One of the funnier aspects of rightwing leaders is their insistence that the only people allowed to listen to them are their target audience, and that anyone else is simply taking things out of context. Apparently, the only proper context involves you being a conservative and agreeing with everything they say. Whether they’re entertainment-types like Limbaugh or Coulter, or they’re heavyweights like Bush and Cheney; the only people who are able to truly understand what they say are their fellow Republicans. And I guess they’re right about that, as I’ve been listening to them for years and haven’t understood a damn word they’ve said.
I was thinking about this while reading the latest schadenfreude on Jonah Goldberg’s latest opus: Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, you’re taking it out of context.
As Jonah explains:
It is a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care.
Of course. And perhaps that really is the problem. Jonah doesn’t want to make a trash book, but just doesn’t know how to do that. Because his argument is trash. So he’s having a hard time writing something real. But beyond that, he wouldn’t know how to blow a good argument out of a hankie and can only float on his lightweight liberal bashing. Silly sixth-grade stuff that totally embarrassed itself in the sixth grade.
But the real problem is that liberals aren’t supposed to notice what Jonah writes. Sure, he wants to bank on their outrage, but he doesn’t think he should have to explain himself. This isn’t a debate. He writes for the rubes and no one else need apply. And if you read his stuff and take it out of context, that just shows what an a-hole you are. Because it wasn’t meant for you. It was meant for them. So get over it.
Sure It’ll Suck
Another telling aspect of Jonah’s post was the reader letter he quotes at the beginning:
Timothy Noah (http://www.slate.com/id/2162318/) builds some sort of argument that we should ignore your book because it hasn’t come out on schedule. But he’s sure it’ll suck, because it promises to speak ill of liberals.
And if you went and read Noah’s piece, you’d know this guy was smoking the rightwing crack. Because that isn’t even close to Noah’s point. Noah was writing about how Goldberg’s fellow wingnuts Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza had books that were so alarming that “mainstream” conservatives denounced them. I personally don’t have any association with such conservatives, as all the ones I know of eat that shit up. But I guess in Noah’s circles, there are such extremist-bashing wingnuts. Those guys have all the best moderates.
But this wasn’t an attempt to tell anyone to ignore Jonah’s book. Noah was mocking Jonah. Because his book was supposed to come out in the spring, and now, according to Noah’s argument, nobody wants to put the damn thing out because the other ones got slammed. It was apparently slated to come out with Coulter’s and D’Souza’s hogwash, but now has been delayed at least until December. And so Noah’s just having a good old time razzing poor Goldberg for not being able to get his trash out there.
But this is so typical. Conservatives never hear criticism. They only hear insults. And there are no specific insults. Just general derision. No longer was he scoffing at Jonah’s book no-show. No, he’s trying to build an argument that the book should be ignored. He’s giving a “pre-review” in defiance of the laws of time displacement. And while we can rest assured that it will suck, it’s not because it speaks ill of liberals. It’s because it’s Jonah Goldberg. Not that he couldn’t write a serious and thoughtful argument, but nobody would read it if he did. They just want the trash and he’s having trouble getting it to them.