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Why and How We Engage in "Religion, Politics and World Events" (and Beyond)

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Why and How We Engage in "Religion, Politics and World Events" (and Beyond)

Old 06-08-20, 08:28 AM
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Why and How We Engage in "Religion, Politics and World Events" (and Beyond)

* * *

MOD NOTE FROM STORY:


Before wendersfan's posts, a bit of context and expectations for this thread (if another mod or admin can show me a better way to do this than edit the OP, I'm all ears):

This thread begins with around 20 posts on Jun 8, 2020 in the Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3. These posts raised the issue of why and how we engage each other in political discourse at both DVDTalk and in other realms of our lives. It was suggested this would make for a good separate thread and I agree. I considered putting this in Feedback, but ultimately decided this is mostly about discourse in Religion, Politics, and World Events so I've put it here.

My hope is the stricter rules can help us have a good conversation. If you need a refresher on the Religion, Politics, and World Events rules, you'll find them here.

I'll add three guidelines for this thread:
1. Please approach this discussion with a cool head and a warm heart. If you're coming here to do a drive-by post or to antagonize or with a disingenuous attitude, please just don't come here.
2. Please only speak for yourself. Please don't speak on behalf of others who choose not to engage in the thread. Likewise, please don't ask others to engage on your behalf. If you have something to say, please say it for yourself.
3. Please come at this with a simple premise: this thread can help improve our community. There really is no other reason to have this discussion.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this thread goes well for our community.

Okay, I'll start:

Everybody is wrong but me.

Hold on, I had a typo there.

What I meant to write was: You're all good people and I've enjoyed being here with you for 20+ years. I hope to continue with cool heads and warm hearts, no matter the subject. Even politics. Even Star Wars.

OKAY, BACK TO WENDERSFAN:

* * *


I have something to say.

A decade or so ago I was one of the most active posters in the politics forum. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the resultant breakdown in civic engagement that was reflected here made it more difficult and uncomfortable for me to maintain that level of activity. In other words, we used to be nicer to each other. Then, another, even worse Ė IMO Ė thing happened. Most if not all of the conservative posters here cleaved into two camps, those whose partisan support of Trump made them pariahs here, and those who rejected Trump as the standard bearer of the Republican Party and conservatism in general, which tacitly enforced their silence here. This phenomenon essentially turned this forum into a left-wing echo chamber, in which the primary conflict was between those who supported the candidacy of Senator Sanders and those who preferred a different path.

I am, to say the least, uncomfortable with this evolution. I remember this forum as a place where posters of all different political stripes and ideologies could discuss the issues of the day, if not with complete concord, at least with some degree of mutual respect and shared humor. That time is no more. I realize that this transformation is almost totally a reflection of the times, and I can also imagine a different timeline in which DVD Talkís Politics forum transitioned into a place where the dominant conflict was between never-Trumpers and those in support of the administration. But never mind that.

The main point Iím trying to make, as an old man yelling at a cloud, is, do we want it this way? Currents signs indicate Ďweí do. It seems the predominant method of Ďdiscourseí here is either argument by meme or argument by Twitter-quote. Gone are the days when people actually made fully-formed posts devoid of canned talking points and embroidered with independent thought. I suppose with the now dominance of pithy social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, itís easier to quote some poorly-sourced slogan than think for yourself.

Anyway, this is a large reason why I so rarely post here. I feel as if I was once a respected and valued member of this place, and not just for the graphs. I no longer feel as if my voice has importance here.

Enjoy your day.

Last edited by story; 06-08-20 at 11:47 AM.
Old 06-08-20, 08:41 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
I have something to say.

A decade or so ago I was one of the most active posters in the politics forum. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the resultant breakdown in civic engagement that was reflected here made it more difficult and uncomfortable for me to maintain that level of activity. In other words, we used to be nicer to each other. Then, another, even worse – IMO – thing happened. Most if not all of the conservative posters here cleaved into two camps, those whose partisan support of Trump made them pariahs here, and those who rejected Trump as the standard bearer of the Republican Party and conservatism in general, which tacitly enforced their silence here. This phenomenon essentially turned this forum into a left-wing echo chamber, in which the primary conflict was between those who supported the candidacy of Senator Sanders and those who preferred a different path.

