Today, Amanda Marcotte published an article in Salon maintaining that Dilbert has Gone Fascist.
As an interesting aside, I discovered this when I was typing in the words “scott adams” into my search bar to get to Scott Adams blog. Google and/or Apple is apparently heavily invested in making sure that everybody who wants to go to Scott Adam’s blog gets a chance to read Amanda Marcotte’s wisdom on Dilbert’s/Scott Adams’ embrace of racism.
Anyway, onto Marcotte:
In the real world, Trump has off-the-charts unfavorability ratings, but in the world of Scott Adams, Trump is a svengali of politics, headed for a landslide in November, due to the enormous persuasive power of racist cracks and non sequitur ramblings. If you read enough of Adams’s blog, it becomes quickly apparent that the only reason Adams thinks this is because he himself is persuaded to vote for Trump. And, like his fellow narcissistic Donald Trump, Adams mistakes his views for the majority.
I think this is a legitimate objection to Scott Adams’ insistence that Trump will win by a landslide in November. Specifically, what I have not seen Adams address is the difficulty of persuading entrenched opposition. Persuasion and branding are powerful things, but their effects are also often semi-permanent to permanent. Once successfully persuaded to buy fully into something from a car brand to a computer ecosystem to an ideology, it’s very difficult to brand and persuade someone out of it.
If you’ve been buying Apple Macintosh computers for years, your next one is likely to be an Apple Macintosh, and no amount of compelling persuasion techniques by Lenovo or Intel or Microsoft is going to change that. No matter how good. This is why Trump’s powerful persuasion techniques identified by Adams’ are unlikely to result in a landslide for Trump in November. This is not a competition between two brand new products in an entirely new category. There is already a lot of baked-in brand loyalty, and a good advertising campaign may move the needle, but the shift will not be seismic.
However, things like this are awesome:
Despite claiming not to support anyone, Adams has largely handed his blog over to defending Trump from his critics.
He doesn’t really do a lot of defending Trump from his critics. He’s asserting that Trump’s dispensing of facts and logic in favor of persuasion techniques, intentional or accidental, is superior to what anybody else is doing in the campaign, and that certainly proved to be true as far as the Republican primary went.
Trump makes a blatantly racist remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being “Mexican” and therefore, in Trump’s opinion, unable to render an impartial verdict in the Trump U case? Adams says that Trump critics must therefore be saying Curiel is a “robot” because “100% of humans are biased about just about everything.”
She includes a link to the original blog post which makes it pretty clear Adams is writing a satirical piece on the absurdity of identity politics and the concept of impartiality (in his opinion), and analyzing Trump’s strategy from his perspective on the art of persuasion:
Curiel looks human on the outside, and he has passed as human for decades. But Cooper made it clear in his interviews yesterday that while science understands that 100% of humans are biased about just about everything, this robot judge is not susceptible to being influenced by his life experiences. It sounds deeply implausible, but no one on CNN challenged Cooper’s implication that Judge Curiel is the only bias-free entity in the universe. Ergo, he must be a robot.
Anyway, lots of folks on Twitter are asking me why Trump would accuse the robot judge of being “Mexican” when that is obviously a racist thing to say. Did Trump make a huge mistake, or is it some sort of clever persuasion thing?
Clearly, Adams is defending both racism and fascism. It is not possible to reach any other conclusion.
The nut of Adams argument (as with pretty much all his Trump posts) and basically untouched on by Marcotte, who tries to use her own lame skills at persuasion to convince us that Adams only wants to slavishly defend Trump and was only using the above blog post to assert that Trump critics were saying the judge, Curiel, is actually a robot (literal, much?) … and, where was I? Oh, yes, the nut of Adams argument regarding Trump and Curiel:
1. Trump wins in court, in which case, Trump wins.
2. Trump loses in court, in which case, Trump says Democrats rigged the system to give him an unfair trial. We’re already primed to believe it.
From a legal perspective, race is not a reason to remove a judge. I haven’t heard anyone argue otherwise. But from a persuasion perspective, Trump is setting the stage for whatever is to come. So yes, it is smart, albeit offensive.
Not quoted by Marcotte, of course, presumably to avoid her readers being offended by reading what Adams actually said, instead of her skewed interpretation of it.
