# Anatomy of a meme: leftist virtue signalling on social media

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu

Elixir called the child 'precocious', whilst Arctish, laughing dog, Worldtraveller and ZiprHead 'liked' the image, and Jarhyn responded with a 'mind blown' emoji. Jarhyn also claimed "This is one of the most powerful, straightforward, and prescient observations on the topic that I have ever seen.".

When I examined this meme, it seemed an obvious concoction. I was accused of being so cynical that I could not believe a nine year old could come up with something so 'insightful', as if I had said the reason it was a concoction because the sentiment expressed was too sophisticated.

The sentiment is not sophisticated. The plain meaning of the words, in fact, are ridiculous and evil. The plain meaning of the words is 'if you feel uncomfortable reading about atrocities committed by white people and you are white, you want to repeat those atrocities'. It's an evil and racist thing to say.

I was then accused of being autistic for not understanding the real meaning of the words. The real meaning, I was told, was that 'the only people who don't want to teach about atrocities committed by white people are people who want to commit the same atrocities'. Even if I believed that--and I don't--(reading about atrocities can simply be triggering for people and they want to avoid the feeling of psychological distress)--that is not what the meme says.

The meme is obviously fake. And by 'fake', I mean none of it really happened the way it is portrayed, if anything happened at all. All the markers point to this. A Twitter handle of 'happyqueer', the invocation of the 'Emperor's New Clothes' wisdom of childhood, the insertion of an attractive child smiling, radiant with her antiracist street cred. And the literal meaning of the quoted words being utterly repugnant is of course no barrier to the meme serving its purpose: an act of piousness, displayed to the faithful elect, to be 'liked' and 'shared' so that some of the dimmer but reflected glory can be appropriated by fellow believers. And for the infidel pointing out how evil the words actually are, that is a sign only that they don't have the spirit to invoke the True Meaning.

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
I recently heard the term virtue signaling for the first time. Stock and trade for politicians

#### blastula

##### Contributor
I give no special consideration to what children say and especially when they are carrying signs at protests, but see nothing obviously fake about this, especially if her mother expresses those kind of ideas around her, which seems likely.

I clicked on this thread thinking there would be some kind of debunking but all you've done is say you don't think it's real with no proof of anything. What a thread fail.

The sentiment is not sophisticated. The plain meaning of the words, in fact, are ridiculous and evil. The plain meaning of the words is 'if you feel uncomfortable reading about atrocities committed by white people and you are white, you want to repeat those atrocities'. It's an evil and racist thing to say.

And this is nonsense. There's nothing obviously wrong with the what was said, without twisting it a certain way.

Here's the original tweet and thread.

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
And this is nonsense. There's nothing obviously wrong with the what was said, without twisting it a certain way.
Excuse me? The words are in the OP. I will repeat them, here:

"I think the only white people that feel bad or mad or uncomfortable reading about the stuff that white people did in history are the people who want to do it again".

There is no "twisting". There is a plain meaning of the words. How on earth is that not an evil and racist sentiment to express? Have you read the words?

#### blastula

##### Contributor
There is nothing wrong with the plain meaning, to call it evil is absurd.

Everything is so high dungeon with you. Go get some air or something.

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
There is nothing wrong with the plain meaning, to call it evil is absurd.
What the fuck? Can you possibly be reading the same words I am?

Her mother: You felt sad about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it's very sad.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel sad about the situation want to repeat it.

#### blastula

##### Contributor
And obviously that is not what she is talking about. This is too stupid to waste any more time on, bye.

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
And obviously that is not what she is talking about. This is too stupid to waste any more time on, bye.
That is the plain meaning of the words. The fact that you cannot admit that is sad but not surprising.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
There is nothing wrong with the plain meaning, to call it evil is absurd.
What the fuck? Can you possibly be reading the same words I am?

Her mother: You felt sad about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it's very sad.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel sad about the situation want to repeat it.

I'm afraid I must award the round to Mr. Blastula. The girl spoke of "bad or mad or uncomfortable." Even if Mr. Metaphor's inference that the girl is "sad" were valid — it isn't, the girl is smiling — "sad" isn't bad, mad or uncomfortable.

In fact Mr. Metaphor's interpretation seems so confused and/or confusing, I'd ask him, respectfully, to elucidate. Use small words, please. Focus on the girl's words and your words, not words you might have wished someone had thought or said.

There is nothing wrong with the plain meaning, to call it evil is absurd.

Everything is so high dungeon with you. Go get some air or something.

Nitpick: The word you seek is "high dudgeon".