I am, to say the least, uncomfortable with this evolution. I remember this forum as a place where posters of all different political stripes and ideologies could discuss the issues of the day, if not with complete concord, at least with some degree of mutual respect and shared humor. That time is no more. I realize that this transformation is almost totally a reflection of the times, and I can also imagine a different timeline in which DVD Talk’s Politics forum transitioned into a place where the dominant conflict was between never-Trumpers and those in support of the administration. But never mind that.

The main point I’m trying to make, as an old man yelling at a cloud, is, do we want it this way? Currents signs indicate ‘we’ do. It seems the predominant method of ‘discourse’ here is either argument by meme or argument by Twitter-quote. Gone are the days when people actually made fully-formed posts devoid of canned talking points and embroidered with independent thought. I suppose with the now dominance of pithy social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s easier to quote some poorly-sourced slogan than think for yourself.

Anyway, this is a large reason why I so rarely post here. I feel as if I was once a respected and valued member of this place, and not just for the graphs. I no longer feel as if my voice has importance here.

Enjoy your day.
This would be a good subject for a separate thread.

I, for one, greatly value your voice. And I agree with your assessment re: how this forum has evolved (or devolved).

As I see it, this situation has arisen because of the unprecedented (an overused word but applicable here) behavior of the President. He is such a bad "leader" and person that those of us who reject him also reject anyone who supports him, as we cannot see a single redeeming value in his administration. Personally, I question the judgment and values of anyone who continues to support Trump today. That being said, I am accepting of, and willing to listen to, conservatives. The problem today is finding conservatives who do not support Trump and who are willing to say so (although that dam appears have some large cracks in it right now).

Many others here seem to feel as I do feel and as a result Trump supporters are treated as pariahs here. Maybe that's not fair, and maybe it's a bad thing. But so often our members have tried to engage the few remaining Trump supporters to get an explanation of why they agree with a particular position, policy or statement of Trump, only to be trolled. The Trump supporters posting here do not appear to seriously want to engage in a discussion, so they are ridiculed (and rightly so IMO).

Maybe that has also driven away the non-Trump-supporting conservatives, and if so, that is very unfortunate. I'm not sure how we address that. Maybe your post is a first step. I hope so.
Old 06-08-20, 08:44 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
This would be a good subject for a separate thread.
I considered that, but then decided it was a little to narcissistic to start a thread just about my personal gripes.
Old 06-08-20, 08:51 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Most if not all of the conservative posters here cleaved into two camps, those whose partisan support of Trump made them pariahs here, and those who rejected Trump as the standard bearer of the Republican Party and conservatism in general, which tacitly enforced their silence here. This phenomenon essentially turned this forum into a left-wing echo chamber, in which the primary conflict was between those who supported the candidacy of Senator Sanders and those who preferred a different path.
I think there are several factors at play here.

One, conservative posters tend to get exiled or banned for violating the rules. And so do liberals, for that matter.

Two, board has shrunk a lot in past fifteen or so years, and some of them have up and left with everyone else in the great exodus.

Three, a few of the long-term posters who fell onto the conservative end of the political spectrum have switched sides, if I'm not mistaken.

Four, it has been my experience elsewhere on the 'net that a lot of conservative-leaning people who maintain a distaste for trump and the direction he has taken the republican party maintain their silence because they haven't switched sides and don't want to give the appearance of having done so, and they also don't want to give ammunition to the other side, either. So they keep their mouths shut until, once in a blue moon, they crawl out of their caves and complain about Nancy Pelosi or AOC, then wander into hibernation mode. (Think of them as Nixon's silent majority; they'll probably vote for trump in November with little fanfare, or they might vote for whoever the libertarian is, but they will not vote for Biden.)

