Recycled Satanic Panic 3: Displaced Anxiety and Role Playing

Twitter thread found here This was also an extemporaneous thread, rather than pre-composed, so this post will correct any egregious lack of clarity. Twitter is my first draft.

Another way conspiracy displaces real anxiety

Oregon’s fires have a LOT to do with power lines. But it’s easier to blame (and try to shoot) Others.

Social media disinformation on US west coast blazes ‘spreading faster than fire’ | Oregon | The Guardian

Going after the power company? That’s HARD. Even in states with strong state governments, you’re dealing with a combination of rural electric cooperatives, out-of-state large providers, municipal systems, leased lines, lines on private property and a Public Utilities Commission.

And all of those layers — however many — exist in part to limit any single entity’s liability.
They’re already paying in-house lawyers. It doesn’t actually cost them much more to keep liability suits in court until the plaintiff runs out of money for their lawyer.

State level Public Utilities Commissions are often captured agencies, because they’re not flashy offices, but do need expertise.

And Ms Smith, down the street, that local dynamo who has been on city council & school board? Well… but what does she know about energy markets?

If governors appoint PUC members, even liberal-progressive governors tend to appoint people with energy company experience.
Because it’s not a flashy job, and it needs to be handled efficiently.
And people from the industry tend to sympathize with the industry.
It’s a common, cognitive bias.

Conspiracy theorists are not stupid — they’ve perceived this governmental problem too. Their brains HAVE deduced that it’s incredibly hard for regular citizens to take down the Powers That Be.

But you can’t shoot the power company. And bringing a class action is boring.

It’s WAY more fun to role play this, with yourself as a Wolverine (Red Dawn, not Logan Howlett).
While conspiracy theories ARE primarily a way of displacing a real anxiety in favor of a fantasy…
They’re fun. There’s a community of validation. A jargon. Secrets. Decoder rings.

A conspiracy theorist believes they’re completely unlikely to win against the Powers That Be.
But they’re ALSO the hero of their own story.
And they don’t want their hero being thwarted by some accounting geeks and slick lawyers.
Their hero deserves a worthy opponent.
A HYDRA.

See? Isn’t it WAY more fun to imagine HYDRA’s after you, than realizing the planet has too much carbon in the air, and fixing it is going to be weird and hard and will take forever, and until then, our forests are going to keep burning and putting MORE carbon in the air…

And if imagining HYDRA is the real villain, it means there are HYDRA foot soldiers (who are conveniently uniformed in black & brown skin, or are blue haired women who don’t give The Hero the time of day…).

It’ll be just like Call of Duty crossed with Deadpool.

Come for the real anxiety displacement & suppression, stay for the LARP.

I’m not the 1st person to call this Live Action Role Playing.

(I think that goes to @SlacktivistFred, who you should be reading
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2018/01/16/stormtroopers/
And the whole Satanic Baby-Killers tag. )

Doing the work — be it taking on the power company, or running a real nation, or just organizing to force frackers to give us a measly 2000 feet between their rigs and our public school — it’s work.

I’m not saying it’s not fun. It can be.
But it’s not as fun as the LARP.

When you’re organizing to tell the energy sector that they’re busted anyway (seriously — debt to their hairlines, god bless them every one)… you’re one of many.
There are times where you’re a hero, but you don’t get to often be the hero.

The LARP keeps the fantasy alive.

And the fantasy is what keeps the REAL, existential, true-fact, tangible threat, anxiety at bay.

See how the cycle draws someone in, ever deeper?
See how admitting any crack into the fantasy is itself an existential threat for a conspiracy theorist?

They’re TRYING to hide from anxiety.

The way to break through this is to keep asking for sources, citations.
Keep asking the LARPer “Well, what do you want to do about it?” Poke at them to articulate concrete plans of action.

(If their answer is “shoot the Lege”, superglue their guns & call for backup.)

And acknowledge how truly frightened they must be to live with this.
Because this is about fear and control. The more we acknowledge the fear and figure out if there are points of control available and how to use them, the closer we get to the REAL anxiety.
Which can be worked.

The goal is ALWAYS to get to the REAL anxiety.
The REAL guilt.
The REAL shame.
The real sadness that comes from being duped by an abusive ex, or a rapacious minister, or a conman on TV.

Real feelings can be worked. Fake ones must be dispelled.

And… for most of you: this crap is WAY above your pay grade. If you can’t be the pro-am therapist for your batshit dad every day?
Don’t. Please step away.
Put the oxygen mask on your face first.
Then protect the innocents.
Because behavior like this is a CHOICE.

PS: Seriously, on the superglue & guns — if you live with someone you’re not 100% sure about?
Think through your plan to disable everything you can reach.

Mine happens to be superglue. From the nail store. Big bottle. (Found here. I don’t get paid for this. I have used their products, and like them, and this is about the best price for 2 ounces of cyanoacrylate I’ve found.)
With accelerator (91% alcohol/baking soda & h2O).

Put either plain 91% alcohol or 2 ounces of water to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a small spray bottle. Apply the glue, spritz the accelerator, fit other part (or apply glue, fit part, spritz. Depends on what you’re doing, tbh.)

I’d glue small glass tiles or pebbles or a cut to fit piece of steel over the gun safe keypad, or fill the keyhole, or as someone else suggested, use spray foam insulation to block certain hollow, cylindrical parts…

The goal here is to stop someone from committing a mass shooting. Mass stabbings are simply less fatal for fewer people.

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