So, a couple weeks back, a video made the rounds of social media that was billed as “A progressive DESTROYS Ben Shapiro!!!!” Now, this is an obnoxious tendency in our click-bait era, when any time a person on one side challenges someone on the other in “debate”, it’s described as “Joe ABSOLUTELY DEMOLISHES Donald!” or the like. It’s pretty tiresome, because every time I watch one of these, it’s never really one person UTTERLY CRUSHING the other. It might be a slight upper-hand, but that’s about it. And this video was a case in point.
The video wasn’t worthless, though, because while it didn’t show Shapiro getting reduced to a pile of sniveling tears, it did put Shapiro’s debate “style” on display. (If you’re not familiar with Ben Shapiro, you are really lucky and really not missing much. He’s one of the current darlings of America’s right-wing, and he’s as nauseating now as he was when he was a 15-year-old kid writing pro-Iraq war columns back in the early 2000s.) A guy stepped up to the q-and-a mike at one of Ben Shapiro’s events and challenged him on the topic of “wokeism” (which is in itself a deeply tiring and dull obsession of America’s right wing, but I digress). When the guy started talking, the audience went “Oooooooh!”, thus demonstrating part one of Shapiro’s strategy: Always have a friendly audience.
The next thing Shapiro did was to let the guy talk just long enough that he’d be able to say that “I let you speak”, and then he began talking over the guy, basically taking over. Shapiro then went into his personal definition of “wokeism”, which is a definition that is just full of nonsensical characterizations, but when the guy at the mike tried pushing back, guess what: Ben starts with the “I let you speak, now it’s my turn” stuff, and he spouted some more nonsense, very quickly. That’s the second of Shapiro’s debate tricks: speak quickly and sound authoritative. The strategy is to get so much BS into the air that it’s difficult for the other interlocutor to figure out where to start.
And when the interlocutor does start, Ben turned to his final trick: he had the friendly folks running his event cut off the guy’s mike.
People like Ben Shapiro are why I think “debate” is a giant waste of time. The ability to debate has little to do with being correct, or analyzing issues, or providing genuine factual context. It’s about speaking quickly and maintaining composure while speaking quickly. The person who controls the conversation is the one who “wins” the debate (and frankly, the idea that a debate should be “winnable” in the sense that a football game is “winnable” is utter nonsense), not the one with the better ideas or the more correct interpretation of the facts. This is why I never watch debates of any kind, not even the final Presidential debates.
The proper way to engage Ben Shapiro, if engage him one must, is shown in the following video. Apparently this guy managed to so get under Shapiro’s skin with this that Shapiro blocked him on social media:
Video like this, where you can isolate each bullshit bullet point that comes from Shapiro’s mouth and bask in the scent of its idiocy, is the best way to deal with him and his comrades-in-arms. (I was going to say “ilk”, but wow, do I hate the word “ilk”. It sounds like an incomplete word, like someone choked out a syllable and someone else decided, “OK, that’s the word, I guess.”) His intellectual nonsense is so much more obvious when he’s not able to surround it by a lot of other rapid-fire nonsense.
This specific brand of Shapiro dopeyness came to mind earlier today when I saw this on Twitter:
An unoccupied house on stilts in Rodanthe, North Carolina, as it collapses into the ocean this afternoon.
Was worth $381,200 according to Zillow. pic.twitter.com/RxkgOkBIv0
— Tolly Taylor (@TollyTaylor) May 10, 2022
In honor of Ben “Don’t you think they’d have already sold their houses and moved?” Shapiro, I propose that since we’re going to see much, much, much more of these “houses crumble into the sea” videos in the years to come, we should dub such locales where this happens as Shapirovilles. Not unlike the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.
Shapirovilles: where the real estate trends favor mer-people!