Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Delineating Bullies

Well, well, well, it looks like Biobrain’s spawned another copycat.  Or so I’d like to believe.  Longtime reader and commenter J. Mumphrey Bibblesnæð has recently started a blog called The Drummondtown Ramblings.  I’m not sure, but at a guess I’d say this is in reference to famed multimillionaire Mr. Drummond from the beloved 70’s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, as I have no other mental association with that name.  I guess Mumphrey just didn’t like Mr. D’s jive talk.  Or perhaps he’s trying to emulate it, I don’t know.

And just to help Mumphrey get the ball rolling (as he seems to be under the delusion that I’m not the ninth-tier blogger that I really am), I’d just like to play a little tennis with a post he had written after reading one of my posts.  Or maybe this is just ping-pong.  

Anyway, Mumpy’s first post was in response to my post on Respect, in which he lays out the case that conservatives are bullies; in the traditional playground sense.  And I agree with that fairly well, except that it doesn’t really apply to all conservatives.  In fact, I suspect that there are many of them who aren’t really bullies at all, and as I’ll argue, shouldn’t be conservatives at all.  And as it’s always been my theory that having fewer enemies is better than having more, I’d like to make a distinction between these groups.

Know Thy Enemy

First off, I assert that almost all of the Republican and conservative leadership are, in fact, bullies.  They rose to the top because of their bullying ways and their innate understanding of what it takes to make people do what you want them to do.  They are the cream of the crap, so to be speak.  And while the liars, cheaters, and thieves become the staffers and consultants, they push their bullies ahead into the top spots to actually present the material to the masses.  Needless to say, devout conservatives who aren’t competent at any of these activities end-up at think tanks, newspapers, and websites.  Too bad they can’t seem to find anyone with competence.

Thus said, by “leadership” I’m not referring to every Republican politician, but merely the ones who tell others what to do.  For example, Bush, Cheney, DeLay, and Gingrich most definitely fit into the bully category.  Dennis Hastert, on the other hand, had a bully’s demeanor, but really seemed more like the dumb schmuck scapegoat they wanted to put in front of the cameras.  But then again, I understand the guy was once a Football and Wrestling coach, which makes him an honorary bully no matter how dopey he really was.

And what of Bill Frist, who really seemed a little corpse-like to me and who got so thoroughly routed by his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid?  His drubbing could be an indication that he lacks the instinctive kill overdrive so apparent in these others.  So I’m not entirely convinced of his inclusion in this group, but Mumphrey lumps him in with the others and I’ll accept that addition for argument’s sake.

But what about the women?  This may be pure sexism on my part, but I’m not sure if women can be bullies, not in the traditional playground sense that we’re using, so I’ll assert that women conservatives are not bullies.  Sure, they can be real bitches sometimes (and I use that term in the loving sense), but that’s not really the same as a bully.  Bullies bully for the pure sake of asserting their power, while bitches bitch in order to get a specific demand fulfilled.  If someone could read their mind and always give them what they wanted, they’d be perfectly happy people.  But that would just piss bullies off, as they would then be denied their excuse for being assholes.  

Like Dick Cheney.  He doesn’t just want to wiretap our phones and toss us into bottomless gulags.  He wants to do so without any permission of any kind.  He doesn’t even think he should have to ask permission to not have to ask permission.  He just wants to do it completely on his own, and if he deigns to tell us about it, it’s only for bragging rights.  Now that’s a real dick we’re talking about.

So I assert that this talk of conservative bullies doesn’t really apply to the women.  But how about the little guys?  The Congressmen who are so insignificant that I will now consult my list of Congressmen to see exactly who I’m talking about.  Well shit, nevermind.  I just looked over a list of Congressmen, and even the names I recognize don’t ring any bells at all; as bullies or otherwise.  Sure, I could say that they don’t seem like bullies, but I really would be talking through my ass and could easily be proven wrong on any of them.  And if there’s one thing I don’t like to do, it’s to be proven wrong.  So I’ll just avoid that all together.  

