Special Guest Blog (If It Works)

Alex_the_Tired here. Let’s see if the guest blogging thing is working.

Ted’s run into a little kerfuffle. I say “little kerfuffle” because I’m not the one being accused of being a racist sumbitch. What follows is me being just about as angry as I’m able to be on the printed page. I explain all that at the very end. So strap yourselves in.

Many of us have weighed in, and, earlier today, I was perusing the DK site, and I came across this turd. I reference it now because it, almost perfectly, ties in to something I was trying to express about three days ago.

Let me start with the title: “A short rant about the g*dd*mn cartoon, revisited”
That’s how it was typed at DK. “g*dd*mn”

One of the things I hated about the Harry Potter novels was how adults acted like scared little children quaking in their piss-soaked pants. What was the name for Voldemort? He had two: “You-Know-Who” and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”

Let me see if I have it right. You can freeze people in their tracks with a giant toothpick and some fake Latin, and you’re scared to actually NAME someone?

Seriously. I want you to think about that for a minute. I mean, literally, take 60 full seconds to contemplate how idiotically, superstitiously cowardly someone has to be, how fundamentally childish in nature a person must be to be afraid of actually using a name. Isn’t it simply a giant cop-out?

“Oh, but wait,” I hear someone’s adenoidal whine. “Maybe they don’t want to use the L-rd’s N-me in v-in.”

Cut. The. Crap. I have zero, nada, no patience for someone who (falsely) asserts to be an adult and clings to some delusional, partial set of religious fantasies. Unless you’re advocating slavery, selling your daughters as chattel, avoiding clothes made of two fibers, etc., knock off this fetish-sickness about how G-d is sacred. It’s embarrassing. It betrays a cowardly infantile mindset. You want to be a craven little tremblebucket? Fine. Stay out of the deep water then. The adults are talking; know your place. Don’t demand that I play by your lobotomized set of rules, don’t demand a seat at the table, and don’t insist that you be taken seriously.

Now, let’s move on to the body.

Pretty much the entire post consists of a faulty premise slathered heavily with the misdirection of “my pain.” Mixed in with it is the tried (and tired) and true gimmick of dehumanizing the other side:

“People lack the ability to understand. People can’t place themselves in others shoes. They just don’t know how… They lack the genes, or whatever it is that allows people to feel the pain of another. They don’t care. Caring means feeling, feeling means understanding, understanding means standing in someones shoes. It takes imagination.”

Who, exactly, zhenren, the fuck do you think you are? How DARE you assume that I lack empathy. How DARE you de-humanize me in such an arbitrary fashion.

“What is the deepest pain you’ve ever felt? Maybe some physical pain, some break up with a mate, the death of a loved one. Multiply it by a hundred, no, a thousand… torture, endless work, dying under a whip, a noose, the slave ships, the horrors, the domination, endless years of it. Fuck me, do I have to explain this? Fuck…”

Well, “Fuck…” me, zhenren, were you a slave? Then where, exactly, do you get off vomiting all this? You presume, you arrogant nothing, to equate a “break up with a mate” to being whipped and being chained in the hold of a slave ship? Good God Almighty. You are absolutely sickening in your trivialization of slavery. Just. Sickening.

“Dehumanizing a figure with the stature of Obama offends people.”

Stop talking for the whole human race. Obama has NO stature in my estimation. How can I say that? Simple: he’s blown up children. Dropped drone bombs on them that has turned them into bits of bloody hamburger. That’s indefensible. Period. Full stop. Either defend — and agree — with the murder of children or have the basic human decency to shut you flapping mouth.

“Can white people imagine what it means to millions of African Americans to have waited for eons for the moment, the goddamn miracle in white society that enslaved them, when a black person becomes the President? Can any non-black person conceive of this? Remember Jesse Jackson’s tears when Obama became the President?”

Eons? Look it up in the dictionary. One of the standards of oratory (and if you bothered to read the speeches of MLK or Malcolm X — those are two black dudes — you’d have known this) is that you do not exaggerate facts. Lincoln (who wasn’t black — at least as far as we know) started off with “Four score and seven years ago,” not “billions and billions.” As soon as you stray from fact, you open a gap in your credibility.

“It’s all about the people. Mutual aid. I’ve cried tonight.”

I’m sorry, zhenren, but if you cried, you need help. You need psychological counseling and perhaps a few prescriptions. I really, really mean that.

“I have learned that I wasn’t alone, that the depictions have caused far more hurt and gut wrenching pain than I had understood.”

