Friend Infected With Right Wing Brain Worms - What to Do?

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‪I honestly don’t know where else to talk to about this.

So a longtime IRL friend (we’ve been friends since 7th grade) of mine who I still hang out with fairly frequently
has enmeshed himself in the online circle of aggrieved man-children surrounding “comicsgate” and the Right-ish shithead politics involved with it. He himself recently finished a graphic novel and is trying to raise money to get it independently published, which I suspect was how he got sucked into this.

Recently I noticed a rightward slant to a lot of his social media posts but it wasn’t until today when I took a closer look and saw that he’s been hobnobbing with a lot of alt-right adjacent type folks and actively arguing with “SJWs”. He’s always been an opinionated, stubborn bastard (as am I) but his opinions were usually relegated to things like comics and movies. Now he’s apparently following dudes like Stephen Crowder and tweeting recommendations for books by Ben Shapiro. BEN MOTHERFUCKING SHAPIRO. Ugh.

Maybe I’m a shitty friend but that’s kinda beyond the pale, no? I can’t expect everyone in my life to share my politics but some kind of baseline “don’t be a right-wing piece of shit” rule still applies, right?

It’s just heartbreaking because he’s not a jerk at all IRL. He’s always been a good friend and has helped me out and had my back numerous times. But in his online life he’s kinda turning into a real “why won’t you let me debate you, coward” sort of douche.

So far this hasn’t come up because these days we don’t really interact online much (and in fact it was only today I realized how far down the rabbit hole he’d gone). We get together to do pub trivia once a week and that’s usually our hang out time.

He’s aware of my political leanings but then again I’m not sure he understands why his newfound preoccupation with owning “SJWs” online would be alarming to me. I feel debating him would be fruitless. I’m too thin-skinned anyway. I dunno. This is such a bummer to me.

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 00:16 (one year ago) link

I think lightly sticking to the “that’s not really my experience, why do you say that?” soft peddling of dissent works if you’re trying to remain friends. Being involved in his non-political social life helps, because sometimes this shit is contrarian internet junk where dudes lack a really social outlet and decide the best way to do so is to get really angry and blow off steam, which is where these outrage merchants really dig in

If you do feel the need to call out, be cautious and stick to issues and not widespread anti-whatever stances. As much as those types like to complain about identity politics, they tend to stick all of their issues together and anyone challenging one piece is an affront to their adopted conservative identity.

mh, Monday, 14 May 2018 00:25 (one year ago) link

Being involved in his non-political social life helps, because sometimes this shit is contrarian internet junk where dudes lack a really social outlet and decide the best way to do so is to get really angry and blow off steam, which is where these outrage merchants really dig in

Yeah he’s always been the type to adopt an opinion and be extremely, rigidly adamant about it and then later adopt a completely different opinion and act as if he’d always thought that way. Being his friend for almost 25 years I’m pretty used to that but this time his gripes and resentments are being reinforced by a whole community of fellow agry nerds with which he networks. It’s kind of terrifying, to be honest.

The only remotely “comforting” aspect of this whole business is that most of my friend’s bullshit is currently confined to the world of comics. Which is probably why I haven’t noticed it until now.

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 02:56 (one year ago) link

I suppose, to add a minor point to what mh has said, stick to the talking about the ideas/behaviours rather than making it personal ("that idea doesn't ring true to me" rather than "you're wrong and bad, and here's why")? Possibly implicit too, but I often find that approach works better than personalising things too much.

Thomas NAGL (Neil S), Monday, 14 May 2018 06:35 (one year ago) link

I have this, though its a relative (in their 30s). Its been gradually increasing over the last few years, jordan peterson, ben shapiro, there are 37 genres now , snowflakes, virtue signalling, brexit, cultural marxism, jacob rees mogg, socialists. The own understanding or nuance isn't there, the straight repetition of right wing talking points.

What to do? the conclusion Ive come to, is...nothing. You have to look at yourself here, what is this debating you're imagining is going to happen. A debate is when two people accept the premise or framework of such. If you think you're going to go in their house and change their mind, it doesnt work like that. Any 'debate' should be initiated by them, not you, and only partake if they are asking you something, not if they are telling you something and putting a question mark on the end. Otherwise, you're being used by someone honing their opinion, you're fulfilling a role. The radicalized person never asks open questions.

