The Republican obsession with magical phrases

There has been so much absurd over-reaction to the San Bernadino shooting that it is hard to know where to begin cataloguing the follies. On his show Late Night with Seth Myers, Myers had an excellent commentary on the ridiculous way the story was covered, the absurdity reaching its peak when the media got access to the shooters’ home.

One of the issues that got Myers’s’ attention is the obsession by the right wing that unless you use the exact phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’, you are not serious about the issue and may even be some kind of secret terrorist sympathizer. So when president Obama in his speech on Sunday night did not use the magic phrase, there was predictable fury.

As Myers pointed out, “So [president Obama] used the words ‘radical,’ ‘Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ — he just didn’t use them in the right order. Which would be a problem if it was a spell and he was Harry Potter, but he’s not, so it isn’t.”

Of course, even if Obama had used that phrase, there would still be fury about something else because anger with Obama is now pretty much the norm, with reasons being manufactured as needed to justify it.



  1. moarscienceplz says

    Thing is, they aren’t magical phrases, they are shibboleths. If you know the precise way to say them, then you are probably part of my in group, and if you don’t you are probably one of my many enemies.

  2. says

    It’s a media thing. I.e.: “quagmire” and “waterboarding” instead of “torture” etc. It’s just that they don’t actually want to do, you know, complicated thinky stuff so it’s better to play buzzword bingo.

  3. StevoR says

    Good clip.

    I wonder if the “restraint” Faux news showed in not entering the apartment was partly because the home was human and could have served to humanise the killers? Sure they evil and murdered fifteen or so innocent people at a Christmas party but they also bought baby toys, used a X-brand printer, were real individuals with the ordinary stuff most folks have -- albeit not that ordinary in what they did and to some extent thought. Banality of evil thing?

    Interesting to see the comment at 3 min 20 secs on suspending Muslim visas suspended before Trump made his end Muslim migration -- could that be where Trump got it from?

    Also albeit on a much less serious note -- why do they even bother bleeping out the swear words these days when we all know what the words they’re saying are?

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