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a woman is always to blame advocacy of violence allegedly false accusations gaslighting ironic nazis literal nazis lying liars men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny TROOOLLLL!! trump

Donald Trump: Could he become America’s first troll president?

The similarity goes beyond the hair
The similarity goes beyond the hair

Donald Trump is probably the most casually dishonest serious candidate for president that this country has ever seen. He lies so easily, so shamelessly, and so regularly that media outlets have largely given up trying to factcheck his more, er, problematic assertions.

Politifact, a site that exposes politicians’ lies, awarded their Lie of the Year prize last year to “the campaign misstatements of Donald Trump.” There were so many they couldn’t pick just one.

Trump is worse than a mere fibber; as more than a few observers have noted of late, he’s also a master gaslighter, as are the political operatives closest to him. Gaslighting is a favorite tactic of abusers who’ve mastered the art of lying so baldly that their victims are led to doubt what they’ve seen and experienced, and begin to think they’re literally going mad.

Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski responded to reporter Michelle Fields’ claim that he had assaulted her at a Trump event by declaring her “delusional” — a favorite ploy of gaslighters everywhere — even though, as footage of the event now conclusively shows, he did in fact grab her and pull her away from Trump, just as she said he had. Lewandowski’s employer, whose own story on the assault has undergone a number of mutations, is now accusing her of changing her story, which has been consistent from the start. Add to this a heaping helping of old-fashioned misogynistic victim-blaming, and you’ve got a nasty smear campaign going.

But Trump’s latest claim about the Lewandowski incident is so over-the-top ludicrous that it transcends mere gaslighting. During a CNN town hall last night, Trump tried to convince the world that Lewandowski’s assault was perfectly justified because the pen she was holding could just maybe have been, you know, some sort of James Bond style pen-bomb.

“She had a pen in her hand,” he declared, “which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb.”

Never mind that there was a Secret Service agent right there, and he didn’t deem Fields to be enough of a threat to intervene.

Oh, and never mind that A PEN BOMB!!? YOU CAN’T BE FREAKING SERIOUS.

And that’s a bit of a clue as to what is going on here. Trump can’t possibly be serious. The pen-bomb claim is almost certainly a bad-faith attempt to derail the discussion and to draw public attention away from the surveillance video showing Lewandowski grabbing Fields.

This is what trolls do. Trump is pulling the same sort of bad-faith nonsense that anti-Semitic trolls do when they declare that they can’t possibly be anti-Semitic because Arabs are Semites too; when a certain far-right fantasy author declares that he can’t possibly be a white supremacist because he has a bit of American Indian blood in his genes, a fact that he discovered only recently and which he gleefully trots out every time he’s accused of racism.

The trouble is that these tactics, however transparent they are to most observers, work.  As David Marcus notes in The Federalist, Trump’s energetic gaslighting has managed to distract the media from the real issues and shroud the Lewandowski incident in doubt.

Now that Lewandowski has been arrested and video shows that his account is patently false, Trump is lowering the lights. Well, he says, she touched me too, can I get her charged? He says, well, how do we know she didn’t already have those bruises (which she photographed the next day). As the lights dim, those most tragic figures, cable news anchors, fall into his frothing sea of who knows what the hell happened?

And when those claims began to wear thin, Trump started talking about pen-bombs.

Donald Trump is a troll. He’s been trolling us all from day one of his campaign. 

So it’s no wonder that the Anime Nazis have embraced Trump so enthusiastically. It isn’t just his racism that’s appealing to them, or his not-so-subtle encouragement of physical violence against protesters, more than a little bit reminiscent of Nazi electoral thuggery.

It’s because he’s one of them, a born troll.

I half expect Trump himself to take up the joke slogan of his trolly followers and promise voters that he will make anime real. After all, that’s a claim no more absurd than Trump’s contention that he will build a wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it.

Like most successful trolls — paging Milo Yiannopoulos — Trump has attracted a rabid following of trolls happy to troll and smear on his behalf. However ridiculous their memes get, their support for Trump is sincere, and their attacks still sting.

And that’s the problem with trolls. Their ironic stances have a tendency to calcify into sincerely held beliefs. Cartoon fascism becomes real hatred. Donald Trump the media-trolling buffoon becomes Donald Trump the dangerous demagogue. Some of his more over-the-top pronouncements may be mostly hot air, but his racism and misogyny are real. And to those who bear the brunt of Trump’s (and his followers’) attacks, a smear is a smear, even if the smearer knows he’s spouting bullshit.