But also you have to be honest with yourself - any kind of "yes, but dont you think that"....this is no good, for anyone!

I think when this happens you're dealing with something more existential than a debate really covers. 'Are you one of us, or not, anything else is just hot air'. I was once asked in email, by my relative, about my thoughts on the situation with Russia. I have a fairly detailed answer trying to cover as many bases as possible. Did it make any difference to anything? Ive no idea because there it was never mentioned again, it wasnt what they were looking for, they were looking for Britain good Russia bad - any detail on it, they saw as obsfucation, a dilution of the greater point. I will answer if they ask questions like this, and answer in good faith, but I wont push anything. Any such debate is framed around 'winning' (damn, all those videos on youtube where somebody is EVISCERATING or DESTROYING somebody else!)

I have a simple(ish) rule, if someone asks me openly or in good faith, I will respond the same. If someone talks at me, the best they'll get is "nah, not for me, dont see that at all", but they are more likely to get "ah, no idea, dunno owt about it mate". You don't have to be involved in statements masquerading as conversations!

anvil, Monday, 14 May 2018 07:11 (one year ago) link

Sorry its a bit unfocussed, Ive had this on the go for a while! quite hard to condense thoughts on the fly

anvil, Monday, 14 May 2018 07:24 (one year ago) link

One thing that struck me about this form of self-radicalization is how much its about repetition - simplification and repetition. For people making the mistake of engaging on some of these topics, its not about being on the right or wrong side of that topic, its about having that topic be the one with airtime, conversation time. A conversation about 'the BBC and the universities are brainwashing youth with cultural marxism, the police will come after you for using the wrong pronoun, Birmingham is now a no go city run by muslims". Really? This isn't a conversation that even deserves 'I don't see it like that", or any of my time! Its better to steer conversation elsewhere. Its better for this to be taking up less of their thought and talk time, and its certainly better for it to be taking up less of mine.

De-radicalizing people, i think is better achieved by getting them to think about some other damn things, engaging just hardens still further

(not saying your friend is or isnt radicalized, but when people talk and it sounds like their repeating the words of someone else, well)

anvil, Monday, 14 May 2018 07:44 (one year ago) link

I'm not a good enough person to try to save anyone, I write off people who go beyond dipping their toes in the waters of Peterson/Shapiro/et al.. I struggle to be comfortably social with even 'mainstream' Republicans these days, the American conservative worldview is so aggressively reactionary and hateful - your average suburban GOP voter just hasn't progressed to saying the quiet part loud.

louise ck (milo z), Monday, 14 May 2018 08:06 (one year ago) link

sage stuff from anvil there

imago, Monday, 14 May 2018 08:32 (one year ago) link


gneb farts (darraghmac), Monday, 14 May 2018 09:00 (one year ago) link

also youre not his da, short answer

gneb farts (darraghmac), Monday, 14 May 2018 09:00 (one year ago) link

Repeating "I've never seen that" helps, as often it gets a "well, neither have I but" acknowledgement.

Mark G, Monday, 14 May 2018 12:26 (one year ago) link

why not murder them

type your stinkin prose off me, ur damned qwerty uiop (wins), Monday, 14 May 2018 12:33 (one year ago) link


The Beatles' Solo Deaths Poll (Noodle Vague), Monday, 14 May 2018 12:36 (one year ago) link

get over it. people have opinions. furthermore people are more than their media consumption habits and painting somebody as "infected" because of their media choices is some weird dehumanization Othering that shouldnt impact a real life friendship. OP says they are irl friends that hang out w this person once a week. you don't feel comfortable discussing political topics with them in real life, yet you will make a big post on the internet and talk about them with strangers? this passive aggressive signalling through media choices has poisoned YOUR mind as well.

if it's a person you care about irl then talk to them. if you can't stand their social media posts you can hide them. it is like a two click action. if you need everyone of your friends to subscribe to the same media you do then it would seem the friendship is secondary to your social media feed. get over yourself.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 14 May 2018 13:30 (one year ago) link

