Minority Outreach Report

by John Holbo on May 10, 2013

I know, I know, it’s just another of those ‘How many of you know that Saruman used to walk in the forest, a friend of the trees!’ posts by Kevin Williamson. (See also: Rand Paul at Howard.) But it’s the comments that get me, and make me sorry for all the times I’ve said, ‘A-ha! so there are two Confusatrons!’ rather than saving that line for a more special occasion.

To put it another way: the inability of conservatives to keep their alternative reality stories straight is inducing a kind of minority outreach-as-Crisis On Infinite Earths continuity collapse. There’s our world – call it Earth-1, or Nixonworld – in which Dems got better on civil rights in the 60’s, and Republicans got worse. The Southern Strategy. Then there’s Williamson’s World – sort of like Earth-3, a reverse earth.

Its history is a mirror image to the Earth we know. On Earth-Three, Christopher Columbus was an American who discovered Europe; England (a colony of America) won freedom in a reversed form of the Revolutionary War (with Washington surrendering his sword to Cornwallis); President John Wilkes Booth was assassinated by actor Abraham Lincoln; and Lex Luthor (here called Alexander Luthor) is the only superhero on an Earth otherwise occupied entirely by villains, most of whom are reversed analogues of heroes on other DC Earths. The Earth-Three analogue to the Justice League is the Crime Syndicate of America.

On earth-3, it stands to reason, the parties reverse realigned. LBJ and the Democrats fought against civil rights, right through the 60’s, but Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Lee Atwater teamed up to stop them.

But there’s also Bizarro World, of course, where good is bad. And so it stands to reason that there would be Earth-1 Bizarro World, where everything is like it is in our world, only civil rights bad, so the Republicans are the heroes and the Dems the villains on civil rights in the 60’s. Last but not least, you have Earth-3 Bizarro World, where everyone flips places, hero-villain-wise, but good and bad are also flipped, so Williamson is right that Republicans have championed civil rights all along – but that’s wrong, not right! It shows how Republicans have betrayed their base!

In comments, near as I can score it, Williamson is fighting a three-front war, trying to stop an incursion of Democrats/historians from Earth-1 into Earth-3, while also trying to keep Bizarros from both Bizarro Worlds at bay.

Plus I’m convinced that at least a quarter of the contributors to the thread are false-flag trolls.

Until Grant Morrison gets around to writing a whole miniseries set on Bizarro Earth-3 – how has this not happened? – I’ll be grateful we’ve got Williamson. Who, I see, has a new book out: The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure.



Nick Barnes 05.10.13 at 8:52 am

I hope we have a fluent speaker of the National Review dialect in the house, to tell me how to parse this sentence: “Lincoln and Eleanor Ragsdale were the first couple of civil rights in Arizona at the time.”


Belle Waring 05.10.13 at 10:58 am

That would be “the first lady and [empty category gesturing pointlessly at the presidency or governorship].” Sort of like in Parliament’s “Chocolate City:”…”Richard Pryor, Minister of Fine Arts/and Ms. Aretha Franklin, The First Lady.” Except, idiotic and implausible. Everyone click through to skim the bullshit and read the comments, in which the author is, indeed, fighting a hilarious two-front war against a) people with a firmer grip on reality who note that the Republican Party has not been a beacon to the world in its support for civil rights since…er…OK, say, 1945 and b) Republicans saying, “we sure as hell weren’t the party of civil rights in the past, and we’re not now either. I, personally, hate black people. Fuck a bunch of black people. Seriously, I just clicked over here from Steve Sailer’s site and I’m outraged that the escutcheon of the GOP should be besmirched by your association of Barry Goldwater with Negroes.” John has confused you with this Bizarro-World stuff (and let’s face it, Bizarro World is stupid, totally lacks any understanding of what it would mean to turn your language around, and can only be funny as a sight gag panel, ever.) GO FOR THE LULZ.


John Quiggin 05.10.13 at 11:37 am

Looking at the comments thread, the whole Repub universe is overdue for a reboot. Retcon exercises like Williamson’s can’t paper over the cracks.


ajay 05.10.13 at 12:54 pm

It reminds me slightly of the sort of holocaust denier who can argue simultaneously that a) Hitler didn’t try to wipe out the Jews but b) he should have done.

Who, I see, has a new book out: The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure.

I honestly thought that this here was a joke.

First comment from the author:
“And what exactly have the Democrats done for African-Americans, before or after 1964?”

…which has to be a Life of Brian reference.


Glen Tomkins 05.10.13 at 12:57 pm

People who believe absurdities will get around to committing atrocities soon enough.


