Tag Archives: Rush Limbaugh

Shame Day: Todd Kincannon

There’s an old supposedly Scottish proverb that goes,

“The only reason some people are alive is because is because it is illegal to kill them.”

toddkincannon

This is perhaps truer of no one than former South Carolina Republican Party
executive director Todd Kincannon.

Now you’re probably all saying “Whoa there! Ain’t that more than a little harsh?

To which I respond: no.

This is a guy so twisted I feel perfectly comfortable with slapping the label “evil” on him and not losing a moment’s peace of mind. Let me break it down for you.

This guy makes Rush Limbaugh (the guy who came out in support of the genocidal, child-rapist “Lord’s Resistance Army” terrorist group in the Congo) look like Gandhi by comparison. Here’s what Kincannon posted regarding Trayvon Martin during the Superbowl:

And just to be sure there was no confusion as to his meaning, Kincannon continued on to post this:

Yeah, I’m going to give you all a moment to try to wrap your head around just how vile of a thing that was.

Ready?

Well, we’re moving on anyways.

Now I could spend the entire post breaking down Kincannon’s assumption that some high school kid gunned down by a gung-ho neighborhood watchman was a “thug” or that had he grown up, he inevitably would’ve resorted to “sucking dick” for “drug money,” but there’s oh so much more still to see!

Kincannon’s spent the past few days attacking Iraq war veteran Mike Prysner for his views on recently deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, offering such reasonable and level-headed comments as:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315693128914989056

And:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315697254180728832

Again, it’s kind of hard for me to feel guilty about my statement above when it has to compete with even the mildest of things this guy has to say.

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315571885620473856

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315673713553059841

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/315677582668468225

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/316410543760084992

What makes it all worse is that when this guy is confronted over his statements, he resorts to “free speech” arguments to evade any responsibility. He is correct in that he has the freedom to say whatever he so chooses, just as I have the freedom to stick forks in my own eyes or kick a grizzly bear- just because I have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. As far as trying to play off his statements.

In one interview, Kincannon out rightly stated that “If you say something that’s borderline offensive or if it is offensive, the people that attack you and say just the awfulest [sic] things about you, they do the very thing that they accuse you of.”

Evan does try to keep the blog relatively profanity-free, but this was really the only gif I could find that quite captured the feeling…

For anyone wondering, that’s the equivalent of punching a guy and calling him a hypocrite when he punches you back. But there’s more to it than just that.

Even if Kincannon truly does believe he’s nothing more than a witty prankster, he does have a following and his statements do get reactions out of people, including such gems as:

So we’ve effectively jumped from “This vet deserves to have died for holding political views I disagree with” to “every soldier who has come back alive is a coward and a disgrace to the fatherland.”

Again, if this is all some elaborate prank being played by Kincannon, we can’t ignore that it’s not being taken to lightly by his followers. I don’t think J.D. Salinger should be blamed because a nutcases took Catcher in the Rye to be code for “Kill John Lennon,” but when most everyone reading your work is coming away with homophobic, racist, sexist, and generally reprehensible messages, it’s time to rethink your medium.

If Kincannon’s playing some prank. Between you and me, I don’t think this is all that funny:

https://twitter.com/ToddKincannon/status/316410079152857089

What’s there left to say?

Todd Kincannon, you are an evil human being. Shame on you.

Evan, if there was ever a time to break Culture War Reporter’s no-profanity rule, it is now

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Fascists, Skinheads, and Nazis (Oh My!)

As you all doubtlessly know, two days ago, a gunman entered a Sikh temple in the little town of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six and injuring four more before being shot dead by police. The killer, one Wade Michael Page, was connected to a number of vicious white-supremacist groups, most notably the “Hammerskins”, a white-supremacist group that focuses on dispersing racist messages and propaganda through music- Page being the founder of one band and a member in another.

Why is this even being brought up here? As strange as it may seem, there’s an argument to be made for the Oak Creek massacre having its origins in culture. Now many of you might be thinking of the Aurora massacre, and no, this isn’t some discussion about our attitudes towards guns, violence in media, or anything of the kind. There’s certainly a good discussion to be had on that subject as well, but it’s not what I’ll be addressing here.

No, what I’m going to be talking about is this:

Fascism.

It’s coming back.

See, the idea that the culture, traditions, and history of specific people group are superior to those of all others and should be promoted and maintained through brute force didn’t die when Hitler blew his bigoted brains all over an underground bunker in Berlin, or when Communist freedom fighters gunned down Mussolini in a picturesque Italian village. It’s been dormant for a long time, but in recent years, it has again shown its ugly face.