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 May 2018 13:31 (one year ago) link

being into comicsgate is not about "media preferences"

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 14 May 2018 13:33 (one year ago) link

To be honest, the main issue for me isn’t “can I change his mind?” That won’t happen. It’s more, “can I continue being friends with him?” If he stays confined to complaining about “SJWs” ruining the comics industry online, maybe, but if it devolves beyond that? I’m not sure it will, but I can’t tell anymore. It seems like a lot of seemingly sane people’s brains have been broken over the last few years.

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 13:41 (one year ago) link

Uh, x-post

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 13:43 (one year ago) link

Adam, your post is more than a little fucked. 'Dehumanization' and 'othering' is exactly what this shit is all about. It's informed by very thinly-veiled white supremacy, and that kind of reappropriation of the language of oppression is exactly what they use to paint themselves as victims. 'Victims' of people who just want to see their own perspectives represented in media which is overwhelmingly white and male and hetero. You don't get to champion a viewpoint like that and then brush it off with a 'but I'm a cool guy otherwise'.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 13:44 (one year ago) link

I wasn't even aware of comicsgate before this thread but of course there's a comicsgate, and of course it's in opposition to the exact comics and creators I would've expected. Expected but depressing as hell.

I dunno, man, no one can really tell you whether to remain friends with someone or not. Personally, I couldn't, but then I've never had trouble disconnecting myself from toxic people. The employment of 'SJW' as a pejorative is so pernicious because that particular utterance is several steps removed from what it's actually saying. You pooh-pooh the SJWs, which means you're against the social justice warriors, which tells me that you're against social justice, which in turn suggests you're for social injustice. And if you're a straight white dude, that tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 13:49 (one year ago) link

Shunning and ostracization are underrated methods of letting people know that their antisocial (in the most literal sense) views/behavior are unacceptable, imo.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 13:51 (one year ago) link

I dunno, they seem pretty popular right now and I don't see them having much of an effect. Not that you need the effect to be clear, I don't think I could remain friends with a comicsgater either.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 14 May 2018 13:55 (one year ago) link

won't somebody save the alt-right from dehumanization and othering lmao

Spiderman pointing at himself.img (Bananaman Begins), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:00 (one year ago) link

Is comicsgate different than gamergate? I've cut off ties with most of my family because of their abhorrent views. I am not making small talk and sharing my life with them out of duty when they believe and say shitty things about women and other races. I put in my time trying to rationalize or have them try to restrain themselves. Out.

Yerac, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:03 (one year ago) link

It’s basically Gamergate 2

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:05 (one year ago) link

From what I can tell, anyway

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:05 (one year ago) link

Lovely. Sigh.

Yerac, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:05 (one year ago) link

it is absolutely a personal decision to make. personally i have enough problems in my life and i don't need "friends" who are continually spewing toxic bullshit, whether it's openly or on a passive aggressive level. i'm not equivocating here, but i haven't found this to be a specifically right-wing problem. leftists who spend most of their time, in 2018, complaining about how terrible hillary clinton is will get the chopping block just as surely as anybody who uses the term "sjw" pejoratively will.

i've said it before and i'll keep saying it - when i cut people off it's not because i'm judging them as inferior. if anybody is "inferior" it's me, because i haven't got the energy to put up with that sort of thing anymore. i'm totally occupied with my own crazy, and don't have time for anybody else's.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:06 (one year ago) link

^^^ This too. I've had to put space between friends that I like but they spend all day texting me mundane complaints about shit everyone hates.