Zhenren. You haven’t lived much of a life if a cartoon — and your flawed, childish, knee-jerk reaction to it — causes you wrenching pain. And that would be okay. But you’re encouraging others to come down to your hysterical level. The world has passed the point of having the luxury of falling out. (It’s a term used to describe an occurrence in some black church services; look it up.) We need people who don’t swoon. We need people who are tougher and more mature than you, Zhenren. People who are able to face the unsweetened reality and not flinch: the world is in terrible shape. We are heading toward the sixth major extinction event. The coastlines are going to disappear. Diseases that used to be treatable with antibiotics have developed resistance. Why? In no small part because, goodness me, some people are so emotionally delicate that they simply can’t cope with a cold and nagged their doctors for antibiotics, even though those pills wouldn’t work on viruses. And that’s the world you’re summoning. A world in which everyone overreacts, all the time. No one takes the long view, and everything goes straight to hell.

We have a partially black president who (off the top of my head):
Has gone after Edward Snowden for telling all of us how every goddamned thing we do online is being recorded.
Has let Chelsea Manning rot in prison for showing all of us how “our” troops laughed and joked about killing people who weren’t a threat.
Has left dozens and dozens of people — some of whom EVERYONE agrees are no threat — rot at Gitmo.
Shall I continue?

Obama isn’t Half-Black Jesus. Nor is he the anti-Christ. He’s a career politician, a constitutional lawyer who wiped his ass with the Bill of Rights because it allowed him to curry favor with the corporate power-elite. And if you, zhenren, are too damned stupid to realize that, well, as Peter, Paul and Mary put it: don’t criticize what you can’t understand.

And, of course, right toward the end of zhenren’s diawy, comes the whole “Oh, I’m a good, good person” bullshit: “Please understand I wrote the comment not to impugn or cast stones, but to express the deep anguish this issue has inflicted on many Daily Kos members, particularly members of the African American community.”

I am so very, very, very, very sick of people who wrap themselves in the cloak of “oh, I didn’t mean to smear this person with one of the worst possible slurs.” If you’re going to stick the knife in, z, have the decency to shove it in up to the hilt without making some coy, false apology. Look your victim in the eye before you take the cheap shot.

And, finally, zhenren’s “diary” ends with a photo of one of those idiotic, Benetton fashion model-quality children from The Hunger Games. The girl in question is holding up three fingers, in some sort of idiotic boy scout salute.

Zhenren. Really. You need to grow up. I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl. If you’re a boy, try to force your testicles to drop. If you’re a girl, is it possible to achieve menarche as an act of will?

A girl with a bow and arrow in a movie? That’s not reality. To append it to a sewious gwown-up attempt at a diawy is just so wrong, in so many ways. It’s almost as bad as putting in a picture of unicorns crapping rainbows over Grimace (google it).

As I said, I’d explain my anger at the very end. Here it is:
Being called a racist is really about as bad as it gets. It’s like being called a pedophile. Once it’s hurled, it’s almost impossible to take it back. And in the infantile world of DK where everyone’s so busy crying tears of hot rage and sharing emotional catharsis 24/7, it’s pretty pointless trying to take it back, because most of the participants are already on to the next outrage.

I find it highly unsettling that this is, apparently, the current state of discourse in our political society. A bunch of people gathering for the electronic version of a circle jerk, egging each other on to line up to stone Ted Rall for drawing something like the 300th cartoon he’s done in a similar fashion. (Others have addressed this.) But none of these people (probably because they’re too busy doing Hunger Games cosplay) actually do the real work of evaluating Ted’s work as a whole.

I particularly find it disgusting because (when you aren’t iPhoning from slave-produced toys or drinking lattes at $5 a pop) the people making the complaints act like they’re the victim-class. Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Today on a TV screen, I saw a woman who works at McDonald’s who was on strike for a living wage. She looked like the tiredest person I’ve ever seen. Where the hell were you, zhenren? Lining up for a photo-op with Katniss Everdeen? Or were you too busy weeping bitter tears of hot anger (or whatever the hell nonsense you write to make yourself feel important) to actually help out the people who are getting reamed alive by the system Mr. Obama’s masters keep maintaining (and which he’s delighted to help out with)? Perhaps you were at WholeFoods buying organic bell peppers from New Zealand?

We don’t have the luxury of any more time for your stupidity zhenren. You need to start growing up. Right now. You and all your friends at DailyKos.

42 thoughts on “Special Guest Blog (If It Works)

  1. They don’t have to like us, those who find our writing confrontational beyond their comfort zones.

    But they need us to keep them honest.

    Conversely, we need them to keep us kind.

    Rinse, wash, and repeat. And sometimes reverse.

  2. The Power of Names

    While I agree with a lot of the points in the essay/autotherapy transcript, I think you missed out on one key detail. The don’t say his name out loud trope in Harry Potter is a general theme in fantasy writing, invoking the mentality of the middle ages – see Doctrine of Signatures

    Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea cycle develops this idea in a much more interesting way than Harry Potter: People in that land have “true names” kept secret, and telling someone is a sign of intimate trust as knowing the name gives power over the thing. Much of wizardry on Earthsea consists of learning the true names of animals, plants, and object in a region (even of dragons).

