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Messages - honk

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: September 03, 2022, 10:03:38 PM »
If the situation were as simple as Trump having declassified the relevant documents already, then the government wouldn't be doing what it's doing. There must be some sort of process to declassification that Trump didn't follow. Nevertheless, I do reluctantly agree with Tom in that I would be astonished if Trump were to be indicted for this or anything at all. Even if the investigation plays out perfectly and clearly implicates Trump, I think some important figure at the top will simply decline to prosecute Trump, probably for political reasons.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 03, 2022, 03:53:33 AM »
Marvel's Spider-Man

This game is an absolute blast. Controlling spoderman as you swing, zip, and dash around Manhattan just feels fantastic, and might even be the highlight of the game. The combat obviously owes a lot to the Arkham series, as many modern brawlers do, but there a few tweaks to make it feel a bit more unique, like how you dodge instead of countering attacks. I rolled my eyes when I first saw that there were going to be stealth sections, because it felt even more derivative of Arkham than the combat (stealth isn't exactly something spoder is typically known for, after all), but it really grew on me, and I soon started looking forward to every chance I had to take down a group of enemies entirely undetected.

The story is decent for the most part. This is a very likable Peter, even if his quips are sometimes terrible, and I really liked how they played up Norman Osborn's Trumpiness, but I will say that I think Octavius becoming Doc Ock would have been better left to the inevitable sequel. The relationship between him and Peter is great, but his turn as a villain is too rushed to resonate as much as it should. It also leads to story beats that feel a little forced, like how literally the first thing he does as Doc Ock is arrange a large-scale breakout at Ryker's and the Raft and form the Sinister Six. Kind of a wild first move for a brand-new supervillain, right? Octavius's similarities to Martin Li, particularly regarding his understandable animosity towards Osborn, also leave him feeling a little redundant in the overall story, and it's kind of annoying that at the last second the game apparently loses interest in Li and doesn't bother giving his character a proper conclusion, instead focusing entirely on Doc Ock.

The worst parts of the game are the fucking stealth missions where you play as MJ and Miles. They're disastrously bad. For one thing, they make very little sense in the story, especially for MJ. Her constantly sneaking into locations full of armed men hostile to her is stupid bordering on suicidal, and there is absolutely nothing she accomplishes that spoder couldn't and wouldn't have done a hundred times more quickly, more easily, and more safely. I might almost forgive their inclusion if they led to MJ growing as a character and realizing that there are other ways to help both her community and spoder than needlessly risking her life doing things she simply isn't equipped for, but no! When spoder finally confronts her, she argues that she's a Strong Independent WomanTM who can handle herself, the game frames her as being totally right, and spoder ends up apologizing for it! Even though she's clearly, objectively fucking wrong!

And even just looking at the actual gameplay, the missions are garbage. They're very simplistic, they're always on a set path you pretty much have to follow strictly, the mechanics are too shallow to experiment with, the AI is too braindead to enjoy trying to outsmart, the automatic fail once you're discovered is frustrating, and above all, they're dull and monotonous. Look, I have no doubt that at some point, there was a good idea at the core of what putting these missions in the game was meant to accomplish, but precisely none of that comes through in the final product. These missions should have been cut from the game, and the fact that they weren't suggests to me that they were probably a "pet" feature of someone too high up the corporate ladder to overrule who was determined to keep them in the game no matter how bad they were. I sincerely hope that these missions won't end up being in the sequel. Find something, anything else to do with MJ.

I wasn't sure if I really wanted to mention this, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that I have to - I have never seen a version of spoder this closely aligned with the police in any medium. Occasionally he'll comment on how he doesn't get along too well with the police, and sometimes a cop will throw a canned line at him about how he's not wanted, but for the most part, spoder seems to work with them pretty closely. He directly participates with and fights alongside them in multiple missions in the main story and the DLC, many, if not most of the side-missions and optional crimes he can complete involve him fighting alongside the police and helping them defeat criminals, and he "unlocks" each chunk of the world map by climbing a tower and hacking into their expansive surveillance systems (Ubisoft called, they want their dated game mechanics back) for the police. This wasn't a neutral or objective choice to present the game to the player. It was a narrative decision, and something that they could have very easily avoided, seeing how no other video game has featured spoder working this closely and directly with the police.

