Wednesday, March 28, 2007

oh, yeah, and: about that whole, "right-wingers are nicer than left-wingers" business

you know, because they're nicer to Althouse, and l'Etat, c'est Qu'Emu, anyway Orcinus has a few notes on that as well:

Glenn Reynolds [referencing Muslim mothers reluctant to obtain certain immunizations]: "Just think of it as evolution in action."

...Bill O'Reilly:

Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.

...[Frequent MSNBC guest] Melanie Morgan: "I would have no problem with [New York Times editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber."

and

"We've got a bull's-eye painted on [Pelosi's] big, wide laughing eyes"

...Rep. Peter King:

And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove.


..."The Political Insight":

Let's start with the following New York Times reporters and editors: Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. , Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, and James Risen. Do you have an idea where they live?

Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous -- grab for the golden ring...


oh, per that last one: yeah, there is such a thing as online terrorism. Altmouse, please take note: people making fun of you for being an ass--a creepy, stalkeriffic ass who analyzes another blogger's breasts and then blames her for havin' em, pretty much, no less-- is NOT in the same category as being in receipt of actual stalking and death threats.

back to Orcinus: actually there's an entire ten-part series on "eliminationism," starting here; worth reading. As is this earlier series by Neiwert. This bit, f'r instance:

See if this has a familiar ring to it: A rabid right-wing radio talk-show host has been stirring up a campaign of hatred aimed at local liberals. In this case, though, the threats have gone beyond simply empty words into concrete action involving threats and intimidation.

The talk-show host in question is a fellow named John Stokes, who operates little KGEZ-AM, a radio station south of town next to Highway 93 (in fact, there are reasons to believe he bought the station mainly as a way to scam the state out of millions in condemnation proceedings, but that's another story). Shortly after Stokes took over in 2000, he began broadcasting right-wing screeds that indeed made Rush Limbaugh sound like "the voice of reason" in contrast. Stokes regularly launched vitriolic attacks on all kinds of liberals; gays and lesbians came in for special scorn (he accused two lesbian activists in Missoula whose home had burned down in an arson of setting the fire themselves), and of course Bill Clinton was a frequent target.

The primary targets of Stokes' venom, though, were conservationists and environmentalists, for whom not even the most appalling comparison nor the most groundless accusation was adequate: Stokes constantly referred to them as Nazis, and the central thrust of all his attacks was that "greens" were responsible for nearly everything that was wrong with life in Western Montana, particularly the depressed economy. Indeed, Stokes has referred frequently to Patriot conspiracy theories, and not merely on the subject of environmentalists (who are viewed by militia types as a cult intent on enslaving the rest of mankind); he's also trotted out Patriot theories on such subjects as taxation and the Constitution.

Unsurprisingly, his audience reflects this kind of proto-fascist orientation. Many of his callers have outright advocated violence against conservationists, and Stokes has encouraged them to do so.

The real-life consequences of all this talk made quite clear that this was not merely "entertainment," and that Stokes' "hot talk" was doing more than just garnering ratings. Beginning in the summer of 2001, local conservationists began receiving a series of death threats, some delivered in person, others by phone. Car windows were smashed in, tires slashed. Strange men would show up in people's yards at twilight, then run off when confronted. People's homes were vandalized. Others would be followed home by men in pickups or on motorcycles. Sometimes the teenage children of the targets were threatened.

And egging all of these people on was John Stokes. Sometimes callers would announce on his show that a local conservationist was on vacation, which would present an opportunity to "visit their home." In others, a caller would simply give the home address of an environmental activist who had just been vilified as "Satanic" on the air by Stokes...


note: this was written in 2003, and i think the "rising tide" to which he alludes, next, has shifted somewhat. but, it's hardly irreversible, and i still think this is highly relevant:

The massive propagandizing of the right against liberals generally and antiwar elements specifically is an area where a number of disturbing trends are beginning to coalesce:

