Where Is The Outrage?

by Belle Waring on February 17, 2007

This is somewhat tangential to the recent Edwards-bloggers incident. Amanda Marcotte has been recieving some loathesome hate mail, some of which she excerpted on Pandagon. The site is down right now but I’ll insert a link when it’s back up. (It’s my understanding that Melissa McEwan has been getting similar threats, though I don’t know if she’s posted any. And yes, they are two completely different people.) Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom, in the course of a post which can pretty fairly be characterized as “they were asking for it”, notes that “some of the emails, apparently, resemble the kind that Michelle Malkin receives on a daily basis.” This moves me to note that people on left sites do say crazy sexist and racist things about Malkin all the time. I think she’s a bad person, and out at the dog-whistle end of annoying, almost outstripping the human capacity to detect maddening stimuli (cf. thisYouTube video, which achieves the heretofore-thought-impossible feat of making me wonder for a moment whether she might not be crazier than Pam Oshry). Nonetheless I often see people in comments threads go straight to the “me love you long time”. That ain’t right, people. In related news, as a feminist I heartily condemn the Iranian government’s treatment of women, just not in a way that makes me want to drop tactical nukes on the women.

{ 136 comments }

1

Matt McIrvin 02.17.07 at 4:42 am

Blog commenters like to say crazy sexist things about Ann Coulter too, which I think is nuts, since she is so intensely horrible that you’d think they’d have other ready material to use.

2

ogged 02.17.07 at 4:43 am

Thanks for posting this. Malkin might be the worst American not employed by the Bush administration, but too many folks don’t understand that you can’t insult someone based on their group membership without insulting everyone in the group.

As for the nukes, we ought not fall for this extra “tactical,” as if they’re something other than nuclear bombs.

3

Scott Eric Kaufman 02.17.07 at 5:00 am

You’re so pretty when you’re angry, Belle.

4

foolishmortal 02.17.07 at 6:16 am

I take the point to heart. Yet I am conflicted: are we to let venoumous slurs,perfectly appropriate to the moment and target, languish in the service of a broader good? Such a course might be appropriate, but I see a need to argue for it, rather than assume that the struggle to attain gender-neutral profanity must override all else.

Consider the following: Malkin is willing to dramatically change her beliefs and prescriptions to accomodate the currently profitable political interests. In so doing, she feels it expedient to justify perhaps(apologies to Mr. Scott and Tears et al) the most official act of racial injustice in U.S. History.

In the first case, Ms. Malkin shows herself to abandon her principles for monetary gain. In the second, she demeans the Asian community in service to imperialism.

“me love you long time” summarizes this condition perfectly.

I understand that a Filipina woman might be strongly offended by this, and most should: Malkin, however, is not among them.

5

Doctor Slack 02.17.07 at 6:53 am

The “me love you long time” shit is definitely wrong. OTOH, Malkin writes for a white supremacist site and would seem to me to be simply beyond the pale, which is even further beyond the dog-whistle end of annoying. She’s already outstripped and compounded the worst crappy snark imaginable, worse than the most clueless not-wingnuts could come up with. She gets points for having the guts to actually go to Iraq, but this simply moves her into the category of “vetebrate.”*

(* The humour-impaired should note I do not literally believe Malkin was an invertebrate before she went to Iraq.)

6

Wade 02.17.07 at 7:59 am

ogged: but too many folks don’t understand that you can’t insult someone based on their group membership without insulting everyone in the group.

Is that really the best reason for the taboo? Isn’t it that your race, sexual orientation, or whatever forms a part of your identity that’s supposed to be off-limits?

7

ogged 02.17.07 at 8:38 am

Isn’t it that your race, sexual orientation, or whatever forms a part of your identity that’s supposed to be off-limits?

In some kinds of discourse, yes, but not in the insult game. Foolishmortal is absolutely right that for an immigrant woman with Asiatic features who whores herself out to racist political causes, “me love you long time” is a great insult. Malkin’s identity is fair game, particularly insofar as her own defense of internment tries to justify using identity against people. But, sadly, we forbear, because there’s no way to deliver the insult without demeaning all women and immigrants.

8

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 9:19 am

Mr. Foolishmortal,

Michelle is my kababayan (homegirl), and I am on her side of course, but I will limit my comment to that business of “demeans the Asian community”.

There is no “Asian community”, and certainly not on the matter of the Japanese internment. East Asian cultures are more diverse than those of European nations.

Malkin is a daughter of Filipino immigrants, not Japanese. Filipinos and Japanese have absolutely nothing in common, not language, culture, manners, religion or customs. Filipino-Americans do not naturally mix socially with Japanese-Americans, certainly no more than they do with any other ethnic group in the US. There just isn’t any particular affinity.

Filipinos, like most East Asians, also have an old grudge against the Japanese. We Filipinos of a certain age grew up with stories of the war and Japanese atrocities and of revenge against the Japanese. And there was the universal experience of Japanese residents who turned out to be spies, soldiers and agents, who had flooded the country for years before the invasion. This was a universal experience for Filipinos, part of the national myths by now.

It may even be that out of all Asians the Filipinos have been the most willing to forgive. There is little anti-Japanese bitterness in the Philippines today, nothing like that which is still common in China or Korea. But to forgive is not to forget.

Whether or not Malkin is correct, her writings are no betrayal of anyone. One can even say they are true to her heritage.

9

bad Jim 02.17.07 at 9:22 am

Nearly everything I know about Malkin I read on Orcinus, where her advocacy for and defense of the internment of undesirable immigrants is considered harmful.

Nothing else I’ve read about her suggests that she’s in any other respect a reasonable person.

We should certainly question our motives and proclivities before heaping scorn on a member of any class long abused, and this caution would automatically, for assorted reasons, include any Filipina. But sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.

10

bi 02.17.07 at 9:34 am

ogged: Can’t we just call her a “self-hating Pinay”?

11

Henry (not the famous one) 02.17.07 at 10:15 am

And while they are not as vile as the racist/sexual spew that some so-called lefties direct at Malkin, which is disgusting regardless of the context, the schoolyard taunts that some left/liberal bloggers use for their opponents (“Assrocket,” “whiny ass titty baby,” “Howie the Putz,” whatever they call Jonah Goldberg) are also self-defeating. It’s not just that these nicknames make the writer sound like an eight-year old, but the fact that they are passed around by a circle of bloggers makes them look like somewhat dim eight-year olds. Which is, as we know, a right-wing criticism of the left blogosphere: that it is 100 different sites recycling the same tidbits.

Which gets to a different point: the fixation that many in Left Blogistan have on their counterparts in Right Blogistan. I don’t read Little Green Footballs or Powerline or the others, so I don’t know if the other side has the same tendency, but the obsessive interest in much of the LB in what the RB has to say seems to crowd out other topics. It’s as if your local newspaper came with a sports section four times as long as the national and international news.

12

novakant 02.17.07 at 11:55 am

Belle seems to be presupposing that there aren’t any genuine racists/sexists on the left – that’s unfortunately just not the case.

13

otto 02.17.07 at 12:01 pm

That Pam Oshry/ Atlas Shrugged vlog is astonishing.

One of the benefits of apartheid ending before the interwebs reached us all is that we didn’t see comfortable middle class women in Kent with uncles in Pretoria vlogging their support for the Africaaners and their distain for the black Africans. Oshry’s vid gives a glimpse of what vlogging for settler colonialism would have been like.

14

MR. Bill 02.17.07 at 12:04 pm

One of the “proverbs of Satan” by William Blake is “opposition is truest friendship”. And someone made the observation (and I haven’t a clue whom) that some peoples intellect and expression is formed in opposition to things, and rather like tennis, needs a good return to grow as a player. We are all to some extent reactionaries, in this way…
It’s precisely the way one group of players in the Blogwars is trying to hold their real or perceived opponents to standards they don’t themselves remotely meet is this bizarre thing, and source of much of the anguish (and blog postings). BTW, Howard Kurtz seems objectively to have differing standards for, say, Glenn Reynolds than Amanda Marcotte…
And henry(not the famous one), my local paper (the Atlanta Journal Constitution) often seems to have at least twice the copy on sports than national/international news.. and the ‘newshole’ for those sections isn’t growing..

15

rea 02.17.07 at 12:46 pm

“the obsessive interest in much of the LB in what the RB has to say seems to crowd out other topics”

The LB and the RB are engaged in public debate, and in a debate, you respond to the other side’s arguments as well as making your own.

16

jonst 02.17.07 at 1:00 pm

Henry,(not the famous one)

You comment regarding the 8 year old strikes me as pretentious, judgmental, and silly. Ridicule, specifically, nicknames, has always been a part of confrontation. True, personally, I like it in small doses, and juxtaposed, hopefully, with wit, wisdom, and where possible, factual authority. But it does have its place.

