Mountains of Chutzpah, coming soon

Our own Trav Mamone has a new post up advertising an article they have published on another site, SpliceToday.

It’s a look at an article on another site, AeroMagazine.com, that with garish arrogance titles itself

AN ARGUMENT FOR A LIBERAL AND RATIONAL APPROACH TO TRANSGENDER RIGHTS AND INCLUSION

So I took a look at the original article. Trust me, when I say that Trav Mamone is being very, very generous when saying of the article,

It isn’t as bad as I thought, but still missed the mark.

So, I’ve cheerily taken a dive into a cesspool of ignorance and am swimming around it for a bit, all so that you don’t have to. I’ll soon have two -count them two- posts up thoroughly addressing important aspects of the original article, including a whole lot of wrong. Here, however, I wanted to pluck out a criticism I’ve made of something from the AeroMagazine piece both because I’ve seen it way too many times (so it deserves extra attention) but also so that you’ll have a bit of snark to carry you through until the longer pieces get here. Also, too, there will be more coming your way on gun rights, some  of it addressing a couple things about which Enlightenment Liberal is correct, but didn’t realize that I was going to say in a future post, and some things in which EL is grossly, laughably wrong. (Hint: Bell v Burson figures prominently in that last category.)

From the upcoming post further tackling Trav Mamone’s target:

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Hold My Beer: Speaking of ‘Both Sides’ on Columbus Day

Wow. Bill O’Reilly has sabotaged his own credibility literally hundreds of times. He has said some of the worst things ever said on television, even if he’s not quite guilty of saying the single worst thing I’ve ever heard said on TV. And yet he felt it necessary to hand a friend his beer to take another go at this being-a-dishonest-asshole-for-cash gig because he really felt he had one more valuable contribution to make to public discussions.

Now, Bill O’ has managed to impress me with the arrogance of his ignorance and with his utter confidence that bothsiderism is somehow a careful, commendable journalistic practice. Given his history, that takes some serious doing. Yet he did it, and The Hill published it.

How, precisely, did he manage to make an impression that stood out after a career of such bullshit? Well, start with this:

First of all, “Indigenous People’s Day” might sound good on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, but it may be troublesome. Yes, some native tribes were enlightened societies but many were not. After inter-indigenous battles, torture and enslavement were often on the menu for the losers.

Wait, Bill. When you describe capturing people in battle and then torturing them, were you intending to describe the enlightened societies or the unenlightened ones? I’m a bit curious given your history.

But hey, the vast numbers of people in the Americas before Columbus did include some good folk and some bad folk. At least that has the benefit of being true, right? So what’s so appalling about this new column? Well, because Bill O is just warming up. Try this next:

Christopher Columbus was not a villain and does not deserve the vilification the PC police are heaping upon him. Every person on the planet has done bad things, but it is the totality of a human being that should be the litmus test.

Soon, the loons will come for the slaveholders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the Dallas school board is now debating their diminishment right now.

This is, of course, just the same macro point about populations brought down to the micro case of an individual:

Sure, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and shot literally hundreds more, but he was also a fan of country music. Human, see? Complex! Good and bad! Not a villain! And John Shaft was a little bit white, okay? Can we all just agree to that like reasonable people?

Columbus landed on islands in what we now call the Caribbean. He came looking for loot. When he arrived, he found locals quite willing to trade, which we all know generates wealth. But Columbus decided against free trade. Instead he had something else in mind (quoted from Zinn’s Peoples History of the United States which itself quotes Columbus directly):

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

And it’s not like he idly mused about this while twirling a mustache, but then forgot all about it, went home to his mother and talked about how excited he was just to have been on a ship that crossed a whole ocean. No, Columbus refutes that idea in his own writing:

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.

Okay, maybe he was a bit tribalist. He wasn’t a melodramatic villain to everyone, just those people who weren’t from his own European roots. Yes, sure he enslaved. Yeah, okay, when coming into contact from people of a totally different culture, with no common language and the fear of being one of a few whites on an island dominated by the darker Arawak, Columbus kinda went and kid a few bad things. But what was he like to his fellow whites? I mean, tribalism is a common human failing and I’m sure he was a good guy to those whites he bonded with over the course of a month at sea, right? Well, let’s see:

…on October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sands, and cried out. It was an island in the Bahamas, the Caribbean sea. The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward.

