A reader from Wisconsin asks me why I use the strategy I use when dealing with “haters” and what is the strategy I use.
This is a good question that I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat down and thought about in-depth. In part because to do so would reveal to those who go after me several aspects of what it is that I do, and in part because I know I’ve talked about certain parts of the overall effort in the past.
However, what the hell, right?
So here goes…
Know Your Topic
When it comes to dealing with “haters”, the first thing that is important for me to do is remember that I don’t know everything, and so I focus on the stuff I really do know well. That generally means I stick to the areas of rhetoric, statistical modeling, and cultural systems lensed through linguistic practice and semantic meaning.
I don’t talk about cars, sports, fandoms, or fields and areas I am not competent in that often, and when I do, I am always aware that I don’t know these things and I do try to make that clear when arguing. This is part of the reason why I make it so clear often that what I write about apples to the US — and that doesn’t mean english speaking countries, it means the United States of America. I am familiar with and more than a little skilled in cultures and social systems outside the us, and a lot of stuff goes on and is important outside of the US, and much of it can be useful. But when dealing with culture, there is a huge degree of variation, and so very little is truly able to be taken for granted as being similar or based in the same principles.
But for me to go on and speak about, say, Venezuelan cultural norms means that I can only speak to them in the most general (and, therefore, weak and dangerous for arguing) terms, because I am not familiar with them. It would be like me trying to get into a debate about the new version of Hawaii Five O. I don’t watch the show, I am not a fan, and I lack cultural and topical touch points. So no matter what I say, I’m going to make a mistake inevitably, and that will mean that the people or person I am arguing with has the ability to “win” the argument because I will give them an opening.
Even in topics that I know fairly well, I do not make comments about things with which I am not comfortable and do not have reasonable knowledge regarding. For example, I’ve never been involved with a man as a man, so I’m not going to speak to hose points of finer detail relating to a relationship there. I have, and do, argue on behalf of the LGBT quite often, but my focus and my greatest strength is in the area of trans people. And I go to a great deal of time and energy and effort to make sure that I not only understand the topic better than anyone else, I never presume that I’ve reached that point.
The Three Failings
The next major aspect of this is that I stay away from three things that are always, always bad for one’s health when you use them to support your own conclusions: belief/faith, shortcuts and subjectivity.
Belief is the most important one. This doesn’t mean religion, although religion is involved. People go about their daily life believing all sorts of things. I do it, you do it, and being an atheist or agnostic or Catholic or Lutheran makes no difference. All of it is belief at some point or other. You can usually spot this when people say “I believe”.
In expressing my own personal opinion about something, I can say I believe all I want. Expressing my own personal opinion is actually pretty rare for me — I separate my opinions into personal ones (not really all that objective and highly subjective), professional ones (not really all that subjective and often overtly objective), and absurdist ones (which combine both objective and subjective). But when I argue with people, I don’t use belief or faith myself unless it is directly dealing with a religious argument.
And when dealing with a religious argument, then I simply rely on the fact that there is no one true belief, there are only beliefs about religion.
Here’s why you don’t argue faith with anything other than faith: there can be no win. None. It is not possible to do. Breaking a person‘s faith is tremendously harmful to a person. It can help them grow, no doubt, but that doesn’t mitigate the harm that it does to them. People will cling to their faiths in the worst of all possible situations, though, and people will literally die for their faith, clinging to it like a life raft in the vast ocean without hope of rescue.
THink about that now. To break someone’s faith, you must break them, as people. You must shatter them, really, and in so doing you destroy everything about how they see the world around them and themselves. It is an act of violence on them to do so — and a well-known one, at that. Think Inquisition. That’s what people do to break other people’s faiths, and that’s also what people do to hold on to their faith.
So you argue with them using your own faith. When two competing faiths collide, there are going to be fireworks. Again, think Inquisition, or, if you want something more topical, look at the way far too many “Christian” americans look at their religious brethren in Islam, and how those people look at Judaism.
