How adorable! A dodgy fellow has invented what he thinks is a new get-out-of-jail-free card, called the brine shrimp gambit. It’s an excuse of the form, “I’m talking about X (brine shrimp), and you’re accusing me of Y (animal abuse), therefore you lose.” It doesn’t seem to matter that no, I am actually talking about X, and you’re just trying to displace the criticism to something completely different so you can skip off without thinking about your claims. I have seen versions of this many times.
The most common example occurs when I criticize religion to someone’s face, and they immediately protest, “Oh, no, I don’t believe in that kind of religion. You’re thinking of the Fred Phelps kind of religion.”
Sorry, no. I’m quite aware of the distinction between crazy fundy evangelicals and your average, run-of-the-mill Christian who believes in silly fantasy stories. I despise Karen Armstrong almost as much as I do Fred Phelps, but for different things. I am actually jumping down your throat for your worship of evil, tiny, nasty little brine shrimp; I have not mistaken them for, say, a squadron of cats or intervening angels.
And yes, when you tell me you love black people and would even let one use your bathroom, it is not inflating a brine shrimp into a sea monster to point out that you’re being a racist. Similarly, if you defend a gender-biased selection of event speakers because, you say, you didn’t think of those other notable women you could have invited, then you are being sexist.
Just watch. You’ll be seeing the Brine Shrimp gambit pulled many times in the future, and every time it will be used as an escape hatch to justify lesser injustices by pretending it could have been worse. Add another bullet to the arsenal of silencing tactics.
Now I’m seeing it everywhere. Here’s an example from Newtie.
You really see this problem on the heels of the South Carolina primary, which Gingrich won mainly by running around insinuating racist arguments without saying them out loud, and then when he was called on it, his supporters took umbrage because they’ve put so much work into avoiding saying the N-word.
That’s a perfectly executed Brine Shrimp gambit.