I’ve mentioned before that I have more than a few friends who voted for our ever-more-embattled C-i-C, and that they not only don’t take umbrage at the stuff I write about various pertinent goings-on, but also chuckle at a lot of it.
But not everyone has such accommodating people in their online lives. If you have friends or “friends” who disagree with your politics or religious beliefs in a manner you find toxic, don’t worry, you don’t need to take action — soon enough, they will.
This is how it goes:
1. If you see someone writing abhorrent things on their own profile and it shows up in your news feed, ignore it. Don’t start an unwinnable battle in hostile territory. If you must, remove the person from your news feed instead. I’m betting that right now I appear in about nine distinct news feeds of a possible 1,000+ and in at least five of those cases it’s because the owners of those feeds can’t figure out how to unfriend me even though they’re the one who initiated contact.
2. If, on the other hand, someone shows up on *your* profile and starts in with crap you find abhorrent, don’t go nuts and unfriend and/or block the person (unless it’s somehow grossly intolerable as well as disagreeable). Instead, entertain what they are saying, respond with your own ideas, and most importantly, bookmark the episode in your mind.
3. The *next* time you see this person declaiming empty-headedly on his or her own profile, have at it. You’re likely to be the “one” in a one-on-ten fight, but if your rhetorical adversaries are like mine (i.e., rhesus monkeys with rudimentary English and typing skills), this won’t cow you.
4. Refrain from gratuitous insults, but hammer away at your point(s). Be “all in.” Use links and expose the other person’s lies. Chide him or her for his inability to support any of his or her arguments with even “alternative facts,” much less actual facts. Along the way, use increasingly imperious and condescending language, as rhesus humans hate that a lot more than they do being called wingnuts or libtards or fuckheads — that stuff is standard discursive fare.
5. Soon, you’ll see some variant of this: “Ha ha I can take a good debate” or “Ha ha your the only one who can hang with me, I’m OK with you’re opinions” or something similar.
Recognize at this point that you have reached an endgame and all that remains is for the person to unfriend you or block you or both. It might be in real time during a heated exchange or it might be later under cover of the wee hours, but it will happen, and your interlocutor is as likely as not to sprain his finger as he clicks the button on his mouse or touchpad to deliver the virtual coup de grace.
I’ve had this happen maybe a half-dozen times in the past year. The common links are that 1) I didn’t initiate the “friendship” in the first place, 2) I never started the battling, and 3) I never believed for a second that the other person would publicly admit to possibly having erred in any way. It’s nothing but mental masturbation, but then so is most of my professional and non-professional life. I was once told by a psychiatrist (not my own) that his idea of the purpose of life was to avoid boredom between orgasms. That’s the most valuable thing I ever heard from a mental-health professional, and I’ve heard plenty of good things from those types.