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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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katz
4 years ago

Sacha Baron Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Alan sokal, the Czech dude who did Entropa…. I knew there are terrible trolls, but they’re nowhere near as memorable as the great ones. It’s a tactic, not a character flaw.

I’m going to disagree on this one. I find Sacha Baron Cohen repulsive and Stephen Colbert is a satirist, not a troll (meaning there’s an actual point to what he does). I think trolling by definition has no goal except to get attention, be disruptive, and/or harm people. I don’t think it can be used as a tactic to accomplish anything useful.

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

Perhaps someone told Trump that the pen is mightier than the sword, and he assumed explosives must be involved?

katz
4 years ago

Maybe Trump thought this would happen.

https://youtu.be/2tGDSAs_uU4?t=5m5s

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@katz

I find Sacha Baron Cohen repulsive and Stephen Colbert is a satirist, not a troll (meaning there’s an actual point to what he does). I think trolling by definition has no goal except to get attention, be disruptive, and/or harm people.

Yes on both counts!

I saw Borat and, in addition to mocking a country that is obscure to Westerners (Kazakhstan), Sacha Baron Cohen is sexist. And he’s unfunny. Blecch.

Claire
Claire
4 years ago

I live in South Africa under a pretty much entirely incompetent president who is almost universally despised and even he makes a better president that Trump ever could.

occasional reader
occasional reader
4 years ago

> Guy
You mean spies should try the old umbrella strike but with a polonium tipped pen, cold war style ?

Kevin
Kevin
4 years ago

Markov was assassinated with ricin from an umbrella mounted airgun, Litvinenko was poisoned by somebody slipping polonium into his tea, but I follow the line of thinking.

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

@Claire:
Thinking about it, Trump reminds me of Julius Malema in far too many ways for comfort.

Jo
Jo
4 years ago

Even though I’m confident that Trump will not be the next president, the fact remains that he’s far too close to the White House for comfort. A black swan event like a terrorist attack on the Democratic National Convention which killed the front runners and put the country into a state of emergency could be enough to result in the 45th President of the USA being The Donald.

And to all US voters – even if you live in somewhere deep blue like Massachusetts, even if Trump is behind in the polls by 40% in October, even if you despise Hilary, please vote all the same because (1) having Trump in charge of the world’s most powerful military is terrifying beyond words (2) November elections are not only about the White House, the downticket races offer the chance for the Democrats to take back the senate and weaken the House majority etc. The tea party and other right wingers are so, so good at this bottom-up approach. Get less political friends registered, remind them to vote on the day etc.

bluecat
bluecat
4 years ago

Oh my word! It’s hard to keep up with the news as it’s all bad.

Seems to me the Republicans and the right-wing media have been enabling and empowering Trump for an awful long time for him to reach this point.

Wasn’t he behind or deeply involved with the whole birther nonsense? I seem to remember he did a big “I’m going to announce something amazing about Obama’s birth certificate” trolling job… it turned out of course to be something nothing. It’s a bit tough for the Republicans to now say it was nothing to do with them.

He’s also empowering and enabling some truly awful people to be perhaps a lot more awful (or more publicly awful) than they might have been otherwise. The kind of people who’ve always wanted to pepperspray a 15 year old right in the face but never had the chance to before, or a crowd of people willing to applaud them for it.

Can anyone recommend a pleasanter planet?

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@bluecat

Yeah, I remember Trump saying he had sent private investigators to Hawaii and they were “finding some amazing things over there”. Then he never mentioned it again, I think?

Pol
Pol
4 years ago

Hi Katz and Kat. I think I know what you are saying about ol’ SBC. But I still really did laugh a lot at his now ancient Red Nose charity special with Victoria Beckham and her husband.

I’m going to watch it right now in fact. Wish me laughs.

Lea
Lea
4 years ago

Remember when people said a Trump presidency could never happen because Americans were too smart and not bigoted filth enough to vote for him?
I hope no one ever overestimates the US again.

