You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jul 2010
Memo to Louie Gohmert: YOUR CONSPIRACY IS ALSO DUMB.
Yesterday, we began our look at strange conspiracy theories held by ostensibly respectable members of the political class with a North Carolina congressional candidate who thinks maybe BP and Obama colluded to create the oil spill. The man in question gave no evidence for this, and in fact admitted he had no evidence for this, but figured what the hell, let's investigate it anyway because it might have happened.
Leave it to a REAL Southern GOP congressman, Texas's Louie Gohmert, to show him how it's done. Gohmert, as you may recall, made his YAD debut in a similarly titled column in which he posited that antidiscrimination laws lead to Hitler. In case you're wondering, no, he hasn't gotten any smarter since then.
But he HAS hit upon a trick to give his insane conspiracy theories a hint of verisimilitude: he presents them not as theories of what might happen, but as current events that have happened and are happening right now! And to prove it, he'll cite an anecdotal example! Sure, technically, the example doesn't actually show what you claim it shows, and could have any number of perfectly innocent motivations and connotations, but who cares!
The point is to litter the example with enough code words and boogeymen that your target audience, unaccustomed as they are to putting their thoughtmeats into gear, will go along with your idea wholeheartedly. And nobrainedly. Watch how it's done, with an assist from Fox Business' Eric Bolling. ACTUAL QUOTES TIME!
"We’re actually experiencing situations where dangerous countries al Qaeda will send a pregnant woman over here, have a baby, and then start to train these babies to be terrorists, is that right?" - Bolling. Also, wait, what?
"Well, Eric, it’s not just a theory. It first came to my attention. Some of us were traveling to the Middle East last August, a year ago. And a lady on the plane was telling one of our group that they were about to have their second granddaughter. Her husband was with Hamas, her grand — I’m sorry her son-in-law was with Hamas. And that they were going to do with the second as they did with the first grandchild. Daughter is going to come to America right before it’s born on a tourist visa. Have the baby. They just like the option of having American citizens in the family... We’re bringing them over here on tourist visas, some illegally, letting them be born here and saying this is an American citizen. So come back in 20, 25 years when you’re ready to blow us up. - Gohmert.
All this, by the way, was in support of repealing the 14th amendment to the constitution that makes anyone born on American soil a natural-born citizen of the United States. This amendment has been a bit of a right-wing target of late, because "anchor babies", as they're charmingly called, lead to sympathy for immigrants, and sympathy for immigrants is problematic to the GOP agenda.
Oh, so much to unpack. Let's start with the exciting and likely deliberate conflation of "dangerous countries", "al Qaeda", and "Hamas", which are of course three entirely different things with different agendas. Hamas, especially. Not that I'm a huge fan, but I am aware of that group's other common claim to fame - the democratically elected Palestinian government.
But let's look at Gohmert's claim versus his anecdote. The claim is that this is already happening - that dangerous people, which is a Fox synonym for "Muslims", are getting pregnant and coming to the US on a tourist visa so that in 20 to 25 years, their children will have American citizenship and can freely enter the country to set off explosives. That's what they said. I know it's fucking ridiculous, and we'll get to that, but that's what they said.
And the proof for this is that someone traveling with Gohmert on a Middle Eastern junket told him that a Muslim grandmother said her daughter and her Hamas husband had had their first daughter while in the United States and were about to do it again with their second daughter. And then Gohmert provides the legitimate reason to do this - the valuable nature of American citizenship in general.
The leap to terrorism is, of course, entirely Gohmert's. For fuck's sake, Hamas doesn't have any serious designs on harming the United States. They can barely manage to lob bottle rockets over a fence at Israel. But they're setting up deep-cover citizen babies on the off chance they need to blow some shit up in the United States in the mid-2030's? That's not even a good plan! I know Gohmert specializes in thinking awful ideas are great, but that's got to be one of the worst terrorist plans ever.
I suppose being the mastermind behind such an awful plan would explain why Grandma Hamas would then spill all of the key details of this plan to a member of a right-wing congressional delegation. You can't have it both ways, fuckers. Either international terrorist organizations are stupid enough to plan this and tell people on planes about it, in which case they're not a threat, or they're not actually doing this, in which case they are also not a threat.
But if you ignore the mind-numbing retarded implausibility of the idea, it's actually a brilliant conspiracy theory. It's got SCARY MOOSLIMS in it. It's got a time-frame where Gohmert can't possibly be proven wrong, but still short enough that most of the people he's trying to scare will still be alive and presumably going into buildings when the Colossally Stupid Terror Baby Plan enters its final phases. And if enough people believe it, the GOP's goal of xenophobic demonization will bear another bumper crop of strange fruit. Gohmert's crazy, all right. Crazy like a fox. A rabid fox who's bashed its head into a tree repeatedly.