It happens far too often, to the degree that I usually just write back that "Willful ignorance is no excuse" and leave it at that. Sometimes though that's not enough. Which brings us to today's vent, because there's no way to write this in the 140-characters that Twitter allows. Better to write it here, regain sanity, and point to it in a link on Twitter. It specifically concerns just one personal exchange, which makes it therefore deeply-limited in focus. But if it wasn't symptomatic of this sort of thing happening regularly, it would be far less head-exploding.
It began when I made some comment that was critical of Trump. It brought a Trumpet reply -- having nothing to do with what I'd written -- that there were three million illegal votes against Trump in the election. I wrote back a simple note that if the person could provide any actual evidence, that would be swell. That brought another reply from the person, who seems to go by the name "Gudda Zinzer," that all you had to do was "look around you." Easy enough to let go, but since it was a simple matter to respond to, I chose again to be pithy and wrote back, "You do understand, I trust, that 'Just look around you,' isn't considered actual evidence."
But did that stop Gudda Zinzer? Hey, if you think so, you don't know Gudda Zinzer.
This set forth a string of about half dozen Tweets back at me (and others who had responded) that appeared to slam liberals and ignore actual facts and claim that liberals just name-call and...well, honestly I don't know because I didn't read them, but only checked out the very last one in the barrage which was feverish. I also saw what others wrote back, so it was clear the whole barrage had veered off the beaten path. I replied a bit more pointedly, but just as simply that I wasn't going to waste time debating "monkey evidence" because life was too short.
That brought another stream of what no doubt were rants, about a half dozen -- which again I ignored because life really is too short -- but my eyes did spot the opening sentence of the very last one. And I could only laugh and so read the whole thing. I quote it here because it serves as a good example of the kind of response one deals with. The dear Gudda Zinzer wrote --
"PLEASE EXPLAIN MONKEY EVIDENCE! Divisive piffle is provided by libtards every day! Divisive is your only way to discourse! Huffy!"
Which brings us to me writing this here.
But first, just for the Elisbergian record --
"Monkey evidence" is high-pitched chirping, making meaningless sound. That's what a fake-cry to "Just look around you" is when it's offered as "evidence". And yes, I politely explained this to Gudda Zinzer (though, okay, admittedly the point of "monkey evidence" isn't polite, but the way it was phrased in the reply was...)
The head just wants to explode. Remember, this "libtards" note was merely the last in a string of a dozen Tweets that had been spewed out by Gudda Zinzer.
How do you debate crazy? How do you have discourse with someone who not only offers a vacuum-like void of literally zero but believes that emptiness to be substantive, and then careens on to charge others with precisely the nastiness what they themselves are doing?
It really truly doesn't take much to know that "Just look around you" is not "evidence." It is monkey evidence. It is empty, nonsensical gibberish that only serves to fill the world with head-piercing noise. When someone uses a literally meaningless string of sound to try to make a spiteful point and smear others, we in sentient society know that this is the definition of divisive. We who were not raised in the wilds know that calling others "Libtards" is the definition of name-calling and can only serve to be divisive. We know that offering "Just look around you" as supposed-evidence is the purest form of piffle. We know that believing "alternative facts" instead of reality is entering a dimension that doesn't exist.
And yet this is what gets thrown into the world.
That is the point here. Not my personal Twitter exchange, which really was only a few simple replies on my part, but understanding that a divide has been created that isn't between differing opinions, but between reality and delusional.
One cannot "debate" nonexistent "Just look around you" evidence. That's not evidence." That's not "discourse." That's empty air claiming to be meaningful.
The obvious question is -- how do you respond to that? And the obvious answer is -- you don't. The obvious reaction is -- just walk away, guy. But the problem this points to is that even if "not answering" (or as much as one is able to, not even read responses) is the proper action, the monkey evidence remains part of the equation. It's what causes not only a divide, but an unfixable divide. Having discourse of different opinions is a good thing, a valuable thing, even when those opinions are polls apart. But what's the result when a brick wall is built to protect utter gibberish, falsehood, and "alternative facts," and when anything that tries to refute it with actual truth, it is considered a conspiracy of hate? That's the wall Trump has built.
To be very clear, we're not talking "truth is in the eye of the beholder" here. We're talking, "He has the most electoral votes of any president in the last 30 years" when it's just literally factually not true. Or "There was a massacre in Bowling Green" which is literally factually not true. Or "Microwave ovens are spying on us" that is just literally factually not true. That kind of thing. By comparison, lies like, "He has a Kenyan birth certificate" or "There were three million illegal votes" or "I was wiretapped by the president" are almost second-tier yammerings. But they all offer monkey evidence.
So, what do you do? Do you let it all slide by and become The Big Lie, where if you repeat something untrue enough that it becomes believed as fact?
Yes, this is just Twitter, but it's all part of the zeitgeist. It's all in the air and becomes passed around as The Truth.
I do think you ignore as much of it as you can. I do think you don't read as much of it as you can. But that only protects your own immediate sanity. And so I also think you have to read and respond to some of it, to let others know they can't get away with a clean slate of fantasy. And in the end, you're not "debating crazy" because we know you can't, but you're responding so that others who might be uncertain can see what reality looks like.
And in the end, society does its best to at least corral "crazy" into as small a contained area as possible and let it feed on itself until hopefully it withers down to ineffectual. There will also be crazy. There will always be "None are so blind as he who will not see." There will always be monkey evidence.
But still, sometimes you do have to vent so that your head doesn't explode. And 140-characters doesn't cut it. And, okay, I admit that I liked coming up with the phrase, "Monkey evidence," on the spur of the moment. That helped.
And yes, I think it's a safe bet that Gudda Zinzer will write me back. And it will be a long string of fevered messages piling on one another that are each totally empty, nasty, and utterly delusional. The good news is that I've paid my dues, made clear that life is too short, and I know that God created the "Block sender" key for a reason. So, for I'm happily done with this exchange. But they're all out there, hiding in the weeds, ready to leap out and then stroll down the lane, screaming.
May you have as few Gudda Zinzers in your life as possible.
And Gordon Turners.
Gordon Turner is a fellow who sent me a Tweet as I was writing this article here, and he said -- and I swear this is true (and swear it wasn't a joke, because I checked his timeline to make sure he wasn't kidding but, no, it's full on tweet after tweet like this -- "Trump is brilliant and Supreme Court upheld both his travel bans."
How do you explain so that such a person will be able grasp that both travel bans were in reality blocked by the courts, an appellate court upheld the block, neither travel ban has made it to the Supreme Court, and the most recent court ruling was only hours before his Tweet, so it hasn't even come close to being appealed yet, let alone been taken to the Supreme Court???
The best I can come up with is replying -- I believe you have been listening to Kellyanne Conway and her "alternative facts" too much. And P.S., no, there was no massacre in Bowling Green.
You can't debate crazy. You can't debate delusional.