Yerac, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:08 (one year ago) link

The Clintons are terrible tbf

The Beatles' Solo Deaths Poll (Noodle Vague), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:09 (one year ago) link

This thread has really great clusterfuck potential

imago, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:13 (one year ago) link

completely baffled by adam's post. latebloomer, you have my sympathies, i don't know what exactly i'd do. i'm on a weekly bar trivia team as a device to regularly see a certain cluster of friends and shoot the shit about movies, and i really can't imagine it being an enjoyable or meaningful experience if below the surface was the awareness that one of them is carrying water for alt-right talking points as a way of blowing off steam online or whatever it is. that's not a person i want in my life. but the exact etiquette and approach of making that cut, i don't know. for me personally, if they were really committed to this stuff i couldn't stay friends (and probably, we would have drifted apart long ago for not having much in common). we've spent a lot of time talking about this w/ regard to right-wing family, but friends are a slightly different matter in a lot of ways...

if it's not QUITE to that point... hrrrrrm. i imagine staging an intervention would only feed the "libs are out to shut us down" mentality, but is there some viable version of "hey, man, i noticed you've been expressing some intense feelings online, has everything been okay?" or maybe even a way around to discussing his emotional state/life situation without mentioning the political stuff --- you're not his therapist, but if you are his friend it is mayyyyybe conceivable that he's still early in being seduced by this stuff (or susceptible to it being a brief phase that he later looks back on with embarrassment). and that it might be genuinely useful to open up a channel to talk about whatever it is that's leading him to frustration and grievance and blaming-the-sjws. it depends what kind of friendship it is, how close you are, how much cred you have with him versus how much he feels the youtube mini-limbaughs really get him, how much work it's worth to you, all of that stuff.

noel gallaghah's high flying burbbhrbhbbhbburbbb (Doctor Casino), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:15 (one year ago) link

I liked South Park's depiction of Kyle's dad staying up nights to troll online like it's his job while drinking red wine.

Yerac, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:22 (one year ago) link

If you have a racist friend
Now is the time, now is the time
People have opinions. Get over it.

type your stinkin prose off me, ur damned qwerty uiop (wins), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:25 (one year ago) link

I mean, wrt this particular sitch, I can hang with people who don't agree with me politically/philosophically/religiously/etc but there are certain uncrossable ideological lines and stanning for white supremacy is one of those. Maybe laying it out in terms of 'disagreement is fine, championing oppression is not' would be helpful?

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:28 (one year ago) link

Argh, this thread made me google comicsgate and now I hate knowing what it is. Tell your friend I blame him for that.

pretty sure most of the people i drink with are some kind of right wing but it's not like we spend much time talking about politics except when they accuse me of being a Maoist

The Beatles' Solo Deaths Poll (Noodle Vague), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:32 (one year ago) link

and i agree with them and tell them they'll be up against the wall first

The Beatles' Solo Deaths Poll (Noodle Vague), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:33 (one year ago) link

Also, one possible tack to take wrt comics creators in particular is to discuss the reappropriation of Pepe the Frog. Ask him how he would feel about people hijacking his own work to express political opinions completely counter to his own. And how he feels about a professional like Van Sciver in particular doing just that. Even divorced of the political implications, it's hugely disrespectful and unprofessional.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 14:33 (one year ago) link

Oh man, I just read up on comicsgate too. This shit is so unbelievably stupid.

Yerac, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:52 (one year ago) link

Yep :(

latebloomer, Monday, 14 May 2018 14:58 (one year ago) link

I think the thing these trolling dipshits don't get is that you don't get to claim "oh, I'm actually a nice guy in person, I'm just trolling" when 100% of your public persona is racist, sexist, garbage

if you genuinely believe the problem is that it's the "wrong people" getting work or acclaim based only on their ethnicity, gender, or views... then spend your time advocating for people you think are talented and help them find an audience

latebloomer, has your friend published anything before? there genuinely are some barriers to entry if you're not established, but I don't think any of them have to do with being a white man. I knew some people who genuinely tried to break into mainstream comics a number of years ago, and none of the reasons they failed to get a strong foothold had anything to do with this comicsgate horseshit.

mh, Monday, 14 May 2018 15:18 (one year ago) link

Not to get too off track but was a picture of a bunch of young women enjoying milkshakes really a catalyst?

