I guess there’s a reason FtB lacks a style guide


Oh, no! I just realized that Freethoughtblogs lacks a style book! We have a short guide we send out to all the new bloggers that summarizes the mechanics of writing here, and includes general suggestions, like frequent admonitions to overthrow the patriarchy and return the implements of wealth generation to the hands of the workers, but nothing about style. We just tell ’em to write what they want and how they want, and it’s a free-for-all out there. I think if we said anything about style beyond encouraging godless liberty and a worker’s paradise, we’d have a revolution.

But OK, I know a lot of places enforce a house style and even dictate the kind of content that is acceptable. Let’s see what our competition is up to.

The Daily Stormer has a prime directive.

Oh. Well. I guess I’m not surprised. Nuance and thought get in the way of hatred and violence, so of course oversimplification and reduction to crude caricature is the order of the day there.

What about tone?

This fits. I’m sure you’ve noticed how often the most abominable people use the “I was just joking” defense, or scream “Satire!” at you (the Morris North Star, for instance, publishes prominently a disingenuous disclaimer that they write satire, so that when they accuse an administrator of promoting white genocide, they can quickly disavow it). But we all know they really mean it.

I’m feeling rather nauseated. I don’t think I go on. All the other freethoughtbloggers will be relieved to know that I wouldn’t impose a style guide on them even if that were within my power to do (we have an administration style best characterized as anarchy.)

But please do remember that when an alt-right Nazi or troll from /pol/ smiles and tries to tell you that they’re just having fun, they’re not. They actually are horrible, awful, people who might be dressed up in clownface.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, I saw this on RWW roundup, and decided to ignore it. I should have stuck with that decision.

    This is obviously a ply and I actually do want to gas kikes. But that’s neither here nor there.

    Oh, I think that’s all here and there. Yikes.

  2. microraptor says

    I’d say that about 90% of the time that someone pulls out the “I was just joking” defense after saying something awful, they weren’t joking.

    The other ten percent of the time, they’re still a horrible person for thinking that saying something like that was funny.

  3. Gregory Greenwood says

    ‘I was just joking’ is an even bigger tell for a hateful bigot than ‘I was just asking questions’. Their vile prejudice is usually matched by a profound degree of stupidity and a lack of anything approaching originality, and so they helpfully keep recycling the same scripts, which usually makes them easy to spot at least.

  4. busterggi says

    But vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred IS all their humor has. If it doesn’t downgrade or humiliate someone they won’t think its funny.

  5. vucodlak says

    This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want gas [Jewish people]

    But we must never, ever get violent with the poor wittle Nazi scum. We must patiently explain to them that what they are saying is wrong (which they know, or they wouldn’t hide behind “just joking”). It’s only a little ideological difference, after all!

    But please do remember that when an alt-right Nazi or troll from /pol/ smiles and tries to tell you that they’re just having fun, they’re not.

    I believe they’re having fun. That’s part of the problem; murder is fun for them. I had to look up one of the slurs on the ‘acceptable slurs’ list. It was extra revolting in the way that it went along perfectly with their ‘yes, they really do want to murder everyone not just like them’ theme.

  6. Demeisen says

    Even this style guide is written in the sort of faux-hyperbolic fashion that allows it to be played off as “just a joke.” I’m nearly certain they’ll be claiming this document was only a gag. Or that it was a fake, leaked to the media on purpose to prove that the “liberal MSM” will print anything as long as it makes the right look racist.

  7. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    I blame the historians. It is the fault of people like me. We have failed, failed, I say, in our mission. We have somehow failed to show how evil, how reprehensible, how wrong, how contra-indicated, how badly bad fascism really is. Yeah, we write about the holocaust, the unprovoked war, the war on Jews/gypsies/Slavs/homosexuals/liberals/communists/leftists/intellectuals/education, the destruction, the bloodshed, the damage done to the world, but, somehow, we, as historians, have managed to downplay fascism in such a way as to make it acceptable, nay, desirable, to those too young to actually remember it. It is too bad that fascism has not been dealt with as harshly as, say, the Confederacy. After all, no one admires the antebellum South, no one admires the traitors who started a civil war over the right to own people, right? Historians like to use the old saw that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. And, damnit!, we, in the USA, are trying our damnedest to prove that old saw right.

    Far right.

    Neonazi right.

  8. shadow says

    @6:

    The MSM doesn’t need to do anything to make the alt-right (can we just call them fascists/Nazis?) look racist. They do that all on their own.

  9. says

    Vucodlak:

    I had to look up one of the slurs on the ‘acceptable slurs’ list. It was extra revolting in the way that it went along perfectly with their ‘yes, they really do want to murder everyone not just like them’ theme.

    I’ll bet it was the same one I had to look up. So much for our innocence.

  10. Demeisen says

    @Shadow (#8):

    We know that, but any time something like this gets leaked, the alt-right/neo-fascist crowd will lie to save face: By claiming they leaked intentionally leaked an “ironic” statement, they can say something like “LOL, the MSM is so stupid they fell for it. Obviously we don’t really believe any of that, the liberal media is just so scared of us speaking the truth they’ll jump on any opportunity to call us racists.” They really think the “I meant to do that” ploy works.

  11. Saad says

    It’s so hard to figure out what their views are without a clear open line of civil heart-to-heart dialogue.

  12. rietpluim says

    Oh yeah. Mein Kampf, the NSDAP, Kristallnacht, a World War, the Holocaust, and over 60 million casualties… Just a joke. Really, just kidding! Such humor those Nazi’s!!

