I have to laugh when people attempt to remind me that they are superior to me now that they “know” what my politics are. The arrogant condescension of “I don’t expect to see conspiracy theories coming from you” followed by a link to FactCheck “debunking” some minor semantic part of the linked article is the preferred method. Because total burn on me doncha know. A post on FB about the Los Angeles DA charging the CEO of Kennoch for storing election worker data on PRC servers brought that response from a former colleague and once friend. (We’re still mostly friends, but s/he strays into attempts at public shaming a bit too often these days.)
Comments like that really irk me because they’re not designed to elicit any sort of dialogue. Comments like that are designed solely to shame and silence because the commenter cannot, or doesn’t want to, come up with any sort of coherent response that isn’t an excuse for bad behavior. Thus the resort to condescension and arrogance. Yes, for many that response is the go-to response, but it’s still a response of last resort because they simply don’t have an answer. It’s equivalent to sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming “la-la-la! I can’t hear you!”
Such a response is not only meant to shame you, the poster, but it is also designed to remind you that you have strayed from the approved and accepted fold. As an academic, my (now former) academic colleagues expect me to toe a certain line with regard to political views. I used to do that. I had to do that to get through grad school, get a tenure-track position, and then get tenure. I was denied a promotion to full professor (the highest rank) largely due to my political leanings (I’m convinced). I strayed from the accepted and approved fold. You see, once I became tenured, I quit worrying about voicing objections and/or pointing out fallacies in statements. That earned me some negative responses and eye-rolls (they thought I didn’t see the eye-rolls) and the rejection of my promotion request. The eye-rolls told me that in their world, I had no respect. This didn’t really bother me (it did somewhat but these were not people, as I discovered, whose respect I wanted or needed. I do think they were a little afraid of me because I didn’t follow the unwritten rules), but it did get me to recognize that I wasn’t going to get any further in my career. That’s when I knew it was time to go.
As a recovering academic, I’m even less inclined to toe any imaginary lines of conformity and acceptable behavior. I still point out inconsistencies and flat-out contradictions in statements and arguments. Especially when made by academics. This is what earned the comment on last night’s post.
But what my former colleagues don’t realize is that I am truly a recovering academic. Not being in that arena means that their “respect” (within the boundaries they’ve set) is now truly meaningless to me and their attempts to shame me by invoking my credentials or degrees are simply amusing now.
So, yeah, I responded to the comment. I’ll go back in later tonight and see if there’s a response to me, but I’m not really worried. I know a few people from college have unfriended me because of politics. And they were chicken shits and didn’t tell me, they just unfriended me, knowing I’d still see their comments elsewhere and realize it (our college crowd is pretty close. The perils and perks of a small school.) Damn, they burned me, didn’t they. Right. Whatever. Moving right along…
The person who made the attempt at shaming me is not a college friend and if s/he decides to unfriend me, I won’t really consider it a loss because if that’s what’s important to them now, well, that’s on them, not me.
None of this is to say that when those comments show up, I don’t get at least a little pissed and/or annoyed. And, I admit, they used to hurt because they tried to call into question my integrity and ability as an academic. But once I realized that it’s a defense mechanism for them and a huge sign that they’re not willing to actually recognize that their world view might be somewhat less than accurate, I started feeling sorry for them. It’s gotta be extremely taxing to squash down your common sense hard enough to completely ignore the reality around you and simultaneously do your damnedest to twist it into something your social fears and need to virtue signal can accept.
So if you find people attempting to shame you regarding your opinions by appealing to your intellect, remember, they hate what they fear. And what they fear right now is having to face a reality they’ve been in complete denial about for the last twenty or so years (or more).
Reality is rearing its ugly head these days for a lot of people on the left. It’s been there all along for the rest of us, but for them, this is new.
Pity them the way you do a character in a book or a movie who’s about to get a very embarrassing and public come-uppance, but get out the popcorn, because some of their responses are going to be hysterical and its going to be quite a show!