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

If, against the odds, Trump did win the presidency, what’s the chance that he’d serve a full term? It’s not hard to imagine him doing something impeachable, and being forced to resign… or just plain resigning after he gets fed up because (a) it’s hard work, and (b) he couldn’t rule like a dictator. So, his VP pick could be more than usually important.

Huggbees
Huggbees
4 years ago

A pen bomb? Something that was in a James Bond movie one time? Ok Donnie sure.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

People here may know I think hypocrite Sanders is a complete shithead so I’ll just point out that not only did he have these protestors ejected he seems quite content that they’ve now been arrested.

http://youtu.be/PusXav_SAec

Claire
Claire
4 years ago

@ EJ (The Other One)

Comrade Julius is like that one thing you did once that you’re kind of embarrassed by so you don’t talk about it because if you don’t think about it then maybe it never existed. You guys could try that with Trump, maybe?

(In other news, Julius got his B.A. degree yesterday. He’s very proud.)

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

Oh what a world. -_-

I do worry for the state of things far too much sometimes. Closer to home, I fear that enough people will mistakenly vote for Britain to exit the EU. The reasons to leave seem to have been based on exaggerations or melodrama from the start. Usually trumpeted by the BNP or UKIP, which says enough as it is.

numerobis
numerobis
4 years ago

Alan, in your video I see hecklers stand up, scream their point across, and burly men going over to politely ask them to leave (which they do).

It seems to me like the usual protest thing: disturb the peace, get a slap on the wrist, but at least you got your issue out to a lot of people. They probably think you’re an idiot and your issue is stupid, but that’s a step up from not even knowing about the issue. If you’re lucky, your issue might get discussed, and more “respectable” people might pick up parts of it and things might happen.

The thing I don’t see in that video is a “complete shithead” moment from anyone.

mockingbird
mockingbird
4 years ago

@leftwingfox –

Hell, in the question of which is worse, Trump or Cruz,

I actually vote that Cruz is worse.

Trump’s for Trump. You can count on him to act according to his own megalomaniacial interests.

Cruz…Cruz is a Domininist and a True Believer through and through.

Trump would at least try to ensure his own self preservation. Cruz might actively work to have the world shit the bed in order to make way for Revelation. What’s this world matter when you’re striving to bring the next to fruition?

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

I saw Borat and, in addition to mocking a country that is obscure to Westerners (Kazakhstan), Sacha Baron Cohen is sexist. And he’s unfunny. Blecch.

I’ve always refused to watch Borat. People constantly try to tell me how great it is, so I point out that he’s mocking Eastern Europeans and that’s really not cool, and they always tell me that the film is actually about people’s reactions to the Borat character. I just find the whole concept very gross.

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

sunnysombrera:

I do worry for the state of things far too much sometimes. Closer to home, I fear that enough people will mistakenly vote for Britain to exit the EU. The reasons to leave seem to have been based on exaggerations or melodrama from the start. Usually trumpeted by the BNP or UKIP, which says enough as it is.

Sometimes the reasons aren’t even tangentially related to the EU.

There was a comment on a recent Guardian article which made my jaw drop. I wish I’d saved it before it was deleted. The story was about Iain Lee being sacked from BBC radio after calling out a guest on their homophobic bigotry. The comment said (I’m paraphrasing here): “I’m glad he was sacked. We’ll sack many more people like that after we leave the EU in June; also, hopefully this will be the last ever International Women’s Day!”

For that commenter, it sounds like the referendum is not simply about issues which a serious and well-informed voter would recognise as being affected by EU membership. Rather, it’s their opportunity to strike a blow against everything they hate, and turn the tide against the horrors of equality and modernity.

Basically, we’re fucked.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

I agree with mockingbird. Trump is predictable and like it’s been said, he’ll do whatever it takes just to maintain his popularity. Cruz is the type to do whatever he believes to be right according to his crappy doctrine, regardless of how the public feels. As long as Ted believes he’s Doing Right By God (even if he isn’t in reality) he’s fucking dangerous. Someone who uses religion to justify bullshit is capable of anything, no matter how irrational or even evil it is. Cruz has already shown that he doesn’t actually care for mankind or the common people at all, yet his supporters still think he’s a suitable presidential candidate.

