Friday, February 27, 2015
Senator Jim Inhofe Plays With Snow and Reality
I can’t help but feeling like being Senator Jim Inhofe is good work if you could get it. He brought a snowball to a science-fight. He is impervious to how dumb that is. I can’t imagine having a job anywhere on this planet where handling a snowball is supposed to invalidate all the points regarding global warming. Only in the legislative branch of these United States, I guess. Yay (um, no) us (no, we are not worthy)!
So for a quick and meaningful primer—yes, seasons still exist with global warming, and winters will still be the coldest of the seasons. It is possible that global warming has fuxxored the gulf stream in such a way that cold and stormy is the new normal for the East Coast, which includes Washington DC and Philadelphia, so fuck you, global warming!
The following questions I’d like to posit for Senator Inhofe are:
Do you think anyone ever implied that global warming meant there wouldn’t be winter anymore?
Is the freezing point of water supposed to change in any way? (Show your work.)
Do you realize that the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000?
What do you think of heat waves, like the ones Australia generally has while we US East Coast folks are wrapped up in snow?
Might I suggest that Senator Inhofe should go and investigate the Australian heat, perhaps locate a forest fire, and figure out whether he’d survive longer than a snowball therein? Or is my general disdain for his lack of knowledge transparent enough?
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/15 at 12:26 AM
Comments (3) •
Monday, February 23, 2015
Scott Walker and The Litmus Test
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 12:14 AM
Comments (4) •
Monday, January 26, 2015
That Political Thing In Iowa
You know what the Democratic Party seems to be missing? Shindigs. We do not seem to have neat gatherings like CPAC and traditions like the Ames straw poll, and hosting religious groups like The Response, or doing that very interesting “Freedom Summit” in Iowa—you know, shindigs. I watch them as a political observer, but have to admit—not my team, looks like fun. I mean, there’s Netroots Nation. It’s blogger-oriented so I should be able to really get behind that. But that’s a wonkfest. Where’s our uncovered nekkid id triumphialization? Where’s our scattering of red meat for reubens? (Why is Blogger’s spellcheck so madly unaware of the correct spelling of the perfectly jake 1930’s slang for gape-jawed hayseed? Or even the perfectly cromulent term “jake”?)
Anyway, I digress. Dave Weigel over at Bloomberg notes what “serious” 2016 candidates Mitt, Jeb, Bobby, Marco and Rand have missed. What I believe they missed was associating too broadly with Rep. Steve King, whose blue eyes always seem to carry the faraway milkseed pollen drift of a person whose thoughts take him back again and again to the border and the constant battle against the cantaloupe-calved drug-runners whose backpacks full of Acapulco’s finest hops have once again consigned a generation to jazz music, sloth, and backtalk. There are people who think he might be a little bit too racialist to actually be an appropriate association.
And yet there are so many who do not!
Left bloggers have noted that Sarah Palin’s speech seems to have defaulted to Whargarble after her Teleprompter fail—but I listened and frankly think that although her sentence structure resembles nothing so much as an attempt at cut-up poetry using all the Republican memes, I tend to think that a sympathetic audience could have tracked what she was saying very well.
All in all—not really any surprises or over the top signifying that got my leftist goat—oh except Carly Fiorina. She actually got my Irish up. She said:
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”
Oh huh? You know, I could go back to Hillary Rodham being the first student to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, or being chosen to help draft the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and point out that she was instrumental in creating SCHIP, which has insured thousands of children who might not have otherwise had access to good health care. I think it’s more apropos, though, to point out that Hillary Clinton won two elections to the US Senate which is two more than Carly Fiorina ever did, and that while Hillary blazed a trail as the first woman partner at Rose law firm and sat on the board of many successful corporations, it is true that she never was the CEO of a nearly bankrupted tech firm whose stock prices shot up like WOW after she resigned—which is the kind of “accomplishment” she is probably glad not to have on her CV.
Flying to many nations as a respected diplomat and Secretary of State is probably not an “accomplishment” in Carly Fiorina’s mind because she can raise questions about things that are negative, like Benghazi or whatever Putin is doing, but let’s ask her what to do about it. Hard Choices, Tough Choices, meh? But still and all, a nice audition for being selected Vice Presidential candidate, maybe?
