Over the first few days after the Christchurch mosque massacre, two interlocking narratives developed. One was tallying up the carnage, and the other was the story of the alleged killer’s radicalization through social media. And of course, both narratives were driven in part by the conspiracy theories that both the killer espoused through his manifesto and that instantly sprouted up around the shooting.
None of this is new. Self-radicalization via social media is a huge issue that major tech companies are struggling to contain. And instant conspiracy theories are common to mass tragedies now, as we’ve seen time and time again in the last ten years.
But the reaction to the New Zealand massacre had one major difference that anyone who keeps tabs on conspiracy/extremist culture should be screaming to the high heavens about: the response of the US government to amplify, rather than condemn, the killer’s racism and the conspiracy theorists who push it.
On May 7th, the New Yorker reported an explosive story that saw four women accusing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of sexual and physical abuse. Schneiderman resigned hours later.
A state AG being taken down by horrific deeds wouldn’t ordinarily make much noise, but Schneiderman has been a constant thorn in President Trump’s side, having filed civil and criminal cases against Trump, his administration, and a variety of his cronies.
Given how hard Schneiderman and his office have been gunning for Trump, it’s not surprising that there would be some antagonism between the two.
But it IS surprising that that antagonism seems to date back years – and played out in public on Twitter.
A while back, I started a running analysis of every Trump tweet where the president used a parenthesis. I hoped to find some insight into his thinking, a window into how the president structures his sentences and word choices for maximum impact.
Instead, I found a scattershot pair of thumbs who seems to barf any thought he has into run-on sentences full of parenthetical thoughts that often either don’t need to exist, or contradict what’s come before.
Has anything changed for April? Has the president learned to wield his mighty 280 character sword more efficiently?
You be the judge.
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
President Trump’s use of Twitter is an endlessly fascinating and terrifying subject. He uses it to communicate with his friends on Fox News, to poke his rivals, to announce wild swings in policy, and to pump up the brand of President of the United States.
Another subject of fascination is the language he uses when he uses it. Trump’s tweets are full of seemingly random capitalized words, tortured run-on sentences, short admonitions that sound like they’re commands to a dog (“NO!” “BAD!” “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”), and pictures from his travails pretending to lead the free world.
One of my personal favorite Trump Twitter Quirks is his use of parentheses. According to grammarbook.com, parentheses should be used “to enclose information that clarifies or is used as an aside.”
whenever trump does "good (great)" it reminds me of this passage from lolita with the best parentheses in all of literature: "My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three"
Most Trump parentheses are asides with no real reason for existing. He also clarifies information that doesn’t really need to be clarified, re-stating or contradicting information he’s literally just given us. There seems to be no real methodology to their use.
Because I love Trump’s scattershot use of parentheses so much, I decided to go through all his tweets for 2018 so far and take a quick look at each one. Was it needed? Was it helpful? Did it even make sense? What was he attempting to communicate in his usage of it? Was there a hidden meaning we just didn’t grasp? Read on, dear reader:
During October 1978, the US spent a month practicing World War III.
The military portion of the plan was given the jaunty codename “Nifty Nugget,” and when paired with a civilian plan called “Readiness Exercise 78,” represented the first ever computerized, nuclear age exercise to test the nation’s ability to mobilize for war in Europe, fight in the field, move equipment and troops, and absorb the damage and casualties that would occur when the conflict went nuclear.
It was a fiasco, and showed that if war broke out, we’d be utterly screwed.