Oh. Okay. But disease, right? It’s not like he was really that evil, or that he sought to take lands by force. That whole genocide thing was just the accidental result of the introduction of European diseases to American populations, right?

Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas) and left thirty-nine crewmembers there, with instructions to find and store the gold. He took more Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. At one part of the island he got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death.

Columbus’s report to the Court in Madrid was extravagant. He insisted he had reached Asia (it was Cuba) and an island off the coast of China (Hispaniola). His descriptions were part fact, part fiction:

Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and pastures, are both fertile and beautiful … the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold. . . . There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals….

The Indians, Columbus reported, “are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone….” He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage “as much gold as they need … and as many slaves as they ask.” He was full of religious talk: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”

Because of Columbus’s exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold.

Okay, that kinda sounds bad. He was safe back in Europe and turned around to go back with the specific aim of taking slaves? And this after proving that he was perfectly fine with murder and theft? Yeah, that does sound kinda bad. But not too bad. I mean, lots of people killed people back then, right? I mean, the indigenous peoples of the Americas even tortured and killed sometimes, right? So it was a bad time, but it’s not like Columbus was EEE-ville with a capital EEE. I mean, he believed in God, right? What did the priests have to say about his expedition? Good things, I hope, right? Let’s ask the Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas who went on Columbus’ expedition to Cuba (via RawStory):

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy…

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!” Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains

Oh, er. So that genocide wasn’t all just an accident of disease? And Columbus carried out a campaign of violence in order to terrorize entire populations so that he could take land and gold and spices and slaves and whatever else he wanted? Well, it’s a good thing he wasn’t after any political objectives as well. Armed robbery is bad enough. Genocide is as bad as it gets. If we had to add terrorism to Columbus’ crimes, I think I’d just have to cry some ivory white tears. Thank goodness that quote stops there. Right? RIGHT?

They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them.

Oh, fuck. He was engaged in political killings, too? Well, at least he was a good Christian man. Yeah, he killed those who didn’t give him whatever he wanted. Yes, he terrorized entire nations. Yes, he engaged in targeting killings of political leaders. Sure, it’s hard to believe that anyone could say that he had no political or social objectives such that this would actually constitute terrorism. But he didn’t have, like, naughty sex or anything, did he? I mean, except for the coveting, the murder and such, he didn’t actually break any really important commandments or anything, did he? I’ll let the relentlessly conservative Death and Taxes Magazine tackle this issue, republishing in full their defense against charges of Columbus’ sexual violence and sexual immorality:

 In 1500, Columbus wrote to a friend: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”  Another letter written by Columbus’ friend Michele de Cuneo (in 1492, before the expedition reached the New World) reads “Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape.”

From these letters it has been deduced that Columbus was something of a New World pimp, auctioning off women to his men for sexual pleasure. Surely this behavior must have occurred to an extent, but was it systemic and carried out with great relish by Columbus?  No one can know for sure, yet the charge is leveled at Columbus by his detractors as if it is indisputable fact.

Well, good to know. Columbus killed locals and when their parents were dead enslaved girls “from nine to ten”. Then the wages paid to the Europeans who worked to bring him gold were taken back in exchange for these enslaved girls. But since we don’t know how systemic this was, and we don’t know if Columbus actually chortled with glee while contemplating the profits he made off the rape of children, let’s not actually criticize, okay? It could have happened only a few dozen times, after all! Thank goodness we have conservatives here to give us the best possible view of Columbus. It’s just lucky Columbus didn’t give any of the sex slaves birth control, or he might have lost the advocacy of even those as effective as the writers at Death And Taxes.

After all that, you would think that O’Reilly’s bothsiderism-inspired statement imploring us to remember Columbus was actually a good guy is as bad as it can get. Even when he literally dismisses murder, genocide, theft, and slavery as irrelevant to our moral evaluations of Columbus, that’s merely an extension of what he’s already done, right? I mean, you couldn’t be any more infuriated by this

that was a minor part of the “Columbus business,” as Hollywood would have put it if they were wooing him for a three-picture deal. Mostly, Columbus was a brilliant navigator who opened up the world for travel. No small achievement.

than you already were, could you?