    This is directly relevant to the question at hand – does invoking/besmirching the name of their leader/flag give power over a person? Surely this kind of thinking is generally looked down on, a “delusional, partial set of religious fantasies“, and for good reason, since the systems that are still using this such as today’s astrology and homeopathy look like impoverished, embattled remnants even compared scholastic philosophies of the middle ages which are by now, shall we say, slightly outdated.

    However, I think we need to take this seriously, not least since the modern (and postmodern) worldview isn’t quite as complete as we might like, and people tend to fall back on “magical thinking” in many places that modernism doesn’t quite cover, including so-called identity politics. What I am saying is that a lot of people have build their sense of self around concepts of community and trust in structures around them, which they are invested in: it is reassuring to know that the (supposedly) best minds of the nation are working on the most pressing problems [they are generally not], that people who sit high up in administration are essentially well-intentioned [mostly irrelevant] and act much like you and I would under the circumstances [questionable; and being under those circumstances – having your social circles be composed of 1%ers – would likely change our outlook, at least], etc.

    Strip away that trust and sense of belonging from people and they may well feel lonely, defenseless, and cold lying in their beds at night in what now suddenly looks and feels like alien territory – even enemy territory when considering how much power banks, Walmart, etc. hold over the physical geography that surrounds – and even likely includes – their house. Is it surprising that they would then lash out against not the deeper problems, which seem all-encompassing and arcane at this stage, but against the messenger. I know the feeling, I have been there.

    Clearly, there is merit in re-claiming our own sense of reality in the face of all this defensiveness which constantly calls into question the very foundations of our new sense of trust and belonging, our ability to orient ourselves and fight back together: naming names. This achievement itself is likely the the hard-won fruit of our labor of making sense of our world, and we won’t take lightly to have it questioned by the willfully blind. By “us” I refer to those of us who have either gone through the stage of losing faith in this basic sense of belonging with the established order or never had it to begin with.

    But, if we take a step back, we can see that we ourselves are just as deeply involved in this dynamic, hence the need for essays like this… if we think this through, the “Obamabots” will also look for a place to cuddle and group-hug after one of the countless blows regularly dealt to their defensive positions by the sheer force of reality asserting itself. Then they will police that meeting place (which shall not be named ;-), where they huddle together to keep safe. Since talking about any actual issues won’t rebuild much confidence in the system (TM), the best defense is a good offense, preferably along completely unrelated (color-)lines. Hence the aptly named “kerfuffle”.

    My point – in case anyone is still reading this 😉 – is that the whole process of exasperating about the idiocy of Obamabots (and “Conservatives”, for that matter) doesn’t really seem to be getting us anywhere once we have regained our bearings. This is not to say that Ted should pull any punches – not that he would, anyway, to quote Ursula LeGuin one more time: A man creates art because he has to..

    It’s just that I’d like to leave this dysfunctional dynamic behind as much as possible when communicating to people still invested in the system(TM). Maybe we should literally start to think in terms of psychotherapy and connecting to people as persons again. Marshal Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication can be extremely useful in this regard, in my experience, if you don’t let the rather newagey front cover put you off 😉

    • That’s a difficult task if they don’t give you the option of leaving it behind. Being accused of racism is pretty serious business. So is being pegged as a supporter of someone accused of racism. “Let’s put this all behind us” is classically uttered by those wanting to brush abuse under the rug.

      The origin of “scapegoating” is engaging in a ritualist ceremony wherein one’s sins are transferred to a goat. Then the goat gets the knife, and one is absolved of one’s sins. The goat just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Your comment is overall lovely, but life can be brutal sometimes, and turning the other cheek, like fine words, butters no parsnips.

      • Sorry to be arriving late to the conversation guys, but this was truly a fantastic and epic rant and I, Ted Rall, approve this message.

        What’s frightening is that there are literally thousands of comments around about a dozen diaries over at that crazy Daily Kos website. The thinking level of the average poster is incredibly infantile and the list of rhetorical distractions would fill up an encyclopedia. It’s pretty obvious from the grammar that the education level of these people is relatively high, which makes it even more baffling they can that they can think like such total fucking idiots.

        It really reminds me of the years after 9/11, when I received countless hateful emails that sounded almost exactly like the stuff on Daily Kos today. If you Google my name and the years 2002 or 2003, you’ll find tons of right-wing blogs where people went off on crazy hate fests about me. Years later, I kept collecting, and I still got them, apology emails from people who participated in those hate fests and I’m still getting them.

        I want to forgive them. I really do. But I just can’t.

      • Moving on is hard work, successfully changing the dynamic leads to unchartered territory. I have never actually seen a stereotype “hippie” kum-ba-ja style forgive and forget to actually work… How did the people who now apologize to Ted change? How many of them were ultimately convinced by rational arguments and immovable opponents? 😉

        I actually like the direct in-your-face approach that Ted’s cartoons often take… and they can even be effective at startling a person into reflecting on their own assumptions. However one needs to admit that for a person to reconsider their basic worldview and allegiances (even to the point of saying, “I have been had – but no more.”) is really, really impressive. That won’t come easy nor quickly, nor very often per lifetime. And epiphanies like this won’t ever be forced, so isn’t most of that perseverance that we show (exemplified by the initial rant) really for our own benefit rather than to communicate?

