The Weekly Discourse: Limits Of Critical Thinking

The mark of a truly great hot take is when the poster clearly believes they’ve unleashed a watertight exemplar of intellectual discussion when to outside observers, they’ve failed to consider the most basic counterpoint to their argument. This makes them easy to parody: you could put any astoundingly hot take over a Roll Safe meme or add Checkmate Atheists to their end and you’d achieve the same basic result. This week’s posts are bonded by their shared inability to push their thought process one step further to consider why the argument they’re pushing is not all that great.

While Twitter has been hyperfocused on the wake of the Storming of the Capitol and congress moving towards a second impeachment of Donald Trump, the hottest takes of the week were on more frivolous topics, perhaps a sign that posters were emboldened by the site’s general focus elsewhere. This week, a poster committed the grave Twitter sin of disparaging The Sopranos, a socialist argued for the atomic bombs in Japan and another person pulled from the well of insipid Marvel/politics comparisons to comment on the state of the world.

Sex and the City and The Sopranos and Hadley Freeman

If you’ve ever peeked into Media Twitter, you’ve likely seen the reverence with which a certain subset of posters treats The Sopranos. By critics and fans alike, it’s considered one of the greatest television series of all time, and stills and memes from the show still gain good traction on Twitter timelines. Sex and the City, another HBO series from the time, has also remained in the public consciousness, albeit mostly through jokes and cheeky memories of the show’s numerous cliches.

As HBO preps a Samantha-less Sex and the City revival, some disparaging chatter about the show’s original run has returned to the timeline, leading to this fiery take from British journalist Hadley Freeman:

Naturally, Freeman’s tweet left Sopranos fans pulling their hair out, but regardless of one’s feelings towards either show, there are myriad issues with her argument. For starters, her dramatic oversimplification of both shows in the service of casting SatC as harmless fun and The Sopranos as some sort of toxic masculinity emblem ignores the discourse that has surrounded both shows for decades. It’s also extremely lazy: all Freeman does here is point out the dominant social identities of each show’s cast to imply SatC was “good” and The Sopranos was “bad.” That extent of critical analysis wouldn’t even pass a 1st-year media studies class, and it certainly didn’t pass the judgment of Twitter, who let her have it as her tweet racked up a 2,800-420 quote-tweet to retweet ratio.

The Socialist With Japanese Wife Tendencies

Deep within political Twitter, user @besf0rt posted, “had to learn that some US americans still justify the use of atomic bombs in japan. are you.. serious?” While the general left-leaning opinion of Americans using the atomic bombs on Japan is that they were an unnecessary, brutal attack to conclude World War II, at least one leftist on Twitter felt the opposite:

This is a frankly remarkable tweet. Prose-wise, it’s stunning. In 280 characters, user @AsahiToussaint provides a remarkably rich introduction to his character. So many vivid details about his life build towards making the case that he’d be against the dropping of nuclear bombs on the Japanese, but he hits the 180º conclusion with perfect brevity. If it were the first line of a novel, it’d be a classic.

Of course, the tweet didn’t rack up a brutal ratio of 100-1 quote-tweets to retweet thanks to its literary merit. Instead, Twitter users were left agog at the defense of the atomic bombs, particularly coming from a self-identified socialist.

Maybe Harry Potter Discourse Was Better

Last week featured an all-timer in the growing amount of posts comparing Marvel films to political events, rivaled only by the Harry Potter franchise, but it continued to go strong this week thanks to podcaster and comedian Steve Hoftstetter. With impeachment on the way and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly on board with the proceedings, Hofstetter opined that it was just like two Marvel villains fighting.

In an older, simpler age, this take would have been “This is like watching Umbridge fight with Voldemort,” but now we’ve entered a time where Marvel movies have become the de facto children’s media for liberal political analysis. Many mocked the take as frustratingly simple-minded, as users expressed exasperation with the trend.

Buckle up for four years of Biden-is-Tony-Stark and Kamala-is-Black-Widow takes. This is the new normal.

The Weekly Discourse is a look at some of the spiciest hot takes on Twitter from the past week that may not have generated memes but were definitely bonkers.

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