Few art forms can match the elegance and grandeur of social media debate. A single tweet’s comment section combines the drama of Shakespearean tragedy, the majesty of a Roman forum and the pettiness of a gesture-based, parking lot traffic dispute. Political ideology achieves its greatest hyperbole. Pejoratives reach their puerile pinnacle. Dunning-Kruger effects rocket the uneducated into delusional orbits so disconnected from reality that empirical truth no longer weighs them down, launching a legion of Quixotic cosmonauts who would probably take issue with this metaphor for suggesting the Earth is round.
Social media debate has fostered a new generation of literary genius. Unsung virtuosos with questionable profile pics have taken up the mantle of Shakespeare, Proust and Woolf – if Shakespeare, Proust and Woolf had scraped through an underfunded public education system, subsisted entirely on Taco Bell and e-cigarettes and limited their works to one hundred and sixty characters. These are the masters of toilet-seated composition. Their pistoning thumbs deliver contrariness and vitriol with an efficiency rarely seen outside of a PCP-induced rampage. They are, without question, the new textual elite.
Let’s take a closer look at some of their more elegant techniques, shall we?
Can the genius of a grandmaster be ascertained from the opening pawn’s advance? No. The shuffling forward of a minor piece cannot reveal the depths of strategy behind the hand, any more than the opening statement of a master social media debater can uncover the expertise at work behind the fire sauce crusted iPhone screen. For example:
I wish poeple would do reserch before shoting there kids full of poison vaccine
Here we see the advanced opening of an expert social media debater. Like a specialized predator in the fathomless deep, this social media debater dangles forth an appetizing trap, brazenly advertising its bait to the scrolling masses. While many have learned to ignore the glowing, fleshy appendage of this provocative comment, for some, the temptation is too strong. It too closely resembles prey. It too aptly mimics the naïveté of the innocently uneducated – weak, and vulnerable to passive aggressive enlightenment. They bite:
It sounds like YOU need to do some research. All credible science indicates vaccines are fine. In fact, here are a few peer reviewed studies showing just that. You’re welcome.
The trap is sprung. There is no soft underbelly here. Only a nest of razor-sharp, badly misspelled teeth…
While other forms of competitive rhetoric discourage ad hominem attacks, social media debate requires them, and, in some cases, consists of them entirely. Like Bach and counterpoint, Picasso and Cubism or Hemingway and the truncated sentence, the expert social media debater is perhaps best defined by the idiosyncratic, conspicuously childish use of ad hominem. Any who opposes them is a “dumdum.” Every opponent is a “big fat loser.” All who disagree are “nitwits.” For example:
Vaccine cauz autism, idot. Your the one who needs to red, okay? Thibk a little more before coming a me like a idoit please .
Here we see a master stroke. This debater’s bad hominem, “idiot,” appears in two misspelled variants. Perhaps, there is more to this linguistic inconsistency than meets the eye…
As Sun Tzu teaches in his Art of War, the expert social media debater keeps the opponent off balance with fluctuating syntax. Like a general concealing the true strength and position of their forces, the debater never reveals a precise intelligence or level of education. During what year of middle school did this debater drop out? The opponent can never be sure. Letters are missing, transposed, included unnecessarily or just altogether wrong, disarming the opponent as they struggle to gauge the profundity of the intellectual deficit with which they are dealing:
So you didn’t read the articles? I gave you empirical data showing no link between vaccines and autism. Clearly you’re not playing with a full deck, but please stop spreading misinformation.
The opponent has miscalculated, badly. Still believing themselves in a power-up position, they bite down once more with condescension and reason. They, however, are not the predator here. They never were. Too late do they realize that the hide of an expert social media debater will not be pierced by reality, so calloused has it become within the delusional echo chambers of online media. This was always going to end one way.
Shaming Acronym Death Blow
LOL itoid so stupd whats wrong with you dumb idit
Its elegance and grace notwithstanding, a technique this powerful can be difficult to watch. The debater’s capitalized letters indicate incredulity so intense they have involuntarily laughed aloud. Confused and unnerved, the opponent retreats, a pound of flesh lighter than before. The debate is over.
Predictably, the expert social media debater has won. Some would argue that by ceding the moral high ground, the expert debater has, in fact, lost. I would urge those critics to get a clu plaese ROFL losers .