Comrades! To the barricades…errm, the Dairy Queen!


When Black Lives Matter took to the streets and inconvenienced white folks trying to get to the mall or cost truckers time and money, people complained that this was an inappropriate way to protest. They never seemed to realize that that was the point.

“Our purpose is to disrupt people’s routine, and disrupt their peace,” coalition leader Brandi Grayson said. “Because racism is very inconvenient for people who have to live with it in their day-to-day life, whether in school or in work. It’s very inconvenient. And it’s very disruptive. So we, in a sense, want to give people a glimpse of that.”

When teachers demonstrate and strike to protest salaries and working conditions, you can rely on a Betsy DeVos to complain that they shouldn’t strike during school hours.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested Monday that teachers hold demonstrations over issues such as compensation during “adult time” so they don’t cause harm to students by disrupting educational hours.

“I think it’s important that adults have adult disagreements on adult time, and that they not ultimately hurt kids in the process,” DeVos said when asked if she supported teacher strikes at the Education Writers Association national seminar in Baltimore, according to The Associated Press.

Well, you see, Betsy, if they don’t disrupt the work you are paying them poorly to do, you won’t feel any incentive to change their working conditions…ah, Christ. No one’s going to get through to that dimbulb. But the point is to wake people up to the vital work they’re doing, not to make continued neglect easy.

There are two kinds of people out there. The ones who won’t cross a picket line, or will get out of their car to join a Black Lives Matter protest, and the complacent ones who are more outraged at a 15 minute delay in getting to The Gap or having to make arrangements to accommodate keeping the kids at home (which can be a difficult sacrifice, I will admit), then they are at endemic racism or that teachers have to pay out of pocket to buy supplies to teach their kids.

Now the complacent ones have got a new complaint. People are throwing milkshakes at fascists, bigots, white ethnostate advocates, neo-Nazis, and preening political assholes. Oh, dear. Suddenly they have discovered a sense of empathy for white fascists that they never had for their victims.

Seth Andrews is unhappy with this development. It’s childish to act against scum.

The guy who is really over the top is Sam Harris, who sees these as practice runs for assassinations.

Harris, of course, is the guy who wouldn’t go anywhere without a security team, who’d show up for conferences with armed burly guys in the wings; even when he flew to Australia, he had a security guard escort him on the plane. It was comical. That was at a time when I was getting daily death threats in my mail, was showing up for events without fear, and Mr Paranoid needed a big man with a gun to keep him safe. You know, Richard Dawkins was showing up at these conferences sans bullet-proof vest and a SWAT team, and he was always a far bigger target than Harris.

But the important point is that people of principle are beginning to escalate, still not doing real physical harm against opponents who have shot people, murdered them with cars, or dispatched roving gangs to assault people on the street. They are throwing dairy products or eggs.

Good.

For years, people who write about the dangers of the right have been belittled as “keyboard warriors”, myself included. I could easily write ten thousand words about the villainy of fascism, and be mocked for not actually doing anything that these vermin would care about — they’ll continue on their merry, vicious way no matter how many pleading op-eds beg them to stop, or exhort opponents to vote. But let a few people rise up and actually piss off a bigot, let them act to express their righteous anger, and suddenly a subset of the people who profess sentiments in favor of the Left are whining, piously deploring that matters have escalated and decrying action.

Too late. The escalation occurred when Nazis marched, chanting anti-semitic slogans and appearing on the news calmly calling for genocide, and when they used clubs, guns, and vehicles to injure and kill protesters. That was when we needed violence to be stopped. Now is when public condemnation has to be loud and undeniable, when those who foster violence need to be shamed and exposed, by people who also reject the use of violence. A thrown milkshake is an effective tool to denounce the monsters in our midst.

What these critiques misunderstand is why milkshaking is so potent against Farage and his brethren: It humiliates them. Nothing animates the far right or shapes its worldview quite so much as the desire to humiliate others—and the fear of being humiliated themselves. It’s why alt-right trolls, projecting their own sexual insecurities, enjoy calling their opponents “cucks.” It’s why they rally around blustery authoritarian figures like Donald Trump who cast themselves as beyond embarrassment, shame, or ridicule. They brandish humiliation like a weapon while craving release from it.

Getting doused in a milkshake robs far-right figures of the air of chauvinistic invulnerability that they spend so much time cultivating. They hunger to be taken seriously despite their racist views. They want to be described as dapper, to be interviewed on evening news broadcasts and weekend talk-show panels, and to be seen as a legitimate participant in the democratic process. Most politicians to the left of Enoch Powell would brush off milkshaking as a harmless stunt. For those seeking mainstream legitimacy, it’s another searing reminder that they don’t belong.

