Friday, August 08, 2014

Shorter Village Voice Blogger: "Shut Up, Liberals!"

Andrew W.K., who is apparently some kind of advice columnist for the Village Voice, gets a letter from someone whose father is a right-wing asshole:
I'm writing because I just can't deal with my father anymore. He's a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I'm more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don't have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there's still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?
And the advice he gets is spectacularly useless:
Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn't one. You've reduced your father -- the person who created you -- to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you....

The world isn't being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist -- the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they're truly better people than the others who think differently....

When we lump people into groups, quickly label them, and assume we know everything about them and their life based on a perceived world view, how they look, where they come from, etc., we are not behaving as full human beings. When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters....

Have the strength to doubt and question what you believe as easily as you're so quick to doubt his beliefs. Live with a truly open mind -- the kind of open mind that even questions the idea of an open mind. Don't feel the need to always pick a side. And if you do pick a side, pick the side of love. It remains our only real hope for survival and has more power to save us than any other belief we could ever cling to....
That's a radically truncated version--the whole thing goes on for 8 long paragraphs (1,074 words) of similarly insipid blather.

Now, in a purely abstract sense, the advice here is largely unobjectionable. Open mind: good. Love: good. (And yes, the letter-writer is prone to overstatement: "destroy us all" is kind of a dumb way to phrase it, for example.)

The problem is, it doesn't apply to practical realities and it doesn't address the letter-writer's problem.

Andrew W.K. is operating on the assumption that the father is calmly and rationally elucidating his policy opinions to his son, and the son's reaction is purely intolerance of those opinions. Does anyone here think that's really the case?

I didn't think so.

What the son is talking about--what has become epidemic in the Fox/Drudge/Breitbart era--is (right-wing) political opinions as acts of aggression. You can't judge a liberal son's "intolerance" for his father's opinion without understanding that the father's opinion (there's really only one) is liberalism must be destroyed. That's the context that flies right over Andrew Fucking W.K.'s pointy little head. So of course he chastises the son for his "intolerance".

How fucking useless is this advice? Useless enough to get approving links from Hot Air and the Daily Caller.

I don't know the answer to the son's problem. I'm not sure how I'll handle it in a few weeks when I go backpacking with my right-wing son. But I sure as hell know that the way to handle it isn't to pretend that the dad doesn't have a problem. As if the dad isn't "pushing away the people who care about him" by aggressively expressing his contempt for everything they believe. This is a pathology, and pretending it doesn't exist is a good way to make sure it's never cured.

16 comments:

Victor said...

Like drug dealers, Drudge, Rush, FOX, and the rest of the sociopaths and psychopaths in the Reich-Wing media, don't care what stupidity and ignorance they're trying to push on the rage addict's they've helped create.

And they're helping to destroy families, because once a rage junkie gets high on rage, s/he needs more and more of it.

And with the rage, comes volume - which prevents them from hearing anything other than their own shouting and screaming voices.

Victor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Victor said...

Why are my comments duplicating, when I only hit enter once?

Oy!
Something's up with my laptop.

Tom Hilton said...

And they're helping to destroy families, because once a rage junkie gets high on rage, s/he needs more and more of it.

Yup, exactly.

(I used my awesome Administrator powers to delete the duplicate. Wasn't sure it would work, but it did.)

Shipping / Receiving said...

And the letter writer does in fact reference his father's humanity in the third sentence.

Uncle Mike said...

Sadly, Andrew's getting quite a lot of support in the comments...

tgchicago said...

I loved this comment from the Daily Caller link:

The left's complete intolerance and hatred for opposing views, free will, and sanity, are 100%, the product of insane leftist propagandist brainwashing. Euthanasia is the only cure for them.

Not only is this guy totally unaware of whatever Andrew WK was trying to say, he's saying that the answer to the left's "intolerance" is mass murder. I LOLed.

gocart mozart said...

I think people who over use commas should be killed.

Tom Hilton said...

Shipping/Receiving: yeah, exactly. Also: "I love him no matter what". The non-political part of my reaction to this advice was how fucking DARE you lecture this guy about loving his father when you the first fucking thing about their relationship.

Uncle Mike: Not surprised. It plays well to the false-equivalence crowd as well as the right-wingers (who get to pretend they have the moral high ground).

tgchicago: That is a truly awesome self-awareness FAIL.

Prudence Goodwife said...

Random comment from Hot Air.

"I will not protect any progressive. I will not respect any progressive.

They DO seek to destroy my country, which is the only part of the world I really care about. So do not ask that I protect or respect a piece of breathing garbage that wants to destroy my country and my

life by enslaving me to the state.

I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m a blowhard. I stand for my country and will defend it to the death from the pigs that wish it destroyed.
It’s so nice to see people take that kind of thing lightly. “No biggie”, eh?

/grumblescowl

Diluculo on August 7, 2014

Tom Hilton said...

Classic.

tgchicago said...

I will say that while Andrew WK's ramblings didn't really get there, you could make a decent point out of his mess. That is: even though I agree that the father's views are surely awful, I think the world would be a better place if the son and his father could have a peaceful loving relationship. That's more important than arguing that won't actually go anywhere.

Tom Hilton said...

Yeah, that's fair.

Joey_Blau said...

there is, from what I read, and addictive rythm to Fox News' blather where the listener is raised to outrage, then fed boner pill and car commercials, then soothed with pretty faces and then enraged by the latest Obama action to destroy america.

repeat. There was a study of the commercials on fox news... I wonder where that is...

M. Bouffant said...

You didn't mention it, so you may be unaware that Andrew W.K.'s qualifications for advice columning are:
singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, entertainer, motivational speaker, and music producer.

Steve M. said...

And posing for this photo.