As to not reading ‘Right wing’blogs….well, perhaps you should sometime. Clearly generalizing, nonetheless,I would argue that the ‘Right wing’ blogs represnt the official, second tier, most times, but official just same, wing of the BushCo.And therefore worthy of some study. While ‘Left wing’ blogs are clearly outside the mainstream of the present Dem leadership. Much to the chagrin, i might add, of the ‘Left wing’ blogs. I think Peter Daou’s article on this dynamic makes enligtened reading on this dynamic. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-daou/the-broken-triangle-pr_b_13691.html

17

cvj 02.17.07 at 2:03 pm

Luis, as a Filipino, i don’t think ethnic cleansing should be considered part of our heritage. Nothing in our recent history justifies that reputation. Michelle Malkin is a disgrace to her parents’ homeland. For obvious reasons, i don’t want to think of her as Filipina anymore than Norwegians would want Karl Rove to be considered one of their own.

18

harry b 02.17.07 at 2:08 pm

I remember a withering editorial in Socialist Outlook in the late 80s which took someone to task for calling Nigel Lawson a “clever fat Jew”. It said that the complainer had “managed to comment on the only 3 things about Nigel Lawson that are unobjectionable”.

19

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 4:07 pm

Mr. Cvj,

WWII in the Philippines was a disaster that we lucky people today cannot imagine. It is natural that a Filipino would have a very limited sympathy for Japanese Americans. It is much better to be interned by Americans than be starved and massacred by Japanese.

The real heritage of the Filipinos with respect to WWII however is in fact forgiveness. And Filipinos did not ethnically cleanse anyone.

As for Malkins politics, she would not be very controversial in Manila at all. There would be some university intellectuals who wouldn’t like her, but she could do well in the Filipino media. She would improve the tone in fact.

20

Michael Bérubé 02.17.07 at 4:14 pm

I gotcher outrage right here, Belle. Seriously, I’ve been reading through those threads as well, and — even though I think Collins’s implied “Michelle Malkin = Melamandissa Marcottewen” moral equivalence is, how shall I say this politely, utter horseshit — it’s really an appalling experience. I left a brief comment to try to call a halt to the “me love you long time” crap in Atrios’ comment threads, and a few people picked up on it. But you know what they say about tossing a message into a sea of a thousand comments.

21

pedro 02.17.07 at 4:24 pm

Michelle Malkin’s position on internment is deplorable and worthy of harsh condemnation. It is a shame that her ethnic heritage gets dragged (and ridiculed) into a discussion in which it bears no relevance whatsoever.

This last year I have been dismayed to discovered the strident and disturbing voice of a certain populist strain of Democratic partisans, a voice that–as a recent immigrant to the U.S.–I hadn’t heard before. The “Stephanie Miller show”, for example, is replete with racially charged mockery, and when I first discovered that show, I was actually shocked (naive of me? you bet).

22

harry b 02.17.07 at 4:33 pm

I can just confirm, perhaps to pedro’s relief, that this strain is not limited to non-white non-anglo-saxon immigrants. I have had some distinctly unpleasant experiences with self-styled leftists when, for example, calling people for GOTV or fundraising purposes. Experiences that made me wonder what on earth these people would have been like if I’d had, for example, less than perfect english.

23

sara 02.17.07 at 4:37 pm

Would it be more acceptable for Malkin to turn the other political direction and directly hound the Japanese for not acknowledging their war crimes in WWII? She hasn’t done this but chooses instead to suck up to the Bush administration by defending the American internment of the Japanese in WWII.

And yes, it’s psychologically understandable but still sick that some non-whites end up on the far-right side, defending political principles and political cultures that would have termed them “wogs” in the old days of Empire.

I refer to Dinesh D’Souza, too, who is following a Coulteresque path of descent into raving madness.

24

cvj 02.17.07 at 4:51 pm

Yes Luis, WWII was a disaster for us Filipinos, but i don’t see anything ‘natural’ in blaming the Japanese Americans. It only takes a bit of thinking to see that such a knee jerk association is misplaced, and i can assure you that most Filipinos are capable of such reflective thought. I don’t see how Malkin would improve the tone of Philippine media. Our local media (and politics) has more than its share of faults but, thankfully, overt racism is not one of them.

25

Chris 02.17.07 at 5:01 pm

You’re right on about the way some “liberals” attack Malkin (seriously, there’s enough substance to make any insult or slur unnecessary, people). However, having just watched the linked Pam Oshry video, I think it’s safe to say that her position as the right wing blogosphere’s craziest is safe, even given Malkin’s cable access news nonsense.

26

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 5:06 pm

Mr. Cvj,

I don’t know, it seems to me there is more frank and acceptable racism in the Philippines than is normal in the US. People complain about the “intsik” all the time, among other things.

And opposition to immigration (back when immigration TO the Philippines was desirable, oh how we have fallen!) was the Filipino norm.

As for the Filipino newspapers and TV, I don’t know what you watch, but Malkins usual tone and level of discourse is superior to most commentators if you ask me.

27

abb1 02.17.07 at 5:10 pm

With Ms. Malkin, I think her being a vehement anti-immigration advocate combined with her appearance and background create the impression that she is a victim of the “zealous convert” syndrome.

Sorry, but zealous converts are funny. An obsessive anti-immigrant Southern redneck is not funny, but an obsessive anti-immigrant Asian women, daughter of green-card holders is funny and does deserve ridicule, sorry.

Yes, it’s a bit unfair, sorry. Tough luck.

Wait, I think I have the world’s smallest violin around here somewhere.

28

Scott Eric Kaufman 02.17.07 at 5:23 pm

Oof, I need to pay more attention, as I didn’t understand the “me love you long time” thing one whit. Please, ignore #3 people, for I am an idiot. I will now pay penance by…reading some Malkin and figuring out what people are talking about. (From what I can gather, that should be penance enough.)

29

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 5:33 pm

Mr. Abb1,

You are wrong here, at least from the point of view of the Filipino-American community. There is nothing unusual there about being against immigration, particularly in the second generation. And this, I understand, fairly common in other such immigrant communities, even Mexican-Americans. My own father in law, an immigrant from Mexico, was against immigration. Life is full of ironies.

30

cvj 02.17.07 at 5:35 pm

Luis, yes our people gripe about the ‘intsik’ (Chinese-Filipinos), but it comes from the standpoint of economic grievances of an impoverished majority vs. a privileged minority. Opposition to immigration has also been driven by economic insecurities. Outside that, our peoples have generally gotten along fine in terms of ethnic relations. As i said previously, i don’t see how Malkin’s racist tone and discourse could be an improvement over the local fare.

31

John Emerson 02.17.07 at 5:43 pm

I agree about the use of slurs against Malkin and Coulter, but the stunting of invective is distressing. It’s like you’re always fumbling around looking for the second or third arrow in your quiver.

I agree that someone who obsessively and exclusively uses racist or sexist slurs is problematic, but if you’re throwing everything you’ve got at someone, if you don’t use the most obvious weapons of all it makes seem that you’re not really trying, thus emboldening the enemy by making you seem weak.

I mean, Andrew Sullivan (for example) is a fat complacent bloody-minded Eurotrash piece of shit, but if that’s all you say he knows you’re holding something back and he loses his respect for you. (As I understand, people in the community manage to slip in a little dig at his particular practices, but most of us don’t have that kind of refined vocabulary.)

32

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 5:47 pm

Mr. Cvj,

US opposition to immigration is for the most part based on the same kinds of insecurity, there is nothing special about it. It is also a class-based anxiety, much stronger in the lower than the upper classes. The WSJ is all for immigration.

When we in the Philippines were dealing with Vietnamese refugees thirty years ago there was much complaining about taking them in because they would take jobs from poor Filipinos.

Back in the 1950’s Filipinos worried about competition from cheap Chinese “coolie” labor (thats how the newspapers referred to it), not economic domination. The Chinese only became a “priveleged minority” later.

33

cvj 02.17.07 at 5:56 pm

Luis, opposition to immigration because of economic insecurities is not evidence of racism, much less Malkin-type racism.

34

engels 02.17.07 at 5:58 pm

There is nothing unusual there about being against immigration, particularly in the second generation.

Yes, “zealous convert” is not the right word for this phenomenon. Perhaps we could call it, after Wittgenstein, the Tractatus 6.54 syndrome.

Belle seems to be presupposing that there aren’t any genuine racists/sexists on the left – that’s unfortunately just not the case.

As one has come to expect from Novakant, this statement is wrong in a number of ways, but I’m not sure it’s really worth trying to explain why to someone who just types up his confused opinions as if they are self-evident truths.

35

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 6:01 pm

Mr. Cvj,

If you leave out the attitude to immigration then I don’t see anything racist in Malkin.

36

cvj 02.17.07 at 6:07 pm

Luis, that’s one hell of a blind spot.

37

nick s 02.17.07 at 6:08 pm

[deep sigh]

The oh-so-predictable and oh-so-dull ping-pong-ball jokes are so fucking out of line. And yet — and yet, if it were a middle-aged white man expressing the same opinions, I do wonder if he’d have been promoted so rapidly through the wingnut ranks.

The potted bio here is harsh, but I’ll defend the contention that “[i]f she didn’t have tits, she’d be stuck writing at Townhall.com.” Would anyone else have got away with putting out that piece-of-shit internment book through a vaguely reputable imprint?

As for the nicknames, it wasn’t the left that used the noms de blog ‘Hindrocket’ and ‘Big Trunk': in that case, the alternatives write themself.