Nope- uglier than that…

While there have been plenty of racially motivated murders over the years since Nazism fell (to say nothing of countless lesser hate crimes), what we’re seeing now is a resurgence in full-fledged Fascist ideology- but before we get into that, just a side note.

For many of you, the term “Fascism” probably conjures up images of generic authoritarianism. Obama’s a Fascist. Rush Limbaugh’s a Fascist. That one really strict teacher is a Fascist.

I’ve struggled for a while to come up with a good, succinct definition for what Fascism is all really about, so I’m going to offer this illustration. To a Fascist, his people (often, race) are inherently great and good, and they are inherently great and good because of their traditions, values, and culture, which are all also inherent to them. The greatness of the nation is lost when evil, conniving undesirables start pushing their own cultures, values, and traditions, which are subversive and degenerative to the nation. Therefore, these degenerates who threaten the nation must be stomped out (often quite literally), and the “original” culture/traditions/values must be restored, enforced, and maintained through an all-powerful government, police force, military, etc.

There’s more to it, of course. I could talk about the concepts of autocracy, corporatism, use of ancient Roman symbolism, and the like, but for now, let this all above be the definition we work with.

Now why do I say it’s coming back? Certainly if we disregard the recent massacre and the occasional race-related attack, there doesn’t seem to be any major Fascist threat in the US. The KKK isn’t roaming with impudence in the South. Gangs of Nazis aren’t attacking Jewish stores and businesses. Self-proclaimed defenders of the nation aren’t roaming the boarders trying to-

Oh yeah…

Ok, but it’s not like there’s been any major attack on people for having different skin or heritage or religio-

Ok, fine, but it’s not like any of this bigotry has been legislated or-

…Yeah…

See, that’s how it works. It’s subtle, discreet. The great Sinclair Lewis perhaps said it best:

And this is just America. In Europe, Fascism is even more prevalent and less shameless, simply take a look at France, where the government has instituted laws banning certain forms of Muslim garb, or forcibly expelling the Roma Gypsies.

I recall another guy who took actions to get rid of gypsies…

Over in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that “Multiculturalism has failed”

Kinda forgetting about the last time a German chancellor declared the failure of multiculturalism…

…And in Britain, holocaust-denier Nick Griffin, leader of the white-supremacist British Nationalist Party (BNP) was elected to the European Parliament. That’s about the equivalent of the Grand Wizard of the KKK getting elected to congress.

I’d show you an actual picture of Nick Griffin but **** that guy…

And this is to say nothing of the escalating attacks on immigrants across Europe. Why? Because many Europeans and Americans are buying into the idea that the values, traditions, culture, and beliefs of other people are a direct threat to them. I recall in college on particularly nasty student who asserted that “All immigrants should go home”. Interesting, considering he had an Italian last name. Does he mean that he too will leave America? Of course not. Does he mean the Canadians who attended that school? Not at all. “Immigrants” was simply code for those “undesirable brown people”. But don’t take the words of one bigoted student as evidence of this ugly trend- just look at Congressman Steve King’s attempt to make English the “Official Language” of the US!

Now why on earth would you try to make English the official language of the US? It’s not like the vast majority doesn’t already speak it. And what if we did speak Spanish? How would it make a difference to anyone what we speak… unless English was somehow viewed as “inherent” to America!

There’s really part of the problem. It’s a perspective on society. Back in College, I had a conservative friend whose opposition to gay marriage was that “the traditional family is the building block of society, and changing the family weakens society”. I’m not saying he’s a fascist- not at all, but this view of society as a solid, unchanging thing is what really serves to create so much of the general bigotry and outright fascism that we see today. When society’s well-being is linked to culture, to maintain society is to maintain culture, and while there’s a certain logic there, all too often it’s taken to mean that every aspect of culture, right down to traditional gender roles, religion, and racial demographics, must be controlled. It’s the reason why you see Muslims, immigrants, homosexuals, or as the past couple days have shown us, Sikhs, targeted. And don’t for a minute imagine that it’s just Aryans who take up this line of thought. I recently had an encounter with an Asian immigrant who cited that his country was once upon a time a “Christian country”, and that he was concerned at Hindus, Buddhists, and the like building places of worship in his community.

