On professional pawns and the attention enchantment.

I

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II

Someone I like very much asked me the other day why I didn’t write a “mainstream” book. I said I had no interest in the middle class and their beliefs. Not my bag. I am not in it for the poverty, but I am not in it for the sleepwalking, either. The middle class memorize scripts and someone else’s narratives, and gooberism just doesn’t appeal to me.

You can come over to my views, or not. Whatever floats your boat. I am a radical centrist and that means I am not going to be your little pawn in some game.

Holding this position when you are an author is more difficult than you can imagine, especially when you are young, female, and a career orphan with no one guiding or instructing you. It is too easy to jump at the first group willing to give you the time of day.

But it is not just authors. Many young women who were catapulted into a national spotlight find themselves getting used, paraded, and then promptly discarded. Linda Lovelace was an iconic porn drudge, and then the feminist movement used her and then abandoned her, and she was bitter at their fairweather support. Paula Jones was harassed by a future president, paraded around by Republicans, and then, when that whole impeachment thing didn’t happen, they dropped her.

It is not a “left” thing or a “right” thing: it is an exploiter thing.

And unless you understand the nuances of strategy, you are going to get dragged into things you have no business being. Your movements and associations no longer become your own, and if you are one of those middle class people who think you are smart just because you have a university degree, you are in for the shock of your life.

Lindsay Shepherd got in trouble when she was a graduate student and T.A. who showed a video of Jordan Peterson, and then faculty bullied her and she recorded their immature pabulum. They sued her because they are thugs who are used to a sterilized environment where they rule the roost as they fake authority and expertise.

Had she left it at that, she would have shown to be the superior one in that dynamic.

The problem was she got A-list treatment in the National Post, and then got enchanted by that toxic spotlight.

III

Shepherd is the intellectual equivalent of a yokel: she has no sense for dangerous thinking. She is the person who watches a chef cook, and then thinks she can fake it by copying what she sees, with no understanding of the finer details and their reasons for use.

Megyn Kelly made the same tactical error interviewing Alex Jones when she landed at NBC News. Yes, women are expected to play it safe with soft news and a gummy smile — and daring to enter the lion’s den gets that woman a target sign on her back. Kelly made it through Fox News — and NBC bringing her into the fold was a way for the mainstream left-wing media to stick it to the right-wing mainstream media — we have her — she’s on our side now.

And then Kelly found the same tricks and scripts that worked in one place did not work at the other. She made one gaffe after another — and found herself without a job. She had no instinct to shift tactics or take her new circumstances into account and it cost her a coveted career.

She was acceptable only if she disavowed the old bible and submitted herself to her new overlords.

She botched the Jones interview, and it was downhill ever since.

And Kelly is a lawyer who was an adult with a serious body of work.

Shepherd is none of those things and it shows.

IV

I do not believe in censorship. I want to know who the scumbuckets are. I do not “advocate” or give platforms to them, but in an Internet Age, if they have something to say, they can say it without a champion.

And I am not going to champion misogynistic, racist, classist, or homophobic trash. Grown-ups do not need it.

Because I am not a pawn who will be exploited.

But Shepherd has been playing games where she does not understand the rules, and has made one bad turn after another.

She “disavows” the left. Not a problem if you disavow the right. Rejection of artificial confines is always a good idea.

But she doesn’t. She is making arguments for the alt-right. That makes her a mouthpiece. Her antics to keep the attention going undo her arguments prior to her initial attention: inviting Faith Goldy to an event was not the brightest of moves. For someone obsessed with the “declining” population of white people, Goldy hasn’t exactly been busy popping out replacement Caucasians, meaning she doesn’t mean a word she says. Pandering for profits and Shepherd doesn’t question it.

And Shepherd has been on alt-right vehicles. She thinks there is a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy, as if you could have one without the other, or as if either were desirable. She no longer has any credibility as a “free speech” advocate. She is not getting the voices of people who are truly dispossessed to a credible platform to be heard. She stays in a single camp, never venturing out from that stifling and static environment.

Her nincompoopity doesn’t vindicate those in that stifling and static environment called Wilfred Laurier University. They just march lockstep to a different script. All Shepherd has managed to do is go from one brain-dead zone to another one. That is not an actual achievement. That is proof that she has absolutely no learning curve and can be tricked by shallow feints and ruses.

And that is not just her failure: the universities who were supposed to teach her how to assess people through empirical means utterly failed her. They are a sham. Her spiral is much of their responsibility: they have countless young men and women who have no other shrewd guidance, and they provide no roadmap or compass for them to see when they are about to be exploited.

The National Post also has much to answer for — you do not just pluck some no-name grad student, enable her illusions, and then leave it at that. There are consequences, and the press has always been highly irresponsible as they use and discard people whose lives are never the same.

Shepherd herself is an adult, however. She is not blameless. She is not an advocate for anyone. She had one very bad experience that got too much attention. Her university and professors were horrid to her, and while they have much blame to carry for making her revile their beliefs, rightfully seeing them as hypocrites, she still has a brain, and it would be nice if she used it before anyone else decides to hijack it and use her until she has no more worth to them.

Throughout my career, I have had countless users try to lure me into these games on both the left and the right. I never took the bait. Mainstream validation is meaningless to me, as is fringe validation. I am who I am, take it or leave — and do not expect me to be impressed or disappointed by either of your decisions.

Too many young women get suckered into this vortex, and none of them ever end up better than they were before. There is no “safe” side to take, and no trick that is going to make things right after you are no longer useful to a cabal.

Standing on your own is riskier, but when you have users on the left and the right salivating at your rise and ruin, learning to face mobs on your own is the greatest feat of them all…

*If you are wondering where the image came from — it is from an app that tries to guess the person (real or fiction) you have in mind — and when it couldn’t guess, it offered those options, which is what spawned this post…

National Post's continued peculiar conflict of interest. Newsmaker, client, guest columnist? What gives?

The National Post is a newspaper without a shred of propriety.

How else do you explain the tangled web of manufacturing newsmakers before having one of their lawyer-columnists represent two manufactured newsmakers as clients before seeing both said newsmaker/clients writing for the newspaper?

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And newspaper owners should start policing the muddied waters their editors credit. This kind of thing is highly unprofessional. It is one thing to report on people. That’s fine. It is also fine for an attorney to write a column and represent clients in court. It is also fine to have guest columnists.

But when they are all mixed in, something is definitely rotten in the state of Postmedia…