38

abb1 02.17.07 at 6:22 pm

Luis, it’s OK for a second generation or even for an actual immigrant to be against certain aspects of immigration or even against all immigration. I don’t have a problem with that.

But what’s with the rage, the zeal? C’mon, you have to admit it’s bizarre, it’s odd, it’s ridiculous.

39

Grand Moff Texan 02.17.07 at 6:48 pm

Nonetheless I often see people in comments threads go straight to the “me love you long time”. That ain’t right, people.

It’s like being an unlawful combatant: you don’t abide by the rules of civil society, you do not benefit from the rules of civil society.

Somebody said something racist about a racist? My heart bleeds, really it does.
.

40

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 7:11 pm

Mr. G.M. Texan,

1. It reflects badly on the person hurling the insults, it implies a lack of manners, a lack of prudence, a lack of propriety, and no sense of proportion.

2. It is read or heard by third parties who may feel they are included in the slur, or get the idea that the combatant holds such views in general and not in particular.

41

Luis Alegria 02.17.07 at 7:13 pm

Mr. Abb1,

Zeal ? From what I have seen she gets into immigration topics only on occasion.

Rage ? That is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Is she more enraged over this than anything else ?

42

abb1 02.17.07 at 7:23 pm

Luis, I don’t read Malkin, I only get snippets like this: http://mediamatters.org/items/200604010001 . I think it’s pretty far-out stuff. Even Patrick Buchanan doesn’t say this kind of stuff. White supremacists are supposed to be saying these things.

But maybe this is not typical of her, I don’t know.

43

Matt S 02.17.07 at 7:25 pm

My objection to Malkin stems not from what she actually writes, as she seems a garden-variety conservative. Yet she consistently refuses to engage legitimate criticism of her work and instead paints her opponents as hateful racists and sexists. Alas, she always has a few e-mails at her disposal from so-called liberals that confirm her warped perception.

If she were truly hard-hitting, as her recent portrayal by Howard Kurtz suggests, then she’d engage her dissenters by their strongest arguments. This sort of discourse, alas, isn’t lucrative for upwardly-mobile conservative pundits.

NB- I should note that she did engage in a dialogue of sorts with Eric Muller of isthatlegal over Japanese internment, but her usual shtick is punching really hard and then complaining when her opponents punch back

44

Grand Moff Texan 02.17.07 at 7:25 pm

It reflects badly on the person hurling the insults, it implies a lack of manners, a lack of prudence, a lack of propriety, and no sense of proportion.

Welcome to the internet. Did you tell your tea-party where they could find you, or are you hiding a tracking device in your frilly sleeves? (In case you mistake my sarcasm for dimissal, what I am saying is this: I understand this audience and you clearly do not.)

It is read or heard by third parties who may feel they are included in the slur, or get the idea that the combatant holds such views in general and not in particular.

While I am not responsible for other people’s inadequacies, I do know how to pick my enemies.
.

45

fred lapides 02.17.07 at 7:27 pm

Malkin and Linda Chavez and Copulter et al are dolts not because of anything other than their dumb views of things. Of course bloogers and those commenting on blog posts are also simpletons,but this is because of the “democracy” of the web that makes it so easy to post nonsense without editorial oversight.

I recall Malkin saying it would be fine to lock up all the Muslims in this country in camps just the way the Japanese were locked up in WWII–an idea she approved of though since then the American govt srealizes it was a mistake…but as a lady with heritage from Phllipines, as noted, little regard for the Japanese.

But these issues asdie: lots of venom and from both Right and Left and so increasinglyh we leave blogs behind us or read useful posts but ignore comments.
In sum: the web is filled with crap and it iss often best to avoid what you know in advance will offend.

46

Grand Moff Texan 02.17.07 at 7:29 pm

From what I have seen she gets into immigration topics only on occasion.

Immigration is Kurtz’s red-herring from yesterday (or Thursday?). Meanwhile, back in reality, Malkin came to be seen as a vicious racist after she attempted to sanitize the Japanese internment camps of WWII and defended her afactual thesis against all professional attempts by real historians to point out the truth.

So, someone sent a high-profile Asian-American to prepare public opinion about what happened to the Japanese, linking to the issue of Muslims among us (i.e., the very cover of her book).

It’s one thing to be a vicious racist. It’s quite another to be a vicious racist for hire. What sense of “proportion” should I use in dealing with such an un-person?
.

47

Rasselas 02.17.07 at 7:40 pm

Unlawful combatants may or may not be entitled to all the protections accorded to lawful combatants in all circumstances, but still they benefit from the limitations that civil society imposes upon itself because of the greater danger of lawless authority.

Becoming a bigot in responding to bigots does more harm to society than whatever meager and temporary rhetorical advantage might be lost by refusing to use bigoted insults.

48

abb1 02.17.07 at 7:42 pm

…using group slurs against individuals is bad politics since it insults everyone in the group.

Not necessarily, depends on the slur. For example, you can call Clarence Thomas “uncle Tom” all you want, (or even Colin Powell – “yessir, Massah George” – is this a ‘group slur’?) and hardly anyone is offended.

49

John Emerson 02.17.07 at 7:54 pm

Luis is right, though, G.M.T. Besides being wrong and hypocritical, using group slurs against individuals is bad politics since it insults everyone in the group.

Just for reference, here’s the Asian-American Bush-Kerry pre-election polling:

Kerry was most favored over Bush by Hmong respondents (65-15%), followed by Chinese-Americans (58-23%), Indian-Americans (53-14%) and Japanese-Americans (42-38%). Bush, on the other hand, was most favored over Kerry by Vietnamese (71-11%), Filipinos (56-30%), Koreans (41-38%) and Pacific Islanders (40-37%).

So there’s really no “Asian-American vote”, and as Luis says, there’s really no reason for there to be one.

I do regret having a more limited repertory of invective, but I do agree that we shouldn’t use racists and sexist slurs.

50

John Emerson 02.17.07 at 7:55 pm

I should have said that there uis really no such thing as an “Asian-American” since they really have no common identity. This is relevant to something said above, not necessarily by you, where it was assumed that it’s unusual or especially offensive for someone from one Asian group to attack members of another Asian group.

But the main point is that you can’t attack Malkin on grounds of race and gender without insulting everyone of that race or gender. The “me love you long time” smear (i.e., “your mother is a whore”) has been a sore spot for several friends of mine with Asian mothers and (Caucasian) American fathers, and you can’t really hit Malkin without hitting them.

51

John Emerson 02.17.07 at 8:03 pm

49 to 50. Some kind of glitch.

52

Grand Moff Texan 02.17.07 at 8:07 pm

So there’s really no “Asian-American vote”, and as Luis says, there’s really no reason for there to be one.

I don’t know what you’re getting at here, unless you’re responding to something else. I said that Malkin’s book was aimed at sanitizing internment, not that it had some impact on an Asian American vote. I’m not sure what the Asian American component of Malkin’s audience is.

As for what is acceptable ad-hominem, I think it’s pointless to discuss since it’s already beyond the pale. If you think it’s wrong, that’s fine. I just see racists as fair game, including their race (real or imagined).
.

53

josh 02.17.07 at 8:29 pm

Harry at 18: that’s brilliant.
I must say, I don’t see the dilemma here. Malkin and Coulter are ignorant, disingenuous, authoritarian, more-or-less racist hacks. If you want to engage in ad hominem attacks, identifying them as such has the benefit of 1) being true, 2) being fair (since it addresses not only their personal identities, but the qualities of their work that deserve criticism), and 3)offensive only to those who deserve offending — as opposed to those groups whose victimisation by the likes of Coulter and Malkin provides the most compelling reason to attack C and M in the first place. To attack them on the basis of race and sex, on the other hand, is not only counter-productive, in winning them some misplaced sympathy from some quarters; it also brings the attacker a bit closer to being like C and M themselves. And that’s something we surely all want to avoid.

54

Luis Alegria 02.18.07 at 12:47 am

To all with an interest in this –

As an example of Filipino attitudes towards Japan today, and journalistic practice, I recommend the late Max Solivens last column – this is obviously the work of a reminiscing old man, but it gives the flavor of what works there, which is a sort of Walter Winchell approach.

http://philstar.com/philstar/show_content.asp?article=287985

Max Soliven was the dean of Philippine journalism, perhaps the most popular writer in the country even on the day he died. In a lot of ways Michelle Malkin reminds me of him, in the straightforward, non-PC opinions, the range of interest, the lack of restraint. She could probably get a columnist job in Manila tomorrow.

55

Belle Waring 02.18.07 at 2:51 am

oh noes norbizness will starve without pancakes

I actually think the Uncle Tom thing is counterproductive as well. Condoleeza Rice deserves to be criticized because she’s really bad at her job. the tempting house nigger/psychosexual dynamic with Bush is probably just as well left to the side. to the extent the Uncle Tom characterization points to something real (and I think it does), I would take it a lot better coming from another black person than from a white liberal.

emerson is right that this means depriving oneself of some choice insults when the person you want to criticize is a woman, or a minority, or whatever. that’s just the price of not being a total asshole. I could probably get in some good jokes about Krauthammer being a crippled jew, but I think I’ll stick with pointing out that he’s a depraved moral monster whose ability to learn from the past compares unfavorably to that of a skinner-box trained squid.

whether my continued blithe good cheer in the face of mocking Hugh Hewitt’s man-boobs speaks to my deep, feminazaical hatred of men is left as an exercise for the reader.

