Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Let the circle be unbroken. From a thread about Michael Steele's "white Republicans are afraid of me" remarks on Sunday:I’m terrified of Michael Steele the same way Mary Jo Kopechne was terrified of Teddy Kennedy. This ride is flat scary, and I want off.In less than 30 words, this commenter compresses the conservative response to white liberals and all blacks into the singular image of a threatened white woman. I would stop and note that the white female martyr in question worked with the man who supposedly terrified her and willingly entered a vehicle with him on that unfortunate evening, but that would be beside the point. It is not the woman herself to whom conservatives appeal when they utter her name, but what happened to her as imagined through their eyes. Their horror at Kopechne's death (and their subsequent insistence that in it can be found the root of all ideological evil) reminds me of nothing so much as the origin story of Rorschach in Alan Moore's Watchmen. (Such obsessions happens when writing a book.) His moment of decision—the moment he became, a la Bérubé, outraged by Chappaquiddick—was when he discovered some fabric that had been purchased by Kitty Genovese shortly before her murder: What turns Rorschach into the misogynistic psychopath deplored by a witless Anthony Lane but beloved by many a conservative? The seventh and eighth panels tell you all you need to know. They are not presented from Genovese's perspective: the scene-to-scene transition from panel six to panel seven clearly indicates that they're Rorschach's reconstruction of the indifference she witnessed as she bled out before the eyes of friends and neighbors. She is no more a person to him that Kopechne is to those who claim to speak for her and yet, like conservatives, Rorschach claims her death for his own purposes. I would continue, but I don't feel comfortable speaking for the dead. Would that others shared my discomfort ...
Dan Riehl? Still a racist, only now a homophobic one. Last month, I documented Dan Riehl's reaction to the perceived threat posed to him by, in his words, "pretty young, not that big [black] kids" who never confronted him. He responded, as conservatives of his stripe do, with some juvenile homophobic "humor." Point being, because I'm not inclined to give demonstrably puerile racists the benefit of the doubt, you can imagine my reaction when I read the following in his recent post about ACORN:Breitbart's video busts told us what they do best. The pathetic part in all this is that they were not just allowed, but encouraged to run wild on taxpayer funding by corrupt liberals, including Obama. They should all hang together if you ask me. How long will it be before corrupt Democrats find a way to back door them the money? I bet they're accustomed to the back door. Maybe Barney Frank should spearhead the effort? In the two short sentences I emphasized, Riehl manages to 1) invoke the language of lynching against the first black President and a predominantly black organization, and 2) equate illegal activity with the sexual practices of homosexual men. He will protest that the latter doesn't make him a homophobe (despite the overt association of homosexual sex with a criminal act) any more than his call for a metaphorical posse to host a metaphorical lynching is evidence of racism. He will be wrong: the fact that the first metaphor that occurs to him when criticizing blacks is a hanging party tells us that when he disagrees with blacks, he couches his disagreement in terms of stretched necks and strangled bodies. People for whom that is an instinctive response are people who are racists. Therefore ...

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