Three different belief systems, all celebrating the same One True God and descended from Abraham, and each of them is fractured into multiple smaller groups, all of whom disagree with each other even inside their own specific faith. IF it was possible to win an argument about faith, then there wouldn’t be that many divisions.
Simple practical logic based in real world evidence.
Shortcuts are my other thing to avoid. A shortcut is when you use something to describe a concept easily. And example of a shortcut is the whole “born in the wrong body” thing.
That doesn’t work. Aside from relying on faith, it also relies on a common stereotype and stereotypes always work against the people they are applied to — even the positive” ones. Looking at the phrasing and parsing it (another one of my approaches that I will get to in a moment), what we have is a statement that requires several things to be true and understood in order for it to make sense.
First, it must be understood that there is a right body. THen it must be understood that someone has the ability to make that decision that there is a right body and a wrong body. Then we have the assumption that there can be wrong bodies or right bodies. Then we have the assumption that there can only be 2 possibilities — wrong or right. Then we have the assumption of a moral imperative, since wrong is used, here, contextually, to say that there is a bad thing involved.
Then there is the assumption that there can be more than one body for someone. There is also the assumption that the body is separate from the mind.
The list of flaws there goes on and on, and here’s the thing — each of them can be used against the speaker of that line and they are impossible to get around without the speaker saying “well, what I meant was” and that means you said something you didn’t mean, which is yet another opening.
In an online argument, you never give openings that you do not control yourself already. Ever. When you do, you allow your opponent(s) to basically walk in past your guard and gut you before you have even figured it out.
The last thing is subjectivity. This one is the hardest one. It means that you have to step outside your own experience to argue things, and that often means leaving your personal emotions aside, and being like some sort of “vulcan” in the feild, complete with arched eyebrow and phrases like “fascinating”, “interesting” and so forth.
People who watch me when I am circling someone I am engaging will note that I do exactly that kind of thing. To do this, I have to step outside of my own experience. That means knowing the experiences of other people. When I use my own stuff as an example, it is inevitably because the stuff I use is also something that many — not one or two, but 30 or 40 or, ideally, more — other people have experienced in terms of the general stuff. THe specifics change, the generality does not. I have been blessed or cursed with a lot of really great experiences in my life, and I’ve made a point of getting to know all kinds of people in my life.
You do not have to be in your late 40′s to have that knowledge, either — most of my experience came when I was in my 20′s, and I sought a lot of it out. It was often said when I was in my late 20′s that I’d done ore in 10 years than most people did in 30. And it took its toll. I was perpetually poor, never really tied to a single person (although I did have a lot of girlfriends), and I was so damned full of myself that I was all but intolerable.
Note, as well, that once again, it means knowing more than your opponent. That is a basic requirement in academia. If you are going to challenge someone, you need to know that you are going to be standing on firm ground. Pick a major publication and for every study they do publish, there are going to be a hundred that they don’t. Because the Peer review board picked them apart and found major flaws.
Know Your Opponent
This one doesn’t mean get to know them personally. Indeed, if you want to make it harder to get into an internet fight with someone, then you should get to know them. Go out for drinks, have coffee, have fun. And no, that doesn’t mean get into a sexual or romantic relationship, it just means get to know to them as people.
No, this particular part of my strategy means get to know the people you are going to be arguing with before you get involved with them, whenever possible.
The advice stems, naturally, from the many thousands of years old advice on the art of warfare, which is true regardless of what your weapon is. Indeed, one of the interesting things about The Art of War is that it focuses on not using weapons in the conventional sense — swords and guns and cannons and warships are all great to have, but before you can move forward with them, you need to know how to use them and what you are going up against.
In this case, it means be familiar with what your opponent writes. See if they have a blog (or blogs). get to know what they think about the topic. SInce most of the time of late I put in effort relating to trans people, what I want to know is what are the stereotypes they use. What are the approaches they use when arguing about trans people. How often do they rely on belief? Do they use shortcuts often? Are they subject to emotional attacks or do they try to use logic bombs?
