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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 19, 2023 10:29 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included Trump's statements about immigrants, doing things to annoy others, a 68-year-old retired father working as a substitute teacher, and did Kate and William have a fairytale romance or a contrived and arranged relationship?

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Trump warns that immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. The original poster linked to a NBC News article reporting remarks by former President Donald Trump which included a statement that immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country". The original poster noted that this is very similar to sentiments written by Adolph Hitler in "Mein Kampf". As the first poster to respond noted, Trump and his MAGA followers are selective about which type of immigrants they think might be "poisoning" American blood. Trump, after all, has been married to two immigrants, both mothers of his children, whose blood he presumably does not consider to be "poisoned". Another poster pointed out that Trump referred to "illegal" immigrants. This highlights an inconsistency that frequently comes up in discussions about immigration. Those who cross US borders and immediately request asylum are following the law. If they are then paroled into the country while they wait for an immigration hearing, they are still within legal bounds. It is inaccurate to refer to such individuals as "illegal". Unrelated to that, Trump's speech has come at a time when he and others close to him have been suffering a number of legal setbacks. Trump has routinely used inflammatory rhetoric to distract from other issues. In the case of this thread, posters are busy arguing about distinctions between various types of immigrants, the countries from which undocumented immigrants come, and the precise wording of Trump's statement. This is an 11 page discussion in which posters are not talking about the $148 million judgement against Rudy Giuliani for defaming Georgian election workers, the ruling by an appeals court that Trump does not have presidential immunity, or another immunity-related case that the Supreme Court has agreed to review. As the legal screws tighten on Trump, he is ramping up his incendiary remarks knowing full well that this will distract the media, his followers, and even — as this thread shows — many of his opponents. Trump launched his initial presidential campaign by describing migrants as drug dealers and rapists. He now appears to be planning a repeat performance. Trump does, unfortunately, appear to have found one surprising ally for his immigration position. That is Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman who recently stated that he "is not a progressive" — despite explicitly running as a progressive — and announced support for stronger immigration controls. Fetterman's wife, Gisele, lived for much of her life as an undocumented immigrant and has often used her life story to garner sympathy for migrants. For her part, Melania Trump, who has her own checkered immigration history, recently spoke at a naturalization ceremony and welcomed new immigrants. Both Trump and Fetterman could do well to listen more to their wives.

Yesterday's next most active thread was posted in the "Off-Topic" forum. Titled, "Is there something you do purposefully to irritate people?", the original poster asks those who purposefully do things to irritate people what they do and why they do it. The first poster to respond said that she drives the speed limit if someone is tailgating her. This provoked a discussion that continued throughout the thread which demonstrated, if nothing else, that even talking about doing this annoys many people. Another poster said that he annoyed his liberal neighbors by playing "Rush Limbaugh on my phone speaker while waking [sic] my dog until he died". I am not sure if he meant until Limbaugh died or, as another poster suggested, he walked his dog to death. Other posters intentionally mispronounce words to irritate others. Another poster parks in front of her neighbor's house. Some posters have habits, especially involving driving, that they know annoy others. But, they don't do these things to be annoying. Rather, they have justifications, frequently involving safety, for the behaviors. One poster simply responded by saying "Exist as a woman". This was probably not as provocative of a response as the poster likely hoped since everyone seems to have ignored it. There was some back and forth involving "mansplainers". Nobody admitted to mansplaining in order to annoy others though many are clearly annoyed by mansplaining. One poster described how she, in turn, likes to annoy mansplainers. Her post itself annoyed proponents of mansplaining who rushed to defend the practice and further annoyed a number of posters. Some posters said that they don't understand why anyone would intentionally annoy others. One claimed doing so was a "waste of emotional energy".

Next was the thread about the Gaza war which I've already discussed and will, therefore, skip. Following that was a thread titled, "My 68 year old, retired dad had to call security thrice and was shoved while subbing" and posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. The original poster says that both she and her sister are teachers in Title I schools and have experienced significant violence and difficulties. Nevertheless, her father who is a retired prosecutor wanted to be a substitute teacher. Initially his experience was very good and he highly enjoyed teaching. However, while recently subbing at one of the most successful middle schools, he ran into a number of issues. He had to call security three times and was shoved by a student. The original poster sees this as emblematic of the dismal state of schools and asks what can be done about it and when it will end. While the schools forums have been full of posts describing unruly behavior by students, including many violent incidents, those responding seem surprisingly unsympathetic to the original poster and her father. Some question the original poster's own stated experience. Others suggest that her father may need more training in order to better control a classroom. One poster suggested that maybe the original poster's father shouldn't be there in the first place and says, he is "over his head". It has been frequently discussed that area school systems, including Montgomery County Public Schools, have had trouble recruiting and retaining teachers. Many systems are suffering a severe shortage of substitutes. As such, schools have reached out to non-traditional candidates such as the original poster's father. But, based on this thread, these individuals are not really appreciated. Teachers seem resentful of the idea that anyone can essentially walk in off the street and perform the same job for which they have received considerable education and training. Other posters are equally skeptical that the original poster's father was capable of adequately performing as a substitute. I don't agree with the original poster's contention that this single incident signaled the downfall of MCPS, but the thread itself is making me rethink my position. Posters seem woefully ignorant of reality. The choice MCPS and other systems face is not between the original poster's father and a teacher-of-the-year candidate. It is between the original poster's father and either someone even worse or perhaps nobody at all. Those arguing that a 68-year-old former prosecutor doesn't belong in the classroom should be concerned that they will get what they are asking for.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Entertainment and Pop Culture" forum. Titled, "Just how much effort did the Middletons make to ensure Kate married William?", the original poster says that the current series of the Netflix show "The Crown" sheds some light on the topic. The original poster is interested in how much of a social climber others view Kate as having been. There are two clear problems with this thread. First, "The Crown" is fiction. Second, when it comes to the British Royal Family, DCUM posters are completely insane. The only surprise I have with this thread is that it has lasted to this point without me locking it. Though, that may not still be true by the time I finish writing this post. The first response is the most intelligent of the entire thread, saying simply, "I’m gonna sit this one out". Posts in this thread are such that there is a debate about whether "Carole" is a witch capable of casting spells. Not only do I not know who "Carole" is, I don't know if these posters are being serious or, as the British would say, taking the piss. Other posters undoubtedly take this topic very seriously. There are posters who seem to know about every interaction, no matter how trivial, between Kate and William from the time of their first encounter. Invariably, these threads turn into arguments between fans of Kate and fans of Meghan Markle. For the most part, Meghan posts were reported and I removed them. But, there is no holding back the tide and currently there are a number of posts mentioning her. However, for the most part these are more in the line of "a pox on both their houses" since the posters see Kate and Meghan as equally bad. Intermixed between the authoritative biographical statements posted by the Kate specialists is considerable debate about the veracity and accuracy of "The Crown". But, even that is eclipsed by discussion of whether Kate and Will have a "fairytale romance" or a completely fake and invented relationship that was arranged by Kate's mother. All in all, this is not the worst British Royal Family thread which is probably why it has still not been locked. But, I sense the time for that may not be far away.

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