And there's no use dismissing this subject with a line like, "Oh, it's just capeshit, of course they're not going to go much deeper than the police being good guys," because this game does explore the ramifications of New York being oppressed by an authoritarian organization abusing its power - it's just the private military company Sable International that does it, not the NYPD. In the latter part of the game, these mercenaries begin using excessive force, trampling civil liberties, and imprisoning innocent protesters. spoder naturally finds this behavior unacceptable and soon becomes their enemy, even as he reasserts his allegiance with the NYPD, whom the game explicitly portrays as the "good" version of law enforcement, the organization that by contrast apparently doesn't infringe on civil liberties or hurt and imprison innocent people. But the game can't even keep this anti-authoritarian message consistent, because by the end of the game, the head of the company inexplicably joins your side, and in the DLC, spoder discovers that she's actually a wonderful person and a true hero deep down, just like him. I'm sure Insomniac meant no harm, but this simplistic portrayal of the police as unquestioned "good guys" and regular allies of spoder was tone-deaf back in 2018, and comes across as even worse now. Again, I'm really hoping that the sequel will do better on this subject.

Oh, and the DLC are pretty mediocre. They're not the absolute worst, but they're very short, don't have an especially interesting central conflict, end on very abrupt, unsatisfying notes, and in general have a very rushed, half-assed feel to them.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: September 02, 2022, 09:35:23 PM »
Republicans regularly heap insults and abuse on Democrats, Democratic voters, and residents of blue states. Whenever Democrats try to fire back at them, however nuanced or measured their criticism is, Republicans clutch their pearls and sob about how deeply they've been wronged. Even to this day they're still bringing up Hillary's "deplorables" comment from years ago as evidence of how mean Democrats are.

We might be better able to offer an opinion on any of the incidents you're referring to if you posted a link to the footage in question, or even just to a news article talking about what happened.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: August 19, 2022, 03:54:23 AM »
This is practically ancient history at this point, but it's been several weeks since Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about Trump's meltdown on January 6th, and despite anonymous - sorry, confidential sources telling the media that the story wasn't true and that the Secret Service agents involved were eager to testify and deny it all, no such testimony has materialized, and the Secret Service as a whole seem to have nothing more to say on the subject. This is only conjecture on my part, of course, but I believe that they wouldn't have had a problem testifying if the story were false. I suspect that either the Secret Service's leadership doesn't want to put their agents in the position of essentially "telling on" the president, or the agents themselves are refusing to testify out of (understandable) fears of angering the MAGA hordes, especially after seeing how Hutchinson had to go into hiding after her testimony.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: August 03, 2022, 08:14:46 PM »
According to Variety and the other Hollywood trade magazines, this was entirely a financial decision based on the movie's lack of true blockbuster status, and just one of the many canceled projects being left in the wake of new Warner Bros. Discovery (yes, that's the company's new name) CEO David Zaslav. Only the NYP are saying that it was because of how bad the movie was. Ordinarily, I'd be more inclined to believe that the motive was to avoid (further) tarnishing the DC brand by releasing a shitty movie that won't even make money from theaters than some weird philosophical objection to mid-budget action movies, but it would be naïve not to take the NYP's reputation into account here. They originally broke the story, so they're clearly talking to someone at WBD, but I think it's very likely that their source, knowing it was what they wanted to hear, embellished the accounts of the movie being terrible so as to push a get-woke-go-broke narrative.

If it's true that the movie was too bad to be released, though, then WBD aren't doing themselves any favors by pretending its quality had nothing to do with it. beardo might be pleased by this news, but tons of people on social media aren't, and abruptly canceling a movie that was already being widely hailed as a positive step forward for representation, as well as the return of Michael Keaton's Batman after thirty years, is really bad PR. They would have been better off just saying nice and diplomatically that while the cast and crew were fantastic and did their jobs perfectly, the movie just wasn't where they needed it to be and they would rather do Batgirl justice at a later date than underwhelm the fans now with a disappointing movie. Not that hard, right?

Actually, here's another article from Variety saying the plan is to just write it off in their taxes. How boring.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: August 01, 2022, 05:07:14 PM »
I'm with Tom on the seal issue. Everyone knows that Trump isn't the president anymore, and he's clearly using it to advertise his own personal involvement in the event, not trick anyone into thinking that it's an official presidential event. Pointing to this as evidence of his criminality is just over-egging the pudding.

I don't mean that it shouldn't be taken on face value in the sense that it should be interpreted symbolically or metaphorically; it's simply out of context. They're the words of a human character who is shown to be mistaken by the end of the story.

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked
No, only in the death of the innocent.