I’m sure no one will hold her being a regular Bill Maher Real Time guest against her.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/26/15 at 12:33 AM
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
FOX Mushroom Farm Terrorism Expert Might Be Sorry
There’s something entirely too easy to slam about a “terrorism expert” appearing on Jeanine Pirro’s FOX News program absolutely fudging up a demographic fact like the proportion of Muslim people in Birmingham, UK. The funny old thing is, his particular overestimation of the number of Muslims or immigrants is sort of a weird example of a study done recently regarding the tendency of people to wildly overstate the number of immigrants or Muslims, and understate the number of Christians, in their home nation.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
Forget it, Jake, it’s FOX Mushroom Farm. She’s doing her real job, don’t you know?
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/14/15 at 12:32 AM
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The shocking murder of twelve people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris has generated many displays of sympathy for the victims and their families, and support for freedom of speech over disgusting acts of terror, many by fellow artists and colleagues. It’s possible that the attack was planned by people who considered themselves defenders of their faith in some way, but they were hardly anything of the sort.
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/07/15 at 11:25 PM
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dick Cheney is Living Like It’s 2003
That former VP Dick Cheney goes on the slowly sinking media vessel called Meet the Press to try and air out his recently exposed dirty laundry seems less surprising when one just gives in and accepts that in Cheney’s mind, it is always February 2003, and we are in the business of selling the Iraq War. In the Cheneyverse, 9/11 has happened so recently that no one really questions whether the government is meaningfully pursuing the people responsible, and leeway has been ever-so-fraughtfully-given. Because a lot of people trusted the intelligence given out by the Bush/Cheney administration at the time as being meaningful in a post 9/11 context.
Does former VP Cheney wonder where Tim Russert has gone (RIP)? Does he wonder why he himself isn’t trolling down to the West Wing anymore, and why his access to intelligence has dried up? I can’t imagine, but mentally, he seems to be living in the first handful of months prior to the invasion of Iraq, because he’s still selling that piece hard. And all the tactics that bought that sweet lying trash that made that war plausible. Here’s some of that:
In fact, he seemed to suggest that if some innocent people were tortured, it doesn’t matter, because the program still overall has had what he believes to be a successful result. “It worked. It worked now for 15 years,” he explained. “We’ve avoided another mass-casualty attack against the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I’d do it again in a minute.”
Todd pointed out that the intelligence reports that the White House was receiving about the effectiveness of the torture techniques were coming from the same intelligence sources that were wrong about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. But Cheney defended the entire process: “I know what they were asked to do and I know what they did,” he assured. “And I’m perfectly comfortable that they deserve our praise. They deserve to be decorated. They don’t deserve to be harassed.”
“If” innocent people were tortured, like the 20% of the people who were swept up and had no reason to be interrogated or held, let alone tortured. It worked for 15 years—if the program of torture started after 9/11/2001, then that would be 13 years—unless we started fucking up people before 9/11 (you know, the way warrantless wiretapping started before 9/11). When he says “we” captured Bin Laden, I am saddened to think he might believe he was still in office at the time—what does he mean by “we”? The “guys who were responsible” for 9/11 mostly went down with the planes. The masterminds got picked up haphazardly. But we know now that torture, like waterboarding, which Cheney is so proud of, did not stop any “ticking time bombs”. The interrogators asked about al-Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein. And that wasn’t connected. It was bullshit. And thousands of US servicemembers and contractors died or were maimed, or were so profoundly altered by what they’d seen they suicided because of our war there—and how is Iraq doing today?
It’s been eleven years since this idiot administration tried to sell us on a yellowcake fraud, aluminum tubes and a diorama of doom. We’ve had plenty of time to figure out that so much of this was fake. And here is Cheney, stuck in 2003, telling us it was all real and necessary. Acting as if he believed all of it, then and now. Either he is a brutally stupid incompetent gullible shit for brains, or he is the most brazen fraud that has ever strutted across the Sunday chat-show stage. In either event, I do not see why he pollutes our airwaves. If anyone thinks he’ll say one thing new, they are foolish. He’s hanging with his lie.
He ought to be hanged by it. (Figuratively—I’ll say “figuratively”.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/15/14 at 12:29 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
This is Not What “Exceptional” Means
The release of the Senate Select Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program reveals things we basically already knew or should have known about the CIA program—it was worse than reported, it yielded little to no useful information, and it was run by liars who repeatedly tried to project that they were not performing acts of torture when they were in all actuality, textbook acts of torture.
