The Audacity of Decency

How dare you get along with others and express sympathy for their views?!

September 5, 2011

Okay, so I didn’t figure out this week’s Weekly Muse. I actually feel really bad about that. You stumped me, dear reader, so hopefully I’ll figure out the new set of suggestions.

In the meantime, let’s talk about racial slurs. Grab the popcorn, kids. This is going to be fun, and it features my favorite clown, Becky Boy.

This little rant starts off with some pretty general advice. Be true to yourself, know who you are, and stand for what you believe even as you are pushed by the world to believe something else. Nothing wrong there… and then it goes into strange territory that makes basic logic look like a Lovecraftian nightmare.

Beck claims that when people come after you for your beliefs, they are using radical leftist strategies like Saul Alinsky. He says that when someone tries to correct you or make you think something else besides the truth (the truth being determined by whether or not said belief is held by the Tea Party), that person should be ignored at all costs.

And as you know, Beck had a neat little rally in Israel and followed it up with tours of Africa and South America. Suffice to say, Beck comes across as the kind of man who’s probably still mystified by things like the Civil Rights Movement and all those pesky brown people asking for things “normal” Americans have.

Racism. by ~benjaminheymann on deviantART

It started when he and his co-hosts, Thing 1 and Thing 2, asked how silly they felt calling blacks “African Americans” when they traveled to other countries.

Beck: “How can people be one thing in one country and nowhere else in the world?”

Cohost 1: “That’s such a great point. What are you supposed to say? Is there a… what is the acceptable term?”

Cohost 2: “We don’t know. We don’t know-”

Beck: “Black. Black.”

Cohost 2: “African British? African-”


Let’s back up for a moment. You don’t call blacks “African American” in other countries because they’re not IN AMERICA. Enigma solved.

Secondly, there isn’t ONE term for any group. Some people prefer “African American” because they’d like to identify with that part of their heritage. The same goes for anyone who is Mexican American, Iraqi American, German American, Irish American, whatever. It’s an option, and I understand some people don’t like to think in those terms. They call themselves “American” because that’s how they see themselves. Fine. It’s their choice, and if I called someone “African American” and was chastised for doing so, I would just apologize.

There’s a similar social problem with my particular sociological group. I call myself “Mexican American” because I’m a first-generation immigrant. I’m a citizen. I also call myself “Hispanic,” although this is mostly related to race, not nationality. Two or three generations down, if my descendants live in this country, I would have no problem if they just called themselves “Hispanic.”  Why? It’s a description of who and what they are.

But Beck and company act as though we’re somehow forced to use the term “African American,” like it’s some kind of federal standard. But let’s keep going as they actually manage to show ignorance of basic tact.

Cohost 1: “Just like ‘white,’ you’d think that-”

Beck: “It’s BLACK. In South America… I mean South Africa, it’s ‘black’ and ‘colored.’ I don’t remember the difference, but there is a difference. One is…”

Cohost 2: “One is indigenous, the other comes from somewhere else.”

Beck: “Yes, and I don’t remember which one’s which, but I think even ‘Indian’ came in. I think it was also like ‘colored’ that meant ‘Indian’ or elsewhere.”

They actually acknowledge that different terms mean different things, that they’re used to refer to different people based on background… and about ten seconds later, they go ahead and ignore that. Pay attention, though. They’re starting to show hints of disgust at people identifying as something other than what these three morons think is acceptable.

Behold the kind of myopic stupidity that usually requires a full-frontal lobotomy.

Cohost 1: “But we have been taught here that ‘colored’ is really a bad thing to say, ‘cause, ‘What color are they?’ Well, okay, so you got us to stop saying that, but in other parts of the world, they still do.”

Beck: “Yeah, and it’s NOT a bad thing! Only here! Why are we made to feel bad? Notice this? ‘African American’ wasn’t made to do anything except try to create a superman. ‘Oh, don’t you try to feel bad about yourself! You’re African American!’ No, you’re an American. Instead of building the country up and saying, ‘Lookit! We all have the right here in this country. Look what might happen with Martin Luther King. That makes you an AMERICAN. Judge not by the color of your skin.’”

I’m actually still trying to figure out what Beck was trying to say in this little ramble. One thought flows into another like a concrete truck into a brick wall. He complains that “African American” is some term designed to make people feel good about themselves, yet he’s one of the major proponents of American exceptionalism, the belief that America is great just because it is America. If you follow the link, you’ll see how racially tinged these believes can get.

And “African American” has nothing to do with skin color. It’s a description of background. Technically, Charlize Theron is African American. That’s her background. And now Beck turns in the insensitivity dial to 11.

Beck: “And you weren’t over in Africa! Your great-great-grandfather was. Your great-great-great-grandfather may have been, but you weren’t! And sure this country SUCKED for blacks. BEYOND sucked! For a long time. But it doesn’t now. It doesn’t now. Be proud to be an American.”

I really don’t know what position Beck holds any more. He keeps saying our country is great, yet he’s ranted about how crappy it’s become. It’s like he’s gorging on cake while complaining it tastes like crap.

Oh, and that bit about blacks having had a hard time? Well, you wouldn’t know it from his show, since he’s talked about how slaves had it nice back in the day. Really.

Cohost 2: “I’ve always felt it’s such an insult. The idea of ‘African American.’ That they for some reason need to have-”

Beck: “Special help.”

Cohost 2: “Not even special help, just a distinction as if they’re different from us. They’re Americans just like us. Hundred percent Americans. They deserve every right, and they have the same responsibility everyone else has.”

