Archive - Oct 2010

October 22nd

Putting The Exception In Exceptional

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Memo to Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck: TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY.

What do those three people have in common, besides a gigantic media presence, a combined intellect that could barely power a smoke detector, and a fondness for small children?* They're all people I have essentially excluded from the column over the years because the dumb shit they do and say is their job. They get paid to do it. So unless they actually fuck up at their job, they're outside of my purview.

But today they get a bit of space, because they illustrate larger points. Well, OK. Two of them did. Beck just opened up what to my knowledge is a new front for him in his siege on reason. But it fit the theme.

The question of racial motivation for the extreme opposition to the Obama presidency is traditionally met with the snide strawman that the left just calls anyone racist who disagrees with Obama. Which of course isn't the point, but if they didn't consistently miss the point, they wouldn't be the assholes they are. Case in point, Limbaugh, tiny ruler of a shrinking radio empire, eclipsed by Beck in the pudgy, bald, and crazy categories, who said this on his show recently:

"These pictures, they look demonic. And I don't say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I'm not saying anything here, but just look. It is strange that these pictures would be released....It's very, very, very strange. An American president has never had facial expressions like this. At least we've never seen photos of an American president with facial expressions like this."

Limbaugh was referencing one of those "in-motion" bad frame pictures the AP took of Obama recently. He doesn't look demonic, he looks goofy, but whatever. The point isn't the "demonic" stuff. The point is the part where he compares Obama's "facial expressions" to all his predecessors. Gee, what's different about Obama's face that could cause Limbaugh to see him as separate from all the other U.S. presidents? I wonder what that could be.

There's a lot of stupid and a lot of crazy, but after you discount all of that, what's left is that a black man took one of the few remaining things in this country that was the exclusive privilege of whites, and people like Limbaugh cannot fucking stand it.


And speaking of broadcast xenophobia, Sarah Palin leapt to the defense of Fox News' Juan Williams, formerly Fox News and NPR's Juan Williams, on the occasion of him no longer becoming NPR's Juan Williams. She used her favorite form of communication, her Twitter feed, and spouted this:

"NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if u exercise it. Juan Williams: u got taste of Left's hypocrisy,they screwed up firing you"

NPR dumped Juan Williams because Williams went on O'Reilly and said it was perfectly natural and OK to be afraid of people in "Muslim garb" if they're on an airplane. Which is basically a full-throated defense of American Islamophobia circa 2010.

Juan Williams didn't lose his First Amendment rights. I said this when Imus was fired, and I'll say it again. If your job is saying stuff, then your employer can fire you for saying stuff if they don't like the stuff you say. That's a job performance issue. If your job's something other than saying things about politics for a living, then you get cut more slack. But NPR isn't the government. It gets no direct grants from the government, even. They can hire and fire their pundits over job performance issues.

Plus, the controversy led Fox to give Williams a multi-million dollar deal. The fucker got a promotion for hating the "right" type of brown people in the right place. Because in the right wing media, the enemy of my enemy gets a big, fat paycheck.


And speaking of big, fat, and paychecks, here's what Glenn Beck is getting paid to say this week:

"How many people believe in evolution in this country? I'd like to see. I mean, I don't know why it's unreasonable to say this. I'm not God so I don't know how God creates. I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet. Did evolution just stop? Did we all of sudden -- there's no other species that's developing into half-human?"

Now, I pay as little attention to Beck's blackboard scrapings and rambling madness as I can manage to these days, but I have to say, I don't remember him ever giving this blatant a defense of young-earth creationism before.

If I know the way the right wing media interacts with conservative politics as well as I think I do, there's only one reason for this - defending Christine O'Donnell, who's repeatedly outed herself as a creationist, first through a Bill Maher clip, then through evasions, then while trying to evade the question at her infamous debate. Creationism's been on shaky fucking legs ever since Dover, and creationists have been cut a lot less slack in the public sphere.

Beck's creationist rant actually mirrors and echoes O'Donnell's Maher clip, wondering why there aren't any monkeys evolving into humans RIGHT NOW. Well, where's your answer to that, mister smarty scientist? He's trying to rehabilitate and re-mainstream creationism the way he mainstreams other insane conspiracy theories, so that O'Donnell doesn't look as ridiculous as she is.

And it might even work. Beck's very good at what he does, which is to essentially position himself as the spiritual leader of the new Religious Right. His attacking evolution this prominently was inevitable, and why he's doing it now is transparent and obvious.

*I may or may not have made that last one up for two of them. Which two? You make the call.