Peter Murphy 05.10.13 at 1:25 pm

I always thought the womenfolk were underestimated in the Chocolate City universe. Why would Ms. Franklin settle for First Lady?


bjk 05.10.13 at 4:06 pm

So in this bizarro world, is former Imperial Wizard Robert C. Byrd leader of the republican or democrat caucus in the senate from 1977 to 1989?


Jerry Vinokurov 05.10.13 at 4:19 pm

Republicans are surprised that people’s minds can be changed by facts, film at 11.


John Holbo 05.10.13 at 4:28 pm

“So in this bizarro world, is former Imperial Wizard Robert C. Byrd leader of the republican or democrat caucus in the senate from 1977 to 1989?”

Well, on Williamson Earth-3, presumably the KKK is a vigilante anti-racism outfit, so presumably Byrd is an anti-racist who reluctantly sticks with the Democratic Party even though he is increasingly out of place in it. (It’s a bit hard to know how these things work, admittedly.)


phosphorious 05.10.13 at 6:08 pm

On Williamson Earth-3 Republicans Robert Byrd goes by the name Strom Thurmond and republicans love him.

Nah. . . that’s too crazy!


PatrickfromIowa 05.10.13 at 6:33 pm

He does deserve some sort of award for the understatement in the second sentence of this: “The problem for Republicans is that reclaiming their reputation as the party of civil rights requires a party leadership that wants to do so, because it cherishes that tradition and the values that it represents. It is not obvious that the Republican party has such leaders at the moment.”


YankeeFrank 05.10.13 at 9:48 pm

Reading the winger comments to the article at NRO is like attending a schizoid convention: racist rants that somehow attempt to support Williamson’s “thesis” that its the dems! dems are the racists! These fools are so completely vapid and denialist their rantings can’t be called “thought” with any accuracy.

What’s funny is that they actually think this sort of anti-history garbage plays anywhere else but their own clown corner. Its time we just started ignoring them.


Number Three 05.10.13 at 11:56 pm

Lovin’ the love for Parliament’s “Chocolate City”, which I have had the great privilege of seeing George Clinton perform live in D.C. It’s strange that the lyrics of the song have become more relevant as D.C. itself has become less chocolate. Or maybe, as I tell my daughter, there is white chocolate. We are part of Chocolate City. There is, I think, a rising cross-race coalition that will shock the haters in the South. Indeed, the coalition had its start in the South, but it couldn’t flourish there. See the work of Alec Lamis (who left us too soon). Alec was too optimistic about the South, but things are moving in his direction. “Gainin’ on ya” indeed. “Gainin’ on ya”.


Ken 05.11.13 at 1:50 am

Patrick from Iowa quotes: It is not obvious that the Republican party has such leaders at the moment.

I think that’s a point for Bizarro World, where the syntax is mangled. The above makes much more sense as “It is obvious that the Republican party has no such leaders at the moment.”


bad Jim 05.11.13 at 3:46 am

It might work if the Republicans claimed Obama, the only other president from the “Land of Lincoln”.


bad Jim 05.11.13 at 6:34 am

Consider the crowds of zealots insisting that they are the persecuted victims, nearly the martyrs, of laws permitting gay marriage or prohibiting discrimination against gays, or allowing women free access to contraception.

Something is certainly being stolen from them – their pain is genuine – but what they’ve lost is not something of practical value, in the market sense, and the rest of the electorate views the result as an improvement.

There’s the bind: the market has spoken: gays are in: More weddings! More cake!


ezra abrams 05.12.13 at 2:54 am

can one make an analogy between today’s pro immigration plutocrats (zuckerberg, gates) and 1940s pro civil rights business republicans ?

In the case of Zuckerberg and Gates, you have rich people defending a liberal, or quasi liberal position (be nice to immigrants) for what i think are illiberal reasons (the desire to pay employees less)

Perhaps Goldwater saw blacks as cheap employees, or a weapon against employee demands for higher wages, or a way to hit back at eastern european led socialist union types in NY

I might also add that the black population of AZ in 1950 was TINY
source: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0056/twps0056.html,
there are a lot of links; I used the excel file for AZ
for 1950, there are [all figs in1,000s] 750 total, 654 white, 26 black , 65 amerindian and 3 asian or other.

In other words, there were no blacks in AZ in 1950 (in 1940, there were only 14,000 by census !!!!)
is it not easy to be pro civil rights when the minority in question is so small as to be neglibible ??


Ogden Wernstrom 05.12.13 at 2:26 pm

The best tool for shooting my beverage through my sinuses was at the end of the article, when I learned that it’s not a joke …in whichever world this inhabits:

Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent. His newest book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, will be published in May.

In comments: This one just begs for sarcastic response, but there are too many good lines:

Kevin, the ads for your book seem to be dead links.

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