On Poisonous Political Rhetoric

This will be a short post, more because I don’t think there’s much that can be said on the subject. Sometimes there’s no point to ranting, tearing down, or strawmanning, when your opponent is perfectly capable of setting themselves on fire.

Basically, it is this: Michelle Obama has invited in fellow Rev. Wright devotee “Common” to the White House to read some of his poetry. His poems have included such subject matter as the glorifying of killing police officers and calling for the assassination of President Bush.

This has prompted a media that was, not a few short months ago remember, blaming-but-not-really-blaming-even-though-it’s-their-fault the entirety of the right wing and their “poisonous political rhetoric” for the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords. Now, negative reaction to someone who is actually guilty of violent rhetoric being invited to and honored at the White House is treated with more condescension than you would think humanly possible by HuffPo, as “giving the GOP something to whine about” by The Stir (who also refers to the violence-advocator in question as a “thoughtful, socially conscious artist“, emphasis theirs), and so on.

Seriously, sometimes you’d think that the only way they keep from getting dizzy from all the spin is that they somehow get extra balance from having two faces.

Here’s the Google News collection of stories on the subject if you’d like to dig through for some more winners.

Comments are closed.

  1. JimK

    I saw this story today and even grabbed the link to maybe rant about it but yeah…it’s pretty self-damning. But that’s this White House all over, really.

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  2. CM

    I don’t really understand the comparison. I have some questions.
    Is violent rhetoric from right-wing politicians and pundits simply ‘art’?
    Should no artists, other than those who stay strictly middle-of-the-road and only discuss non-controversial topics, be invited to the White House?
    Does being invited the White House as an artist to perform (as one of many) mean that the White House automatically endorses all sentiments expressed in your art?
    Are you attacking the media, or The White House here? (At the start I assumed you were attacking the Obamas, but then in the third paragragh you lay into the media. Didn’t the Obama’s essentially stay out of that ‘violent-rhetoric-can-lead-to-actual-violence’ debate? Who is self-damning themselves?

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  3. CM

    George H Bush invited Eazy E to the White House. Dubya invited Ozzy Osbourne. What did the media make of that? Did the invites/attendances indicate an endorsment from those Presidents of everything that those artists said or did?

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  4. Rann *

    I… don’t really know where to start with your comments.

    Seriously, your eagerness to spin this person’s statements as merely “controversial” is baffling to me, I wind up hoping that you are actually being deliberately dishonest and are not actually that morally myopic. If I wrote a front page post saying that I hoped someone would cut off your balls and rape your mother, and in the comments Jim invited me over to his place for a beer, would you be so eager to classify my statements as merely “controversial” and excuse Jim because his invitation did not necessarily invoke an endorsement of my violent statements?

    As well, your attempt to turn this around to being about things “right-wing politicians and pundits” have said implies a “But Billy said a bad word too!” outlook that would indicate missing out on lessons you should have learned in kindergarten. You also cite no specific “violent” rhetoric that would be considered art, which to judge by the other thread is certainly not a vaguery you would allow someone arguing the other side to get away with, it would seem.

    Also, I see you are a fan of Chomsky’s style of passive-aggressive inflammatory word choice by terming my post an attack and simply asking me to pick who I am “attacking”. So I will answer your question when you tell me whether you stopped molesting children recently or if you are still doing so.

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  5. Rann *

    Did I miss the part where Ozzy Osborne advocated killing police officers or assassinating Clinton? Dude may have bitten the head off of bats and claimed to worship Satan, but I don’t recall any assassination rallying attempts.

    Do you realize that I am actually hoping that you are being intellectually dishonest, because the idea that this actually puzzles you or that you think these things are the same frightens me in that your posting here implies you are not in some sort of institution?

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  6. CM

    Seriously, your eagerness to spin this person’s statements as merely “controversial” is baffling to me.

    Are you talking about ‘statements’ or lyrics?
    I’m not trying to spin anything. Art is often controversial. That’s kinda the point.

    I wind up hoping that you are actually being deliberately dishonest and are not actually that morally myopic

    I’m sorry that you feel that you need to say that. My questions are honest and sincere.

    If I wrote a front page post saying that I hoped someone would cut off your balls and rape your mother, and in the comments Jim invited me over to his place for a beer, would you be so eager to classify my statements as merely “controversial” and excuse Jim because his invitation did not necessarily invoke an endorsement of my violent statements?