There are people who seem to believe that releasing this information somehow endangers Americans here and abroad. Since this report details things that actually happened, I would say that the actual program of torture run by an agency of the United States government is what was actually harmful. Much of the information had already been reported in news publications; this report is just filing in the blanks. For that matter, this is just what was unclassified after certain details had been scrubbed, leaving the possibility that there are things yet worse that we don’t know—but what is here is pretty starkly disgusting.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/10/14 at 12:13 AM
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Not Sure How Phineas Priesthood Escaped My Attention
The 1990’s were weird times to develop ones political persona. I was left-leaning since becoming thoroughly disillusioned when the Iran-Contra clusterfuck came to light, which was only driven home by a 1988 election that turned into a referendum on whether ACLU-card-carrying l-words could ever quite love Mom, the flag, and apple pie, enough for the estimation of real he-man Uncle Sam types who supported an “out of the loop” “wimp”.
But I think my opinion got hardened by my understanding of the existence of right-wing militias and my ever-lowering opinion of the Christian right. See, I started noticing that the right-wing religious freaks like Falwell and Swaggart and Robertson always supported Republicans. But the PTL scandals that erupted in 1987 made it pretty clear to me that these types of people were basically carnies making a dime off of people’s thirst for gnosis. So why wouldn’t they superciliously shill on behalf of the team of law and order and no fun with your fun parts? I watched the OKC bombing by Christian Identity white supremacist Timothy McVeigh. I noticed that Ruby Ridge and Waco had a strong religious/anti-government paranoia aspect. I tracked with interest the long story of the capture of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, who had more than a little help from his friends.
These people were out where the buses don’t run. That wacky militia-tinged disinfo game is why I don’t actually find the nonsense, unreality-based burblings of Steve Stockman or Louie Gohmert as hilarious as some people do—I get that there are real people for whom the possibility of being secretly micro-chipped with the number of the beast by the government is a real thing. And I mostly just think it’s sort of like ignorance on steroids, you know? The reality for people raised in movements that tell them that everyone outside of the movement is a liar, is that it produces brains exceptionally good at finding lies in all the things regular people, schools, universities, scientists, government figures, mainstream news reporters, and so on, say. It would be exhausting for me to counter that much countervailing evidence. But they can deny it outright and feel really satisfied that they did. You can’t hardly argue with people like that. They have to step on the rake and slap their selves upside the head on their own to come around.
I saw the story of Larry McQuilliams originally as just kind of a sad case of someone simply losing their shit in a pretty flagrant way—firing more than a hundred rounds at various buildings and so very fortunately, not harming actual people (other than giving them one hell of a scare). Understanding now that he might have viewed himself as a kind of soldier/martyr—not unlike a al-Qaeda shahid, genuinely unsettles me. Somehow, even if such terrorists were active in the 90’s, I never came across that term—Phineas Priesthood—before. But I think I might want to pay attention to that current, now, especially as racial tensions and distrust in government seem to be on the rise.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/02/14 at 12:41 AM
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Darren Wilson Would Do it Again
One of the things that bothers me about a vigorous defense in cases like the shooting of Michael Brown is that there is a line. Call it a “thin, white line”, where a slight amount of untruth might be tolerated because everyone is entitled to a defense and facts can be slippery in fast-moving judgment calls, but there is an area beyond that line. And I think this is where we’ve been taken with Mr. Wilson’s defense. Because when we got to see his supposedly battered puss in photos released shortly after the non-verdict, the only thing I could think was:
“Shit. Even George Zimmerman looked more jacked up than this guy.”
I don’t know what to make of it, except to think he visited a hospital to have a bruise looked at and a prescription for the OTC pain remedy Naprosyn ordered to create a very-needed paper trail.
Then there’s this little bit of testimony:
Wilson told Brown to “get the f— back,” but Brown allegedly hit Wilson in the side of his face “with a fist…. There was a significant amount of contact that was made to my face,” Wilson testified.
Wilson, who weighs more than 200 pounds, said he grabbed the 6-foot-4-inch Brown. “When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old* holding onto Hulk Hogan.” Thoughts raced through Wilson’s head, he said. “What do I do not to get beaten inside my car?” he said he thought.
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/26/14 at 12:19 AM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Could Ebola Teach US Americans Geography?
The late journalist Ambrose Bierce commented that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Yeah. As if Americans ever learn geography. Truth of the matter is, that picture to the left probably is where a disturbing number of Americans (well, nortemericanos, anyway) stand with respects to understanding our planet and how she is laid out. (More knucklehead geography is on view at Buzzfeed.)
Basically, even our most elite Americans are totally having Caitlin Upton moments—but particularly about the whole Africa and ebola thing.
For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.
In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles.
A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is being prevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda.
