Category Archives: Verbal Pantsing

You’ll Get Upset When You Read What This No-Name Blogger Has To Say About Upworthy. Then You’ll Be Blown Away.

See how annoying the Upworthy click-baiting title structure can be? But we’ll get to that in a moment. First, a tangent:

The vast, volcanic ash-plains of the Internet are a lot like the Galapagos Islands. Freed of all our petty mainland notions of quality control, strange and terrible mutants are free to evolve, seemingly in defiance of all natural laws. Sometimes, you’ll come across something and just have no idea what you’re looking at, and have absolutely idea why any caring god would allow such a travesty to evolve in the first place. Media on the Internet evolves the same way, a fact which is best demonstrated by a look at the “news” website and viral content distributor Upworthy.

Since its launch in March 2012 with the mission of spreading progressively-themed content across social networks, Upworthy has become a huge success, with millions of hits a day and more capital funding per year than most of us will see in our lives. And that terrifies me. The trends we see developing in sites like Upworthy and to a lesser extent Buzzfeed will cripple the foundation of journalism if left unchecked.

A lot of the problems in Upworthy are also present to a lesser extent in the venerable Buzzfeed. Now, Buzzfeed is one of my favorite sites to visit. But I don’t go there for serious news, I go there to waste time looking at pictures of cats. Buzzfeed, like Upworthy, is meant to spread memes. That’s why it uses a gratingly informal headline convention that seems more at home on a chain e-mail than a news article. It’s designed to be click-bait, something that pulls your attention in and gets you lost in peeping at more and more articles. Upworthy does the same thing, only it’s even more annoying because unlike the simple, ADHD-like quality of Buzzfeed, Upworthy’s not just pushing cat pictures, but a worldview.

My biggest problem with Upworthy isn’t the way its headlines blatantly and cynically play to your emotions. That certainly doesn’t help, but it goes beyond that. The biggest problem I have with Upworthy is its dishonesty: it claims to be hard-hitting, truth-to-power viral journalism when it…just isn’t. The foundation of any good journalism is objectivity. The purpose of a news reporter is to report facts and let the readers draw their own conclusions. Opinions are for the editorials. Upworthy throws all that out the window for the sake of preaching to the choir, who in this case are the absolute lowest of the low-information voter demographic. It’s like Christian Rock for people who still watch The Newsroom: people will flock to anything that tells them what they already want to hear if they package it in an entertaining way. And I find that both personally annoying, but deeply offensive to real journalists. If Upworthy openly admitted that they were spreading a bunch of “info-tainment” targeted to a specific demographic, I’d have far less of a problem with them, and really all I’d point out is that their titling conventions are annoying. But that might leave some of their audience with some cognitive dissonance, and that could lead to THINKING! Can’t have that!

Upworthy is not interested in deep thinking. It’s interested in mobilizing lazy and shallow people with vaguely progressive heart-tingles into spreading viral memes.

That’s not to say that Upworthy doesn’t have its uses, of course. If you’re on Upworthy to look for a nice progressive news story to make you feel good about how “sensitive” and “socially aware” you are, then you’ll get what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an accurate picture of the world around you, then you should probably go somewhere else. Upworthy’s just not in that line of work.



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Filed under Advice, Blowing off Steam, Reviews, Verbal Pantsing

Marin County Veteran Flies Flag, Trolled by Anonymous Leftoid

Somewhere, a leftist saw this picture and was triggered to the sodding moon.

A San Francisco leftist saw this picture and was just triggered to the sodding moon.


You really can’t make this stuff up, folks.

So there’s this guy in San Raphael, Marin County, California. A Vietnam vet by the name of Dean Morris. He’s a perfectly ordinary guy  who, like many other perfectly ordinary Americans, flies his nation’s flag in front of his house every day. Pretty boring stuff, right?

Well, you’re right. There’s nothing interesting about Mr. Morris in any way. Sorry to disappoint, I guess that just about wraps it up for toda–hey, wait a minute…


Earlier this week, Morris and a few of his neighbors who also flew flags every day received a poorly-written anonymous message berating them for their feeling of pride for their nation:

After checking with his neighbors, Morris learned his Riviera Drive friends who also fly American flags received the same note. It included profanity, and assumed its receivers were Republicans who did not agree with the politics of what the writer described as the nation’s “black president.”

