What next? Vaccines don’t really cause autism?

HOLY SHIT! No U.S.-Mexico border wall is forthcoming after all, and Mexico was never going to pay for it anyway.

This is a stunner, like the idea going around that the Holocaust is a historical event and that the Apollo missions unfolded exactly as the official record describes.

I have mentioned a few times that I’ve lost a scattering of Facebook friends since the 2016 campaign started, which doesn’t bother me, and a couple of actual friends, which of course does. I did not cut off the other people or browbeat them personally over their voting choices, and would never weigh politics more heavily than real friendship, unless, of course, there was simply no way to establish a meaningful barrier between the two.But I am realizing — and call me a post hoc genius if you must — that these few select ex-friends are less than admirable in other ways, not the people I thought they were, and that I’m better off having nothing to do with them. I recall getting into an argument with one of them early last year over whether Trump really did make fun of that disabled reporter during the campaign (hint: he did) or whether he could somehow force Mexico to pay for a wall that was never going to be built anyway (hint: he can’t). I realized to my intense dismay that a nontrivial, psychologically susceptible subset of the population really has been brainwashed by the one network they watch — not just because of the garbage the people on that network say, but because of the successful insistence by those people that every *other* network is fake news.

I can’t have meaningful relationships with people who steadfastly believe objectively stupid things, regardless of the political slant. I prefer a steady stream of sometimes harsh reality than a life conducted via hopping from one comfortable conspiracy theory or long-ago-debunked idea. If I permit myself the dubious luxury of embracing fantasies because they are comforting, I run the risk of personal ruin because I’ll topple right into the kind of nihilism I was immersed in at my most depressed and hopeless.

This is all part of an increasingly cynical view not just of the current administration but of “politics” per se. My pointless diatribes may target the GOP 90% of the time, which is easy to do with a such a vast array of tragically flawed dipshits on offer all the time, from redneck pastors found fondling underage crotches to space aliens in disguise like Michele Bachmann. But like a number of liberals in my age cohort and older ones, I have increasingly little truck with a sizable segment of young Democrats as well.

If you read all the way through to the end after getting here from Facebook, do me the favor of acknowledging this. I’m running a quasi-experiment to determine, roughly, the extent to which Facebook has killed my blogging and the dubious art of blogging as a whole. When I post an essay like this on Facebook in its entirety, I get lots of comments, and when I post on here and link it to Facebook the response is generally nonexistent.

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  1. #1 by John Keefer on January 18, 2018 - 4:19 am

    “I prefer a steady stream of sometimes harsh reality than a life conducted via hopping from one comfortable conspiracy theory or long-ago-debunked idea.”

    Yeah…

    “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World”

    And to this:

    “I recall getting into an argument with one of them early last year over whether Trump really did make fun of that disabled reporter during the campaign (hint: he did)”

    That episode is my bright line, partially (but I think, not wholly) because I have a special needs child. I can forgive someone who voted for Trump in the general election on the premise that they believed Clinton was Satan incarnate, and they were forced to choose the lesser of evils; but I’ll never forgive those who voted for him in the primary when there were other viable choices. The mocking of Serve Kovaleski should have ended his run right then and there, period. That it didn’t has eroded to the vanishing point my faith in the good will of conservative Republicans. If any such voter were to apologize, I would forgive them, but the unapologetic – that is to say, 99.9% of them – can go fuck themselves. Of those who gave Trump a pass on that, I deduce one of two things: either they fully recognized the appalling inhumanity of it and chose to let it slide, or (more commonly) they didn’t see what’s the big deal. I can’t decide whether casual cruelty or galactic obtuseness is worse, but either response tells me things about the content of their character.

  2. #2 by kemibe on January 22, 2018 - 8:07 pm

    “The mocking of Serve Kovaleski should have ended his run right then and there, period. That it didn’t has eroded to the vanishing point my faith in the good will of conservative Republicans.”

    The willingness to overlook this might be one thing, as you suggest. But to deny that it happened or treat it as perversely appropriate is another thing entirely, and not only have I seen people do these things, I have seen the same people do both at the same time without even appearing to realize it.

    In the few Trumpists I count or counted as friends, the most dismaying aspect by far is not their eagerness to overlook or inappropriately celebrate any one solecism; it’s the fact that by buying into a number of discrete falsehoods and evils, they have dissolved their own concern for truth itself. I remember the first time I ever dropped out of a race when I didn’t really have to for any medical reason, as a collegian; I just felt like shit and walked off the course in disgust. That, unfortunately, made it easier for me to DNF races for discretionary and sometimes ignoble reasons in the future. When someone aligns himself with a fuckhead like Trump, whose lies and stupidity are the clearest and most urgent reasons to dislike his presence in government, he or she no longer feels adjured to respect reality. Once someone who is too blinkered to understand he’s in the grip of ham-handed but effective authoritarian and dictatorial tactics, he can just respond to anything and everything with “Fake news!” and believe it as long as people like me don’t come along and compel them to discuss these things.

    This whole experience is making me despise people a lot more than I ever thought I would, even though it’s not telling me anything really new about them. if that makes sense.

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