Palin (and Clinton) obsessives suddenly discover that violent discourse is a bad thing

Sunday, January 9th, 2011 · 165 Comments »
Visitors to an exhibit in New York are invited to play at shooting Sarah Palin with a rifle.  October 2008.

Visitors to an exhibit in New York are invited to play at shooting Sarah Palin with a rifle. October 2008.

That Keith Olberman is a piece of work, isn’t he? This is the guy who suggested in 2008 that Hillary Clinton be discreetly murdered in order to get her out of the way. Now he has a Special Comment® devoted to the message that “violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our democracy.” I agree, but where were you in 2008, dude?

That’s right. He was busy calling for Hillary Clinton’s death and then, when Clinton was over, foaming at the mouth about Sarah Palin. Lots of people were foaming at the mouth about Sarah Palin. There was the “art” exhibit in New York inviting people to play at shooting her with a rifle. She was hung in effigy in Los Angeles. Sandra Bernhardt said she should be raped, and not a few other people gleefully called for her death.

Palin hung in effigy outside a West Hollywood home.  October 2008.

Palin hung in effigy in Los Angeles. October 2008.

Was there any outrage about this at the time? Only from people like me, who were running around with our hair on fire, screaming to our allegedly “progressive” brethren and sistren “UR DOIN IT WRONG!!!!!” Everybody else seemed to think it was just fine. After all, Sarah Palin really did deserve to be raped and murdered and shot and lynched because she’s a foul cunt who needs to die, so what was wrong with saying so? Lighten up, bitch. What are you, a secret Republican?

So I find it somewhat ironic that now, in the wake of the tragic Arizona shooting, Sarah Palin is being held responsible for the violence of our political discourse—which everyone now agrees is a terrible thing. She is specifically being held responsible for what happened in Arizona, and why? Because her PAC’s midterm election strategy map from a year ago used crosshairs icons to indicate the targeted districts:

SarahPAC map.

SarahPAC map.

That’s pretty goddamn underwhelming if you ask me. Strategy maps like that are routine; everybody has them. Everybody uses some kind of target icon: bulls-eyes, whatever. Like this one from the DLC:

DLC map.

DLC map.

Frankly, the crosshairs on the SarahPAC map don’t even strike me as particularly sinister or even unusual. For pete’s sake, I have a crosshairs icon that came with the package I bought for my Java map-building program. I thought it was supposed to represent a camera sight. Even if the crosshairs were intended to be all gun-happy and threatening, we’re still talking about an obscure map from a year ago that I bet you a million dollars almost nobody before yesterday had even seen, and that includes the Arizona shooter.

But people will say, oh, forget the map. It’s not just the map. It’s the whole wingnut/Tea Party rhetoric. Isn’t that dangerous? Doesn’t that poison fragile minds?

Well, yes, it does. This particular guy in Arizona doesn’t seem to be plugged in to that scene at all, but on general principles, yes, the rightwing “take back the country” hysteria is dangerous and bad. But forgive me for pointing out that on the Violence Is Totally Appropriate And To Be Encouraged meter, Tea Party rhetoric doesn’t even come close to the good clean fun of hanging political women in effigy or pretending to shoot them or publicly calling for them to be raped and murdered.

But still, people will say, no matter what happened in the past (and watch for folks to backpeddle furiously and claim that they certainly never endorsed or even snickered at the Kill Palin stuff), the issue is that today’s wingnut/Tea Party rhetoric is dangerous, and Sarah Palin is responsible for it. She is, according to one overwrought comment I saw on Facebook, the “focus of evil in this country.”

To which I say: oh for fuck’s sake, people. Get a fucking grip. Climb out of your own asshole, take a course in Feminism 101, and buy a goddamn clue as to what is really going on. Sarah Palin is a Republican. That’s all. She’s just a silly rightwing Republican. The country’s crawling with them. Look, they’re all around you! They’re your county supervisors, state senators, congresspeople, governors, and former presidents. Remember Bush? Remember Reagan? Sarah Palin didn’t invent any of this stuff. She didn’t invent any of the ideas or any of the rhetoric. She certainly didn’t invent extremist violence, nor does she seem to be in any way connected with that kind of thing. She’s just an ordinary idiot Republican who believes ordinary idiot Republican things, like the millions of other ordinary idiot Republicans in this country.

