Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
June 25, 2022
I BOW TO YOU, LORD GENIUS. plz like me?????
Category: Current Events … Serious

A question I've been asking myself a lot lately: why are so many online commenters so embarrassingly sycophantic? I've always viewed comments sections as a place to attempt to say something that somehow adds something to the discussion. That needn't always be serious -- though in some instances it probably should be -- but it should go beyond what simply liking a post conveys. There's no need for shallow "I agree with this!" and "Thank God for you, poster!" -type remarks. I mean, I guess they might make the OP feel even better, and probably the folks posting them are motivated by some hope of being "seen" by either the OP or others. And on occasion I'm guilty of these motives as well; I've definitely made empty approval noises on Sirena content and squee'd a little when one of the Sirens gave them emotional reacts. But when they're commenting on the posts of celebrities and popular figures and comments number in the hundreds and thousands -- and when they're not saying anything -- it seems unlikely that their comments will attract any attention whatsoever. So why? But I guess it doesn't take much effort to write, "This was masterful. SO MUCH TRUTH!" so it's not like they're wasting much time shooting their shot for a lil' pat on the head.

I, on the other hand, am sometimes moved to write long, dissenting comments that I know *no one* will bother to read in full even if they read everything else, so perhaps I'm not one to criticize perplexing commenter behavior. Below is a comment I wrote on Bill Maher's latest New Rule, in which he railed about the Democrats losing Latino and Asian-American voters because of their commitment to "wokeness" and insistence upon pitting identity groups against one another. I'm not even bothering to link it. It's not a particularly thoughtful -- or novel -- take on the Dems' current problems, but at this point it's probably unreasonable to expect insight or viable solutions from Bill Maher. And yet, if I only read the comments, I absolutely would expect that. The people writing seem to think Maher's commentary (and recent commentaries) are indeed that. So I guess in part I comment leave a record that *someone* disagreed with the OP and had particular reasons for doing so. And I feel like leaving any thoughtful comment anywhere is sort of worth the effort? And I can also repost it here and maybe look at it years later and see how I feel about it! So that's below. Hurray.

I think Bill's right that lots of people want their government representatives to serve as their "lawyers." The problem with that, however, is that the defense that lawyers provide is often more about punishing opposition than it is about securing redress and finding solutions. Moreover, the Democrats aren't responsible for pitting identity groups against each other: America did that and has done that basically from its inception. The reason Democrats are losing so many other identity groups is that -- for once, finally -- they're *starting* to sound like they care about protecting and uplifting black and LGBTQ Americans. And since the Republicans can't even pretend to care about doing that -- and indeed in the Trump era have gained support by doing and saying precisely the opposite -- of course they're going to look good to other identity groups who maintain that black people suffer primarily because of their own "bad choices" (because who cares about hundreds of years of policy that created those conditions) and that queer people are deserving of abuse because of their "abnormal" lifestyle choices. Is there a way to go about helping black and queer people without angering other groups? I hope so, and I hope the Democrats find it. But insisting that Dems throw vulnerable minorities under the bus in order to appeal to other groups and "gettable" white voters is also potentially a losing strategy. Black and queer voters will probably never turn to the Republican Party en masse, but they *might* stay home. And yeah, in some places the Democrats could absorb the loss, which could translate to (small) Democratic victories in sections of Texas and California. But it's a such a cynical, myopic, and downright awful national approach that I'm a little surprised (not really) at all the sycophantic commenters praising Bill for uttering it.

(I doubt anyone read all of that, but if you did -- treat yourself to a cookie. You've earned it. :D)

-posted by Wes | 1:56 am | Comments (0)
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