Well then, you really ought to stop reading right now. Now is when O’Reilly passes his beer to whomever counts as his best friend, cracks his knuckles, and outdoes his own obscenities. His bothsiderism (hell, Bothsiderism itself) reaches peak dishonesty, peak horror, and even peak wtF? with this quote:

Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic between 1492 and 1504. He was looking for a route to Asia so he could buy spices at a discount or something.

But Chris kept running into various Caribbean islands, also the formidable obstacles of South and Central America. There was no passage to the Far East, only an endless drifting around.

Along the way, Columbus ran into some Indian tribes, most notably the Caribes. They did not like Chris and his malodorous European crews. Strife broke out and some bad stuff went down on both sides.

Presumably, of course, he’s referring to the fact that his first military fort in the Americas, on land he didn’t own and wasn’t even in the possession of Spain (his sponsor) or Genoa (the city-state of his birth), was attacked by locals after he murdered many, enslaved more, and left for Europe allowing his 39 representatives living in the fort to scour “the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.” All 39 representatives were missing and presumed dead on Columbus’ return. Since O’Reilly doesn’t specify any “bad things” done by the Arawak or other nations Columbus attacked, we’ll likely never know to what O’Reilly refers. But perhaps it’s as safe a bet as any to assume that local leaders punishing a gang of serial rapists is a very, very bad thing to O’Reilly.


You can, and should, contact The Hill to tell them just exactly what you think of their publication of this apologia for genocide.

 

 

Sounds Good, But Then I Don’t Speak Portuguese

I’m very interested in this article at the New York Times about Edge of Desire. While this bit

Gathering nightly to watch the television show in a graffiti-covered living room has become a ritual for the residents at Casa Nem, a refuge in downtown Rio de Janeiro for transgender and gender-nonconforming Brazilians, who view the story of Ivana’s transition to Ivan as the first dignified and nuanced portrayal of people like them in the country’s mainstream media.

sounds very promising, I’m quite well aware of how The L Word was phenomenally popular in my circles (and, yes, I watched quite a bit of the show) without ever communicating much that was real about the average experience of being a queer woman in the US because of the same biases towards wealthy and urbanite subjects that plague US television generally. It might be a great show, it might be mediocre but getting lots of positive attention because expectations were so low that even mediocre is better than most Brazilian trans folk hoped to see during their own lifetimes.

Though it’s unlikely, if you have actually seen the show and know something about the Brazilian context your comment will be particularly welcomed.

99 & 44/100ths % Pure Racism

D’oh! I’m an idiot. IVORY soap advertised itself as 99 & 44/100ths% pure, not Dove. My idiocy now set aside, I leave the OP alone so you can at least get the substance about the current advertising campaign, which is correctly attributed to Dove.


Dove, having famously marketed their soap as “99 & 44/100ths % pure,” now has a new ad campaign – or had. That’s right, it’s already over and in all likelihood you hadn’t even yet seen it.

The Kansas City Star appears to have been the first to call it out, and three hours after this article detailing the contemptible ad, the Star had another article up, this one, that highlighted a tepid apology from the company that received less attention in the initial article.

The best news out of all this is that the company took down the ad quite quickly, and also that

None of Dove’s statements on the Facebook advertisement this week described what the company’s intent had been in making the ad.

That’s actually a step up from what we normally see, regardless of how bad the initial ad might have been.

The substance of the racism critique is that a Black woman with a dark shirt is seen pulling that shirt up and off over her head. Through the wonders of green screen tech, this reveals a white woman with a lighter shirt underneath. The apparent implication being that Dove can make you lighter/whiter (and that this is desirable).

That message was undercut by the fact that the white woman then removes her shirt to reveal another woman not depicted in the screen-captures that I saw, but identified in writing as “a woman of color” wearing a shirt of a shade in between that of the Black woman’s dark shirt and the white woman’s ecru shirt. However, not many people were willing to give Dove the benefit of the doubt as the product that they were advertising listed it as useful for

normal to dark skin

Yeah, I think just dropping the ad was a good idea. Get that bottle changed as soon as possible, though, eh?


