I remain spectacularly unimpressed with people whose core rhetorical devices are insults and the word "fuck." There's a whole little group of them now, getting all kinds of attention and approval from the liberal contingent online. "OH U SO FUNNY U SED FUCK."
Same goes for using people who appear to be at least somewhat below average intelligence as whipping posts for these profane little ego-fests. Makes me think of like, Mike Tyson bragging about beating up Stephen Hawking. Not really much of an accomplishment, ya know?
Let's get some things straight here, folks: we know that Obama was born in the US. We know he's not a socialist. We know that people who think he is are either not particularly bright and in desperate need of education, or are part of the machine that is working diligently to mislead those people into such beliefs for the profit of the machine.
We know that the vast majority of today’s “right wing” - in the US but increasingly in other nations as well, especially Anglophile nations like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada - fall in to one of those two broad categories: operating the machine, or fodder for the machine. Often, although they don’t seem to realize it, both.
But really...how much time are we going to waste patting ourselves on the back for our ability to be a dick to stupid people? How is that creating any kind of constructive progress? I can sit here all day long and troll the Fox News comments for idiots at whom to scream obscenities. I’ve done it. I’m actually very good at it.
But that doesn't make me a liberal, or a progressive, or an activist, or a spokesperson for an ideology.
It makes me a jerk taking the easy path to ego gratification, making no meaningful change in the broken ways that people think.
It makes me nothing more than a public masturbator.
And it’s not particularly “liberal” or “progressive.” As my friend Honor MacDonald so eloquently pointed out a while back, the opposite of “liberal” is not “conservative,” but “authoritarian.” While there are times and places when authority and authoritarianism can provide a constructive means – even the best option, in rare instances, and that’s not an easy thing for me to say as I am quite rabidly anti-authoritarian - by which to accomplish good works, those times and places are not “on the internet calling stupid people names.”
I can be a profanity-spouting jerk all day long. It’s easy. Anger is easy. Aggression is easy. Being a dick is easy. It’s particularly easy for me, because I have a bit of a temper.
You know what’s hard? Trying to get through to people. Changing minds is hard. Making a real difference is hard. Criticizing the right wing in this country – and they’re well deserving of it – without stooping to trite contrivances like “reich wing” and “republicunts” is hard.
Or at least it appears to be so for some people, because that’s all they do. Throw pithy little slurs around and act like they’re somehow any better than the idiots and bigots they’re criticizing for doing the same thing.
Increasingly over the last four years, I’ve watched far too many self-described “liberal” or “progressive” commenters and writers engaging in precisely the kind of aggressive bullying tactics that ensured I would never be a Republican. I don’t like it – it’s like watching one of your best friends join a cult or start shooting heroin or some other stupid, self-destructive decision.
Posting 300 terabytes of insults with a couple of pasted quotes from an actual writer doesn’t make you a writer. I makes you a hack.
Insulting and degrading people doesn’t make you an activist. It makes you an asshole.
Attacking people personally because they disagree with you doesn’t make you liberal – it makes you an authoritarian right-wing jerk who happens to like social welfare programs, or gay people, or some other “liberal” cause that allows you to pat yourself on the back and think of yourself as “better,” when the reality is that you’re not.
It’s really disheartening for those of us who at least make the attempt to work with facts and reason rather than force and insult that these yammering ham-fisted bullies are getting all the props and backpatting while we mostly languish in obscurity. Continuing to watch how “liberal” discourse has developed online over the last few years has really made me wonder how “liberal” most of these “liberals” really are. “Liberals” like the St. Rollins twins, Duke and Duchess, whose primary skill seems to be employing the word “fuck” as every imaginable part of a sentence. “Liberals” like Matt Desmond, a spamming profit-monger who figured out a couple of years ago that seventh-grade rewriting of wire reports and occasionally just making up lies to appeal to the confirmation bias of “liberals” would make him some money. “Liberals” like Lou Colagiovanni, who is quite possibly the most obnoxious human being I’ve ever met – a guy who, when offered a reference during a conversation on economics, exploded with self-righteous fury that he’d been told to – gasp – read a book, and then proceeded to attempt to break my dishes and my guitar in the process of smashing a half-finished bottle of cheap whiskey all over my apartment, after an evening of telling me how much I “need” him to get traffic.
Folks, I want traffic. I want people to see what I have to say, and think about it, and I want to make a difference. I’d also like to earn a living.
But I don’t want traffic, or even to survive, badly enough to associate myself with people like that. These aren’t “liberals.” These are egomaniacs chasing money who have found a gimmick that works for them, and that gimmick is pandering to the left wing.
I don’t pander. The people I respect don’t pander. The people I respect don’t make a career as a “political writer” off stealing other people’s work, aggressively attacking those not fortunate enough to have properly-functioning reasoning skills, making up news stories, spamming, or making little “blacklists” of who is and is not allowed to have a voice based on whether that voice has challenged them personally.
The people I respect work from a basis of principle, not personality. The people I respect offer facts and reason, not anger and venting. The people I respect want a world in which we ALL have the opportunity to be the best we can, to care for each other and work together to ensure that humanity moves forward in the most constructive and positive ways possible.
The people I respect are not “same as the old boss,” and I’ve got some bad news for a lot of liberals: you are setting yourself up for a major, major fall in very short order, because you are elevating precisely the kinds of people that you think you’re staking against. Bullies. Liars. Profiteers. Thieves. Manipulators.
It kind of disturbs me, knowing that there are folks out there who think of me as being in that same group. I’m not part of that. I will never be part of that.
These people don’t want equality or freedom or peace or progress.
They just want to be the new boss, same as the old boss.
George Orwell wrote in 1984, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”
These people – Matt Desmond and AddictingInfo, Lou Colagiovanni and “We Survived Bush, You Will Survive Obama,” all their little sockpuppet groups on Facebook like “Being Liberal,” the St. Rollinses, whose usurpation of their perception of Henry Rollins’ persona actually makes me like Henry Rollins a little less, and thousands more like them – they don’t want to avoid that future.
They just want to be the boot instead of the face.
And you’re helping them do it, while those of us who want no boots on no faces sit here screaming impotently at the wall, hoping maybe someone, somewhere might hear the echo.
“The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything.” – George Orwell, 1984
“He's the one who likes all our pretty songs, and he likes to sing along, and he likes to shoot his gun. But he don’t know what it means…” – Nirvana, “In Bloom”