    I’m not a public person and your post couldn’t be considered to be art. So I don’t accept the analogy. But regardless, yes, I don’t give a shit who Jim invites over for a beer. If you did that, I’d be keen to tag along to discuss it all further (over a beer).

    As well, your attempt to turn this around to being about things “right-wing politicians and pundits” have said implies a “But Billy said a bad word too!” outlook that would indicate missing out on lessons you should have learned in kindergarten.

    Um, you were the one making the comparison in the post. I’m the one questioning the comparison. If you weren’t comparing this situation to the recent Giffords-shooting aftermath, then I’ve missed something and apologise.

    You also cite no specific “violent” rhetoric that would be considered art, which to judge by the other thread is certainly not a vaguery you would allow someone arguing the other side to get away with, it would seem.

    That’s my question. I understand the concept of people being concerned about politicians and pundits (of any leaning) engaging in a campaign of violent rhetoric, particularly when they actively attract people on the fringe that may not have good impluse control, or coping mechanisms. I don’t understand how a comparison can be drawn between that and the White House inviting some artists, one or more of whom may have included controversial lyrics in their art.

    Also, I see you are a fan of Chomsky’s style of passive-aggressive inflammatory word choice by terming my post an attack and simply asking me to pick who I am “attacking”. So I will answer your question when you tell me whether you stopped molesting children recently or if you are still doing so.

    I apologise. Please feel free to exchange the word ‘attack’ for one that makes you more comfortable. Of course, you are also free to avoid the question (which bears no relation whatsoever to a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ scenario).

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  7. Rann *

    I’m not a public person and your post couldn’t be considered to be art.

    Who defines a public person? Who defines art? You? You’re here. You’re in public. Posting on this blog. If I find something that rhymes with “balls” and phrase “rape your mother” in iambic pentameter, would it then be art rather than violent statements? If we’re going by “I know it when I see it”, if I get enough people to laud praises, could I submit “The Torture Of CM’s Testicles And How His Matriarch Was Violated” for a showing?

    Um, you were the one making the comparison in the post. I’m the one questioning the comparison. If you weren’t comparing this situation to the recent Giffords-shooting aftermath, then I’ve missed something and apologise.

    You, sir, are entirely full of bullshit. You know very well what you were doing, attempting to turn it around into “So you’re excusing violent right-wing rhetoric?” You’re now trying to spin your spin.

    I don’t understand how a comparison can be drawn between that and the White House inviting some artists, one or more of whom may have included controversial lyrics in their art.

    You know, since you seem to be as dedicated to spin as the media in this case, maybe you can go ahead and explain that whole inner ear thing for us.

    Of course, you are also free to avoid the question (which bears no relation whatsoever to a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ scenario).

    Yuh-huh. Because you’ve already established yourself as a person of such integrity.

    My post is a condemnation of both a White House that does not hold to principles of either good taste or those which it itself has stated to live by, and of a complicit and hypocritical media that are still busily spinning anything they do.

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  8. CM

    Did I miss the part where Ozzy Osborne advocated killing police officers or assassinating Clinton? Dude may have bitten the head off of bats and claimed to worship Satan, but I don’t recall any assassination rallying attempts.

    Assassination rallying attempts? We should probably bring the facts out now. When/how did he attempt to rally an assassination?
    Regardless, like most rappers, Common assumes a stage persona and is doing a form of acting while rapping. Surely that’s widely known. Unless you actually seriously think a millionaire like Common is roaming the streets looking to shoot cops?
    Anyone who has ever experienced any form of art knows (as a basic rule) that what they are seeing has a context. Art isn’t meant to be taken literally. His 2007 spoken word performance was about defending oneself against police brutality and the “burn a Bush” comment was both a Biblical allusion and a play on words while opposing the Iraq war – not a literal threat.
    Ozzy wrote ‘Suicide Solution’ in tribute to Bon Scott, (former member of AC/DC who died from alcohol abuse) with alcohol being referred to as a “suicide solution.” (A depressed teenager shot himself while listening the song). Many of his lyrics are about the Occult. Should he have been invited to the White House? Does it mean anything that he was?
    Shall we look at Eazy E’s lyrics? Much more importantly, because it’s not art, shall we look into his actual life choices, and draw conclusions about the President?

    Do you realize that I am actually hoping that you are being intellectually dishonest, because the idea that this actually puzzles you or that you think these things are the same frightens me in that your posting here implies you are not in some sort of institution?

    That’s lovely but I’d rather stick to the arguments thanks.

