Now, one of the more interesting things about this story is that it broke on TPM. Actually, not quite. We first saw a tweet from David Shuster. Then we got confirmation of what happened from CNN and were the first to run the story. (This morning the RNCC essentially confirmed something rotten had happened.) But you may have noticed that one of the biggest news organizations in the world — CNN — has been remarkably tight-lipped about this.
So it’s worth noting why that probably is. There’s a normal and correct tendency for a news outfit not to want to make itself into the story. But this goes way beyond that and puts CNN in an exquisitely awkward position. CNN has been bending over backwards of late trying to position itself as the last holy beacon of objectivity and fairness in cable news, as Fox and MSNBC play to more clearly partisan audiences. Yet they’re under almost constant assault from conservatives for alleged (and basically mythical) liberal bias.
Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention is the GOP’s quadrennial ‘we love us a lotta non-white people’ fest. And given what I said above the last possible thing CNN wants is to rain on that parade or become the focus of a huge messaging nightmare if attendees were harassing an African-American member of their team. Certainly, the Convention organizers want to avoid discussion as much as possible too.
As a side note, one can only imagine how Fox News would be going to town over this had something somehow analogous happened to one of their staffers at a Democratic convention.
Journalists don’t tend to like non-transparency from other news organizations. And CNN’s relative silence (they did finally put out a basic report this morning) will, I suspect, generate a backlash from viewers outraged by the incident.
If this incident isn’t the breaking point for CNN, when will that breaking point EVER occur?
Aren’t any of them—besides Soledad O’Brien, who is clearly a fan of the series—watching The Newsroom?
There’s much to ponder in Washington Post opinion writer Harold Meyerson’s piece in yesterday’s paper, “In modern GOP, the old South returns,” but the take-away for me was his brittle characterization of the Republican philosophy as “We’re old, we’re white and we want our country back.”
The Republican ticket may hail from Massachusetts and Wisconsin, but Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan head the most Southernized major U.S. political party since Jefferson Davis’s day. In its hostility toward minorities, exploitation of racism, antipathy toward government and suspicion of science, today’s Republican Party represents the worst traditions of the South’s dankest backwaters.
No other party in U.S. history has done such a 180. Founded as the party of the anti-slavery North and committed to deep governmental involvement in spurring the economy (land-grant colleges, the Homestead Act, the transcontinental railway), today’s GOP is the negation of Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans. It is almost entirely white — 92 percent, compared with just 58 percent of Democrats. It is disproportionately Southern — 49 percent of Republicans live in the South vs. 39 percent of Democrats.
The beliefs of the white South dominate Republican thinking. As the white share of the U.S. population shrinks and the Latino share rises, Republicans have passed draconian anti-immigrant laws and opposed legislation enabling immigrants brought here as children to gain legal status. They also exploit racist resentments in a way not seen since the Willie Horton spot of 1988. Consider the Romney campaign’s ads falsely attacking President Obama for gutting welfare reform. “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” proclaims one such commercial. “They just send you a welfare check.” Obama’s plan, as several media fact-checking monitors have noted, does nothing of the sort. The spot clearly seeks to resurrect the kind of resentment of African Americans that the GOP exploited back in the days when welfare was a major program. The Romney campaign has evidently concluded, since virtually its entire pool of potential voters is white, that it must rouse the sometime voters among them with such expedients — which explains why it is running more of these ads than any others.
To that Meyerson is eager to add, there is a strong tradition of straight-up Southern-fried idiocy (which has nothing to do with racism) that the GOP establishment cynically embraces, religion and her superstitious handmaiden, scary, “burn the witch”-style anti-intellectualism:
In the anti-government column, the Ryan budget, which House Republicans enthusiastically adopted, would cut taxes disproportionately on the wealthy and halve the share of spending on every domestic, non-entitlement program. It would decimate education, transportation and funding for college students and scientific research. It would bring the nation down to the developmental level of the anti-tax, anti-public-investment Southern states of yore.
The ghosts of Dixie — of the Scopes Trial and the underfunding of public education — also pop up in Republicans’ willful resistance to science and, more broadly, simple empiricism. Global warming? Evolution? Homosexuality’s causation? How babies get made? Find a robust scientific conclusion and you can find a significant number of Republicans — adducing pseudo-science and faith — who oppose it.
If Todd Akin’s asinine comment about rape moved people as high up on the GOP totem poll as Karl Rove and Mitt Romney to call on him to step down from the Republican ticket in the Missouri Senate race, then why aren’t the GOP bigwigs (and the media and frankly every single woman in the entire US of A) calling for Paul Ryan’s head over his EQUALLY offensive, head-shaking, gob-smackingly stupid comment that RAPE is but a “method of conception”???