Only where does it end? Suppose you argue that non-Christians should be excluded from a country because their cultures threaten the stability of the nation- what the minority groups? I always want to bring this up when I hear someone make the argument that America is a “Christian Country”- does that include the Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses? What about Unitarians? Episcopalians? Catholics? Mennonites?

That’s the crux of the matter. The Fascists- both the self-declared and the self-deluded- would have us believe that we’re all hopelessly divided. That we cannot respectfully disagree with each other. That you can’t speak Mandarin and I can’t speak Arabic and the two of us get along. That multiculturalism is a fantasy. That we can’t have our own practices and perspectives while all agreeing, to some degree, on how to live together. We’re meant to live in constant fear that if we tolerate anyone who doesn’t fit in, there goes our way of life.

So let it go.

This will be harder for some than others…

The title of this blog is the Culture War Reporters, and perhaps what needs to be understood is that the culture war isn’t something that can (or should) be won. There’s always going to be divergence in opinion and in behavior. There’s always going to be new things coming in, and old things struggling to stay on. There’s always going to be good stuff and bad, so at the end of the day, why worry? Don’t buy the idea that culture can be maintained, or that one group has found all the answers. For all the dark content about murders, genocide, and the like, strange a line from Disney’s Ratatouille should fit so appropriately. Defending his lifestyle against the accusation that it’s “against nature”, Remy the rat declares that “Change is nature”.

Terrible Moments in News Media (Not Limited to Rush Limbaugh)

Note: This is a version of a piece I wrote this with my brilliant friend Chris Hartline for our student newspaper, and am reprinting it here. Any goodness in it may be credited to him.

Most of the public is aware of Rush Limbaugh’s stupid and unfunny bit in which he referred to a Georgetown student as a “prostitute” and a “slut” for saying that Georgetown health insurance should cover contraception.

source: lifenews.com

Do not pay attention to this man. He will make you sad.

But the name-calling does not stop there: other instances of sexist slander have been just as offensive but haven’t received as much news coverage as Limbaugh’s insult. Bill Maher, a liberal comedian and amateur political commentator on HBO, referred to Sarah Palin as “a tw-t” and “a c-nt”. Chris Matthews, MSNBC host, called Hillary Clinton “witchy,” “uppity,” and claimed that she was elected to the Senate only because her “husband messed around.”

source: glennbeck.com

Looks like public discourse to me.

The state of the news media today is disheartening because the system of acidity seems to be self-perpetuating. Indeed, truculence has become a prevailing rhetorical device. Keith Olbermann had a segment on his show (and a book) called “The Worst Person in the World”. Glenn Beck wrote a book in 2009 called “Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government”.

Another clear manifestation of the deficit of trust of the media was a 2009 poll done by Time magazine. Walter Cronkite held the title (since 1974) of “Most Trusted Man in America”. Cronkite was the most visible figure in the media, which at the time provided objective discourse and information to the public, and he died in 2009. In the subsequent Time poll, voters said that the most trusted news anchor in America was Comedy Central host and political satirist Jon Stewart.

The fact is that the media is supposed to provide a momentary stay against political hostility, an unbiased source of objective information for the public, and that it is not doing this. Consequently, the public is losing their faith in the news media, and by extension the American political system itself.

The media has become tool used by political parties to influence the opinions of the public. A blatant example of this is the “Plan for Putting the GOP in the News” memo from the Nixon administration. The 15-page memo was anonymous, and has written comments on it by Nixon’s then-advisor and current Fox News President Roger Ailes.

Roger Ailes!

Roger Ailes: founding CEO of Fox News and adviser to Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. Also credited for possessing the world's least attractive set of jowls.

The memo stated that television was the best medium for political persuasion because of its imminent popularity: “People are lazy. With television you just sit – watch – listen.  The thinking is done for you.” The plan was to record prepackaged interviews with Republican politicians and deliver the videotapes to local news stations. Presently, critics say that Fox News has demonstrated their role as an arm of the Republican Party.

source: msnbc.com

All you need to know about Keith Olbermann is that he's not a pleasant person.

MSNBC, while on the opposite side of the political spectrum from Fox News, is similar in its audacious political stance. In a distasteful and recurring ending rant on his show, former host Keith Olbermann once shouted (his monologue was directed at then-President Bush), “This war is not about you … shut the hell up!”. Fellow host Chris Matthews also said after a 2008 Obama speech that he “felt this thrill going up my leg as Obama spoke.”