56

Dæn 02.18.07 at 3:06 am

Not necessarily, depends on the slur. For example, you can call Clarence Thomas “uncle Tom” all you want, (or even Colin Powell – “yessir, Massah George” – is this a ‘group slur’?) and hardly anyone is offended.

But, as you note, neither of those slurs are categorical in the way that the n-word is. They refer to certain subtypes of blacks rather than the group as a whole, and are thus publicly acceptable in a way that the n-word and me-love-you-long-time are not.

57

Walt 02.18.07 at 3:22 am

Luis has convinced me that Filipinos are savages unfit for civilized society.

58

Walt 02.18.07 at 3:23 am

I predict that in the next ten minutes, norbizness will post this:

I was so outraged by the outrage at the lack of outrage over the outrage, I was unable to finish a second helping of pancakes.

Shut up, Senator Inhofe and Woody Allen, y’all ain’t gettin’ a dime out of me.

59

norbizness 02.18.07 at 3:33 am

I was so outraged by the outrage at the lack of outrage over the outrage, I was unable to finish a second helping of pancakes.

Shut up, Senator Inhofe and Woody Allen, y’all ain’t gettin’ a dime out of me.

60

dr ngo 02.18.07 at 5:08 am

I knew Max Soliven (well, I met him once, when I arranged for him to speak to a group of students on a field trip in Manila). Interesting man. I’m sorry he’s dead.

Michelle Malkin is no Max Soliven.

61

Barry Freed 02.18.07 at 5:27 am

walt: how the hell did you do that?

62

John Emerson 02.18.07 at 5:33 am

Barry 5:27 — This whole thread is disordered. 50/50 my post will be ahead of yours.

63

SG 02.18.07 at 7:06 am

my philosophy is: if you were debating any of these issues in the pub with anyone, which insults would you consider using? I certainly would never ever call someone an asian whore if I were arguing immigration with them in a pub. I probably would shy away from calling a bald, muscly young white man a fascist unless I was really far into my cups. It`s easy to get out of control on the internet, and I think it reflects badly on one as an individual if one is willing to say from a distance what one would not say in person.

Generally I think if one were arguing with Ms. Malkin in person, one would point out that her heritage was inconsistent with her views, and ask for a justification. If at this point she started screaming and trying to scratch one`s eyes out (which I rather think she would), one would have obtained the satisfaction of knowing one was right. And if anyone watching approved of this kind of behaviour, we can all be fairly confident that they are beyond the reach of rational discourse. I think the same kind of logic should apply on the internet, and I think most people who use the “love you long time” lines are simply trying to say impolitely from a safe distance what they would be forced to say politely in person.

Just one of the many ways in which the internet has contributed to an increasing loss of civility in public debate…

64

Luis Alegria 02.18.07 at 7:20 am

Mr. Walt,

Perhaps I should do as Michelle Malkin has, and collect embarassing blog comments for a book. Yours would be No. 1 !

65

foolishmortal 02.18.07 at 7:46 am

63: Were I confronted with a malkin, I would under no circumstances promise to love her long time.

That said, luis’ original post is sadly correct: there is no “asian community: a good joke has been spoiled. We must, with due respect, abandon the “me love you long time.”

66

Luis Alegria 02.18.07 at 9:00 am

Mr. SG,

“It`s easy to get out of control on the internet, and I think it reflects badly on one as an individual if one is willing to say from a distance what one would not say in person.”

Bravo ! Well said.

“Generally I think if one were arguing with Ms. Malkin in person, one would point out that her heritage was inconsistent with her views”

This is not at all obvious. Why is her heritage inconsistent with her views ?

“If at this point she started screaming and trying to scratch one`s eyes out (which I rather think she would)”

Highly unlikely. This is not “the done thing” at all, it is most un-Filipino. The usual Filipina response, unless the person in question is certifiably insane, is to turn on the charm. That is much more effective. I think Malkin knows how to use that weapon.

67

abb1 02.18.07 at 9:30 am

I could probably get in some good jokes about Krauthammer being a crippled jew, but I think I’ll stick with pointing out that he’s a depraved moral monster…

But being a depraved moral monster (the way Krauthammer is) doesn’t humorously contrast with either being a cripple or a Jew.

Suppose Krauthammer was a maniac opponent of the Americans with disabilities act and a neo-Nazi – wouldn’t it be different?

68

abb1 02.18.07 at 10:52 am

#56 They refer to certain subtypes of blacks rather than the group as a whole, and are thus publicly acceptable in a way that the n-word and me-love-you-long-time are not.

Me-love-you-long-time is not an equivalent of the n-word. Me-love-you-long-time is an equivalent of uncle-tom: Asian woman eager to serve her white masters. Or at least this is my impression.

69

Brett Bellmore 02.18.07 at 1:46 pm

Just in the interest of a little intellectual honesty here, most “opposition to immigration” in the US is opposition to illegal immigration. Pretending otherwise is just a rather annoying rhetorical tactic.

70

Uncle Kvetch 02.18.07 at 2:03 pm

Yes, yes, all very true, wouldn’t want to stoop to their level and all that. But my God, there has to be a Coulter exception in there, doesn’t there? Check out this delightful exchange from Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” in which Matthews asks her what purpose she could have for referring to Michael Dukakis as a “Greek midget” when criticizing Dukakis’ policies. You’ll notice that Coulter simply changes the subject, and Mr. Hardball lets her do it (concluding the segment with a cheery “Ann Coulter, always fun to have you on the show”).

After reading about that appearance by Coulter, I wrote the Hardball producers a very nice letter, explaining that I wanted to be as rich and famous without having to actually achieve anything, just like Ms. Coulter, and if I signed an agreement in which I promised to refer to Mickey Kaus as an “ugly little Jew” on national TV, would they book me on their show? They never did respond. Strange, that.

I dunno. When someone refers to Al Gore as a “total fag” for no discernible reason and the DC punditry treats her like a brilliant political satirist, it’s really, really hard not to point out that she looks like a strung-out anorexic transexual hustler after a particularly rough night working the docks. I generally do restrain myself, mind you…but it isn’t easy.

71

Barbar 02.18.07 at 2:10 pm

Right: if the Congress decided tomorrow that anyone in Mexico could legally walk into the US, Bellmore would breathe a huge sigh of relief that no more immigration laws were being violated. More intellectual honesty please!

72

abb1 02.18.07 at 2:55 pm

…most “opposition to immigration” in the US is opposition to illegal immigration.

Well, according to the Media Matters link upthread:

Echoing the Washington Times during the March 30 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin declared that Latinos protesting a recent House bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration believe in “reconquista,” or the theory that “the American Southwest belongs to Mexico.” Malkin added that “the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians.” Malkin also claimed the protesters were advocating “militant ethnic separatism” and “Chicano power,” and are “try[ing] to sabotage our sovereignty.”

Clearly, sounds like a dig at the ethnic Hispanics in general.

73

John Emerson 02.18.07 at 3:02 pm

Abb1, “Me love you long time” calls every woman Asian descent married to a Caucasian man a whore. Malkin grew up in the US and is a college-educated American, like her husband. MLYLT amounts to saying 1.) you’re really just a Filipina and b.) Filipinas are mostly whores.

Unlike Luis (probably), I am all for insulting Malkin, but the premise of that particular insult is obnoxious. If a Filipino were to say it about Malkin, it might be less a blanket ethnic insult, but it would be completely silly, since Malkin is an American who went to an elite school, not a Filipina.

74

abb1 02.18.07 at 3:20 pm

John, what does it have to do with “woman Asian descent married to a Caucasian man”? Hooker says MLYLT, not a woman married to a Caucasian man.

If you want to suggest that an Asian woman prostitutes herself to the white establishment, you say MLYLT; just like when when you want to suggest that a black guy is being a loyal servant to the white establishment (The Man) you call him an Uncle Tom.

75

John Emerson 02.18.07 at 4:55 pm

Abb1, trust me that this slur gets dug up a lot whenever anyone has a beef with any interracial couple (Caucasian man + foreign-born Asian woman). A lot of people jump to crude jokes very quickly — “Which bar did your mom meet your dad at?”, and it is hurtful and is intended that way. It’s not a snarky joke, it’s seriously intended. It’s racial bigotry that mixed race kids have to learn to deal with.

I’m thinking of people I know, but I myself am not mixed-race nor do I have an Asian wife. No conflict of interest. I’m clean.

Calling someone a whore is much worse than calling someone an Uncle Tom. Furthermore, the Uncle Tom thing is fishy when used by white people — the Republicans have been using it for a long time , for example Limbaugh with Obama right now. (Or George Will, Jesse Helms’s boy, talking about “blacks slaving on the Democratic plantation”.)

And last, as has been said, the “Asian” thing is irrelevant. Based on experience, many Filipinos resent Japanese more than they do Americans, and in any case, Malkin is an American, not a Filipina.

