Essays that are about one thing but really about another thing

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Sonic#
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Essays that are about one thing but really about another thing

Postby Sonic# » Wed Feb 1, 15:49 2017

I'm exploring an idea. Have you run across essays - humorous or otherwise - that begin by seeming to be about one thing but actually end up rambling about something else? Or where they don't seem to get that they've moved away from what they purport to be talking about?

There are two parts of this:
1. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/we- ... -honey-pot
He wants to defund Planned Parenthood immediately. He wants to get his dick out of the honey pot. He starts out talking about the first one, but quickly gets caught up in a stickier rhetorical situation. Honestly, I started out just wanting to link to this, and I'm totally cool if this is all we talk about.

2. This video about immigration my cousin posted in response to me posting about an immigration ban on Facebook. (Video + one perspective on it.) I found it frustrating and obfuscatory. The two levels of content weren't so humorous, but they definitely were there.
The video starts with this man talking about every million people being a gumball. The US accepts 1 million immigrants per year. Then he starts pulling out these huge canisters of gumballs representing different populations: the poorest people across regions, the less poor, and so on. In watching the video, I feel like there are two distinct layers that aren't actually the same thing:
a. The vocalized argument, roughly: immigration is about humanitarian outreach; we don't take in the poorest people, or many of the poorest people; they're better off in their own country doing good anyway; we can't handle that many people anyway.
b. The gumballs. There are a lot of them. They swirl in glasses, they fill containers. Near the end, he's talking about what will happen year after year, pouring more gumballs in to represent population growth. The gumballs overflow. Dramatic! Is this argument about ... population control?

The gumballs seem to distract from all the things asserted as fact that aren't substantiated. Is immigration primarily about helping the poorest people, or is it a combination of offering asylum, providing educational opportunities, and so on? How many people whose visa applications are rejected actually contribute to their home country - that is, how relevant are their prior intentions, free will, and the circumstances that lead them to apply to immigrate to the assumption that they'll just do more good at home? We can't handle two million per year? Is the only solution here really to not allow immigration, or (now addressing my cousin and the current situation of banning people seeking refugee status from seven countries) to do nothing rather than do a little bit?

I'll deal with my cousin. My question is about whether you've seen stuff like this, and how we deal with content like this when we run across it.

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