Old 06-08-20, 08:53 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

In the early days I wanted to engage with Trump supporters, to see what they saw in him and explain why I felt he was a bad choice regardless of personal politics. But now, he has shown himself to be such a dishonest, amoral divider that I don't think there's any way to have a reasoned political discussion with his supporters. It seems to defend him you have to fully drink the Kool Aid - see Lou Dobbs calling him the greatest President ever.

Full disclosure - I was a registered Republican with moderate leanings (and a tendency to usually vote for the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections) for my first thirty-plus years of voting until 2016 when I actually changed party affiliation in disgust.

Last edited by Decker; 06-08-20 at 09:06 AM.
Old 06-08-20, 08:57 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

The shift in conversation is because Trump is indefensible. And Republicans are not coming forward with their own narrative.

Once he is gone and Republicans lose significant presence in November, I think they will be relieved and try to get back on top of their civil discourse that sways opinions.
Old 06-08-20, 09:03 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
The shift in conversation is because Trump is indefensible. And Republicans are not coming forward with their own narrative.

Once he is gone and Republicans lose significant presence in November, I think they will be relieved and try to get back on top of their civil discourse that sways opinions.
Pretty much. It's easy to have polite conversation when you're talking about financials/tax laws. Difficult to have a conversation when it's no longer about financial differences and about human life.

We still have children in cages.
Old 06-08-20, 09:10 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
Pretty much. It's easy to have polite conversation when you're talking about financials/tax laws. Difficult to have a conversation when it's no longer about financial differences and about human life.

We still have children in cages.
Iím on another board where someone repeatedly insists that the only reason people are opposed to Trump is because theyíre sore losers still holding grudges over the 2016 election. I just donít see how to hold a conversation when thatís someoneís basic premise.
Old 06-08-20, 09:13 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Honestly I think that a lot of Republicans and Right wing pundits will be secretly relieved to have Trump out of office. It's a lot easier to ridicule and criticize everything the other guy says and does (right down to his choice of suit color or condiment preferences) than it is to have to vigorously defend an incompetent imbecile who makes every snap decision on a whim and will vindictively change his mind without a moment's notice.
Old 06-08-20, 09:14 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Many others here seem to feel as I do feel and as a result Trump supporters are treated as pariahs here. Maybe that's not fair, and maybe it's a bad thing. But so often our members have tried to engage the few remaining Trump supporters to get an explanation of why they agree with a particular position, policy or statement of Trump, only to be trolled. The Trump supporters posting here do not appear to seriously want to engage in a discussion, so they are ridiculed (and rightly so IMO).

Maybe that has also driven away the non-Trump-supporting conservatives, and if so, that is very unfortunate. I'm not sure how we address that. Maybe your post is a first step. I hope so.
I don't think there are many of us non-Trump-supporting conservatives left. Of the historically conservative friends and acquaintances I have, all are now Trump-supporting. But of course that greatly depends upon what one's definition of "conservatism" is.
Old 06-08-20, 09:16 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
I don't think there are many of us non-Trump-supporting conservatives left. Of the historically conservative friends and acquaintances I have, all are now Trump-supporting. But of course that greatly depends upon what one's definition of "conservatism" is.
If I listed all my views on laws/taxes...etc, I probably lean a bit more right than left. But when you add in my desire to have our leaders educated and care about human life, my votes have all landed squarely on the Dem side, with the exception of our Governor who's doing a fantastic job.
Old 06-08-20, 09:39 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
This would be a good subject for a separate thread.

I, for one, greatly value your voice. And I agree with your assessment re: how this forum has evolved (or devolved).

As I see it, this situation has arisen because of the unprecedented (an overused word but applicable here) behavior of the President. He is such a bad "leader" and person that those of us who reject him also reject anyone who supports him, as we cannot see a single redeeming value in his administration. Personally, I question the judgment and values of anyone who continues to support Trump today. That being said, I am accepting of, and willing to listen to, conservatives. The problem today is finding conservatives who do not support Trump and who are willing to say so (although that dam appears have some large cracks in it right now).

