Lauren Duca should be teaching journalism to the big networks

She is exactly spot-on in this analysis of that stupid Trump/CNN wrestling video. The bottom line: everyone is focusing on the dingleberry troll who created the video, and churning up the conversation with “blackmail” nonsense, effectively burying the significant story. And that story is that our president is babbling like an immature troll himself on Twitter.

CNN responded with an investigation into the creator of the video, thus totally missing the point, which was not who created the content, but the fact that it was officially disseminated by the White House.

We have to stop getting distracted by the alt-right noise machine and turn our attention directly to the root problem: the Trump regime itself.

It’s easy to tell you to stop getting mad, to pull this visceral experience into the abstract, and declare that we shouldn’t be so confused by confusion, but we must be especially mindful with our outrage when it is being leveraged for intellectual destruction. #CNNBlackmail is not the last we’ve heard of trolling, though calling it out for what it is can help us find focus in the haze of perpetual BS. You’ll be less likely to fall for such trickery if you remain true to yourself, and are actively thinking through your contributions to the public forum. If we can’t yet figure out how to turn off the strobe light, we can at least try admitting that the flashing lights are contributing to our collective headache.

Man, she’s smarter than I am. Smarter than most of the media faces that drone on on the TV, too.


  1. rpjohnston says

    Trouble is, Trump may have started the fire but he’s no longer the “root”, in that getting rid of the root doesn’t kill the problem.

    There’s another meme that’s come up recently, started by some employed figure in the Nazi-right – I can’t remember off the top of my head if he’s a Breitbart editor or Trump state campaign chair or what. But in his gif, Trump’s head appears on a plane as it hits one of the Twin Towers, painted over with a bright-red CNN logo.

    Think about that for a moment. These guys are literally memeing themselves as terrorists attacking America now. And going hog-wild over it, hooting and hollering. If this was ever a movement even tenuously about some sort of principle, it isn’t anymore. It’s pure vandalism. It’s a movement based on nothing more than breaking things to make dem dirty libs cry.

    If – when – we destroy Trump, this movement isn’t going to just shrug and go away. They’re barely holding back now because their champion is busy wrecking everything, but as soon as we take back even a semblance of control – even to put it into the hands of the uncharismatic, Lawful Evil pence – they’re going to take destruction into their own hands.

    Patriotism, America First, make America Great Again, economic anxiety, opioid epidemic – none of this means anything to people who meme themselves as America-hating terrorists. They’ll tear this country down to piss of the left. Convince them you want to save their babies, and they’ll toss them into traffic just to piss you off (or at least do the equivalent, destroying their own healthcare to stick it to us). You’ve seen the NRA video. You’ve watched their violence boil over the fringe, from Malheur and Oregon trains to Montana reporters. That’s just a prelude to what’s to come.

    Cutting off Trump is necessary to stop the damage HE is doing to our civic institutions and to eventually regaining control, but my honest, greatest fear is that the Democratic leadership will remain too feckless, too complacent, to keep this country secure against the tens of millions of terrorists waiting for us to throw open the gate.

  2. Cartimandua says

    Trump and the meme makers are enablers of western cultural fascism.

    We saw in Poland that Trump regards MAGA as just one front in a broader war where ‘The West Redux’ will reassert objective cultural superiority over the brown skins and relegate them to their proper place. We see this with the push back to legitimate news. We see it with Lauren Southern’s crusade and Pettibone and RageAfterStorm and Sargon and the other pieces of human garbage Im regrettably becoming aware of. We see it with walls and bans and dog whistles.

    It is time for us to acknowledge the problem isn’t limited to Trump. It’s the cultural supremacists he enables and draws on that must be crushed. And the society that supports them.

    This is a war whether we wanted it or not. We have to confront and weaken the western edifice that is built on white privilege. Its very premise is toxic. It’s application is genocidal. We need to do this any way we can. Antifa in Germany demonstrated limited direct action. PZ, I have noticed your occasional call to truly direct action (“We all know what this country should do to kings.”). I like the cut of your gib. I ask you to be even more explicit. An accelerated indirect leavening via multiculturalism is also highly desired. Witness the recent, welcome introduction of customary law in certain quarters of England.

