Monday, March 18, 2013

Shit-kicker conservatives?

If there's anything as loathsome to me as racism, it may be the way that many and perhaps most of us like to use stereotypes to demean a group, arguing ad lapidem or using a stereotype designed merely to unite a disparate group for the purpose of disparagement. It's one of the things Bill Maher does sometimes, that Rush and Hannity and others do all the time. It's a sin few of us are free of.

If he's right in saying that many small groups can, often with the assistance of the fair and balanced media achieve a level of influence that belies their small membership, I'd prefer that he'd do so without the cheap stereotypes. 

"From the NRA to “One Million Moms, powerful conservative lobbies that don’t reflect the values of the American people can somehow dictate what politicians on both sides are willing to stand for." 
Well yes, but so can lobbies in general, that's what they're for -- and so can lobbies that don't "kick shit"  but can and do kick the facts around just a bit. I don't think we can assume for instance, that because the NRA has only four million members  it doesn't reflect something similar to what a great deal more than four million voters believe to an extent -- rightly or wrongly.

I have severe misgivings for instance,  about the facts behind many of the pet straw men of the right and left  and sorry, there's no shit on my boat shoes -- besides, the greater issue is far too non-funny to treat in this way.    There are fewer opportunities for burlesque when describing what may be a larger plurality in America -- the moderates, the centrists, the pragmatic and the analytical.  And so we either ignore them or try to force them into a category we know how to mock, because too often mockery, hyperbole and stereotypes  are all we have.

If there's humor in the street theater we get instead of news, I'd have to bring up the crowds waving angry signs and shouting slogans like "no weapons on airplanes" in response to the TSA's decision to allow golf clubs and tiny knives so small that a diminutive Gerbil could carry an 'arsenal' in one cheek.  One "fact kicker" activist found it worthwhile to wave around a large and lethal  hunting knife for the cameras recently in hope that the sort of liberal Maher characterizes as never having met a regulation they didn't like, would identify one with the other and fail to ask how someone would take command of a jetliner with a putter or lacrosse stick much less a "weapon" hardly big enough to sharpen a pencil.  Are these people a majority or would they all fit into a VW beetle?  They'd like to make you angry enough so that you won't ask.  Does it help to dismiss the right wing faithful as "shit kickers" while we bang on the ban drum about making soft drinks illegal and prosecute parents for photographing their kids in the bathtub?  They don't miss a chance to stereotype us and we make it easy for them.

Will it take some sort of Buddha to remind us that there is a middle path, that Agnew was wrong and extremism is pretty much a vice all the time, that mockery is as much the tool of the bigot and racist and liar and crook as well as of anyone, that cynicism and sarcasm and the throwing of stones are dangerous techniques for those not beyond reproach?  Maybe, maybe not and perhaps that Buddha would risk crucifixion -- it happens.  


d nova said...

hey, how u doing? way too long since i've been here.

let me get the small stuff out of the way first: spiro agnew said 'effete corps of impudent snobs' and 'nattering nabobs of negativism', but i'm pretty sure it was barry goldwater who half-assedly defended 'extremism in the defense of liberty' and condemned 'moderation in the pursuit of justice'.

on the issue of stereotyping to demean, i don't know what the shitkicker reference was, but i think i'm with u about 90% of the time, tho when i hear anybody say regulation produces uncertainty that kills jobs or high-end tax cuts create investment and jobs or guns reduce violence or a fertilized ovum is a person, i can't help thinking 'GIGO' and 'RWNJ' and 'reptoid'.

they're not put-downs. they're descriptions.

d nova said...

wait. it must've been *negativity, not -ism. sounds better, anyway. bet quotation site got it wrong. imagine that!