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  9. CM

    Who defines a public person? Who defines art? You? You’re here. You’re in public. Posting on this blog. If I find something that rhymes with “balls” and phrase “rape your mother” in iambic pentameter, would it then be art rather than violent statements? If we’re going by “I know it when I see it”, if I get enough people to laud praises, could I submit “The Torture Of CM’s Testicles And How His Matriarch Was Violated” for a showing?

    Well now we’re getting down the crux of the matter – what is art and who determines whether something is art. People have expressed views in art since….well the beginning. Often they accentuate or exaggerate their thoughts – that is a fundamental part of art.
    So yeah, knock yourself out. So long as it has artistic merit, I don’t see any issue.

    As for the ‘who is a public person’ issue – well, that’s another whole area to explore. But, in my opinion, if you’re in a position of responsibility as a pundit or a politician (or community leader of some sort), then you have an inherent responsibility. If you have influence (because you’re sought it) then you always need to be mindful that what you say and do can have effects.
    Not too different from the Spiderman movie quote: with great power comes great responsibility. Do you disagree?

    You, sir, are entirely full of bullshit. You know very well what you were doing, attempting to turn it around into “So you’re excusing violent right-wing rhetoric?” You’re now trying to spin your spin.

    Try and calm down. There is no need to get angry. Don’t take everyone so personally.
    I’m doing nothing of the sort. I simply asked questions because I didn’t understand the comparison, which seemed to be the whole point of your post.

    You know, since you seem to be as dedicated to spin as the media in this case, maybe you can go ahead and explain that whole inner ear thing for us.

    No idea what this means. Why can’t you stick to the discussion?

    Yuh-huh. Because you’ve already established yourself as a person of such integrity.

    I’m not the one engaging in personal attack here. Try to stick to the discussion.

    My post is a condemnation of both a White House that does not hold to principles of either good taste or those which it itself has stated to live by, and of a complicit and hypocritical media that are still busily spinning anything they do.

    Who are you to determine what ‘good taste’ is? Which principles are they being hypocritical about? How are the media spinning this?
    You also said that Common is someone who is “actually guilty of violent rhetoric”. Notwithstanding that you’re referring to art, are you suggesting that Palin et al are not guilty of using violent rhetoric?

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  10. CM

    LOL. That’s ok, there’s a lot of art that I don’t understand. I do at least understand a little about the concept and purpose of art though….

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  11. Rann *

    Who are you to determine what ‘good taste’ is? Which principles are they being hypocritical about? How are the media spinning this?

    Whoa whoa whoa, what’s with all this hostility and hate towards me? You’ve gotta relax, man, this rage can’t be good for your blood pressure!

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  12. JimK

    For the record, I see what you did, CM. You twisted the discussion around and made it about what the right may or may not have done in the past or might do or not do in the future.

    NOT. THE. TOPIC. HERE.

    Rann, don’t fall for the bait & switch. Common wrote some fucked up shit and the First Lady of Classlessness just spent taxpayer money to celebrate his “art.” That’s the topic at hand.

    Annnnd…Go.

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  13. Kimpost

    Are we seriously going after Common because we think that he advocates (or even glorifies) cop killings and president assassinations?

    HE.DOES.NOT.

    Morality is a bitch apparently.

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  14. Rann *

    Well. Really, other than spin, what is there to discuss on the subject? That basically is the subject, isn’t it? I guess arguing with anyone trying to make it something other than that is ultimately pointless.

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  15. CM

    How can it be bait-and-switch when Rann said in the opening post:

    This has prompted a media that was, not a few short months ago remember, blaming-but-not-really-blaming-even-though-it’s-their-fault the entirety of the right wing and their “poisonous political rhetoric” for the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords.

    How can I be ‘switching’ to that when THAT is the specific comparison being made?

    If someone wrote a piece about apples being the same as pears, and you commented that actually apples aren’t the same as pears, would you expect the response to be “Who the fuck said anything about pears????”.

    Plenty of artists who have written what could be described as “fucked up shit” have been invited to the White House. I provided two examples within a few minutes of searching.

    I think this might just be another case of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Unless someone can actually start answering my fairly basic and obvious questions….

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  16. CM

    It’s pointless arguing without someone who won’t accept that points are being made sincerely, and who immediately stoops to personal abuse. That is for sure.

    Again, you provided the comparison with Giffords shooting aftermath. I don’t see how the comparison is valid, and I explained in detail why. However, I DO think comparing invitations from past Presidents, and what you think of those, is valid. How can it not be?