Macbeth in the play of the same name said:
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
There is nothing wrong with the plain meaning, to call it evil is absurd.
What the fuck? Can you possibly be reading the same words I am?

Her mother: You felt sad about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it's very sad.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel sad about the situation want to repeat it.

I'm afraid I must award the round to Mr. Blastula. The girl spoke of "bad or mad or uncomfortable." Even if Mr. Metaphor's inference that the girl is "sad" were valid — it isn't, the girl is smiling — "sad" isn't bad, mad or uncomfortable.
Okay, replace every instance of 'sad' in my exchange with 'uncomfortable'.

Her mother: You felt uncomfortable about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel uncomfortable about the situation want to repeat it.

Her mother: You felt bad about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it's bad.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel bad about the situation want to repeat it.

Or, exchange it with mad ( I assume the sense of mad meaning 'angry).
Her mother: You felt mad about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it's makes me feel mad.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel mad about the situation want to repeat it.

In fact Mr. Metaphor's interpretation seems so confused and/or confusing, I'd ask him, respectfully, to elucidate. Use small words, please. Focus on the girl's words and your words, not words you might have wished someone had thought or said.
I have elucidated above and completed the cloze passages for you.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member

Why not replace each instance of "sad" with "flippant," "bemused" or "hungry"?

#### Bomb#20

##### Contributor
When I examined this meme, it seemed an obvious concoction. I was accused of being so cynical that I could not believe a nine year old could come up with something so 'insightful', as if I had said the reason it was a concoction because the sentiment expressed was too sophisticated.

The sentiment is not sophisticated.
It's on an intellectual level with "The people who have a problem with Senator McCarthy are communists and fellow travelers."

I give no special consideration to what children say and especially when they are carrying signs at protests, but see nothing obviously fake about this, especially if her mother expresses those kind of ideas around her, which seems likely.
^^^^ This. ^^^^ An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
When I examined this meme, it seemed an obvious concoction. I was accused of being so cynical that I could not believe a nine year old could come up with something so 'insightful', as if I had said the reason it was a concoction because the sentiment expressed was too sophisticated.

The sentiment is not sophisticated.
It's on an intellectual level with "The people who have a problem with Senator McCarthy are communists and fellow travelers."

I give no special consideration to what children say and especially when they are carrying signs at protests, but see nothing obviously fake about this, especially if her mother expresses those kind of ideas around her, which seems likely.
^^^^ This. ^^^^ An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.
Using children to make a point is not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
It's interesting how metaphor SEES "mad" in context to the teaching of a thing, and interprets it as "mad it happened" rather than the clear interpretation that everyone here except metaphor seems to understand which is "mad it was taught".

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Even if it's fake that doesn't change the basic idea.

#### Bomb#20

##### Contributor
I give no special consideration to what children say and especially when they are carrying signs at protests, but see nothing obviously fake about this, especially if her mother expresses those kind of ideas around her, which seems likely.
^^^^ This. ^^^^ An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.
Using children to make a point is not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.
Nobody said it is; the fact that it isn't doesn't affect my point* at all; and aren't you the same guy who was just criticizing others for whataboutism?

(* My point was that it's perfectly plausible that the kid really said what's attributed to her, but if so she was probably just repeating what she heard the adults** around her saying.)

(*** It's a juvenile sentiment, but not a nine-year-old's sentiment -- more like a sentiment from the mentality of a fifteen-year-old.)

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
@Metaphor — If Metaphor were to write "Some liberals don't even think Biden is a Communist." would it be correct for me quote that and say "See? Metaphor doesn't think Biden is a Communist"? Never mind whether you actually think Biden is a Communist or not: This is a simple exercise to see if you understand how the English language, logic and quoting work.

Asked my 9 yo how she felt reading this book, as a white person; she said "I think the only white people that feel bad or mad or uncomfortable reading about the stuff that white people did in history are the people who want to do it again.”

Oh my. Let's proceed with baby steps.
@Metaphor — as shown above, the 9 yo actually said "bad or mad or uncomfortable." But who allegedly feels bad or mad or uncomfortable? Is it the 9 yo herself?

Metaphor concocting a fantasy about the 9yo said:
Her mother: You felt uncomfortable about what happened? Why do you want to enslave people?
Nine year old: what? I don't want it to happen again, it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Her mother: You do want it to happen again. People who feel uncomfortable about the situation want to repeat it.

@Metaphor — Do you believe your quote here is a direct quote of the 9 yo? Or were you showing a hypothetical? Never mind whether the actual 9 yo did or did not actually feel uncomfortable; we're just trying to understand how the English language works.

