The Master Distractor
by Doc Searls Friday, October 7, 2016

Dave nailed it back in July: Trump is a troll. He "sows discord ... by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages..." and so on. We know how it goes, because it seems we know little else. He's that effective.

An interesting thing about having an audience is that you know when you've lost them.

In a physical space, such as a theater, a classroom or a church, you can see it plainly. People look down at their phones, or doze off. On the Net you can see it in a decline of visits, reads, re-tweets, likes and comments. The closer we get to the election, the less I see of all those things, even though I'm not doing anything much differently. I'm sure a lot of other bloggers and tweeters have noticed the same thing. Why? In a word, Trump.

As a troll, he may be the best the world has ever seen. I mean, look what he's doing, playing media old and new, masterfully upsetting everybody with an elevated sense of political correctness, while getting loud "Amens" from his congregation. Shit, we can't help feeding him, even if we try not to.

Unfortunately, as Scott Adams has been telling us for over a year, he is also convincing to many: a master persuader. I'm not the only one who compares him to Azimov's Mule: "a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and 'adjust' their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause."

Or, by another metaphor, he's the biggest black swan we've seen in politics since... you know, that German guy back in the 30s.

And if that doesn't bother you, maybe that Mule thing of his is working.