Friday, April 02, 2010


It's hard to think of a context in which liberals would make fun of poor people on the basis that they can't spell. But god forbid that poor person is also ignorant!


Ethan said...

I saw this stuff on Digby's blog earlier today. I love the association with "ebonics." These people are as dumb as Black people, thinking they can communicate the way they communicate!

Jack Crow said...

Reminds me of an associate (to whom I gave some contacts in the Obama campaign, before I bolted for the wilderness, having taken the actual time to read his policy positions, and realizing to my great chagrin the colossal error for which I may never redeem myself) who's recently got himself a fixation with aping the great Apes of the Democratic Party.

His little cabal has a positive addiction to highfalutin mockery of Sarah Palin, caricatures of dumb rednecks, and cheap long distance psychoanalysis of tea partier sentiment.

Of course, they quite prefer the mild taint of repressed homosexuality implied by "tea bagger," and the nasty attacks on Palin per her gender.

I don't care for Palin, for anti-intellectualism, for the protofascism of Beck and company. But I share your disdain for the utter contempt for the poor, for poverty, for the social inequities which informs do-gooder liberalism.

I've met quite a few tea party participants (ah, New Hampshire), and a number of them have regressive attitudes with regard to race, and the place of women in society, never mind plainly undeveloped and mish-mashy economic understanding.

Others are just social libertarians with a petit bourgeois economic outlook.

One of those is a very good friend who, with the exception of a facility with weapons left over from his time as a war time Marine, is nothing short of enlightened, compared to the sneering liberals with whom I used to break bread.

His attitudes with regard to women, gender, homosexuality, racial injustice put their thin veneer of social civility to the short and brutal test. They come out lacking in quality.

I've never heard him use a woman's anatomy, or the allegation of concealed homosexuality, to belittle a political opponent. Being a Marine, I imagine he had quite a few black Sgts who were extremely competent, professional and intelligent, which may explain why he's never to my knowledge belittled poor white people by comparing them to poor black people.

And his favorite people are his very strong, Viking (really Nordic) mother and his proud, competent wife (who makes something like $75k a year more than him, running the NICU at the area hospital. Not threatened by strong, maternal women, he's instead drawn to them).

My friend my have strange notions (to mine eye) about economics, what cabal actually runs government, and the meaning of the word "socialism," but these notions don't bleed over into the rest of his psyche, transforming him into the best sort of ignoramus yokel a liberal can hate.

I don't think he spells all that well either, but neither does my nine year old, and he's scary, dangerous smart.

Sadly, that cannot be said of mine erstwhile liberal friends. Their reflexive contempt for the poor and un-credentialed (guised always as the most paternal of concerns) bleeds into everything they say and do:

The terrible original:

The awful "discussion":

And an example, to back up the point to which I've used so many words replying:

Ethan said...

As always, Daily Kos manages to take a bad thing and make it worse.

Ben There said...

Whether liberal or conservative, I personally have an extremely adverse reaction any time I get the impression that people are completely waiving their right to think for themselves and instead are having their belief system spoonfed to them by cynical people whose only aim is to exploit them. It may just be my own prejudice, but this phenomenon seems VASTLY more prevalanet among the tea party types.

So I'll admit I'm guilty of the transgression that you are pointing out here. Not necessarily proud of it though.

Ben There said...

And how 'bout that. I managed to misspell a word in the above comment. ("prevalanet"?...really more of a typo than a misspelling, but how appropriate!)

Jack Crow said...


So right. A kosnikaut, following a discussion on how people too poor to shop above the Walmart paygrade are really all just idiots decided to share his further equation of AAVE with "teabonics"

The irony of course is that "ebonics" (African American Vernacular English) is a real, structurally cohesive, prevalent, grammatically unified, legitimate dialect of English.

As is the the version spoken by poor white people who have the phonetic sense to translate phonemes into the likeliest letter, instead of opting for the less intuitive French and Latinate constructions preferred by credential junkies.

Jack Crow said...

* - should have been "spoken by the majority of poor Southern white people, which is Southern American English... Sorry.

JRB said...


I think it's easier to see when other people "waive their right to think" than we succumb to this ourselves. I honestly don't believe any group is more prone to this than others, it just manifests itself in different ways.