* The increasing tendency of extremist memes to appear in mainstream discourse as an acceptable version of conservative thinking, propelled especially by the now-apparent bias among most national media outlets favoring conservative propaganda.
* Bush's purposeful projection of religious motivations for his war effort, with overt suggestions that his decisions are divinely guided.
* The extremist right's growing identification with Bush, and their apparent willingness to use thuggish tactics of intimidation on his behalf.
* Likewise, the Bush regime's increasingly apparent willingness to make use of such factions for their own political ends.
* The rising demonization of antiwar liberals, complete with vicious eliminationist rhetoric.
* The constant framing of the war in jingoistic "national renewal" sentiments, both in political and religious terms.
* The dislocation caused by the flailing economy and terrorism fears, both of which raise the conditions under which people become willing to turn to totalitarianism.

These rivulets have been coalescing in a campaign directed against antiwar liberals, and creating a powerful undercurrent that hasn't yet broken through the surface. What hasn't happened yet is that the thuggishness has not directed itself on any kind of large scale at all (there have only been a few isolated incidents); neither has the Bush regime made any kind of open signal that such activities are viewed approvingly.

If they do signal such an alliance, however, then I am convinced that the nation is in serious danger of submerging under a tide of genuine fascism. And as I've been arguing all along, it won't be a fascism we can easily recognize. It won't be German-style or Italian-style; rather, it will be uniquely American -- probably, if history is any guide, one with a veneer of Christian fundamentalism, but underneath, one predicated on a coalescence of corporatist power with proto-fascist thuggery.

That said, even though the danger is clear, it's important to understand that we are not there yet. More to the point, we can stop this slide. We only need to be aware that it is occurring.

My advice would be nearly identical to that which I give those little community groups like the one in Kalispell: Stand up for democracy. Don't threaten and don't cajole. And don't back down.

Most people -- conservatives especially, who view analyses like mine as merely an attempt to smear Republicans -- are in denial about these trends. Even in Kalispell, there was resistance from many in the business community that even addressing the problem just gave the extremists free publicity -- ignoring, of course, the reality that trying to pretend them away just gives them a free ride.

...From my experience and that of nearly every community that has had to deal with right-wing extremism, the notion that paying attention to it -- covering both the leaders and the followers in the press, responding to them publicly -- only publicizes their kookery is a gross mistake. Remaining silent and refusing to stand up to them is not an adequate response. They mistake the silence for complicity, for tacit approval.

This is equally true of the shape-shifting "transmitters" who take extremist memes and inject them into the national discourse, often under the guise of providing "fiery" rhetoric. When the public starts calling them on the sources of their ideas, and exposing them for the coddlers of hate-mongers, extremists and terrorists that they are, then they inevitably scurry back and hide under the rocks whence they crawled out. This is already starting to happen with Michael Savage; it needs to begin happening with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and the rest.

Like all bullies, they prove cowards in a real fight. It's time for the rest of America to start fighting.


p.s. Altmouse may be a lightweight in the greater scheme of things, but she damn well is a bully by my lights.

and, of course she/they start whining about how persecuted THEY are, as soon as anyone so much as looks at 'em crosseyed, as per that last hilarious demonstration (for example), because that is ALSO what bullies do:

When called to account for the way they have chosen to behave, the bully instinctively exhibits this recognisable behavioural response:

a) Denial: the bully denies everything. Variations include Trivialization ("This is so trivial it's not worth talking about...") and the Fresh Start tactic ("I don't know why you're so intent on dwelling on the past" and "Look, what's past is past, I'll overlook your behaviour and we'll start afresh") - this is an abdication of responsibility by the bully and an attempt to divert and distract attention by using false conciliation. Imagine if this line of defence were available to all criminals ("Look I know I've just murdered 12 people but that's all in the past, we can't change the past, let's put it behind us, concentrate on the future so we can all get on with our lives" - this would do wonders for prison overcrowding).

b) Retaliation: the bully counterattacks. The bully quickly and seamlessly follows the denial with an aggressive counter-attack of counter-criticism or counter-allegation, often based on distortion or fabrication. Lying, deception, duplicity, hypocrisy and blame are the hallmarks of this stage. The purpose is to avoid answering the question and thus avoid accepting responsibility for their behaviour. Often the target is tempted - or coerced - into giving another long explanation to prove the bully's allegation false; by the time the explanation is complete, everybody has forgotten the original question.