76

abb1 02.18.07 at 5:09 pm

Well, I never said nor did I want to imply, of course, that calling someone “me so horny” or “uncle tom” would be an acceptable political strategy or a serious political argument; I only argue that it’s not necessarily a “crazy sexist and racist thing” when used as a mockery, ridicule, as a satire.

But fair enough.

77

Barry Freed 02.18.07 at 10:09 pm

I’m clean.

Hey, that makes two. You and Barack Obama.

78

nick s 02.18.07 at 11:54 pm

most “opposition to immigration” in the US is opposition to illegal immigration. Pretending otherwise is just a rather annoying rhetorical tactic.

Tangential, yes, but Loud Obbs’ regular rants on English as an ‘official language’ and bilingual ballots make it quite obvious that it’s all about the Hispanics with him, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status. Until the protests start against Irish barstaff in Boston on overstayed tourist visas, pretending otherwise is just a rather annoying rhetorical tactic.

79

Thers 02.19.07 at 12:12 am

While Malkin does get racist abuse, it should be pointed out that she has a history of exaggerating how much she gets, and of what kind.

80

Walt 02.19.07 at 12:42 am

Luis, I notice that your devotion to “straightforward, non-PC opinions, the range of interest, the lack of restraint” ends as soon as you are the target of any of them.

Barry, don’t listen to John Emerson. I have the gift of prophecy. Unfortunately, it’s restricted to what norbizness might say in a Crooked Timber thread, so it’s not a big gift, but a gift nonetheless.

81

radek 02.19.07 at 2:04 am

That’s two times in the past two weeks that I find myself agreeing with John Emerson.

On the other hand I couldn’t help but snicker at this:
it’s really, really hard not to point out that she looks like a strung-out anorexic transexual hustler after a particularly rough night working the docks

Like Baudelaire said, “all laughter is satanic” or “all humor is based on cruelty”

(my old roomate once replied that “this says more about Baudelaire then about humor”. But this guy *really* had no sense of humor, so maybe it says something about both)

82

John Emerson 02.19.07 at 3:28 am

No one can be wrong all the time, Radek. Not even you / me.

83

Barry Freed 02.19.07 at 3:47 am

Sorry walt, I’ve been reading zizka for many years now and I’ve always found him well worth listening to. Though I’ll give you props on the subject of what norbizness will post. (Is it brain implants or something?)

84

SG 02.19.07 at 6:48 am

My last comment on this topic was about decency, and maintaining the rules of decent engagement. But it seems that the conservative and christian side of the web have long suspended the rules as far as their own behaviour goes.

I suppose at some point – if one advocates indecent behaviour – one should lose one`s own protection against it. For this reason I get a certain abstract satisfaction from hearing of pro-gun advocates getting shot. Similarly, if some idiot in Australia wants to tell me she deserves the right to publicly say offensive things about muslims (as one such idiot recently did) then yes, I deserve the right to lambast her for whatever group she is a member of.

And, unsurprisingly, when one does that one gets howls of outrage from the offended party. Which is, in some cases, the reason people do it. And I think in these cases it serves a valid role in showing that the right`s objection to “political correctness” tends to stop at the point where they lose its protection.

Not that I am suggesting that this is what left-wing people who say racist things to Malkin are always doing. But I think this is Abb1`s point, particularly for example at post 67.

And Luis, Malkin turning on the charm…?

85

Luis Alegria 02.19.07 at 7:24 am

Mr. Sg,

Yes indeed, turn on the charm. Filipinas absorb that tactic with their mothers milk I think. Its SOP to deflect direct personal confrontations, which are a Filipino cultural taboo. Public arguments in person just aren’t on.

It is normal in Filipino politics for people who have been accusing each other, through the press, of every sin in the old and new testaments to meet in person with perfect graciousness.

On another level, someones blogging/professional character often, or perhaps normally, has little to do with the way they come across in person.

As for losing ones protection from “indecent behavior”, the point is that these are public arguments with more than one recipient of your message. Whatever your judgement of your opponents state of virtue, it is imprudent to use an attack that creates excessive collateral damage. Some invective is the rhetorical equivalent of using a nuclear weapon to kill a fly.

As for the suspension of the “rules”, this happened long ago, and as I recall it was the left that began it. I have been arguing with this sort of person in one way or another for, oh, thirty-five years now, and I remember that far back. The tipping point in many places came in the sixties, probably. The conservative revival was a reaction.

86

SG 02.19.07 at 7:43 am

Well Luis, I meant … when has Malkin ever been “charming”?

I`m uncertain as to whether there is a way to point out the absurdity of demanding that rules of decency be waived for others (except not yourself) except to use the contradiction it implies. Can you suggest another? Sure, you can say polite things like “oh, well wouldn`t that mean that we can use bad words for your minority”, but generally the response to such a suggestion is for the person advocating indecency to pretend they wouldn`t be offended by the “rough and tumble” of discourse, etc. They of course behave very differently when the rough and tumble is pointed at them (a point someone else made above, I think, specifically about Malkin). Especially if they can`t be sure it`s a rhetorical device, which is when their commitment to “free speech” and the like gets tested.

And regarding the suspension of the rules being commenced by the “left” in the 60s, I don`t know that there are many examples of 60s left wing activists who are quite up to Coulter`s standard. And in any case, what about McCarthyism? Didn`t certain left wing people in the 50s fry because the rules of decent interaction were suspended? And if so, wouldn`t that mean you`re tarring the wrong group? I feel I speak only for myself when I observe that I wouldn`t be too happy about maintaining “polite” discourse during the era of McCarthyism, or in connection with anyone who supported it.

87

Luis Alegria 02.19.07 at 7:43 am

Dr. Ngo,

I wanted to take the time to do a bit of research on Malkin vs Soliven, on their treatment of the same issue.

I could have just pointed out that their political orientations were pretty much identical. But their gut reactions are the same as well.

The common issue is naturally President Arroyos withrawal of the token Filipino force in Iraq – both wrote extensively on this.

Soliven –

http://www.philstar.com/philstar/show_content.asp?article=174574

“The reaction will be: The Philippines doesn’t have the guts to honor its alliances and commitments. The Filipinos are a nation of weaklings. Snatch one Filipino and threaten to behead him, and all the Filipinos turn tail and run away. One day we’ll need friends to back us up and stand with us, but nobody will come. We may, indeed, and this is still iffy, manage to save poor De la Cruz from being “beheaded”, and even secure his release. But at what cost to our national honor – and don’t forget (the subliminal danger) the morale and pride of our own Armed Forces. We sent a pitifully small group of 51 to Iraq, calling them euphemistically a “humanitarian contingent”. Now, we’re withdrawing them – in shame. “

Malkin –

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000182.htm

“Looks like it’s time to add the Philippines to the Axis of Weasels. This is a grave embarrassment to a country that has long prided itself on its fighting spirit and its people’s willingness to die for the cause of freedom. I know my grandfather, who fought alongside U.S. troops and survived the Bataan Death March during World War II, would be cursing mightily had he lived to see this day.”

88

Innocenti Illjes 02.19.07 at 7:50 am

Michael Bérubé: …Collins’s implied “Michelle Malkin = Melamandissa Marcottewen” moral equivalence is … utter horseshit …

Collins’ comparison reads, in full: Some of the emails, apparently, resemble the kind that Michelle Malkin receives on a daily basis.

Like Bérubé, I haven’t read all the relevant email. I have no more idea than he does how far the resemblance goes. But does Collins imply that Malkin, Marcotte, & McEwen are themselves morally equivalent? I take it Bérubé doesn’t mean that the differences among them would imbue the same threat of sexual violence with different moral significance, depending on which woman is being victimized. But what does he mean?

Collins says Malkin receives threats that resemble the ones Marcotte & McEwen describe. That’s an empirical question, the answer to which isn’t affected by how undoubtedly rotten Malkin is. Utter horseshit?

89

Luis Alegria 02.19.07 at 8:07 am

Mr. SG,

The 1960’s-70’s left wing message was, roughly, “we are going to kill you”; “Up against the wall, M_F_ !”. Quite nice girls and boys were rather casually promising mass murder, or perhaps if they were feeling generous, mere dispossession and re-education.

If anything, from where I sit in San Francisco even the true left these days has calmed down considerably, including the weirdest sects.

As for McCarthy (and MaCarthy himself was only a small aprt of the story), all I can say is that we are not talking about free speech anymore. These were accusations of sedition. The domestic and international situations are quite calm and peaceful, the ship of state sails in calm waters, and a great deal passes that would not be sustainable in a crisis.

I don’t think you are getting my point on messages. This is a prudential argument. Using “bad words” risks damage to the argument with respect to third parties, which one may not have even considered part of the conversation. This may be acceptable if one does not care about the effect on third parties. But then we see things like the Edwards blogger case. The outcome of that was not merely the result of activists annoying other activists, but of the risk to the candidates reputation with respect to more significant blocks of voters not affiliated with any of the combatants.

I have seen Malkin speak often enough, though not in person. She is indeed very personable and charming. Perhaps your opinion is colored by her unwelcome message ? That is possible, and probably natural.

90

engels 02.19.07 at 10:06 am

The 1960’s-70’s left wing message was, roughly, “we are going to kill you”; “Up against the wall, M_F_ !”.