    It is time to act. The world does not have three years to wait.

    I am physically sick that we are blindsided by a Zionist “wonder” woman, a product of the corporate studios, espousing faux feminism to preening femdom inspired fanboys. I am nauseated that 100 people can be immolated in their substandard homes but their faces are less known than a relative handful of privileged concert goers. I see no aspect of America (Executive, Legislative, Judiciary) that isn’t in thrall to entrenched bastions of power – and which doesn’t therefore require the application of a blow torch.

    Bring it on.

  3. Joey Maloney says

    I am physically sick that we are blindsided by a Zionist “wonder” woman,

    The fuck?

    <shakes it off>

    Anyway, the OP reminds me of the dressing down Jon Stewart gave Tucker Carlson lo those many moons ago:

    Carlson, smugly [redundant, I know]: You should teach at a journalism school.
    Stewart: You should go to one.

    Watch the whole thing if you never have. Most fun 14 minutes you’ll spend today.

  4. Joey Maloney says

    chigau #4

    Thanks, I know where it comes from. When I’m walking along and there’s a dog turd on the sidewalk, I know where that came from, too.

  5. microraptor says

    Fanatic: a person who won’t shut up and can’t change the subject.

  6. vucodlak says

    What’s that sound, coming from the walls? A tiny voice, urging indiscretion:

    “Take rash action now, loosen your tongue! We’re all compatriots here, yes? Let’s go break something… you go first. I’ll follow your lead.”

    @ Joey Maloney, #5

    Never mind the smell; I’m pretty sure turds don’t have whiskers or long naked tails. The squeaking is almost convincing but for the sour notes.

    (Because I’m crap at metaphor, I’ll spell it out: I smell a rodent, specifically a rattus provocateurus)

  7. Cartimandua says

    Take a look around you. If you can’t see Trump as fuelling – and being propelled by – a race war hiding behind a defense of “culture” then you need to open your eyes.

    Re WW – that was but one point demonstrating the value-facade of capitalist interests.

    That all evidence points to Gadot being a Zionist is uncontroversial. That’s the standard. I’ll leave it up to you to walk past it.

    That serious feminists are appalled by the commercial studio version of ’empowerment’ is also mainstream.

    vucodlak, I am keen to hear your argument supporting western institutions – and why you feel they should be a gold standard to be imposed on the less fortunate. Or maybe you are closer to my views than you pretend …. Just think through your next post.

    I am keen to understand why a call to action has you back tracking so fast. I am European and the direct action I’ve been involved with makes your nervous comment look as ridiculous as it sounds.

    I only comment here when I feel I can help with an agenda that envisages real change. Either in practice or thought. A purpose apparently at odds with vucodlak. Whatever. It’s your call.

  8. says

    The quote I found most interesting in the Lauren Duca article was this one, regarding a discussion with one of the mods of 4-chan:

    At one point in our conversation, he likened the essential energy of trolling to puppy energy. Or, as he put it: You know how, if you don’t play with or walk a dog enough, they lose it and just start destroying everything? That’s trolling.

    To quote David & Leigh Eddings: “You were bored. What a fascinating reason to kill your friends.” (From “Enchanter’s End Game” – Belgariad Book 5).

    Y’know, the majority of the planet manages to figure out what to do with and about our boredom without needing to attempt to hurt other people for fun, much less destroy civilisation. This is more than mere “bored puppy” energy, although I’ll agree there’s a certain component in there which is about boredom and lack of distraction. But there’s also a sizeable component which is just plain, naked entitlement – these guys feel entitled to break civilisation because other people aren’t entertaining them enough. Gods forbid we ask them to actually look after their own emotional needs once in a while. How could we be so cruel, so heartless, so plain nasty, as to expect them to actually behave like adults, and find things to entertain themselves.

    What an epitaph to have as a society. “Killed by bored channers”.