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  17. Kimpost

    Good, that was all I was looking for. Glad my caps got you thinking straight. I was worried that you actually would keep thinking he was (or has, or is, or whatever.)

    ;)

    On a more serious note. Should Obama and/or his wife be able to meet with controversial writers and movie directors? Some say that Quentin Tarantino glorifies violence and immoral lifestyle, because of the content of his movies. Would you agree? I know I wouldn’t.

    Was meeting with Eazy-E wrong, or should we give him a pass for selling crack cocaine to kids? I say give them both a pass. If a pass indeed would be needed, which I don’t think it is.

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  18. CM

    As I say, this probably comes down to what people consider to be art, and whether people consider artists to be legitimate when they push the boundaries or do controversial stuff. If you look a little wider, this guys seems to be quite pro-gun, has written lyrics which suggest that an abortion isn’t worth giving up your soul, and is fully into the ‘lame-stream’ media narrative.
    Does anything serious believe that Michelle is wishing to spend taxpayer money to ‘celebrate’ those? If not, why are you being so selective?

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  19. Kimpost

    Hmm. Apparently I picket the wrong reply-link. Sorry for that, Rann, my response was to you.

    Anyway, I saw Hannity going crazy on this. I personally find the entire issue quite amusing.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4688064/controversial-rapper-heads-to-white-house-part-1/?playlist_id=86924

    http://video.foxnews.com/#/v/4688061/controversial-rapper-heads-to-white-house-part-2/?playlist_id=86924

    And Rove is angry too. :)

    http://video.foxnews.com/#/v/4688095/karl-rove-common-a-thug-part-1/?playlist_id=86924

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4688094/karl-rove-common-a-thug-part-2/?playlist_id=86924

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  20. Section8

    Art my fricken ass. The only art in this thread is the amazing spin art.

    Here’s the deal guys plain and simple.

    Palin has cross hairs to target districts, not people, she’s accused of promoting assassination.
    People rally for no more spending they’re promoting racism and violence.
    People shout at a town hall meeting, or even just ask a question, and they are violent protesters.

    Given that any, and I mean any criticism of Obama or Democrats in general has been met with either a charge of racism or promoting violence, I would say the left have really narrowed down the rules of what is acceptable speech and behavior. Some of us expect the same rules to apply to them, especially at the highest levels.

    Then we have a guy who actually is talking violence but that’s ok because it’s art. Well fuck that. You’d have to have an IQ lower than the family dog to not see the hypocrisy. It’s art to you because his target is cops and conservatives. If it was some dude, and better yet white dude, singing or rapping that Obama is destroying the country we need to take him down, make him disappear, I bet you two “art lovers” would be all over it saying that’s not art, that’s disgusting, even if those lyrics might just mean vote him out of office.

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  21. Rann *

    I disagree that you are making these points sincerely. As for “personal abuse”, the closest I originally came to that were the comments about making violent statements in regards to you, which was a comparison to what the person in question had done. It was essentially “How would you feel if you were a cop or a member of Bush’s family?”, but as usual you’ve displayed the attitude of “It’s okay when my side does it”.

    If you consider me telling you that you are full of bullshit and that I think you are being insincere and intellectually dishonest to be personal abuse, well, cry some more. These are statements as to my assessment of your character and your comments. “Asshole” would be personal abuse, “You’re full of bullshit” is an opinion as to the quality of your character and the quality of your discourse. You’ve displayed quite a willingness to shift and mold definitions to fit yourself so I doubt this distinction would stop you, but it does reinforce one thing:

    That you’re full of bullshit.

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  22. richtaylor365

    To tell you the truth, CM, I think your entire arguments here were pretty silly. Since the president is an elected official, living in a residence owned by the people, his actions are reflective of the people he represents, so whoever he invites for official functions at the White House is fair game for public scrutiny. This seems rather obvious.

    If Obama invited some brutal third world dictator to the White house for a state dinner, some might think this inappropriate and criticism him for it. If Nixon had invited Jane Fonda to the White House for movie night, some might find this inappropriate and criticize him for it, you would say ,”oh pooh, she is a great actor and he is honoring her with a visit because of that”.

    Lets face it, when you are a public figure, you are judged by the company you keep, and inviting a rapper with that sort of resume to an officially sanctioned White house event will rub some people the wrong way. You think it’s all hunky dory, a tempest in a teapot, and more of that Obama derangement syndrome (nonsense). You have no problem with it, that’s fine, but many people do and that was the whole point, it’s appropriateness. Each citizen can make his own call, Rann made his and you made yours, what else is there?