But trolls can’t bend reality completely to their liking. Lewandowski’s attempts to smear Fields as an attention-hungry confabulator came up against the hard reality of the surveillance tapes. We need to keep calling out the endless lies. Trump’s fans may believe the lies — or they may find it convenient to pretend that they do — but I don’t think most Americans are quite as gullible as Trump and his troll buddies think they are.

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guy
guy
4 years ago

I’m mostly talking about clipping issues and such; hands inside walls instead of against them, or missing handholds because of being slightly different sizes. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things and games routinely have them with special outfits, but in AC they’d be a bit more prominent because the characters cling to walls so much and just copying the animations would probably have left the female model noticeably less polished. Still, I agree that it’s not that hard; considerably less than twice as much work would be required. Ubisoft didn’t respect us enough to come up with a plausible lie.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ Orion

It’s just a general expression along the lines of “I bear you no Ill will for that”. Obviously permission is irrelevant to like or dislike; that’s not something you generally have any control over.

katz
4 years ago

Why do Nintendo’s motivations make any difference? They’re capitulating to GG in the only sense that means anything: GG found a way to make Nintendo punish a woman and Nintendo responded by doing exactly what they wanted.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@Claire:
I’ve gradually settled down here in the frozen northlands, so while I’ll never get used to Christmas being in winter, it’s become home now.

Durban in March is horrible. My sympathies. I hope you have the chance to escape back to the Western Cape soon, if only for a holiday. It’s absolutely beautiful there. My father’s parents retired to Stellenbosch and I’ve always thought of the country around there as being paradise.

Orion
Orion
4 years ago

@Alan, still very weird.

@ Thread Yeah, fair enough. I was out of order here. Please accept apologies where sought.

I haven’t sought an apology and I don’t need you to apologize to me personally, but I feel this is pretty weak. I get the impulse to do a blanket apology; you don’t want to try for an exhaustive list and find out you forgot someone. I always recommend leading with at least one personalized apology before a generic apology; it demonstrates at least some understanding of the charges and of where you went wrong. “apologies where sought” is uncomfortable close to “apologies if offended” in that it doesn’t acknowledge a specific fault.

I’m a big fan of checking on myself, I find it rewarding rather than painful.

I reject this claim outright. I don’t believe anyone find correcting themselves rewarding rather than painful. Self-improvement is rewarding and painful. If at a time like this you find self-reflection painless, I would submit that you are doing it wrong.

I think it’s important to self monitor. . . . I’m always happy to have other points of view put to me. I’m always willing to change my mind. . . I still find your posts interesting . . . . I do like you. . . . I’ve even had pleasant conversations with people who wanted to kill me. . .

First off: that’s a whole lot of “I” statements. About your own virtues, no less. Second: do you see that you’ve made this about what we do to you instead of what yo do to us? You reassure us that even if we criticize you or say we don’t like you you, you’ll still want to hang out with us, as though that were the question on everyone’s minds. It’s not. The question is whether we still want to hang out with you — and “I don’t mind if you’re offended by my offensive behavior” is not a super strong sales pitch. And that brings us back to this:

And no worries about not likening me.

When someone dislikes you, the most respectful thing is generally to dislike them right back. If they think their values put you on opposite sides of something important, you honor their judgment by agreeing. To love thy enemies is to hold them in contempt. For example: white supremacists hate my family because we’re not all-white, and they expect us to hate them because thy are. I refuse to hate them, choosing instead to hope that they get good jobs and good health care and whatever government help they need. In this way I assert that their great value, races, means nothing to me, and they are fundamentally ridiculous people. I don’t know how EJ feels, so let me speak for me. If I say I dislike you and you tell me not to feel bad, or if I say your position is morally appalling and you tell me you enjoy talking to people who want you dead, I won’t feel better. I’ll feel that you think me morally unserious or that you hold yourself above reproach.

Hu's On First
Hu's On First
4 years ago

Sad to say, Trump isn’t going to be the last one of his ilk to run for Prez….

Banana Pancakes
Banana Pancakes
4 years ago

Donald Twerp would be lucky to last a half-hour as president. He is smug, hyper-authoritarian, and has a serious paucity of good ideas, a risible lack of business acumen, a dispiritingly over-inflated ego, and the silliest hairdo on anyone who doesn’t have the excuse of being a literal cartoon character. If he gets elected, all those will become that much more obvious to everyone with enough IQ to think.

Hu's On First
Hu's On First
4 years ago

David, you really need to do an article about the newly elected chairman of the Travis County (TX) Republican Party. He makes Donald Trump look classy in comparison.

If I don't suck some big ole titties soon… I … am … going … to … fucking … die.— Robert Morrow (@RobMorroLiberty) April 1, 2016