"If the scourge slay suddenly, He will laugh at the trial of the innocent." — Job 9:23

Job himself says that line in the midst of his despair, before he learns to humble himself before God and accept that his own misfortune means nothing in the face of divine wisdom. The Book of Job as a parable is morally dubious, but a line like that clearly isn't meant to be taken at face value.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: July 30, 2022, 08:45:25 PM »
For those not in the UK, the Daily Mail is an awful rag whose sole purpose seems to be to make sure it’s readership are permanently furious about things

Yes, it is. But just look at that picture I posted! It's amazing! Why is his shirt apparently two sizes too big for him? Did Trump just not buy any new clothes at all after he lost weight?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: President Joe Biden
« on: July 24, 2022, 01:50:01 PM »
The doctor obviously isn't taking the detail about Biden showing him his empty plate seriously. He just meant it as a funny little anecdote about his recovery. Personally, I welcome the openness concerning Biden's medical details. It's a nice change from Trump's doctors lying about his height and weight, secret hospital visits, and general insistence on the fact that an obese slug of a man who could barely stand up straight was actually a superman in peak physical condition.

  • Saddam's usual manufactured outrage

Neither is made from the position of good faith, and neither should be taken seriously.

I honestly don't know what I've said or done to deserve a response like this. I never said that I was "outraged," I'm not asking for anyone to be banned, and this is a perfectly reasonable concern to have.

However, continuing that line of questioning is not productive to the discussion, and at this point it only serves to be unproductive. So, my suggestion and polite request is that both sides frop this line of inquiry and focus on something more productive.

Tom - it seems to me that you've made your point, and that the sum total of people's responses to it has been exhausted. It seems that some people are finding the subject of mass muder and suicide to be sensitive, so could you please them do the courtesy of dropping it?
Others - please could you make it easier to drop the subject by not fuelling it further?

I hope we can all reach a consensus on this. There is no other solution here that would keep everyone happy, and any forceful action from the mods would set an uncomfortable precedent for the future. Let's just move on, okay?

Like, I agree with all this. I think it's more than fair enough to ask this weird argument to be wrapped up. You didn't need to come in here swinging and taking weird, unnecessary potshots at me.

Unusually, I’m on Team Tom in this one.
As I noted in the thread, it would be a silly experiment to do. The cost of doing the experiment is your life and if the Bible is true you get eternal damnation too.
So 1 star, would not recommend

That's exactly what makes it a bad-faith argument. Obviously nobody's going to perform an "experiment" that involves killing themselves or other people, so there's no point in repeatedly suggesting anyone do it. It seems to me like it's more an attempt to be shocking and upsetting than anything else.

But while it was a bit silly I don’t know why you’re objecting to the posts. You could just report them and see what a mod thinks, why is a thread here needed?

It isn't strictly against the rules as written, so I thought a thread would be better to make a case for why this sort of thing shouldn't be allowed. But if the mods and/or the community at large don't agree with me, that's fine too. I'm not trying to boss anyone around.

In the current thread discussing the Gospel, Tom is using an argument that I think crosses the line:

You can prove to yourself whether the Bible is true any time you want. You merely need to go on a shooting spree in an elementary school and then take yourself out in an epic mass murder suicide.

This isn't a joke that I'm taking out of context or anything, it is literally the entirety of his post. And he has returned to this argument again:

The method of obtaining evidence was already explained to you. The Bible says that you will go to hell if you do bad things. So go do some really bad things and then end your life in suicide and you can find out first hand whether it is true.

And again:

If you are unwilling to perform the experiment the fault lies with you for opting out on unscientific excuses like personal morality and fear.

And again:

The Bible says God and other supernatural beings are generally in other realms in the afterlife, so it only makes sense to go there. The Bible says that you can get there and experience these supernatural beings first hand with only a few actions necessary on your part. People have committed suicide for worse reasons than an effort to prove the Bible.

I know that Tom is a troll, but I don't think that this line of argumentation, however ironic, should be allowed in the debate forums. And no, this isn't exactly prohibited by the rules as written, but at the same time, it's obviously not a good-faith argument and comes across as really creepy and unsettling. I think a mod ought to step in and put a halt to this kind of I-dare-you method of arguing.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: July 16, 2022, 11:16:57 PM »
The Batshit Odyssey has returned to us! This time, we're discussing The Dark Knight!