As a post-script, I feel compelled to note that while it’s hard to praise the marketing of a product as marketing itself is so deeply entwined with consumerism and problematic attitudes towards capitalism and consumption, as far as marketing campaigns go, I actually liked the many-different-shapes ad campaign they ran where their products were not just depicted but actually sold in what they called “Real Beauty Bottles” that contained the same amount of soap or lotion, but differed radically in profile. Some bottles were tall and entirely flat. Some tall but slightly curved in at the middle, others were short and shaped like an upside-down apple, with several other shapes included as well. It didn’t work out well, with one criticism saying the bottles made some people feel judged, but I thought that one came from a good place.

Goatfucker Decries Sustained Criticism of Goatfucking

You probably don’t remember (I didn’t) that Erick Erickson expressed his relief that Jusice David Souter was retiring from SCOTUS with a tweet calling Souter “the only goat fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court”.  But Wonkette remembers.

The Wonkette piece in question appropriately picks up on Erickson’s blog post*1 bemoaning the fact that Megan Kelly isn’t well liked on the US political Left and using the fact of this lack of love, and sometimes open dislike, as proof of the failings of the US Left. As is Wonkette’s wont, they didn’t bother to quote a lot of the post. Stupidly, I thought that meant that there was some significant amount of content they omitted. Thus I clicked through to read the thing. There really isn’t much there, but I’ll quote some lines here so that fewer people will feel the need to give page views to Erickson’s drivel:

I have read several of the reviews of Megyn Kelly’s new part of Today at NBC. Some of them raise some substantive points of criticism and things that could be improved. I thought it was just fine and kept with the tone of Today. But I understand the criticism.

Unfortunately, most of the criticisms really highlight just how broken our country is. The criticism amounts to “she was at Fox so we don’t like her.”

The coolest thing about the United States has always been that people need not be defined by their pasts. People can reinvent themselves, they can do new things, and they do not have to be bound to just one thing. But there is a growing tendency in the United States that we are all to be defined by that one thing others like least about us.

The left dislikes Megyn Kelly because she worked at Fox. Therefore, she can only work at Fox and she can only do that thing she was known for at Fox.

Note that this is from the top. Erickson doesn’t begin by quoting anything outrageous or problematic, doesn’t cite any specific criticism (preferring instead to summarize the criticism as “[t]he left dislikes Megyn Kelly because she worked at Fox” or “she was at Fox so we don’t like her”) or linking to a specific editorial, piece of media criticism, blog post, or even a random internet commenter’s random internet comment.

He doesn’t add any specifics later, either. The closest he gets to anything specific is citing a presumably specific incident he describes this way:

Debra Messing of Will & Grace appeared on Megyn Kelly’s part of Today. She got criticized by a fan for daring to appear with Kelly and then apologized. Why? Because it was Megyn Kelly. That’s it.

So I did a google search, because I love you, my regular reader, and didn’t want you to have white folks stare at you slowly practicing your Google-fu in a local park come sunrise tomorrow. Not unless that’s your thing, of course. So, here’s the search: debra messing “megyn kelly” criticism. To my literal, actual surprise what came up at the top was a series of articles describing Kelly’s first week on the Today show as pretty bad – a “train wreck” in one case. So it immediately seemed as though when Erickson said, “That’s it,” tending to indicate there were no other or at least no substantive other criticisms on offer besides “you sat next to someone with Fox-cooties” that the Erickson in question, who is paid to have things of value to say to other people and then say them, might have been failing in his job. A bit.

But there was a piece in Fortune that seemed to mention all this, so I clicked through and found something rather different than Messing being shocked – Shocked! – that Megyn Kelly was present.

In an Instagram post, Messing, star of the recently-revived hit Will & Grace, said she regrets going on Kelly’s show and said she was “dismayed” by some of Kelly’s comments.

Messing, who appeared on Kelly’s debut episode alongside her Will & Grace co-stars, was referring to a remark Kelly made to a fan of the sitcom that broke ground during its initial run by featuring openly gay characters.

When Kelly invited the audience member on stage to meet the Will & Grace cast, she made what was perhaps an awkward attempt at a joke.

“Is it true that you became a lawyer—and you became gay—because of Will?” Kelly asked.

 

Not that Messing wasn’t surprised by Megyn Kelly’s presence, according to Fortune her post also explained:

“[H]onestly didn’t know it was [Megyn Kelly’s show] until that morning,” Messing wrote in response to the question. “The itinerary just said Today Showappearance. Regret going on. Dismayed by her comments.”

