My Bullshit Meter

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Winter is certainly on its way a little earlier than usual this year, or maybe I should say earlier than in most recent years. To me, at least, it seems odd for it to be particularly cold in November anymore, and I know we’ve had early morning lows in -5 to -7 range already. In fact, we’ve had daytime highs in the zero area. There has been snow. It didn’t stay, but there has been snow.

While there’s plenty of bitching about the weather, I’m very glad, so far, to have not overheard any bullshit about how global warming is obviously myth after all, because look, it’s cold outside today, and it’s only November.

Perhaps my bull ship meter is a little too finely-tuned lately, but I’m certain my reaction on overhearing that person is going start out along the lines of, “You’re fucking with me, right?”

Again, maybe I’m just a little too sensitive to bullshit lately, but I’m less willing to let the normal, everyday stupidities go, and more likely to call out obvious troll behavior both in the real world and in my online interactions.

In fact, fairly recently, I deliberately and specifically called someone a troll online, someone I’ve known for some years, and I think it shocked the hell out of him and a few people who happened to be looking the right way at the time, at least based on at least one a response I got and a couple of people liking that initial response. But when you’re posting something you know is stupid and factually incorrect in order to get a reaction, and even more specifically to get a reaction out of certain people on your friends list, that’s pretty much the definition of Internet troll behavior.

It’s notable that a couple of people agreed with me calling out the behavior, and did so openly.

The person in question never unfriended me after the conversation that resulted from my statement, and, so far as I can tell, that person did stop posting pseudoscientific bullshit, so even if it actually cost me the limited friendship that person and I shared (coworkers, really, and my subordinate most of the time, which doesn’t mean we couldn’t of been friends, but does put some extra restrictions on what relationship might have occurred) and possibly the goodwill of several other people who weren’t actually in my friends list begin with, just because of the way I approached. A limited engagement win, in my mind.

But I have found, as I move to become solidly entrenched in middle-age, I am less inclined to let stupidity pass. To borrow from an ancient Roman quote, qui tacet consentire videtur. He who is silent is taken to agree.

To borrow from Elie Wiesel: We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

What I do know for sure is that not enough of the reasonable people stand up against stupidity or crackpots, whether it’s smack talk about climate change, standing up the to Anti-Vaxxers, verbally rolling eyes at champions of organic myths, or folks who are just plan anti-science. Not all opinions are created equal, and just because you have one doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to disagree.

And I just might.

Be well, everyone.

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