This deserves a deeper analysis. Okay I guess it really doesn’t, but picking apart and verbally pantsing nameless and faceless IRL trolls is a great distraction from re-writing the opening of a hard-fantasy detective story, so I’m doing it anyway. Now where did I put my scalpels?…

1) Of course this sort of thing would happen in San Francisco. I’d expect Bostonians to try something similar, but the American Revolution actually happened there, so we tend to have a bit more respect for our history. 

2) What kind of a person sees someone with a flag outside some random guy’s house and just assumes they’re a conservative? A spoiled SWPL college student who’s never left the suburbs in his life, that’s who. In case you haven’t noticed, Americans in general love the flag, regardless of who they vote for. It’s literally one of the most uncontroversial things in the country right now. Hell, even among the New England libprog yuppies I grew up with, there was a seriously abiding, powerful respect for the flag as a symbol of America. I’m not even sure if this is a cultural thing in CA, or if this was just a complete Weather Underground-tier whackaloon. My point is that there are only 2 ways I know of for someone to be this sheltered from the realities of American political culture–not being familiar with American culture (foreigner, etc.), or prolonged exposure to radical politics. I’m guessing the latter, simply because most foreign visitors I’ve met have tried their best not to insult random people for no reason.

3) I found it very telling that our trollish friend here felt the need to specifically mention Barry O. as “the black president,” instead of mentioning him by name. Obviously this was intended as a triggering tactic, with the troll’s alleged “thought process” being something like “that guy down the street keeps his American flag out all the time and therefore must be a conservative, and therefore a racist! I’ll piss him off by reminding him that he’s being ruled by a black guy, that’ll show him!” Let’s put the whole “conservatives are racist” trope aside for now.  Instead, let’s look at how this statement betrays the troll’s own racial biases. It pulls back the curtain for a moment and gives us a peek at what lurks behind his façade. He doesn’t really think of Barack Obama as a person like you or me–his only value  lies in his blackness, since it makes him just a stick to hit conservatives with and make them cry. It’s a really weird feeling when you realize that the “racists” who treat the sitting president with scorn and hold him to certain standards are less bigoted than the “anti-racists” who only value him inasmuch as they can use him as a rhetorical weapon against other white people. Which group do you think is treating other races with more respect?

“Show some respect and fly your flag on important holidays instead of trying to make a moronic statement. It is not cute!”

Oh, I see. So now showing a patriotic symbol less makes you more patriotic? Kind of like how the sort of person who goes to church on Christmas and Easter takes his religion more seriously than someone who goes to church every week. I didn’t realize patriotism was such a scarce resource that we were rationing it now. Are you actually one of the secret field operatives for the Ministry of Patriotism, some sort of meter-reader for your neighborhood’s national pride?


Might wanna slow down a bit there, comrade.

That just about wraps thing up for today, so I just want to close with a brief observation:

Mr. Troll (should you come across this blog one day)–you know that “black president” you love to wield like a cudgel against your enemies and gloat over, but couldn’t care less about as a human being? Check out his house:


He never takes HIS flag down. How disrespectful, right?

Bonne nuit, mon ami!

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Filed under Blowing off Steam, Politics, Satire and Trolling, Verbal Pantsing

Fisking NPR about Latinos in the movies

In which Larry Correia, International Lord of Hate, exposes the racism of a particularly tone-deaf “anti-racist” in spectacular fashion.

Monster Hunter Nation

Damn it, people. I post that I’m trying to finish a novel by the end of the month, and what do you go and do? You post Fisk Bait articles like this on my Facebook page.

As a D List novelist, I should be cranking out more cismale gendernormative fiction, but oh no, you guys had to go and tag me with an article about how all of our entertainment needs to be filtered through the lens of righteous Social Justice, and if you don’t find racism in absolutely everything, then racist. Obviously.

This is so dumb, how can I not take the time to make fun of it?

As usual, the original will be in italics and my comments will be in bold.

Here is a link to the original article on NPR. Since this is NPR you need to imagine the article being quietly narrated in the…

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Filed under Politics, Re-blogged, Verbal Pantsing