Nhex, Monday, 14 May 2018 15:44 (one year ago) link

women can't be employed in a coveted field, happy, and pictured together. it just drives dudes completely insane

mh, Monday, 14 May 2018 15:47 (one year ago) link

I also didn't know about Comicsgate (or I knew, but about the one a few years ago around "hey guys maybe don't put traced porn shots on comic covers") - the article here makes the point that it doesn't even have the figleaf of ethics in games journalism, it's literally just "we fear the rise of women and brown people"

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 14 May 2018 15:47 (one year ago) link

I am not sure if laughing is the right response to idiotic claims, but I snorted when I saw this gem from one of these comicsgate turds

good lord

— BAKOON (@BAKKOOONN) May 14, 2018

mh, Monday, 14 May 2018 15:56 (one year ago) link

I think the ongoing collapse of legitimacy of liberal institutions, increasingly anxiety producing omnipresence of (social)media, increasing forgetfulness of 20th century totalitarianisms (and hence the taboos around them) and finally ambient stress from environmental collapse all push ideological identification closer to the Cult mindset than it's ever been since the 40s. Or at the very least the melding of Cult tendencies familiar from the mid-century with political discourse seems like a natural evolution of the form. Hence, you should take your cues from this guy:

ryan, Monday, 14 May 2018 16:06 (one year ago) link

All nerd media needs to morph into a wall-to-wall multicultural pansexual orgy until all the chuds are stricken with massive rage aneurysms, at which time we can return to business as usual.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 16:08 (one year ago) link

xpost Yes, I feel like deprogramming techniques are probably going to be an increasingly-useful tool to have in one's belt, sadly.

Delightful in Microdoses (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 May 2018 16:09 (one year ago) link

A relatively good indicator of whether someone has brainworms is "can they summarize the views of someone that thinks differently to them, in a way that other person would recognize and consider accurate"

This describes many ppl who post about politics to this site, especially if the last clause is critical.

Mordy, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:44 (one month ago) link


rolling explaining conservatism

pomenitul, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:45 (one month ago) link

lotta Schmittians in this thread.

ryan, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:46 (one month ago) link

i kind of regret using the term 'brain worms' to describe what i was getting at, because the person i'm thinking of seems to be approaching this from a place of empathy--he lived in a bubble that was shattered when trump won the 2016 election, and now he's bending over backwards to try to avoid that mistake once again. the problem, as i see it, is that he's adopting right-wing ideas about liberal bias in the media ('the nytimes is liberal, even the news division, so they can't fully be trusted') out of what i view as a mistaken idea of moderation as virtuous in and of itself. just because a position is in-between two extremes, it doesn't mean it's a correct, or even reasonable position.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Friday, 18 October 2019 15:47 (one month ago) link

Enlightenment is when you realize the earth is neither spherical nor flat.

pomenitul, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:48 (one month ago) link

enlightenment is when you realize views are neither true NOR false

j., Friday, 18 October 2019 15:54 (one month ago) link

Schrödinger's brainworm.

pomenitul, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:55 (one month ago) link

the most insidious brainworm is the very notion of brainworms

ogmor, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:56 (one month ago) link

Yet in deconstructing it we risk becoming gelatinous, limbless beings with tube-like bodies ourselves.

pomenitul, Friday, 18 October 2019 16:00 (one month ago) link

This describes many ppl who post about politics to this site, especially if the last clause is critical.

― Mordy,

Its certainly something no one is completely immune from, though the caveat with messageboards and similar is there can be antagonism, wilful misreadings etc, so that complicates things (I'd wager many people who can't do this would be able to if there was e.g money at stake. My cousin would still not be able to)

anvil, Friday, 18 October 2019 16:15 (one month ago) link

Speaking of centrist brainworms:

s strange as it may sound, above a Dorothy House charity shop in the shabbier end of central Bath, a handful of people are quietly trying to push the world – or at least a small part of it – away from the polarisation that currently defines politics, and towards something a bit more open and empathic. To compound the unlikeliness of it all, they are led by a man called Jim Morrison: not the reincarnated singer of the Doors, but the 40-year-old founder of a new online platform called OneSub, whose strapline is “Break the echo chamber”.