I get to know them by what they write. nd it is rare for someone who is that strong a hater to not do it often, and to not repeat themselves. Most haters are overwhelming unoriginal, as well — they get their stuff from someone else, as well, usually someone who got it from someone else themselves. Most of the stereotypes, most of the attacks, most of the things they do are old stuff — stuff that has been going on for decades.
So when you have a lot of experience in the area, you can go after them with just a few comments. And when I say a lot of experience I mean something on the order of 50K responses that are all sound and during which you lose your cool very, very few times.
Which brings me to the next bit of advice…
Keep Your Cool
This doesn’t mean “don’t get mad”. This means never let them get to you. In arguing trans stuff, this is especially important, and it is also the most difficult.
There is a difference between righteous anger and just being hurt. A lot of trans people get caught up in the hurt that is caused by misgendering. Being called “he” and “him” and “it” and so forth is extremely painful in many cases to trans people who are still fairly early in their transition or are insecure about how others see them.
If being misgendered hurts you, the worst thing you can do is get into an argument with a hater. You will lose, and you will lose big, and it won’t matter what else you do or how good your arguments are. Its over. They win, and they win because they know that it hurts you and they will use it to keep you off balance and slowly but surely shut you down by turning you into a raving, frothy mouthed lunatic full of pain.
I see a lot of trans people expect that folks respect them in online arguments by using the right pronouns. Well, think about this for a moment: they are haters.
They are based in not respecting you. That is something true from the get go. If they respected you, they wouldn’t be haters. Haters of trans people do things like describe themselves as “trans critical”. That’s like saying one is “black critical” or “catholic critical”. It’s a way of expressing disrespect without being blut and open about it so that people don’t see it as something bad.
Dog whistling, in other words. Speaking in a way that only people who are involved will hear it.
So expecting a hater to use pronouns of your choice is, from the start, a stupid thing and you have already lost.
When haters do use the right pronouns, then be aware that inevitably they will use the wrong ones at some point to hurt you. On purpose, and that kind will often pretend they did it on accident.
That’s the key for haters. They want to hurt you. You personally. Once they do, they will then use you later on an example of everything that is wrong with all the people in the group you are part of.
That’s the trick here for haters, and this is what separates haters from people who are just being stupid. Stupid people don’t mean to hurt others. They do it by accident, and the way they are treated when they do it by accident is what determines if they will become haters down the road or fi they will become allies.
The other thing that haters will do, and part of why they want to hurt you, is that they like to leave vast gaping wounds. They want you in pain, in hurt, and not trusting people. So that when you encounter a stupid person down the road, you turn them into a hater.
Emotional manipulation is the stock in trade of haters, in other words. They want you off balance, and they want you to react to them in a way that is emotional.
SO you don’t.
That doesn’t mean you stop being emotional. It means you get emotional about things that have nothing to do with you, personally,. You take yourself out of the picture. You deal in the widest, most broad based sets you can. You recognize that everything is bell curve, and you go after them when they stray from the center, and you do it anger, because then you have righteous justification. THey are going after the low hanging fruit, the outliers, the people who are not the mainstream and who are, therefore, marginalized even more than the group they are targeted as a whole.
It allows you to show people how petty they are.
Another major tool you have is part of understanding your opponent and knowing your topic.
In these arguments, when you get to the point that they realize they can’t get you, personally, with an emotional attack, they will bring in their smart bombs. These will people who use the core concepts that apply and try to trap you.
For example, there is the core concept of ” Social construction”.
DO you know what a social construction is?
Most people — literally about 80% of the time if most studies hold true — will say that they do. Only about 20% of people actually do.
That means that there are a lot of people who will say that they know what a social construct is, that do not.
Basically, what they have are buzzwords. They have heard them, they have seen them used in a context, and they run with it there.
Social constructions, usually, are used in a context that makes them seem like bad things. They aren’t.