Religion needs to stay the fuck out of politics and I’m a religious person saying that. I fully endorse separation of church and state – it’s just too likely to go horribly wrong and already has done, in the past.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

@Moggie

Holy shit. Mind you Britain does have a problem with bigots/racists etc, they’re just much better at keeping a low profile than their American cousins.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

There was a documentary over here the other night about whether Trump really could get elected.

One commentator made what I thought was a very valid point. That was that Trump’s only agenda was getting Trump elected; and therefore he’d do anything, including major policy u-turns, if he thought that would do it. It was predicted that he’d have to shift to the centre to stand a chance. Of course there was then the issue of whether that would do him any good. The chances are he’d only alienate his more rabid fan base whereas those people he’d offended (women, Mexicans, gay people, those with disabilities, etc, etc) were hardly likely to go “oh, I like him now”, so he’s painted himself into a losing corner.

We can but hope; although gawd only knows what might actually happen.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Alan

So, Sanders should be expected to just sit down and shut up when protestors interrupt his rallies. Got it! Any more rules that only apply to Sanders?

katz
4 years ago

I’ve studied Kazakhstan a bit and how shitty must it be for your country to get picked as the Generic Place Weird Foreigners Are From Because Westerners Know Nothing About It?

It also really bugged me that Sacha Baron Cohen played a disabled character in Hugo and the entire joke was that he was disabled.

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

@Claire:
What do you mean “you guys”? I’m from Johannesburg. I live in Britain, but that just means that I have two countries’ worth of assholes to feel ashamed of rather than just one.

Well done Julius! Let’s just hope that he doesn’t lose his common touch. That would be dreadful. What would the country do without his ability to unify us all?

@Moggie:
Wow, that’s a revealing comment. Whomever wrote that is a very angry person. They’re also going to have to get used to disappointment, I suspect.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ IP

Haven’t suggested that Sanders should be more accountable than anyone else. Just pointing out that for someone who claims to support protest and dissent he’s pretty quick to have people ejected and arrested.

Be interesting to see how Hillary would have reacted. She seems to share Bill Clinton’s ability to engage with people and listen.

Sanders claims to be different to the other candidates, but when it all boils down he’s as happy to dismiss voices that might alienate his corporate supporters (in his case, the agricultural lobby) as the rest of them, and a few weeks ago he just stood there whilst his security forcibly stopped protestors approaching him, so how’s he different from Trump in that regard?

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

and a few weeks ago he just stood there whilst his security forcibly stopped protestors approaching him, so how’s he different from Trump in that regard?

For one thing, he didn’t actively urge an angry mob to attack them?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ EJ

True, although he was happy for his security to grapple them.

Notwithstanding some token words trying to say he doesn’t approve of the actions of his fan base though he seems quite happy to profit by it. His attacks on Hillary might not openly use the misogynistic language of some of his followers but he’s employing the same sort of negative message. We might expect that in politics of course, but his shtick is that he’s somehow different. Ultimately though he’s just another Washington player (albeit without Hillary’s experience and competence).

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

Haven’t suggested that Sanders should be more accountable than anyone else.

Not outright, but you disrupt and derail threads to complain about him whenever he so much as sneezes, which strongly (and, let’s be honest, deliberately) implies it.

You can’t pull freshman-level troll tactics on the world’s preeminent troll slayers, dude. We’ve seen ’em all.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Alan

You’re right. Sanders is literally the same as Trump.

No, wait. Stop being stupid.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ SFHC

I don’t think I’ve mentioned him more than one or two threads where he has been part of the subject matter. It’s his hypocrisy that bugs me though. Originally I thought he was a breath of fresh air (bit like Corbyn over here). Whilst he might not have stood a realistic chance of being elected he brought something new and even if he couldn’t shift the Overton window a bit at least it seemed he might give voice to some new perspectives on issues, especially ones that other US politicians ignore.