        Btw turning the other cheek has an interesting backstory. To simplify a bit, in the time and culture this was written in, it is basically Jesus advising his (poor Judean) disciples on strategies of resistance, much like those lawyer activists whose phone numbers demonstrators like to write on their arms would. The question at hand: what to do when physically hit by a nobleman or a Roman citizen across the face forehand style (iirc), they way they like to hit the lower classes who have no recourse or rights.

        Let’s take stock of our options: hitting back would get one in a world of trouble, maybe executed, and will only escalate conflict. Moving along is playing along, so that’s out too. But turning the other cheek – inviting to be hit backhand style as the nobility would hit each other – is breaking no laws and combines multiple messages into one cocky gesture: “This is all you got?”, “You are not better than anyone of us”,, “Dare you hit me again?”, and “Will you admit that I’m your equal (and as such that I’m not defenseless after all)?”.

        And remember, this means are standing up to people who can have you arrested and worse on a whim. This isn’t naive non-violence, this is badass non-violence. This isn’t wishing bad stuff away, this is sending a message to one’s own about standing up, and making the people on the other side stop in their tracks and think – and making them a little afraid…

        Luckily, the kos people are clearly on our level, not our masters – we might resent that they are deluding themselves into feeling part of the establishment, but why take this seriously… – so there is no need to be quite so underhanded as to the Romans (“Romanes eunt domus!”) ;-).

        Part of the NVC (non-violent communication) approach is to engage people as equals and and directly, starting from their needs (or at least what we can empathise and think their needs are), e.g. along the lines of: “Are you feeling hurt because you are needing a community who stick together and stand up for each other?”

        And then see where this leads us… Let the people who feel hurt ostensibly by this cartoon tell you how they feel and what they need, empathize… after all, a cartoon cannot hurt anyone by itself, there is something else going on, something that was triggered, that they feel they need to defend… and since this goes deep, chances are it is part of our shared humanity so we should be able to understand (not agree, mind you).

        And perhaps at some point they’ll be ready to listen to us, about our need for whatever it may be, say a need for community where people like Ted can take today’s noblemen down a notch without being harassed, because we need standing up to them to become thinkable again to restore our own self-worth.

        By this time we are already beyond the original dynamics. The ironic part is that this will only work when along the way one stops caring about whether one actually will ever get to one’s one message across at all…. people who are shouting have a strong need to be heard, and have often forgotten what being listened to feels like, so they might go on for a long time. And they will recognize in an instant if this is just a ploy or a rhetorical strategy… It’s beautiful when it works, eye contact is key so it’s admittedly brutally hard online. And nobody really has this down 😉 – I’m certainly not doing anything like this here at all, with all the lecturing getting in the way 😉

        cheers
        andreas

      • Ah, but there’s another approach. When I was teaching, I had an adversary who was also a teacher at the same school. One day, she began to berate me in a loud voice – and I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang: “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” Childish? Perhaps. But it worked. The school counselor witnessed the incident and said to me that it was the best way to handle it. 😀

    • Andreas,

      Sorry for the late reply. Your response on naming was very interesting. I know someone who’s an absolute maniac for the medieval period, so I’ll pick his brain for more detail.

      My problem with it though, in the Harry Potter novels AND the DK scribblings is the same: the aversion is not a literary technique. (Harry Potter was devoid of any literary technique. The book was clearly aimed at children who were marginal readers. It’s the same story every single time. There’s maybe three words that would send an average reader to a dictionary. Almost none of the main characters are anything other than white. So much so that as the books went along — and sales went through the roof — it became embarrassing and some minority characters were inserted. Also, Rowling simply stole from C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Dickens and mixed it all together with enough repressed colonial racism to hold it all together. I applaud her for having the good sense to suck every dollar she could out of her creation, but in 20 years, I’ll be amazed if anyone can stomach watching any of the movies or reading any of the books.)

      For the DK Krowd, the asterisks are the Pavlovian shock-collar conditioning of political correctness. You see, if you swear “goddamn” someone might talk offense. Oh, goodness me! So you pull the dirty little trick. You use “g*dd*mn” because that way, you get to swear but no one can say you did. Everyone knows EXACTLY what you wrote, but you’ve done your simplistic little moron ritual, and you’re good. You get away with the sin, but you don’t have the guilt. Because there is always the risk in The Community that if you make the tiniest slip, The Community will turn on you.

      • @ alex_the_tired –
        Thank you for that comment. It expresses precisely why I object to news media and other sources using “N-Word” instead of spelling it out! “Words, words, words.” (Shakespeare) Nobody is so ill-informed that they don’t read “Nigger” into that – so why use it instead of the factual expression?