It’s also not dismissable as mere virtue signaling, because smearing bad people with dairy products has a cost: the fascists come with thugs who will beat you bloody, and it does have legal repercussions. The people who stand up and embarrass these dangerous extremists are goddamn heroes, as are the protesters who walk out and block freeway traffic for a cause, or the union members who sacrifice their livelihood to better the lives of their comrades.

The people who clutch their pearls and whimper at the effrontery of defying the status quo, on the other hand, are goddamn useless cowards.

Comments

  1. liberalhysteria says

    And what about Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem? Everybody said that that was an inappropriate time to protest as well. Don’t get me wrong I’m actually pretty cynical about protests in general being that the media ultimately decides the message of most protests. However if you’re going to do it it makes sense to do it in a form that would get people’s attention. Anyway Kaepernick is a hero for doing what he did just like the milkshake throwers and the black lives matter protesters. In fact I regarded as one of the blackest of all black marks on the Indianapolis Colts otherwise unblemished record how they refused to sign Kaepernick during the 2017 NFL season. Apparently many we’re worried that had Kaepernick been signed, that the Colts would have to reshape their entire offensive strategy to accommodate Kaepernick’s particular abilities. I believe however that during that season, the Colts could have benefited from the shake-up. I know that hindsight is 20/20, but looking back now it’s obvious that the Colts we’re hell-bent on sabotaging the 2017 season. I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make here.

  2. says

    There is more than one way to make a mark — Kaepernick was effective without throwing a single milkshake. If someone has an alternative, they should do it…unless their alternative is to whine at everyone doing something they wouldn’t do.

  3. jrkrideau says

    And what about Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem? Everybody said that that was an inappropriate time to protest as well.

    It definitely was. He should have knelt in the closet in his bedroom at midnight with all the lights off. Possibly with Black Sabbath playing?

  4. raven says

    But the important point is that people of principle are beginning to escalate, still not doing real physical harm against opponents who have shot people, murdered them with cars, or dispatched roving gangs to assault people on the street.

    QFT!!!

    Right-Wing Extremism Linked to Every 2018 Extremist Murder in the …

    https://www.adl.org/…/right-wing-extremism-linked-to-every-2018-extremist-murder-…
    Jan 23, 2019 – Right-wing extremists killed more people last year than in any year since … to at least 50 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2018, …

    Terrorists murdered 50 people in the USA last year.
    All 50 of them were by right wingnut/fundie xian terrorists!!!
    This is 100%.
    This isn’t any secret but the MSM doesn’t spend a lot of time reporting on it.
    Of course, the alt right media such as Fox NoNews completely ignores it.

  5. raven says

    More from the source, ADL above.

    Last year’s murders at the hands of right-wing extremists reflect an ongoing trend. ADL’s Center on Extremism, which has aggregated data going back to 1970, shows that over the last decade, a total of 73.3 percent of all extremist-related fatalities can be linked to domestic right-wing extremists, while 23.4 percent can be attributed to Islamic extremists. The remaining 3.2 percent were carried out by extremists who did not fall into either category.

    These are the terrorists in our society.

  6. PaulBC says

    Right, so the takeaway is: we support your right to protest as long as those protests are ineffectual. We also reserve the right to make fun of you for assemblies that we deem ineffectual (e.g. candlelight peace vigils).

    Been seeing it since I have been paying attention. What a bunch of liars!

  7. Jeremy Shaffer says

    And what about Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem? Everybody said that that was an inappropriate time to protest as well.

    I think it was over on Ed Brayton’s blog, a couple years back, there was a guy who jumped into the comment section to go on about how there were better ways for Karpernick to make his point, like doing charity work. I responded to him with a few links to the charity work Kaepernick was also- and had been- doing in addition to the kneeling and asked why, if that was so much more effective, did the guy not seem to know about it.

    For some reason, I never got a reply to that question.

  8. whisperit says

    Funny enough, on the same day as the meeting between milkshake and Farage, a neo-Nazi (no, not Mr Farage this time), was being sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting making plans to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a 19 inch knife, and threatening to kill the police officer leading the investigation into the case. On the way to the cells, he gave a Nazi salute to supporters in the public gallery. This, less than 3 years after the shooting and stabbing to death of MP Jo Cox by another Nazi.
    I’d genuinely be interested to hear if Mr Harris has commented on these incidents. Or maybe he thinks the threat of having one’s best campaigning suit soiled by milk product is the greater threat to democracy?

