Yeah, I argued with some dude on Twitter. And said argument is a great addendum to my article, "How South Park Helped Empower the 'Alt-Right.'"
It started when I found this:
How South Park enabled Hitler’s rise to power. pic.twitter.com/WETJGxXpv2— Satiria (@SatiriaNews) August 24, 2017
To be clear, the header image for my article is the classic South Park intro shot at the end of the song with all the characters, only Cartman isn't dressed as Hitler.
"Satiria," of course, posits itself to be "satire." Are you tired yet? Grab some coffee, because we've only just started.
They then tried to "explain" the "joke" to me.
It is inter alia a joke on confusing correlation & causation. After the revolution, all humor will be pre-approved by committee, of course!!— Satiria (@SatiriaNews) August 25, 2017
Oh yes, random Latin and all. Can you just smell the fedora?
I didn't bother to explain that "correlation does not mean causation" is not a counter-point you can use about an article that contains no data, nor that implying my article is as absurd as saying that South Park led to Hitler is absurd (since one is theoretically possible and the other literally impossible unless somebody invented time travel and didn't tell me about it). Because, thanks to years of experience, I could see the path of that "argument" laid out before me as clearly as if I were Sapphire from Steven Universe.
Yeah. I made a Steven Universe reference.
Anyway, I fucked with them and one of their fanboys a little and then discussed a bit the bizarre nature of alt-right humor, and was ready to forget about them forever. But then they poked me a little more. They asked me what my favorite satire was, and I chose a very basic and classic example, A Modest Proposal, not because it's my favorite but because I thought maybe if they read it they might start to understand what satire is actually supposed to look like. I'm an optimist.
Of course instead they claimed that it was one of their favorites as well, said it was "punching down," and then asked this:
How is the point of a Modest Proposal different from the point of South Park? Nice talking, by the way!!!— Satiria (@SatiriaNews) August 25, 2017
I replied that one was mocking the old British government's heartless attitude toward the poor and the other has, you know, a lot of points. Being a 20-year running TV series. At this point I again thought the discussion was done but nooooo. The next day I wake up to more nonsense. Satiria felt the need to look through my tweet list and respond to some of the things I had been writing about that did not tag them or mention them specifically.
A Modest Proposal uses satire (correctly, take some notes) to condemn cruelty. Alt-right humor is "upsetting people is funny."— Lindsey Weedston (@LindseyWeedston) August 26, 2017
I engaged them some more, kind of planning to just mock them, but it got boring fast, because they were so predictable and unoriginal in their absurd accusations ("you call anyone you don't like a nazi!!). And that's when I gave into some baser impulses and started putting the pressure on.
Do you ever get tired of accusing anyone you don't like of accusing anyone they don't like of such and such? Does the hypocrisy get old?— Lindsey Weedston (@LindseyWeedston) August 26, 2017
I'm just wondering if there's any self-awareness here? How much have you assumed of me in the past couple days?— Lindsey Weedston (@LindseyWeedston) August 26, 2017
And so on. At this point there's very little the person behind Satiria can respond to. I'm kinda tweeting circles around them. Including pointing out the misuse of the big words they tried to throw in their to sound smart. It's very easy. I've had much more challenging arguments with basement-dwelling MRAs and anti-feminists who actually wear fedoras in photos they voluntarily post on the internet.
Then I start driving home the point that what "Satiria" does isn't really satire, except by the loosest, cheapest definition of satire. Like all humor is satire definition of satire. Or all attempts at humor, anyway. At which point they choose the bizarre strategy of accusing me of having not read A Modest Proposal, which is weird because it's a short piece that I could easily have read in the course of our Twitter war.
Now I'm thinking it must be that they seriously did not get the point. And that's both strange and terrifying. Do people like the guy behind Satiria think that satire from A Modest Proposal to South Park is all just "meanness is funny"? Are they missing all the actual points behind every South Park episode, some of which are actually good points, and just laughing because Cartman is being a dick? I'm asking because later Satiria actually said that Swift, author of A Modest Proposal, was literally advocating for the eating of babies.
Astounding that your reaction to jokes is the only possible reaction to jokes! Did you know A Modest Proposal is serious about eating kids!?— Satiria (@SatiriaNews) August 26, 2017
What the fuck??? How does this guy claim to be an expert on satire when he doesn't understand the basic point of one of the most classic and studied examples of satire??? Is this how he takes the jokes on his beloved South Park? Is this how all douchebro alt-right or general right-wing fucks take in shit like South Park? Because that might make a few things make a little more sense, actually. Fuck.
Anyway, then Satiria guy tried to make a comparison between South Park and cabaret satire in 1920's Berlin, asking me if that could have led to the rise of Hitler. I had to fucking Google 1920's cabaret in Germany because that's quite a niche subject, but a quick read made the comparison fall apart completely, and I explained why. That was when Satiria and fanboy started calling "the left," by which they mean liberals, "authoritarian," which is hilarious.
