Archive - 2008

December 18th

Instant Douchebags

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Memo to the utterly predictable denizens of the Strib comments thread: YOU ARE DUMB.

Sometimes, this little avocation of mine isn't easy. Sometimes, I have to take the hint of a story referenced in a blog somewhere, track down the source material, and painstakingly craft a narrative around the core nugget of stupidity contained within. Other times, I can just see a headline in my newsfeed, and know that if I follow the link, gloriously predictable stupidity will line up for me like a fucking parade.

Case in point - "Congressman Ellison makes his pilgrimage to Mecca". Keith Ellison, my very own congressman, happens to be the only Muslim member of Congress. This was a huge deal two years ago when he got elected, leading to predictions of doom from right-wing racists and Glenn Beck's now infamous attempt to get Ellison to prove he's not working with the terrorists. Ellison was re-elected this year, and the most astonishing thing about it was that there wasn't anything astonishing about it.

You see, between 2006 and 2008, Keith Ellison did what Keith Ellison was always going to do - his goddamned job. He didn't destroy America by getting sworn in on the Koran. He didn't introduce legislation renaming Minnesota to "Mislamsota". His secret plan to overthrow the United States government and install an Islamic caliphate in its place remains, thus far, completely unfulfilled and imaginary. But stupid people are like magpies, and if you flash a vaguely shiny object in their general direction, they will pounce on it. And so it was with the innocuous story that Ellison was undertaking the hajj.

Some people were shocked, shocked, SHOCKED that Ellison would schedule this trip months in advance and not cancel it as a result of a last-minute lame-duck Congressional session to deal with the auto bailout. For example, "ajfroggie", who proved his inability to cross five lanes of traffic and a log-filled river with the following:

"He's following his religions beliefs and I respect that particular part. But at the same time, by going to Mecca and not D.C., he's showing that he's showing a callous attitude to his constituents who VOTED HIM TO REPRESENT THEM IN CONGRESS. That part I cannot respect."

I love this because it's based entirely on a deliberate divorce from reality. By the time this comment was posted, the auto bailout had passed by a considerable margin in the House of Representatives, had moved on to the Senate, and had been filibustered by obstructionist Southern Republican assholes and was dead in the water. Since the lame-duck session existed just to deal with the bailout, the net effect of Ellison canceling his trip would have been somewhere betwixt diddly and squat. So who gives a shit? People who hate Ellison for being a Muslim. People who would, by the way, throw a fucking hissy fit if someone demanded they go in to work on Easter Sunday.

And what would a discussion of one Muslim practicing his religion on his own time be without a misguided attempt to turn it into a Christian axe-grinding fest? We turn to "burnsy311": "How refreshing to see the Strib treat the mingling of politics and religion with such a favorable spin. How do Christian politicians get the same treatment? Hats off to the Muslims for winning respect for their religion. The Hajj is a holy pilgrimage and is treated as such in the media. Christmas is annually mocked and ridiculed and called a "holiday" which it is... it's also a holy day to Christians lest we forget. There's a lesson in here somewhere..."

Yes there is. That lesson? STOP LICKING CHINESE TOYS. First, this isn't the mingling of politics and religion. It's a politician being religious. This is why you should never trust people who don't believe in the separation of their church and state to talk about the separation of church and state. They get shit wrong. How do Christian politicians get the same treatment? Well, they all go to their Christian churches once a week without anybody caring. They read and/or masturbate to the Bible in the privacy of their own homes without reporters knocking down the door. They get their fake buddy's birthday declared a day off from work throughout the land, then bitch like little pussies whenever someone points out that there are other holidays for other fake buddies during the same month.

And then there's just your basic stupidity. "PERKS OF BEIN' A CONGRESSMAN, probably would not have happened otherwise." Yes, "k57pulbuf", if that's your real name. That's exactly how the hajj has always worked. Every year, the pilgrimage is undertaken by all the American Muslim congressmen, since there's no way it would happen otherwise. I hear this year they're hoping to do something about the horrible overcrowding now that hajj participation has increased from 0 to 1.

These, by the way, are the comments the Strib kept. Not the ones they deleted between the time I first read the article and the time I went back to write this. And while I certainly appreciate the newspaper's attempts to keep their comments sections free of steaming racist fuckwits, there's only one way to be sure of that, and that's not to have a comments section at all.