I’ve noticed a trend in Leftist Twitter these days: the use of anecdotes to underscore a political point. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an anecdote is a story designed to lead to a conclusion that may or may not be known to the audience. A good example of this would be Aesop’s fables, where the stories built up to a moral (and to more than a few freaky dreams by your humble correspondent after taking old school NyQuil).
Granted, Aesop’s fables aren’t meant to be taken literally. A talking fox wanting a bunch of grapes too high for him to reach isn’t plausible. Now, a talking pig, that I can believe! Of course, it would have to be some pig for that to happen, but I digress. The issue I have is the Left’s use of anecdotes don’t even rise to the level of believing talking animals are real.
A recent example came from noted Leftist feminist Jessica Valenti. Recently she tweeted a waitress came over and gave her a free dessert because the waitress was a fan of Valenti’s, and that impressed her eight-year-old daughter while underscoring how good feminism can be. Naturally, many people threw the brown challenge bullshit flag on the tweet and questioned whether it actually happened, which caused Valenti to lament on Twitter about how horrible it can be to post real stuff like that on Twitter.
Here’s the problem I have with it. It sounds way too much like other anecdotal tweets from Leftists. All the stories seem to involve a child or some other unnamed person saying or doing something in the Leftists’ presence that just so happens to coincide with an issue Leftists are promoting. Let’s try to create our own MadLibs Leftist Tweet!
Today, I was (everyday action) when a (non-specific term for a person) came up to me and (expression of emotion). (Pronoun for non-specific person) said, “(short statement about current event/cause).” That inspired me to (active verb involving current event/issue). (General statement in favor of position/cause)
Even if the stories were true, they far too often fall into the pattern I provided above. Although it may get those readers who are more emotional or ideologically aligned with the Left, it leaves a lot of us outside of that bubble wondering what the truth really is. Maybe Valenti’s eight year old daughter really thought feminism was cool because of her mom getting a free dessert, but let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment. Jessica Valenti got a free dessert because of who she was, not necessarily because of any accomplishment worthy of a free dessert. What kind of message does that actually send? It’s okay to get free stuff if you’re on the right side of an issue? (Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the Left’s 2020 Presidential platform.)
Another issue I have is the person who makes the statement about the current event/cause always seems to be someone you wouldn’t normally expect to be so intellectually deep. That’s not to say there aren’t some smart eight year olds, taxi drivers, or airline attendants out there, but the odds of these people a) knowing who these Leftists are, b) being brave enough to approach them, c) giving such a perfect statement in line with the Leftists’ beliefs, and d) having all of that appear in a mundane setting at the right time tends to be on the “not even Fox Mulder believes you” side of the scale.
Look, I get the Left wants us to believe the issues they care about are important, but these unbelievable stories aren’t helping the matter. Emotional appeals work. They don’t replace actual reasoning, though. If anything, emotions are anathema to reason. And if you Leftists are telling the truth in these all-too-familiar anecdotes, maybe do a bit more to vary the narrative. Most of us don’t like leftovers when it comes to food. What makes you think we like them in our politics?