Observing the goings on in the cyber circles on social media can be interesting. There’s the obvious lack of the visual to provide the cues one could rely on when communicating face to face with another human that’d assist with grasping the ideas being discussed.
Another aspect of this type of communication is learning to rely on understanding the way people write to develop your understanding of the identity of the person you are reading about. This process unfortunately can be subjective at the best of times due to the fact that some social media platforms limit the ability of their users to articulate their views.
One of those cyber circles I frequent is the MRA presence one Twitter. Now for starters , I don’t view this group as large and varied as some might. There’s this idea that if you’re somehow anti feminist you’re an MRA, which is kinda cute but doesn’t withstand the torture test that the proving process requires.
And to be honest I haven’t fully delineated what I’d call an MRA but I’ve a fair idea of the go/no go dynamic regarding this one. I say that as someone who’s not fully engaged with that scene and doesn’t have a working history with that group.
I’ve only detailed my entry into this circle lightly in the past and as someone who’s got a life to live, the time constraints on gaining a full understanding of the topics the MRA movement seeks to promote have negatively impacted my grasp of what’s happening here.
That said, I’m of the viewpoint at this stage that I’ve intuitively positioned myself as a sceptic of the current political dynamic regarding the sexes and the related progress of life on this planet so far regarding these discussions.
If you can see what I’m saying, I guess I won’t have to explain that hang up in detail.
Now, onto the focus example of this post. There’s a Twitter user who goes by the ID @takedownMRAs. He pops up every now and then sniping at the likes of Paul Elam and Cassie Jaye etc, some the profiles associated with the MRHM, I look at from time to time. And for want of applying the Golden rule of trying to see the better of anyone you interact with I’ve tried to understand this person’s viewpoints as they’re presented.
I’ve had no personal interaction with this profile so far but upon observing the activity this individual presents we can see with a little deduction, the angle of approach used by this person.
My aim here is not to focus singularly on this Twitter user due to their antics but to use their actions as an example of how the use of social media can be misleading and counter productive the progress of the conversations we have around any of the issues we discuss online. There are plenty that fall into this dynamic, willing or other wise but I think for the sake of this exercise, this example is sufficient.
I’m also aware I’m going over familiar ground here but its an exercise that is beneficial in the social media age and the development of my own thoughts surrounding this dynamic.
I’ll refer to this Twitter user as TDM from here on with this write up and focus on those random occasions I’ve witnessed this user’s activity.
One of the recent examples I witnessed was TDM posting on Cassie Jaye’s Twitter feed inferring that her work was deficient when it came to checking the claims of the person she interviewed, in respect to Cassie critiquing the media’s reaction to an edit of the recent Last Jedi film.
Now, in this example it’s obvious to see that the quoted comment and the attached excerpt from the affidavit are focused on two different aspects of this event. The fact that this Tweet is observable by anyone who wants to see it also is revealing. It’s telling that a take like this, from a Twitter user who has 15.3 thousand followers, thinks that this approach isn’t constructive as well. And it continues along this tangent whenever TDM engages in a conversation about MRAs. Check the profile, you’ll see it all pile up there.
You’ll see TDM referencing other social media users, for example Eivind Burge, that TDM claims is an MRA that the MRA scene has vehemently rejects due to Eivind’s views, to put it in his own terms, on “male sexuality”.
The building of a critique of the MRA movement supporting by putting the likes if Eivind on display, as an example of a MRA, is a clear case of a strawman argument. A little homework can set you straight on what I’m on about here. It’s seems a little under thought when you step back and consider the range of voices involved in this conversations.
Now, you could be forgiven for thinking this is an example of weak trolling not designed to be taken seriously but when you read the interactions between TDM and others you’ll see the other red flags that give some insight into the mindset behind these posts. And it’s on that basis I believe there’s something more interesting going on here.
When you see argument markers that borrow phrases and terminology from concepts and ideologies it’s an immediate give away, when you see how they’re used, that lets you know whether the user understands them or not. And with TDM’s example we see the usual pro BLM, white privilege critiques, claims about patriarchy and late stage capitalism that offers the observer the chance to position themselves regarding the discourse they could have with this person. In TDM’s case it’s the stereotypical PoMo/Marxist/pop sociology gibberish that’s all so fashionable in certain circles these days.
The only way you could claim they’re trolling is if you would critique them for advancing a viewpoint without understanding the short falls of the concepts they’re employing in their own critiques. And detailing those short falls is another discussion altogether.
It’s at this point I’m once again reminded of the Keynes quote about the influence of ideas not fully understood.
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”.
TDM isn’t the only one who fails here, hell even I would put my hand up for that one as a default position, I aint no genius know all. But that said it’s sloppy in debates, to advance incautiously and critique others from a foundation that can be taken apart easily.
And hiding inside an echo chamber of like opinions wont suffice as well. Ya gotta stay on top of your game if you want to be effective at this.
All that said, I’m not above recognising this person’s efforts as good if they make a valid point. We are all human and suffer the ability to maintain a false or underdeveloped interpretation of what we see in the world. And I think, all in all, we mean well but we have to be conscious of the sum of our efforts. And it’s on that basis I’d claim that the conduct like I’m observing from the likes of TDM fall desperately short of the mark of any attempt for the greater good. This Twitter user comes across as bitter about the world due to how they have allowed themselves to see it. This ain’t a good mental place to get comfortable with yourself.
My summation for this exercise would be that it’s obviously important to know what you’re on about. Applying then Golden rule of personal with interactions, while initially suffering the possibility of being naive or unassuming, can give all the involved parties some room to move in developing your own understanding of a subject.
But you can’t play nice with stupid forever. And allowing yourself to wander off the map, like the example I’m talking about here, doesn’t do anyone any favours in the long run. This nonsense will go full circle and it’s hard to defend if you have a history of this kind of conduct. And in a way it’ll allow you opponents to use your work against your own efforts. Which when you see that as an option, you’d think you’d avoid that course of action like the plague. Obviously, some can’t see that light at the end of that tunnel.