This wouldn’t be understandable for me, I’m never on national TV and don’t have a publicist or someone managing my large number of public appearances. It wouldn’t be understandable for most folks. But I can accept that it’s possible for someone like Messing to trust appearance details to others and, given Kelly’s recent addition to the Today Show lineup there’s no reason Messing would automatically know a Today Show interview would be handled by someone not even on that show the week before. It’s entirely possible (I know this is shocking, but I believe it is true) that Messing doesn’t even keep track of Kelly’s changing job responsibilities or which people are currently working on screen for which morning news shows.

But here’s the thing. Although she mentions that she didn’t know Kelly was [host? co-host?] of part of the Today Show*2, she doesn’t actually use that as the explanation for why she regretted the appearance. Instead, her explanation invoked Kelly’s comments on that show, on that day.

Kelly wasn’t being tarred forever for some act or association found only in the distant past and remembered only by nasty, vile, little snark mobs as found at Wonkette. Kelly was being criticized for what she said that day on that program while Messing was appearing, and it is that behavior during the interview that caused Kelly to regret making the appearance.

So the premise of Erickson’s piece (that Kelly is being unfairly subjected to long-held grudges for petty crimes of association that should long-since have faded into insignificance) is contradicted by his use of this example. And since this is literally the only remotely specific example Erickson provides, one can only conclude that there never was any basis for this pity party in the first place.

Why-oh-why, then, would Erickson even bother to publish such worthless, content-free strings of words? (I won’t call them thoughts or musings.)

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there is something in there that glisters like a motive, but only when his writing turns more personal:

Back in 2009, I said something terrible about outgoing Justice David Souter. All these years later it still comes up from people who dislike me as a reason no one should listen to me or take me seriously. They are entitled to do that, but the lack of grace being shown is spreading. Kids are learning that if they screw up once, that screw up haunts them forever. Adults are learning that it is game over the moment the social media mob turns on them. And as that spreads, more people will learn to just be their worst self every day and never even strive to improve. Why should they? They’ll just get attacked for that which they once did.

So a while ago Erickson started calling public figures he doesn’t even know personally “goat-fucking child molesters” simply because he disagrees with their expert opinions on subjects he knows little about. Ever since he hasn’t been able to get any hugs from Keith Olbermann, and that’s horrible because now no one in the US wants to better themselves?

Okay. I get it now. The point of this whole essay is just to set up the punchline, “but you rhetorically fuck one goat …” This isn’t a pity party. It never was a pity party. This post is a self-pity party.

Grow up, Erickson. So Wonkette is snide and Olbermann thinks you’re a jerk. That’s not exactly the worst thing you could have hanging over your head for a mistake.

If you honestly believed that people should be able to start fresh at least every few years and not judged forever on the basis of one or a few bad acts, then perhaps you should focus on restoring voting rights to those convicted of felonies and allowing persons currently incarcerated to vote?

I get that as a goatfucker*3 you’d really like all this criticism of goatfucking to stop, but you’re directing your criticism in the wrong place:

Megyn Kelly is doing a show that does not focus on politics and she is a gracious host to each of her guests. She is modeling the behavior we should all be showing to each other. We don’t have to like each other. We don’t have to agree with each other. But we should at least be civil to each other.

She’s gracious even though she makes her guests uncomfortable with her comments? She’s modeling good behavior by making “watching TV turned you gay” jokes?

And that person who is keeping up the criticism about insufficient civility from people who are being uncivil?That’s you, doofus.

One faction in US public discourse makes efforts to encourage respect. In the process they suggest  words that ought not to be commonly used, with certain exceptions for quotes important to discuss or other special contexts. They also engage in extended analysis of certain statements because those statements are (in their eyes) disrespectful or even bigoted, citing the specific language used and the context and using argument from history and analogy to help convince others that such statements reflect undesirable attitudes or constitute undesirable actions and as such should be condemned.

For this, they are frequently derided as “politically correct” (intended to mean unthinkingly autocratic in ways that disadvantage pitiable, underprivileged straight white guys who have TV shows and want to say hateful things on them).