  3. Also, meant to mention – I live in a backward, small town that has a huge problem with racism, and the way they talk about Obama portrays him as stupid. That’s real racism. What Ted does is portray him as kind of sociopathic. That’s what’s really bothering people, but they won’t call it out because it is not an argument they can easily win, if at all. Thus all this silly nonsense about noses.

  4. Here’s some irony for you:

    Denise Oliver and mahakali overdrive, both of whom I like very much and whose work I admire, were involved in spearheading this attack on Ted. But when blueness got the boot for his ekpyrosis essay, they were both upset about it.

    Blueness and Ted have really similar political styles, both furiously anti-war and anti-racism.

    So this is all about something relatively superficial, not to mention the effect of peer pressure.

  5. Start from Whimsical’s position: every time the voters elect a Democrat, the country movies a tiny bit to the left; every time the voters elect a Republican, it moves sharply to the right. Humphrey promised to keep sending Americans to Vietnam for four more years (eight if re-elected) with no prospect of victory. So lots of Democrats stayed home, Nixon, who promised a ‘secret plan to end the war with an unconditional victory’ was elected and re-elected, and the FDR Democratic control of the government ended. And from Nixon’s victory, we got Reagan. From which the Democrats moved to the right and we got Clinton. If only we’d elected Humphrey in ’68, all this could have been avoided (and we’d probably still be in Vietnam).

    So, the Whimsicals/DKs say, it was a horrible mistake to sit home and not strongly support Humphrey, it was a horrible mistake to riot in Chicago. Every decent, self-respecting progressive should have strongly supported Humphrey.

    From that viewpoint, anything that disparages a Democratic president is a horrible mistake, to be countered with any tools available. Rall draws all US Presidents as monsters, disirregardless of whether they’re white or black (plus, the white ones have runny noses). But those of the Whimsical/DK mentality know they must use this. Drawing an 1/2 African-American as a monster must be attacked as re-opening the wounds of 245 years of chattel slavery followed by another 100 years of Jim Crow.

    Obviously, if the Republicans had managed to put an African-American like Cain into office, it would have been perfectly all right to draw him as a monster, since, as a non-Democrat, the Whimsicals/DKs know that’s just an accurate depiction, and has nothing to do with re-opening the wounds of slavery.

    The logic is clear to any Whimsical/DK/yellow dog observer.

    • Half right, which is more than “progressives” usually get. Because listening with an open mind would mean you might break out of your bubble and actually make some progress on your goals. But that would mean doing actual work instead of reveling in your purity, and bashing Democrats, and hey where’s the fun in that, right?

      The logic is clear to any “progressive”, after all..but I digress, and I have a post to correct.

      “Start from Whimsical’s position: every time the voters elect a Democrat, the country movies a tiny bit to the left; every time the voters elect a Republican, it moves a lit bit to the right. And every time “progressives” bash Democrats for not delivering the impossible immediately (which they have been since – well I usually put the date in the early 70’s, but if you want to move it to 68, I suppose that’s fine) the ONLY net effect it has is to make it easier for Republicans to win elections. “Progressives” are directly responsible for enabling Republicans to win elections, and thus move the country right for over 40 years. And unless and until they accept and amend that fact they will continue to be marginalized.”

      Fixed that for you there, Michael. I understand that stating my position accurately requires you to look in the mirror and face some ugly truths about your political attitude and its consequences, but that doesn’t give you the right to twist my viewpoint.

      Still, at least you did better than Ted and Alex- you went off the rails, but at least you started with facts rather than clinging to debunked lies like “Obama let people rot in Gitmo”. It is the height of hypocrisy to blame Obama for failing when you don’t have a plan that would’ve succeeded and a perfect illustration of how the left’s shitty attitude keeps them from making progress on the goals they claim to want.

      “So, the Whimsicals/DKs say, it was a horrible mistake to sit home and not strongly support Humphrey, it was a horrible mistake to riot in Chicago. Every decent, self-respecting progressive should have strongly supported Humphrey.”

      This is actually a correct statement. Rare from a “progressive”. But just as I try to call the left out on their bullshit when they spew it (see above comment re:Gitmo) in the admittedly ever more rare hope that they will pull their head out of their “purity” bubble and stop doing the rights bidding before they cause the crash that will allow the right to control this country; just as I call them out on their bullshit, I feel compelled to congratulate them when they get it right. And you got it right for a whole paragraph! Well done! I cant remember the last time Ted or Alex got it right for a whole paragraph.

      Of course, you then go completely off the rails, but hey, it was fun while it lasted.

      Now, you start off by going slightly off the rails, instead of being way off base like most “progressives”:

      “From that viewpoint, anything that disparages a Democratic president is a horrible mistake, to be countered with any tools available.”

      Legitimate tools. Lying and slander are not legitimate tools, though I understand the temptation to use them as “progressives” have been unnameable to reason and logic for quite some time, preferring instead to wallow in purity and anger rather than make the world a better place.