  9. vucodlak says

    Yep. When you reach out and touch the untouchable supermen, as Nazis like to present themselves, it strips away the façade. It’s kind of hard to believe their rhetoric about them being superior specimens of humanity and courage when they crumble so easily, which makes them less attractive to impressionable would-be recruits.

    Milkshakes are good.

  10. says

    Here’s Stewart Lee in The Guardian, well worth your attention. In addition to giving Boris Johnson a nickname, and being generally both droll and on the spot, he concludes thusly:

    Having no manifesto will not stick to Farage; not declaring his Aaron Banks funding to the EU will not stick to Farage; collaborating with Steve Bannon and Alternative Für Deutschland will not stick to Farage; describing the climate crisis as “a scam” will not stick to Farage; that “Breaking point” poster will not stick to Farage; lying about the EU army will not stick to Farage; nothing sticks to Farage, it seems. Except milkshake.

  11. hemidactylus says

    So does “Milkshake” by Kelis then become a protest song?

    Or a symptom of the hypercompetitive meritocracy surrounding tasty dairy products ‘my milkshake is better than yours’ (paraphrasing). Eeek Freud! Innuendo.

  12. blf says

    Harris’s “complaint” about milkshaking being a demonstration of security problems is amusing because:

    (1) That was also the nazi’s complaint — he was recorded(? heard?) yelling at his security / minders, and later publicly whinged milkshaking was an attack on civilised debate.

    (2) If the targeted nazis actually believed that, they’d be congratulating the milkshakers on showing up a vunerability… or at least cracking jokes about about it. (Plus, of course, condemning similar & worse attacks on anyone.)

    Of course, we’re obviously not reading Harris correctly, “failing” to take into account certain of his other mutterings, applying definitions he didn’t intend, and not making an exception for certain groups (as either targets or perpetrators)…

  13. teejay says

    “The fascists come with thugs who will best you bloody”

    You mean Antifa? Probably not…

    BLM isn’t all sunshine and light, either. Have you forgotten this PZ? They threw Molotov cocktails at police when they shut down I94. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-lives-matter-protests-span-country-fourth-day-n606556. That’s a little more serious than keeping people from getting to the GAP. That’s assault with a deadly weapon.

    Then there’s also this: https://edition-m.cnn.com/2016/07/10/politics/dallas-shooting-police-chief-david-brown/index.html

    And this: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/baton-rouge-police-officers-shot-wounded-airline-highway/

    How many police officers were murdered as a result – direct or indirect – of BLM protests?

    Note: I’m not arguing that BLM is somehow bad or illegitimate as a result, but I do think as need to have both our eyes open to exactly what happened.

  14. kingoftown says

    The guy that threw the milkshake at Farage has been charged with assault. So yeah, throwing dairy products has a cost.
    Farage’s supporters would probably prefer if he reacted the same way as John Prescott did to being hit with an egg.

  15. blf says

    John Prescott did to being hit with an egg

    To add some context to that, in 2001, then NKofE† Deputy PM Prescott punched a protestor against the then war-on-Iraq who managed to egg him at close range.

      † N.Korea of Europe — nuclear-armed & “governed” by a paranoid clique. Previously known as teh UK.

  16. KG says

    “The fascists come with thugs who will best you bloody”
    You mean Antifa? Probably not… – teejay@15

    No, probably not (a) because Antifa aren’t fascists (the clue is in the name), and (b) the “beat you bloody” comment referred to this incident in the UK:

    The footage of Robinson being doused with milkshake in Warrington became a viral sensation. In the aftermath, he could be seen throwing a volley of punches at the assailant, who Robinson’s team pounced on. The incident sparked chaotic scenes, currently being investigated by Cheshire police, when two anti-racism protesters were punched to the ground leaving them needing hospital treatment. Alice Edwards, one of the victims, said she was punched in the face by Danny Thomas, Robinson’s campaign organiser, and suffered a broken nose. Thomas has not denied the incident but claimed Edwards was “attacking our team”, which she disputes.

    Yaxley-Lennon himself has several convictions for violence (as well as mortgage fraud and using a false passport).

  17. rpjohnston says

    Milkshake? Should’ve been a molotov. Yeah, they’re afraid of humiliation, and it is an effective tool! But they’re also afraid of violence. It’s why they spend so long beating that “violent Left” drum – both to justify the violence they intend to do to us, and to shame us into not fighting back. As always, the counter to this is not to argue with or try to convince them that your own self-defense is legitimate, it’s self-realized power: Our lives matter because WE say so, and anyone who opposes that can die crying about it.