Morrison is an internet specialist rather than a political anorak, which partly explains why, to a political journalist such as myself, his take on current affairs seems so unorthodox. He says one of his central fears about modern Britain is that “they’ve managed to privatise the health service and education system without even discussing it”, but he voted Tory at the last election, partly because he thinks Jeremy Corbyn is “quite an extreme leftwinger”. If the election system was fairer, he says he would favour the Lib Dems, but he also voted leave in the 2016 referendum. When I probe him about what he and his colleagues are trying to do, he often meets a question with another question, or leads the conversation towards qualifications and contradictions.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 09:30 (one month ago) link

Jim Morrison: "Those bastids destroyed the nhs and education!"
Also Jim Morrison: *votes tory anyway*
Also also Jim Morrison: *breaks on through to the other side*

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 09:41 (one month ago) link

fuckin' political principles, how do they work

expedited frictionless convergences (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 09:44 (one month ago) link

I'm guessing the 'shabbier end of Central Bath' is not remotely shabby.

Michael Oliver of Penge Wins £5 (Tom D.), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 09:48 (one month ago) link

today i'm feeling like the defining feature of brain worms is clinical Lack of Insight, coupled, in the case of right wing brain worms at least, with a dogged insistence on believing things that are more or less objectively false (this latter is a key thing for me; I often argue with my wife about her essentially nihilist belief that truth doesn't really matter, whereas I am more of the belief that, for instance, not believing in AIDS doesn't give you immunity to it).

I don't think it's unfair or unwarranted to describe such people as, in some sense, psychotic.

Spironolactone T. Agnew (rushomancy), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 10:18 (one month ago) link

nope, anvil has it

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 14:23 (one month ago) link

i'm not sure you could pay me enough to say what conservatives believe in a form they would agree with

Spironolactone T. Agnew (rushomancy), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 14:55 (one month ago) link

Morrison is an internet specialist rather than a political anorak, which partly explains why, to a political journalist such as myself, his take on current affairs seems so unorthodox. He says one of his central fears about modern Britain is that “they’ve managed to privatise the health service and education system without even discussing it”, but he voted Tory at the last election, partly because he thinks Jeremy Corbyn is “quite an extreme leftwinger”.

That's not unorthodox that's just being an idiot that regurgitates popular opinion.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 16:21 (one month ago) link

The binary lens is important too, there's not really a range of views, there are essentially only two. I had this exchange earlier this year

"I don't really think we should be looking to go to war with Iran"
"OK, so you think we should just forget everything and become best mates?"

I was (slightly) irritated at first, why does my cousin have to mischaracterize (or even presume) what I've just said, seconds ago (even after knowing this is how it is). Why jump to the opposite extreme when there are a bunch of positions inbetween "war" and "best buddies". But I've come to realize that the way he sees things, there are only really these two positions. Whatever I might actually say, its really just a variant of "OK, so you think we should just forget everything and become best mates?"

He isn't intentionally mischaracterizing or distorting what I've said, he's already distilled the issue into two views, and if I'm not agreeing with him then I'm in the other category, sort of regardless of what I actually say, which he won't really register

anvil, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 16:53 (one month ago) link

See also

"tbf employment figures reflect the fact graduates are working in wine bars"

RWC: "I don't think theres some huge conspiracy to massage the figures by forcing graduates into working in wine bars"

The issue of a conspiracy arrives from nowhere, I've never mentioned it or even thought it, but I will now have this view attributed regardless.

anvil, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 16:57 (one month ago) link

Everyone will of course no this well in its most famous incarnation "The left are pro open borders"

had that one too in fact. "I'm ok with Extinction Rebellion protesting climate change but demanding open borders is turning people off them"

anvil, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 16:59 (one month ago) link

hmmm, I think a hearty "what the fuck is wrong with you" is in order

Galangal Baker (WmC), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:00 (one month ago) link

i love anvil's analysis in this thread and i think it's pretty otm. "hang on i didn't say that at all" --> brain-worm response: chortle, "well you did, you just don't realize it"

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:03 (one month ago) link

Many minds are very uncomfortable with anything not black and white, either-or, yes or no. By the time they're an adult, it's hopeless to try to change them; black-whitism is their safety blanky.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:06 (one month ago) link