Personally, I can't get away from feeling that this is a lot like reading the novel Native Son and coming to the conclusion that the main character is a murder. Yes, that's true; but at the same time there's this whole other story going on which explains a lot about how that came to be.

I'm not saying we should overlook the ugliness that is coming out of distressed communities; to the contrary, some of us have a responsibility in addressing it -- for instance, nice, straight, white dudes such as myself -- but this requires understanding the whole story about what has happened to these communities first, and at some level sympathizing with them.

Jack Crow said...


Do you think that participation in control over the lives of others tends to efface empathy?

If so, do you think that a striving to emulate authority (see Ethan's example of Kosnikauts) can produce similar results?

JRB said...

Jack Crow,

As for the depositing of one's testes into the mouth of another is concerned, rest assured that this can be accomplished in thoroughly wholesome, non-gay way.

Jack Crow said...

Double heh, and yes.

I'm just noting that the implied repressed homosexuality is used as an attack.

Ben There said...

Good point JRB. I'm a born and raised East Texan (born into republican conservativism) and somewhere during Bush Jr's presidency I realized how little of my political philosophy I had actually given any independent thought to. I realized how much I had been spoon fed and how much I bought into, just sure how "right" I was and the glaring lack of sense that made given how little I actually knew. I went about changing that (by educating myself on these things) and did a political 180 as I got a better grasp on how the world actually works.

Now that I'm a liberal/communist/anarchist/socialist/nazi/America-hatin'/anti-Christian/etc's obviously much easier to see the groupthink flaw in those of the tea party persuasion.

The point you make is valid though, and nobody will ever change anything by denigrating the other side. In fact, those truly in power love our divisions. They need it to maintain their position.

JRB said...

Jack Crow,

Speaking of sex, I just want you to know that I am thinking *hard* about many of the issues you have raised in your comments, and I hope to have a respectable answer after the weekend. See you all then.

Ben There said...

Jesus Christ what is with typing today. Punching the responses out too fast for my own good. "Conservativism?" I'm on a roll.

Pat said...

This is peevishness, of course, which is not the opposite of anti-intellectualism, although is frequently mistaken for it.

Having said that, all grammar errors among the English First crowd are free game. Morans.

almostinfamous said...

in short, "Don't be a Dick" ?

it's way harder than it seems...

Anonymous said...

"[A]ll grammar errors among the English First crowd are free game. Morans."

down with the downtrodden! how dare they not be educated!

d.mantis said...

Ben There,
This is exactly the point. Division of revolt is no revolt. Sweet baby jesus, there was a golden opportunity to bridge the divide between the social democratic party, african americans and the white-lower middle class by appealing to common economic alienation after the bank bailout.

Instead liberalism couldn't stomach going into a few Walmarts and actually engaging people in discussions centered around their own best interests and NOT bullshit talking points.

Hey, style points matter. Our president plays basketball and can correctly structure a sentence after all...

d.mantis said...

By the way, I am a member of said white-lower middle class AND shop at Walmart.

Lest anyone think I am pulling a kos.

JM said...

You all realize however that socialism is exactly what they're afraid of, yes?

JRB said...

Yes. Because if ever there was a term of political discourse that everyone assigned an identical meaning, "socialism" must be it.

Like the colleague I saw on Sunday who told me the "commies" were making us work on Easter.

JM said...

Well, isn't that what we desire? A socialist or anarchist revolution? If so, do you think tea party members can be reached and persuaded to join the fight?

I'm not saying the anxiety is false, just that we aren't doing anything to lessen the impact of Glenn beck, alex jones, etc on the working class

JRB said...

Jack Crow @ 11:31: I think our politics is so much a religion of the state that it's easier to see what we have in common with our rulers than with our neighbors.

In other words, we look to people in power who share our "values," rather than valuing people who are comparably powerless.

Jenny: I think so, but a working class alliance would develop out of a diversity of perspectives; it wouldn't be predicated on everyone identifying "socialist," or whatever. More likely people would identify as "American."

Jack Crow said...

"I think our politics is so much a religion of the state that it's easier to see what we have in common with our rulers than with our neighbors.

In other words, we look to people in power who share our "values," rather than valuing people who are comparably powerless."

I'm just going to "thumbs up" this statement because any additional commentary will only gum up the works.