Monday, May 14, 2018

From the International House of Hot Takes: what motivates white bigots? Liberals!

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

The lively competition between The New York Times and The Washington Post for national readership has produced some great reporting, especially after Election Day 2016.  But sometimes it produces nothing more than a race to see who can serve up the tallest stack of steaming hot takes.

Not 48 hours after the Post offered up the diary of its expedition to darkest whitest America (see the post just below this one), the International House of Hot Takes d/b/a The New York Times Opinion Pages managed to top them with a really heaping serving (approximately 90% of the front page of the Sunday Review) of one of its trademark warmed-over hot takes: white bigots continue to support the Grifter-in-Chief because those liberals are so, so mean to them.

On its face the claim is absurd: white bigots have been voting for the white man and the party they judged least likely to undo the pervasive evils of slavery and institutionalized white racism since their effort to bust up the United States went toes-up.  Was that all the fault of liberals?

Fun fact: apologists for white racist Southerners insisted then and now that it was! If only Abe Lincoln hadn't been so mean to them, all the unpleasantness of the Civil War could have been avoided.

So the take has been with us for a long time.  Why The Times felt it should devote so much prime Sunday acreage deserves a closer look.  But first, let's have a go at the, um, merits of the argument.

We won't even go over the stale whines about how racists and reactionaries feel underappreciated at college campuses, except when they are showered with millions by the Koch Brothers for expounding views that the Koch Brothers are willing to pay for.  Let's go right to the cause of white disenchantment.

Did you guess Barack Obama?  Now what about this good man who spent his entire life, not in squandering his daddy's inheritance in a bunch of overleveraged casino deals whilst screwing his workers, his creditors, and anything else that was white, busty, and available, but in working to improve the lives of all Americans by among other things pulling the economy out of its free fall and ensuring that all Americans, even the white ones, would have access to health care whether or not they had taken millions from the Kochs.

Are you seeing why white bigots would hate such a man?  What about him chapped their flabby white butts?  Anything about him?

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

You'll never guess what President Obama did to earn the enmity of these good white folks.  Unless of course you've read the 500 previous versions of this hot take:
When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking. These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, “Obama caused Trump.”
Right.  That one privately expressed inconvenient truth is why white bigots loyally supported President U Bum then and now.  If only Obama had not expressed his frustration at not being able to reach people whose economic interests he so tirelessly advocated, they would have not mocked him as a Kenyan-born Muslim terrorist.


But the author of this piece doesn't just recycle the same lame-o talking points that have been pinging around the right wing alternative reality universe for years.  He helpfully provides ways that liberals can atone for the error of their ways and win back these solid citizens:
After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don’t pick that fight?
So that's the secret?  If only those liberals would allow perfectly innocent and law-abiding citizens to suffer humiliating bigotry solely because of their sexual preference or identity, white bigots would rejoin the Democratic Party?  And if Lincoln hadn't had the effrontery to resupply Fort Sumter, we could have avoided that whole Civil War.  But he did, because the principle of the preservation of the Union, just like the principle that all persons are entitled to procure publicly-offered goods and services without fear of humiliation, is more important than the hurt feelings of bigoted white snowflakes.

By the way, does anyone think that U Bum voters would return to the Democratic fold if the Democrats abandoned their commitment to LBGTQ equal treatment?  If so, you're much smarter than those dumb liberals.

Speaking of smart, the author of the piece is one Gerald Alexander, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia.  Anything interesting about this guy?  Let's ask his students:
Alexander is incredible! Fun guy, and great material. This course is reading intensive, but 6 2-page essays with exception of 15-page final are easy to get A- on. Word of caution, if you are Jewish, this course has material and students, that defend offensive theories of the Holocaust.  
It doesn't get funner than that.  (It appears that whilst Prof. Alexander is willing to admit the Holocaust actually happened – and might white of him too – he takes a very dim view of European countries who criminalize Holocaust denial as hate speech, because of course it's just speech and only idiots would be offended by speech.)

But we don't really care about what some jackass who teaches politics at UVa thinks about the Holocaust, liberals, or anything else.  What concerns us are why the editors of papers like the Times and the Post publish these weary hot takes as if they were sparkling contributions to a “diverse” editorial page.

"The liberals made us do it!"
There's a lot of dumb shit that white men say on Twitter or Reddit that's stupid and hateful, but that doesn't without more make it worth acres in the Times Sunday Review.  If these editors were really interested in diversity, maybe they would try a little harder to bring us the views of those folks who aren't white men.

And running a gamut from moderate liberals to racist apologists leaves out about half the universe of opinion.  Where's Sarah Kendzior, who compares what's happening now to the subversion of democracy in Eastern Europe?  Where's Ta-Nehisi Coates?  We don't necessarily agree with him, but if you want a diverse perspective, wouldn't he bring one?  Where are the eloquent Latina writers that aren't so hard to find elsewhere?

We went a college often described as the University of Virginia of the North.  So did a lot of other not-so-dumb liberals, some of whom went on to become editors at the Times and the Post.  We thought most of them were a**holes (Full disclosure: they thought the same of your columnist), but they were smart and had some baseline level of intellectual integrity, or so we thought.  So why are they now passing off these hot takes as contributions to the national debate at this, one of the darkest hours in the history of the Republic?

We don't know.  Maybe we're not as smart as we thought we were.

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