  9. says

    I am currently at a SF convention with a strong feminist/sjw bent, and as you might guess, the Wonder Woman movie comes up a lot. One interesting comment that received a lot of agreement was that Wonder Woman was a B- movie that did some things right and some things wrong, but that people who liked the good parts are reluctant to talk about the flaws, because they want to see more and better movies made along these lines. There was also some discussion of how US military and intelligence takes an active role in policing movie content — that movies that blame military policy for bad outcomes (as opposed to “rogue CIA agents” or whatever) tend not to get greenlit, and that writers are quietly encouraged to shape stories in a way that suits their ends.

    This is pretty much the standard feminist position on the movie that I’ve encountered. It’s more complicated than you think. So when someone comes along to accuse us of “YOU BLIND FOOLS! YOU’VE BEEN DUPED INTO YOUR UNTHINKING PRAISE!”, I tend to roll my eyes a lot.

  10. says

    Off topic but it’s summer, man, and you have to check out Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer. Chapter 5 was made for you, in which a squid meets a truly horrifying, or perhaps appropriate, but anyway hilarious fate. I laughed out loud.


  11. antigone10 says


    I’ve been trying how to best phrase my objections to your comment. Should I go with assuming good faith, and patiently explaining why even if you seem to have some good motivations you are being to broad and not thinking through your consequences? Should I go for snark, trying to phrase it is if this is just a joke that we can comfortably ignore you? Should I choke down my feelings, roll my eyes, and ignore you? It’s difficult to know what the appropriate response is to unknown people on the internet, where we are lacking almost all metalanguage and even if we are all speaking English, lack the linguistic context.

    So I think I’m going to go with the most straightforward- fuck you. Fuck you and telling me that getting to see a woman kick ass on her own terms means I’m brainwashed. Fuck you for telling me that a journalist who doesn’t understand why I like my hobbies is the most “Feminist” version of criticism. Fuck you for telling women that it doesn’t matter that we have no representation. Fuck you for deciding that a movie that takes steps in a positive direction is the most worthy of criticism, and not the other worse movies and never complaining that they’re doing feminism wrong. Fuck you for thinking that violence is what is going to make this country and “the west” better, riding roughshod over the people’s lives and families that are going to be destroyed because you have a glorious version of “winning” in your head. If it comes to more violence, and it may yet come to more violence, that is not something to celebrate. I want cops to quit killing my friends; I don’t want more dead cops. I want my families and friends to understand their actions to have consequences and to change what they’re doing before the consequences hit, I don’t want them to die from lack of healthcare. The win state is not a glorious revolution. The win state is eventually small, hard-won steps leading up to a better future. War is a fail state; one that we may have to live with, but a fail state nonetheless. Quit pushing for it.

  12. unclefrogy says

    yes there are numerous reactionary alt-right people who promote and advocate what amounts to self destructive action against society as a whole with emphasis on that part of society they deem the enemy. Nothing very new about that.
    They stood outside the high schools in Birmingham It was difficult and in no way finished yet but the schools got integrated anyway.
    The current state of things is not very different really. what is new is the anonymity of the internet. When someone as in this case advocates real violence and are found out what do they do? I do not recall many who stand by their previous stand and do not try to weasel out of it. They are emboldened by Trump but their cowardice remains they feel protected in the crowd of his supporters and seldom stand up in full public view and say that shit.
    Look at what has been happening at the republican town hall meetings in their home districts. No violence need by the population at large. Just remember while we may often deplore the action of the police they claim the sole right to the use of violence and will not allow anyone else at all to attempt to use violence. The government may not make statements condemning the right wing hate groups as often or as strongly as we would like but they are watching them in case they try to usurp their monopoly on the use of violence.
    uncle frogy

  13. vucodlak says

    vucodlak, I am keen to hear your argument supporting western institutions – and why you feel they should be a gold standard to be imposed on the less fortunate.

    Yeah, that’s not my problem. This-


    -is my problem. You can’t just throw that word around like it doesn’t have a hideous history, like it wasn’t, isn’t, a word used by the very worst sorts of people in defense of some of the very worst atrocities this world has ever seen.

    I think I made myself clear enough about my other issue with you, though I imagine I needn’t have bothered.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Tangentially: I really like the juxtaposition of the previous/next-post links on the item following:

    Lauren Duca should be teaching journalism to the Philosophers who understand neither philosophy nor big networks biology