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  23. JimK

    To tell you the truth, CM, I think your entire arguments here were pretty silly. Since the president is an elected official, living in a residence owned by the people, his actions are reflective of the people he represents, so whoever he invites for official functions at the White House is fair game for public scrutiny. This seems rather obvious.

    THIS. And no, it don’t matter if the WH resident is an R or a D. It’s all fair game for scrutiny, comment and opinion because IT’S OUR FUCKING MONEY. Labeling it OBS is cheap Chomsky-ish language play designed to shut down the debate.

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  24. Kimpost

    Sure, rich, but you’re post displays some of the nuance I think Rann’s opening post lacked. Here’s what Rann opened with.

    This will be a short post, more because I don’t think there’s much that can be said on the subject. Sometimes there’s no point to ranting, tearing down, or strawmanning, when your opponent is perfectly capable of setting themselves on fire.

    Basically, it is this: Michelle Obama has invited in fellow Rev. Wright devotee “Common” to the White House to read some of his poetry. His poems have included such subject matter as the glorifying of killing police officers and calling for the assassination of President Bush.

    By above phrasing, Rann lets us understand that the White House has done something outrageous. In my opinion a phrasing perhaps suited for presidents befriending dictators, not for inviting a generally benign rapper/poet. One whose resume really isn’t that troubling.

    Common has never glorified any killing of police officers and he has never called for the assassination of President Bush. Not according to me. Not according to Common. And I dear suggest, not according to reason. Now, Rann might think that writing poetry containing violence is wrong, and/or irresponsible – if so he is entitled to his an opinion. But going from there to expressing what seems like outrage disguised in indignation, over a poetry night invitation to a mostly non-controversial rapper/poet, is going over board, in my opinion.

    EDIT: Either I constantly (well, often enough) click the wrong reply link, or I have trolls in my PC. This was obviously meant as a reply to richtaylor.

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  25. richtaylor365

    OK, so you don’t like how the message was delivered, but what about the message? I think the only differences here is that you think Common is benign, Rann does not. We can quibble about whether writing a song about cop killing and assassinating the president is actually “advocating” such actions, or creative license. Personally, I don’t think that is at issue. I believe that since the president is an elected official, who he blesses with official White House invites and asks to perform (a tacit endorsement of said person) is fair game for scrutiny, I don’t think you would deny this. Your scrutiny gives this a pass, other’s do not, isn’t that what this all comes down to?

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  26. Kimpost

    Yeah it pretty much boils down to that. I guess I’m also saying that I’m generally allergic to outrage over small matters, even if that too is an assessment subject to opinion.

    Hyperbole outside of comedy is kind of boring.

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  27. Rann *

    Outrage, like most other emotions, is not liquid in a pitcher to be doled out, but a spring that replenishes itself.

    Though “outrage” is a little strong for what I feel towards this (among other things, there’s a little too much “that just figures” in there for it to be actual outrage, which I’d generally consider to include a sense of shock at such an event happening), even if I were outraged over it, I could pretty well manage it without losing any “outrage points” towards, say, 9/11, or African ethnic cleansing, or whatnot.

    It’s not as if just because I notice this event and thus make note of it, or even think it is inappropriate and hypocritical, that I am incapable of noticing anything else, or that it is some straw that broke the camel’s back. Not every straw breaks the camel’s back, nor is it acting like that straw broke the camel’s back to notice that another straw has indeed been added.

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  28. CM

    Where is the hostility and hate? You’re not getting it from me. And my blood pressure is as good as it always has been.
    Weird.

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  29. CM

    Art my fricken ass.

    Poetry/songs are not art? What are they then?

    Palin has cross hairs to target districts, not people, she’s accused of promoting assassination.
    People rally for no more spending they’re promoting racism and violence.
    People shout at a town hall meeting, or even just ask a question, and they are violent protesters.

    That’s disingenuous. You’re stripped those of all context.
    So rather than being ‘plain and simple’, it would be more accurate to say ‘simplistic’.

    Some of us expect the same rules to apply to them, especially at the highest levels.

    I would expect that too.

    Then we have a guy who actually is talking violence but that’s ok because it’s art. Well fuck that. You’d have to have an IQ lower than the family dog to not see the hypocrisy.

    Awesome, back to personal abuse. Nice.
    I’ve explained why I don’t see the hypocrisy. Nobody has been able to explain it in a way that makes much sense.
    Yep, when it comes to artistic expression, the rules are different. Always have been. Artists are given a wider scope to express themselves. Often this means the use of exaggeration or hyperbole or taking things to a greater extreme than would be the case in everyday life.