But you will only know they aren’t if you actually understand what a social construction is. And then, when you do understand what one is, you will realize that often people who talk about them say they are bad things and then pick only *some* social constructions. ANd they will call other ones as things that are not social constructions.
Like Sex. Sex is a social construction. But people who say “gender is a social construction” almost always don’t believe that it is becuase they do not understand what a social construction is.
Stuff like that is your most potent weapon. Knowledge is power it is said, and in this case, it is the power to use your opponent’s lack of knowledge against them, to take apart what they say and show how it is pretend, how it is lies, and how they are a fool for talking about things they do not know.
There is no faster way to lose an argument than to talk about a topic you do not understand.
One of my favorite series of exchanges not too long ago centered on a small group of people who claimed to hate postmodernism without realizing that 90% of the arguments they were making relied on post modernist thought and ideas for any sort of validity — and then they went and got them wrong.
That’s the kind of thing that only someone who knew the buzzwords as more than buzzwords would be able to see.
This is also why I spend so much time thinking about those silly things that people take for granted.
What is female socialization, for example? What does that actually mean? How is being raised as a young girl different from being raised as a young boy? What do those differences translate to in real world terms? How much have things changed from the 1970′s when that phrase began to be used and the current day?
Is it possible to socialize a boy as a girl? Is it possible to socialize a girl as a boy, and, if so, does she still have female sociliazation?
Don’t ask these questions of opponents until you know the answers yourself. This isn’t a friendly debate online, this is a flame war, and you are caught up in ugliness that seeks to kick you off the internet.
Ask Questions, Answer Questions.
This is my favorite tactic, and one that I use far too sparingly. Haters hate questions. They don’t like them, they don’t trust them, and most of the time, they ignore them.
They, in turn, will ask all the questions in the world, and if you don’t answer them, then you are some sort of terrible person who is being dishonest and untrustworthy.
Here’s a magical trick that is also a really good answer so long as it is true. Use it whenever you have to: “I don’t know”.
Admitting that you don’t know something is extremely powerful when you are in a fight online with a hater. Use it whenever you have to. DO not be ashamed, do not be put off, do not feel like you’ve failed.
Haters can’t do that, for one. For another, when you don’t know something, the solution is really easy: you go learn. I’ve often said “i don’t know. Give me a second while I check that out.” and then gone and looked it up. SOmetime sit takes me a day to look stuff up, because I find the answer quickly, but then I want to understand the reason that that’s the answer and I get all tied up in stuff.
But when I come back, I have an answer. I’ve done that enough times that usually I don’t have to go off and look anymore, but I more often than not still do.
Ask questions. Especially, ask questions using the most powerful word in the English language: Why.
Don’t answer a question with a question. Don’t use shortcuts or slang words (new words are ok). Answer the question simply. Be as accurate and narrow in your answer as possible – haters live on the fringes, they thrive there, and they want you to stray.
When you answer their questions (even their rhetorical ones) and they don’t answer yours, people who read the exchange and come along later or who are following it live will realize that you are being more open and honest, even if they are on the side of the hater.
Haters don’t learn. They don’t get better. They are haters, they are driven by hate and the only thing they have to rely on is hate, which isn’t reasonable, isn’t rational, isn’t truthful, isn’t honest, isn’t open. It is ugly stuff, and they are blind to it.
Haters are aware of how things look. This is why they go after how you look, how you dress, what yo do in your spare time, your bad habits that are always ones people can see visibly, and why they love to dig up and out your dirty little secrets. They want to make you look bad. They will use anything they and, and that includes every mistake you make when fighting with them.
You win over haters when they threaten your life. That’s a truism no matter what. Saying “die in a fire” is not a threat, though. That is a dismissal. Haters will make it into a threat because, in simplest terms, they are threatened by you — that’s why they are haters. So everything you say is a threat.
Use Their Words Against Them
This is my most famous tactic. I rarely go after the person, I go after what they say. I may say a few things about them, like how incompetent they are, but I don’t go after their dirty little secrets. For example, I’ve had people tell me about a certain activist hater’s past in prostitution.