    Those crackers marching at Charlottesville aren’t hardened, grizzled warriors who made their own torches from pitch and twine and willing to fight to the death for what they believe in. They’re coddled white dudes who’ve never seriously faced a consequence in their life who sold their balls to Walmart for Tiki torches. They’ll kill and enjoy it to get their way, but they aren’t going to risk their own blood. I’ve said this ever since that day – the most effective way to limit the blood spilled and avoid a civil war, is to convince them they’ll get hurt if they start shit.

  18. raven says

    Teejay is a troll who has one tactic.
    Lie a lot and repeat the same lies over and over.
    He’s never ever been seen to actually learn anything..
    There are software programs that show higher intelligence.

    I posted this @4 and of course, he simply ignored it.
    In favor of the utterly predictable fallacies of both siderism, false equivalence, and whataboutism.
    No the left and the right aren’t equally murderous terrorists.

    Last year right wingnut/fundie xian terrorists killed 50 people in the USA.
    Left wing terrorists killed…zero people in the USA.

    Right-Wing Extremism Linked to Every 2018 Extremist Murder in the …

    https://www.adl.org/…/right-wing-extremism-linked-to-every-2018-extremist-murder-…
    Jan 23, 2019 – Right-wing extremists killed more people last year than in any year since … to at least 50 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2018, …

    Terrorists murdered 50 people in the USA last year.
    All 50 of them were by right wingnut/fundie xian terrorists!!!
    This is 100%.

  19. gijoel says

    Carl Benjamin, an alt-right YouTube personality who said last month he “wouldn’t even rape” a woman running against him, has been milkshaked (milkshaken?) four times in the past week.

    I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

  20. blf says

    Since raven@24 cannot be bothered to provide a functioning link, here is the link the ADL report referenced, Right-Wing Extremism Linked to Every 2018 Extremist Murder in the US, ADL Finds: “Right-wing extremists killed more people last year than in any year since 1995 [the year of Timothy McVeigh’s bomb attack on the Oklahoma City federal building]”.

    In addition, “aggregated data going back to 1970, shows that over the last decade, a total of 73.3 percent of all extremist-related fatalities can be linked to domestic right-wing extremists, while 23.4 percent can be attributed to Islamic extremists. The remaining 3.2 percent were carried out by extremists who did not fall into either category.”

    However, it’s misleading to claim that in 2018 All 50 of them were by right wingnut/fundie xian terrorists!; as the (correctly-linked to) report itself notes, “Every perpetrator had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement, although one had recently begun supporting Islamist extremism.” Hence, a more accurate statement would apparently by “All 50 of them were by wingnuts”, leaving out both the “fundie” (unstated in the report) and “xian” (directly contradicted in the report).

    This source-checking does not alter the general ghist of @24, but does reconfirm the commentator’s apparent tendency to misstate, which is perhaps (admittedly speculation on my part) why most(?) of the time the commentator does not provide sources / citations.

  21. teejay says

    @raven

    Show me the lie. All I did was cite three reputable news articles. Did they lie? And if so, what did they lie about?

    You can pretend extremists on the left are peaceful – but the fact is they’re demonstrably NOT peaceful. If you want to live in a fantasy world, nothing I do will pull you back to reality, but at least be intellectually honest about the fantasy world you’re living in. Admit you forgive violence committed by people on the left because they’re on the right side of the fight. Admit your views on this are not objective. And I’ll go away. I’ll have no argument. But you can’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining and expect me to tell you you’re right.

  22. blf says

    @25, you@15 “asked” How many police officers were murdered as a result — to which the answer is none, as per @21’s cited report.

    Basically, feck off lying nazi.

  23. Rob Grigjanis says

    teejay @15:

    BLM isn’t all sunshine and light, either

    You loathsome fucking creep. Unarmed people slaughtered with indifference, and you’re whining about the anger of their friends/families/communities, and trying to do the “both sides do bad things” crap. You’re no better than Trump or Farage or Le Pen, or any of the other foul sacks of putrescent human garbage whose “success” rests on the escalating suffering of others.

  24. blf says

    And a challenge to the “loathsome fucking creep”, that is, to teejay@15 and the claim How many police officers were murdered as a result (connected to BLM): Name one. Name a police officer murdered by a BLM protestor. Preferably with a citation, please.

  25. says

    I feel like the mock assassination thing is perfect for using to mock SH, but I’m drawing a blank on how to frame it. Maybe something like, straightens my skinny tie and adjusts mic “Sam Harris was the victim of a mock assassination today. Yeah, serious business. I guess someone —” nope, lost it. I never woulda made the cut at Caroline’s.

  26. gijoel says

    @29 And now I have this image of a grainy video where Sam Harris gets hit by a second milkshake coming from a grassy gnoll.

