Thursday, February 28, 2019

Peering into the hole

     You ever use an outhouse? The kind with the hole, lots of graffiti, maybe a rustic wooden seat? In a national park perhaps?
     When you do, after you gird yourself for walking in, and let the door slam, as you position yourself to use the thing, particularly if you are a man and, you know, standing up, do you find yourself, even for a moment, glancing down into the hole, at the odiferous slop within? My guess is you do. It's natural. Even though you already know what's there, and even though looking is not a pleasant experience, you look anyway, just briefly. I won't speculate why.
     That's kind of my approach toward the email spam filter. I know what's there. And I generally don't look. Except for those times that I do.
     Such as after Monday's column on Michelle Obama's book, "Becoming." The comments, on my blog, on Facebook, in emails, were all of a kind. Some where, "Oh, I read that book, it was wonderful."And others were "Oh, that's quite the recommendation, I must read that." One aspect of reading the book that I couldn't fit into the column was my hope that it would help white Americans understand the black experience, an empathy gap that has existed from our country's founding and still sits like a Grand Canyon of incomprehension, only bigger and ugly.
     At the same time, New York Times columnist David Brooks did one of his periodic columns where he balances the left and right, calling for us both to respect each other and meet in the middle and create paradise. He makes some good points, about society and its shifting emphasis, while completely ignoring the glaring imbalance between left and right. Ignoring that while the left has its extremists, the right has an enormous block of hopped-up haters as solid as a granite wall and just as unyielding. Contempt is the ground they walk upon, revulsion the air they breath. I just ignore them, which is a perfect illustration of the difference. They gape in revulsion at the thing they oppose; I go on with my life.
     Between the emails and Brooks, a curiosity began to grow, a mere tickle at first, and then I found myself going through the series of clicks, calling up the stygian craphole of my spam filter to sample what is within.
     Just a brief glance.

     From Greg Soligo:
Did Michelle cover in the book how she and her thoughtful, decent husband lost their law licenses? Just asking. Neil, as a shill for the Democrats you are pathetic.  Hey, how does a President become a millionaire? Inquiring minds want to know. Next time skip the bs. Wait then you wouldn’t have a column.
    I suppose, in the name of moderation, I could have written him back that the Obamas did not lose their law licenses, that it was just another in the septic stream of lies that the right uses to cramp reality so it reflects their souls.. But what would be the point? It wouldn't affect him in the slightest, certainly, but only waste my time and encourage future communication from someone who already earned a spot in the filter for some forgotten excess.
     From Tony Zucchero, under the subject "Moochelle:"
     You libtards are still obsessed with this women. We still have to read this bullshit? All those magazine covers she was on for what ? Because she is black? Who cares if she is black or white. You care because all you libtards have is identity politics. You have a beautiful, intelligent current First Lady who speaks 5 different languages as is truly beautiful inside and out and you cannot find one magazine cover or one positive article. Hang on to your identity politics that is one of the many reasons President Donald J. TRUMP will win in a landslide in 2020. #MAGA,#Build the Wall.
    Here I broke policy and did reply:
So I take it you won’t be reading her book?
     For all the good that did.
     Had enough? More. Under the heading, "Moochelle" this, from Edward Heinz:
"You two are both alike, you hate Trump and America!!!! SNOWFLAKE"
    You get the point. Not to limit ourselves to the spam filter. There were also phone calls, such as this, from my favorite, Robert Glomb. I wish I could convey the sarcasm dripping off his voice. I should probably post a link so you can hear it, but that would take more effort than it's worth. He calls almost every time I write a column. I myself usually don't listen past the first few syllables, the contempt almost strangling the man. But in this case, for the purposes of transcription, I listened the totality of his message, which ran:
     Welllllll good morning, Mr. Steinberg, the Trump hater. So you read her book, Michelle Obama, now you think she's sitting on a pedestal. Well , for one, for a person who has to write a book about themselves, put themselves on a pedestal. As far as I'm concerned, that book is fictional. Have a wonderful day. Good bye.
     Fictional, the book he hasn't read, I feel safe assuming, and never will read. Which leads us to remember the basic point of what Michelle Obama had done to earn such violent contempt. Do I need to say it? Of course not.


