And in a Carpetbagger post on Obama mocking Fox News and their teabag revolution, commenter ScottW writes:
Mr President, quit wasting your breath with these clowns, you are only giving them validation when they should be ignored for the lunatics they are.And after I pointed out how wrong this was, ScottW writes back saying:
But this is just wrong. First off, Fox News aren't "nobodies." They're the most watched cable news network, and anyone who doesn't already know about the "tea parties" doesn't watch Obama press conferences.. Byron York is a published author with his own Wikipedia page, was a Whitehouse Correspondent, has written for numerous magazines, appeared on numerous TV shows, and a Yahoo search of his name turns up over one million results. Call me crazy, but I don't think he's a "nobody." Is he Doctor Biobrain famous? No, but he's about as famous as you can get with the first name Byron.
See the thing is, there is a whole world I would know little about, like the Fox News world, but since half the stories I read here involve them, it's really hard to ignore.
For example, the post before this one. Who the hell is Byron York, but today I should care because it's a post on a site I read regularly. How many people linked to his post, that to me is validation from someone who should have went unnoticed.
When the president does it, it's way worse. I think you are confusing validation of nobodies, with ignoring world leaders, not the same.
And so when we mock someone like York for writing racist absurdities, we're not "validating" him by making him more important than he is. We're showing how toxic these otherwise mainstream people are. When Obama mocks Fox News for supporting teabaggers, he's undermining their legitimacy. And by highlighting their absurdities, we make them accountable for what they say.
Seriously, could anyone reading Washington Monthly somehow imagine York is more legitimate for having suggested that the opinion of black people isn't valid? Surely not. He's a laughingstock and we all get it. And I, for one, was glad to have read Carpetbagger's piece on it and immediately told my wife about it. That's what it's all about.
Mockery as Validation?
And the confusion that people like ScottW have is that you CAN validate these people, if done incorrectly. Specifically, if we take absurd arguments and treat them seriously. For example, if instead of labeling York's racism as racism, Carpetbagger had attempted to refute the argument by showing that the opinion of black people is also important; that would have validated York's egregious statement. But simple mockery and outright labeling York as a toxic figure who spouts racist nonsense only undermines him.
And as I replied back to ScottW, the idea of this is absurd. Mockery is NOT validation, lest we believe that school bullies are "validating" the nerds they mock. And sure, there can be some amount of validation involved. It can be argued that Obama validated "Joe the Plumber" by answering his question on the campaign trail, but it's hard to suggest that Obama had much of a choice. Moreover, Mr. the Plumber is a disgrace to Republicans, made worse by their ignorance of how bad he makes them look. I'm of the opinion that the more folks can see of Republican crazies, the better.
And I don't know about you, whenever I say something stupid, I'd prefer to be ignored. And conservative jerkoffs like Limbaugh and York are like cockroaches who prefer to work in the dark. They already have their audience, so it really helps for us to bring attention to what they're telling these people. Exposing loons as being the laughingstocks they are can only be a good thing.