Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Play within yourselves

A nut job walks into a Unitarian church and starts shooting people. He says that it is because he hates liberals and gays. The demented often justify their insanity in terms that they think the rest of us will understand.

It disappoints me that two left bloggers who I think are smart enough to know better want to imply that this his was a pathology flowing from what they think is conservative ideology.

Jim Rowen notes, but is "not surprised" that the shooter had a copy of one of Michael Savage's books and that we need to "hope interrogators find out what his motivations were and who influenced him."

Why is that? If a crazy man thinks that the voices in his head come from Michael Savage, does that mean we censor Savage? The idiots who blew up Sterling Hall were influenced by the claims of the New Left (including, I suspect, Jim Rowen who, from what I know of him, would not have wanted that), should we have shut them down? In the leading case on hate crime penalty enhancers, the defendant was apparently motivated to attack whites because he had just seen Mississippi Burning. Was that an objectionable film?

This is not to defend Savage. From what I know of him, he confuses conservatism with opposition to organized interest groups that oppose conservative policies. He may be a bright guy, but he's decided to live (as has Michael Moore and whatever is left of Air America) on catering to the worst of his side of the aisle. As I have blogged here before, Charlie Sykes is on the public record saying that he wishes TMJ would not carry Savage's show. Still, I don't think that even Savage carries the weight for nuts that shoot people.

Tom Foley goes on to say that he does not want to be on the team that includes the Tennessee shooter. What team exactly is that? Homicidal maniacs? From what I know of Tom, I would not expect to find him or anyone else I know on that team. Does Tom not want to be on the team that "includes" Lee Harvey Oswald, Bill Ayers and a host of Weather others, the Symbionese Liberation Army, Che Guevara(they still sell his t-shirts), those who indulge in Bush assassination chic and so on and so on.

Too much, guys. Too much.


Anonymous said...

It really tells you something about Foly and Rowen when all they have is their imaginations to go by. Foly appears to constantly be preaching hatred on his blog.

As liberal as they think they are they still live by many conservative, traditional and Christian principals themselves.

Mike Plaisted said...

Where do you get off putting Michael Moore and Air America in the same category as the hate-mongering, xenophobic, autism-denying Savage? All Moore does is put out humorous, fact-based documentaries -- he has never trafficed in the same kind of bile Savage does every day. I know it is right-wing cant to treat Moore as some kind of wack-job, but the fact is that the facts in his films always hold up to legitimate scrutiny.

Oh, but Sykes, you say, would "rather not" have Savage on his radio station. Sounds like you talking about the racist Gableman ad, calling Holloway a thug, etc. Don't you get sick of being an apologist for people who are poisoning the political dialog? [Insert your usual "Plaisted should talk about such dialog" dodge here]

You should listen to Savage, Mark Levine and the others on the lunatic fringe who are given two or three hours a night on formerly-repectable staions like WTMJ and WISN to fire up the right-wing troops. It is not surprising that the level of contempt they pretend to have for people unlike themselves is interpreted as a call to action by those seeking meaning in their lost lives. The power of the electronic media to move people used to be understood by those holding the valuable licenses. Now, "hate" equals entertainment and therefore ratings for those who don't bother listening to their own programming.

After Oklahoma City, there was similar appropriate concern about hate radio firing up McVeigh. How different, really, is Adkisson from abortion clinic bombers, quietly tolerated by the right (although, I'm sure, you would advise against it). I'm surprised there aren't more people taking matters into their own hands, while people like Savage applaud from the sidelines.

illusory tenant said...

I see nothing to mock in the hopeful idealism portrayed in the MoveOn.org ad, nor do I see appeals to violence, nor allegations that conservatives are "mentally ill."

However, if one of those hopeful idealists ends up firing a shotgun into a gathering of political conservatives, than obviously I would deplore that as much as what happened in Knoxville.

If you think, by some stretch of the imagination, that I was blaming Sykes -- or even Savage or Hannity -- for what happened, then you are sadly mistaken.

I don't even think they bear the slightest responsibility for it, although I'm aware than many, many people would see it otherwise.

What is unmistakable, however, are the parallels between Jim Adkisson's statements to the Knoxville police and what often passes for conservative rhetoric in the mainstream press.