Then he showed his true colours with his contemptuous dismissal when someone merely tried to raise some animal abuse issues.

I suppose it’s the disappointment really. I’ve always thought Hillary was the most obvious candidate in practical terms, but Sanders might at least have shown that politicians didn’t always have to be subordinate to corporate interests. But for all his criticism of Hillary and her ‘Wall Street connections’ it transpires he’s equally beholden to his corporate backers.

So it’s not holding him to a higher standard so much as pointing out his hypocrisy when he claims that status for himself.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ IP

I never claimed that. I just mentioned that he was equally as happy for dissent to be crushed at his meetings, albeit without the violent rhetoric (although the result is not much different, goons dragging people out and having them arrested). The Sanders crowd admittedly didn’t hit anyone, but they’re still yelling the protestors down.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Alan

His attacks on Hillary might not openly use the misogynistic language of some of his followers but he’s employing the same sort of negative message.

How, exactly? Got examples?

I think I’ve spotted your next rule that only applies to Sanders: He’s the only candidate who’s not allowed to criticize his opponent in a primary.

For fuck’s sake, dude. Support Hillary all you want, but stop it with these desperately stupid lies.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Alan

You literally just said you don’t see much of a difference between shouting someone down and punching them in the face. I think I’m done talking to you now. -_-

lightcastle
lightcastle
4 years ago

Mockingbird – I actually think that because Cruz is a Dominionist, he won’t work for the end of the world. Especially since he’s Seven Mountains like his dad. It’s basically postmilleneal – their job is to make the world Good and Christian and THEN Jesus comes back. It’s not the whole Rapture thing where you just hope the world burns and Jesus saves you.

Now, his version of a “good and christian” world is pretty much a nightmare in my view.

I think Trump more dangerous because it really is about unleashing the id of nationalism and bigotry, and specifically about being the top dog in a dominance display for him and his followers. That’s a far quicker ride to chaos and violence in my view. Other than “I’m on top, and I kick you while you’re down”, there is no guiding principle at all. I think it unleashes far worse impulses.

Cruz is a nightmare, but he strikes me as far more containable within the system. Trump will push the cracks in the system and maybe break it. (My view)

lightcastle
lightcastle
4 years ago

Mockingbird – I actually think that because Cruz is a Dominionist, he won’t work for the end of the world. Especially since he’s Seven Mountains like his dad. It’s basically postmilleneal – their job is to make the world Good and Christian and THEN Jesus comes back. It’s not the whole Rapture thing where you just hope the world burns and Jesus saves you.

Now, his version of a “good and christian” world is pretty much a nightmare in my view.

I think Trump more dangerous because it really is about unleashing the id of nationalism and bigotry, and specifically about being the top dog in a dominance display for him and his followers. That’s a far quicker ride to chaos and violence in my view. Other than “I’m on top, and I kick you while you’re down”, there is no guiding principle at all. I think it unleashes far worse impulses.

Cruz is a nightmare, but he strikes me as far more containable within the system. Trump will push the cracks in the system and maybe break it. (My view)

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

Hang on. Hang on hang on hang on. Sanders only showed his true colours when the animal rights people came to town? I think there’s one or two black people who might take issue with that statement.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
4 years ago

Because animal rights is the only important issue. Human rights, who cares?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ IP

I’ve acknowledged that Sanders supporters haven’t yet punched a protestor. I was speaking only about the security aspects. On that there seems little difference.

As to your other query, Sanders made a pledge not to engage in negative campaigning. I liked that; I think such tactics are one of the reasons so many people are disengaging from constructive politics and also fuel the hate and hostility that seems to be on the rise.