I think this assessment of Harvey Dent's downfall, and in particular likening the Joker's philosophy and worldview to an attitude of teenage rebellion, is a little unfair. Nolan isn't shy about having his characters explicitly spell out their motivations, and Dent is no exception. He replaces the laws and systems he's followed to his detriment all his life with what he believes to be a simpler, fairer method of determining justice, and one that can't be twisted by the corruption of others - the toss of a coin. He certainly doesn't ignore or overlook the Joker's culpability in what happened, either, as the Joker is literally the very first person he confronts and "judges," right there in the hospital. None of this is to say that what Dent does is reasonable or rational, but you're never going to tell a story about a district attorney who bases their decision on whether or not to murder people on a coin toss and still comes across as reasonable or rational. For the purposes of this movie, which underneath its grittiness and semi-realism is still capeshit, I don't think it's that much of a stretch to buy that Dent's trauma, rage, guilt, vulnerable state of mind, and a few unconscious elements like his unease at being labeled "two-faced" and the defacing of his lucky coin pushed him over the edge and set him on his fatal path.

"For the purposes of this movie" is a phrase that does a lot of heavy lifting. This might just be my own take on the movie and not something that a lot of people agree with me on, but I've never tried to interpret the Joker's "philosophy" seriously, and I think that the people who do - both critics and enthusiastic fans of the movie - are overthinking something that isn't really all that deep. Underneath the Joker's charisma and intelligence, he's really just a crazy guy who wants to spread chaos and destruction throughout Gotham, and also for its citizens to join him in doing so. And for a capeshit movie, that's a perfectly fine motivation. On paper, the Joker is a decent antagonist, but it's Ledger's terrific performance that elevates him to being one of the greatest capeshit villains of all time. It's certainly not his goofy philosophy, and I swear I die a little from the cringe every time I see another dumb edgelord on the Internet say something like, "Childhood is idolizing Batman. Adulthood is realizing the Joker makes more sense."

This inability to recognize that Ledger's charisma is the main reason why his Joker was so memorable and compelling has predictably led to Hollywood giving villains in later genre movies some of his more superficial characteristics in an attempt to recreate the magic. I've complained about this tendency in this thread before, but I couldn't possibly let a discussion of TDK go by without bringing it up once more. Villains are now more chaotic and less focused, simply causing destruction and chaos randomly rather than actually pursuing specific goals. Villains now seem to be more concerned with proving some sort of philosophical point to the hero or utterly breaking their spirit rather than just killing them when they have the chance. Villains are now often apparently irrational to the point of insanity, sabotaging their own schemes and engaging in other pointless, self-destructive behavior whenever it's convenient to the plot. And the one that I find most galling, probably because it's the most obvious, is the rise of villains who get captured and then dramatically reveal that they meant to get captured for whatever reason and then escape. Moriarty from Sherlock, Lex Luthor from BvS, and the Riddler from The Batman, to give three examples, all owe a tremendous debt to the Joker. Silva from Skyfall and Khan from Into Dumbness show plenty of influence too. I'm sick of movies and TV shows mining influence from TDK rather than doing something different.

Oddly enough, this influence never seemed to extend to other versions of the Joker. Other villains became more Joker-like, but other Jokers didn't become more Ledger-like. For all the cringe surrounding Jared Leto's turn as the Joker and the marketing thereof, he at least didn't try to copy Ledger's performance. Certainly neither did Joaquin Phoenix. And in the realm of animation and video games, it's Mark Hamill's decades-spanning interpretation of the character that most voice actors eagerly emulate. I just hope that if and when Barry Keoghan's Joker gets a bigger role, he makes the character his own, as the deleted scene of him I linked above does seem to me to be the exception to the rule, with his cadence and lip-smacking feeling very reminiscent of Ledger.

But perhaps the most influential thing associated with Ledger's performance is the mythification of his subsequent death. To be clear, there is no evidence that playing the Joker had an especially negative impact on Ledger - at least no more than putting a lot of effort into trying to nail down a tough role would be for a dedicated actor - let alone that it caused his death. But the fanboys out there couldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story, and soon the legend spread. As Crudblud put it:

There is a temptation to read in, to blur the lines of fantasy and reality, professional and personal, to give in to the romantic notion of the method actor, who inhabits their role and temporarily loses their own being, sacrifices it to their art, maybe even relinquishes some small part of it forever. Few are more keen to have this notion accepted than the ones who do it, what some call “love me” acting, wherein the Method, originally a far more humble, “pure” craft-oriented conception of acting through deep empathy, gives way to the spectacle of the actor, of a performance beyond the performance. The desire to conflate events occurring around a film with the film itself is a curious one. It seems in some ways a mirror to the desire for (typically) science fiction and fantasy media to expand infinitely, so that the adventure, the escape, never comes to an end. Here the fictional spills out into the real, the artifice loses its boundaries; Heath Ledger becomes the Joker becomes Heath Ledger.