I sometimes think its all a variant of looking for a book on a bookshelf and not being able to find it because your mind is on the book you're looking for not the books on the shelf.

anvil, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:16 (one month ago) link

would anyone on the right make the kind of good faith examination and effort displayed in this thread

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:28 (one month ago) link

this is the exact technique used by the (alt-)right youtube dipshits. state something that their targets disagree with, then construct an incredibly flimsy strawman representing what they supposedly believe and mock it

I know I've used the word "disingenuous" way too many times in the past, but... jesus christ

mh, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:47 (one month ago) link

it sounds like anvil's encountering exactly what happens when someone uses this tactic in conversation as opposed to when delivering a monologue at a camera

mh, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:48 (one month ago) link

Its similar but I don't think my cousin is being disingenuous, these aren't fractious conversations and I don't think he's aware he's doing it. Its more that he's not really capable of hearing (everything has already been decided).

He rarely asks me my opinion, and I've become a lot more reticent in general about saying what I think anyway, but I've found the best way of diffusing this dynamic is to say "I don't know", or "I'm in two minds on that". Then there's not anything to react against, which does stop things going in that direction. Its a pretty good way of being anyway, if someone hasn't asked me my opinion its probably because they don't want it!

anvil, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 18:50 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Brainworm: The left are organizing for the for the forthcoming election, they are registering hundreds of thousands of students, and will use identity theft to vote as them, along with other forms of voter fraud, on an industrial scale

Me: Huge if true. It sounds like something we should put some money on, if this isn't being reported in the media it won't be reflected in the odds!

Brainworm: ...I don't think its on a wide enough scale to make any difference

anvil, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 08:01 (one week ago) link

they are registering hundreds of thousands of students, and will use identity theft to vote as them


nashwan, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 12:54 (one week ago) link

I like the betting angle!

kinder, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 13:05 (one week ago) link

The point of the betting angle is it's an attempt to move from an existential or psychological truth to a tangible truth. "If you think x is true, we can make money from that".

It explains how he is able to simultaneously hold two completely contradictory viewpoints, and state both to be true depending on the context

a) There is widespread voting fraud taking place in the next election
b) There isn't widespread voting fraud taking place in the next election

Challenging gets answer a, and agreeing gets answer b. Roll with the premise and see where you both go

anvil, Thursday, 28 November 2019 09:08 (one week ago) link

The gambling angle has sth to say for it sure, it's related to the "ok, you support Brexit, you will be culpable for what happens due to it, good or bad, now let's not speak about it until then" - but it's just a sticking plaster , if it's a little cut then it can be of use, but not when you have a gaping wound.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 28 November 2019 09:18 (one week ago) link

But this, and the whole thread aren't related to that, its more about how to deal with friends and family that are brainstormed - or how to deal with fractious relationships, family arguments and the like (particularly at christmas/thanksgiving etc)

The approach is to be less confrontational or oppositional (its counter productive on every level). Its initially hard with people that are actively looking for that confrontation, but definitely good for own mental health when you get hang of it (and you learn more!). Avoiding confrontation per se isn't a good idea, but in this kind of scenario its more productive. I reserve stating my own views for when I am asked. I am never asked

anvil, Thursday, 28 November 2019 09:28 (one week ago) link

Surely the problem with the betting angle is that "they" will act to suppress any investigation?

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:27 (one week ago) link

That didn't come up. Either the Fraud scheme will be successful (psychological truth), or it won't (tangible truth). Both truths can coexist in the brain, only one truth can exist at the bookies

anvil, Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:33 (one week ago) link

Guess I am lucky that I don't have any people with horrible views in my family, or close friends for that matter.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:42 (one week ago) link