There could be no greater testament to the utter abdication of responsibility by what passes for a “news” media in America in 2012 than that, despite the grotesquerie of this cavalierly callous comment, chances are better than good that this is the first you’re hearing of it.
Here, watch it—and try to figure out why this has gotten NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA play (not even here at the Huffington Post) despite it being, to my mind, a far more offensive remark than Todd Akin’s imbecilic blurt of last weekend. What, are we tired of stupid remarks about rape now, so Ryan gets a free pass?
Given the demands for Akin’s resignation from a mere Senate race when his musings on “legitimate rape” were publicized, what do you imagine the reaction would be if people were as familiar with VP wannabe Ryan’s stunning statement? Might there be a cacophony of outrage? Might there be calls for his resignation from the ticket? Might there be a focus on how fundamentally oblivious these people who would make our laws are to not just women’s but humans’ rights and dignity? Sure, there might, but then of course people would have to have heard about it.
According to the man who would be the proverbial heartbeat away from the White House, and who in any event would—given Romney’s utter hollowness—have an inordinate influence on the judicial appointments that will determine how much freedom our children get to live under, RAPE = “METHOD OF CONCEPTION.” And yet, unless you’re a frequenter of one of a dozen or so lefty blogs—or my friend on Facebook—you probably knew nothing about it.
I truly despair for the country my 14-year-old daughter is inheriting. That a remark this intensely revealing of the danger posed by this ticket can go basically unreported is as nauseating to me as the quote itself.
Three wonderfully cutting satires of GOP morality appeared in the pages of Tikkun, America magazine and plenty of other places.
This “parable” of The Rich and Therefore Blessed Young Man was my favorite:
1. As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 2. And Jesus said to him, “What have you done so far?” 3. And he said to Him, “Well I was born into a wealthy family, got into a good school in Galilee because my parents donated a few thousand talents for a building with a nice reed roof, and now I have a high-paying job in the Roman treasury managing risk.”
4. Looking at him, Jesus felt an admiration for him, and said to him, “Blessed are you! For you are not far from being independently wealthy.” And the man was happy. Then Jesus said, “But there is one thing you lack: A bigger house in a gated community in Tiberias. Buy that and you will have a treasure indeed. And make sure you get a stone countertop for the kitchen. Those are really nice.”
The disciples were amazed. 5. Peter asked him, “Lord, shouldn’t he sell all his possessions and give it to the poor?” Jesus grew angry. “Get behind me, Satan! He has earned it!” Peter protested: “Lord,” he said, “Did this man not have an unjust advantage? What about those who are not born into wealthy families, or who do not have the benefit of a good education, or who, despite all their toil, live in the poorer areas of Galilee, like Nazareth, your own home town?”
6. “Well,” said Jesus, “first of all, that’s why I left Nazareth. There were too many poor people always asking me for charity. They were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they annoyed me. Second, once people start spending again, like this rich young man, the Galilean economy will inevitably rebound, and eventually some of it will trickle down to the poor. Blessed are the patient! But giving the money away, especially if he can’t write it off, is a big fat waste.”
The disciples’ amazement knew no bounds. “But Lord,” they said, “what about the passages in both the Law and the Prophets that tell us to care for widows and orphans, for the poor, for the sick, for the refugee? What about the many passages in the Scriptures about justice?” 7. “Those are just metaphors,” said Jesus. “Don’t take everything so literally.”
This just in: Apparently the “disgusting” new Skittles TV ad was enough to send conservative Christian woman’s group One Million Moms into an apoplectic fit. Now they’re snapping into action. The group, who in the past have called for the boycotting of JC Penny because the retailer hired Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson, sent out the following press release about the “bestiality” themed Skittles ad:
We are not sure of Skittles’ thought process behind their new ad, but if they are attempting to offend customers, they have succeeded. Skittles’ newest “Walrus” commercial includes a teen girl making out with a walrus. The two are on a coach in an apartment kissing on the mouth when her shocked roommate walks in on them. Parents find this type of advertising inappropriate and unnecessary. Does Skittles’ have our children’s best interest in mind? Skittles candies are for all ages, but their target market is children. Skittles Marketing Team may have thought this was humorous, but not only is it disgusting, it is taking lightly the act of bestiality. Let Skittles know their new ad is irresponsible.
Raise your hand if you think this ad puts a child—even one kid on the entire planet—in danger of wanting to make out with a large flippered marine mammal with tusks? Didn’t think so.
