I’m not trying to be an insufferable geek here, but the following quote from Alexander Hamilton (Federalist #1) really has been running piecemeal through my head since I woke up this morning:
I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men (merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion) into interested or ambitious views. Candor will oblige us to admit that even such men may be actuated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless at least, if not respectable–the honest errors of minds led astray by preconceived jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
For those of you who have a difficult time with 18th-century English, let me simplify: Not everyone who opposes you or does something of which you disapprove, however ardently, is a dirtbag; conversely, not everyone who sides with you is an angel.
I have admitted before to having been a Useful Idiot for the Left, one of the unfortunate side effects of which is a diminished confidence in one’s own mental capacity. Well, at least in terms of decision-making — the underlying theme of the Left seems to be along the lines of, “We’re so smart that we need other people to tell us how to live our lives.”
At any rate, this particular facet of my past means that it is difficult sometimes for me to be confident in my own choices and/or worldview, especially in the face of people I admire or out-and-out bullies. And in the last day or so, I’ve seen arguments that counter my stance from both. And, because of this, I have seen fit to clarify and temper my stance.
On The Daily Caller
My conclusions here remain largely unchanged. The only difference between yesterday and today is that I now think there should have been a content warning on the article from the beginning; it was bad judgement not to include it. The assertion, however, that a disclaimer was needed from the get-go is ludicrous — it was a news item. Nobody expects the Wall Street Journal to issue a disclaimer every time it reports on Mahmoud Ahmadinijad’s latest anti-Semitic screed. The issue about the headline is also, I think, a non-starter — I don’t remember this type of wailing and gnashing of teeth when headlines proclaimed, “Tucker Carlson calls Sarah Palin a ‘MILF’.” I will grant you that I do not know what the term “wombshifter” means (I couldn’t find it on Urban Dictionary, and I’m not willing to look farther than that), but I think have a pretty good idea, and I don’t see how it’s all that much worse than “MILF.”
This whole deal is Casey Anthony all over again: Is there justifiable suspicion that Jeff Poor, Tucker Carlson, and the Daily Caller were engaged in gross misogyny, perhaps giggling behind their hands while posting this story? Given Carlson’s past comments, sure, and I don’t blame anyone for coming to that conclusion. But is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this was avarice on their part? No. And I refuse to send them to the gallows in a case where I still can find reasonable doubt.
What’s more is that, in their furor to condemn The Daily Caller in this mess, most people seem to have overlooked entirely the fact that the disgusting remarks in question came from an interview Mike Tyson did on ESPN radio.
Um, there’s your target, guys. The fact that you suspect that the messenger, despite his straight face in the actual reporting, may have been secretly gleeful at the message is no reason to whip out the pistol, shoot him on the spot, and then drag his body around the city walls.
And I touched on this yesterday, but this is the main cause of my Alexander Hamilton quote at the top of the page: Dan Riehl. Dan Riehl, who is being hailed by some as a hero for bringing this clustertruck to the surface, is a dishonest, smarmy, self-impressed piece of work — and I told him as much on Twitter earlier today.
Dennis Miller has said that everything is funny except for the helpless. Now, Jim Treacher is not, on the whole, a helpless man from what I can tell — but he was helpless in the moment an SUV ran a red light and barreled into him in the midst of a crosswalk, and then drove away, leaving him in the middle of the road with a shattered knee. And Dan Riehl, when unable to counter Treacher’s reasonable rebuttals, has the unmitigated gall to make fun of Treacher for getting hit by a car.
This rankles me for a few reasons:
- One, it’s downright wrong.
- Two, I myself have been hit by a car while in a crosswalk and was left with a knee injury, though mine was not a hit-and-run and was much less severe — nothing broken, just a really bad knee sprain, lots of bruising, and a superficial blood clot. It is, to say the least, a deeply unpleasant experience on the whole, and knee injuries in particular are nasty buggers.
- Three, my own dad was in a workplace accident a little more than twenty years ago, in which he slipped on a slick floor and fell flat on his back, demolishing two discs in his lower back in the process. My father has not had a day without pain in over twenty years because of something that was wholly beyond his control — and the worst part of that whole process was when his employer’s dishonest insurance company was telling him that the pain was all in his head in an attempt to not have to pay the bills.
That insurance company was just as despicable for blaming my dad for his injuries as Dan Riehl is for mocking Jim Treacher for his.
It’s a good thing I’m a Palinista on principle; otherwise, the stench of people like Riehl could easily drive me into a different camp.
On Glenn Beck and Brian Sack
This one is still ridiculous.
My post yesterday was linked to by my blogger buddy Wraith; and, though it feels a bit like track-back incest, he said something so right-on that I’m quoting it here now:
I’ve been reading the pervading screams of outrage over Brian Sack’s recent Palin jokes on GBTV, all of which seem to demand that Sack should be shot, Beck should be tarred and feathered, and the entirety of GBTV should be razed to the ground with salt and acid sown upon the ruins, that one electron should not stand upon another. ….
One of the main reasons the Right has been losing the culture wars is because we’ve been derided as straitlaced, uptight and not being able to take a joke. And this, I’m sorry to say, is an accusation not without merit. Whether the joke is funny or not, we have to know “when to, and when not to.” This routine was a complete non-issue until some of my fellow Palinistas went insane about it, and I’m asking you all to please knock it off. [emphasis mine]
If we’ve learned nothing else over the past three years, it’s that Governor Palin is more than capable of taking care of herself. We must counter the lies, we must advance the facts. We must stand firm in our support. But if we allow ourselves to become as shrill and intolerant as the Obamanoids, then we lose big.
I think the most ridiculous assertion I’ve seen in the blogosphere was a commenter who seemed to be insinuating that the little black boy that Sack inserted into the Palin family photo was an attack on Down Syndrome children. Um, hate to break it to you, but when I saw that little boy, my thought was that he looks a lot like baby pictures of my cousin’s youngest son — a boy who does not have Down Syndrome. So unless this person is implying that all black children look mentally disabled to him/her, I don’t see that this person has a leg to stand on.
(“ZOMG! You made fun of crippled people!!!1!!1one”)
Look, I know that explaining a joke leaches all the funny out of it, but a lot of Palinistas don’t seem to have gotten this one in the first place, so I think I’m in the clear here: The insertion of a small black boy into the Palin family picture was funny, not because it was making fun of the Palin family (which, as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t), but because the McGinniss allegations upon which the joke was based are so irrelevant and asinine.
And the second half of the joke was a groaner line. My husband said yesterday, and I agree, that it’s pretty silly to take seriously anything that’s said that could be legitimately followed up with, “Ba-dum ching!”
Look, I know what mean-spirited making fun of the Palin family looks like. I heard all the, “LOL, dumb names!” comments, I saw the hand-wringing and finger-pointing that came when Willow Palin used a swear on her own Facebook page, I saw the vitriol directed at Bristol Palin for having the audacity to dance in public. I’ve seen the “Trig Truther” nonsense, I seethed as Levi Johnston served as everyone’s favorite cudgel with which to unfairly beat the Palin family, I watched all the “Tut-tutting,” when Piper Palin acted as her mom’s bodyguard on the bus tour, I was an active participant in #TrigsCrew on Twitter, and I rolled my eyes at the faux-scandalized gasps and hypocritical condemnation that came when Track Palin’s son arrived 4 months after the wedding.
Brian Sack’s joke was none of those things.
Was it unfunny? To some. Inappropriate? Again, some felt that way.
A hate-based rant constructed for the sole purpose of maliciously mocking the Palins and/or shaming them into silent acquiescence?
Not even close.
Guys — we’re better than this.