I like this as a way of opening up conversation and encouraging a realistic look at probabilities, but then if Labour actually win (sigh, I wish, etc) then the quantum superposition collapses to "it was true all along and I really should have put money on it" and your statement in a way becomes more evidence for the case - or even if they just take a couple of new surprise/studenty seats, then "they really were working on it and they didn't quite pull it off but I could still have put money on those seats if The Man hadn't discouraged me from thinking more about the social geography of my pet theory"

of course I suppose that rationalisation (and worse) will happen anyway so I'm not sure why it feels like being worse off rhetorically

anyway, doing god's work, etc

(PS student theory seems like an interesting inverse of the old rumour that Tory-leaning managers of old folks' homes rounded up postal/proxy votes for all the residents who tbf were probably mostly Tory and some of whom did indeed need assistance to vote, and they would all mysteriously vote Tory - which seems a lot more likely to have actually happened to me, but maybe that's just because I have some Tory-hating brainworms of my own)

a passing spacecadet, Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:58 (one week ago) link

Contrast with America, where the Republicans don't need to play around with identity theft, they know basically no educated person under 40 is going to vote for them, so they have instead used voter fraud as a boogeyman to justify disenfranchising tens to hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters at this point. Also closely tied to ugly American racial politics. I don't think I'd be able to let pass any conversation with an American touching on the subject of "voter fraud" without pointing that out.

viborg, Saturday, 30 November 2019 23:41 (one week ago) link

Oh, but this is UK conservatives clearly taking a page out of the republican's playbook; the identity theft conspiracy theory is also a boogeyman, meanwhile tories push towards making voter registration more difficult so poorer and poc citizens become less likely to vote.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 1 December 2019 12:35 (one week ago) link

The identity theft thing has got some traction but its not widespread, its still fairly niche in UK and mostly constrained to right wing circles I think

There's something interesting in the minor false flag thing - eg the elderly milkshakes guy that milkshaked himself. Iain Duncan Smith has been sent a dead rat through the post which he posted on twitter. Did 'left wing thugs' send it? Did he concoct it himself? Did supporters do it without his knowledge? Did a prankster do it, or someone for other reasons? And does it really make any difference who sent it? Only one of the above is actually true, but because all are possible, each one is psychologically true, depending on your preference

anvil, Sunday, 8 December 2019 06:59 (nine hours ago) link

There is a tweet from a bluetick white tech guy which is doing the rounds.

"Last night, I attended an event hosted by a company I’ve been interviewing with for the last few months.

I was introduced to their Head of Program who, after a few drinks, told me that I’ll never be hired because I’m a white male."

Which of course is getting lots of "never happened" responses. Unmistakeable Jacob Wohl LA hipster coffee spot vibes

a) Head of Program has the brainworm, is anti-diversity and isn't telling bluetick the real policy, but the brain wormed policy he believes is the actual policy. Bluetick is naive and reports to twitter as gospel
b) Bluetick has the brainworm. But why would bluetick flat out lie on twitter and bring negative attention on himself (he's already been removed from one program). Unless on some level he believes it happened.
c) I (and the "Never Happened" twitter mob' ) have the brainworm. It happened as reported.

anvil, Sunday, 8 December 2019 07:19 (nine hours ago) link

You can judge for yourself at

anvil, Sunday, 8 December 2019 07:19 (nine hours ago) link

I'm guessing a) with a little bit of b). In other words, an exaggeration of an exaggeration.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Sunday, 8 December 2019 07:27 (nine hours ago) link

tweeting is a symptom of brainworms

jesus is zing (symsymsym), Sunday, 8 December 2019 08:17 (eight hours ago) link

How bout d) Head of Program does not have brainworms, but wants to avoid awakwardness of telling Bluetick he's shit at his job/not what they're looking for and knows that getting him to feel like a victim of PC culture is a good way of deflecting.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 8 December 2019 11:41 (four hours ago) link

Funny how the "Head of Progam" will reveal this information after 'a few drinks' but not how many people they've hired recently or the actual ratio of PoC and women. Maybe they need to be on 'a few grams' to get that far in the Q and A.

nashwan, Sunday, 8 December 2019 12:39 (three hours ago) link


peloton for the painfully alone (m bison), Sunday, 8 December 2019 12:42 (three hours ago) link

tweeting is a symptom of brainworms

― jesus is zing (symsymsym)

tweeting is a cause of brainworms

Agnes Motörhead (rushomancy), Sunday, 8 December 2019 14:38 (one hour ago) link

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