Us? Who is “us?” There is no such thing as “average American.” There isn’t, so I can only assume that Cohost 2 thinks whites are the standard American model. It’s like that idiot student in California who said Asians should we glad we let them study at “our” university, as if whites were the standard by which all Americans are judged.

And now Beck shows his hand and we get to the real complaint.

Beck: “The thing is… it makes people afraid. That’s the key. It makes other people afraid. If we’re afraid to say something, and we all are, you’re afraid to say something because you don’t want to offend- Americans are good. Americans are kind. Not all of them. But we are great because we are good. Why do you think we said ‘handicapable’? Because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. They’ve been using this! It’s our Achilles heel! Have. No. Fear. Dismiss these ‘human rights’ frauds!”

And there it is! It’s not that he’s upset people are being labeled or that labels exist. It’s because he somehow thinks that “they” have made “us” use terms like “African American” so we don’t offend anyone.

Here’s the problem. The word “colored” is pretty offensive to a lot of people. It has connotations of a Jim Crowe era. And Beck knows why we use certain terms. He’s discovered the liberal conspiracy.We’re trying to be police thought by using appropriate terminology. And we’re so gorram nice that we fall for things like taking into account cultural and personal sensitivities. How dare we not call them black “colored”? They have color, right?

Note how Beck and company don’t actually understand why the word “colored” is offensive. They just wonder why we don’t all have one word we can use when referring to a particular group. That’d be nice, right? Having a nice, standardized way to strip culture and self-identity, having society determine who and what we are based on government affiliation?

And if you believe that, please register with the nearest Tea Party group. They have some nice tin foil for you to make your new set of hats.

Racism by ~SmartCync on deviantART

The Rich Man’s Burden

Behold your god!

October 6, 2010

I’m going to warn you right now that this is a rant. Pure and simple. Also, don’t forget to vote on the poll to the right.

If you’re rich and you have to pay high taxes, I just have on thing to say to you.

Quit. Bitching.

For those of you who don’t follow tax regulations (it’s better than a Star Trek marathon!), one of the big debates on the political circuit has been whether to allow Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. These tax cuts are part of the “trickle-down economic model.” The theory is that if the rich have more money, they’ll invest it and it will eventually get down to the lower and middle classes. The rich, after all, are the job creators.

Oh, the rich! Were it not for them, we would still be living in trees, right?

Menacing Money… by =ThornsStoleMyRose on deviantART

My dad says something I always repeat to myself when someone complains about paying high taxes because of wealth. He likes to say that he’d love to have to pay half his salary to the government. Why? Because it means that he has more than enough left to live more than comfortably. And that’s just it. People have two thresholds for money as far as I’m concerned. You have the amount at which you can survive. For anyone not living on minimum wage, let me assure you that it’s not an easy feat. I’d love a few hundred more a month just to save up in case of emergencies.

At the same time, there is a point at which you no longer have to worry. We all have different standards of living and we’d all love to be rich, but we also have a point at which our basic desires, not just needs, are met and we can live without inconvenience. A recent study found that, for most people, this was roughly $75,000. Do you know how much I’d kill for that much money per year? Per two years?

The truth is that if you make enough to qualify for the Bush tax cuts, upwards of a quarter million a year, you’re doing pretty good.

Dollar by ~LostSoren on deviantART

“But isn’t taxing the rich more immoral? After all, they worked hard for their money!”


This is probably the most common argument against taxing the rich. It’s somehow wrong to deny the rich of their property. Guess what? A lot of rich people worked hard for that money. A lot of them woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning to build business empires that now span the globe.

A lot of them are also dead.

I could name names Paris Hilton and just say that Lindsay Lohan some people either inherited their money Glenn Beck or made it by selling crap to gullible people. Some wealthy people are using their wealth to get more money from the rest of us. Look at the Koch brothers or any lobbying firms working to screw the middle class. They are funding the Tea Party on daddy’s dollar to try and make a profit down the road.

That’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate, hard-working people in the upper echelons of society. The problem is that giving more money to those that have it is the complete opposite of what works. How do I know? Because we tried it before.

Women’s Bill by *digitalrebel-basel on deviantART

During the Clinton years, we had higher taxes on the rich and the economy thrived. Do you remember the Clinton years? The biggest problem we had to worry about was the fact the president of the United States screwed something besides the people that voted for him.

Actually, did Monica vote for Bill?

At that time, the economy was doing great. Why? The rich got taxed more and the middle class got taxed less. We had more money to spend. We GAVE our money to companies so they could go out and make more stuff for us to buy. Now, we’ve got companies exporting jobs out of the country and nothing stopping them from doing so. Any mention of regulation is met by shouts of “socialism” and “anti-business” rhetoric.

And let’s not forget the classic “class warfare” battle cry. Glenn, take it away!

Notice how he doesn’t specify that the tax cuts are for the wealthiest people in this country. Not for everyone. More than 98% of us have gotten tax cuts in the last few years, but the people who could afford to pay more don’t.

We know that taxing the rich more works and taxing everyone equally would be a catastrophe. If you believe, truly believe, that we should not tax the rich more than the middle class because it goes against some nebulous idea of fairness, then you’re ignoring reality.

It’s like saying that your car can’t possibly crash because you have an important meeting to get to. It’s like saying your teenage daughter can’t get pregnant because you want her to go to medical school. It’s like saying a tornado can’t wreck your house because you just got a new TV. Everyone is happier when the rich get taxed more. The middle class has money to spend and the rich get more revenue because people can afford to buy things. It’s that simple.

I swear that if I hear one more rich person complain about getting taxed too much, I will personally suck the money out of their bank account to mirror mine and make them live on that for one month and see how they like it.

Oh, I will do it.

Joker burns the money by *Trev-Murphy on deviantART

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