Seriously? People aren’t even Google-mapping where people are from? Can’t even do the most basic Wiki research into where folks are and how ebola works and then front that they are concerned? They have the maps—because they have the cell phones. Maps are even on cell phones, now. They have the gateway to non-stupid in their pockets.
So I am thinking the answer is “Nope.” Americans will learn geography when the stupid is pried from their cold, dead hands. Or possibly in the case of zombie apocalypse.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/21/14 at 11:19 PM
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Say “Yes” to This Mess?
The above ad from the College Republican National Committee kind of looks like an attempt at outreach to women, doesn’t it? The actors in the ad are all women. It covers things women really care about, like the budget and pretty dresses!
Seriously? The Rick Scott “dress” wanted to piss-test welfare recipients at a cost to the taxpayers of a bunch of money that companies he was associated with would collect on. Dresses are very rarely associated with Medicare fraud. If Rick Scott were a dress, he might not look all that pretty. Particularly not to women voters. But let’s just be silly and ask—why is a gender essentialist and condescending ad like this the way the College Republicans decided to support their guy? Is this one of those tone-deaf deals like the “Diversity Bake Sales” where they kind of thought more people would be in on the joke?
I just think it’s dickish. You wear a wedding dress one time on one special day. The policies of a governor can last for a long time. A politician isn’t a “brand” or a “pricetag”, and the analogy is insultingly reductionist.
But this kind of “relating to women via women things” instead of actually boasting policies that women can feel good about isn’t startling or new. Just recently, a Florida politician tried to explain away his decision to hold a men’s only fundraiser by likening it to “women stuff”—a lingerie party! (Goodness knows I would only wear underwires and itchy lace to bed just for me because it feels so good—how I am not incorporating babydoll teddies into my day-to-day regime is beyond me—you know how us hens do get together and just for some reason select to spend large money on small garments that seem to have been put together by a team of engineers with cleavage rehabilitation in mind because sisterhood and chardonnay. I challenge all of his assumptions, I do!)
Another brilliant mind in the women’s outreach vein did an ad that likened Obama to a very bad boyfriend because us sisters have all been there, haven’t we? (Everything about that message is kind of lying and wrong, on so, so many levels.) So been there and done with that “boyfriend thing” though, GOP.
Honestly, maybe the GOP should just try and outreach caterpillars. They could hardly do worse than they have been doing with women.
But in case you were confused—the Republican Party is still made up of a diverse bunch of stock photo people. Of which some are even women. Because they care.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/01/14 at 10:27 PM
Friday, September 19, 2014
One Rather Expected More—Or Not
Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Monday, August 18, 2014
A Body’s Story and A Burning Town
Just moments after my Twitter feed advised me that the Ferguson PD elected to crack down on the curfewed protesters and journalists about two hours early, I got a good idea about why—
The independent autopsy of Michael Brown’s body had been released (and where is the autopsy from the local ME? one might well ask, as well as ask why another federal one might be requested before this young man’s bones are put to rest). And the wounds tell a story. They can’t not.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
Dr. Baden said that while Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. But he has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, which would clarify the autopsy results. Nor has he had access to witness and police statements.
But the entry wounds to the arms and head of Michael Brown from a distance suggest to me shots not to incapacitate but kill—two to the head? I think he was down and his hands may have been up to shield himself—a totally submissive posture and not out of line with what eyewitnesses have indicated. And I don’t really have time to argue why this is not what anyone does with a suspect picked up for walking in the street who may meet the description of an unarmed person who boosted some ‘rellos from a convenience store.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/18/14 at 12:12 AM
Monday, May 12, 2014
George Will Just Seems Extra-Insufferable Lately
I’ve commented on George Will before, but usually having to do with climate change—his denialism, for a supposedly smart person, is tiresome in its sheer repetitive belief that science somehow works like politics does. But to be pretty honest, on any forum he’s been on, he has a habit of talking down as if he’s a guy who knows things, so listen to his plausible bullshit, okay?
I think of it as “Willsplaining” for obvious reasons.
So I shrugged off his kind of “Hey, kid president, get off my White House lawn” column of a few weeks back because—why yes, I did think it was pretty insulting to basically call the president childish, but on the other hand, I don’t yet know what it’s like to have a president who is younger than me, and I guess that might feel weird, huh? I mean, if Marco Rubio became president, he’d still be a whole year and a half older than me. Maybe that is kind of a mindscrew. Who is this punk who uses the slang and has smoked the marijuana and thinks he is the boss of the country anyway, the whippersnapper? It’s a generation gap thing. Maybe Will can’t, like, relate.