Both a) and b) are delivered with aggression in the guise of assertiveness; in fact there is no assertiveness (which is about recognising and respecting the rights of oneself and others) at all. Note that explanation - of the original question - is conspicuous by its absence.

c) Feigning victimhood: in the unlikely event of denial and counter-attack being insufficient, the bully feigns victimhood or feigns persecution by manipulating people through their emotions, especially guilt. This commonly takes the form of bursting into tears, which most people cannot handle. Variations include indulgent self-pity, feigning indignation, pretending to be "devastated", claiming they're the one being bullied or harassed, claiming to be "deeply offended", melodrama, martyrdom ("If it wasn't for me...") and a poor-me drama ("You don't know how hard it is for me ... blah blah blah ..." and "I'm the one who always has to...", "You think you're having a hard time ...", "I'm the one being bullied..."). Other tactics include manipulating people's perceptions to portray themselves as the injured party and the target as the villain of the piece. Or presenting as a false victim.

...By using this response, the bully is able to avoid answering the question and thus avoid accepting responsibility for what they have said or done. It is a pattern of behaviour learnt by about the age of 3; most children learn or are taught to grow out of this, but some are not and by adulthood, this avoidance technique has been practised to perfection.

A further advantage of the denial/counter-attack/feigning victimhood strategy is that it acts as a provocation. The target, who may have taken months to reach this stage, sees their tormentor getting away with it and is provoked into an angry and emotional outburst after which the bully says simply "There, I told you s/he was like that". Anger is one of the mechanisms by which bullies (and all abusers) control their targets. By tapping in to and obtaining an inappropriate release of pent-up anger the bully plays their master stroke and casts their victim as villain.

When called to account for the way they have chosen to behave, mature adults do not respond by bursting into tears. If you're dealing with a serial bully who has just exhibited this avoidance tactic, sit passively and draw attention to the pattern of behaviour they've just exhibited, and then the purpose of the tactic. Then ask for an answer to the question.

6 comments:

Renegade Evolution said...

people make me ill.

Emily said...

It's amazing how liberal reporters reporting on shit that's actually true but goes against the official word is "traitorism," but conservative media making death threats, encouraging their readers/listeners to commit violent acts? Oh, that's just free speech. Completely harmless.

Traitorism is selling top secret government plans to terrorists. It's not saying, "Hey, I actually investigated and found no WMDs." When telling the truth is spun as being a traitor, you know you're in trouble.

Eli said...

* Bush's purposeful projection of religious motivations for his war effort, with overt suggestions that his decisions are divinely guided.
* The extremist right's growing identification with Bush, and their apparent willingness to use thuggish tactics of intimidation on his behalf.


Lovely juxtaposition, eh?

Also: Althouse is a truly horrible person, and "bully" was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that confrontation with Garance. Any possibility that AA was genuinely offended was completely undercut by her smug, self-satisfied smirk before, after, and even *during* her attack. The fact that her claim of offense made absolutely *zero* sense was a feature, not a bug. For one thing, it caught Garance completely off guard to be attacked for something completely innocuous; and for another, it let her show her power over her opponent by making her back down from something totally trivial.

Awful, awful person, phony and evil right down to the bone.

Eli said...

I like "traitorism" as a word, actually. It could be to actual treason what "truthiness" is to actual truth.

belledame222 said...

SOME very specific people make me ill. others are just lovely, really.

and yeah, eli, you caught that smirk too, did you? i mean -after- the high dudgeon outburst? i was waiting for it, but wasn't sure if it'd actually manifest. but, sure enough.

Eli said...

and yeah, eli, you caught that smirk too, did you?

"I *own* this girl. What fun!"