I think it is hilarious, myself,. But I also don’t use that against her, because that’s not as much fun as taking apart what she says. And, as I will point out down the road here, this has to be fun for me.
No, even better is when you use their words against them. Words have meaning. That meaning is influenced by connotation and by context. Connotation is a meaning that isn’t direct — sorta like a side meaning. Haters use connotation a lot. That thing about social constructions being a bad thing? That’s due to connotation.
Some words have a meaning that is dangerous for haters, but they love to use them. ”Semantics” is one of their favorites. THey use the connotation of semantics as being “not real”. I use it in terms of what it actually means. Without semantics, there is no understanding, there is no meaning. So all arguments are, by default, semantic arguments. The goal is to express your meaning clearly, with the least amount of possible variance.
Another is rhetoric. A lot of people who use that term do not know what it means. This entire post is rhetoric. So, for that matter, is every post anywhere, News stories are rhetoric. That facebook status about a kitten is rhetoric. That tweet about blue is rhetoric.
Knowing that, when someone dismisses an argument as semantic or rhetoric, they are saying that they don’t like the meaning or even their own statements. Which is seriously counterproductive. And an example of using language really poorly.
Haters seek to change the way people understand things. They want to convert, to draw out, to see themselves as powerful and important. So they will often frame thing sin a way that works for them. Framing is an important art, often called “spin doctoring”. It means to take something and present a different way of seeing it, to rephrase it so that is is more socially acceptable or more useful to the side being supported.
Pay close attention to yhe hater’s words. Take their sentences apart.
Every sentence we use is based on things that other people are supposed to already know. Each sentence, individually, has several assumptions and presumptions included in it.
That short phrase “born in the wrong body” is an example, and I just showed how that fragment of a sentence, all by itself, has many diferent meanings that are buried in it.
All sentences are like that. Look at the one that starts this paragraph. All is one of those words that is an absolute. All does not mean many or most or a bunch. It is pretty fixed. Sentence is a word open to lots of meanings. It allows you to go down a path of possibilities. What constitutes a sentence. WHo decides what is and isn’t a sentence? Things like that. Like that is meant to reference previous statements regarding a sentence, so we have to go back to before this sentence to see what is meant by “like that”.
That’s all part of it. No stone unturned, No idea, no concept is too small to be overlooked.
One of the problems with framing is that it cannot change the fundamental ideas being conveyed. Dog whistling is a way of making those fundamental ideas less visible. Spin doctoring is intended to obscure them. When you break the ideas down into their bits and peices, you do two things:
first, you make the description a lot larger. It takes more words to describe the meaning of the sentence “all sentences are like that” than to write the sentence itself. That’s not a bad thing — that’s good,. That’s what you want to do. That allows you to see things that would otherwise be unseen, and give you a way to take down what they said.
secondly, you see areas where they are talking about things that don’t make sense. For example, the bathroom arguments. These are framed to talk about trans people. But when broken down, what they are really talking about are cis people. And you only see that when you break it down.
Knowing all of that gives you power that they are fearful of, because now you can ask them questions about what they mean, and then they find themselves in the trap of probably not knowing what they are talking about and not being able to admit it.
When you have this in your arsenal, you don’t need to go after their personal habits or their predilections or their secrets, because they will hand them to you on a silver platter. They will accuse you of twisting their words — but you aren’t. You are using their words.
And, best of all, this gives you the ability to do the most important thing of all.
Laugh At Them
Few things piss haters off more than being laughed at.
Not made fun of, not picked on, not insulted, not used as punchlines in jokes.. But outright laughed at. Genuine laughter, as well, because the fake kind doesn’t work. Thye can spot fake laughter with a few well placed jabs.
No, real laughter tips the apple cart as far as they are concerned. It is the thing that renders them impotent, the power that strips them of influence and importance and even reason.