And what you find in the mainstream press is not comparable, in my opinion, to some lunatic anonymous commenters at the Daily Kos.


illusory tenant said...

what they think is conservative ideology.

And no, I hardly think the intemperate ravings of Savage, Coulter, et al are conservative ideology, or even representative of conservative ideology.

They are representative of a technique aimed at demonizing -- sometimes literally -- one's political opponents without taking the trouble of engaging the substance of the opposed ideology.

Of course there are conservatives who do engage liberal ideology, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, however, it's the demonizers who tend to rise to the top of the media heap, where they apparently find their way into the already-fevered consciousness of somebody like Jim Adkisson.

And as I said, I will take the hopeful idealists who, for some reason, Sykes sees fit to mock, over the demonizers any day.

illusory tenant said...


they still live by many conservative, traditional and Christian principles themselves.

There is much truth to this, because there are indeed many commonly held ethical principles that transcend political affiliations and even religious attitudes.

We all forget that sometimes.

Rick Esenberg said...

joe stalin

Sorry but the "c" word isn't going to stay up on this blog even if it is used in the context of someone else having said or alluded to it.

If you want to repost your thoughts, feel free to do so, but please don't use that word.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Rick, I was merely pointing out Illusory Tenants willful use of hate speech.
I don't believe O'Reilly or Hannity have ever called a woman a c@#$.
That would be hate speech wouldn't it.

Rick Esenberg said...

No, actually Moore's films don't bear scrutiny and, as for Air America, I have two words: Randi Rhodes.

I don't recall defending people who poison the political dialogue. As I demonstrated - by reproducing the post - my criticism of the Gableman ad was unequivocal. What disturbs you is that I wouldn't call people racists and pointed out that both sides were running stupid ads.

As for th Plaisted dodge, the fact is, Mike, that there is little on your blog that distinguishes you from Coulter and Savage. Your posts generally consist of strings of adjectives suggesting that conservatives are idiots, racists, amoral, nasty, hateful, etc. . Has it ever occurred to you that your view of the world is every bit the cartoon that theirs is?

As for Sykes and "his" radio station, I don't think Charlie owns TMJ or makes programming decisions.

Anonymous said...

I hear Barack Obama has read Mein Kampf. Who knows what reading that book could lead to.

Anonymous said...

I notice a lot of liberal hot air and rhetoric.
Dearest lib friends, would you please give a specific instance of Charles Sykes inciting violence or practicing hate speech.

Chirp, chirp chirp chirp chirp

Rick Esenberg said...


I'm glad to hear that you don't blame talk radio but I think you are running away from your post. By saying that you prefer the audience that doesn't include Adkisson and then juxtaposing the claim that he had a "head full of Sykes's medium wave colleagues and fellow travelers Michael Savage and Sean Hannity" (as if Savage is comparable to Sykes and Hannity) and his violent rampage, you are suggesting that Adkisson is, in some sense, reflective of that audience or tells us something about them or the people that they listen to.

It was a cheap shot.

As for the MoveOn ad, what is funny about it is that it is so over the top.

Jimi5150 said...

Didn't Phil Specter (on trial for murder) and Dale Lee Bishop (on death row - murder with a claw hammer) recently endorse Obama?

Mike Plaisted said...

Aw, Rick, really? That hurts my feelings.

I know it's too much work for you when you are simply relying on a right-wing smear campaign to dismiss someone, but I'll bet you can't name one fact in a Michael Moore film that is not true. And what do you care about what Randi Rhodes said about Geraldine Farraro, assuming that's what you are talking about. Need more than two words here to explain now she gains some symetry with Savage.

Oh, so Sykes doesn't own the radio station. Well, I guess that gets him off the moral hook, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Mike's in full-on defense mode. The Professor is too smart to let you change the topic by pointing out any one of the many factual inaccuracies in Moore's films. Your efforts to stray the debate should not succeed. If your feelings are really hurt by the Professor's charge (accurate, in my view) that the speech you use on your blog is indistinguishable from that speech which you view as "bile," then you have every incentive to alter your conduct.

Rick Esenberg said...

Well, Mike, you know that I wouldn't say anything if I didn't care.