    It’s art to you because his target is cops and conservatives.

    Where is your evidence for that accusation?
    My arguments on this are completely irrelevant to politics, or intended targets within songs.

    If it was some dude, and better yet white dude, singing or rapping that Obama is destroying the country we need to take him down, make him disappear, I bet you two “art lovers” would be all over it saying that’s not art, that’s disgusting, even if those lyrics might just mean vote him out of office.

    Depends on the context. I imagine if the ‘art’ had no value to anyone we wouldn’t even be having the discussion.
    What has a love of art got to do with anything. This is about understanding what art and artistic expression is.

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  30. CM

    Well said Kimpost.

    (EDIT: This is in relation to his post which starts “Sure, rich, but you’re post displays some of the nuance I think Rann’s opening post lacked. Here’s what Rann opened with.” I clicked ‘Reply’ on that post, but it has placed this post down here)

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  31. CM

    I’m sure when Bush was President you saw what you believed was false straw upon false straw being placed on the camels back. I see the same thing happening now. The contents of your opening post are simply your opinion, and yet you somehow seem to be adding it as a another fact-straw to the pile. You think the hypocrisy or wrong was so blatant that “I don’t think there’s much that can be said on the subject”. Others, including me, disagree, and we have explained why.
    Rich has explained it much better – it comes down to a matter of opinion. My opinion is that an invitation for an artist to visit the White House isn’t an endorsement of everything that artist has expressed via their art. It could be that they are one of many artists and the White House is wanting a cross-section. The value of each aritst is entirely subjective. If the artist personally holds extremist views, then I can see an issue with it. I don’t see any evidence that this artist holds extremist views.
    But yeah, look, it’s your tax money that is being spent. So you certainly have the right to complain. But trying to make it about hypocrisy, when you didn’t complain about former artists, suggests your problem is a dislike of Obama more than a dislike of inviting artists to the White House.

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  32. Rann *

    Nobody has been able to explain it in a way that makes much sense.

    That you are unable or unwilling to comprehend doesn’t mean that it’s incomprehensible.

    Again, your argument is spin to cloak the rationale of “It’s okay when my side does it”. Akin to calling Rush Limbaugh a liar if he gets a date wrong, but that Michael Moore is simply “raising awareness” when he invents scenes from wholecloth.

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  33. CM

    That you are unable or unwilling to comprehend doesn’t mean that it’s incomprehensible.

    I completely agree. I’m certainly open to the possibility that there is some hypocrisy there. I’m keen on understanding it. Which is why I asked those initial questions.

    Again, your argument is spin to cloak the rationale of “It’s okay when my side does it”.

    Not at all. That would require me to be arguing”It’s not ok when you’re side does it”. But I haven’t said anything of the sort. I’m saying it’s ok when both ‘sides’ does it. I’m asking “Where is the hypocrisy” while ALSO suggesting there is some hypocrisy if you didn’t complain, or don’t have a problem in retrospect, when other artists were invited to the WH.
    So, no, my argument is not spin, or cloaked in anything. Continuing to suggest that it is appears to be a way of avoiding the actual questions.

    Akin to calling Rush Limbaugh a liar if he gets a date wrong, but that Michael Moore is simply “raising awareness” when he invents scenes from wholecloth.

    Feel free to have a go at me when I call him a liar for that then. But don’t dismiss my comments because of something something once did to someone else.

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  34. Section8

    I’ve explained why I don’t see the hypocrisy. Nobody has been able to explain it in a way that makes much sense.

    And I believe you’ve made it clear it would be impossible to ever explain it, but I’ll try one more time.

    1) Rann is pointing out that not far in the distant past there was polarization in this country between supposed intellectual, peace loving people; and the labeled racist, gun-toting, knuckle dragging, tea-baggers, which basically was anyone right of center. While he didn’t publish a book of white papers to go over every event back then (considering it was practically yesterday), it’s pretty obvious that’s what he was getting at.

    2) Rann is pointing out that any rhetoric from the right was blamed for the cause of all things evil including the attack in Arizona, which is just one of many examples, and is pretty spot on if anyone had paid attention to the mass media or most of the left wing blogosphere for that matter.

    3) Rann is now pointing out that someone who truly has pushed violent rhetoric, not in a fiction movie, or a book with fictional characters, or song, or poetry with fictional characters, but violent rhetoric towards real living people is being invited to the White House.