  1. You would think that hate-filled contempt would eat a person up from the inside out, but they gather together like cancer cells and are not happy until they bring decent people down into the gutter with them, and only then do they smile in accomplishment, more of a leer ( Presidential ), actually.

  2. I've stopped trying to reason with people who feel the need to disparage anyone who dare disagree with their way of thinking. My own family members have turned to the bullhorn bigotry of the right, ignoring the second class citizenship and hatred faced by the man who raised and supported us as children.
    They cover their ears and scream over any attempt at thought or reason.
    The frustration unbearable to me of their deafness and blindness.

  3. I really believe that the election of Trump was a gigantic fuck-you by these people to the rest of the country. They were basically saying, "You can elect a black president? Fine, then we can elect a reality-show buffoon whose only talent is self-aggrandizement."

    1. I agree. I've always thought that was the root of it. Trump is the Antiobama.

  4. I hope Donald Trump wins the Nobel Peace Prize by persuading KIm Chung Un to not only destroy all his nuclear facilities, but to disband his entire army, and unite Korea under the South Korean flag in exchange for the Trump Tower franchise in Switzerland. And then he resigns, saying, "Sue me, if you dare."

  5. Brooks is far from the only person to assert such.

    The problem comes in the form of the demonstrable bad faith the Republican side of the debate has shown in the last couple decades (at least) when it comes to policy and implementation.

    There is no reasonable discussion possible under those circumstances.

  6. These typical examples are EXACTLY why I said, after your earlier column. "...when the right-wing haters and online trolls mocked her appearance, and called her "MOO-chelle", I would always get pissed at them, and often got into long, drawn-out pissing contests."

    Here's a heads-up, Mister S, the right has no monopoly on hatred or what you label as merely "violent contempt" for the other side. I have hated these people as far back as 1968. Let them hate me...because I hate them right back. Yes, I know how Ann Landers used to say that "hate is the acid that eventually destroys the vessel it is kept in"...but I no longer give a damn. I am going to be destroyed in the coming civil war anyway, assuming I live long enough to see Version 2.0 begin. And at 71, I have no illusions about surviving it, and I fear my side will probably lose it.

    Even so, I often feel much like a young barefoot Southern boy probably felt in the early 1860s...I still want to be a part of the Glorious Cause, and I want to take as many of those bastards with me as possible. As Tom Lehrer sang so long ago: "We will all go together when we go..."

    After 2016, any hope or possibility of reconcilation is dead. The only way to change the right's way of thinking is to render these extremists harmless--and no longer capable of thought...or any other kind of damage. Why do you even bother looking down into that stinking pile of shit? There's only one relaible way to deal with it...and that is to bury it, and to bury it deeply and forevermore.

    Hey, do I seem just a wee bit pissed? When I read words like "Moochelle' and "libtard" and "snowflake, no matter where they appear, you damn betcha I am. If that was your aim, you have succeeded admirably. The right still makes me crazy after all these years, and furious enough to even wish I were 21 again. Nineteen sixty-eight, with all its blood, fire, broken heads, and broken dreams, was far and away the pinnacle of my lifetime. It's been mostly downhill ever since.

  7. KIm Jong Un never uses an outhouse, as he brings his own with him everywhere.
    From the NY Post:

  8. When accused, though innocent, I thought I knew how a Black person felt in apartheid America. That's like comparing a shaving nick to a cut throat. I can never know the reality of oppression but I can assess a person on deeds rather than ancestry. So while the Mississippi klansman could only revile Medgar Evers, I understood that his campaign for equal rights made America better for us all. The recent accusations orchestrated by Republicans toward Michael Cohen lay bare the racism still infecting their hearts, condemning his lies while giving a free pass to the most proven liar in American political history. Ironic that they laud Melania who probably broke the law when first coming to America as a model, while the judge harshly the accomplished offspring of Africans stolen and brought into our country as slaves. Not fake news, but a harsh truth for the phony patriots in their embarrassing MAGA hats, the Obamas are their betters.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.