Glenn Beck: Because Conservatives Need Racist Delusions

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Debating a Fantasy

    "Watching Eastwood reduce the President to an invented entity in a chair, I couldn't help but wonder what Ralph Ellison would say about all this. The author of the literary classic Invisible Man articulated the metaphor of black invisibility better than anyone ever did previously or since." —Jamil Smith

    "I'm not a Communist. I've never worshipped a monkey god. And I've never eaten my dog." —Glenn Beck

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    Anticipation: The assembled masses craving Glenn Beck's latest lunacy.

    Paul Constant explains:

    The above photo is the "crowd" waiting for the start of Glenn Beck's Unelectable, a Fathom Events production beamed live into movie theaters around the country last night. There were five of us in the theater at Pacific Place; once the show finally started, two more people wandered in late. We were all very quiet, all the way through the show. Here's the idea behind Unelectable: Beck, in a San Antonio theater, was debating a Barack Obama surrogate, who was played by a conservative comedian named Brian Sack. The hosts of the debate were two other conservative comedians playing reporters from the New York Times and CNN. After a rambling preamble (preramble?) about buying a baseball bat for his son, Beck announced the intent behind the debate. It was, he promised, going to be what would happen if the presidential debates were actually honest—"Do we even care about honesty anymore?" Beck asked the audience of gray-haired white people—with Beck in the Mitt Romney role.

    What is it with conservatives debating fantasy versions of Barack Obama? Is it that they don't know how to deal with the real one?

    One would think this sort of thing is a fiction of its own:

    Beck refuted "yes we can" by saying his slogan was "yes I can." He called Obama "a five-year old girl." He fumed when a question about immigration was asked and answered in Spanish. (The fake New York Times reporter sputtered at Beck's protestations against "our co-national language.") In his education platform, Beck whined about there being too many "Harvard-educated lawyers" in the world, when what we needed was more people who follow their passion. (Since he wasn't arguing against anyone real, nobody mentioned that Romney graduated from Harvard, too.) "You don't have to have that gigantic education," Beck said. Thomas Jefferson learned all he knew from an apprenticeship, by gum, and if it's good enough for a Founding Father, it's good enough for everyone. He called Obama a Communist and a devil-worshipper. The foreign policy "debate" consisted of Beck saying, "Arab spring bad. Your policy bad," pointing, then, to the faux-Obama, and concluding, "Israel good." His closing argument was this: "I'm not a Communist. I've never worshipped a monkey god. And I've never eaten my dog."

    Then it got worse.

    After Clint Eastwood's discussion with a fantasy President Obama, Jamil Smith explained:

    Eastwood may have been ignorant of the fact he was joining those who delegitimize Obama's very presence, but he's in that league now. As Jamelle Bouie said last night, an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama was an apt metaphor for how the Romney campaign runs against a Democratic record they've made up out of whole cloth.

    Watching Eastwood reduce the President to an invented entity in a chair, I couldn't help but wonder what Ralph Ellison would say about all this. The author of the literary classic Invisible Man articulated the metaphor of black invisibility better than anyone ever did previously or since. My best attempt at describing it came in a collegiate column I wrote over 15 years ago:

    Invisibility is hard to battle because it's not a construction of your mind, but of those who look upon you. As Ellison's title character states in the Prologue, it lies in a person's inner eyes, which they use to look upon and evaluate their physical reality. Invisibility is something a person can be the victim of and not even realize it.​

    That biweekly column was titled "Invisible Man" because of the experiences I'd had growing up, experiencing a social -- and at times, physical -- invisibility amongst my white peers. I say physical not because I possessed Harry Potter's cloak, but because I'd have people literally looking me dead in the face and walking into me as if they considered me an apparition and planned to pass through me. (Ellison's title character describes a similar incident on the novel's first page.) I've had the "n-word" sent in my direction a number of times, but at least that hatred necessitates a minimum level of recognition. Invisibility can be an even greater insult, unless the invisible use that to their advantage.

    It might seem a bit hyperbolic to wonder if Beck's performance is the best Republicans have to offer, but the RNC hosted a version of white-man-debating-fantasy-black-man at their national convention.

    The difference, of course, is that Eastwood was just stupid. Beck apparently went out of his way to invoke xenophobia.

    Even setting aside Beck's blazing racism, it seems a strange and disturbing Republican trend: They're reduced to debating against their own fantasies.

    Sure, some of us will shrug and say, "They're conservatives. What's new?"

    And perhaps the answer to that is simply that conservatives are now willing to proclaim their delusions as badges of pride.