Another faction repeatedly says it wants a “return to civility”. In the process they cite past time periods in the US, times fraught with many problems, and argue that since the US was “better back then” civility should be judged by the standards of civility of that previous era. They argue this without asking how the US was better or whether some things that were, in fact, worse back then might become worse today if we look only backwards in judging behaviors today.

Along the way they draw gunsights over pictures of political opponents, call Mexican immigrants “rapists”, and harp on about those women who just keep on persisting or whatever it is they do because of their uncontrollable hormones when speaking from the Senate floor.

For this, they are frequently derided as not caring if the bigotries of yesterday are replicated today, and more and more often derided as actually caring whether the bigotries are repeated but answering the wrong fucking way. Not only this, but for the money they pour into media that persists in treating opponents in an uncivil way, they are derided as far more the problem with public discourse than any other faction and, by the by, quite the fucking hypocrites.

So at long last, Erick Erickson, do you have no idea who has the problem crafting a positive discourse? At long last?  (BIG HINT: calling a SCTOUS justice a “goat-fucking child molester” is uncivil in most circumstances.)

Jesus goat-fucking christ.

 


*1: I won’t call it criticism, it’s not nearly so specific or thought out as a criticism.

 

*2: Apparently the Today Show is more than one hour long, with one-hour segments having (or at least sometimes having) different hosts/co-hosts. So an appearance listed as “Today Show” wouldn’t even tell you whether Kelly was going to appear on screen in the same hour, much less perform the interview, unless you also knew the hourly schedule of the show and where your interview fell.

*3: My spellcheck changed “goatfucker” to “goatsucker”. Really, auto-correct? Goatsucker is some word that a programmer just had to make sure was in the dictionary, but goatfucker wasn’t? How did that line get drawn?

 

Another Misused Phrase

Readers of this blog, both of you, know how I feel about the misuse of the phrases witch hunt and lynch mob, and more generally about all the variations of the word lynch. I’d like to discuss another phrase without the same level of history but with vital importance to understanding the self-serving faux-martyrdom of those in our society who are actually the most powerful ad privileged. It’s used in this NY Times piece on Mueller’s investigative tactics:

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This young gentleman got sucked into a counterculture of violence

Those are the words of Spokane (Washington) County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich when describing Caleb Sharpe, the adolescent who quite obviously is the person who killed on fellow high school student and wounded several others on Wednesday.

Whether Sharpe is legally guilty of murder, a crime, will be determined later. There is no doubt, however, that Sharpe is factually guilty of killing another human being. Many people believed they saw the potential for violence in Sharpe, though reports that detail any history of actual injurious violence haven’t come to my attention. In short, at least some of his peers perceived him to be vengeful. The tragic case in point that I want to mention here is that confirmed by a number of reports: Sharpe shot the child he killed, whose name is being withheld from some press accounts, when that the adolescent told the armed Sharpe, “I always knew you were going to shoot up the school.”

And yet, nowhere in the press coverage I’ve seen has Knezovich or even any member of the media reminded us that Sharpe is “no angel”.

I wonder why that is.

 

Jeffrey Lord, Sacked: AKA Correcting Someone’s Spelling Is Genocide

For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.

Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:

On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”

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I Didn’t Know Historians Have Senses of Humor

Via Rawstory I saw a bit of writing on the political jeopardy to Trump’s presidency and how, in the author’s view, this jeopardy is greater even than what Nixon faced in the time period before impeachment proceedings began. I started reading and in the first full paragraph came upon one of the great historical jokes of all time:

Since George Washington Americans have taken pride in electing honest presidents. Whether the chief executive is rated by historians as great, average, or failure, there has been general agreement that honest men have occupied the White House.

I had to find the History News Network site to examine the quote at its source, it was so unbelievable. Slowly, slowly it dawned on me that in this piece of serious writing, this line must have been slipped in by an editor as a joke. I mean, Holy Historical Humor, Batman, could any student of history ever actually believe this?

 

 

Just Saw Columbiana Last Night

Spoilers ahead, though Columbiana is an older movie:

Colombiana has a relatively standardized plot: professional hitter uses killing skills to take out the people who hurt the hitter’s loved ones. It’s gender-twisted, so the hitter is a woman and the women in refrigerators are actually men in refrigerators…well, mostly. The bad guys kill a lot of people, but her dad is the one that provides her initial motivation and a lot of important psychological background.

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