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September 6th, 2018

Fuck That Guy:

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Memo to public “intellectuals”: FUCK THAT GUY.

The phrase “fuck that guy” can be many things: it can be profane, and it’s slightly sexist, in that it presumes the person being written off is a guy, when the odds that it’s a guy are only around 90%. What it’s not, however, is censorship or the violation of some kind of intellectual Golden Rule.

Yes, today we’re talking mainly about the New Yorker “festival of ideas” debacle, to which Steve Bannon was invited, then disinvited after everyone else invited to the festival said “fuck that guy”.

Steve Bannon is the archetypal “fuck that guy” guy. He’s an execrable little toad. He’s a Nazi without the more appealing Nazi qualities, you know, like discipline and fashion sense. His ideas aren’t interesting or novel. He’s just famous, and the only reason he’s famous is because he barnacled himself to Trump and got on teevee.

The fact that no decent person would willingly associate themselves with Steve Bannon is such a truism that you can flip it and assume that anyone who willingly associates with Steve Bannon, regardless of their stated motives, is not a decent person. At worst, they’re complicit, and at best, they’re hopelessly fucking naive.

The reality of the world we live in now is that the one thing these people are good at is weaponizing ideals against people who have ideals. And the only reason they’re good at it is that center-left intellectuals like the New Yorker crew are so goddamned good at falling for it, even though the it has a big, cartoonish, Wile E. Coyote bomb strapped to it every time.

You can’t have an honest conversation with someone who’s dishonest. You can’t challenge the ideas of someone who will not only refuse to accept that they lost the challenge, but blame you for making them look like they did. You can’t debate someone.

There’s no qualifier there for a reason. Debate is dead much like print and radio are dead. It’s still kicking around, but only old people fail to realize that the world has changed in ways that make it almost entirely irrelevant. Debate is dead for the same reason most other forms of political discourse and “honest conversation” are dead. We pushed all the referees into a volcano and every participant gets to decide and declare the results of the debate themselves.

This is why, when right-wing... guy who says stuff and somehow isn’t homeless and eating out of garbage cans as a result, I guess?—When the difficult-to-describe Ben Shapiro demanded that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issue a response that was in essence “fuck that guy”, she was 100% in the right staying 100% out of the alt-right. Not because Shapiro would decimate her intellectually, but because he would say stuff and she would say stuff and he would say he won and nobody would be able to convince him he was wrong.

.

She said no, the MAGA basement dwellers whined about it for a couple of days, and the exact same number of people were convinced to support Ocasio-Cortez regardless. Ben Shapiro didn’t need to convince people to support him, because, again, he’s not running for office or doing anything except “being an asshole”, which in the world of the right wing is all you need to pull down enough money to live comfortably. And I guarantee you, this column is the first you’ve heard of it since it happened.

We lose nothing by shunning these people. We’re not going to convince anyone by engaging them, there is no fair field of battle on which to fight them, there is no agreed-upon objective reality on which to base a “winner” or “loser’, and even if there were, there’s no way to impose consequences or enforce them for “losing”. And your thing is not going to be the thing that brings any of that back. That ship has sailed. Those keys are in the lava. Find something constructive to do.

The only appropriate response is “Fuck that guy” or, assuming it’s Tornii Lahrne, “Fuuuuuuuuuck her” with a drawn out “u” sound and an inflection that ensures it’ll be heard as dismissive and in no way sexual.