Archive - Sep 2013

September 19th

Fun With Racism, Poverty, And Disease

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Memo to American racists, House Republicans, and Mike Huckabee: YOU ARE DUMB.

In case you were wondering how long Monday's respite from feelings of deep, abiding cynicism would last, the actual answer is "about six hours". But cynicism is elastic, and it's only now, four days later, when it's truly back to full strength. And it's a good thing, too, because there's a lot of awful out there, and there's only one SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY a week.

American racists outdid themselves this week, taking to Twitter and comment threads to protest the choice of Nina Davuluri as this year's Miss America. Davuluri was born in Syracuse, NY, which means she's exactly as American as I am, but she's ethnically Indian, which means to racists, she's an Arab terrorist who should go back to where she didn't ever come from.

Racists are never funnier or more pathetic than when they're mad at someone for being the wrong ethnicity. I don't mean "any ethnicity other than white", which they always think is the wrong ethnicity, I mean they get the ethnicity wrong. Well, OK, there's one time they're even funnier. When they're not only horrible but also wrong, and anyone points it out, and they shout "political correctness run wild" or smear it on their walls in their own poo? That's a bit funnier.

It's just regular correctness that's running wild. And no, you can't, as one ABC News commenter did, blame multiculturalism for the fact that you can't tell the difference between cultures. That's like blaming six-digit numbers for the fact that you can't count.


So, yesterday, House Republicans voted to cut SNAP, which, five years after its rebranding, we still have to say "you know, Food Stamps" after, by ten percent. This was apparently big news for some reason. I mean, House Republicans vote for stupid shit that the Senate is going to ignore all the time. They're now repealing Obamacare every week just out of habit. Tuesday is Pizza Day, Thursday is bagels, Wednesday they repeal Obamacare.

They insist that they love hungry poor people and children, they just hate the lazy freeloaders abusing the system to the tune of somewhere around one percent. So they're cutting ten percent, telling everyone it's only going to hurt one percent, but I'm convinced their real goal is just to be shitty.

I mean, you could argue that maintaining a permanent underclass is vital to corporate profits, and that if you make people jump through enough humiliating hoops in order to not starve, they'll either take jobs well below a living wage or just steal stuff so that we can pay a lot more than $100 a week to private prison companies to lock them up, but I don't think it's that nefarious. Nefariousness requires cleverness.

They want to kick poor people for being poor. They enjoy it. It gets them off. It's no longer even trying to pretend that the Greatest Country In The World doesn't have poor people in it. All that convoluted causal stuff that got them started hating the poor has been refined down to the point where it's a tautology. They hate the poor because they hate the poor because they're supposed to hate the poor and it feels good to hate the poor. The snake is eating it's own tail. But at least it's not going hungry.


I've never been able to find enough direct quotes to muster a full column out of it, but Mike Huckabee went on the damndest tirade about three weeks ago on Fox and Friends. As far as I can tell, his point was that we shouldn't have Obamacare, the government should instead put its will and brainpower into curing diseases like cancer, the way they did with sending a rocket to the moon.

And the reasoning for doing this was that, left to their own devices, private industry could make more money treating the diseases than they would curing them, so only the government, with its lack of interest in profit, could actually cure cancer, if Obama would just let them.

This is, to steal a march from How Did This Get Made, bananas. First, how does Mike Huckabee not know that the government does try to cure cancer, to the tune of the Apollo program dozens of times over? I get how Fox and Friends wouldn't know that, on account of it being a thing in the world, but Huckabee is pretending to think he can be president.

And second, the entire rest of it! The government that can't do anything right except blow up Hitler that one time and put dudes on the moon that other time, as far as Huckabee is concerned, is going to cure cancer? Is curing cancer, which is a whole bunch of things, as easy as putting people on the moon, which is basically just physics and explosions plus a little bit of engineering to keep the air in?

About the only parts of his tirade that line up with conservative orthodoxy is that you can do anything if you just want it hard enough, and thus failure is always the result of weakness; and the idea that somehow, cancer is Obama's fault.