Sunday, December 30, 2018


[See Part 2 and Part 3 as well.]

© 2014 Sean P. Anderson used under a Creative Commons license
10. The (Blessed) Silencing of Alex Jones. Remember that brief moment last summer when Alex Jones became the new John Peter Zenger because Facebook and YouTube "censored" him and all the top wingnuts nailed their colors to his escutcheon? You don't? Well, maybe that's because after a brief inital burst of caterwauling they all fucked off and left him to rot in his (still highly visible and lucrative) exile.

Here in December 2018, it's hard to imagine that conservatives were blubbering over Jones' removal from platforms that did not want him aboard. National Review's Theodore Kupfer did the old unintended-consequences thing: "Facebook can’t make Alex Jones go away; banning him might add to his support and further radicalize his fans." Others cried lefty censorship: "This is absolutely the first stage in a coordinated plan to deplatform everyone on the right," declared Instapundit Glenn Reynolds. All agreed Liberals were the Real Fascists.

Reynolds' prediction, alas, has not come true, and there are still rightwing nutcakes all over the damn place -- and while claiming they've been unpersoned or deplatformed has become a rite of passage for them (see Laura Loomer chaining herself to Twitter HQ), even bigtime conservatives have for the most part stopped playing along. You don't see many REMEMBER ALEX JONES memorials on the Right.

It's easy to see why: As it becomes increasingly clear, especially since the midterms, that relying on only the nuttiest Americans to lift them to victory is not a repeatable strategy, conservatives are not as eager as once they were to be represented by crackpots and carny clowns. Speaking of which: keep an eye out because their abandonment of Jones will probably serve as a model for their abandonment of the ever-less-popular Trump.

© 2018 Mark Dillman used under a Creative Commons license
9. OMG AOC! I know the "Fill In The Blank Derangement Syndrome" template has been going since the Dawn of the Clintons, but look: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is merely a freshman Congressmember from a safe seat in New York City, yet conservatives have gone ballistic over her. In fact they've been deranged since she beat the stand-pat Democratic incumbent for the nomination in July. Back then they were rattled that she was an unashamed Democratic Socialists of America member -- notwithstanding that a lot of other DSA candidates have been winning elections. (Which may be part of the reason for the syndrome -- a glimmer of awareness on the Right's part that Trump has made conservatism so toxic voters will run further to the left than Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of going.)

But even worse from a rightwing perspective, this socialist is popular: AOC is good on the stump and has fired up thousands of fans, which makes attacking her kind of a "this thing everyone likes is bad" proposition. Here's Virginia Kruter at The Daily Caller -- "YES, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ ‘INSPIRED’ ME. NO, NOT IN THE WAY SHE THINKS... So, Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez, you did inspire me... You inspired me to fight the creep of socialism with everything I have. And you inspired me to raise my children to do the same." That's totally the kind of argument winners make.

Also, AOC is cute, Hispanic, *and* unafraid to clap back at dull-witted wingnuts, which attributes, taken together, probably ring at least a dozen psychosexual bells for conservatives. Did you see how she smacked a Washington Examiner facotum for his "creep shot" analysis of her walking down the halls of Congress in a dress? Imagine being a rightwing player accustomed to treating young women like chattel getting that kind of lip from a young Puertorriqueña with a House seat as thousands cheer.

Not only do liberals talk about how AOC drives conservatives crazy ("Why conservatives love to hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez" -- Jane Coaston, Vox) --  so do conservatives ("Conservatives Keep Giving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exactly What She Wants" -- Jim Geraghty, National Review). It's like they figure there's nothing they can do about it except sluice off some of the clickbait.

My favorite in that genre is Kevin D. Williamson trying to turn it around with his traditional snotty patter -- "Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a socialist," he quips, "a declaration mitigated somewhat by the fact that she doesn’t seem to know what the word 'socialist' means." There is only one thing worse than being witty, and that is not being witty. But even this notorious troll seems to sense it isn't working and finally goes full corncob, telling his fellow conservatives "if they were smarter, they’d be grateful [that]... this callow dilettante is the best the other side has to offer." That should be some comfort as she continues to kick their sorry asses.

8. The Kavanaugh hearings and the end of the Roe repeal boom. When SCOTUS "swing vote" Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in July, wingnuts cheered the imminent end of the right to abortion. "The central mandate for the man or woman who will take his seat, and for all the justices," Glory-Hallelujah'd the Washington Examiner, under the unambiguous headline "Repeal Roe v. Wade," "is to wipe away a disgrace that ranks alongside Dred Scott, and overtun [sic] Roe and Casey.”

As Trump replacement Brett Kavanaugh was exposed as a groper and a goon (and, I was shocked to learn, a buddy-pal of longtime alicublog figure of fun Mark Judge), we heard more talk about all the women Kavanaugh didn't rape, and about how it was actually someone else disguised as Kavanaugh who tried to rape that lady, and less about how he was going to make rape victims bear their rape-babies. Theocons like Ross Douthat have kept the faith, but other conservatives have been tucking their hands in their pockets, whistling, and walking away -- and since Kavanaugh appeared to help Planned Parenthood in a recent SCOTUS decision, we're even seeing headlines like "Brett Kavanaugh is not the pro-life savior you're looking for" at the Washington Examiner.

It was fun to dream of damning women to unwanted children in the fall of 2018 -- but with elections and polls showing Republicans becoming even more unpopular, the idea of a sexual batterer repealing Roe v. Wade is suddenly less attractive to them. We don't know what the asshole will do in the clutch, but we do know he's not committed to anything so much as his career -- and probably the goodwill of the assholes who probably let him know they made him and can break him. So in one sense, at least, the Kavanaugh hearings may have done some good.

7. The Rod Dreher "Reader" "Mailbag." This is not a matter of national interest, but of my own desires (which are... unconventional), so give the blogger some: There's so much to enjoy about Benedict Option author/hyper-holy-roller Rod Dreher -- his racism, his gay panic, his love of fascist dictators. But my favorite Dreherism is his use of "mail" from "readers" to back up his points. These missives are often from a Democrat who now hates Democrats, a liberal who now hates liberals, or a Wiccan who now hates Wicca -- all of whom express themselves very clearly in a similar tone of voice.

One of 2018's great pieces of "reader" "mail" was the one in which the proud daughter of a "Scots-Irish 'clan'" laments that her family is being "torn apart" by an "LGBT bully" -- that is, a gay cousin "who publicly shames family members on Facebook." (Though this woman calls the gay cousin a "terrorist" she didn't say how or why his Facebook posts do so much damage. My guess -- assuming, for the sake of argument, that these people exist -- is that he described some family sleepovers.)

Another is from a "reader" who reports the nice young fellow down at the store was transferred to a distant location as punishment because he said he'd be uncomfortable using "transgender pronouns." I tell ya, it's a gulag out there ("there are some very obvious common threads between what happened in the early Soviet days and what we see today") for folks who want he-shes to know their place!

But here's my 2018 favorite:
I’m certainly not a typical Trump supporter — I believe in climate change and America’s responsibility to take policy steps to reduce our contribution to it, I’m anti-NRA, pro-Obamacare to an extent, and detest the Republican Party generally... 
But leaving the nuclear issue aside, the Left’s behavior in the last year has pushed me steadily more and more in the direction of being willing to vote for a sort of lower-key Trump (someone like Ben Shapiro)...
Soon Brother Rod will notice those Beto-Bernie fights that currently inflame the internet and propose the Virgin Ben as a unity candidate. You read it here first!

Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 over the next few days.

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