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Culture War Roundup for the week of November 28, 2022

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The big story in North Carolina this morning is that power went out across Moore County last night and it appears it was due to intentional vandalism at several substations.

Speculation on the North Carolina subreddit is that it was motivated by outrage about a drag show scheduled to be performed in Southern Pines last night.

So yes, nothing is known for sure as of this morning, but let's say they're right, that someone was so focused on making sure the drag show did not happen that they engaged in this intentional vandalism. It's really just an extreme form of no-platforming, isn't it? The same crap college students have been doing for years? The idea is that the featured content or entertainment is so harmful or damaging that it can't be allowed to exist and the community must be protected from it by any means necessary. In both cases I think it's idiotic. If you don't like it, no one's forcing you to go, but just let people do their thing. It's just as wrong to deplatform a drag show as it is to deplatform someone like Joe Rogan or Jordan Peterson.

It's really just an extreme form of no-platforming, isn't it?

Extreme no platforming is pulling the fire alarm, not burning down the building.

Extreme no-platforming includes beating the professor who sponsored the talk. If no one's actually set a fire to shut a talk down, that's more happenstance and the fact that lesser things have worked, than scrupulousness.

Only if you count any action taken against someone saying something you disagree with politically, in which case running over protestors or shooting up a drag show counts as no platforming. If you want to define it that way no one can stop you, but it seems like a semantic leap.

I characterize pulling the fire alarm (or other disruptive behavior) as extreme specifically because it is a step beyond the normal threat of social opprobrium while not crossing the line into actually violent/destructive behavior.

Violence clearly could be "no-platforming": storming the stage and lynching the speakers would clearly be "no-platforming." The thing that makes ideological action up to and including violence part of the specific subcategory of "no-platforming" is that the action is intended to prevent an ideologically-disfavored person/entity from speaking.

Speculation on the North Carolina subreddit is that it was motivated by outrage about a drag show scheduled to be performed in Southern Pines last night.

This is hilarious. Why not just cut the power to the drag show venue rather than disable several substations? This is a preposterous theory that assumes the perp would risk getting caught at several more severe activities that required greater planning than the one simple no-fuss activity needed to directly fulfill their goal.

Tangential, but decaying infrastructure + rise in conspiracy theory is a terrible combination. The latter will be invoked to explain perfectly predictable outcomes from the former.

An actual attack on a drag show would probably be a mass shooting at a drag show, not an attack on critical infrastructure with the hope it got canceled as a result of power outages.

I'm not going to write off terrorism, but the closest terrorism I can think of to something like this is probably radical environmentalism, not something right wing.

I guess you could consider it "extreme no-platforming" if that was indeed the reason. It still seems like a profoundly dumb thing to do if that was the intended result. I probably shouldn't describe specific things here as it feels a little too close to advocating violence, but I'm sure we can think of a dozen ways to cancel a show without causing such widespread disruption.

In fact, the apparent skill of the attack and how widespread the effect is makes me think that if it has any relation to the drag show at all, it's a lot more likely to be some sort of false flag done by a leftist group or a Government operative than an actual right-wing attack. It's kind of a mirror of insurgency - insurgents like to draw down a heavy-handed and disproportionate Government response to drive the population against the Government and towards them. If we have something that's so obviously over the line of scale of disruption versus the (supposedly) targeted event, why would anybody smart enough to actually do the attack carry it out when that's the obvious effect?

Here is how I read your post. "Let's just assume that the Jews burned down the Reichstag. What does that say about international Zionism?"

The biggest story here is how the subreddit would instantly jump to this ludicrous assumption despite absolutely no evidence.

Progressives' stated belief is that opposition to child drag shows is just cover for organizing a violent genocide of the entire alphabet soup brigade by evil conservatives trying to bring about the fourth reich. That this belief is stupid doesn't mean that they don't believe it. Put in that context, a series of power outages timed like that with a prominent conservative activist posting on twitter about how it's because of a drag show looks pretty suggestive.

These people are wrong, but a slim majority of them aren't insane.

Progressives' stated belief is that opposition to child drag shows is just cover for organizing a violent genocide of the entire alphabet soup brigade by evil conservatives trying to bring about the fourth reich.

Do not weakman your outgroup.

I know, I know, it's so satisfying to write a sneering, exaggerated description of just how very stupid and insane your enemies are. To unleash all your scorn and sarcasm and vitriol and describe them as Literally The Worst.

The irony, of course, is that this makes you a lot more like the people you are describing than not.

Are there some progressives who literally believe "Opposition to child drag shows is just cover for organizing a violent genocide and the Fourth Reich?" Maybe, though I haven't seen that specific claim in the wild. Does this describe most progressives? Or even a substantial number of them? Bring evidence if you want to assert that.

Initial assumption: anarchist/primitivist groups were responsible. I don't know specifically about NC but these groups exist and have been toying and practicing targeting power infrastructure for a while.

I don't think it was the drag show. If it was, then it could just as easily be a false flag.

I think it will be found to be the same kind of idiots who are throwing soup at paintings and gluing themselves to conductor's rostrums. But it is very convenient timing for people who want to make out that there is a huge trans genocide coming down the line, and that anyone who objects to bringing kids to a drag show (which is just like dressing up for Hallowe'en or going to the circus) is also against inter-racial marriage and are homophobes and probably Nazis and fascists.