But she did not say that she herself felt "mad." Or "uncomfortable," or "bad." [edited for clarity]
Are you taking the piss?

I am sincerely befuddled. You appear to be "taking the piss"! What am I missing?

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
Oh my. Let's proceed with baby steps.
@Metaphor — as shown above, the 9 yo actually said "bad or mad or uncomfortable." But who allegedly feels bad or mad or uncomfortable? Is it the 9 yo herself?
No. The Antiracist Childlike Empress is talking about:
* white people who read about atrocities committed by white people; and

Any such white person must want to commit the same atrocities, according to the Antiracist Childlike Empress.
@Metaphor — Do you believe your quote here is a direct quote of the 9 yo?
Do you mean, my clearly imagined hypothetical conversation?

Or were you showing a hypothetical? Never mind whether the actual 9 yo did or did not feel uncomfortable; we're just trying to understand how the English language works.
It is clearly a hypothetical. The character was initially going to be called 'little Johnny'.

I am sincerely befuddled. You appear to be "taking the piss"! What am I missing?

[removed ad hom] You edited your own post after I had responded and now you have the fucking balls to accuse me of taking the piss.

I never, not anywhere, not in this thread or on this board, or in real life, or in my dreams, in the past or in the future, in this universe or another, nor in heaven, hell or purgatory, said the girl from the meme said she herself felt bad or mad or uncomfortable.

I don't know what the girl in the meme felt when she read the book she was displaying in the post, or what she felt reading any book. I know when I was nine years old and I read about atrocities I would often feel uncomfortable, but then, I'm not a sociopath and I have human emotions.

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#### Swammerdami

Staff member
Oh my. Let's proceed with baby steps.
@Metaphor — as shown above, the 9 yo actually said "bad or mad or uncomfortable." But who allegedly feels bad or mad or uncomfortable? Is it the 9 yo herself?
No. The Antiracist Childlike Empress is talking about:

@Metaphor — Do you believe your quote here is a direct quote of the 9 yo? Or were you showing a hypothetical? Never mind whether the actual 9 yo did or did not feel uncomfortable; we're just trying to understand how the English language works.

No. It is clearly a hypothetical.

So you DO understand that it was YOU "taking the piss"?

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
It's interesting how metaphor SEES "mad" in context to the teaching of a thing, and interprets it as "mad it happened" rather than the clear interpretation that everyone here except metaphor seems to understand which is "mad it was taught".

I have already explained that your leftist coterie would have had no problem divining the True Meaning. Unsurprisingly, the True Meaning bears little relation to the plain meaning and the fault, of course, lies not with the plain meaning being idiotic, but with the ignorance of the unbelievers.

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
So you DO understand that it was YOU "taking the piss"?
Are you fucking trolling me?

When did I take the piss? Do you know what taking the piss means?

What did I do that you think constitutes 'taking the piss'?

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
To me it's plain as day. Yes I edited my
into
But she did not say that she herself felt "mad." Or "uncomfortable," or "bad." [edited for clarity]
But my original quote IN CONTEXT always had the meaning of the second.

Do you even understand that much? I literally feel like a nurse-maid spoon-feeding English usage to a 6-year old.

Once you understand that much — and demonstrate your understanding by phrasing your new-found understanding in your own words — then, if you're still confused, I'll explain why you are "taking the piss."

#### Metaphor

##### Zarobljenik u hrastu
But my original quote IN CONTEXT always had the meaning of the second.
No, it didn't. And you know it didn't, because you had to stealth an edit in.

But: worse. You saw that, in post #10, I was referring to the girl in my hypothetical exchange, not the girl in the picture, and that I understood your complaint--that I had used 'sad' when the girl had said bad or mad or uncomfortable--to be about the word 'sad' not appearing in the Antiracist Childlike Empresses' quote.
Do you even understand that much? I literally feel like a nurse-maid spoon-feeding English usage to a 6-year old.
You made a mistake. You thought that the imagined conversation was about the girl in the meme. It wasn't. You then stealth edited your response when you saw there was a misunderstanding, but somehow still had the balls to pretend there was no misunderstanding.
Once you understand that much — and demonstrate your understanding by phrasing your new-found understanding in your own words — then, if you're still confused, I'll explain why you are "taking the piss."
I am not taking the piss. I can see that you are not, either. There has been a misunderstanding.

In post #9, you got the impression that my imagined conversation was about the girl in the meme (Antiracist Childlike Empress) feeling bad, mad, or uncomfortable from reading white atrocities. I don't know why you thought that, but you thought that. I can see how it might have been better for me to change the sex of the child in the imagined conversation, but I did not indicate the conversation was about the girl in the meme. I was illustrating how what the girl in the meme said was ridiculous and wicked.

