Actor George Takei is not loud about his activism. He’s one of those who works quietly for progressive causes. He is a stellar example of how one can fight for progressive ideals and still be polite about it. This does tend to draw the trolls, however. As many of us know, that’s the price one pays for being openly liberal.
Takei has recently opened in a play on Broadway inspired by his experiences in a Japanese internment camp when he was a child. “Allegiance” is playing at the Longacre Theater in New York, with Takei in the starring role. The story isn’t very political — unless one counts the idea of shaming this particular chapter of American history as political — but the trolls always find a way. Usually with logical fallacies by the truckload.
Last week, this comment appeared on Takei’s timeline. George’s reply is exactly what we should do to trolls; hit them with a one-two punch of grammar and truth
The troll, of course, felt the need to reply. They always do. Please observe how he follows the Internet Troll’s Posting Stylebook™ almost to the letter.
He must be very proud of himself. He did an excellent job representing trolls and their peculiarly nasty way of expressing themselves. Now he can retire to Mom’s basement and guzzle soda and chips while watching porn on his laptop.
Both posts embody, as most of you may have already noticed, a logical fallacy known as ad hominem. This is Latin for “against the man” and refers to attacking the person instead of actually arguing the point. When someone stoops to ad hominem attacks s/he has nothing constructive to add to any discussion. One comment explains it very well:
Personal attacks and name calling are the hallmark of those who are unable to articulate their thoughts in an argument. They cheapen the debate and conversations we need to have.
The comments for this post are worth a quick read. Some of them point out the use of the ad hominem. Some post memes that commit the very same logical fallacy, some post memes that are based on the poster’s profile picture (I chose to black out his name for this article, but one could easily find it). As funny as these are, they commit the same crime. Some applauded Takei’s reply (much as I am), especially enjoying the grammar bomb.
Some readers went to the poster’s own Facebook page and found that the man is a “pro-gun, racist, redneck Trump supporter.” As if there would be any doubt. Someone else reported about the posts on his page; “just about every single one is racist or homophobic.” Some commenters pointed out an important truth for all of us:
The more trolls you have the more important the work. Keep it up.
The comments that made the best point, I think, are the ones that expressed puzzlement as to why the original poster was attacking George Takei. This comment summed that thought up perfectly:
I wonder what Mr. (name redacted) has done with his life to place him above a man who has helped to challenge a lot of people’s opinions in regard to inter-racial relations through his appearance on a ground breaking sci-fi tv show, then in later life become an ‘out’ advocate for gay rights, is highlighting the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII through his role in Allegiance and is from what I can tell an all round generally nice guy, in that people who have met and interacted with him haven’t had any words of complaint…
George Takei is, as many noted in that thread and in real life, a class act. He did nothing to deserve this sort of invective from some right-wing troll who can barely use the English language. But, as another commenter observed,”I will forever rue the advent of the mentality that the interface of a computer” allows for this behavior. But it does. Thankfully, it also allows for “educated, articulate, and courteous people,” of which George Takei is one.
Feature Image via the “Allegiance” Home Page