      Still, it’s a minor, easily forgiveable mistake. But then, as “progressives” do, you compound it and go completely off the rails

      To wit:
      “But those of the Whimsical/DK mentality know they must use this. Drawing an 1/2 African-American as a monster must be attacked as re-opening the wounds of 245 years of chattel slavery followed by another 100 years of Jim Crow.”

      This is plant-worthy drivel. And, for the record, I defended Ted at DK. I find the claim that the cartoon depicted Obama as an ape ridiculous, and the idea that something can be racist simply because minorities say it is problematic in the extreme.

      Minorities saying something is racist no more makes it racist then minorities claiming the sky is polka-dotted will mottle the sky.

      But then of course Ted has to turn around and do the same mind reading act that the critics pulled on him: The claim that he is being censored because he attacks Obama from the left is as ludicrous as the claim that the cartoon was racist in and of itself. (Well, the claim he is being censored is ludicrous in and of itself, but that’s another rant)

      it has nothing to do with Ted’s shitty attitude. I call Ted out on his shitty attitude and ODS BS all the time, and I’ve never called him a racist. The people that call him a racist are a byproduct of the PC mindset that the right has managed to trick the left into focusing on for the past 40 years instead of dealing with actual issues.

      And by buying into their claims, even by defending against them, you continue to play right into their hands.

      Ted’s part of the problem rather than the solution in a lot of ways (Hell, in a lot of ways he epitomizes the problem), but he’s not racist.

      • Whimsical.

        “at least you started with facts rather than clinging to debunked lies like ‘Obama let people rot in Gitmo’.”

        That is not a lie. Obama is in charge of the military. And with ALL that power, with ALL that influence, I’m to believe he isn’t leaving those people to rot in Gitmo?

        Fine, then who is? Give me a name. You say, contrary to all evidence, that the guy who is the head of the U.S. military can’t get those people out of Gitmo? That’s like saying Mark Zuckerberg can’t add another button to facebook.

        The reality is that no one in power wants those people in Gitmo freed. Why? Why do you think the Catholic Church is fighting so hard not to open its files to investigators and prosecutors? Because there is simply no way on heaven or earth to hide the fact that a whole lot of people very high up the power structure knew a lot of evil was happening, and chose to look the other way because it was easier.

        If you want to debate whether Obamacare is going to turn out okay, fine. But don’t try to tell me I’m delusional or wrong when I say that a bunch of people have been left to rot. I blame Obama because he is the person who runs the military.

        Yes. He is. See.

  6. Well, Alex, now that you’ve gotten that off your chest, tell us what you REALLY think! Epic rant, and well-stated, well-argued. Nice to know that a thoroughly unpleasant person has had an epiphany and has been welcomed back into the KosKid fold. Epiphany stories are always a fave over there, if I remember correctly. Didn’t someone already mention in these pages that nothing goes over better than stories that start off with “I used to be a Republican, but now I’ve seen the light”? I wonder why that is?

    • There’s a certain sort of white person who thinks that the best way to address racism is to parrot the rhetoric of black college professors who make a living entertaining mostly white audiences in ethnic studies survey courses.

      Not blocking foreclosures in predominantly black neighborhoods or fighting for a living wage or voting for politicians who will stop jailing and enslaving young black men.

      Their solidarity doesn’t extend to driving through black neighborhoods with the windows rolled down let alone actually helping to change anything.

  7. Alex:

    What’s that law, Muphry’s, that says when you correct an error you invariably make the same one?

    I get that atheism is chic and all but do try to be a bit more well-informed. You say:

    ” I have zero, nada, no patience for someone who (falsely) asserts to be an adult and clings to some delusional, partial set of religious fantasies. Unless you’re advocating slavery, selling your daughters as chattel, avoiding clothes made of two fibers, etc., knock off this fetish-sickness about how G-d is sacred. It’s embarrassing. It betrays a cowardly infantile mindset. You want to be a craven little tremblebucket? Fine. Stay out of the deep water then. The adults are talking; know your place. Don’t demand that I play by your lobotomized set of rules, don’t demand a seat at the table, and don’t insist that you be taken seriously.”

    The problem with this (and most thinking that would lead someone to use some version of the phrase “magic sky wizard” which seems to be just restrained here) is that it’s a woeful misunderstanding of Christianity (note: not that most Christians don’t also not have a clue what they’re talking about).

    At any rate, the reason that Christians don’t generally get involved with “advocating slavery, selling your daughters as chattel, avoiding clothes made of two fibers” is that those things are OT and not NT and there are several passages in the NT that say we followers of Jesus can ignore those things and just go about the business of loving people and treating them right. Not that those things you mentioned haven’t been done (and, indeed, aren’t *still* being done) with verses from a book to justify them. But they’re done (with the exception of the clothes thing) without verses from a book to justify them as well.

    So instead of dismissing someone out of hand because they may have a religious reason to not do something is silly–especially when you don’t appear to understand why that reason would exist.