Many others here seem to feel as I do feel and as a result Trump supporters are treated as pariahs here. Maybe that's not fair, and maybe it's a bad thing. But so often our members have tried to engage the few remaining Trump supporters to get an explanation of why they agree with a particular position, policy or statement of Trump, only to be trolled. The Trump supporters posting here do not appear to seriously want to engage in a discussion, so they are ridiculed (and rightly so IMO).

Maybe that has also driven away the non-Trump-supporting conservatives, and if so, that is very unfortunate. I'm not sure how we address that. Maybe your post is a first step. I hope so.
Originally Posted by Decker View Post
In the early days I wanted to engage with Trump supporters, to see what they saw in him and explain why I felt he was a bad choice regardless of personal politics. But now, he has shown himself to be such a dishonest, amoral divider that I don't think there's any way to have a reasoned political discussion with his supporters. It seems to defend him you have to fully drink the Kool Aid - see Lou Dobbs calling him the greatest President ever.

Full disclosure - I was a registered Republican with moderate leanings (and a tendency to usually vote for the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections) for my first thirty-plus years of voting until 2016 when I actually changed party affiliation in disgust.

I don't want to go down this road, especially in this thread, but the much larger issue I see is the conservative and conservative leaning posters who have been falling away over the last 5 to 6 years. Forget the trump supporters. I think you guys would be surprised by how many, and who, no longer post here.
Old 06-08-20, 09:50 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
As I see it, this situation has arisen because of the unprecedented (an overused word but applicable here) behavior of the President. He is such a bad "leader" and person that those of us who reject him also reject anyone who supports him, as we cannot see a single redeeming value in his administration. Personally, I question the judgment and values of anyone who continues to support Trump today. That being said, I am accepting of, and willing to listen to, conservatives. The problem today is finding conservatives who do not support Trump and who are willing to say so (although that dam appears have some large cracks in it right now).

Many others here seem to feel as I do feel and as a result Trump supporters are treated as pariahs here. Maybe that's not fair, and maybe it's a bad thing. But so often our members have tried to engage the few remaining Trump supporters to get an explanation of why they agree with a particular position, policy or statement of Trump, only to be trolled. The Trump supporters posting here do not appear to seriously want to engage in a discussion, so they are ridiculed (and rightly so IMO).
Well said, I agree.

IMO, what is happening in this forum is the result (a reflection?) of the extreme dysfunction happening in the country right now. Personally, I'm surprised that this place manages to be as civil as it is, our mods sure haven't had an easy job in the past several years, thanks guys!
Old 06-08-20, 09:51 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
I don't want to go down this road, especially in this thread, but the much larger issue I see is the conservative and conservative leaning posters who have been falling away over the last 5 to 6 years. Forget the trump supporters. I think you guys would be surprised by how many, and who, no longer post here.
Interesting, why do you think this has been happening (especially if it predates Trump's election)?

Old 06-08-20, 09:58 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Iím on another board where someone repeatedly insists that the only reason people are opposed to Trump is because theyíre sore losers still holding grudges over the 2016 election. I just donít see how to hold a conversation when thatís someoneís basic premise.
You too? I get that on another board as well. Can't be the lying, the corruption, the name-calling, the immature tweets, the braggadocio, the cozying up to foreign dictators and strongmen. Nope, it's the love of Hillary. NOBODY loves Hillary that much. Not even Bill.
Old 06-08-20, 10:15 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
They're conservatives. I don't have a problem with that. Lots of people are honorable conservatives. It's the Trump cult of personality that disturbs me. If they can spearhead a conservative movement to repudiate Trumpism and take back the Republican party, I support them.

But I think they're a rump of the old Republican party. They've been ousted, and they aren't coming back.
People are perfectly entitled to be conservatives, and some of them even manage to do so without being bigots or sociopaths. But as a liberal, I'm not going to defer to conservatives on what direction I should ask my leaders to take the country.

And wendersfan, perhaps the tenor of the discussion here has changed, but I remember a handful of us being resoundingly mocked (first in Other Talk and then here when this subforum was spun up) for thinking that maybe we shouldn't go to war in Iraq. So maybe it hasn't changed as much as you suggest.
Old 06-08-20, 10:38 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by cultshock View Post
Interesting, why do you think this has been happening (especially if it predates Trump's election)?
For one thing, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram) has been eating away at boards like this for the last ten years or so. A lot of people have been migrating to those platforms and abandoning the old school message boards like these that thrived in the pre-social media days.