    Then again, Mitt Romney is their candidate. Maybe delusions are all they have left.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Constant, Paul. "Dance of the Straw Men: Watching Glenn Beck Debate an Obama Surrogate". Slog. September 21, 2012. Slog.TheStranger.com. September 21, 2012. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/ar...watching-glenn-beck-debate-an-obama-surrogate

    Smith, Jamil. "The President, rendered invisible in a chair". Melissa Harris-Perry Blog. August 31, 2012. MHPShow.MSNBC.com. September 21, 2012. http://mhpshow.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/31/13582464-the-president-rendered-invisible-in-a-chair
     
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Why the need to twist the Fauxbama shtick into something racially-motivated? The reason Eastwood is talking to empty chairs, and Beck is scripting debates with paper-thin stand-ins is because straw men are easier to knock down than the genuine article, not because they hate black people. I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    You're absolutely right

    You know, you're right, because statements like, "I've never worshipped a monkey god", and, "I've never eaten my dog", have absolutely no ethnic context, do they?

    I can't believe I mistook cultural denigration for racism.

    Thank you for setting me straight, Balerion.
     
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  7. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Speaking of straw men, there you go again.

    I never said Glen wasn't making racist comments. Clearly he was. My point was simply that the act of speaking to an imaginary Obama is not representative of the black man's invisibility in our culture, or only done because he's black, which is precisely what the allusions to The Invisible Man are meant to convey.

    But you knew that already, and chose to misrepresent me. Kinda like how Ancient Eastwood and the failed comedian Beck misrepresented Obama.

    Something about delusion being all you have left goes here.
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    So credible

    And something about your repeated, misguided attempts to defend bigotry goes here.

    "I never said Glen wasn't making racist comments."​

    Uh-huh. We believe you.

    "... Beck is scripting debates with paper-thin stand-ins is because straw men are easier to knock down than the genuine article, not because they hate black people. I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for."​

    Because, well, you know. You're so credible.

    Keep defending hatred, Balerion. The world needs courageous people like you to stick up for petty, hateful cowards.
     
  9. Balerion Banned Banned

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    More like my repeated attempts to dissuade you from seeing bigots in every shadow. Remember when you banned Geoff for, what was it, asking if Mohammad ever accidentally had sex with one of his daughters? I believe you said this was no place for bigots like him. Something to that effect, anyway.

    You are the reason they call us bleeding-hearts, T. Stop inventing causes when there are plenty of real ones right in front of you.

    And where did I defend his comments, or say he wasn't making them? (I also notice you're taking my words out of context, omitting my mention of Eastwood and the Incredible Talking Chair, likely because including it would better illustrate my point, which is that they're inventing an Obama because that's what politicians and pundits do. What he did with the caricature he's created is another thing, but that's not what I was discussing.)

    But again, you already knew this, Clint.

    As opposed to, what, a shill like you?

    I could recreate the dancing brooms scene from Fantasia with all the straw you're leaving behind.
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Please, explain it to us

    This is one of those where I'm willing to split the difference, but here's the thing:

    • If you don't think the black experience is valid, I can't help you. That is, maybe you think Jamil Smith is full of shit, but he didn't say anything I haven't heard from others, before.

    • I am willing to acknowledge that you "never said Glen wasn't making racist comments", but that's actually something I hear from actual, real racists all the time. And here's how it works: (1) Person A says something. (2) Person B notes the racism. (3) Person A says, "I never said ...." (4) While point 3 is true, it is also beside the point. In this case, sure, you never said, "Glenn Beck wasn't making racist comments". But you did say:

    Beck is scripting debates with paper-thin stand-ins is because straw men are easier to knock down than the genuine article, not because they hate black people. I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for.​

    Now, I would ask you to think about that for a moment. Sure, you did not explicitly say that "Glenn Beck wasn't making racist comments".

    But you did try to excuse Beck from racism.

    Eastwood is his own case. I can't specifically say that he was racist in his speech, though I acknowledge Smith's point. The question of whether Jamil Smith is correct to the point of being definitive is contained entirely within Clint Eastwood.

    However, you also covered for Beck, who you also included in your straw-man explanation. Then you took issue with the idea of criticizing Beck's apparent exploitation of ethnic-based xenophobia (i.e., racism) by saying, "I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for."

    Are you capable of at least acknowledging that you fucked up that part of your argument, then?

    Or are you going to stand on the point that, "I've never worshipped a monkey god", and, "I've never eaten my dog", have absolutely no ethnic context?

    Apparently, monkey-gods and dog-eating have no ethnic connotations, and, therefore, are not genuine racism to you.

    And, frankly, I disagree. Those are utterly disgusting, xenophobic—i.e., racist—lines.

    But, hey, it's Glenn Beck, so ... I don't know, what goes there? Does he get to say these things and not be racist?

    Yeah, I dropped Eastwood, just as I dismissed him in the topic post: "The difference, of course, is that Eastwood was just stupid. Beck apparently went out of his way to invoke xenophobia."

    But, you know, I can understand how that isn't important to someone who's just looking for a bone to pick.

    So what is it, then? Are monkey-god and dog-eating not cultural denigration in this case?

    Are such lines "fake" racism, then?

    No, really. I want to know how you justify that statements like, "I've never worshipped a monkey god", and, "I've never eaten my dog" are not cultural denigration, and therefore racism.

    Please. Explain it to us.

