You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to Jacqueline Hatch, Kirk Cameron, and Karen Handel: YOU ARE DUMB.
The world, as I'm sure you know, is full of assholes and other horrible people. Which means, in the course of everyday events, I need to prioritize. And as is my wont, every once in a while, I have a giant pile of un-mocked assholes in a loosely organized pile, and I take the opportunity around a flimsy premise like Thanksgiving leftovers to give them at least their brief due.
For example, judges. There are a lot of judges in America, and they can profoundly affect the lives of the individuals that appear before them. And like other walks of life, the American judicial system is rife with assholes, from Antonin Scalia all the way down to Arizona trial judge Jacqueline Hatch, who, in a moment of leniency, said the following to someone in her court:
"If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you. I hope you look at what you’ve been through and try to take something positive out of it. You learned a lesson about friendship and you learned a lesson about vulnerability. When you blame others, you give up your power to change."
Which sounds nice, except for a few pesky details. The lenience was for a cop who went into a bar, walked up behind a woman, and felt her up under her skirt. Hatch gave the cop community service and probation. And gave the above advice to his victim.
Give up her power to change what, exactly? Going to clubs? Wearing skirts? Someday, we're going to have the last vestiges of this misogynistic, 1950s, bullshit faux-morality purged from our collective system, but that day's a hell of a long way off.
Kirk Cameron's still an asshole. And because he was on a sitcom one time, whenever he's an asshole, we all get to hear about it. For example, he went on Piers Morgan's CNN show in March, said some of his horrible things about homosexuality, and people got riled up over it.
This is, as far as Kirk Cameron is concerned, Piers Morgan's fault. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"If Piers Morgan were truly concerned about the homosexual community, concerned with people being hurt, he could have eliminated that section, like he did many other parts of our conversation."
Now, don't get me wrong. I generally think that, given the opportunity, I'd like to have Piers Morgan doing a lot less stuff on TV than he is now. But broadcasting someone's hurtful comments doesn't cause the hurt. The comments do. And Cameron wouldn't be who he is and where he is if he weren't making a very comfortable living making hurtful comments to an audience of hateful people.
Hey, remember Karen Handel? The horrible, horrible person who tried to turn breast cancer charity into a political crusade against abortion and left the Komen Foundation in disgrace last year? Yeah, her.
Well, she wrote a book about the experience, and the title of that book should tell you everything you need to know about accountability in modern American politics:
It's bad enough that she's the latest in the right-wing community to co-opt the word "bully", invert the power dynamic inherent in the word, and try to use it to garner sympathy for themselves and tar their opponents.
But it is established historical fact that in the case of Karen Handel vs. Planned Parenthood, Handel threw the first punch. Then she got her ass kicked. That is not bullying. That is losing a fight you started, which is a very different and very unsympathetic thing, which is why she couldn't use it as the title for her book, I guess. But she's still an asshole.