DVDTalk has drifted leftward over the past ten or so years, and it's not the only board that has either. I'm a member of several other boards, and the ones that allow political discussion have all drifted leftward as well. This is not unique to DVDTalk... I have seen it happen first-hand on comic book forums, music forums, and horror forums.

I think that a lot of conservative types have been moving to Facebook and Twitter because the message thrives in those places. For one thing, they're unmoderated and trolling and name-calling are permitted. For another, they're more specialized and it's easier to connect with like-minded people and "bubble" yourself. The net effect here is that both sides end becoming echo chambers in their own ponds... social media becomes a right wing echo chamber, and message boards then become their own right-wing echo chamber.

I really don't like Facebook and Twitter for any kind of meaningful discussion. Twitter, but its character limit, makes it difficult to have any kind of meaningful, in-depth discussion. Facebook is just a mess when it comes to reading anything with more than ten replies.
Old 06-08-20, 10:58 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I think that a lot of conservative types have been moving to Facebook and Twitter because the message thrives in those places. For one thing, they're unmoderated and trolling and name-calling are permitted.
That's basically it. A guy like Trump would have been banned from here after a week or so. His followers mimic the same unfiltered, assholish manners, not having an actual debate, just using insults and childish retorts as arguments because that's what their stupid leader does. Most regular forums on the net don't stand for that shit. I can say something like Black Lives Matters and their response would be All Lives Matter you cuck, libtard, Hillary lover, lamestream media biased abortion. There's no rational discussion, just racist rhetoric sponsored by Trump, Breibart, OAN, the Blaze and Fox News.
Old 06-08-20, 11:19 AM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
I considered that, but then decided it was a little to narcissistic to start a thread just about my personal gripes.
It's a good idea. I'll get it going, one sec...
Old 06-08-20, 11:42 AM
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Why and How We Engage Each Other in "Religion, Politics, and World Events" (and Beyond)

This thread begins with around 20 posts on Jun 8, 2020 in the Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3. These posts raised the issue of why and how we engage each other in political discourse at both DVDTalk and in other realms of our lives. It was suggested this would make for a good separate thread and I agree. I considered putting this in Feedback, but ultimately decided this is mostly about discourse in Religion, Politics, and World Events so I've put it here.

My hope is the stricter rules can help us have a good conversation. If you need a refresher on the Religion, Politics, and World Events rules, you'll find them here.

I'll add three guidelines for this thread:
1. Please approach this discussion with a cool head and a warm heart. If you're coming here to do a drive-by post or to antagonize or with a disingenuous attitude, please just don't come here.
2. Please only speak for yourself. Please don't speak on behalf of others who choose not to engage in the thread. Likewise, please don't ask others to engage on your behalf. If you have something to say, please say it for yourself.
3. Please come at this with a simple premise: this thread can help improve our community. There really is no other reason to have this discussion.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this thread goes well for our community.

Okay, I'll start:

Everybody is wrong but me.

Hold on, I had a typo there.

What I meant to write was: You're all good people and I've enjoyed being here with you for 20+ years. I hope to continue with cool heads and warm hearts, no matter the subject. Even politics. Even Star Wars.
Old 06-08-20, 11:43 AM
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re: Why and How We Engage in "Religion, Politics and World Events" (and Beyond)

Sounds good to me.
Old 06-08-20, 12:08 PM
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Re: Why and How We Engage in "Religion, Politics and World Events" (and Beyond)

I want to add something to my previous post. One thing I noticed in all forums and Facebook is that right-wing/Trump followers are very comfortable being publicly racist. There was a member in this forum that said something explicitly racist and triple down on it. Trump followers see that as a virtue. Most of us see that as an abhorrent defect. As many have said here, Trump has set a horrible example to follow and the discussion has gone far from taxes, laws and business practices to actual civil rights and human issues. At one point, like with the children in cages, Trump followers dismissed that as following the law, Obama did it first, etc. With what has happened since then, plus the undeniable abhorrent behavior from the entire Trump administration, things have changed drastically and the left, including myself, we aren't going to silent sit on the sidelines when our way of life is in jeopardy. Trump really show how frail and flawed the whole American government is.
Old 06-08-20, 12:16 PM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by cultshock View Post
Interesting, why do you think this has been happening (especially if it predates Trump's election)?

