There’s been a lot written about civil discourse, lately. About how us liberal snowflakes are a bunch of pussies and obsessed with being PC so as not to tread on anyone’s toes and also, somehow, using language that is deeply offending the opposition.
Whilst right wing figures like Milo Yiannopoulos* can call for the murder of journalists and hey presto, last night five journalists were killed, we on the left are supposed to be watching what we say.
Last week, girthy, wall-eyed spokes-hag Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant because the staff were uncomfortable serving a woman who makes a living lying to the public in the service of a wannabe despot. In her response, Sanders attempted to take the high road and claimed that she always treated those she disagreed with with respect, a statement as mendacious as everything else that’s ever escaped her slack, porcine maw.
It’s around this time that we have to bring up Russia – not, for once, because Trump is in bed with them, although that’s still true, but because of a Russian concept called Styob, which is essentially a form of satirical lying. It’s a lie so obvious and exaggerated that it can only be a joke.
An example would be if I said that I wished Donald Trump a long presidency and excellent health, with a straight face. Ideally, in front of a camera on national TV.
Everyone knows full well that what I really mean is “I hope Donald Trump has a stroke whilst jerking off over pictures of his own daughter, and is found that way, mired in his own faecal incontinence, with his trousers around his ankles, his laughable, withered penis in his hand and a search for “Melania Trump naked” on his desktop, his brain now irreparably damaged so that he can no longer speak and must live out the next twenty years as a mute and frustrated shut-in, gurgling in impotent rage at the TV which the cheap Mexican nurse a resentful Don Jr. hired won’t change to another station out of petty spite.”
But with that in mind, what I say when asked is “I wish the President success and bear him no ill will!”
It’s funny that of all the Russian influence on the White House, this is possibly the biggest part of it. Consider the aforementioned shooting of five journalists in Maryland. Trump has offered “Thoughts and prayers,” a phrase so banal that it was eviscerated by cartoon satire Bojack Horseman nearly a year ago and has long since descended into parody. But Trump isn’t using such a lame response because he’s inarticulate and stupid (although he is) but rather because what he really means is “Good, I hate journalists.” Styob.
So keep all of this in mind when Republicans say they want to “protect our borders.” It’s an in-joke for their supporters, who know that what they really mean is “keep brown people away.” They wouldn’t give a shit if a boatload of Norwegian bikini models tried to seek sanctuary in New York harbour. They just have to claim that it’s a border security issue because that’s the joke. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, we really just hate spics. Styob.
When Republicans call for the left to be “civil,” after years of abuse and violence perpetrated by their side, that’s styob. It’s just one more way Russia has come to own the American right, whether they realise it or not. In fifty years, the American right has gone from fearing everything with even a whiff of Russia about it to embracing Russia’s candidate, political ideology, and even the Russian sense of humour.
And if you’re on the right and want us to remain civil? Fuck you.
*I may have spelled that wrong but, in the spirit of the piece, fuck him. I’m not going to Google his name, he thrives on that.
Luke Haines is a British writer who is indebted to Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and comedian Sara Pascoe for introducing the concept of Styob. Check it out on YouTube, and follow Haines on Twitter @lukedoughaines