April 03, 2012

Lt. William Calley

Lt. William Calley

I share my Taki colleagues”€™ dismay and disgust regarding the fly-by-night carnival I”€™m obliged to refer to”€”in accordance with his mother’s stated wishes“€”as the Trayvon MartinTM Affair.

I, too, detect that unmistakable odor of media malpractice in the air: the miraculous discovery of a previously unknown race”€”the “€œwhite Hispanic”€; the predictable arrival of those human hyenas Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (and worse, the media’s respectful treatment of these two unrepentant humbugs); and now, news that NBC edited George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound more “€œracist.”€

Then we have Spike Lee apologizing for directing lynch mobs to the wrong house, the knock-off T-shirts, and the dramatic rise in Skittles sales. My bullshit detector won”€™t stop beeping.

And yet…

I”€™ve spent much of my online life talking dejected comrades off political ledges. When a “€œright-wing Christian”€ shot up the Washington, DC Holocaust Museum, I helped publicize evidence that the guy was, in fact, a 9/11 truther who hated Christians, especially that “€œneocon”€ George Bush. In short, his rantings were indistinguishable from random comments at the Daily Kos.

“€œWhen you find yourself feeling nostalgic for the My Lai Massacre, it’s hard not to conclude that the United States is in the deepest of trouble.”€

After the massacre in Norway last year, I helped counter received liberal wisdom about the “€œextremist right-wing Christian“€ shooter”€”whose “€œfascist”€ manifesto inconveniently quoted Naomi Klein and other progressives and who”€™d boasted that he hadn”€™t gone to church in seventeen years.

See, I have a personal blogging rule that costs me plenty of traffic. It also helps prevent unnecessary humiliation. That rule is: Wait for evidence before jumping to conclusions.

So I waited about a day to begin posting about Trayvon Martin, and I limited myself to exposing media and/or race-hustler exploitation. I”€™m not alone. At the time of this writing, the national conversation seems pretty balanced for a change (if that’s the right word for the sound of 300 million people screaming at each other). That is, thanks to a robust alternative media, a counter-narrative is challenging the mainstream’s rapidly metastasizing Emmett Till-inspired hagiography.

Now I”€™m worried about the Bubba Effect.

That’s what Glenn Beck called it in a show about the Trayvon Martin case. Beck claims he “€œlearned the expression from a former Special Ops agent.”€ (Now that you”€™ve finished rolling your eyes, I”€™d like to point out that “€œcrazy”€ Glenn Beck bought gold at $400.)

It’s a handy expression for a behavior we”€™ve all observed and maybe even practiced: Average Joes siding against the media/law enforcement/political authorities to cheer on a possibly shaky “€œundesirable”€ (maybe even a criminal) because that “€œbad guy”€ is a “€œBubba”€ like themselves.

Remember the rush to demonize Joe the Plumber or Sarah Palin”€”and the subsequent time-lapse-photography-style germination of grassroots self-appointed defenders? Are these three-minute-hate figures saints or geniuses? Of course not. But they”€™re “€œour sons of bitches”€ and “€œwe”€™re mad as hell,”€ etc., etc.


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