Then fanboy pulled out something really gross and dehumanizing and fetishizing and misogynistic and I was done. First I twisted the knife a little in Satiria because I couldn't resist and then I blocked both of them, because at this point I thought this fanboy that had been tagging along through the whole discussion was the guy running the Satiria account.
Then I discussed the idea of hyper-tolerance and the paradox of tolerance, which is an important read. Here's the start of the thread:
I'm frustrated with hyper-tolerance, too. But did you notice how "satiria" actually endorsed it? South Park did an episode on this.— Lindsey Weedston (@LindseyWeedston) August 26, 2017
I think it's all done with at this point and am ready to put the entire not-so-memorable argument behind me. Then the next day, being the pathetic loser he is, the man behind Satiria cannot resist the urge to reveal himself.
This deserves a special award for missing the point. Satiria is liberal, it's a parody of ultra-earnest news publishing. Go figure!2!— Roger Dubar (@DubarRoger) August 27, 2017
If you click on this ugly white man's name, you'll see that his Twitter bio fully admits to being (in unnecessary Latin) the brains behind Satiria. Now, if you know me at all, you'll know that circumventing my blocks is a great way to set me off. Now I'm in petty mode. So I google his name. Turns out he's the creator of a service that appears to be pretty popular in the U.K. that allows companies to customize short, simple, shitty little games they can use to promote their business. You know those annoying ads that pretend to be games? The ones that everyone made fun of in 2013? Those things!
Shitty capitalism aside, Roger Dubar appears quite successful. His company has won awards, and he also founded a "television production & consultancy business," and has worked as a legal consultant. He was on the legal counsel for BBC and Head of Legal for GMTV. He has an impressive LinkedIn profile.
He's also been published in the HuffPostUK blog and The Nation (once). Though as a writer, I can tell you that anyone can get their shitty opinions in HuffPo, and they often don't pay.
The point is that this guy has had a lot of success in both the legal and technology fields. And before I knew who he was, I had him pegged as less competent than a decent majority of the shitty faux-intellectual sentient fedoras I've argued with in the past. Arguing circles around him was easy. And it's not like I'm a lawyer or someone else who has been trained to argue professionally. Plus, this guy not only runs Satiria, he insists that it's real satire. Have you looked at it yet? All he does is take images and put fake headlines over them. Yes, some of them are mocking Trump, but not even well enough to get a chuckle out of me. Because it's already been said, it's shit that would take half a second to think of, it's unoriginal, it's downright lazy, and you know I don't like using that word.
And it's not satire unless you count absurd exaggeration that's the result of two brain cells connecting to be satire.
And here's the final point: This guy is fucking mediocre. Mediocre at best. He spent that much of his weekend arguing that badly, making terrible comparisons, demonstrating an inability to come to the most basic, easy conclusion about a satire everyone has read, thinking it's literal, revealing that he spends his spare time on a website and Twitter account that is so bleh, and that he thinks is amazing because he has over 6,000 fans, whoop-de-doo...
And he is that successful. He has a great life, and I bet he has a ton of money and lives like a king. He's completely mediocre! I mean tech and humor are different parts of the brain (kind of) but law and language are close siblings. With an English degree you either write, teach, or go to law school. This is a thing. He was employed by BBC and he's that shitty at arguing. He's supposed to be able to manipulate language and he doesn't even understand satire.
This is what privilege does. If he were a woman, or if he were black, or trans, or gay, or mentally ill, or disabled, or had grown up in poverty - he'd be nothing and nobody. I mean, unless one or more of those identities had taught him something about empathy and being a decent human being. But the point is that cishet, able-bodied, neurotypical white dudes can be that mediocre and still have great success. That's what privilege is. That's what it means.
Congratulations, Roger. I hope it was worth circumventing my block because a woman setting boundaries is just unacceptable to men like you. Now I and hopefully many others know the white face behind some of the most boring, very specifically Islamophobic """satire""" I've ever seen in my entire life. And that's not even to mention the intense transphobia, fatphobia, racism, etc. to be found on your shit website. I wrote another Twitter thread about that and how it's basically Dollar Store South Park that is utterly and painfully unaware of the fact that equal attacks on unequal targets produce DIFFERENT RESULTS. I might write another entire blog post on that but this one has gotten awfully long.
The point is. He's the kind of guy who tweets this:
Donald Trump’s America is awfully racist and discriminatory, but is Pakistan any different? https://t.co/1ik8ts8ihu via @tribuneblogs— Roger Dubar (@DubarRoger) August 28, 2017
We've spent our whole lives being told that "America is the greatest country on Earth" and that we're sooooooooo much better than places like PAKISTAN and now it's "hey America did you know that Pakistan is racist too???? Checkmate, stop complaining about racism here, please, please stop talking about it, I'm afraid I'm going to get fired for calling my black neighbors racial slurs."
There is no justice in the world, is what I'm saying.