But I’ll just assert as a whole that most of those guys don’t bring an immediate recollection as being particularly bullying to my mind, so I don’t think they’re so bullying.  That’s a pretty halfass thing to say, I know.  But screw-it, I really don’t even know why I didn’t just delete this section of the post.  If you want, you can just strike it from the record.  Thanks.

The Bully Script

But that’s not at all to say that it’s only the politicians who are bullies.  Hell no.  I suspect that bullies are just attracted to the conservatives, for natural reasons.  I mean, what is modern conservativism other than an excuse to be an asshole?  In fact, I think that most conservatives are bullies.  And that was Mumphrey’s suggestion, so I better do something to set my statement apart.  

Now here’s where my original post idea started: Both my parents are bigtime Rush Limbaugh conservatives.  And both of them listen to many of the other talkradio blowhards, as well as watching Fox News and Bill O’Reilly.  They agree with what they hear, internalize whatever the latest meme is, and repeat it endlessly whenever you try to tell them something that doesn’t fit into their belief system.  And so that’s just a steady stream of bullies they digest on a regular basis.

But here’s the thing: Neither of them are bullies.  Far from it.  They’re intelligent, normal, well-educated people (both with Master’s degrees), who are relatively nice and don’t try to jerk around other people.  They don’t cheat, lie, steal, or bully.  Yeah, I know.  I don’t get it.  They don’t even come from bullying backgrounds.  This makes no sense at all.  But when it comes to Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and the others, they'll believe everything they hear.  And I think the same goes for a lot of Republicans.  In other words, they’re in the wrong damn party.

And yet they are.  Particularly my mom.  When discussing politics, she’ll recite the standard talking points so well you’d imagine that she was creating them herself.  But I know she’s not, because I’ve heard them all before.  She’s saying what they’re programming her to say.  But the thing is, she doesn’t really mean it.  Once you get things off the standard script, she doesn’t really believe that crap at all.  She does think we should help one another.  She does think we should all be nice and play fair.  And I suspect that there are quite a few conservatives in the same boat as her.  It’s only when they find themselves back on the script that they start sounding like O’Reilly again.

Bullies v. Victims

Because all it comes down to is a matter of trust.  For whatever reason, she’s learned to trust what these people tell her, and she won’t listen to anything else.  Even her own son talking about his own personal beliefs become little more than a caricature when we’re talking about this.  It’s not that she doesn’t like me or anything (I hope), but when it comes to liberals, she just doesn’t believe the three-dimensional version of our beliefs that I’m telling her.

And the same with my dad and religion.  He’ll believe O’Reilly’s War on Christmas jazz no matter how many times I insist that no such thing exists.  They’ve got a living, breathing liberal atheist who they’ve known for over three decades standing in front of them, yet they continue to believe in the shadowy stereotypes that these bullies paint for them instead.  Amazing.  

But it’s not because this is really the kind of people they are, but merely because these intelligent people chose to put their trust in the wrong sources and refuse to reanalyze that decision.  They’re not bullies, whiners, or bad people.  They’ve just been misled.  And I think that once you get passed the rhetoric and stereotypes, you’ll find that a lot more conservative Republicans fit into that category than you’ve been led to believe.  Because that’s one of the biggest tricks of bullies: To convince you that they’ve got a lot more allies than they really do.  When too often, those allies are also victims of that very bully.  So rather than lumping them altogether based upon the empty script you hear them recite, it’s best to try to pick beneath the surface and see where their real opinions stand.

Thus said, I don’t think that anything I just wrote rebuts anything Mumphrey wrote.  I wasn’t even trying to.  I just thought that this might have gone unstated in his post and decided to write this small part at the end, but found myself writing a whole bunch more.  But that’s alright.  If you didn’t think it was a good topic, you’d have stopped reading long before now and so I probably didn’t waste too much of your time.  

Now everyone click through to Mumphrey’s blog a bunch of times so he’ll get the impression that I’m a really powerful blogger who can send lots of traffic his way.  Then he’ll think I’m a real prick for not doing it anymore.  That’s what they call power, my friend.  Not just the ability to make things happen, but the ability to turn it off at any time.  And that’s why I got into blogging in the first place.  To be a power-wielding prick.  And in case you were wondering, yes, I used to be a Republican.

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