At this point, I had no idea whatever that you thought I was talking about the personal feelings of the girl in the meme. I understood your objection to my imagined conversation to be because I used the word 'sad' (which the girl did not say) instead of one of 'bad', 'mad', or 'uncomfortable' (which she did). That's why I repeated the imagined exchange with the words substituted in.

At some point, even though it was clear I was not talking about the personal feelings of the girl in the meme and never had been, you edited the exchange, and you are still treating my responses as if I am taking the piss.

In short: I never claimed the girl in the meme felt bad, mad or uncomfortable reading about white atrocities. In fact, it would be strange for her to say she did feel bad, mad or uncomfortable, since she says the white people who feel that way want to commit atrocities, and she is a white person and I'm sure she doesn't want to come across as somebody who wants to commit atrocities. (Again, this is all with the proviso that I don't think the girl in the meme said what is attributed to her anyway).

Now, I think that any 9 year old (including the real one in the meme) that does not feel bad, mad or uncomfortable while reading about atrocities is probably a little sociopath (or hasn't really understood what they're reading).

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
I give no special consideration to what children say and especially when they are carrying signs at protests, but see nothing obviously fake about this, especially if her mother expresses those kind of ideas around her, which seems likely.
^^^^ This. ^^^^ An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.
Using children to make a point is not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.
Nobody said it is; the fact that it isn't doesn't affect my point* at all; and aren't you the same guy who was just criticizing others for whataboutism?
It does affect your point, if you actually thought about it. Correcting the record is not "whataboutism" if you actually thought about it.
(* My point was that it's perfectly plausible that the kid really said what's attributed to her, but if so she was probably just repeating what she heard the adults** around her saying.)
If that was your point, there was no need to bring up the political leaning of the anyone. Yet you did. So, either your point was that only the left did it or you were taking a swipe at "the left". Since gratuitous swipes are beneath you, I was simply trying to be helpful and make the record more accurate.

#### LoAmmo

##### Member
What a fucking long-winded way to whine, "I'm butthurt! Again!"

#### Jimmy Higgins

##### Contributor
Virtue signaling is all over the place. The other day, I saw a person use a turn signal to turn left, just to project to the public that they care about safe driving. Damn virtue signalers!

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Hello I am Joe Conservative. You voters may ask where I stand on the issues. May I say I support motherhood, love good old American apple pie, and please note the flag I am waving. God bless our troops. God bless America. God bless you. Amerca is perfect and wonderful.

Vote for me.

Hello I am Joe Progressive. Day care will be free. College will be free. We will create a paradise where no one is offended or put off. America is evil and progressiveness will make it perfect for you. I like apple pie but not the American kind. We need a diversity in apple pie.

Vote for me.

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
What a fucking long-winded way to whine, "I'm butthurt! Again!"
Thanks for showing to the short-winded way to whine "I'm butthurt, again"

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
On que, Biden closed his speech yesterday invoking god's blessing.

#### Bomb#20

##### Contributor
An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.
Using children to make a point is not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.
Nobody said it is; the fact that it isn't doesn't affect my point* at all; and aren't you the same guy who was just criticizing others for whataboutism?
It does affect your point, if you actually thought about it. Correcting the record is not "whataboutism" if you actually thought about it.
Ah, so "actually" means "the same way I do" in laughingdogese. Good to know, thanks.

(* My point was that it's perfectly plausible that the kid really said what's attributed to her, but if so she was probably just repeating what she heard the adults** around her saying.)
If that was your point, there was no need to bring up the political leaning of the anyone. Yet you did. So, either your point was that only the left did it or you were taking a swipe at "the left". Since gratuitous swipes are beneath you, I was simply trying to be helpful and make the record more accurate.
Sorry, I was simply identifying the source of the specific meme the girl appears to have been parroting; if she were being lionized for a mindless and trite right-wing slur against somebody right-wingers are hostile to I'd have said right-wingers. But you're right; what I should have said is that an awful lot of people who lump others into oppressor groups on the basis of race and unbelief make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents. My bad.

Hmm. "People who lump others into oppressor groups on the basis of race and unbelief". I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Lumb-wingers? Limpund-wingers? Loofud-wingers?

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
An awful lot of left-wingers make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents, and small children are a species of parrot.
Using children to make a point is not restricted to one end of the political spectrum.
Nobody said it is; the fact that it isn't doesn't affect my point* at all; and aren't you the same guy who was just criticizing others for whataboutism?
It does affect your point, if you actually thought about it. Correcting the record is not "whataboutism" if you actually thought about it.
Ah, so "actually" means "the same way I do" in laughingdogese. Good to know, thanks.