    You may disdain my leftism, but unlike you I don't lie in hopes of convincing people I'm something else.

    And I could feed the world with all the fertilizer you're providing for the crops.
     
  11. Balerion Banned Banned

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    More straw. I didn't say the black experience isn't valid, nor did I give you any reason to believe I thought such a thing. All I said was that this Fauxbama thing is not an element of that.

    Nonsense. I probably could have phrased the final part of my post better, but the intent was to say that there were plenty of things said by Beck that night that were actually racist, and therefore no need for you to invent something to be offended by.

    It isn't, though. There was nothing racist about Clint Eastwood's (godawful) routine. Whether he actually is racist or not is irrelevant, because the act of creating a caricature of a political figure (be they an opponent or not) is not racist. SNL portrays caricatures of political figures every week. Does this make them racist as well? Or, as you seem to think is the case with Clint, is there some ambiguity there that needs to be answered for?

    I wasn't defending what he said. I wasn't defending him at all. I was pointing out how stupid it is to act like "delegitimizing" Obama by misrepresenting his platform is somehow racist. That was the point of the allusions made to The Invisible Man. According to this commentator, we're supposed to believe that the mere act of lying about Obama is racist, and not only that but also representative of how African-Americans have no influence on the culture.

    I'm capable of admitting that I worded it poorly. I never intended to intimate that Beck said nothing racist. I don't understand what dog-eating or monkey gods have to do with Obama (Kenya--which I'm assuming is where Beck was headed with that--is predominantly Christian), but it's clearly meant to appeal to terrified white folk who don't know anything about Islam or Kenya save for what Beck et al feeds them, and is plenty offensive. Whether you want to call that racism, bigotry, whatever, I'm not arguing with you about it. I agree.

    You dropped Eastwood from your quote of me because it showed that I was merely attempting to defend the means by which he delivered them as racially-neutral. In other words: Propping up a straw man = Not racist.

    No, I don't disdain your "leftism." I disdain your fringe leftism. I disdain you like I disdain the trolls that run fringe rightist blogs. You're no different. Well, your audience is probably smaller, but in terms of integrity and content you're the other side of the same lousy coin.

    Not bad. Should have stuck with movie references, though. Something like, "And I could have recreated the manure truck scene from Back to the Future with all the crap you're...selling..." I dunno, I'm just riffing here.
     
  12. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    You know, Tiassa, I watched that video from down here in Australia.

    And quite honestly, I never thought of it as being anything other than what it was until I read your interpretation in this thread.

    Reds under the bed, son. All the way. And I don't believe I've ever agreed with anything Balerion has ever said, until now. Perhaps there is something I'm missing.
     
  13. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I haven't watched it all, but I picked up a piece here that sounds typical of his rant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVQEFIp3eWE&feature=player_detailpage#t=50s

    Note, he is equating ingenuity and accomplishment as an excuse for cutting government entitlements. He wanders into a conclusion that we know who we are, we know where the power comes from: it comes from God (etc.)

    This is a fundamentalism that reads the Bible literally, except for the part where Jesus threatens to throw you into a lake of fire for failing to feed the hungry or shelter the homeless or tend to the sick and in prison.

    "We are the lucky ones". Indeed. Which of course excludes all of those who aren't.

    I haven't heard rebuttal to the following, but consider the Wiki entry to the life of Paul Ryan:

    When he was 16, Ryan found his 55-year-old father lying dead in bed of a heart attack. Following the death of his father, Ryan's grandmother moved in with the family, and because she had Alzheimer's, Ryan helped care for her while his mother commuted to college in Madison, Wisconsin. After his father's death Ryan received Social Security survivors benefits until his 18th birthday, which were saved up in order to pay for his college education

    And he's out to cut entitlements and education funding. He's lucky enough to be able to do all that.
     
  14. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I liked this post a lot. I was stuck by your attendance at the Event, and the poignant nature of the OP. I even like your presentation of Jamil Smith's comparison better than his own. The above remark is the perfect segway into the hellish bad-trip Romney Experience which can best be declared DOA.


    "I'm not a Communist. I've never worshipped a monkey god. And I've never eaten my dog." —Glenn Beck

    ( To Beck: ) Really? What then do you call your hyperbolic anti-American propaganda (yes, that's right, social justice, equality and tolerance are American values) if not Communism? And you obviously worship yourself, for all your moronic aping of tired Right Wing slogans, so it's really just you who's worshipping a monkey god. And while you may not have eaten your dog, check that can of chili before you claim you haven't eaten someone else's. No, Beck, you're nothing but one of the dozens of fools that glorifies ignorance, bigotry and social injustice under your thinly veiled guise. But we all know you as Archie Bunker, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace and that Koran-burning snake handler from Florida.

    Classic Tiassa.

    Newer than New Age propaganda can actually go there. Who'da thunk.


    Every one an Archie Bunker. Under every guy's shirt is a beer and chili stained wife beater. And their women in tow are Stepford Wives, running on speed, mild hallucinogens and a Columbian hypnotic brew their hubbies buy from pushers at the golf clubs.