  27. Ichthyic says

    @BLF

    wow, what a sanctimonious little shit you are.

    what Raven wrote:

    “Last year right wingnut/fundie xian terrorists killed 50 people in the USA.
    Left wing terrorists killed…zero people in the USA.”

    you do understand that “slash” in this case means OR, right?

    which makes the sentence… 100% accurate.

    you sure wasted a lot of time ragging on someone you effectively agreed with in your own rambling commentary.

    you should have left it at:

    “Your link is busted”

  28. vucodlak says

    @ teejay, #25

    You can pretend extremists on the left are peaceful – but the fact is they’re demonstrably NOT peaceful.

    Why is peace in the face of lethal oppression a desirable attitude?

  29. blf says

    Ichthyic@31, Eh? (1st) Part of the compliant me@23/24 was the implication all perpetrators were xian; an idea debased by the very source the original cited (however incompetently): “Every perpetrator had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement, although one had recently begun supporting Islamist extremism.”

    And (2nd) The “slash”, which is indeed usually interpreted as “(inclusive-)OR”, applies to wingnut / fundie, which is not disputed. All, to the best of my knowledge — and as stated in me@23 — are wingnut (“a more accurate statement would apparently b[e] ‘All 50 of them were by wingnuts'”). Many are also presumably fundie; many are presumably xian; and it does seem plausible to presume a significant number are both. But he cited report is only wingnut.

    Now, what the feck is your criticism about? It’s clearly not about observing @21 is misleading but not wrong (as said @23: “This source-checking does not alter the general ghist of [raven]@[21]”, emphasis added).

  30. birgerjohansson says

    Huffingtonpost has a piece about the pro-Trump “art”, some of the stuff is pretty much like “Der Sturmer”

    Also, from Newsbiscuit (the Brit Onion) : “Election rules ‘prevent BBC from describing Boris as c*nt’ “

  31. says

    In the context of these protests, tehre was an old video of the former Labour leader Miliband. He got an egg thrown at him, took off his now dirty jacket and continued his conversation.
    Nobody can remember any public outcries about lynching…

  32. says

    When Teddy Roosevelt was shot at close range on a campaign stop in Milwaukee in 1912, he went ahead and gave his speech, holding up the bloody text (the bulk of which had helped slow the bullet) and going for almost an hour before letting them take him to the hospital.

    He was damn lucky. It could have been an egg or a frappe! Or a strawberry phosphate!

  33. tonyinbatavia says

    Thank you, PZ. It makes my heart sing a little when I see fuckin’ asswipes like Sam Harris and Seth Andrews called “goddamn useless cowards.” Seriously.

    These privileged fucks relentlessly have the backs of society’s jackals, demanding Spock-like reasonableness as the hyenas rip open the arteries. While the scum of humanity feed on the blood of the downtrodden, folks like Harris and Andrews chide everyone else about their incivility while demanding that we treat these scum as equals who can be reasoned with.

    With those two fucks, it’s not the jackals who need smug, condescending correction, but us, the properly pissed.

    Fuck Harris. Fuck Andrews. Fuck anyone who puts Reason™ far above protecting and fighting for the actual lives of real people while hiding behind their security detail, while hiding un-threatened and untouched behind their white maleness.

    Those sniveling fucks. Those useless cowards.

  34. hemidactylus says

    I went on a bit of a rabbit hole journey today. It started with Thomas Smith on SIO interviewing Eiynah Mohammed-Smith about the IDW and its JV squad. Then I subscribed to Polite Conversations and listened to her longish interview of Sam Harris from several years ago. Methinks her opinion of him has changed since. Finding her podcast was the upside of the journey. She has several episodes with Contrapoints.

    Yay another podcast populating my overburdened feed.

  35. teejay says

    @vucodlak

    “Why is peace in the face of lethal oppression a desirable attitude?”

    Exactly my point. There hasn’t been peace on the fringe left despite the protestations of many people here. And they are the ones you should be directing your question to.

    If you really believe you’re suffering lethal oppression you should not meet that threat peaceably.

  36. says

    So you must support Black Lives Matter and transgender rights, then? Because you can’t deny they face lethal oppression, and therefore should not meet that threat peaceably. It’s amazing that they do.

    Buh-bye, teejay. You’ve worn out your welcome.

  37. hemidactylus says

    On my scattershot rabbit hole journey I stumbled into Ezra Klein recently interviewing Natalie from Contrapoints. She’s moving up in the world. I’m stuck in the Apple podcast ecosystem. Maybe this is a workable link:

    https://www.vox.com/ezra-klein-show-podcast

    Search for: “Contrapoints on taking the trolls seriously”

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