Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Behind Enemy Lines

Some people procrastinate by online shopping or obsessively checking their email. Me, I troll right-wing blogs. At least, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days. This was not my original intention. I was actually chasing down links from Google News about Tom Delay’s family decision to pull the plug on his comatose dad. (A position I wholly support—I’d pull the plug on my father too, and he’s not even in a coma.) Which is how I ended up on Redstate.org, where there were many posts about Delay+Schiavo, most of them of the ‘he’s bad PR for us’ variety.

After a half hour of trolling, I felt an overpowering urge for an acid dip. Remember that scene in the movie Silkwood where the guys in hazmat suits scrub down Meryl Streep after she’s been exposed to radioactive waste? That’s what I needed.

Still, I couldn’t help myself. I signed up for the site and posted my “I’m Brain Dead and I Vote” blog entry on Redstate, only I changed the title to “New Revelations In Schiavo Case.” It appeared almost immediately as a link on the site’s home page. About one minute later I got a comment which read, simply, “Have you no shame?”

I responded: “Glad you asked. ‘Have you no shame?’ is precisely the question I would put to Tom Delay, Bill Frist, George W. Bush, and anyone else who has made political hay out of a family’s tragedy.”

Within two hours my post had been pulled from the site and I could no longer log back in. So that was the first time I got banned from Redstate.org.

Not to be deterred, I created a new identity and posted my “Bushes Battle Over Bulge” story under the title “New Battle Brewing Over Right to Life”. That led to banishment number two.

It turned into a kind of sport. Just how quickly could I be banned? So I created a third identity and posted the following:

A Survey

Hi, I’m taking an informal survey and I was hoping to get your help. It’s really short—just a single question.

Tom Delay’s strong public stance in the Schiavo case (coupled with his own family’s willingness to pull the plug) is an example of:

a) raging, over-the-top hypocrisy
b) a gross violation of the basic precepts of federalism
c) a mind-bendingly stupid political maneuver
d) brain-dead pandering to the religious right
e) Republicanism at its finest

I then posted two more entries. As of this moment, some 12 hours later, all three posts are live. One has inspired a lively discussion about the future of the Republican party. Nobody seems to have noticed that the last two posts were excerpts from Redstate.org’s own mission statement.

For the record, here are Redstate’s rules on appropriate posts:

“Banning for ideological reasons will take place only in the cases of fundamentally anti-American ideologies. Nazis, Islamists, Communists and racists are unwelcome at redstate.org. Any other person of basic good sense and goodwill, regardless of party, is welcome to participate and hopefully come around to the ideals of Republicanism.”

Hmm. Doesn’t look like I broke any of those rules. And it seems they want to convert me from my evil liberal ways. Fair enough, I could use a little vacation from rational thought. Cheaper than a lobotomy.

But then I read further. This post had an addendum, dated two days later (all italics are in the original):

“A little clarification is in order. Pursuant to the Mission Statement, this site is explicitly meant to serve as a conservative and Republican community. Postings, comments, etc., contrary to this purpose fall under the rubric of "disruptive behavior" and will result in banning. You may or may not get a warning -- it depends on how harried the moderators are. If you are coming from a non-conservative, non-Republican context, you are still welcome here, but you must respect the site's stated purpose.”

Ah yes, the old ‘disruptive behavior’ trick—and I fell for it. Apparently the conversion process wasn’t going as well as they’d hoped, so they decided to make blog posters sign a loyalty oath. Besides, who needs that musty old 1st Amendment? It just gets in the way of the right to bear arms, the only amendment that really counts.

About a month after the original rules appeared, it apparently occurred to someone that banning “Islamists” might be considered a little racist (those of you who were paying attention will remember that racism is against Redstate’s rules). So they posted this “clarification”:

“There is confusion over the term "Islamist," and we owe it to readers to clarify. First and foremost, we do not mean to bar Muslims per se. Rather, we mean the folks adhering to the violent and oppressive manifestations of the ideology described by that most neutral of sources, Wikipedia.

Actually, the Wikipedia definition draws a careful distinction between terrorists and other Islamists who seek to install a fundamentalist state through the political process—not unlike Bush Republicans. But what Redstate really meant by not barring ‘Muslims per se’ was not barring Republican Muslims. All two of them. Any other Muslims should just pack their prayer rugs and get ready to be shipped to Guantanamo or Syria.

Hey it’s their blog, they can do what they want. What’s interesting to me is how many Redstaters seem to be just as disgusted with the Bushzis as I am, though their reasons are quite different. Maybe there is hope for us yet. Or maybe they’re just longing for someone even worse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yeah, but them words 'r jest too dang big for Red Staters to
understand--so they must be lies."

Simplr put den...

Ev'rbudy "seez thins" ev'r nit in thar dreemz. Theez heer druggz
likn Zoloft mak ya dreem wilst yur awak likn wen ya swaller a majuk
mushrum er a bad bacha moonshyn. Ya git ina fix if'n ya caint membr
wuth'r yoost wuz dreem'n r not. Ya starts kik'n yur cuzns outa da
bed in da midl der nite'n ya caint ketch da sandman fer da lif a
yuz. Afor long ya starts act'n lik'n uncl billy dat git shelshokd
up'n Kurea n da war. Sum pepl shoots up da town r da skool an starts hoop'n ana holler'n ana car'n on a fuss fer no gud reezn.

Pepl wit a heepa lurnin (past fit grad ev'n) fess up n say deez
druggs r no gud sepn ifn yur hankern ta shuffl ofn dis mortl coyl.

11:22 PM  

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