Laughing at haters is the ultimate justice, because it means they have no power. They have to rely only on their words and you are already using those against them, so you have, now, taken away their toys.
All they can do now is return to some other tactic they use that you are already aware of — and nine times out of ten that will be saying something about you like misgendering or how ugly you are or whatever else is their stock in trade.
And that’s pathetic, and they know it, and eventually they will start staying away from you.
Haters feel entitled to do what they do. They think of themselves as better than you, and you as something worth laughing at. When you do it to them, that upsets everything. You are out of your place, you are upsetting things, you are not following the rules that they have laid out for you.
And so when you start this one, they will get mad. They will get cruel. They will punish you for daring to step out of line, to go off script. They will say all manner of things about you. THis is how I have the dubious honor of being accused of eating infants.
This is where they go off the deep end. The wiser haters will back away when this starts, but most of them will double down, becuase there is no way that you can possible have the strength to stand up to them this way.
This is also hard to do. TO be able to laugh at online discourse, you have to have perspective. You have to know going in that 99.999% of the time, any given online argument is ultimately absolutely meaningless because the internet doesn’t matter in the “real world”, and, mopre importantly, you are dealing with a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the possible sources.
Take tumblr, for example. It actually has a list of the trending topics. Transness doesn’t make it. It is so far down the list as to not even count or matter in the greater scheme of things. The trans haters? Same thing. It is an invisible blip that gets larger importance because you are in it.
So step back and take a good look at “the big picture”. Get some perspective. That’s important. Perspective is everything.
The Unending Argument of the separatists. The ciscentric, patriarchy supporting marauding of the radfems. These things are literally unimportant in the overall efforts towards making life better for tran speople because they are fringe and marginal elements.
Four decades ago they were important. But this isn’t four decades ago. This is a different world, and it is a world where in the last 7 years, more trans stuff has made its way into the mainstream press than all the previous 50 years combined.
From a cis centric perspective (know your opponent means to also know what they believe, what they think, and how they see the world around them, which means you have to understand the basis of their arguments), the overwhelming majority of these recent stories have been positive.
Not to us, mind you, but to them. We are generally speaking trans centric in our criticism. So from s cis centric perspective becomes important when you are gaining perpsective. And to them, those stories are positive.
They can be much better, and they will be over time. But it is up to us to make them that way (which is why we need more trans people in the media, both behind the scenes as writers and such, as well as visibly like performers).
We will. That’s the trend, and we want it, so it will happen.
Haters see all of that and it scares the fuck out of them. They can’t admit it directly, but when you break it down, you see it because they do tell you.
Take the radem argument over “female spaces”. They tell you, basically, that the idea of having a trans woman in their spaces makes them fearful. That’s us scaring them. They say it in a way that describes it as not being conducive to a safe environment. The question is why is it that way? Because trans people represent a threat. And things which are threatening are scary. You can’t have something be a threat without being afraid of it.
So they tell you. Up front. They are afraid of you. Yet what’s the thing they say when you use that in an argument” ”I’m not afraid of you.”
They can say that for two reasons — one, they switch to personal and subjective position. You, personally they are not afraid of. It is the idea that you represent that they are fearful of. The second reason is that they can’t confess in public to the fact that they are afraid of that thing you represent in that exchange. That would be losing.
So perspective helps, because then you can see how stupid and silly they really are, and when you can see that, you start laughing at them. For real. Out loud, even. I will come across something written by the cockroach and laugh my ass off. Because its funny.
Then again, I find absurdity funny. And I find a lot of things to be absurd.
The Truth Will Set You Free
One of the things a lot of us like to do is use sites like Derailing for Dummies or Thou Shalt not Commit Logical Fallacies (although grammatical ones are permissible). And doing so is useful, But when you do use them, you have to be careful of what you do.
I have reached a point where I am dismissive of about 90% of the haters out there. The one’s I go after are the one’s that have a very particular way of doing things and that are generally more broadly gifted. So for most of the typical, unskilled or youthful haters, I just dismiss them with such.