Adams writes a whole blog post sneering at the very idea that one is capable of predicting a person’s future behavior on their past record.
Except, of course, Adams is demonstrably correct in his actual assertion. Also, there are no quotes, of course, because things like this would erode her primary assertion:
So, how did President Obama do on the job? Was he a good president?
If you have an answer in your head – either yes or no – it proves you don’t know how to make decisions. No judgement can be made about Obama’s performance because there is nothing to which it can be compared. No one else in a parallel universe was president at the same time, doing different things and getting different results.
I’m not a fan of everything our president has done, but I feel as if historians will rank him as one of our best presidents. Definitely in the top 20%.
Wait, what? Am I crazy?
Many of you think Obama nearly destroyed civilization. You and I can’t both be right. But both of us can be irrational in trusting our opinions. We are literally comparing Obama’s actual performance to imagined alternatives that exist only in our minds. Maybe you think the imaginary president in your mind is way better than the real one, whereas I think the real one did well compared to my imaginary alternative.
That isn’t thinking. Science is pretty clear on that.
Marcotte never mentions that this Trump-infatuated sycophant thinks Obama will be ranked in the top 20% of US Presidents. Hmmm.
I will not dive into the plenitude of evidence that people are horrible at prediction, and wildly overestimate their own ability to predict the future, their own future behavior, and the future behavior of others beyond the simplest degrees of complexity.
Back to Marcotte:
Now Adams has a real doozy of post, where he pretends to endorse Clinton, but of course it’s a cover story for his real endorsement: Trump. In the post, Adams literally accuses Clinton of trying to get Trump killed because, “once you define Trump as Hitler, you also give citizens moral permission to kill him.”
I understand that when people lampoon our sacred cows, we don’t find the humor funny. However, I am prone to believe that Marcotte doesn’t understand that part of what Scott Adams is doing is parody. I find it also ironic (and interesting un-self-aware) that Marcotte does not seem to associate that post as using an inversion of the same logic Trump’s critics do when they blame him for violence at his rallies.
Obviously, this is not a Clinton endorsement. The purpose of this is to try to convince people that Clinton is some kind of dangerous fascist demagogue who will send her brownshirts into the street to force people into compliance with violence. This opinion, of course, has nothing to do with the real life Clinton and everything to do with Adams’s fantasy version of her.
I’m not sure she understands satire. Or irony. There has been a constant and ongoing comparison of Trump to Hitler and his supporters to brownshirts for the more hyperbolic elements of the left and the Democrats. Did Marcotte miss that?
It’s a fantasy version of Clinton that is quite obviously a direct result of Adams’s own bizarre hang-ups about women. Adams has a long history of being obsessed with the idea that women have grown too powerful and they are pushing hapless men around in our new feminist dystopia.
Oh, well. Of course she missed it. When you are a hammer, I suppose everything looks like a nail.
For instance, there is the classic post where he argued that ours is a “female-dominated” society, because, in what he clearly believes is a grave injustice, “access to sex is strictly controlled by the woman.” They are allowed to turn you down even if you pay for dinner first. And you ladies think you have it bad just because you get paid less, are far likelier to be raped, and have to endure politicians trying to force childbirth on you against your will.
Some of that she’s just making up. An important part of that post that Adams’ perhaps should have emphasized is this:
Now compare our matriarchy (that we pretend is a patriarchy) with the situation in DAESH-held territory. That’s what a male-dominated society looks like. It isn’t pretty. The top-ranked men have multiple wives and the low-ranked men either have no access to women, or they have sex with captured slaves.
He’s arguing that a real patriarchy looks like ISIS or the Taliban or Saudi Arabia. Yet she asserts that Adams is suggesting the fact that America isn’t run by the Taliban is a “grave injustice”.
About another post, in which Adams suggest there’s really no middle ground in the war between the sexes, either men or women will win (and he seems, to me, to think it’s sad that men can’t win, but it’s better for humanity that women do) , Marcotte writes:
He concludes that the only solution to this problem is to “come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated” and eliminate all copulation, because clearly, in his mind, the only way men can express themselves sexually is by abusing women.
Always comes to the same thing with feminists. Men and women having sex = abusing women.
I gotta say, she needs to work on her persuasion skills.