As for Moore, perhaps we can start with facts like splicing two ads together to suggest that they were one and altering their content in Bowling For Columbine. Or putting disparate images together in a way that suggested that Charlton Heston held up a musket in Denver shortly after the Columbine shootings and falsely claiming that Heston had held a pro-gun rally there. How about inaccurate portrayals of the NHS, Cuban health care and Canadian waiting times in Sicko? Then there's the infamous scene from Farenheit depicting Iraq as an idyllic wonderland before the US just came in an bombed it to smithereens. There are whole books dedicated to fisking Moore.

As for Rhodes, I guess that I think calling your political opponents f***ing whores degrades discourse even if they are other Democrats, but let's put that aside. Blackwater started the California wildfires? Depicting the assassination of the President?

I fail to see why Charlie is on the moral hook for something someone else says. Are you going to blame me for the English prof at Marquette who thinks 9-11 was a false flag operation? Are you going to blame him for me?

Mike Plaisted said...

Well, I guess you can believe what you want to believe about Michael Moore, but his website addresses every one of the issues raised by his well-paid detractors, and Morre is a better journalist than any of them. I don't recall Farenheit 911 showing Iraq as a wonderland, but, relative to the nightmare we have created there...well, most Iraqis think they had it better before the invasion and occupation. The situation there was certainly better for us, pre-invasion -- Hussein would not tolerate al Quida -- the only small vestige of it existed in areas he didn't control.

I think you are a bit more removed from whatever professor you are talking about than Sykes is from Savage. Sykes is fully part of the same talk-radio campaign of misinformation and the diseminator of the same daily GOP talking-point memo as Savage is. In fact, on the subject of the "risky, dangerous" Obama, they (and, in fact, you) are pretty much indistinguishable.

Anonymous said...

This shooting in Tennessee is a monster and horror of a human being. He deserves to go to prison for the rest of his life, where if karma holds true, will get a real lesson in homosexual intercourse. If this monster thinks the way to see his views advanced was to shoot people who disagreed with him, then he has no idea what a non-liberal or conservative ideology is about.
That's the liberal ideology to do whatever it takes to silence their opposition.

mike should just man up and say what he really want, that being to silence any speech which he disagrees with. You want my address so you can my insufficiently liberal view can be "dealt with"? I only ask because of the hate is read in the comments

Anonymous said...

Plaisted, if you do not recognize Michael Moore for the dishonet fraud that he is, then you're dumber that I thought you were.
If that is possible.
Rick, you debating Plaisted is useless. He has no intention of being honest. He buys his kool-aid by the barrel. Plaisted is a nut. The funny part about Plaisted is that he plays a little game in his own mind. It goes like this.
He knows the truth, but plays his second year law school game of defendnig that which is indefensible.
It's a game to libs. They live on Fantasy Island.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

And all those terrorists in the Middle East carry around "Reflections on the Revolution in France" by Edmund Burke and "On the Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith.

Oh wait, that's right, they just endorse John Kerry for president.

If you want to play the game of which murdering lunatics endorse which parts of the American ideological spectrum, I'm pretty sure you liberals would win out with the higher body count.

capper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick Esenberg said...

Anon & Capper

I appreciate that you aren't using the term yourselves (so no criticism of you is intended), but no links to the "c-word" are permitted on my blog. I really, really hate that word. It devalues so many people - my wife, my late grandmothers and mother, my mother-in-law, sister and sisters in law, my daughter-in-law, nieces and other relatives and countless friends - that I just love to pieces. If that term is ok between McCain and his wife (who clearly love one another), that's fine for them just as use of the n-word might be ok among black people. But, for men in most contexts, it's a foul word that, for the almost everyone of us (including gay men) who love women, is reprehensible. So its not allowed here. I'm not criticizing either one of you for your references because I know that you did not intend insult, but I just don't want to get into that.

William Tyroler said...

As Rick points out, Jim Rowen is flatly unsurprised that the Tennessee shooter owned a Michael Savage book. Actually, Rick understates Rowen's insinuation of a direct link between "the Tennessee man who said he deliberately shot up a church because it welcomed gay members and championed civil rights causes" and "the virulently right-wing Michael Savage's recent book, 'Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.'" Rowen goes on to assert:

Let's hope interrogators find out what his motivations were and who influenced him.

We need to know whether he thought that being a member of what Michael Savage calls his audience, "The Savage Nation," in any way stirred him to tote a 12-gauge shotgun and more than 70 shells into a church where the kids were putting on a musical performance for the congregation.

