Monday, January 17, 2011

Yeah, What They Said...

What Victor Davis Hanson said:

Arguments that the liberal community is less prone to reckless speech, or has far less tolerance for those within it who use violent imagery and language than does the Right, are unconvincing. I don’t remember a Krugman column or a Sen. Patrick Leahy speech on the toxic Nicholson Baker novel, the Gabriel Range Bush assassination docudrama, the Chris Matthews CO2-pellet-in-the-face/blowing-up-of-the-“blimp” comments about Rush Limbaugh, the “I hate George Bush” embarrassment at The New Republic, Michael Moore’s preference for a red-state target on 9/11, or the Hitlerian/Brownshirt accusations voiced by the likes of Al Gore, John Glenn, Robert Byrd, George Soros, and so on. So why the disconnect? Politics for sure, but I think also the double standard has something to do with style, venue, and perceived class.

If a progressive imagines killing George Bush in a tony Knopf novel or a Toronto film festival documentary, or rambles on about why he finds his president an object of hatred in a New Republic essay, or muses in The Guardian (cf. Charles Brooker: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. — where are you now that we need you?”), then we must certainly contextualize that hatred in a way that we do not in the crasser genres of commercial-laden talk radio, or an open-air demonstration placard. The novelist, the film-maker, the high-brow columnist, the professor can all dabble in haute couture calumny (cf. Garrison Keeler’s “Brownshirts in pinstripes”); the degree-less, up-from-the-bootstraps Beck, Hannity, or Limbaugh behind a mike cannot. What is at the most atypical, out of character, or in slightly bad taste for the former must be a window into the dark soul of the latter.

So when suave, sophisticated, and cool Barack Obama talks metaphorically of knives, guns, enemies, punishing, kicking ass, relegation to the back seat, get angry, getting in their face, hostage takers, trigger fingers, tearing up, etc. we are supposed to think of it quite differently than George Bush, the swaggering Texan, speaking of “dead or alive,” “smoke ’em out,” or “bring ’em on” — even if, empirically, one might find Obama’s confrontational expressions far more frequent and used far more in a domestic context against American political opponents than Bush’s Texanisms, which were spoken of radical Islamic terrorists.

In short, we are asked to believe that Sarah Palin’s use of crosshair symbols is confirmation that trigger-happy Alaskan yokels cling to their guns and incite violence, whereas sophisticated liberals, with their campaign maps replete with shooting targets on Republican districts are at most “edgy.”
And what Don Surber said, more colorfully:
The left wants us to be civil — after being so uncivil for a decade.

Bite me.
Yeah, what they said...