wey bin happen for 2016 kill plenty people and scatter house join wen e happen.

Harvey and Mattew na human being name, so how hurricane dey take get dia name sef? In short, why dem dey give hurricane name at all?

Why dem dey name hurricane?

Hurricane na type of storm wey get plenty-plenty rain plus strong wind. Sometimes sef thunder go follow join.

Meteorologists wey dey research weather matter think say if dem give hurricane name, people go fit remember am well-well and e go help people wen dem dey talk about am.

 

Too Big to Boycott

Don’t bother to boycott Google! You can’t win!

You’d have to get an iPhone, because most smartphones run Android. You’d have to avoid YouTube and websites that embed YouTube videos. You’d also have to do some research, because Google runs not-so-obviously under the hood of many products. The search bar on many websites is secretly powered by Google. Uber uses Google Maps, although it’s trying to build its own version. You’d have to avoid a lot of websites or use an ad blocker, because tons of websites use Google’s AdSense network to support themselves. You’d have to check whether your employer uses Google Apps.

Then, you’d have to check the long list of companies owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which is aiming to be the alpha and the omega. If you come across a Wi-Fi kiosk in any of 16 major cities, run the other way — it’s probably Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs. Oh, and you also may not be able to drive, because Sidewalk Labs is working on using city data to program traffic lights. OH! And you may not be able to walk on the sidewalk, because Sidewalk Labs wants to power smart street lights, too.
***
This isn’t to crow about how Google’s progressive attitudes will prevail over conservative ones. Its ubiquity, and the power that comes with it, is terrifying. I feel like I can still quit Facebook, but I can’t quit Google. And even if I did, it would have no effect. The people calling for a boycott misunderstand not just Google’s scale, but the mechanism of its power. If you’re a Google search user, you have no buying power. You are not the customer. You are not always right. You are the product, and you are just one of billions. If you fall off the back of the truck, you’ll simply be written off.

This writer is forgetting something rather important: if you don’t have anything to sell, you don’t have any customers. Google and companies like it are in the interesting position that their products are capable of walking away.

I had switched over to DuckDuckGo some time before the whole Google Memo thing happened. Now, thanks to the big G brilliantly killing and then restoring Dr. Peterson’s account, I don’t think I want to trust them with my data. We log into email accounts every day. They contain all kinds of important information. If suddenly one day my gmail account is gone, what am I supposed to do? Kick myself for not downloading everything and backing up thousands of emails?

So that’s exactly what I’ve done. Downloaded everything. And I’ve been researching alternatives to Google services. There’s a lot of other webmail out there. Other cloud storage. Other ways of collaborating over the internet. I despair of there ever being a usable video site but once Google bans everybody like Razorfist and Mister Metokur, there won’t be any point of going to Youtube anyway.

We might not be able to simply, easily, or quickly extract ourselves from Google’s grasp but why should you continue being a product when you don’t have to be?