That is, I’ll post the fallacy or derailing point and then move on.
But when I want to really bury them, I don’t only post the fallacy,. I post it, and then I take their entire premise (not the argument they make, but the stuff that their argument depends on — the meaning beneath the words they use) and apply the fallacy or derailing to it, in etail, with explanations of how this is so.
I don’t do it to score points against them. When they are engaging with me, they are on the defensive, and that means they aren’t going to see what I actually say because haters don’t care what you say (this is why they don’t answer questions).
I do it because then when other people see it, they will realize the flaw in such a phrasing. The mistake that is made.
And I leave it at that because then what is the point? That’s my laughing at them. If they can’t make a decent argument, then why should I even waste my time on them? Haters like it when you waste time on them — it is attention and they want that.
It is time you will spend arguing with the internet instead of going out to volunteer, or helping to register voters, or working, or going to the movies or the park, or any of a thousand other things that you can do to make your life more interesting and more fun.
Live your life, in other words. They don’t want you to do that. They want you to waste your life arguing with them and feeling shitty about yourself until you go away and are miserable and sad.
They want to take up space in your head, the way I do with many of them.
And that, in the end, is why I use the strategy I use.
I have better things to do than fuck with haters. When I do, it is on terms that I decide, and in a way that I feel will have the greatest impact.
I set aside time to do that. I can’t always do it, but when I do it has to be for a good reason.
A reason that transcends the haters, that uses them for my own purposes. And that is the only time to engage haters — when you can use them as tools to help you achieve a goal.
And if that goal is to make yourself feel better, then you have a fucked up goal, I’m sorry to say.
Addendum: On Cussing and words that trigger defensiveness
Now, in all of the above, I didn’t talk about cussing.
It might surprise many people who stumble across this that cussing does not mean that someone is actually angry.
Cussing is a way of highlighting something as emotionally important. Cussing is a way to emphasize something, to make it stand out as more important.
In writing, it is a tool, like any other tool that falls into the reach of the writer. It has a place and a value and purpose. It is not needed for everything. I cussed in the above post, but not much, and I could, really, go back through and edit it out and the meaning would be the same but the sections that I used cussing on would be less impactful as a result.
I cuss not because I am mad, but because I want to punctuate something.
I also have the ability to write a post while laughing, and then rewrite it so that it matches the way I write when I am angry.
I can do that because I’ve written a lot of posts when I am angry, and then studied the way I write them versus the way that I write other posts. It is good, because it allows me to write things angrily and then use them for more force as well.
But I say this because you do not want to cuss at someone just because you are angry,. Ideally, if you are going to be fighting with haters, never do so when you are angry. It merely lets them know they succeeded. You can use that to your advantage.
The other thing that I strongly and consistently suggest — not only when arguing with haters but when dealing with any of the issues that this sort of thing usually involves, is to avoid words that create situations for people to be defensive about.
Haters are highly defensive already. They have to be — they are hating. They are trying to draw out horrible shit. So they have their defenses up already.
Don’t make that defensive posture stronger. Make it weaker.
Homophobia, racism, transphobia — these are all terms which make people defensive because they recognize those things are all stuff that we at least pretend in public we are not supposed to be, even if we are.
For all the accuracy of them, they are, themselves, shortcuts, and those shortcuts make the task of dealing with haters that much harder.
You can talk about haters in general as transphobic. You can even describe something they do that way. But if you want to really get to them, what you do is describe those things instead of using the words.
This is important because it allows you to be more exacting in your choice, and it gives them less wiggle room. Instead of saying transphobic, you say they are dealing with anxiety, or animus, or aversion, and you describe the nature of it.
That hurts them. That reveals them for the public that they are trying to fool, to deceive, and make sit plain.
Whereas if you use transphobia, you make not only them defensive, but the people who stumble across it later defensive that way.
Because that word, in and of itself, makes people defensive.
Slide around that. Show them what it means, what it looks like, and then they will be far more open to it than they would if you just come out and use that term.