  13. TheGyre says

    Here is a good example of the fascist approach to its opponents:

    At the Berghof on Nov. 19, 1937, Hitler gave some advice to Lord Halifax, the former British Viceroy of India, about what to do about Great Britain’s current difficulties in their troubled colony: “Shoot Gandhi! If that does not suffice to reduce them to submission, shoot a dozen leading members of Congress, and if that does not suffice, shoot 200 more and so on until order is established.”

    That’s right. The Nazis would have shot Gandhi. Tells you all you need to know about the swine.

  14. Zeppelin says

    TheGyre: I don’t dispute your assessment of Hitler, but the reason the British didn’t shoot Gandhi is because (unlike Hitler) they weren’t unimaginative enough to think it would help. They were happy to shoot plenty of other, less influential people.

  15. microraptor says

    TheGyre: @14:

    That’s right. The Nazis would have shot Gandhi. Tells you all you need to know about the swine.

    Gosh, and here I thought that it was the millions of people the Nazis actually did kill that told me everything I ever needed to know about them.

  16. robro says

    The British did not shoot Gandhi because they were fair-minded gentlemen.They didn’t shoot Gandhi because they desperately needed India’s several million soldiers…the largest volunteer army in the world at the time. Killing him would have made matters worse. The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on Germany and Japan on India’s behalf in September 1939. Gandhi and other leaders of the India National Congress resisted and formed the Quit India Movement in 1942 demanding independence. For this, the British arrested some 60,000 Congress members, including Gandhi. During subsequent demonstrations, the British arrested another 100,000 people, killing hundreds.

  17. says

    Ogvorbis @7

    After all, no one admires the antebellum South, no one admires the traitors who started a civil war over the right to own people, right?

    Oh, there are people who do just that. “The South will rise again”, and all that crap.

  18. John Morales says

    WMDKitty makes an unfortunate point.

    It’s just like religion; I can accept people believe what they believe, but it still seems somehow fake — like they’re LARPing.

    Same with the belief about human races.

    Pretty easy to find historical examples of this confluence of racism and goddism.

  19. vucodlak says

    @ Caine, #9

    Was it the last one? That’s the one I had to look up. I thought it might be a reference to “reptilians” or something. I really wish it had been. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach for violence, but that one really made me sick.

    I know what person who’s been shot in the head looks like. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s one of those things I try not to think about. That someone could turn it into a joke, call people that because it’s something they want to see happen to the people being slurred, it’s… what? What is the word for something like this? Because I’m at a loss.

    You’re not kidding about innocence; I feel dirty just having read about the term. Although I will say that singing along to Emilie Autumn’s I Want my Innocence Back helped get the taste out of my mouth.

  20. KG says

    The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on Germany and Japan on India’s behalf in September 1939. – robro@17

    Not on Japan. Britain (and hence India) were not at war with Japan until December 1941. Otherwise, you are correct. Indian troops played a crucial role in early WWII victories in east Africa, Iraq and Iran, which were key to securing oil supplies, allowing American supplies to reach the British in Egypt (neutrality laws would not allow them to go through a war zone), and later, supplying the Soviet Union via Iran.

  21. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    WMDKitty @18

    Oh, there are people who do just that. “The South will rise again”, and all that crap.

    Yeah. That was sarcasm. My point was that the further away in time you are from something evil, the easier it is for some to admire something about it.

  22. says

    Vucodlak:

    Was it the last one? That’s the one I had to look up. I thought it might be a reference to “reptilians” or something. I really wish it had been. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach for violence, but that one really made me sick.

    Yes. My first thought was a an old fashioned carnival/freak show slur, boy was I ever wrong. Like you, so very sorry I looked it up.

  23. says

    WMD Kitty & John Morales @ 18 and 19:

    How in the fuck did you not realize that was sarcasm, given the complete context of Ogvorbis’s post?

  24. woozy says

    24: Hmmm, Decades ago, a fellow teacher told me about a student using a similar term (but with “eyes” rather than “head”). I had to have it explained and he gave a more predictable response.

  25. davidw says

    I’m really disappointed, PZ (if I may be so presumptuous to a fellow science professor), that you linked to HuffPo instead of The Daily Stormer itself. Think of all the hits their website would’ve gotten! (/sarcasm)

  26. emergence says

    Something both baffling and suckening* about neo-Nazis is that they simultaneously deny that the Holocaust ever happened, while talking about how much they want to kill Jews. If they don’t think genocide is wrong, then why do they think that they need to exonerate their ideology from responsibility for genocide? You’d think that these edgelords would be proud that the Holocaust happened and say that they were only sad that Hitler wasn’t able to finish his work.

    *I didn’t have the heart to correct the typo in “sickening”.

  27. woozy says

    maybe because there’s no indicator that it was sarcasm?

    what about the fact that they literally said something utterly absurd?

    I understand passion knocks all of our sarcasm meters off now and then but they literally said and I quote:

    After all, no one admires the antebellum South, no one admires the traitors who started a civil war over the right to own people, right? 

    Surely, to suggest *that* needs a snark tag is a bit absurd.

  28. lumipuna says

    emergence,

    Years ago, one highly insightful commenter on this very blog noted that neonazis tend to simultaneously hold three views on Holocaust:

    1. It never happened (or the reports are greatly exaggerated)
    2. It was great (as in the Jews deserved it)
    3. It wasn’t our fault (as in it was a false flag operation by Jewish elites, or something)

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