The Price of Constant Debate

Not only is debate useless for getting at the nature of reality, but it isn’t always good for you, or for communities where debate is fetishized. As I was looking for my previous words on debate, I came across this, originally published here. It seemed like a good time to repost it. “PTDD” is not intended to be remotely taken as a serious mental illness. It shares the element of hyper-vigilance with PTSD, and that’s about it. This is about what consistent debate trains you to do.

You may have Post-Traumatic Debate Disorder if:

  • Nobody really disagrees with you.
  • People who claim they disagree with you are being dishonest.
  • People who claim they disagree with you are out to get you.
  • You argue that someone (else) getting mobbed online “deserved it.”
  • You find yourself not understanding a lot of things but don’t ask any questions.
  • You consider accounting for differing situations to be hypocrisy.
  • You don’t know what your goal is in an argument, but that doesn’t stop you.
  • You view all discussions that consist of more than, “Yeah, me too,” as arguments.
  • All disagreements have a right and a wrong.
  • All disagreements must have a winner and loser.
  • Wrong = evil, unforgivable, delusional.
  • You alone understand what everyone “intends” by what they say. Better than the speaker.
  • You consider sympathy for both sides in a disagreement to be the same thing as no sympathy for either.
  • You crave real-world consequences for things said online, but not for you.

These are but a small sampling of the symptoms of PTDD. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you log off the internet immediately. Further treatment may consist of quarantine to avoid denialists of all stripes, lots of face-to-face and eye-to-eye conversation, and outdoor exercise.

Mock the Movie: Subliminal Edition

This Wednesday, on November 6, it’s time for Psycho-Rama! No, that’s not the name of the film. The film is titled either My World Dies Screaming or Terror in the Haunted House, depending on your mood. Psycho-Rama…er, “Mind-Altering Psycho-Rama” is the hyphen-laden name for the use of subliminal images in the film. Watch to find out whether it’s still better than modern 3D.

This one is free on YouTube.

After that, you’ll notice that we have nothing scheduled. Watching bad movies every two weeks has gotten to be a bit much for me. I think the same is true for several of our usual crew, as the mocking has dropped off. So it’s time to at least skip a session. We want to decide how frequently these should go on and what kind of schedule works. Look for the next mocking in early December.

“These all sound awful!” I hear you cry. Yes. Yes, they do. “These must be mocked mercilessly”, you say. Well, then you’re in the right company. The instructions for playing along:

  1. Start following @MockTM on Twitter.
  2. Start watching the movie on the appropriate Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT.
  3. Once you’ve got the movie going, tweet your snarky comments to @MockTM.  Directing our tweets to @MockTM will keep our followers from being overwhelmed with our snark!
  4. Set up a search for @MockTM on Twitter for the duration so you can follow along with everyone else sharing your pain.

If you have suggestions for other movies that can and should be mocked, send them to @MockTM. Preference will be given to movies that are free or stream on the major media delivery services. Watch the feed, and we’ll set up the calendar for more terrible, mockable movies.

If you’ve missed a mocking, you can catch transcripts and even subtitle files for later watching on the Mock the Movie archive.

The Good Young Man

Attempting to distract myself from how I’m feeling, I was reading a bit of Ambrose Bierce, when I came across this very short essay. It resonated for me with the talk recently in some quarters about “good people”, so I thought I’d share.

Why is he? Why defaces he the fair page of creation, and why is he to be continued? This has never been explained; it is one of those dispensations of Providence the design whereof is wrapped in profoundest obscurity. The good young man is perhaps not without excuse for his existence, but society is without excuse for permitting it. At his time of life to be “good” is to insult humanity. Goodness is proper to the aged; it is their sole glory; why should this milky stripling bring it into disrepute? Why should he be permitted to defile with the fat of his sleek locks a crown intended to adorn the grizzled pow of his elders?

A young man may be manly, gentle, honourable, noble, tender and true, and nobody will ever think of calling him a good young man. Your good young man is commonly a sneak, and is very nearly allied to that other social pest, the “nice young lady.” As applied to the immature male of our kind, the adjective “good” seems to have been perverted from its original and ordinary signification, and to have acquired a dyslogistic one. It is a term of reproach, and means, as nearly as may be, “characterless.” That any one should submit to have it applied to him is proof of the essential cowardice of Virtue.

We believe the direst ill afflicting civilization is the good young man. The next direst is his natural and appointed mate, the nice young lady. If the two might be tied neck and heels together and flung into the sea, the land would be the fatter for it.

I’m not as cynical as Bierce, nor do I find a lot of use in distinguishing between genders this way, but there’s a certain truth to that middle paragraph.