[Now all that needs to happen for this latest “boycott” to crawl up its own ass is for an ANTI-bestiality Christian candy company to…uh, take a stand. Then Mike Huckabee will tell all of the lemmings who listen to his radio show looking for clues on how to think (?!?!?) that they need to support this brave anti-bestiality candy maker by eating their fine sugary Christian products by the bagful. As if it was food… But all of this is really just a nefarious plot to dupe Mike Huckabee and One Million Moms into throwing their support behind the anti-bestiality candy maker… It’s all just an evil satanic ruse. The supposedly anti-bestiality candy maker is really owned jointly by Michael Moore, Michelle Obama, Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher. The real goal of this evil foursome being to give god-fearing Christians type 2 diabetes and make millions of dollars in the process. All of this will be exposed by WorldNetDaily and Donald Trump a few weeks from now, but I digress...]
I can’t believe One Million Moms thinks this is ad is so offensive. It’s just seems… kinda stupid to me. I will admit, though, that all the fuss made me curious about these “new” counter-intuitive Skittles flavors, so thanks for spreading the word One Million Moms! I’d never have heard about this product otherwise if you hadn’t taken the bait! (What a great way to increase the client’s ROI on an ad like this: Troll conservative Christians. They’ll get predictably outraged and then act as unpaid, hostile brand ambassadors! Maybe this deceptively stupid ad is is a lot smarter than I thought at first glance? It’s not just Skittle doing this, it’s Ragu, too)
One YouTube commenter, writing in support of OMM had this to say:
“Gross!! It makes me NOT want to eat Skittles. They have walrus and her spit on them!.”
If only more people knew that Skittles had “walrus” and spit (and probably walrus spit, too) all over them, then this Skittles boycott might actually catch on. Walrus spit?That’s disgusting!
Below, the offending Skittles commercial that arrogantly promotes the acceptance of an unnatural “lifestyle choice”:
Bill Nye, “The Science Guy” thinks Creationism isn’t appropriate for children.
At one point in this video, Nye explains that when he is confronted with an adult who seems stuck on Creationism as their primary reality tunnel, he tells them they can “deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”
Although best-selling author David Barton is held in high esteem by Republican pols like idiot queen Michele Bachmann (to whom he’s a “national treasure”) and Chick-fil-A booster Mike Huckabee (who calls him “the single best historian in America today”) as well as by conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck (who went even further out on a limb than Huckabee, calling Barton “the most important man in America”!) anyone with half a brain who has followed the career of David Barton knows that he is little more than a shameless rightwing Christian fabulist, making things up out of thin air and then claiming that they actually happened. Some people, who don’t know any better, i.e., his readers, actually believe him.
David Barton, you see, is the historian of the Tea party. There is practically nothing his audience of goofy ignoramuses won’t swallow hook line and sinker from him, even though it’s easily demonstrable bullshit. If you know your ass from your elbow, you would be highly suspicious that there was very little of scholarly value in Barton’s “research.” (Barton says of his critics: “I don’t know if it’s jealousy or liberalism.”)
Some of Barton’s greatest shits include claims that Jesus Christ would have been opposed to the minimum wage and socialized medicine, that the Constitution quotes the Bible “verbatim” and that Thomas Jefferson sent missionaries to convert the Indians to Christianity!
What percentage of Americans, do you think, would know the truth of the matter anyway? A depressing thought, of course, for most of us. For David Barton, however, these knuckleheads are his bread and butter!
Barton specializes in pulling “facts” out of his ass to bedazzle the folks who show up for his WallBuilders sermon/lectures around the country with amazing things they never knew about American history. Amazing things that never actually happened! But. again, what do they know? When David Barton is introduced to them as a best-selling author—and indeed he IS one—he would have certain presumed bona fides to an audience that is almost always comprised exclusively of white, evangelical Christians who vote Republican. Even when what Barton has to say is complete nonsense, his audience, taking their cues from the solemn heads nodding in agreement all around them, have no way of knowing that what he is telling them is bunk and so Barton’s “assertions” becomes history to them.
It’s pathetic. No wonder Glenn Beck holds Barton in such high regard. They’ve got similar shticks.
As with Beck, Barton’s entire career of telling historical lies, is predicated on the necessary ingredient of an audience of Billy-Bobs Bojangles who “don’t know much about history” (as in next to NOTHING) who just want to hear their “ideas” about stuff confirmed in a room full of people who look and think just like they do. Barton’s talent is telling an audience of not very bright people (I’m not being unkind here) who are predisposed to want to hear something that sounds like something they already believe (like the Founding Fathers were religious) so as to confirm that not only are God and Jesus on THEIR side, the Tea party, Christian team side, but George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams as well.
