Idiosophy

A physicist loose among the liberal arts

National Defense

A South African cyber-security researcher whose nym is “the grugq” recently posted a review of what we know about recent attempts to interfere with elections through the insecurity of our computer and social-media networks.

The thing that jumped out at me was his diagnosis of why the attempts in France failed.  OK, #1 has to be that whatever cyber-criminals were trying to rig the election look like Boy Scouts next to former-president Sarkozy.  But right behind that is the fact that the social-media troll army that did so much damage in the US ran into a brick wall:  Trolls speak bad French, so the French didn’t listen to them.

We should promote a similar idea here.  If the audience for our political discourse insisted on good English, complete with literary allusions (Sarkozy called François Fillon a “Thénardier” in the interview linked above), then external attempts to subvert elections would be doomed to failure, and our national security would be enhanced.

Disclaimer #1:  I recognize that this proposal would have probably elected Jesse Jackson back in the 1980s.

Disclaimer #2: Observing the size of Pentagon research grants, compared to the size of research grants in the humanities, could not possibly be related to my motivation for writing this post.

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2 Comments

  1. “Trolls speak bad French, so the French didn’t listen to them.”

    Alors, nous somme presque freres!

    • Joe

      I am astonished to find online no catalogue of ways to speak bad French. I shall have to produce one. Possibly the most important thing about France is that a self-centered tourist gets a very different reaction from a scholar whose syntax slips unpredictably among the centuries. And both are perceived differently from a basement-dwelling edgelord with Google Translate.

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