…which I hereby nominate for inclusion in Luis Alegria’s forthcoming book of dumbass blog comments.

91

SG 02.19.07 at 10:23 am

Luis, perhaps you are confusing a few radical leninists and a Monty Python joke with the actual behaviour of actual leftists?

92

SG 02.19.07 at 10:35 am

Using “bad words” risks damage to the argument with respect to third parties

words like, for example, sedition? One of the central attacks on those innocent leftists in the 50s whose lives were ruined by it; and strangely recurring in the language of the d’souzas and Malkins and Coulters of the modern world. If you want the right to call innocent leftists traitors, doesn’t that give others the right to call colluding asians by similarly dirty names? I haven’t seen any books recently published entitled “Me Love you long time: Immigrant asian whores and their responibility for 9/11″. Yet there are books making this claim about people who support diversity and multiculturalism.

Of course, you will claim that the names aren’t equally dirty – but you aren’t being singled out as a traitor on account of your political ideals. Perhaps if you were you wouldn’t be so sanguine about it?

93

Jon 02.19.07 at 11:05 am

Luis Alegria:

The 1960’s-70’s left wing message was, roughly, “we are going to kill you”; “Up against the wall, M_F_ !”. Quite nice girls and boys were rather casually promising mass murder

The weepy self-pitying hysteria of the right, as embodied here by Luis, really is a thing of beauty. Because whatever the left wing “message” was at that moment, America’s right was actually, you know, committing mass murder as well as retail-scale murder.

Luis & co. are much like 5th grade bullies who, in the midst of beating other children up, burst into tears about how mean everyone’s being to them.

94

Dan Collins 02.19.07 at 12:32 pm

In response to Michael Berube’s criticism (I respect him for his intellect and his honesty), I’ve just gone back and reread what I wrote about Marcotte in the link cited in the post, and I find it impossible to see where I’ve indicated that I thought that Marcotte and McEwan “had it coming,” if “it” is the threatening emails. It seems to me, on the basis of what I wrote, that I’ve suggested nobody has it coming, if that is what it is.

As regards moral equivalence between Marcotte and Malkin, I did not mean to suggest that, either. I don’t believe such an argument would be germane, because I don’t believe that anyone ought to be subject to threats for saying anything that is not in itself threatening (and not merely to someone’s ego).

I do find it hilarious, though, that lots of people have accused those critical of Marcotte of smearing her by quoting precisely the language that she has employed. Her argument that she is excused by virtue of sardony is absurd. Do you buy it? If Michael has your outrage, perhaps he’d like to expend a bit of it on Liberal Avenger’s sickening rewriting of a poster’s comment and subsequent lies about the same. That seems worth the effort.

I don’t carry any water for Donohue. I hope my characterization of the guy in my post makes that clear. I don’t excuse the behavior of the morons who’ve written threatening emails to Marcotte or McEwan. I am appalled by the attitude that Marcotte has continued to adopt toward the evidence in the Duke “rape” case–i.e., that it doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t fit a typical victimage narrative based on subject-position typology. I’m sure it’s reprehensible of me to say so, though. Let the love begin.

95

John Emerson 02.19.07 at 4:18 pm

Luis 85, “The Left started it”:

35 years ago was 1972. Luis is identifying the present centrist Democrat Party with Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, who at that time were trying to destroy the Democratic Party and were doing a very good job of it.

That’s a long way to stretch to find an excuse for Malkin, Luis. She wasn’t even born then. You might as well blame the horrible Democrat Martin Van Buren, or maybe Grover Cleveland. Bad, bad men they were.

96

John Emerson 02.19.07 at 4:29 pm

And Luis, the substance of Malkin’s message, the delivery, and the weay she treats individuals are harsh and provocative enough to justify the strongest possible counterattack within whichever rules of engagement are in place. Only a very silly pewrson would wonder why she rouses such anger.

She’s vicious much of the time, and her political ideas are ignorant and at times near-fascist. Her enthusiasm for the Japanese internment, which for a multitude of reasons has been almost universally discredited forfor more than a decade, suggests that she is entirely outside the rational, civilized world.

Perhaps in some vestigial way she really is a Filipina after all, and is channelling the resentments of the most ignorant Filipino-nationalist thugs.

97

Jaybird 02.19.07 at 7:14 pm

On both sides, it’s a problem with making generalizations about the whole based on the actions of a few.

Are there a handful of left-wing nuts who send racist comments to Michelle Malkin? Sure there are. Are there a handful of people defending whether it’s beyond the pale to do so? Sure there are.

Does this handful of people justify doing the same to people on the left? I, personally, don’t think so. (nor the other way around.)

In this particular case, I doubt that the people doing the vile (as opposed to the run-of-the-mill) namecalling of Malkin included Marcotte and McEwan. Or vice-versa.

(Though, to be honest, I am surprised at the amount of arguments in defense of MLYLTing Michelle Malkin (of course, any non-zero amount would have surprised me).)

All three of the people (Marcotte, McEwan, and Malkin) in question have the proverbial double-buttload of reasons to disagree with them (and disagree vigorously). Surely there is a way to do so without mentioning body parts.

Of course, if one sees disagreeing as therapy, rather than discourse, racist or sexist slurs are probably a lot more cathartic.

98

cvj 02.19.07 at 7:48 pm

john emerson, i would have to agree with your ‘vestigial Filipina’ diagnosis, but it is less a manifestation of latent Filipino nationalism (which is absent in a lot of Filipinos who left for the United States anyway) as it is a display of American jingoism mixed with self-hate for her own origins. IMHO, being more popish than the Pope is her way of compensating. We see that phenomenon in a good number of Filipino-Americans, particularly from Luis’ generation, who when they visit us back home (in the Philippines), never tire of comparing us unfavorably with their adopted homeland. This annoying behavior is a legacy of the American presence so i’m hoping that i will see less of that with the passing of that pro-American generation.

99

abb1 02.19.07 at 8:05 pm

Jeez, who’d think “me love you long time” is such a vile terrible slur.

Those left-wing nuts really are a bunch of sick bastards for saying terrible unmentionable forbidden phrase “m* l$v% y@u l0ng t!me” to Madam Malkin. Yessir.

100

abb1 02.19.07 at 8:37 pm

Jaybird, what about The Leader Of The Free World calling another country’s president a “loathsome pygmy” in front of a bunch of US Senators. Would this be vile slur racist comment or a fair characterization or, perhaps, a silly childish insult?

101

Jaybird 02.19.07 at 8:46 pm

Oh, Bush sucks. He’s worse than an idiot, he’s a moral idiot.

So, to answer your question, he shouldn’t have said that.

I mean, what response were you hoping for? “You have to look at the context of what he was saying”? “He comes from a culture where pygmy isn’t a vile slur”? “You have to look at whether the person in question actually is a loathsome pygmy before coming down on anyone for pointing it out”?

Seriously, is it not possible to say something like “Shiran Shiran shouldn’t have shot Bobby Kennedy” without someone else playing gotcha and asking “Oh yeah well Martin Luther King Junior was shot too and I don’t see you talking about that”?

Allow me to say: The letters that Marcotte and McEwan received were vile and should not have been sent.

The response of “oh yeah well people say that stuff to Malkin all the time” is a stupid, stupid game.

102

John Emerson 02.19.07 at 8:52 pm

CVJ, do you think it’s a factor in Filipino-American politics that a fair proportion of Filipino immigrants got their green card through US military service? I’ve known families of that discription. (Koreans too.)

Abb1, you’re full of shit. Have you ever lived in Asia? Have you ever known anyone with an Asian mother and a US military father? Or have you ever even known anyone with an Asian mother and a Caucasian father?

Whether or not you know it, and whether or not you’ll ever understand it, MLYLT is offensive, racist, and sexist.

But your mother and grandmothers were all whores, so what do you care?

103

abb1 02.19.07 at 8:57 pm

Well, I’m just saying that calling “me love you long time” “vile racist slur” might be a bit too much.

104

John Emerson 02.19.07 at 9:01 pm

It really is, Abb1. Seriously. It comes from Americans (mostly GIs) who did R&R in whorehouses in Thailand, the Philippines (and before that Korea and probably Taiwan). It’s like making Tijuana whore jokes to Mexican-Americans.

105

cvj 02.19.07 at 9:15 pm

John Emerson, citizenship by way military service did not occur to me as a factor, but now that you have pointed that out, i think there’s something to that. However, given that there are 3 to 4 million Filipino-Americans, I don’t think that’s the biggest factor. I think the tendency of Fil-Ams to go Republican has more to do with their conservative (i.e. Roman Catholic) background particularly when it comes to the issue of abortion.

106

cvj 02.19.07 at 9:25 pm

On MLYLT, i have to admit that the only time i feel some twinge of sympathy for Malkin is when she is on the receiving end of these types of comments. I first witnessed this predictable progression in the comments section of a liberal blog (‘thepoorman’). At that time, I just rationalized that the liberal commenters are, after all, also Americans.

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Hogan 02.19.07 at 9:55 pm

Well, I’m just saying that calling “me love you long time” “vile racist slur” might be a bit too much.