    It occurred to me in 2008 that Obama has set the bar for fluency and priority of values. It's hard to imagine anyone else surpassing it in our lifetime. The Right does strategize. Maybe they actually turned to Bain Capital for some risk management advice. (Or were force-fed along with the checks).

    It's pathological. It's like a nightmare scene in a voodoo ritual.

    I can't remember a Republican era in which that wasn't an apt metaphor. This one has certainly reached new lows.

    That's one of the sharpest characterizations I've yet come across. Thanks for sharing it. This goes back to education. Literature, even taken in trace amounts, transforms people. Consider Anais Nin:

    If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.

    Jamil Smith is opening a huge issue. Why have knowledge of any kind, if not to disseminate it? Very few writers with a voice earn much of a living. What then is their purpose if not to lift all boats?

    There are Invisibles of every kind in society. Each and every one of us has been insulted by decades of Right Wing chauvinism, jingoism and pandering. But this year they've revived their insidious Alpha mentality with new kinds of hate speech in multimedia format - to Eastwood's parody of a minimalist set to Beck's parody of the televangelist's electronic tent revival - with that sleazy used car salesman schtick glossed over in Madison Avenue advertising style.

    So far, all I've seen them accomplish is to kill brain cells, to glorify ignorance and to give more young people an excuse to skip school and give up. Of course they are yet another group of Invisibles.

    But as for literature, there's no pigeon-holing or oversimplification that can rewrite history and none that can detract from the classic beauty of the way the record of human foibles has been captured by literary genius, a talent which lends an existential eye into the basement boiler rooms, the psychiatric wards, and all the other tortured habitats of Les Miserables. It gives us our breath, as Anais Nin might say.

    In short, what a pot of literary gold lies beyond the gate you opened into the courtyard leading to the drawbridge Jamil Smith just lowered leading to the hole Ralph Ellison blasted into the castle wall half a century ago.

    It's the feeding frenzy of the modern era. For all their moronic remarks about monkey gods, they simply revert to the most base instincts and the monkey troop all howls and screeches and bares fangs in unison.

    I've always thought this about the Right Wing. The Red Scare was my early memory of their self-inflicted machinations.

    Apparently even they are coming out of the closet, but only in this respect. All their pathological ideation is either thinly veiled or deeply hidden.

    Yes. And the move to a Mormon and a Catholic no doubt represents a huge concession for which they must feel they may now take even more for granted than ever before.
     
  15. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Just more crap that we don't need but keep getting thrown at us when what we really need is more ways to see how candidates are going to actually fix the problems that , in many cases, they have made worse. I don't see anything that has been said that will fix anything that this economy has working against it but only ways to shine the spotlight on other less important matters as this thread is showing. While I agree that racism and bigotry are real and do happen do we really need to know that or do we need real information about where these candidates stand on important matters and EXACTLY how they will find ways to solve them.

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  16. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I thought that was made pretty clear at the conventions. The Right will push to make radical cuts to everything except Defense. The incumbents will push to eliminate the tax cuts for the rich. The Republicans have no economic experts in tow, and wish to override the experts, while the Democrats promote the experience and successes of the Fed.

    I agree with you about distractions insofar as I see Glenn Beck exemplifying the perennial Republican distraction from issues and feasible solutions. I took it that this was Tiassa's tack here.

    Furthermore, I don't think the problems with the economy are limited to the narrow audience that follows Republican hyperbole. They are going on right now in the homeless shelters and battered women's shelters in your own locale. It's not that the race issue detracts from the conversation about the economy, but that it recenters to the question, back to more fundamental question of whose economy we're talking about.

    Finally, I don't think the race issue is at all relegated to the distant past. I think it simply has been made more Invisible than ever before (I will want to capitalize that word from now on) through the essentially racist perception that a bunch of worthless bums (codeword negro) are pervasively sucking from the national tit.
     
  17. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    I've been known to quote Anais Nin myself... been taken to task for it more than once.

    This thread seems very American to me. I believe I'll leave it to you.
    Note, though, that there are more than a few around the world who find your own self-absorption rather silly.
     
  18. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    My reason for quoting Nin was merely to amplify the literary value of The Invisible Man.
    I suppose since this topic was limited to the American experience . . . ?

    Did you say you were an Aussie? Not to pick a bone with you, but I doubt if you (or many of your compatriots) thought it funny how the US infiltrated your country and even plotted to murder a candidate, to preserve a mission in Alice Springs (I'm referring to the content of the Telex intercepted by the Falcon in The Falcon and the Snowman). In the darker times of the Cold War, America's self-absorption spilled out all over the world. I would think that it's in the best interest of all countries that we clean up at home before we can pretend to tell all of you how to run yourselves, or--if that's become an anachronism--that we would officially treat the rest of the world as not much more than children--such as in Bush's moronic behavior at Kyoto, and the entire manner of American diplomacy throughout his reign.
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Static Disconnection, and Other Notes

    I should point out that I did not attend the event, and also suggest that Constant did only because he gets paid to write articles about these things for a weekly newspaper.