    4) Common’s rhetoric involved promoting violence against real people, not made up people, not some warped interpretation of crosshairs on a map, not some warped interpretation from tax protest signs, or demonizing of vocal, yet peaceful protesters at town hall debates, but violence against real people.

    This thread promptly became a verbal trash heap as some chose to divert this to an “art” issue, wanted to play semantics with every word, and how this event should be compared to Bush and who he invited to the White House, because sticking to the original point would certainly be difficult to defend as demonstrated so well in this thread.

    Art is no cover for this. Expressing your opinions of violence against a real living President or cops through song or poetry does not give you a pass that you are really peace loving but just being creative.

    This invite is not an art thing, it’s a hypocrisy thing. Common has the right to be the artist of his choosing. He gets a pass to be an artist regardless of how good or bad it is, but he doesn’t get a pass for having his thoughts critiqued. The Obama’s have the right to invite who they want, and we have the right to point out the hypocrisy of the rhetoric from the left concerning who should be labeled a violent American.

    Awesome, back to personal abuse. Nice.

    Welcome to the blog. It’s like that here sometimes, don’t take it too personal. I’m being sincere on both accounts. Welcome, and yeah, there’s childish name calling here form time to time, because we like it that way, or at least I do and haven’t been reprimanded yet. Anyhow look forward to reading more of your comments.

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  35. CM

    Wow, now that’s a great post. This did actually answer many of those questions that I had. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort (sincerely).

    So you’re saying the hypocrisy comes not from the Obama’s, or the media, but from the left in general.

    2) Rann is pointing out that any rhetoric from the right was blamed for the cause of all things evil including the attack in Arizona, which is just one of many examples, and is pretty spot on if anyone had paid attention to the mass media or most of the left wing blogosphere for that matter.

    I followed this closely and read a considerable amount of comment from both sides, and got heavily involved in a reasonably long thread on the old MW forums about this. I certainly don’t recall anyone blaming ANY rhetoric for the cause of ALL THINGS EVIL, or even the shooting. I would say that’s a gross exaggeration. Sure, you’ll always find some nutjob extremists who will do that, but (at least from my reading of the situation) your explanation is an inaccurate portrayal of the discussion.
    So perhaps this is part of the problem. I don’t share the background narrative that informs this new issue.

    3) Rann is now pointing out that someone who truly has pushed violent rhetoric, not in a fiction movie, or a book with fictional characters, or song, or poetry with fictional characters, but violent rhetoric towards real living people is being invited to the White House.

    In that genre, I certainly think there is a degree of fiction, and character. Even if you don’t invent a Slim Shady character, even within a song. Unless you believe he was really advocating that people go around and kill cops. I don’t believe that Johnny Cash wanted to shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
    So I’m far from convinced that this artist could be described as someone who “has pushed violent rhetoric”. Has it been their usual method of expressing themsselves? Or are we selectively picking out a couple of examples and making an overall assessment of who he is as an artist and a person based on only those?

    4) Common’s rhetoric involved promoting violence against real people

    Other than the ‘Burn a Bush’ line (and I struggle to see how that is ‘rhetoric promoting violence’), which other people?

    This thread promptly became a verbal trash heap as some chose to divert this to an “art” issue,

    There certainly was no attempt on my part of ‘divert’ the thread into something that wasn’t relevant. I think it’s very relevant.

    wanted to play semantics with every word,

    We can obviously only go on words here, we can’t rely on any other form of communication like inflection or body language. If I misunderstand something or misrepresent anyone, people should point it out, and I’ll apologise.

    and how this event should be compared to Bush and who he invited to the White House,

    So it’s a given that controversial artists in the past should also not have been invited then? I was just trying to explore where the difference in opinion is. If we are completely in disagreement, or whether there is a point we we diverge.

    because sticking to the original point would certainly be difficult to defend as demonstrated so well in this thread.

    Well I guess that’s a way of dismissing everything I’ve written as rubbish. I certainly don’t see it that way.

    Welcome to the blog. It’s like that here sometimes, don’t take it too personal. I’m being sincere on both accounts. Welcome, and yeah, there’s childish name calling here form time to time, because we like it that way, or at least I do and haven’t been reprimanded yet. Anyhow look forward to reading more of your comments.

    Thanks. No different from MW forums then (where I clocked up 13,000 odd posts over the last 8 years or so). I won’t take it personally at all. It’s usually a sign that the other person can’t, or won’t, address unanswered questions.