The most obvious example of an actor who took this all to heart is Jared Leto. I don't know if it was his Oscar win for his role in Dallas Buyers Club or his casting as the Joker in Suicide Squad that broke his brain, but ever since that general time period, whatever acting talent Leto may have ever had has been entirely buried by his frantic efforts at self-aggrandizement and desperate flailing about for attention. But other, more respectable actors have capitalized on the respect that award ceremonies have for these kinds of roles that apparently rely on actors suffering for their art or physically punishing themselves. Joaquin Phoenix had received multiple Oscar nominations in the past, but didn't win one until he too played the Joker in the movie of the same name - where he attracted plenty of media attention by losing a dangerous amount of weight. Leonardo DiCaprio famously spent several years actively courting the Oscars, but he didn't win until his lead role in The Revenant, a movie where much of the marketing revolved on just how difficult it was physically for DiCaprio to be diving into cold water or really biting into steaming animal organs and all that. I can't say I agree with the notion that the best acting is always of the transformative or traumatizing kind, and award ceremonies so consistently rewarding actors who buy into it doesn't fill me with hope for the future of cinema.

But back to the movie itself. I think it's great! Ledger's Joker is great, Two-Face is a good foil for Batman, although I will agree that his villainous turn might have been better saved for a sequel, there's some interesting exploration of Batman as a character, and while the hand-to-hand combat in these movies was never much good, the car chases and hostage rescue scenes are done extraordinarily well. There's almost nothing about this movie that I'd call mediocre or middle of the road. The worst thing I could really say about it is that it's a particularly aggressive example of the kind of capeshit that's essentially embarrassed to be capeshit, but that was largely the preferred style of most live-action capeshit back then, and only seems out of touch nowadays because Marvel has seen such enormous success in movies that embrace their colorful capeshit roots. In short, Crudblud is a hipster.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: July 14, 2022, 02:19:55 AM »
What he was suggesting was that the story was fake news, a take that looks especially silly now that we have confirmation that it wasn't.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: July 13, 2022, 03:41:35 AM »
capeshit capeshit cape to the shit

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Sam Raimi, 2022)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

Okay, it's not all bad. Having Sam Raimi at the helm is this movie's biggest strength, and results in one of the MCU's most stylish and visually unique films to date. This is far from an auteur piece, but there are still plenty of his signature flourishes and touches, ranging from the goofy to the genuinely eerie. I also respect that this movie had the balls to make Wanda the main antagonist and keep her that way until the end. I was almost expecting a big CGI monster to appear in the final act and become the real villain that Wanda and Strange would have to team up against or something, like in Shang-Chi, but that thankfully didn't happen. Unfortunately, I suspect I know why the brand-conscious MCU was willing to turn one of its heroes into a villain and kill her off - I think a future movie or TV show will just have an uncorrupted Wanda pop up out of the multiverse and conveniently take the old one's place. The MCU has done this sort of thing in the past, like with Thanos in Endgame and Loki in, uh, Loki - take a different version of a formerly dead character and let them just take over where the old version of them left off, as if they're the same character that we've seen grow and develop in previous movies. Even though they obviously aren't. It feels like very lazy, risk-averse writing. Nothing has stakes or consequences anymore, because they can just grab replacements for dead characters out of former timelines or different universes.

And while this movie seems to be aware of the fact that different versions of characters we already know will have completely different backstories and therefore can't really be called the same people, given that there's dialogue explicitly pointing this out, it still indulges itself freely. Strange and the alternate universe Mordo's confrontation means nothing. There is no dramatic weight to it beyond two random dudes fighting. These two men do not know each other. They have no actual history. Same thing with the relationship between Strange and the alternate universe's generic love interest. These two people do not know each other. They have never been in love. They have no actual history. The movie expects us to take for granted that this is Strange building on his relationships with these characters that we saw in his previous movie, or near enough, even while it has dialogue pointing out that this makes no sense. And speaking of Rachel McAdams's character, I hope that's the last we see of her. She's probably the most useless of all the love interests we've seen so far, and this movie seems to tie a pretty definitive bow on her and Strange's relationship.