In the way that saying “hey boy, shine my shoes” wouldn’t be all that bad, especially if you were saying it to Alan Keyes. I mean, it’s not like you’re calling him a nigger. Directly.

This is reminding me of Ellen Willis talking about Jews who are so sensitive to slights that they take even constructive criticism like “paleface jewboy, I wish you were dead” as evidence of anti-Semitism.

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John Emerson 02.19.07 at 10:03 pm

This is a true story. A guy I knew at work went to couple counseling when he and his girlfriend started having rpoblems, and he learned a few things. One of them is how women and men interpret certain words differently, so that a man might say something offensive without even knowing it. The whole Mars / Venus thing. For example, he found that women are highly offended by the simple phrase “Fuck you, bitch!”

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Ian 02.19.07 at 10:09 pm

John Emerson’s comparison of MLYLT with Tijuana whore jokes for Mexican-Americans is spot-on. Another equivalent is the still-frequent use, among male Australian/New Zealand pillars of the community (of a certain age), of “girl” for any Aboriginal/Maori woman, be she 16 or 60. “That Abo girl”, “that Maori girl.” Are these upstandingly respectable men being racist and sexist? They wouldn’t think so. The MLYLT “joke” comes from the same register.

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abb1 02.19.07 at 10:21 pm

No, it’s nothing like “I wish you were dead”, obviously, or like calling a random woman “girl”.

But I’ve already argued all this earlier in this thread. Enough is enough. Search for “uncle tom”, if you want.

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John Emerson 02.19.07 at 10:43 pm

Abb1, you have indeed argued this earlier, but you do realize that you’ve lost the argument, don’t you?

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Ian 02.19.07 at 11:17 pm

Sorry to come late to what is probably a dying thread, but I don’t see any arguments from abb1, except for Yes, it’s a bit unfair, sorry. Tough luck. The other (happily, minority) arguments supporting the MLYLT routine against Malkin pretty much amount to the same thing, with the nuance of “but maybe we shouldn’t use it ‘coz it seems Asian women are kinda sensitive about it.” A nice granulation. Ee-yuck.

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Jaybird 02.19.07 at 11:29 pm

I am reminded, somewhat, of the whole Ben Domenech thing on Redstate. When it first came out that maybe some plagiarism had taken place, a good chunk of the Redstate upper echelon had a big rally-the-troops thing going on.

The only people who would question Domenech on this issue were, of course, liberal trolls who didn’t give a damn about plagiarism (WHAT ABOUT BIDEN!!!) and how they didn’t have to prove their bona fides by decrying plagiarism to a bunch of liberal trolls anyway.

Well, the situation got worse and worse and more and more stuff came out and, of course, the only people who said “well, what about these new revelations?” were the liberal trolls (that the Redstate uppers didn’t have to prove their bona fides to).

Look, I can appreciate that the people who are MLYLTing Malkin are not racists. I would be willing to say that many of their best friends are People Of Color.

But plagiarism is a bad thing. Lying about plagiarism is a bad thing. Making racist comments about an unpleasant person is a bad thing.

It’s something that should be avoided.

I mean, good god, look at some of Malkin’s positions. Resorting to MLYLT when you could, say, challenge her offensive viewpoints actually gives her viewpoints some small amount of credibility. I mean, if you could point out that, say, internment camps are pretty fucking immoral and against everything that America claims to stand for… why would you focus on her ethnicity, of all things?

The people threatening Marcotte and McEwan are also vile people… and, yes, giving their arguments credit by virtue of the fact that they are focusing on their mommy parts rather than their arguments.

Is this really something that people want to say “well, yes, but she’s totally a bitch!” in response to? What the hell?

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Michael Bérubé 02.20.07 at 12:04 am

Just to answer Innocenti Illjes and Dan Collins: perhaps the moral equivalence implied in Collins’s rhetorical device would be clearer — after all, it’s only implicit, right — if I said “Dan Collins is getting some grief these days, kind of like the stuff Michael Moore or Noam Chomsky gets on a daily basis.” Surely Dan would object to the implied comparison?

See, the problem is that Malkin is truly, truly vile. With Malkin you’ve got a defender of the Japanese-American internment camps and a promoter of the thoroughly lunatic theory that the New York Times travel section was targeting Rumsfeld and Cheney for assassination. Lately she’s taken to calling John Murtha a coward. She doesn’t deserve hate mail, and she certainly doesn’t deserve slurs about her gender or ethnicity. But saying that Marcotte and McEwen are just getting some of the same treatment dished out to Malkin is a tawdry way of covering for the fact that Malkin, altogether unlike Marcotte and McEwen, is a vicious and despicable person.

And Dan, if you’re still on the thread, what’s with the gay jokes about Glenn Greenwald?

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Jaybird 02.20.07 at 1:20 am

Hrm. Now that I think about it, making a racist or sexist comment about a commentator may actually be part of the communication.

“Look, we both know that I’m a reasonable person but person X is such a bad person that the only way that I have to communicate how bad they are is to say that they are a (racial slur). Now, we both know that I am not a racist, I just want to communicate to you how awful I find that (sexist slur).”

If it’s not about them but about you communicating how much you don’t like them, you could do a lot worse than mocking their ethnicity and/or reproductive organs.

The problem is that this sometimes communicates that it’s not about them, but about you.

If someone calls you on this, you should probably not be surprised.

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tzs 02.20.07 at 2:39 am

Heck, I’d lambaste Ms. Malkin for her sloppy scholarship, her pretenses to intellectualism, and her betrayal of every single concept behind the Enlightenment.

I would have absolutely enjoyed seeing her having to do a public defense of her book along the lines of a doctoral thesis defense.

And then get kicked out, publicly, with a booing and hissing from the crowd. Too bad we can’t yank degrees for intellectual malpractice.

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 5:18 am

Michael,

I don’t have enough familiarity with McEwan to know whether or not she’s as vicious and despicable as Malkin, but I’m rather certain, having read a sampling of her, that Marcotte is. She is every bit as narrow-minded, self-righteous and vile as ever Malkin has been, and it shows in her practice of tossing bombs and then deleting the comments that she finds disagreeable. If you said that I received the sort of hate mail that Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore receive on a daily basis, I don’t think that I’d find that disturbing at all, nor would I feel myself particularly hard done by if I were caused to resign a position by virtue of any particular stupid invective that I’d published on the internet, nor would I attempt to cover the fact that I’d done it nor mitigate the intention.

What is it about the gay jokes? It’s Gleen, is what it is. It’s the ultimate canard, the kind that he plays in every post, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. He doesn’t care about the truth; I don’t care about the standards of address. Are you offended? So am I.

There are certainly plenty of gays on the internet whom I don’t address this way, for the reason that they are not tedious, tendentious, self-preening dolts. More to the point, I don’t understand how someone who’s been caught sockpuppeting the way Gleen has can be taken seriously. It goes to a fundamental point of honesty, don’t you think? just as his practice of linking to “supporting” materials makes me believe that either he doesn’t care what they actually say, or that he has great faith that his readers don’t.

I’m presently engaged in a debate with another blogger who’s (deliberately?) misread what my post says. Here’s the latest in that exchange:

I think it’s fairly obvious that I intended to link Donohue’s allies with violence. The posts that people were responding to were months old. The people were not responding just for the hell of it, they were responding because Donohue singled out those two bloggers. That makes them Donohue’s allies by any reasonable standard.

Posted by: Josh | February 19, 2007 10:08 PM
#17
Don’t you think by that logic Hinckley was an ally of Scorsese?

Posted by: Dan Collins | February 19, 2007 10:22 PM

http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2007/02/meet_the_stupids.php#comment-348580

Frankly, I don’t think it’s “pretty fair” to characterize what I said in my post the way it’s been characterized here; or perhaps “pretty fair” is good enough for someone who believes that Amanda’s sense of victimization is well-scripted along lines that mirror her sense of fair play as regards the Duke “rape” case and subsequent bolus of crap rationalizations performed by the ebony and ivory 88.

On the whole, Michael, I think that it’s a paltry thing when manhandling the text becomes panhandling to another one.

I’m not asking for special favors. If you think that I’m being hypocritical with regards to my references to Gleen’s sexuality, it will sadden me, of course, and I won’t request that you read me any kindlier than you would anyone else. Still, I know who I am, and I find that I’m generous, in ways, even to dead drug-addled celebrity ninnies, just so long as they don’t take themselves too seriously.

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Luis Alegria 02.20.07 at 5:25 am

Mr. Emerson,

With respect to Malkin, in substance and style, de gustibus, etc.

As for “nationalist thugs”, you have definitely got the wrong picture. Extreme nationalism in the Philippines is associated with the left, not the right, and this association is very common around the world. I have never found it difficult to undertand where Pol Pot came from. I remember talking to an NPA commander in Albay (yet another UP student gone bad) who refused to speak to or even be in the presence of any foreigner or even any white person.

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Luis Alegria 02.20.07 at 5:37 am

Mr. Cvj,

I agree that this attitude is a generational thing. However, it is not tied to any particular generation. My generation, you see, was supposed to be the “liberated” one.

On that resentment of high-and-mighty attitudes by Filipino-Americans ? That was a trope in my day too, Nick Joaquin had a story about it, it was in the school readers.