    Having said that, certainly since our diarist had no problem with fucks and goddamns in the “diary entry” (is it a diary entry if it’s intended for publication?) one would think that the “g*d*mn*d” was just so much (pointless?) showmanship. BUT that’s not an excuse for ignorance on your part in what was otherwise a fine defense of my favorite political cartoonist.

    • Gmpalmer, you make several absolutely correct points. Your point about Christians, for instance, using the NT not the OT, is an excellent distinction. My points were specifically aimed at the “Christians” who go around specifically ONLY spouting the OT. And that was sloppy and lazy on my part. And I’m sorry about that.

      You see, the NT Christians (and I know several of them) rarely end up on the news screaming at people. They aren’t sticking their noses into people’s bedrooms. They’re off at the soup kitchen or tithing to a charity or putting out some kindness and compassion into their communities.

      They take the very lovely concept of “Do unto others” and genuinely try to incorporate that into their lives, and, more importantly, into the lives of others. And that’s where the magic sky wizard part of it comes in.

      Why, exactly, do you need to invent a superbeing for all of that? Why can’t we simply be kind and decent because it’s simply more practical? Why does Jesus have to be superhuman? Why can’t he have simply been some guy? Doesn’t the message he put forward have the same validity either way?

  8. Also, your post seems to be based greatly around self-censoring blog post titles on Daily Kos. There was this rule but then there is not so more and kos said shit in one of his awhile back so whatever…also I personally prefer to substitute “Dog” for “God” because I like dogs enormously and it’s easier than typing symbols.

    So this is maybe just a seasonal “I Hate Religion” kinda post? Cool. Have at it. I’m going to sign off and go wash myself in the blood of a tree now.

    • The objection isn’t to religion, per se. The objection is that someone is “too delicate” or “too refined” to simply use a swear word. It’s something children do, tip-toe around swear words. If you use it, people automatically fill in whatever you’ve obscured, so you’re still swearing, only absolving yourself of any responsibility for it. Kossacks seem to excel at that.

      • It’s like waving a gun around and then saying what, it was only loaded with blanks.

        Say it or don’t.

      • As far as I’m concerned, writing “N-word” instead of “nigger” is just as asinine! Everybody fills in the blanks, so what’s the point? To think that Mark Twain’s work would be censored is to me, an English educator, reprehensible! History is what it is. Blacks can call each other “niggers” – but it’s an insult if others do?

      • Yes, say it or don’t.
        If someone feels that its appropriate to avoid using common derogatory terms for black folks, that its a simple enough token of not being in the group of people actively racist against black folks or those who don’t care but are pandering to active racists (for example, those people who use the term in all-white company as if they are challenging being oppressed by the Politically Correct), then just don’t fucking use it.
        Except of course if reading Mark Twain from a time that the large majority of white folks were racist, and the main distinction was whether they were ugly racists or polite racists. And especially when reading Huck Finn talking in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a resourceful but ignorant boy raised as a racist who learns through his friendship with a runaway slave that black folks are people like he is.

      • @ BruceMcF –
        Actually, I was thinking less of “casual conversation” than of (for example) a news telecast in which the reporter says something along these lines: “Because the deceased described the perpetrator using the ‘N-Word,’ the man pulled out a revolver and shot him to death.”
        WTH????
        Why not tell it like it is? “Because the deceased called the perpetrator a ‘nigger,’ the man pulled out a revolver and shot him to death.”
        Everybody knows what “N-Word” signifies. Use it or just say that a “racial slur” was uttered. IMHO

  9. Yeeeah! That post you referenced…well all I could do was skim it because it felt like someone was emotionally ejaculating all over me. Wholly absurd and disturbingly pathetic. Self-important victim-hood. It is just wrong when someone pretends to know his ancestors’ pain. Disingenuous, impertinent, arrogant. I get really peeved when people use those fake half-apologies to cover themselves and think that gives them the leeway to say whatever. It is becoming more common.

    • Actually, one’s ancestors’ pain can continue down on the line quite a bit, though it is always an excellent idea to decide somewhere along the line “fuck this, I disown it.” This is generally considered to be progress.

      That doesn’t mean people will stop fucking with you, or that the hand-me-down damage done to one will automatically be erased – but it really helps to broaden one’s perspectives about the nature of how one is being fucked with.

      • And that’s another great point. If I wanted, I could list all the hardships I’ve gone through. And my ancestors. Do you realize how hard my ancestors had it? The majority of them didn’t even have FIRE! And they were illiterate! Had to brachiate uphill both ways while trying to learn how to knap flint. …

        And Ted! I see that the president’s hands are drawn very disrespectfully. Perhaps you can do some Disney-esque gloves? (Then DK can complain about how you’re saying Obama’s a butler.)

      • @ alex_the_tired –
        One of the first things I noticed (after the GREEN smiley face) was that the hands were black! OMG, how disrepectful!