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  36. Section8

    I followed this closely and read a considerable amount of comment from both sides, and got heavily involved in a reasonably long thread on the old MW forums about this. I certainly don’t recall anyone blaming ANY rhetoric for the cause of ALL THINGS EVIL, or even the shooting. I would say that’s a gross exaggeration. Sure, you’ll always find some nutjob extremists who will do that, but (at least from my reading of the situation) your explanation is an inaccurate portrayal of the discussion.

    I’m fine with this. Actually I think it’s called selective amnesia, which works well for the more for the right leaning crowd. As we get closer to the election, I’m sure painting the right as an inherently violent and racist villain will start up again (as the left forget they ever did it before), and the Democrats can sacrifice even more power by yet again insulting much of the American populace. Seriously, I’m not going to waste time posting links to show once again when Pelosi was in fear about the “anger” out there, or the CNN report who was in fear at a Tea Party rally, or Cooper Anderson promoting the phrase Tea Bagger, or the blaming of the Tea Party after the violence in Tuscon, but if you need a little refresher for Rann’s initial example, I’ll offer this one. Link

    Thanks. No different from MW forums then (where I clocked up 13,000 odd posts over the last 8 years or so). I won’t take it personally at all. It’s usually a sign that the other person can’t, or won’t, address unanswered questions.

    Funny, I always found my rants and supposed personal attacks to be a result of those easily confused or deliberately obtuse. Oh well, difference of perception I guess.

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  37. CM

    I’m fine with this. Actually I think it’s called selective amnesia, which works well for the more for the right leaning crowd.

    You’re fine with me saying that you’re mispresenting the argument in a deliberate attempt to make the entire American left appear deranged and incapable of logical thought?
    I just don’t think it’s helpful to paint a very small extreme as indicative of an entire wing of political thought (which, ironically, is pretty much what you’re protesting about…).

    As we get closer to the election, I’m sure painting the right as an inherently violent and racist villain will start up again (as the left forget they ever did it before), and the Democrats can sacrifice even more power by yet again insulting much of the American populace.

    I guess we’ll see. Whatever happens it will be interesting and I’m looking forward to it. I continue to enjoy being an outsider looking in, with no horse in the race, and with the result having much much less effect on my life.

    Seriously, I’m not going to waste time posting links to show once again when Pelosi was in fear about the “anger” out there, or the CNN report who was in fear at a Tea Party rally, or Cooper Anderson promoting the phrase Tea Bagger, or the blaming of the Tea Party after the violence in Tuscon, but if you need a little refresher for Rann’s initial example, I’ll offer this one. Link

    Sure, but none of those suggest what you are claiming. They are all a lot more specific than the entire left blaming the entire right for everything evil. There are actual arguments in there. You might not agree with them, but specific arguments do exist. Trying to portray it all as ‘stupid liberals’ is again doing the same thing as you’re protesting against (insulting people who have genuine and legitimate concerns).

    Funny, I always found my rants and supposed personal attacks to be a result of those easily confused or deliberately obtuse. Oh well, difference of perception I guess.

    Supposed personal attacks? Were you accused of personal attacks when you didn’t make them? That’s weird.
    You made them when people were easilt confused? Not sure I follow why people being confused would justify a personal attack.
    Yep, in my experience personal attacks are usually the result of people being found wanting (often because they’re an ideologue who can’t cope with information or arguments that don’t fit their ideology), or simply because they’re giving up but want to go out with a bang instead of the whimper (and they’ll consider it a bang and not care that to everyone else it looks like the opposite).

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  38. Section8

    You’re fine with me saying that you’re mispresenting the argument in a deliberate attempt to make the entire American left appear deranged and incapable of logical thought?

    Nope, just fine with your selective amnesia as stated clearly in my post, nothing more.

    They are all a lot more specific than the entire left blaming the entire right for everything evil.

    Where did I ever use the word “entire”? I looked through my posts and couldn’t find the use of that word, I may have missed it though, so when you do find it please post it. Until then, I will take the stance the you chose to inject that word, so I’ll leave it to you to resolve your question on your own. If you want to argue what I actually said then fine, but please don’t inject your words into my statements.

    Yep, in my experience personal attacks are usually the result of people being found wanting (often because they’re an ideologue who can’t cope with information or arguments that don’t fit their ideology), or simply because they’re giving up but want to go out with a bang instead of the whimper (and they’ll consider it a bang and not care that to everyone else it looks like the opposite).

    So are you saying I’m can’t cope or I’m a quitter? Why the personal attack?

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