So it can be concluded that the media has become unabashedly partisan. Even the very fact that it is standard for each major newspaper to endorse a presidential candidate reflects a problem in the nature of journalism. It results in an overtly ideological news organization – the New York Times is liberal, the Wall Street Journal is conservative; the Washington Post is liberal, the Washington Times is conservative, etc.

A news staff tending to lean one way on the opinions page is typical and expected; however, the fear is that the ideological slant of the editorial pages will seep into the news coverage. The potential and underlying ‘spin’ of news stories becomes more important than the objectivity of the events being reported.

And maybe the Nixon administration’s prediction about the easy audience of television was prescient: political commentary television programs can be especially caustic and, at times, juvenile. They seem to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the public and of individuals. Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, and Bill O’Reilly are all political commentators who base their rhetoric on the petty mockery of whoever disagrees with them – their arguments are negative, not positive, and clever insults take precedent over constructive criticism.

source: portland.indymedia.org

Jon Stewart pleads with the hosts of Crossfire to "stop hurting America." Crossfire was cancelled shortly after Stewart's interview.

The media itself has not only lost its ability to objectively inform the public of unbiased political events – it has become a tool for fostering and encouraging political contention. The role of the news media is not just lost – it has been perverted. As Jon Stewart said to the hosts of Crossfire, this inflammation of petty and theatrical bickering isn’t just bad journalism – it’s hurting America.

David Brooks said: “There’s a collapse in the public’s faith in American institutions. The media has done a poor job. We’ve become as insular and self-regarding as any [other institution].” It is no wonder, then, that there is a deficit of trust among the younger generations – the apparent disintegration of the integrity of our news sources is nothing less than repelling.

The People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street

It’s day 24 of Occupy Wall Street 1 and the thousands of protesters there have been organizing themselves into pseudo governments and various working groups. 2 The place is turning into a petri-dish kind of accelerated model of semi-anarchic social planning. The coolest aspect of the new microsociety, however long it’s going to last, is the The People’s Library of #OccupyWallStreet.

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/listentomyvoice/6215907949/in/pool-1820877@N22
The OWSL was started by an NYU library studies student setting out a pile of books – other protesters started adding books, found protection for the books from the weather, and (now) have made a catalogue of the books and are collecting donations. On the library’s blog, OWSL announced that a criminal justice attorney for a New York nonprofit offered her legal services to the library as it deals with the semi-sketch logistics of being an uncovered library located in a public park. The library has about 15 volunteers (described as “a mix of librarians and library enthusiasts”) and a barcode scanner.

According to their catalogue, the library has about 400 books, with about 50 donations per day coming for the last few days. OWSL’s catalogue includes kind of what is to be expected in the library of a strange semianarchy made up of people with too much time, from Reading Lolita in Tehran to The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Volunteers say that they’re having constant requests for copies of A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. There are a few less expected titles in the catalogue, though, too, like Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement3 and Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

OWSL volunteers say that they do not discriminate when it comes to which books they put out – by nature of those donating, they have mostly liberal political and philosophical theory. But, one of the volunteers said, “if someone came with a truckload of Rush Limbaugh’s books, we’d put them out. We’re not opposed to having a dissenting voice.”4

One volunteer was asked to describe the library’s purpose: “People want to know, ‘What’s your agenda?’” he said. “Well, the status quo doesn’t have an agenda. Everyone here, in the aggregate, are people who feel disenfranchised and powerless. It’s perfectly legitimate to be frustrated. I don’t have a solution. I’m not an anarchist. I’m here because I love books.”

I'm not an anarchist. I'm here because I love books.

This attitude is what gives a sense of legitimacy to OWSL: its dedication to the availability of information in general, not just the forward movement of the protesters’ varying agendas. It’s admittedly heartening to see that one of the first things that develops in a group of people staying still for a while is a library. The agendas and decisions of the protest aside, let’s hope that the spirit of the indiscriminate availability of information and discourse remains in at least this aspect of the movement.

1 If you’re not terribly aware of what’s going on in NYC, and are interested in politics or social media or culture or anthropology or basically anything, read up on the Wiki page – for more laughs, read the .
2 For example: Sanitation, Food and Kitchen, Arts & Culture, Public Relations, Direct Action, Media Spokesperson Relations, Internet, Information, and “Peacemakers” [Security]. source: http://www.examiner.com/populist-in-long-island/night-and-day-life-at-occupy-wall-street
3 For substantial feelings of anger, horror, and loss of hope, Google the Quiverfull movement.
4 source:
http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/10/occupy-wall-street-their-own-mini-government-complete-with-library/#ixzz1aOZwBPAe