So Rowen the journalist wants skilled interrogators delving deeply into possible connections between reading habits and behavior. We need to know. OK, then give the government access to library records and Amazon.com book orders. Why not, if we "need to know" whether some or another book might "in any way stir[]" someone to homicide?

Rick correctly notes that the homicidal Sterling Hall bombers -- the "New Year's Gang" -- "were influenced by the claims of the New Left." Indeed they were, arguably including the writings of one Jim Rowen, who inflamed campus sentiment against the Army Math Research Center housed in that building with a number of articles for the Daily Cardinal. (See Rads, by Tom Bates (pp. 248-51) for a quick overview of Rowen's efforts.) Rowen was not responsible for the Gang's actions, though; they, and they alone, were. Rowen apparently denies that his articles "played a part in the infamous bombing". I would say that it simply doesn't matter, that he bore no culpability regardless. And yet, if it happened today and we heeded the Rowen of today, we would have detectives grilling the Gang about whether they were stirred by Rowen's writings.

It might be argued that Rowen's exposés just don't compare to the ravings of Michael Savage (whose output I've never once read or heard; I assume the characterizations of him are correct). Fair enough. But the first amendment doesn't support "content based" discrimination: once we start asking whether one form of writing "stirred" someone to murder then we necessarily put another form is in the crosshairs. Better policy, I would argue, to make the actor, not the writer, responsible for the act.

Jimi5150 said...

"I don't recall . . ."

As a general rule, if I'm not sure about something, I don't make ridiculous claims about it.

As for hate mongering . . . you've got to be kidding me. There are numerous examples of comparing Bush to Hitler, death wishes, and general vial language by lefty talk radio. If there's any reason it's not more public than what it is, it's because of the lefty media . . . and the fact that no one listens to lefty radio.

OK. A dozen or so people do.

Here's some good reading I'm too stoopid to make links):


Of course, we know know what Rhodes said to get herself FIRED.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed with Mike Plaisted's blog. Asking for serious discourse, he then ignores requested serious discourse. Whatever, Mike, go talk to yourself. I will stay on blogs where some intelligent discourse happens regularly, even if it includes comments from hypocrites like Mike.

3rd Way said...

If that term is ok between McCain and his wife (who clearly love one another), that's fine for them just as use of the n-word might be ok among black people.

You seriously think that McCain's wife doesn't find it objectionable that her husband used that word in retaliation for her snide comment about his thin hair? If there is a woman in America that doesn't mind her husband calling her that word in public she needs to have her head examined or her prescription changed.

The more telling word in McCain's draw dropping retort was that he called his wife a "trollop". I had never heard that word, but I don't have knowledge of many derogatory pre-war elitist terms that would be insulting to an heiress.

Mike Plaisted said...


Check my comment section for a response. Sorry for the delay.

If Bill Clinton had used that term against his wife (or even "trollop"), he would have been impeached...again. Any other Democratic politician would have been run out of town on a rail. Again, Dems are held to a higher standard and Republican get away with it because, well, not much is expected of them.

Jimi5150 said...

Oh, for chissakes . . .

Newt Gingrich?

Clinton got a hummer from a skank while in the Whitehouse! Are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Clinton got a hummer from a skank in the Whitehouse and paid dearly for it. On the other hand, the old Newtster tells his wife as she is lying in a hospital bed with cancer, that he is leaving her for another woman. Great Republican family values! So, go "oh for chissake" yourself.

Jimi5150 said...

That's the point. Sorry you missed it.

Newt also got crucified. Bill stayed in office for essentially the same thing Newt was. I don't see the higher standard thing going on.

Mike Plaisted said...

Gingrich and Bob Livingston took themselves out of the picture in a fialed effort to save their "revolution" -- the Dems never had a chance to make any noise about it because they were gone before the disclosures hit the pages of (in Livingston's case, anyway) Hustler. They crucified their sanctimonious asses themselves and tried to get out of town before any knew why they left. Which most people still don't.

capper said...

For those that were curious, the reason Rick chose to delete my previous comment was because it linked to a site selling t-shirts calling Hillary Clinton that vulgar word.

I also linked to Sykes insulting two out the three major religions of the world, and dehumanizing a large percentage of the world's population.