Wednesday, 5 July 2017

140 CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR: THE LIMITS TO DEBATE ON TWITTER


What is, like, wrong with you, fascist?



Of course nobody stopped to talk - because the Left does not want to talk. It wants to triumph.

Peter Brimelow, VDare



Twitter is, they say, in financial trouble and looking for a buyer. I don’t pretend to understand the various dot.com goings-on in any way, shape or form, but doubtless I shall have to migrate to one or other of the alternatives before too many moons have come and gone. I have been banned more than once for thoughtcrime, as a matter of fact. I have just served 12 hours in the big house for referring to an economist who called philosophy ‘a bit of fun’ as a ‘cocky cunt’. I imagine it will only be a matter of time before they drop the big one when it is discovered that Traumaville is a veritable Gomorrah of hate speech and general beastliness. It will be a bit of a shame, as I have enjoyed the humour on Twitter, as well as the odd spat with the Left, be they of the Pansy, Malevolent or Common-or-garden variety.

I am not interested in winning a Twitter argument, which I have likened to winning a game of rock-scissors-paper in a psychiatric hospital. What does interest me is drawing out the common thread connecting the tactics of Leftist argument on social media. I recently got into a tangle with a Tweeter who calls itself ‘Mr. Tickle’, after one of the famous children’s characters created by Roger Hargreaves, who lived a few miles from where I grew up.

Now, the other party to this minor virtual altercation is not here to defend himself (I assume, were Mr. Tickle a female of the species, the avatar would have been a Little Miss), and I am not attempting to twit him in his absence. Curious that the delightful old English appellation ‘twit’ is embedded in ‘Twitter’. All I wish to do is hold up an example of Leftist debate, presented in miniature by the dictates of Twitter.

Mr Tickle had read a previous postcard from Traumaville, and was mildly triggered. Here is the opening exchange (my replies are italicised);

·        You are reading Islam as a monolith. It's not. It's a spectrum of views. I think you are also entering into conspiracy theory.

·        The Nazis also entertained a spectrum of views. I would rather be a conspiracy theorist than a slave to nuance.

·        So now you are equating me with Nazis? Also #falseDictomy you don't have to be either conspiracy or a slave.

·        No, I am not equating you with Nazis. You must read what’s there and what it was an answer to. You’re not making sense.

·        But you equated Islam with Nazis. That’s what I read for your retort on spectrum of views. Do you wish to withdraw that?

·        Absolutely not. Are you in management or something? Read. What. You. Wrote. Comparison is not equation.

There are a number of points for discussion in these opening salvoes. The very first sentence is interesting, the charge that I am ‘reading Islam as a monolith’. I take this to mean that I am treating each and every Muslim as though they held identical beliefs. This is a common Leftist ploy, and the implication is an extraordinary one. If, as Mr. Tickle goes on to claim, Islam does represent a ‘spectrum of views’, there is an implicit suggestion that none of those views represent Islam faithfully, and so Islam, in a sense, does not exist as an object of criticism. That is to say, because the Berlin truck jihadist held views which were part of a spectrum, Islam is not in any way to blame. Thus, the Leftist can cherry-pick the bits of Islam she likes, like a child at one of the old Woolworth’s Pick ‘n’ Mix counters gathering together her various and favourite types of sweeties in the same bag. This hyper-relativism is the essence of post-modernism.

I did promise not to poke fun, but I am a serial liar. #FalseDictomy is as written, and it strikes me that it may be a surgical operation to remove fake news.

The other interesting comment Tickle makes is ‘Do you wish to withdraw that?’ This is a very familiar trope, hence my reply. I had my fill of management in London, who would often suggest that I withdraw an email or a comment therein, watch my ‘tone’ or otherwise refrain for speaking outside of their ridiculous parameters. It is yet another method of Leftist control. Furthermore, as I never tire of pointing out to people, Twitter is Twitter, not the Vienna fucking Circle.

Yes, I did drag the Nazis in rather, didn’t I? And that is the hoariest of Leftist evasions. But note the response; So now you are equating me with Nazis?  I wasn’t, as you see. Unless, unless…

I began to suspect that Mr. Tickle is in fact Ahmed Al-Tickle. What else could explain this sudden taking personally of an objective comparison? But to return to the supposed Islamic ‘spectrum of views.’ Now, in that there is – as I pointed out in a subsequent Tweet – a central division between Sunni and Shi’a, so there is division in Islam. The dar al Islam  is divided de facto. A Wahhabist holds very different views from a Salafist, who in turn differs in point of doctrine from a Sufi. There! A spectrum of views. Does that nullify the threat of Islam in and of itself? Gentle reader, it does not. American serial killers may support different baseball teams. This does not lessen their threat. So, let us move on.

·        Let’s make this more simple. Do you accept Islam is spectrum of views and not a monolith as you have expressed? Yes/No.

·        I don’t do closed questions. There is a Sunni/Shia divide for a start if that is your idea of a spectrum.

This is a variation on the old ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ question. According to imam Tickle, if I answer ‘no’, then I am reading Islam as a monolith, which is a Bad Thing in Tickleworld, and throughout the Left. If I answer ‘yes’, then Tickle wins. A spectrum of views as a defining trait of the ummah automatically means that the Boston Marathon bombers could have been Amish.

I tried another tack. As is well known, Tweets are confined to a maximum of 140 characters, including spacing, and debate is not easy in that format. Thus;

·        My email is mark_gullick@yahoo.co.uk Quite happy to debate you at length, unless you insist on anonymity.

·        Understandable if the questions are unfair. However, you have not argued that let alone explained why. Is that reasonable?

·        You’re making a category mistake. Serial killers hold a range of views. That’s not a defence of serial killing.

·        Humour me if you must but is that a yes?

·        And look, best of luck with your acceptance of Islam. I hope it doesn’t adversely affect your kids’ future.

·        I have said nothing about myself. Thank you! I am only pointing out the problem with what you have expressed in your blog.

·        Your comments have been noted.

Tickle is perfectly well mannered. I wished him a happy Christmas, and he wished me and my family one straight back. I don’t think a Muslim headbanger would have found it in himself to do that. It would have stuck in his craw. However, what is of note is the sudden explosion of Tweets explaining the undesirability, in his eyes, of transferring the debate to a limitless format away from the miniaturist confections Twitter offers. I will limit myself to quoting the first two of several, because they hold in essence the whole point I am making here, that of the inability of the Left to hold lengthy debate, or at least lengthier debate than Twitter’s snack-sized format;

·        I really don’t see how extending this to a lengthy debate would have helped you to state your case.

·        Why when we are finally making progress in understanding our points of view in this format?

Did you note any progress, gentle reader? I just noted the same weary communicative equivalent of two drunk people playing ping-pong. I have offered my email to seven or eight Tweeters from the political Left. Only one has taken me up, and we traded precisely one email each on the subject of Islam. Mine was the reply, and he never got back to me. Some get very huffy when you suggest email correspondence.

We see it everywhere. The Left wish to reduce all political argument to slogans, as though a cross-parliamentary committee were being chaired by The Clash. It may be that, at one or another level of their sub-conscious, they realise their arguments, if subject to analysis, would fade like morning mist.

Don’t allow them to get away with it. Challenge Leftists over every daubed placard, every witless exclamation mark, every dim-witted platitude, every fudge-brained Tweet and addle-pated Facebook rant. Make them explain their thought processes instead of acting as though Tourette’s Syndrome and its symptoms were political argument. I suspect there may be wavering Leftists out there, and they may just require the small nudge of extended debate to make them see sense before darkness descends on us all.

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