    • • •​

    Well, Smith invoked Ellison in response to Eastwood's stunt for a reason.

    Now, I can accept that you or I don't see any inherent racism in Eastwood's idiocy, but I'm not black, and can never experience what it is like to be black.

    As I noted, Smith didn't say anything about invisibility that I haven't heard from other blacks discussing racism in the modern era.

    It is what it is.

    Apparently, though, you do know what it's like to be black; I can only apologize for forgetting that, because that lapse in my memory is what made your definitive explanation that there was no racism about the old white guy lecturing the fantasy black man seem like it was invalidating the black experience.

    Because, you know, when a black man tells me how it feels, and a white man tells me that doesn't count, it always catches me off guard.

    But I forgot that you're black, and thus can speak for every American black person, and tell us why Jamil Smith's representation of the black experience is full of crap.

    My bad. I am truly sorry about that.

    In truth, that would have been a better paragraph without the one-word opening sentence.

    This is a strange habit of yours; I noticed it recently when we discussed transvestites.

    Look, certain questions exist. In theory, those questions ought to be within the realm of resolution. But you, for some reason, want to pretend the questions don't exist.

    If this was not an election year that also happens to be the climax of a years-long fantasy on the right wing attempting to denigrate the president as the scary black man, the question itself probably wouldn't exist. But it is that strange year, and the question does exist. This is why Jamelle Bouie's point an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama has any place in the political discourse.

    And this is a little less obscure a context for framing the question than a gay dramatist lamenting that there are no good gay characters in mainstream cinema and television. You know, as in the frame for the question of whether Lebanon the transvestite was deliberately shafted. In that case, the question resolved to something much more benign, but you protested then that the question didn't exist, just as you're trying to do here.

    I don't generally hold sketch comedy in contextual par with political speeches.

    Is the RNC a sketch comedy troupe?

    Fine with me. So Republicans are a bunch of comedians we no longer have to take seriously.

    I only wish that was true, but given what Republicans have put the country through in recent years, well, if the comedians are lynching empty chairs, perhaps the rest of us ought to start crucifying empty suits?

    Seriously, I don't like the GOP's politics, but that's politics.

    If it turns out the Iraqi Bush War was just for a lark? Well, it wasn't funny.

    The only correction here is that it's not Kenya but Indonesia. You know, the most populous Muslim country in the world. Where Barack Sotero lived for several years in his youth, and did, on occasion, eat dog because that's what the grown-ups fed him.

    I'm isolating these two sentences for a moment to make a point. We'll look at the whole paragraph in a moment.

    But, those two sentences are absolutely false. You did defend Beck.

    Now, I acknowledge that you probably didn't intend to. I have no reason to dismiss your later clarifications except that you insist on tying them to a misrepresentation of the relevant history—i.e., what you actually posted.

    Abstractly, there are four stages here: (1) Statement, (2) Response, (3) Clarification, (4) Discussion.

    Clarification is one thing, but that does not erase the statement. You don't like my response to the clarification, fine; you clarify. In the subsequent discussion, though, you cannot honestly pretend that the statement never existed.

    Well, let's see. First of all, we've acknowledged that your understanding of the black experience is definitive, and Jamil Smith's is horsepucky.

    Just, you know, don't be surprised if any of our conservative neighbors invoke the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton, both of whom have spoken before as if their assertion of the black experience was definitive.

    But that's its own issue, and we can wait until it happens.

    You're also trying to dismiss the question by ignoring the frame:

    "According to this commentator, we're supposed to believe that the mere act of lying about Obama is racist, and not only that but also representative of how African-Americans have no influence on the culture."​

    It's not just the "mere act of lying about Obama". Whether or not you are willing to accept this dose of reality, the last four years of right-wing xenophobia and baiting are not irrelevant to the consideration.

    You know, like:

    Setting aside the frame of the question as it applies to Eastwood (see above, re: strange habit and dismissing the question by ignoring its frame), the problem with your point here is that you included Beck in your consideration. You are the one who grouped them together:

    "Why the need to twist the Fauxbama shtick into something racially-motivated? The reason Eastwood is talking to empty chairs, and Beck is scripting debates with paper-thin stand-ins is because straw men are easier to knock down than the genuine article, not because they hate black people. I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for."​

    If it was mere straw-man politics, I would agree with you. However, I do not exclude the specific history of the right-wing scarecrow Obama.

    Just out of curiosity, do you also disdain the proposition of a psychoanalytic meaning of history?