Then he did a campaign ad that talks about politicians taking money from Goldman Sachs, ‘speaking fees’ and being ‘bought and paid for’. Whilst he didn’t mention Hillary by name it’s obvious who he meant. So I think it’s not only that he went back on his original promise, it’s the disingenuous way he did so. Like I say, it’s the disappointment as much as anything. I really thought he might be something fresh and different.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ WWTH

You can care about both. In fact I believe they’re inextricable linked; it’s about looking out for the most vulnerable and often voiceless.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

So, Sanders (and only Sanders) should be expected to not criticize any of his opponent’s positions or actions. This is fucking surreal. I’m done. Alan, you’re fucking up.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ IP

Well if someone pledged not to engage in negative ads then perhaps, yes. If you claim the moral high ground then you should perhaps be expected to live up to that. His ad could have focused on what he was going to do and why he should be elected rather than on why his opponent shouldn’t be. Other candidates around the world have managed that. Of course negative campaigning is a common tactic, but he’s the one claiming to be something new and different remember and not like other politicians.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

I’m pretty sure EJ and Dhag agree with me here (correct me if I’m wrong, you two):

Alan, six months ago, I considered you a good friend, but you’ve burned* through my friendship and my patience faster than I ever thought possible, and at this point, I really just want you to shut up.

I think we all have different reasons for being pissed with you, but that only illustrates what an absolute fucktool you’ve been these past few months. I think you’ve annoyed and offended more of us than every troll combined… And it hurts.

*Pun not intended.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
4 years ago

Alan: I think part of the problem is your hyperbole. When you say that Sanders “was equally as happy for dissent to be crushed at his meetings”, you’re using two words here that add to the false equivalence.

The first is “crushed” which is violent hyperbole and the second is “equally”.

I mean, let’s establish the baseline here. Disruptive protesters (i.e. those yelling over a speech or storming the stage, rather than holding up signs of protest quietly) are attempting to apply a “Heckler’s Veto” of an event to prevent the person on stage from speaking. It’s common operating procedure for those protestors to be asked to leave, then escorted out if they refuse. The key is minimal force for the situation.

There are three issues that exacerbate this: the first is non-disruptive protestors; those with signs or shirts opposing the speaker, but doing so without disrupting the speech. If they get forced out, that’s demanding a level of purity in the audience that’s troubling. The second is how they engage with the disruption. This is where Trump calling for violence has been so disturbing, because the third is appropriate use of force. This last point is where Trumps rallies have become terrifying, as audience members grope, sucker punch and spit at protestors.

Bernie’s not perfect, of course. No-one is. But on the balance, Bernie is, to me, preferable to Hillary. Hillary is preferable to O’Malley, and a bucket of lukewarm feces is preferable to any Republican in the modern GOP.

(And yes, that last is hyperbole, but not by much)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ SFHC

I’m sorry about that as I do really like you and I love your posts. The Sanders thing is important to me though. We all have our causes that we’re passionate about and animal rights happens to be one of mine. I suppose I could just grit my teeth but I do subscribe to the view that doing nothing (or in this case, not calling out) is taking a side. Passivity and ignoring when we see a perceived injustice isn’t always an option, at least for me. Unless anyone has any specific questions though I’ll leave things there, I think I’ve made my view clear.

ETA: @ leftwingfox

You make very valid points. I do lose my usual detached rationality when it comes to animal stuff. It’s one of the few things that really makes my blood boil. And of course, seeking an ideologically pure candidate is a bit like the task Diogenes set himself! I’ve promised not to mention this subject any further though so I’ll just say, you’re quite correct, and drop the subject.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

I agree with what M said, just not with the conclusion.

Alan, I don’t want you to shut up. I want you to show insight and self-awareness, and to commit to growth as a person. I believe you are capable of doing this, even if the self-examination is painful.

It’s no secret that I don’t like you. However, I would also be sad if you left this community, because at your best you really do enrich it. You’re smart and funny and approachable when you choose to be. If you could work on the problematic undercurrents there, then I think it would pay real dividends and I would be happy to peacefully coexist with you.