Saturday, December 04, 2010


In my interactions on various online fora, I've noted recurring patterns in so-called "debate" technique among the wingnuts and teatards. I'm collecting and numbering them here so you can recognize them. I refer to them as BSWATs (pronounced 'bee-swats.") The last three letters stand for "Wingnut 'Argument' Techiques." You can figure out what the first two stand for.

1) The simple unsupported contradiction and the repeated assertion of a demonstrably wrong premise as “Fact.” This clip from ”Family Guy” illustrates the technique:

2) A similar technique: dismissing the argument out of hand, without attempt to debate:

"Kevin Bacon was the star of Footloose."
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." (leaves discussion).

3) Ignoring what was said in favor of whining about the way it was said.

“Of course Kevin Bacon was in Footloose. Here’s the DVD box, you idiot. His name’s right there.”
”You called me a name! You libs don’t have any arguments. All you do is insult people.”

4) Handwaving away any information that contradicts you by dismissing the source out of hand.

“Look, Kevin Bacon starred in Footloose. It says so right here in the Internet Movie Database.”

5) Dragging some irrelevant celebrity bogeyman’s name into the conversation:

“Keith Olbermann thinks Kevin Bacon starred in Footloose, too. You sound like Keith Olbermann.” Other names used: Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow, George Soros.

6) "Yew thank yer purty smart, don't yew?" Usually expressed sarcastically: “Well, I guess not all of us have your wide expertise about movies. We’re all in awe of your knowledge.”

7) Attempts to change the subject:

“Well, Tom Cruise was in Top Gun and he’s a liberal and he’s crazy!”

8) Projection, or “I know you are, but what am I?” Example:

9) “I’m not your Google monkey”: making a wild and untrue assertion and insisting its the reader's responsibility to back it up for you or to disprove it:

“I know for a fact that Anthony Michael Hall was the star of Footloose.”
“That doesn’t sound right. Can you cite some source that backs that up?”
“I don’t have to back that up. You look it up!”

10) "Help! Help! I'm bein' repressed!" Asserting that because you're "entitled to your opinion." that any disagreement is an attempt to stifle your free speech rights.

11) Extreme leaps, often bizarre, usually off-topic:

"Kevin Bacon was the star of Footloose, not Anthony Michael Hall."
"So you're saying Anthony Michael Hall is a lousy actor and probably a child molester!?"

Watch for these BSWATs . See how many you can tag.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Sorry, Can't Back You Up On This One

Crooks and Liars Calls Sarah Palin A  Traitor

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm no fan of the Resigning Woman or her belligerent and numerous brood.

But I didn't like it when I was called a "traitor" for criticizing Dubbya, and I don't like it when the Snowbilly Grifter gets the same treatment, even from a blog I agree with 90% of the time.

Treason has a very specific definition and criticizing the President  ain't it. It wasn't treason when I did it, and it isn't when Caribou Barbie does it, no matter how unfairly or stupidly she does it.

Besides, there are so many more accurate things to call the Quitta from Wasilla. "Fuckwit" comes immediately to mind.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dances With Wingnuts

Latest Newspaper Column

I confess, I've never watched "Dancing With the Stars." The idea of has-been and never-were pseudo-celebrities shaking their booties has just never had that much appeal to me.

Lately, however, it's been impossible to escape the coverage across all forms of media regarding the participation of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol on the show.

TV viewers and entertainment journalists began noting that Miss Palin and her partner, Mark Ballas, kept surviving the cut despite what the show's pro judges, and many watchers, considered weaker performances. Talk began to circulate that viewers were voting for Bristol not out of any particular appreciation for her terpsichorean talents but out of support for her mother, the Resigning Woman.

Some even suggested that the followers of Mama Grizzly were gaming the voting system, rumors that were fed when right-wing radio host Tammy Bruce organized what she called "Operation Bristol" and the wingnut website HillBuzz noted that, while you had to provide an e-mail address to vote online, you didn't have to provide a real one, which allowed people to vote multiple times.

Nonsense, said the show's producer. DWTS, he claimed, uses "a number of security checks" to prevent voter fraud via the Web, text and phone calls.

Still, some people remained suspicious. One particularly irate viewer actually shot his TV out of frustration, shouting "The politics! The politics!"

I certainly understand his frustration at the politicization of the pure and ancient art of the dance on a show that once featured Steve-O from "Jackass" doing the cha-cha. But I've got to say that there are so many things that are more worth shooting your TV over. Those commercials with the talking mucus, for example.

The Palins themselves fell back on their real talent: not for dancing, but for stirring up resentment and the furious certainty among their supporters that somewhere, somehow, there's someone out there looking down on them. They may not know who or where, by golly, but you could stick a finger in their imaginary eyes by voting for Bristol, who told an interviewer that if she won, "it would be like giving a big middle finger to people who hate my mom and hate me."

Even when Bristol came in third in the final episode, an anonymous writer at Hillbuzz claimed a moral victory, saying: "You drove the left crazy for three months. Score!"

Dudes, I hate to break it to you, but no one on the left even watches "Dancing with the Stars," and we certainly don't have time to get our mad on about whether or not one of the numerous progeny of the Quitta From Wasilla took home the trophy.

We're too busy figuring out new and fiendish ways to turn your children into Muslims, force them to marry gay abortionists, ban everything from the American diet except tofu and alfalfa sprouts, and destroy capitalism. (That was a joke, people.)

The Palins and the folks at Hillbuzz were only expressing one of the highest ideals of modern conservatism, to wit: Talent doesn't matter. Competence doesn't matter. The only thing that really matters is annoying liberals. If no actual liberals are involved in the issue, then think about what will annoy the liberals you've made up in your head.

It's the same principle that occasionally motivates some idiot to loudly proclaim that he's going to drive a big SUV and eat a steak, not because he likes those things, but "to make liberals angry." The steak and SUV industries appreciate it, and so do the cardiologists and the oil companies. The rest of us just wish you'd get the heck over yourself, when we bother to think about you at all, which isn't often.

But while I've got their attention, let me just say: You know what would really annoy me? If everyone had affordable health care. That would make me absolutely livid. A sane policy for fighting terrorism that guaranteed that terrorist criminals would face trials and that respected the Bill of Rights? That would really make me mad, too.

Dignity and basic rights for people who love differently from me, including the right to serve openly in the military and the right to marry? That would raise my blood pressure something fierce. A tax policy that gave relief to the middle class and made sure millionaires, billionaires and mega-corporations paid their fair share toward keeping this country running? Man, my head might explode from sheer rage.

Get to it, folks. Make me mad.