    It is a Freudian theorem that each individual neurosis is not static but dynamic. It is a historical process with its own internal logic. Because of the basically unsatisfactory nature of the neurotic compromise, tension between the repressed and repressing factors persists and produces a constant series of new symptom-formations. And the series of symptom-formations is not a shapeless series of mere changes; it exhibits a regressive pattern, which Freud calls the slow return of the repressed, “It is a law of neurotic diseases that these obsessive acts serve the impulse more and more and come nearer and nearer the original and forbidden act.” The doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind, if we take it seriously, therefore compels us to entertain the hypothesis that the pattern of history exhibits a dialectic not hitherto recognized by historians, the dialectic of neurosis.

    —Norman O. Brown

    There is, admittedly, more to the psychoanalytic meaning of history than just that, and one is certainly welcome to pick bones with Freud and Brown, but I do not believe individual neuroses are static; I do not believe that history is disconnected from itself. And perhaps you don't either, but your argument requires that history is static and disconnected from itself. Otherwise, you could not reasonably attempt to argue "the mere act of lying about Obama"; there is much more to the lie and its moment than just the lie and its moment.

    Too long and arrhythmic. I don't know, maybe I should have gone with, "And your Soylent Green isn't made of people, per se."

    That's the problem with that sort of one-liner, though. If you don't give it enough thought, you blow it out the window. If you give it too much thought, you crush it underfoot.

    In the end, I just can't accept the argumentative requirement of history being static and disconnected from itself.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Brown, Norman O. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1959.
     
  20. Balerion Banned Banned

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    So what you're arguing, essentially, is that perception is reality. That is to say, if a black man finds Clint's talking to an empty chair to be symptomatic of the racism supposedly inherent in the Republican party, then it must be so. Even if it actually isn't, the black man's interpretation makes it so. Or, at the very least, it allows the asking of the question--is Eastwood a racist for talking to an empty chair?--without the embarrassment that would normally accompany making a baseless intimation. (see, because the act itself is now racial in nature, Clint's perpetration of it means the intimation is no longer baseless)

    And though I should not have to repeat myself on this point, your insistence on misrepresenting me has forced my hand: I am not making any comment whatsoever about the black experience. I don't discount the existence of racism--I have said plainly that Beck's comments in his stage show were examples of exactly that--nor do I discount that a black man can feel invisible today. I'm simply saying that building straw men isn't a racial act, and the attempts to portray it as such is just political maneuvering. I mean, I even saw commentators on MSNBC bring up the fact that Clint was physically talking down to the Fauxbama, as if that's at all relevant, and not simply because he was talking to a fucking chair.

    You want to pretend that this feigned outrage is anything more than politics? Fine. But I won't be told that I'm insensitive or, as you so ridiculously say in the passage that followed the previously quoted one, that I "know what it's like to be black."

    And why is that? Because, to Tiassa, the only relevant perspective is the black one? Do you defer to every group you aren't a part of? Do you support a woman's right to choose simply because you don't know what it's like to be a woman? That's awfully shallow, and I don't see how it's any better than deferring to spiritual leaders, except that you're accidentally correct in that particular instance.

    I don't have to be black to tell you Jamil is full of crap. Just like I don't have to be a woman to understand that they should have say in what happens to and inside their own bodies. Just like I don't have to be black to realize they don't receive fair, equal treatment in our justice system. I'm fully capable of understanding their plight without taking one step in their shoes. Am I able to feel what it's like? No, of course not, but I'm a human being capable of abstract thought, so I can create a serviceable analog in my mind that gives me the visceral anchor I need to be truly outraged when I see it happening. Keep in mind, however, that people can take offense to anything, and just because a political commentator chose to make Fauxbama a metaphor for the black plight doesn't make it true. You'll be shocked to hear this, no doubt, but black people are wholly capable of being wrong. Just as capable as us white folks, in fact.


    Snappier, maybe, but less accurate.

    I don't recall the conversation. Can you link me? I'd love to have a look.

    No, Jamelle's comment was meant to make Eastwood's act a metaphor for an out-of-touch Romney arguing with a fake Obama. It was a clumsy attempt, at that. And, frankly, the only racism implied by Jamelle's tweet was in his decision to make Mitt's race relevant. As in, Mitt and Clint are out of touch because they are white.

    Of course, no one takes Jamelle to task for implying such a thing.


    And what Clint did was, essentially, sketch comedy. He was lampooning the president. Hence "I can't tell him to go do that to himself," and "What do you mean 'shut up'?" Satire is satire, regardless of venue.


    No, what happened here is you interpreted my comments as a defense of Beck. They weren't, and I have demonstrated how they weren't. Your initial misunderstanding does not define my comments, it merely defines your understanding of what I said. In other words, it isn't my problem how you took what I said, it's yours.

    But this does support my earlier observation how you seem to think perception is reality. Because you misunderstood me, your misunderstanding is somehow valid, even though I have clarified my comments in such a way that contradicts your assertion.

    See, this is the kind of straw manning that makes you such a bore. You're very smart, and I actually used to be quite intimidated by that, but now I see you for the paper tiger you really are. I've already explained how you're wrong, so no more needs to be said.

    Of course they aren't relevant. The argument being made isn't "Because of their history, we have reason to believe that _____" but rather "The very act of straw manning is racist."

