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On Shitposting

Journal Entry (Thursday November 3, 2022)

I’m really tired of it. It seems to me the collective intelligence of our nation has sunk to about a third grade level. The only difference is that more hate words are used than the average third grader has yet to learn. Where is this coming from? Of course we have to acknowledge that Trump is largely responsible for making Shitposting popular with his party, but the deplorable speech he uses is deviously calculating. (Let’s not forget the role that Rupert Murdoch and his media outlets have played in this evolution — to a large extent by giving Trump and his minions permission to go down this path and by allowing his own talking heads to use this themselves.)

Elon Musk is now starting to get into the game. It’s not a game. It is going to have serious consequences — it already has. If it doesn’t stop we will find ourselves devolving out of Democracy into a political state where one mindset, if not one party, rules the land. The mindset I’m referring to is hate, and woe to any person that falls counter to that mindset.

Keri Mangis has written a detailed explanation of Trump’s speech. He is a master at this genre. Here is what she uncovered. His speech is characterized by four distinct patterns the are designed to stir emotions, hate for one, but no less an emotion than anger, he does it using these linguistic tools.

  • Passive voice
  • Metaphor instead of literal language
  • Superlative modifiers
  • Opt-out clauses (such as “maybe” or “I don’t know”)

Taken together these things can be used to stir anger and hatred in the listener while releasing the speaker from direct blame for doing anything harmful. After all he didn’t really say anything bad.

The point here is not really what Donal Trump says, the point here is his intent and the result of what he says. I think you can guess what I have to say about both of those, so I’m not going to drone on any longer. Just remember one thing please, if you participate in this game, you are pointing all of us towards a future which could very well end our 250 year experiment with Democracy.