Monday, April 13, 2020

Dramatic Reading: Triggered: Donald Trump Jr: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Trigger Warning

I'm reading this book because I checked it out at the library as a joke on my wife and now I'm stuck with it. This Is My Read.

"But today, "discourse" only exists for leftists. when conservatives do it, they call it ‘hate speech.’"

"You'll also get to find out a little about me during the ride, if only as a way to dispel the conspiracy theory on the left that I was born with horns."

Look, I'm not going to beat around the vulva. This guy is a douchebag. The six pages of chapter one paint the portrait of Dorian Douchebag. I use the metaphor because there is a fiction to this. It’s clear from the bravado that this is something of a performance. I believe he’s using, what I like to call, “The Crowder Technique.” It allows Lil D to say obnoxious things and if someone is offended or wants to challenge the ideas meaningfully, then he was just kidding. It’s a way of testing the water in conversation. However, this isn’t a conversation. It’s a book. So Lil D must artificially inject the alienation of “liberals” who would opt out of a conversation or performance such as this.

See that joke I made up there? The vulva joke? See, you may have thought that in poor taste. You may have been a little put off. You may think that sort of joke is inappropriate for the format given that there are older relatives lurking around these soft and easy avenues of Facebook. Whatever reason you didn’t care for that, the fact that you think it is something you have a right to do. Telling me in the comments that you think so is something you have a right to do. Freedom of expression is not one-sided. I do not have a constitutional right not to be put on blast for making a ill-received joke. In fact, no expression has that privilege. That’s called criticism. There is no freedom from criticism.

“Also if you find any of the following even remotely offensive: patriotism, masculinity, hunting, MAGA hats, the American flag, guns, sex, religion, Roseanne Barr, criticism of stupid ideas, capitalism, skyscrapers, or the use of the word “Christmas” during the Christmas season, then you should definitely stop reading.”

Lil D thinks otherwise on the whole freedom of expression thing. But it isn’t about that. It isn’t about freedom of expression. The previous quote is a way of separating the cool kids from the not cool kids. It’s a way of alienating people who will challenge ideas and a way of bonding with those who won’t challenge your ideas. It’s othering. And done with this lack of subtlety, it’s absolutely juvenile.

You have no idea how badly I want to use words like dumb, stupid, and moronic to describe these middle school rhetorical and manipulation techniques, but in good conscience I cannot. Because they work. They’ve worked on people. They are working on people right now and combating them is hard. It stems from the desire to use any number of the synonyms for ignorant. But doing so will only increase the alienation. It’s infuriating. Because it’s a trap.

There’s a lot of traps in here. It’s a minefield. There’s a lot of statements made in these six pages that are solely there to be the clickbaity headline on the internet. It’s savvy. That’s why so much of this book, I believe, will not be worth going over in these posts. Also, I’m hoping to all that is God that I can make these much briefer. Because the chapters only get longer. And his “jokes” aren’t funny. They’re not even worth deconstructing. I’ll leave that for Chapo.

I know that a lot of you are very familiar with these concepts and could easily suss out the flaws in the logic so forgive me if I’m boring you with some of this.

In the last quote, he’s not just listing a scattershot of concepts which will weed out the liberals. He’s somewhat subtly equating all those things. He’s stringing them together like a necklace that members of his tribe can wear in order to recognize one another. He didn’t forget vegans, by the way. He gets them in a "joke" about what liberals can do with their copy of his book.

He then mentions how he’s hoping that all the liberals are gone and it’s now just us patriots. He goes on and further mentions he didn’t want to “break out my MAGA hat.” Mentions the MAGA hat twice in two paragraphs. It’s product placement. They are 25 dollars and you can buy them directly from the Trump campaign website.

Once the cool kids are firmly and orderly seated at the cool kid's table he pivots to the thing his roasting of the “bunch of oversensitive babies who find everything offensive” was always leading toward, racism. That’s right, racism. Lil D declares that calls of racism are the default position of anything with which the “left” does not agree. He reverts from the “joking” that the statement “Math is hard?” could be considered racist back to earnestness.

“The problem with using racism as a label for everything you don’t like, of course, is that racism is still a real problem that persists in this country -- not nearly to the extent the left would have you believe, of course, but it’s still one of our major issues.”

Folks, I have not read ahead, but I think we’re going to be noodling out some “racism against white people” jams. The big scares come from what Lil D thinks are the real problems facing America today. Including:

“There are stacks of books we’re no longer allowed to read, public figures who are no longer allowed to speak in public, and crucial debates we are no longer allowed to have-- all because they might hurt someone’s feelings.”

Lil D then raises the specter of book burning and the thought that this very tome might be one headed for the fire. Previously in the chapter he’d encouraged liberals to buy his book and recycle it. I bad?

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