    Of course I included Beck in my consideration. I'm arguing against this attempt to paint any criticism or misrepresentation of Obama racist, such as was being done by you and the people you take your cues from. There was plenty of racism from Beck that night, but it wasn't present in the fact that he misrepresented Obama. The reason this is worth fighting over is that adding race where it doesn't belong only creates a bigger mess. Appealing to xenophobia is appalling, and acting as if the inclusion of Spanish in our society is somehow insulting (there's that thing about taking offense) to English speakers is profane, in my opinion. But creating a scarecrow is just what politicians do. Making that a racial thing leaves the door open for people to complain that actual criticisms are nothing more than scarecrows (which is exactly what Romney supporters say about any criticism of their candidate) and then cry racism (which is exactly what Obama supporters are doing right now, and have been doing for years).

    By the way, I'm sick and tired of not being given props for "Fauxbama." Make it happen.

    Again, what was racist about Clint's skit? According to your friends, the fact that he spoke down to an empty chair is what made it racist. Not the history of the GOP, not anything Clint actually said, or made Fauxbama say. The act of talking down to a chair. The fact that the Republicans didn't attack Obama's actual policies and positions, but ones they invented for him. Because, you know, if he were white, they totally would have.

    Nor can I, when applicable. But this has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.
     
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    35,517
    Something About Credibility

    Nope, it's more a question of credibility insofar as a black man telling me what it's like to experience racism is a lot more reliable than someone else telling me that the black man's feelings don't count.

    As I stated and reiterated, and as you continue to reject for whatever reasons, "The difference, of course, is that Eastwood was just stupid. Beck apparently went out of his way to invoke xenophobia."

    Of course, it's true that I do see your point if I pretend that the last four-plus years of Republicans invoking xenophobia against a fantasy black man instead of actually dealing with the real person never happened.

    Well, when I look to your response to Jamil Smith's point—

    "It isn't, though. There was nothing racist about Clint Eastwood's (godawful) routine. Whether he actually is racist or not is irrelevant, because the act of creating a caricature of a political figure (be they an opponent or not) is not racist. SNL portrays caricatures of political figures every week. Does this make them racist as well? Or, as you seem to think is the case with Clint, is there some ambiguity there that needs to be answered for?"​

    —I find myself disagreeing with your assertion that you are not making any comment whatsoever about the black experience.

    Well, a black man explains how it feels to be treated a certain way, and on what authority do you get to claim that's not how it feels?

    Well, that depends on the range of perspectives. A black person tells me how it feels to be treated poorly for being black, and someone who isn't black tells me that black person is wrong about how it feels to be treated poorly for being black?

    Sorry, dude, I'm going with the black man on this one.

    In certain things, yes. You know, like the sort of thing you can only comprehend from certain perspectives?

    Actually, I tend to support a woman's right to choose because women are human beings and ought to be in charge of what happens inside their own bodies.

    When it comes to certain issues, what is more reliable? Should I ignore what a woman says about how it feels to endure and survive a rape just because some guy somewhere says she probably enjoyed it?

    Would you ask me to do that? No? Well, then, why ask me to disbelieve a black guy about how it feels to be treated poorly for being black just because someone else wants to say a black man's perspective on being treated poorly for being black doesn't count?

    Wow, so reality and spirituality are now equivalent?

    Here's the thing, though:

    • Be there a God, I can know God as much as anyone else.

    • Be there a black person, I cannot know what it is like to be black in such a visceral, intimate way.

    • Be there a woman, I cannot know what it is like to be a woman in such a visceral, intimate way.​

    And there you go, commenting on the black experience. Didn't you say you weren't doing that?

    And one need not be intellectual to willfully exclude relevant data from a consideration.

    I see. So Jamil Smith is wrong about how he feels.

    That's a pretty strong argument you're making, there. How, ever, could I doubt you?

    Actually, I just think the paragraph would have worked better if you hadn't opened it with a lie.

    True, it was a while ago—i.e., last month. See "The Gay Fray #645-649".

    Actually, Bouie's comment explicitly made Eastwood's act a metaphor for an out-of-touch Republican Party.

    And if nobody is taking him to task for that, it might have something to do with the larger context that you insistently reject, namely the four years of scary-black-man-secret-Muslim-with-funny-sounding-name tantrums that for some reason we were expected to take seriously in order to be fair to conservatives.

    Again—really, I don't know if repeating the point has any effect, but it is important—if there was no larger context, I would agree with you. But there is a larger context, and you still refuse to acknowledge it.

    And when satire bombs, it gets dissected.

    So let us once again examine the point:

    "Why the need to twist the Fauxbama shtick into something racially-motivated? The reason Eastwood is talking to empty chairs, and Beck is scripting debates with paper-thin stand-ins is because straw men are easier to knock down than the genuine article, not because they hate black people. I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for." (Boldfaced accent added)

    It seems pretty clear. "Eastwood ... and Beck"? Sounds like you're including them both. And, "not because they hate black people"? They? Again, you're including them both. "I just can't see a good reason to trump up charges like this, especially when there's so much genuine racism out there to peg them for." Them? Dude, that's thrice in the paragraph you included Beck in your argument. Thrice in two sentences if we want to be specific.

