When I read the following condescending tweets from University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran, my first thought was, “Well, somehow he wasn’t educated enough to predict this reaction. What did he expect?”
And then I realized that I wasn’t giving him enough credit. Professor Attaran knew exactly what to expect.
Professor Attaran wants you to read his unsolicited and deliberately insulting tweets. He wants you to talk about the tight links between the polling firm that provided him with his QUOTATION and the Liberal Party of Canada. He wants you to hurl all kinds of abuse at him.
Then, he and others will go through the pile of invective generated by this Sunday evening musing, pick out the most racist and inflammatory takes, and use them to justify the idea that facts are under assault, that minorities cannot speak out on issues of the day in Canada, that Conservatives don’t believe in freedom of speech, and that “right-wing mobs” exist and are being directed by CPC thought leaders.
It’s not like this is a new phenomenon, or something that’s new to Canada. Did you think all of Trudeau’s ridiculous behaviour was spontaneous? Sure, some of it is. The man is a certifiable moron. But we really should have guessed that we were being played for fools by the time he was doing shirtless photobombs of weddings.
Or, we could see the obvious hook being baited here:
And what do you suppose the point of last week’s controversy over screenings of “Unplanned” was?
(Did you notice that the “Unplanned” controversy, Butts’ Stampede caption contest tweet, and Attaran’s pushing of poll numbers all happened within the same really short period of time? Gee, I wonder why that is.)
People are mad today that they have been talked down to by some absent-minded ivory-tower elitist. What they should be mad about is the fact that they’re being milked like livestock for comments and impressions.
Isn’t it incredible how these Trump haters, these committed members of the #Resistance who bemoan the negative effects of social media on our discourse, turn around and make use of the same tactics to further their own ends?
Actually, no it isn’t. There I go again, assuming that there’s some kind of principle at work here. If I’m surprised that the Liberals would use social media to divide people, that’s because I believed that they were genuinely concerned about the discourse.
It’s not cynical to suspect Liberal operatives of constantly trying to win your vote or polarize the electorate. That’s what they’re paid to do, after all.
But if Conservatives could stop allowing themselves to be led around by the nose in this way instead of dog-piling every Liberal who mocks them, they might find that these ham-handed attempts to control the discourse would ease up a little.
These are desperate attempts by an unpopular party to stay elected. The proper response to Attaran’s trolling is contempt.
Oh, and also realizing that yes, Canadian politics is rife with this sort of thing.