But what happened to all these radical nationalist people ? Well, plenty of them are here now, like me. They grew up and wised up.

You will not see such a thing happen for real until the Philippines gets to a genuine economic takeoff.

This thread is getting dead, if anyone wants a good place for genuine right-left argument with a bias towards substance and good manners, come over to Theforvm.org, successor site to Tacitus.

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 5:44 am

Having fed the dead thread I am now off to bed.

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abb1 02.20.07 at 8:31 am

Well, John, I’m lost if we accept your characterization of the phrase in question.

You’re lost if we accept my interpretation. It’s the line form a movie.

Political personality is called a whore – that’s a pretty common satirical/polemical device. IIRC, Lenin called his friend Trotsky a prostitute once.

Nasty? Sure. Vile, evil? C’mon, let’s have some sense of proportion here.

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abb1 02.20.07 at 9:22 am

Urrgh. Shouldn’t type words before the morning coffee.

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 10:36 am

It’s always the words that get one.

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engels 02.20.07 at 11:16 am

Luis, please clarify. Is “de gustibus” supposed to be a defence of Malkin’s remarks on internment? Are you actually a rightwing caricature of Richard Rorty?

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John Emerson 02.20.07 at 2:05 pm

Luis, Malkin is not “de gustibus”. She’s vicious, dishonest, and inaccurate. I knew that if I rejected the MLYLT smear someone would conclude that in some way I was defending Malkin, which is true in your case but not mine. As for my conjecture about Filipino nationalist thugs, that was clearly labelled as a conjecture. I will revert to ny earlier belief that she’s a good old redblooded American nationalist thug of Filipino descent.

Abb1, almost every time before that I’ve heard the MLYLT kind of joke, it came from a male American (maybe British) sleazo, perhaps ex-military or ex-“contractor’, talking about his fun R&R times in a non-white third world whorehouse. That’s the Full Metal Jacket context too. Something like that doesn’t become clean if it’s used in a movie.

Who it is you are talking about is relevant. Calling David Broder a whore would be quite a different thing. If Lenin had used a specifically anti-Semitic slur on Trotsky, you’d have to interpret it as anti-Semitism. But not “whore”.

There’s not doubt in my mind that people picking up the movie line and applying it to Malkin were being racist.

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SG 02.20.07 at 3:17 pm

John, I disagree if they were using it to point out to her that her own defence of indecency has consequences. The situation plays out as follows:

1) Malkin defends the right to say offensive things about whoever she wants, based on their race or religion
2) people apply this right to her (as they should be able to under her ideals)
3) Malkin is offended

Putting aside the faux nature of her outrage (she will claim indecent behaviour by the left no matter what we say), her being offended has served to prove a point, namely that she can’t demand the right to impugn islam and deny the right to impugn asians. Doesn’t work. The questions that then arise are simple questions like “did Malkin ever demand this right”, “is it worth using nasty language”, and “what will the consequences be for us?”

One can’t stand about demanding the return of vicious language in public discourse, and expect to be above its use; and in showing this, the responsibility may well fall on someone to abuse the person demanding this right. If noone from the correct minority group is around to do it, well I suppose someone else will have to. To really make the point the abuse has to be on the basis of a racial or religious trait of the person demanding the right to insult other peoples’ race or religion (not some other thing).

Also, a large part of the argument against using bad language in this thread has been that it demeans the groups who are insulted by it. Thus calling Trotsky a “whore” is offensive to women regardless of whether or not Trotsky is a woman. In fact i would argue that using the word “whore” to describe someone who sells out their principles is really offensive to women and sex workers; and if you are willing to do this in describing a communist man, you are committing the same sin you decry when applied to Michelle Malkin.

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 3:44 pm

sg–

One can’t stand about demanding the return of vicious language in public discourse

I hadn’t realized it had gone away. But let’s accept your argument with respect to Malkin. Does it not sound somewhat like my own with respect to Marcotte? I also made a similar argument to those on the right who were referring to the Duke “victim” as a whore; in my view, it was a slander against whores.

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John Emerson 02.20.07 at 3:49 pm

I am willing to consider dropping the term “whore” for the reasons you give. I try to avoid it.

To me the bottom line is that Democrats identify themselves as the non-racist non-sexist party. The MLYLT slur doesn’t fit with that — you can say it’s wrong, or you can say it’s bad politics.

If we were talking about a master satirist or over-the-top humorist, I might grant a pass, though guys like that should not represent political parties. But the stuff I’ve seen about Malkin (and the “Mann Coulter” stuff too) isn’t at a high level. It’s really indistinguishable from nasty Republican frat-boy jokes about Tijuana.

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Uncle Kvetch 02.20.07 at 3:52 pm

What is it about the gay jokes? It’s Gleen, is what it is. It’s the ultimate canard, the kind that he plays in every post, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. He doesn’t care about the truth; I don’t care about the standards of address. Are you offended? So am I.

There are gay men, and then there are faggots. There are black people, and then there are niggers.

Am I reading you correctly, Mr. Collins?

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 4:09 pm

Not quite, uncle kvetch.

There are people who make an effort to be honest, and there are liars.

It makes very little difference to me if they are idiots/morons/delusional paranoiacs/saddled by the baggage of false consciousness, so long as they are making a good faith effort. Otherwise, you and I and everyone can sit around debating the nature of everyone else’s confirmation bias for eternity, secure in the knowledge that we, and only we (however we define it) possess the privileged perspective from which these issues must be viewed if one wishes not to be deceived.

I am mocking the semiotics of authenticity, if you like.

Those who wish to deploy irony successfully need to signal that they have some inkling of the limits of their ability to perceive “the truth.”

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John Emerson 02.20.07 at 4:39 pm

More to the point, I don’t understand how someone who’s been caught sockpuppeting the way Gleen has can be taken seriously. It goes to a fundamental point of honesty, don’t you think? just as his practice of linking to “supporting” materials makes me believe that either he doesn’t care what they actually say, or that he has great faith that his readers don’t.

This seems profoundly silly to me. Sockpuppeting is an offense that didn’t even exist ten years ago, and I have no idea what the penalty should be. Collins believes that lifetime disqualification from internet dialogue should be the penalty, but he just pulled that out of his butt. You have to extremely blogcentric to be that extreme.

Greenwald’s posts (right or wrong, but I think they’re mostly right) are normally contentful, well-argued, and well-documented, and I while it would be convenient for Collins to be able to ignore them, I don’t think that we should take Collins’ screamingly hysterical opportunism here very seriously.

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Uncle Kvetch 02.20.07 at 4:40 pm

Then I’ll try again.

There are people who make an effort to be honest, and there are liars.

And if you determine that someone is the latter, all this bullshit about civility and fair play goes out the window. Someone’s sexuality or ethnicity or gender is fair game. You think Greenwald’s a liar, and that makes his homosexuality a justifiable target. So all the people who find Malkin beyond the pale are perfectly justified in using Asian-whore jokes to denigrate her.

Right? Just want to make sure that we’re clear here.

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John Emerson 02.20.07 at 4:52 pm

Kvetch, it seems to be a fundamental conservative principle that bad people don’t deserve due process, and good people shouldn’t be pestered with laws.

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Dan Collins 02.20.07 at 4:55 pm

Well, some of you are asserting that Marcotte and McEwan are not as culpable as Malkin, because she is demonstrably despicable, by a presumably objective set of criteria. But in fact, all this boils down to, theorize as you like, is a matter of whose oxen are being gored by whom.

I do find Greenwald specious and intellectually dishonest, particularly with respect to his use of sources, and for that reason I lob barbs in his direction. His recent argument based on the resemblance of the Victory Caucus logo (whoever they may be) with that of V for Vendetta is beyond absurdity; if he were an interlocutor in the Cratylus, Socrates would have whacked him over the head with a rock for that one. If my mockery of his self-construction constitutes some form of prohibited speech (not that he notices, because sockpuppets tell me that his blog’s been quoted on the Senate floor by Russ Feingold (WI-D)), then what classification to you extend to Marcotte’s abuse of Catholicism, and her defense, recently issued, that it ought to be a legitimate target because so many people in the country self-identify as Christians?

The determination of what constitutes a valid point of view and what is discredited, and what is theoretically within or beyond the pale is certainly not as much a fascination with me as it is with the academy. By and large it is a fashion system, in my estimation. But I’ve seen Gleen conveniently misprision too many times to take him seriously, and the idea that you can endorse him as relevant on one hand, and dismiss me as screamingly hysterical and opportunistic amuses me.

I would have thought that my comparison of Gleen to Matt Lesko would have raised more of a welt.

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John Emerson 02.20.07 at 5:16 pm

Collins, you were doing pretty well on Malkin and Marcotte, but what you have to say about Greenwald is crap. You should have quit while you were ahead.

And by all means, be amused! I’ve only seen that winger zinger a few dozen times. Why don’t you also say

*yawn*

to show how bored you are while you’re being amused by us?

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Uncle Kvetch 02.20.07 at 6:05 pm

Consistently misspelling Greenwald’s first name is a nice touch too. I’m eagerly awaiting an update on the nature and quantity of his homo-cooties.

Somehow a very appropriate way to end the thread, don’t you think, John E?

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