    I guess in order to properly interpret you, literacy doesn't suffice. Unfortunately, clairvoyance is a bit harder a skill to develop.

    True, honesty is not a prerequisite to this sort of discussion.

    In other words, you define the argument?

    You make the point for me when you insist on cutting out the context.

    Ah, yes, that old con. You still can't show that "any criticism or misrepresentation of Obama" is denounced as racist.

    Contact!

    Like I said, Eastwood was stupid.

    And as Bouie's reflection implied, this is about more than just that moment.

    Now, I recognize that there is only one context—i.e., yours—that is acceptable to you for others to perceive history, but that's your problem.

    Well, events do seem to exist in disconnected vacuum states for you.

    History does not become inapplicable simply because you say so.
     
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    18,477
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    Your entire post is basically a straw man, so it's unsurprising that you start out with one here. Please point out where I say that a black man's feelings "don't count." Please. I'm begging you. What I said was that just because they take offense to something doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with what they're taking offense to. They can be mistaken.

    But you also say that "the question exists." Remember?

    Look, certain questions exist. In theory, those questions ought to be within the realm of resolution. But you, for some reason, want to pretend the questions don't exist.

    If this was not an election year that also happens to be the climax of a years-long fantasy on the right wing attempting to denigrate the president as the scary black man, the question itself probably wouldn't exist. But it is that strange year, and the question does exist. This is why Jamelle Bouie's point an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama has any place in the political discourse.

    So while you say that Clint was "just stupid," you also believe the question of racial motivation regarding his performance piece should be asked.

    There you go again. Because some have played to people's xenophobia, therefore all scarecrows must be xenophobic/racist/bigoted in nature. This is exactly what I'm arguing against.

    What, exactly, about that comment says anything about the black experience?

    None. Nor do I claim such a thing.

    When did I say that's not what it feels like? Oh, right--I didn't. What I did say was that just because a black man says Clint's chair demo is racist doesn't mean it actually is. But again, you know this. You're building straw men because you don't have a good answer to it.

    But we're not talking about things that can only be comprehended from certain perspectives. We're talking about the racial implications (or lack thereof) of creating scarecrows in politics. We're talking about the racial connotations of a type of rhetoric. These things aren't subjective. They either are or they aren't. And if someone says "Hey, that's racist," one is not obligated to shrug and accept the accusation on account that the accuser is a minority and therefore knows what it feels like. A debate can be had, and really should be.

    Couldn't have guessed that from your logic here. In your world, if you aren't a woman or a minority, you simply defer to them on all matters regarding them. Anything further would be presumptuous, no?

    I'm obviously not asking you to do that. I'm asking you to stop deferring to them when they cry racism over something that isn't racist.

    The point was that deferring to women on all matters simply because they're "experts on womanhood" is no better than deferring to spiritual leaders because they're also supposedly experts on morality. In other words, you don't need to be a woman to know what's right and wrong for a woman. You don't need to be black to know what is and isn't racism.

    I'm not. I'm commenting on his trying to draw a parallel between black invisibility and what Clint Eastwood did on stage. He's implying that by talking to a chair, Eastwood was just being another racist white man, and I'm calling BS.

    What does it mean to be "wrong about how he feels?" He has no reason to feel insulted as a black man by Clint Eastwood's bit. Though, to be honest, I have my doubts that he actually does feel insulted, given that he's a commentator on the left and their penchant for crying racism whenever Obama is criticized.

    To reiterate: Nonsense.

    Yes, I know. I just told you that. And I told you that because you attempted to say that Bouie was talking about Republican race-baiting.

    No one is taking him to task for it because he's talking about white people, and making broad-strokes comments about white people is perfectly acceptable in our society. But to your point, this isn't about being fair to conservatives. It's about not making every little thing about race. And while I agree that there is a disturbing amount of racism coming from the right, liberals have invented just as much of it. I remember we had a discussion about this some time ago (but since you think my bad memory makes me an idiot, I'll defer to you in this case to find it for yourself) and I established the fact that the left spends much of its time doing this.

    The larger context is politics, not racism. But then, I suppose in your world, where the Republican party consists entirely of old white racists...

    Dissected is fine, so long as the emergent theories are valid. "Eastwood was being racist" isn't a valid theory.

    Add to that the time I said "of course I included him." I don't know who you're arguing against, but it's certainly not me in this case.

    As is integrity, judging by my sparring partner...

    No, they do. I'm just telling you what it is, since you apparently didn't know.

    As I said earlier, I've already shown it. Go back and find the thread; we've had this chat before.


    Even if that were true, the inclusion of that moment is wrong. That's what I've been saying this whole time.

    Of course not. And by the same token, history does not become applicable simply because you say so.
     

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