....LMB: "Blinders? Check. Rage? Check. Flying Spittle? Check."....

March 17, 2004

Stop me if you've heard this one.

A Spanish guy walks into an American Republican bar. He goes up to the bartender and says "give me a beer." And the bartender says "YOU STUPID APPEASING PANSY MOTHERFUCKER!! HOW DARE YOU GIVE INTO THE TERRORISTS?!!! YOU COWARDLY TRAITOR FAGGOT!!! YOU'RE WORSE THAN FRANCE!! I'LL KILL YOU!!!! I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!"

Ha ha ha. Those Republicans, they're a riot.

American conservatives just can't get rabid enough about the Spanish terrorist attack and suprise election results of the past week. I'm not sure if they are so simple-minded that they can't see the complexity of the events, their causes and potential results, or if they're just drawing the most simplistic picture possible in public to score political points.

First of all, these politicians are smearing the distinction between the "war on terrorism" and "war on Iraq" like toddlers fingerpainting. The US decided to invade Iraq, a largely terrorism-free zone.

After that, it's just a devolution into "Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad" rhetoric.

- The prime minister of Spain sent the country to war with Iraq, so that's good and anti-terrorist (although as many as 90% of Spain's citizens were against the war).

- The people of Spain voted him out of office, so they're bad and pro-terrorist (without looking to see what the new guy's policy is).

- The new prime minister wants to take Spanish troops out of Iraq, which is bad and pro-terrorist (cuz Iraqis are Muslims and Muslims are terrorists and not killing terrorists is pro-terrorist)

- Spain isn't fighting in the way that the US wants it to, so they are just like Europe giving the Sudetenland to Hitler in the 1930s (despite the fact that that analogy probably doesn't work here)

It's amazingly frustrating dealing with such ignorant, narrow arguments. Of course the situation is more complex than that. It always is.

If any of these conservative politicians and pundits had bothered to ask anyone from Spain why they voted a certain way, or what their thoughts or intentions were, instead of using their apparent pundit psychic powers, we might actually learn something.

I have seen several statements by Spaniards which tell a different story (here and here).

One of the political strengths of the Popular Party was their strong anti-ETA stance (the ETA being Spain's homegrown terrorists/rebels). Once the bombs hit in Madrid, the Popular Party immediately began spinning the event, asserting that there was no doubt that this attack was perpetrated by the ETA. Even as doubt began to poke out its head, and evidence came to the fore that perhaps this was an Islamic fundamentalist attack and not the ETA, the Popular Party stood firm in its unsubstantiated claims. And when an Islamic group took credit and the ETA denied involvement, the Spanish got pissed. Furious that the current administration had played politics with the dead before the blood and wreckage had cooled, voters turned out in mass to vote the current bastards out.

In the eyes of the Spanish, this was not a pro-appeasement vote, this was an anti-exploitation vote. This was a vote against politicians manipulating the truth for their own personal gain. And, perhaps, an anti-stupid-bastards-who-take-us-into-American-wars vote.

Of course, no one is ever 100% reliable when speaking of their own motivations. We often hide the truth, try to paint ourselves more positively, or lie to ourselves as well. Perhaps the people of Spain are fooling us or themselves when they tell us why they voted that way. Or perhaps not.

Now we get into the war of perceptions. No matter how the Spanish view this election, will the terrorists view the change in the vote as a victory? They might. Will the terrorists see the new president's decision to pull troops from Iraq as another victory? They might. Will they now start attacking nation's right before elections to try to sway the outcome? They might. And these are things to worry about for the future.

But should all decisions made by any government be based primarily on how they will be interpretted by terrorists? If you start letting terrorist fears determine your every action, then the terrorists are successfully controlling you. While you should keep in mind the ramifications of your actions, you should surely never make a decision just because its what the terrorists wouldn't want you to do.

Our best hope in all of this is for all governments to start fighting terrorism in a smart way, not in an arrogant, macho way. In his public statements Spanish prime minister-elect Zapatero seems to be embracing this idea, of countries working together on effective ways to fight terrorism. Only time will tell whether or not Zapatero follows through, or whether any nation starts thinking about and implementing more effective tactics.

Posted by Jake at 10:48 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

One correction above, Jake:
"... Iraq, a largely terrorist-free zone."
should be changed to:
"... Iraq, which was largely a terrorist-free zone prior to the invasion and occupation."

Posted by: eric at March 18, 2004 05:23 AM

umm... s/terrorist/terrorism/g above, but you get the idea. :)

Posted by: eric at March 18, 2004 05:24 AM

"Our best hope in all of this is for all governments to start fighting terrorism in a smart way, not in an arrogant, macho way."

You have no idea what 'the smart way' is, do you? Is it Clinton and Bush Sr. before him deballing the military and our spy networks? Is it more trying to 'understand' evil?

Killing terrorist camelfuckers with bombs, missles and bullets--not with undeserved kindness--seems to work best.

'Fuck Spain.' Yes, it's that simple. Spain capitulated to an outside enemy (the way Bush Jr. gives in to illegals to appease the hispanic vote) and will now get what they deserve.

Posted by: ergo at March 18, 2004 08:51 PM

If the expression "cogito, ergo sum" is, in fact, accurate I guess it's a claim you can not make. But thanks for that amazing display of over-simplification 'ergo'. I'll take my laughs where I can find them.

Posted by: Damelon Kimbrough at March 19, 2004 04:58 AM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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