There are many reason, and I am not sure I appreciate or understand all of them.

I constantly go back to my assertion that technology has accelerated the shrinking of our ingroup identity circle. The hope was technology would expand that, but it has not happened. No matter how small, how unique the niche, you can find a group to identify with and not have much need to venture out of that group. Human nature, not liberal or conservative ideology, creates distrust of "outsiders". The distrust leads to assigning nefarious motives to the "others" and failure to consider alternatives. Aside from the practical changes we've experienced with the membership here, I believe this is the biggest change and problem.

A small example. Some here who are ardent trump detractors used to be against affirmative action. We had discussions on the topic. Could that happen now? Would somebody opposed to affirmative action, let's say in college admissions, be treated openly and without being labeled a racist? Not only do I have my doubts, but some conservative leaning, non-trump supporting, members have voiced this very fear. A predominant view exists and opposition to that view is treated as malicious.

Obviously not true of everyone and everything, but my perception and the feeling of others.

Old 06-08-20, 12:26 PM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
For one thing, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram) has been eating away at boards like this for the last ten years or so. A lot of people have been migrating to those platforms and abandoning the old school message boards like these that thrived in the pre-social media days.

DVDTalk has drifted leftward over the past ten or so years, and it's not the only board that has either. I'm a member of several other boards, and the ones that allow political discussion have all drifted leftward as well. This is not unique to DVDTalk... I have seen it happen first-hand on comic book forums, music forums, and horror forums.

I think that a lot of conservative types have been moving to Facebook and Twitter because the message thrives in those places. For one thing, they're unmoderated and trolling and name-calling are permitted. For another, they're more specialized and it's easier to connect with like-minded people and "bubble" yourself. The net effect here is that both sides end becoming echo chambers in their own ponds... social media becomes a right wing echo chamber, and message boards then become their own right-wing echo chamber.

I really don't like Facebook and Twitter for any kind of meaningful discussion. Twitter, but its character limit, makes it difficult to have any kind of meaningful, in-depth discussion. Facebook is just a mess when it comes to reading anything with more than ten replies.
Social media, and the ability to comment on news stories and the like give people a lot of outlets. A lot are bots and trolls, of course, but some use your ID from Facebook, and itís pretty amazing what some people are ok saying when itís their real name and pic attached. You canít blame it all on the anonymity of the internet anymore.
Old 06-08-20, 12:31 PM
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Re: Official Trump Presidency Thread, Part 3

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
There are many reason, and I am not sure I appreciate or understand all of them.

I constantly go back to my assertion that technology has accelerated the shrinking of our ingroup identity circle. The hope was technology would expand that, but it has not happened. No matter how small, how unique the niche, you can find a group to identify with and not have much need to venture out of that group. Human nature, not liberal or conservative ideology, creates distrust of "outsiders". The distrust leads to assigning nefarious motives to the "others" and failure to consider alternatives. Aside from the practical changes we've experienced with the membership here, I believe this is the biggest change and problem.

A small example. Some here who are ardent trump detractors used to be against affirmative action. We had discussions on the topic. Could that happen now? Would somebody opposed to affirmative action, let's say in college admissions, be treated openly and without being labeled a racist? Not only do I have my doubts, but some conservative leaning, non-trump supporting, members have voiced this very fear. A predominant view exists and opposition to that view is treated as malicious.

Obviously not true of everyone and everything, but my perception and the feeling of others.
That is a good observation. I know that my horror at the Trump Administration's lawlessness has likely caused me to react more harshly to any view opposing mine, and I need to be mindful of that.

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