I just watched something which really wound me up, before I realised that that was exactly what it was intended to do. On facebook, somebody had posted a video on one of the Remain pages of a man apparently ‘destroying’ Remainers. He was making all sorts of claims, provocatively accusing people fighting the referendum result of being melodramatic wimps who don’t know what they’re talking about. At one point, he showed one clearly confused protester saying we had the NHS because of the EU, thus framing ‘us’ as stupid.
Of course this naturally got me going: I flew into one of my spazzy rages, and started shouting at my computer (not too loud, because Lyn’s still in bed). I decided I wanted to kill the little shit who made it, so I paused the clip and tapped his name into Google. I then realised something interesting: the moron in question, Paul Joseph Watson, wasn’t just an idiot who’d somehow got hold of a webcam as I had assumed. He is a well-known conspiracy theorist with links to Alex Jones and the alt-right. People like him and Jones stir people up deliberately; the video was designed to be provocative and get me going. Such people are trying to play with us, manipulate us into getting angry by saying things which they know we will have problems with.
Having lost all the other arguments on any other level, the only way these far-right zealots can cease any kind of advantage is by making us so furious that we screw up. They cling to the racist, xenophobic discourse which says they, as white heterosexual males, are superior. The problem with them is, mainstream society rejected that crap decades ago (or should have!). In order to reclaim an advantage over a dominant idea they resent, they try to provoke us into getting angry and slipping up. They want to make us look stupid. They want to send us into fits of frustration and fury as that is the only way they can present theirselves as the sensible, grown up, pragmatic ones in this debate. It’s a provocative, antagonistic tactic, but it’s the only way they can attempt to still appear relevant, and we must not rise to their puerile bait.