(* My point was that it's perfectly plausible that the kid really said what's attributed to her, but if so she was probably just repeating what she heard the adults** around her saying.)
If that was your point, there was no need to bring up the political leaning of the anyone. Yet you did. So, either your point was that only the left did it or you were taking a swipe at "the left". Since gratuitous swipes are beneath you, I was simply trying to be helpful and make the record more accurate.
Sorry, I was simply identifying the source of the specific meme the girl appears to have been parroting; if she were being lionized for a mindless and trite right-wing slur against somebody right-wingers are hostile to I'd have said right-wingers. But you're right; what I should have said is that an awful lot of people who lump others into oppressor groups on the basis of race and unbelief make en masse accusations like that one on a regular basis against their political opponents. My bad.

Hmm. "People who lump others into oppressor groups on the basis of race and unbelief". I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Lumb-wingers? Limpund-wingers? Loofud-wingers?
I really need a super duper irony meter. Where did you get yours?

#### Rhea

##### Cyborg with a Tiara
Staff member
(*** It's a juvenile sentiment, but not a nine-year-old's sentiment -- more like a sentiment from the mentality of a fifteen-year-old.)
Meh, my nine years olds would definitely say something like that. I recall when my son was 4 and declared in a store, “Mama, I am inclined to buy this toy,” causing the other moms to smile. Or when my daughter observed at the age of 8, “Mama, I notice that all of the toys in the [grocery store] aisle are priced below the impulse purchase limit. Do you think that’s deliberate?” Causing the man in the aisle to laugh right out loud. (They had a $3 limit on spending their own money impulsively). This definitely within the nine-yo realm. #### Bomb#20 ##### Contributor (*** It's a juvenile sentiment, but not a nine-year-old's sentiment -- more like a sentiment from the mentality of a fifteen-year-old.) Meh, my nine years olds would definitely say something like that. I recall when my son was 4 and declared in a store, “Mama, I am inclined to buy this toy,” causing the other moms to smile. Or when my daughter observed at the age of 8, “Mama, I notice that all of the toys in the [grocery store] aisle are priced below the impulse purchase limit. Do you think that’s deliberate?” Causing the man in the aisle to laugh right out loud. (They had a$3 limit on spending their own money impulsively).

This definitely within the nine-yo realm.
You have awesome kids!

#### Arctish

##### Centimillionaire
(*** It's a juvenile sentiment, but not a nine-year-old's sentiment -- more like a sentiment from the mentality of a fifteen-year-old.)
Meh, my nine years olds would definitely say something like that. I recall when my son was 4 and declared in a store, “Mama, I am inclined to buy this toy,” causing the other moms to smile. Or when my daughter observed at the age of 8, “Mama, I notice that all of the toys in the [grocery store] aisle are priced below the impulse purchase limit. Do you think that’s deliberate?” Causing the man in the aisle to laugh right out loud. (They had a $3 limit on spending their own money impulsively). This definitely within the nine-yo realm. When my kid was 5 she asked me and my husband how water came to be. We told her about atoms and subatomic particles and then described how two oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom come together to make a water molecule, and how billions of water molecules together make a teeny tiny droplet, and billions of droplets make a raindrop, etc. A week later she asked me how God pulled all his bits together. When I asked her what she meant she indicated she wanted to know how God created himself. I can totally identify with a parent being proud and delighted to hear their child express some kind of deeper insight than one might expect from a kid. #### Arctish ##### Centimillionaire **correction to the above: 2 hydrogen and one oxygen. We did explain it correctly back then, I swear! #### Jimmy Higgins ##### Contributor (*** It's a juvenile sentiment, but not a nine-year-old's sentiment -- more like a sentiment from the mentality of a fifteen-year-old.) Meh, my nine years olds would definitely say something like that. I recall when my son was 4 and declared in a store, “Mama, I am inclined to buy this toy,” causing the other moms to smile. Or when my daughter observed at the age of 8, “Mama, I notice that all of the toys in the [grocery store] aisle are priced below the impulse purchase limit. Do you think that’s deliberate?” Causing the man in the aisle to laugh right out loud. (They had a$3 limit on spending their own money impulsively).

This definitely within the nine-yo realm.
My MIL said that she liked teaching third grade (9 year olds) because that is when they really start thinking for themselves and have their own ideas. My daughter (9 yo) is definitely like that. Thinking, plotting, wondering how I found out about what she had plotted.