      • @ alex_the_tired –
        One of the first things I noticed (after the GREEN smiley face) was that the hands were black! OMG, how disrespectful!
        .
        Other than that, you can expect a lawsuit from me for plagiarizing my thoughts. I don’t know how you got into my mind and expressed my ideas, but since they originated with me you can expect a call from my attorneys.
        .
        I’m surprised that you didn’t tap into my question of whether the DK poster (ZhenRen) is white or black: “… we white people didn’t have to live it….” vs “Can any non-black person conceive of this?” Is this poster white, as suggested by the first quotation? Or is the poster conceiving of this as a “non-black” person? I’m left in confusion. If non-black, the poster cannot conceive the dichotomy; if white, the poster didn’t have to live it. Therefore, my question is: With what authority does ZhenRen speak?

      • As a descendent mostly of English and Germans, with a sprinkling of Scot, I found that not feeling my people’s pain at being first invaded and then for centuries ruled over by the Romans made it much easier to enjoy Gladiator.

        It should not have been surprising, given the way that people at daily kos so often parrot arguments without thinking them through very hard, but it was still a little starling to see the ZhennRhen empathy argument being deployed in another diary where four of Rall’s cartoons are used as “proof texts” (in the seminary sense) of Rall’s racism, and one of the four cartoons was the one where a young man in “Florida, Afghanistan” is being shot down by a thug “standing their ground” with a cruise missile.

        The “failure of empathy” lesson to draw here is the unwillingness of the diarist to grasp that the point of the analogy was not to deny the injustice of the murder of Trayvon Martin, but to confirm the injustice of the murder of innocent young men in Afghanistan. But the “failure of empathy” charge made is the failure of empathy with people who are more upset by a disrespectful cartoon of a powerful politicians than the deaths of innocents in Afghanistan.

    • That she put a lot of thought into it doesn’t mean that she didn’t start from some garbage premises. Look at astrology. Or Nazism. When you start from shit, you can’t get anything other than shit.

      I don’t claim to have absolute knowledge of Ted Rall’s mind. But you know what? AND I ASK THIS OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO THINK HE WAS BEING A RACIST:

      Do you really, really think that the same guy who drew the Pat Tillman and 9/11 Widows cartoons — and probably about three dozen other things that have pissed people off — would do something as vaguely, absolutely marginally “I have to squint to see it even after some hysterics at DK pointed it out” racist as the Obama cartoon everyone’s underwear is in a twist over?

      Really?

      • Oh dear, must we descend into straw men this quickly?

        And, have you never started from junk ideas someone inflicted upon you and gradually worked your way into more sensible ways of thinking about things? (raises hand)

      • Okay, you weren’t straw man-ing me. But “when you start from shit you can’t get anything other than shit” is pretty weak. “If you start from arbitrary exclusive philosophies you can’t get anything other than your head up your ass” would be more effective, but I really don’t see that Joanne was doing that there. I saw a genuine effort to put all of this in context and sort it out some.

      • MIep,

        That’s a good point. It is possible — albeit difficult — to start from shit and arrive at non-shit. But you have to acknowledge that the initial point is shit at some point. (E.g.: I used to be a Nazi. Then I started thinking about it and realized it just didn’t hold together. …) You can’t just stick within your original paradigm.

    • Having read the post by “Joanneleon” I observed a few comments that deserve response:
      1) “Cartoonists deserve leeway on their work, I believe, because they are often trailblazers, provocateurs, people who use the craft to make hard hitting statements that can’t be made in words.”
      That said, one should give Rall leeway in the way he chooses to express his view without inserting extraneous subjective “interpretations” that distort.
      2) “[T]his is a situation that requires extra care and there’s no excuse for keeping your caricature a certain way just: to be stubborn.”
      If my interpretation is correct, Rall submitted the cartoon not as a way to be “stubborn,” but as a representation of his interpretation of Obama’s political decisions, with which he (and I) disagree. [I voted for Obama TWICE because I really expected a “hope” and a “change” from the Bush Administration. It didn’t happen.]

      • I thought it was an interesting comment because she seemed to at least be trying to examine her position. But I am as leery of this business of handling powerful politicians with “extra care” as Ted is. And as I’ve noted elsewhere, Ted does not portray Obama as some dumb happy darkie, which would truly be racist. He portrays him as dangerous. Nobody wants to see their hero that way.

      • “This is a situation that requires extra care” is a statement in the universe of daily kos, where it is an normal turn of events for supports of the President’s policies irrespective of what those policies are to divert, disrupt and distract conversation away from consideration of the actual reasons to dislike some of those policies.

        In general, once someone becomes the Commander in Chief of the largest Imperial power on the planet, then an editorial cartoonist doesn’t really require an excuse for caricaturing that person in a manner quite similar to the way they caricatured previous Commanders in Chief of the largest Imperial power on the planet.

        It is particularly ironic that the charge of structural racism is used to defend the structural racism of US Foreign Policy from criticism, but then irony is lost on a large share of regular dkos commentators.

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