A conservative activist in the area posted some hot takes on her socials and now claims she was questioned by the authorities regarding the blackouts.

Whoever it turns out to be in the end, this investigation is putting her name in the paper of record for the area, which we know from Operation Hurricane (the FBI’s Trump/Russia investigation) is sufficient to get a domestic spying warrant on her and her personal contacts. We are seeing “sources and methods” in realtime in addition to the smear.

Having read the linked article, it was nobody's fault but her own.

Power stations are closed down by vandalism, Little Ms. Hot Take starts bragging on social media about "“The power is out in Moore County and I know why" in several posts, what did she expect to happen?

Probably exactly what did happen, which she can now use as evidence that she is being persecuted for doing the work of the Lord. This was intended to provoke a reaction and it did. She should be charged with wasting the time of the police:

The Moore County Sheriff's Office just checked in. I welcomed them to my home.

Sorry they wasted their time. I told them that God works in mysterious ways and is responsible for the outage. I used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show and the blasphemies screamed by its supporters.

God is chastising Moore County. I thanked them for coming and wished them a good night. Thankful for the LEOs service, as always

So if "her name is out there to get a domestic spying warrant on her and her personal contacts", well I honestly don't think she's big enough fish for that but (1) she did it to herself and (2) good, she deserves to have her time wasted the same way she wasted the time of the police.

If she wants to preach a sermon, let her find a street corner. I think these "drag shows for kid audiences" are rubbish, and even harmful rubbish, but I don't think "let me pretend I'm involved in criminal activity so I can thump the Bible at cops who have to respond to every crackpot claiming they have inside knowledge" is the way to combat them.

I don't see any reference in there to inside knowledge at all. She blamed it on divine wrath.

Preachers have blamed hurricanes on divine wrath towards gays. Do you think those preachers were claiming to have inside knowledge on hurricanes?

She hinted on social media that she had information about who did it and why. She could have said "it was the wrath of God" online, but she didn't, for whatever reason - probably hoped the local newspaper, radio or TV station would send someone over to interview her and then she could have her sermon on the tea-time news.

Instead, the sheriff's office showed up, as you'd expect them to do, checking out every looper and fake confession claiming they had inside info. Because suppose this bint did know something, they'd be pilloried for ignoring her.

So she gets to waste time of the cops and do her sermonising, in order to feel good about herself like she was doing something.

If she had any guts, she'd have been standing outside the drag show preaching, but this is the flip side of the kind of activism which throws soup at paintings.

I think if Reverend Jimbob at the local IFB church had declared that he knew the real reason for 9/11 or the Dylan Roof shooting or the Boston Marathon bombing without elaboration he would have been questioned by police, and that even if he clarified fully that he meant it was because God sent a calamity to punish the Boston Marathon because of the immodesty of running shorts or whatever, it would still be his fault he got questioned by police for saying that out loud and ambiguously.

I'd love to hear what they did (assuming there was even a "they" to begin with), but it doesn't sound like they were too successful. Griefing vulnerable infrastructure in minecraft is an understudied tactic, and it's fascinating to notice the potential for it all around you in, uh, your local server.

Transformers seem like the big one due to the shortage and huge lead times, especially specialist ones. Some guys from the utility asked to make sure I was keeping my wood stove after installing a mini split, because the single HV transmission line that brings power to our whole area relies on transformers they don't have and possibly can't get replacements for; they did manage to call the supplier's old number a few years ago, but the lady on the phone didn't seem to speak much english and couldn't tell them if the company was still in business.

Also another example of "dimmer vs switch" violence (assuming any of it's true); leftists are a lot better at strategically applying violence to target enemies and bully bystanders into compliance. Rightists only know how to go straight from zero to death con 1. "Go Wolverines!"

TBH if you see violence as switch vs dimmer, you're probably also a lot more squeamish about collateral damage- if anything which justifies violence of any sort justifies lethal violence, then you won't inflict minor damage on people who don't justify lethal violence.

It's not understudied at all, it's just that the venn diagram of people who use "doing X in Minecraft" as a euphemism for meat-space political violence and the sort of people who actually have schematics of their local water/power grid stashed on a thumb drive is two separate circles.

Fair. We'll leave it in your capable hands then, and good luck to you.

Not sure this really works. The case for 'normal' no-platforming only needs to show that the cost of a particular event/speaker outweighs the benefit, because there is no 'collateral damage'; if a speaking event is cancelled by a university, the only negative consequences are those that arrive from the cancellation of that event. Even if one thinks that many/almost all cases of no-platforming don't meet that requirement, that's the bar. Whereas if you want to justify shutting down electrical substations, you have to show that the harm of that drag show outweighs all the potential consequences of a power outage for hospitals, businesses, schools, households, public safety (streetlights, for instance) etc.

if a speaking event is cancelled by a university, the only negative consequences are those that arrive from the cancellation of that event.

IIRC "no-platforming" (even at universities) starting in the GamerGate era has long included tactics like pulling fire alarms and calling in bomb threats. I think those are probably comparable in scope to cutting power, albeit this sounds like it was a larger scale than a single building.

You could say murdering all the drag performers would be “just an extreme form of no-platforming”. I think it would be wrong to be so needlessly reductive, it just collapses actual meaningful differences in harm and violence in order to “both sides” or “what about” the situation

it just collapses actual meaningful differences in harm and violence in order to “both sides” or “what about” the situation

I honestly just assumed that was the intent.