Several Cincinnati-area African-American pastors announced that they were boycotting the Thomas Nelson company—the world’s largest Christian publisher—for publishing David Barton’s Jefferson book, claiming he “whitewashes” Jefferson, a well-known slave owner.
Jay W. Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author with James Robison of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, spoke alongside Barton at Christian conferences as recently as last month. Richards says in recent months he has grown increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings, so he asked 10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.)
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”
Ouch, ouch and double ouch.
David Barton will be a special delegate from Texas to the Republican National Convention. Of course!
“5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.”
If you’re having trouble reading the letter, you can find a larger version here.
The most popular response came from the father of an adopted gay son, who goes by the handle, newvideoaz, apparently his first post on reddit. I think you’ll agree that it’s a pretty remarkable retort:
I’m the adoptive dad of a kid who came out when he was about 15. Yeah it’s sometimes difficult when this happens because no parent wants to see a kid we love get hurt - and like it or not - being gay can mean some people will wish you ill simply for who you are.
And that’s hard for any parent. But it’s no excuse.
As an adoptive parent, I’m not my kids “father.” That’s biological. But I am his Dad. Because “Dad” isn’t something that’s actually biological, it’s something you have to earn.
With my son , I started to earn it the day he was born, but it was pretty easy until his second year when he had an accident and got hurt. The doctor in the ER strapped him to the “papoose board” to immobilize him and was about to start stitching up his head when he told me it was time for me to let go of his little hand. He looked up at me and whatever he saw in my face, he instantly said “or you can stay I guess.” I have no clue what he saw, except the fact that getting me to let go of that tiny hand was about as possible one of us jumping up through the ceiling to the moon.
The lesson for me that day is that any idiot can be a father (and clearly many are) but you’ve got to EARN being a Dad.
When my son came out to us, same deal. I was concerned, because I never had to deal with it before in someone I love. But we simply hooked him up with 1 in 10 and went on with our lives.
So here’s the opinion of someone who’s been in your dad’s shoes, but didn’t have his sad mental baggage.
Your dad failed a really huge parenting test. Period.
So now he’s self selected to be your father, but not to be your Dad. That sucks. And the really sad thing is that he has absolutely no freaking clue about the real value of what he’s tossed away.
He’ll always be your father. That’s biology. But biology is fickle. We know this because while he has perhaps passed a lot to you via DNA, he did NOT pass along intolerance or stupidity. He can “disown” you in his brain all he likes, but that doesn’t mean much because he’s already proved that whatever his strengths might be, he’s allowed his thought processes and natural instincts to become seriously flawed. How you feel about him. Hurt, sad, angry, disappointed, that’s yours to shuffle as you see fit.
But trust me, this is about him, not you. I actually hope that someday he gets a change to look deeply in his heart and comes to understand how horribly, terribly he screwed this up. If so, he’ll maybe have a chance to start some personal redemption and healing. But he needs that. You don’t.
Cuz there’s nothing wrong with you. At all.
Stay strong. Take care. The world is changing fast. And for more people than ever, gay and straight, it’s changing more toward love and away from fear - at least in this particular area.
As they say on the Internet: ONIONS!
Of course, reddit being reddit, a couple of quipsters threw in some zingers:
“You should to his funeral and read that letter as your speech.”
“This would be the greatest ‘fuck you’ ever. Oh my god I’m so giddy right now.”
“And have it buried with him.”
“Burn it. And while it’s on fire, throw it in his casket. That guy doesn’t deserve the casket he’s in.”
Can’t say I disagree. What a fucking small-minded dickhead. I sincerely hope that he is made aware of how he’s being ridiculed. He, at the very, very least deserves that knowledge.
If you haven’t seen this hilarious and epic anti-Chick-fil-A rant from former HUGE Chick-fil-A fan Jackson Pearce, you have to watch it. Stay with it all the way to the end. This woman is a star. Jackson Pearce could conceivably be the “new Molly Ivens.” She’s that good.
It was Pearce’s call for protesters to videotape their interactions with Chick-fil-A that caused Arizona man Adam Smith to be fired from his job when he posted a YouTube video of his low-key, innocuous—yet ultimately misguided—protest. Smith has since had to go into hiding with this family (including two adopted special needs children) due to all of the death threats he is receiving, many of them coming from readers of the white supremacist website Stormfront.
Jon Stewart’s commentary on the Chick-fil-A controversy, “Fast Feud Nation” last night on The Daily Show was Stewart at his very best.
*There are, of course, exceptions to this. I would be remiss in not mentioning that my very own parents, who are super religious, do in fact run a soup kitchen. (Having said that, I have no doubt that they probably ate at Chick-fil-A yesterday if they were anywhere near one).
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.