Thursday, July 05, 2018

Fuck Civility. My Second Post on the Sarah Huckabee Sanders Controversy

The background for this post can be found in my first post on this topic:  Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump's official "mouth," was denied service at a Virginia restaurant because of her political views, and that began a "national conversation" on civility in American politics and public life.  

You can see that giant "conversation" by searching for "civility" in Google news:  A long, long list of opinion pieces crops up.  And no wonder, because we all already think we know what civility is and whether it's good or bad in politics.  That makes research unnecessary and the writing fuckin wonderful!

Except for us obsessive-compulsive perfectionists. We have to do research, and so I did that.  After lots of it (and lots of chocolate, thanks, kind donors) I chose the question I want to address:

Why are some people allowed to be rude in politics and others are not?  Why would it sound shocking to hear the kind and gentle Echidne tell someone to go and fuck themselves with a tiny rusty plague-infected Q-tip,  when hearing the same from, say,  Rush Limbaugh wouldn't sound shocking at all, except perhaps for the use of the word "fuck?" 

Because much of social media is simply a giant cesspit, I limited my analysis to people who have a large audience and a public presence.  Here are the results:

Monday, July 02, 2018

Purple Family Values

Remember "family values?"  They were the big talking point among Republicans in the 1990s, used to combat anything from abortion, same-sex marriage, women working outside the home, and sex education in schools. 

Family values were always a code, to be deciphered by the readers.  But the intended meaning of this code was that families should be under patriarchal leadership, that husbands should bring home the bacon and wives should cook it and that there should be many children (the number dependent on some divine power entering the husband's testicles, I guess), none of whom would ever go to daycare because their mothers would not work for money.

It was a clever code, of course, because who wouldn't value families, eh?  Those who heard or read the words "family values" instinctively inserted their own family values (love of parents, children, mutual support and care, say) into them.  And that made the code work.

Still, whatever the actual contents of the term, "family values" were meant as something normative:  the way someone thought things should be, not as something positive:  someone describing things the way that person thinks they are.

That long preamble is to explain why I found an opinion piece by Matthew Schmitz in the New York Times pretty weird.  Schmitz treats the term "family values" as a mix of positive and normative concepts.