Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tea Party Racists and Conservative Apologists

So you can read about the recent displays of Tea Party bigotry here at CNN, here at the AP, here on Slate, here on Salon.

In the comments section on the short Slate article, one particularly brilliant reader opined:
  • "Tea party protesters know any racist behavior on their part will be the sole focus of all the news coverage of their protests so they have everything to loose and nothing to gain from racist behavior. This leads me to believe those shouting racial slurs are plants who want to discredit the tea party protesters."
There are so many things wrong with this statement that it is painfully funny. Let's go step-by-step.
  1. The racist behavior was not, in fact, "the sole focus of all the news coverage" of the protests. As you can see in the links above, this aspect was buried in the AP story and if you look up the protest coverage on CNN, you don't get the article I linked to at all; you get a longer article that links, near the bottom, to the racist events that took place. The Fox News article on the protest didn't mention the racist chants at all. What a surprise! So, the first half of the first sentence is simply, factually, incorrect.
  2. The racist behavior on the part of Tea Party members has been going on for some time in many parts of the country. It hasn't slowed them down a bit, nor has it led to any serious backlash from GOP members who support the movement. A handful have criticized the use of racist slurs, but never when they were at a rally where they were taking place. GOP members just say that hey, the people saying that aren't our real people. As far as the image of Tea Partiers being hurt with non-conservative constituencies . . . um, that ship has sailed.
  3. Oh, and it's "lose," not "loose." Looser.
  4. The idea that the Democrats have cleverly planted faux racists among the ranks of true blue Tea Partiers is interesting, the way that it's interesting when someone talks to you about black helicopters, the evidence that the Moon landings were faked, or the anti-mind control properties of their tinfoil hat. Plus, of course, this guy is completely pulling the claim out of his ass.
  5. Moreover, what always strikes me about these sorts of claims is that conservative Republicans think of these bizarre angles so quickly because IT'S EXACTLY THE SORT OF SHIT THEIR POLITICAL HANDLERS WOULD DREAM UP if they were running the opposition to something. Nothing more fearsome than the thought that the other guys might do to you what you're planning to do to him.
This comment was vivisected in the way you'd pretty much expect on a forum read by anybody who isn't a dittohead or a member of the Bill O-Reilly Fan Club. But this was followed up by one guy who just had to use his immense accumen to make this observation:
  • [name withheld to protect the ignorant], let's see if I can summarize most of the responses to your post:

    1. RACIST!!!1!1one!!1

    Yeah, that's about it. No responses to your argument, or evidence that the event ever happened.
Let me go through this one, because it is also funny.
  1. I'm not sure what to make of the "!!1!1one!!1" string. Perhaps it's a special code. [EDIT: It has been explained to me that this is a special Internet thing mocking someone's lack of self control . That the guy who made this post is confident enough to be mocking other people is even more amusing. It's like someone writing a crappy answer on an exam and then underlining it for emphasis.]
  2. The next bit is fundamentally wrong on two counts. First, it stretches the definition of "argument" to include "wild-ass claim I plucked from nowhere, unsupported by evidence." But let's grant that bit. There were in fact responses to the substance of the original poster's argument. People commented that it was ludicrous, irrational, and one person actually provided alternate examples of racist behavior behaved in by Tea Party supporters at other times and places. These are no doubt confusing to the second quoted poster, because they involve actually reading words and formulating responses to those words, rather than looking into a sack of "handy-dandy conservative sound bites" and tossing out a specious claim. "They're not responding to your argument just because, in addition to pointing out that your argument was weak, they noted that you were likely being knowingly deceptive or simply stupid for advancing such a weak argument." Oh, and by the way, advancing such a pathetic case in defense of racists implies rather strongly that you are at the very least sympathetic to said racists.
  3. I'm really not sure what the second quoted poster means when he refers to a lack of "evidence that the event ever occurred" cited by other posters. If he means a lack of evidence that the racist events ever took place, well, several things are wrong with that claim. To begin with, it's not the job of commenters to verify the facts of the story they are commenting upon--those claims are made in the news story itself. Then there's the fact that these events were reported by a variety of news agencies: look at the I cited above. Of course, Fox News ignored it, so perhaps it does not exist for this individual. So there's a large amount of evidence.
  4. But perhaps our second poster got confused, as he was all the way into his second sentence and could have been losing his train of thought. Perhaps he meant to say that the other commenters had provided no evidence that the conspiracy hypothesized by the first poster had not taken place. If that sentence read a little strange, it's because trying to prove that something did not take place is tricky. It's even trickier when what you're supposed to find is evidence that disproves the ludicrous rant that someone pulled out of their ass or dictated from the scary voices that whisper in their ears as they are standing in line at the post office, DMV, or other agency of the devil. Can we agree that asking people to provide evidence to contradict an argument for which no evidence was ever offered in the first place is kind of asking the other side to do all the heavy mental lifting in your supposed debate? Kind of lazy, but typical for conservative spinmeisters. Not that this guy is a meister at any level.
The impressive thing is that these two managed to shove so many errors into two such short expressions of their inner conservative. But that's one thing that works to the advantage of such dittoheads: it takes much longer to thoroughly expose and dissect their flaws than it does to spew them out.


Heyoka said...

The "!!!1!1one!!1" thing is a sort of internet joke. Of course, if you're holding down the shift key to make exclamation points, your finger may slip and you get a "1"; after a while, people making fun of the kind of statement that gets lots of exclamation points slipped in "one". On Japanese-related fandom boards you may see "ichi" instead. So it's deliberate mocking of the people replying to that first commenter.

Doug said...

Thanks for the heads up, Becky. That explanation almost makes sense, though it still seems like a fairly dumb convention to me. Then again, I think "pwned" is moronic.