But this thing here about putting down hashtag activism is pretty awkward in more than a few ways:
CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn back to the kidnapping, the terrible kidnapping of these Nigerian schoolgirls in the little bit of time we have left in this segment. Because this week Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai joined the Bring Back Our Girls movement. More than 2 million people have now tweeted the hash tag. And George, I’m just curious. Because I’m not saying I was that familiar with this phenomenon. It’s even got a name, #activism. And I’m curious what you make of it. Do you think that this is significant and helpful? And can make progress? Or do you think it’s really about helping the people who tweet the hash tag feel better about themselves?
GEORGE WILL: Exactly that. It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, bring back our girls. Are these barbarians in the wild of Nigeria are supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, oh, Michelle Obama is very crossed with us, we better change our behavior.
WALLACE: It’s trending on Twitter.
WILL: Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. And this is not intended to have any effect on the real world. It’s a little bit like environmentalism has become. But the incandescent light bulb becomes the enemy. It has no effect whatever on the planet, but it makes people feel good about themselves.
I’m just going to start with “barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria” if you don’t mind—WTF? I get that he is calling Boko Haram barbarians and not the average Nigerian, but, I hate to break it to Will, over the last two decades, the cell phone has kind of become a thing. It’s internet-capable and people all over the world have used them to stage demonstrations and plan things. Yes, I think they are aware of Twitter. No, I don’t think hashtag activism necessarily influences what they will do, but it might inspire heads of state and legislators who do have power to act. Because in a functioning democracy, citizens petition their representatives with their concerns. It isn’t about “feeling good”—activism doesn’t always get one the desired goal and there are only so many things regular people can do. But is is better than nothing. And what does he think about “letters to the editor” or “writing one’s congressperson” or “signing a petition” (many of which are basically about mailing-list trolling anyway)? Could it be hashtag activism is such a waste of time in his estimation because he has no concept of the technology, and maybe it’s about “self-esteem” because (shaking fist) “these kids these days think they’re so hot”?
But comparing sympathizing and wanting to do something about these children who are in a terrifying situation and light bulbs is a special kind of assholery. Okay, we get it. Old Grumpy Grampy Wills doesn’t care for the tree-hugging hippies who are trying to take his old reliable Edison-era volt-hogs away. And there is probably some overlap between folks who love the new-fangled lower-energy devices and also think girls should not be stolen from their families and sold. But I would very much like to think the default setting on our morality should be that we do not like the idea of girls being kidnapped and sold and whether we care for new-fangled things like the Twitter-box or those swirly-bulbs is besides the point. Because pompously putting people down for giving a basic human shit about other people is kind of awful.
So I’m saying George Will is awful, and I do not know how one as an adult gets in front of a camera and compares kidnapped children to light bulbs.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 05/12/14 at 11:37 PM
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Nope-Got No Sole
Okay—that title is lifted from a tweet from Jonathan Capehart, who documents the silliness of the “Shoe Truthers” with a trace of the exasperation any sane person might feel when examining the actual serious thought processes of people who might be a wee bit paranoid a lot.
I’m kind of an uptight thinker who seldom strays into the fanciful except to atomize a yet-more out-there notion—so let me boringly put a damper on this thing: there is obviously no way for any person to aim a shoe that they were wearing at a public figure and then hobble off scot-free. They are certain to be apprehended—any fancy of flight would prove, well, bootless. Any collusion to plant a person in an audience to launch a shoe would involve some connecting factor, because once charged with a federal offense (and a savvy lawyer like Hillary Clinton would have known this much) any stooge paid off to, for some kind of reason, launch a shoe at her, would roll like the mighty Mississippi. Who would bargain away their freedom for X-untraceable amount of funds for a PR scheme? The sane folks who’d go for that are few and far between, and there are many limiting factors involved in employing someone who would not be classified as mentally fit.
And let’s consider the PR downsides, which are numerous. Getting smacked upside the old bean with a sneaker would be ungraceful, so one might study to avoid head to tennie contact. Ducking is, itself, a kind of submissive posture. The actual fact of anyone launching an athletic shoe at one implies unpopularity—there is no good reason anyone would want to portray that level of unpopularity. A “lone shoe-er” is a poor representative of anything like a “vast, right-wing conspiracy”, so activating sympathetic historical memes is out…leaving what exactly? A footwear fetish?
So fine, you are left with the spectacle of a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State ducking and covering from a podalic projectile because that’s the way she likes it. Uh huh? Uh huh. That is some serious stupid. I do not know what to make of anyone who would stupid that hard.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/15/14 at 11:37 PM