I don't care about the Illuminati. If the X-Men and Fantastic Four were being introduced into the universe we actually have some investment in, then maybe I'd be interested, but introducing and promptly killing off those characters in an alternate universe we've never seen before and will almost certainly never see again tells me that none of it matters. It was just empty fanservice. The character of America Chavez also had no impact on me. She's just too generic, too predictable, too been-there-and-done-that. Everything about her personality, her arc, and her quips feels like a retread. And speaking of characters that feel repetitive, Strange himself - while thankfully not written to basically be RDJ-lite like he was in his first movie - is a nonstop fountain of bad jokes and quips. It's a bad fit for an otherwise straight-laced character like Strange, as well as a bad fit for an actor like Benedict Cumberbatch. Marvel either doesn't know or doesn't care that there are other ways for a movie to be funny than a constant stream of quips. Like, I could easily see Cumberbatch playing Strange as something like an Adam West figure, where the humor would come from him saying absolutely ridiculous capeshit nonsense with an entirely straight face. I think it could work really well, and it would definitely be funnier than cringeworthy quips like "Illumi-what-i?"

Like I said above, I like how they made Wanda the main antagonist, but I don't understand how that decision squares with the end of WandaVision. That show ended on a poor note for both myself and plenty of other people by its last-minute attempts to frame Wanda as the hero of that story rather than its villain via bizarre lines like "They'll never know what you sacrificed." What was the point of that when this movie confirmed that yes, WandaVision was in fact Wanda's villain origin story? Also, this movie looks really shitty. Not as bad as No Way Home, but the effects are still just awful for a movie of this budget. I suspect Marvel has become stretched too thin with their current schedule of putting out a dozen shows/movies every year, and the people they have working on their effects just don't have the time they need to make them look good.

tl;dr: The Marvel Cinematic Universe and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: July 06, 2022, 02:31:02 AM »
Yes, it is. That is quite literally an anonymous claim.

Incorrect. If a newspaper says that "sources said" then it's anonymous. If they specify that their source in the Secret Service said it, then it's not totally anonymous. They are indicating that it's a source in the Secret Service. It's not a source which is "lacking individuality, distinction, or recognizability" according to that definition, since there is distinction and recognizability. Nor is is a source which is "not named or identified", since they are identified to a degree. They are indicating that the Secret Service said this and it's not left to the imagination that it might be from a random guy who works for Taco Bell. says that an anonymous source is someone who the journalist doesn't know the identification of -

    Often among journalists and especially among our critics, the term for sources we don’t name is “anonymous sources,” or we explain in a story that the source requested “anonymity.” But this term can be misleading or even inaccurate in ways that undercut the news organization’s credibility. The truth is that few, if any, news stories ever actually use any information from truly anonymous sources: people whose identities are unknown to the journalists or the news organization.

    Truly anonymous sources would be people who call us on the telephone with tips and refuse to give their names, anonymous commenters on our websites or someone contacting us through email or social media (or even in person) who refuse to identify themselves to us. Journalists get valuable tips in these ways but shouldn’t publish anything based on these sources. If you publish a story at all, you should use the tip as a starting point and find sources you trust — whether they will go on the record or not — on which to base a story.

They explain that it's called a confidential or "unnamed source" -

    This may appear a matter of semantics, but anything involving unnamed sources affects the credibility of your stories. And every tiny step you can take to assure the reader or viewer that you have tried to use reliable sources is important. Using terms such as “confidential” sources probably doesn’t build much confidence, but the word “anonymous” or “anonymity” can hurt your credibility, and isn’t accurate from your standpoint. So consider avoiding those terms.

    Journalists using unnamed sources usually know the sources well. If they are not sources you have used before, you should question them extensively about how they know what they are telling you and why they can’t go on the record. You might research their credentials to judge their veracity. Because of your pledge of confidentiality, you generally can’t vet sources by asking others about their credibility, but sometimes a confidential source can put you in touch with a trusted contact of yours who can vouch for her credibility.

So again, it's not an anonymous source.

Only an idiot would interpret the idea of an anonymous source in journalism to literally mean that the journalist themselves has no idea who the source is, rather than the public at large. Regardless of these semantic quibbles, the fact remains that the Secret Service as an entity have not officially declared Hutchinson's story to be untrue, and the agents involved have not themselves stepped forward to publicly declare the story to be untrue. It's been a week since Hutchinson testified with no official word from them, and I have a hard time believing that they wouldn't have put out an official statement within a couple of days maintaining that no physical altercation occurred if it were nothing more than a fabricated story, rather than stalling by talking about how they were blindsided by the testimony and will eventually have a response to make. Maybe I'm wrong and there really will be a response from them in a few days, but my guess is that the story is at least largely true, and the Secret Service simply doesn't want to put its agents in the awkward position of essentially testifying against a former president, someone they expect to trust them with their life.

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