Seriously, You Need to Stop Thinking
Their Paucity of Thought is Deliberate
I admit right away that I like to look at new ways of seeing. So, sounding a little like clickbait is to gain interest was not my first instinct, and my intent is somehow the opposite. I had to move my original title to the subtitle because it’s too cerebral for internet clickers. Maybe Medium readers like a challenge. That’s probably the different between Medium writers and true clickbait writers, who more like ad agents just begging for attention. And it just occurred to me that I could be wrong. That I’m not seeing it from there ‘their’ side. But it was Ben Shapiro who set me straight.
Yes, I’m talking about the political Trump-wing right. I wouldn’t be in engaging in essay writing on weeknights if I was on the Trump end of the spectrum. For the four plus years our airways, earwaves, and social media were dominated by a mindless Orange haired angry madman, I often wondered, What is the attraction of him? I simply could not understand.
We in the center, on the left, progressives, intellectuals, pseudo-wannabe intellectuals (that’s probably me) did not get it. I’m talking many whites, blacks, browns, Asians, or generally just college-educated thinking Americans. The clips of Bill Maher from HBO, Stephen Colbert or Trevor Noah, or others in the mainstream media launched nightly funnies on YouTube, threw sarcasm packages at Trump. They were funny, but the Trump right doesn’t watch. Humor involves not just ‘thinking,’ but understanding double-entendre, witticisms, verbal jousts — in other words humor. The Fox right does not do humor.
Humor relies on seeing hidden meanings; there are none on the Fox right.
What you hear from those like Fox is the surface meaning, sentences with no hidden intent or agenda. They speak in direct immediate meaning. This form is meant to provoke anger, not thought. If you walk away feeling like an enlightened intellectual listening to Tucker Carlson, then you probably should vote Trump in 2024. If you laughed at Hannity, OAN, or Fox and Friends clips, then you really understood that they were stupid, and you didn’t ‘get’ them. You were looking for meaning in their words, not on their words.
There is no humor. When is the last time a bully made people laugh? They are not intellectuals, thought leaders, they only play them on TV. They are not debating with ‘opponents’ on the left who appear on their shows. They are not listening. They are just standing up to them to show Fox listeners they can take the leftist criticism, and they can dish it out. Their audience comes on ready to take their side, ready to get angry, poised for a fight and raring to go. Bring on the talking head weak liberal meat.
Which brings me to Ben Shapiro. If you don’t know who he is, count yourself lucky. He is the poster boy intellectual who will go on liberal podcasts, talk shows and ‘debate’ them on their own territory. I stumbled across an ad for him on YouTube via the yaf (Young American Foundation or something) and clicked it as I heard about him. I knew he was annoying but wanted to see him in a few minutes clip before dismissing him.
The clip of this faux debate I watch of a yaf meeting was horrific. In it, he stands on the podium and ‘debates’ a black student, most likely a prop or straw girl some production assistant picked out and brought in. Then he launches into his ‘debate’ with her, showing her, she is wrong. Of course, being an all-white audience, it looked bad to me, with horrible optics of a right-winger attacking a black girl, the perfect target for his crowd in front of him. I didn’t see a debate, just bullying. Of a young black girl.
I don’t like name calling, but his sniveling weaselly manner of debate is irritating. The content is mediocre, and his intellectual capacity is pretty low. He might be impressive to conservative ‘intellectuals,’ but to those on the left he is completely unimpressive.
In a follow up suggested clip with Shapiro I then clicked, the interviewer is British conservative, not a liberal, which Shapiro would have known had he done some research. This guy is actually British upper-crusty smart and grills everyone, as a journalist should. We don’t have this type of conservative talk show host in the US, so the tough questions and acerbic wit that cut Shapiro made him feel attacked. New hosts are liberal opponents. Who is this British guy? Thus, Shapiro thought he was a liberal.
Shapiro got quite angry with all the real questions and attacked the interviewer (don’t worry, it was through Zoom). He whined, quit the debate, and, as he did on Bill Maher in the clip I saw afterwards, said this thing about money before when he looked cornered — a reference to how much he got and how little the journalist got. I now felt I saw it. The flatness of meaning.
The deliberate intent not to mean, but to provoke.
And Ben Shapiro is all the right has left. Well, a couple of others that are young like Candice Owens, but all are interchangeable, stuck in a face of permanent outrage. Ben went to Harvard law school but doesn’t practice law. Like Senator Ted Cruz. Why? He wants money and power directly, not wanting to spend his life showing deference to partners and judges. He lacks a sense of humor. He is there to outrage the left and put a sheen of intellectualism on the humorless right.
Shapiro is completely unprincipled. His earlier statements used against him showed how easily he bent to Trump’s will. He thought Trump had changed his mind. That was false. Truth was a game. Just a game. You can’t out bully Trump. You can’t catch someone in a flip-flop when they make up anything they want in the present moment to suit their needs and declare their victory. To win. It is not their media savvy, but their immovable rightness when entering the room (and yes, rightness is a double- entendre there). It is an unconscious strategy of unshakeable ‘purpose.’
The paucity of thought on the right is deliberate. Control is about emotional reactions, not constraint in favor of rational opinions.