What is it about her that’s so special? What could it possibly be that makes this utterly ordinary idiot Republican somehow a billion times worse than all the rest?

I’ll give you a hint: Hillary Clinton. The political right in this country spent much of the 90s and 00s obsessed with Hillary Clinton in the same way that the political left is now obsessed with Sarah Palin. To normal, rational, self-aware people (which is to say, to feminists over the age of 40), Hillary Clinton was simply a middle-of-the-road Democrat, the junior Senator from New York, an intelligent and capable politician. To the right, and to misogynists on the left, she was the focus of evil in the modern world. She was personally responsible for just about everything bad that happened, from Vince Foster’s death to the invasion of Iraq. If you weren’t exposed to the kind of rhetoric that was floating around in those days, it would be easy to underestimate it. But believe me, it was mind-boggling in its irrationality. The obsession with the woman, the fear and loathing of her, was beyond anything I’d ever seen.

Until Sarah Palin came along. Palin is the left’s Hillary Clinton. She’s the Evil Mother, the terrifying Vagina Dentata, the Monstrous Female who is somehow the cause of everything scary and bad and wrong.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Men run the world, own almost everything in it, hold almost every position of power, and yet these two women—each the first in her party to become a serious contender for presidential office—are somehow responsible for everything bad. Somehow they’re in charge, somehow they’re the worst, somehow they are the fount of evil.

This, kids, is our old friend Patriarchy at work. Or, to be more specific, it’s the remnants of the thousands of years of cultural patriarchy we inherited and are only now beginning to change. Women in a patriarchy must be kept under control at all times. Any woman who escapes that control is, automatically, dangerous. Far more dangerous than any man can ever be, because a) she’s threatening to subvert the proper order of things, and because b) uppity women are unnatural and morally depraved.

This is not top-of-mind stuff; it’s not rational or logically derived. It’s deep-seated, incoherent, gut-level Fear of Women. It’s why the junior Senator from New York was personally blamed for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi babies. It’s why the former Governor of Alaska is now somehow personally responsible for the behavior of a schizophrenic shooter in Arizona. It’s why, in a world still owned and run by men, somehow the most terrifying figures are the handful of women who have crawled to the top.

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165 Responses to “Palin (and Clinton) obsessives suddenly discover that violent discourse is a bad thing”

  1. Carmonn says:

    As I recall, with both Clinton and Palin, it went gross outpouring of violent misogyny, gross outpouring of violent misogyny, gross outpouring of violent misogyny, and, worst of all, she’s a HATER. Nothing worse than a HATER.

    So I hope now everyone remembers to mix it up a bit, gross outpouring of violent misogyny, gross outpouring of violent misogyny, gross outpouring of violent misogyny-and worst of all, she’s degrading our political discourse and encouraging violence.

    Don’t be hard on KO, he’s always been against violence in politics. Why, when Hillary Clinton was so clearly threatening Obama’s safety by bringing up RFK, he couldn’t contain his outrage. They’re not just a handful when they have such disproportionate and malevolent influence.

  2. Swannie says:

    Goddess Bless you Violet .

  3. Swannie says:

    I have to add, I find it beyond astounding how fast some women who call themselves feminists are willing to blame a woman for something a man did .
    Beyond unfucking unbelievable , it is an eclipse of the mind.

  4. Irlandese says:

    Lordisa, I had forgotten all about that ‘hunting exhibit’ nightmare in NY. The Left has completely jumped the shark with trying to pin the Arizona shootings on the Tea Party/Palin, even with clear evidence to the contrary. They’re going to end up making a martyr of her. One way or another. I have a bad feeling about this.

  5. naomi dagen bloom says:

    Great post, Violet–as is the previous one with its accurate focus on mental illness. Going to add link to my far tamer post. Thanks!

  6. DADvocate says:

    I suppose when Democrats and leftists were taking back America it was safe and good. How soon we forget. When it’s convenient.

  7. Violet Socks says:

    The rightwing/Tea Party rhetoric about “taking back the country” often explicitly evokes Revolutionary imagery, with references to patriots and guns and so on.

  8. myiq2xu says:

    Don’t we celebrate a national holiday every year that “explicitly evokes Revolutionary imagery, with references to patriots and guns and so on?”

  9. Sameol says:

    Thank you. It’s discouraging to watch feminist websites scramble to explain why the DLC map and “dead to me” and Markos’s “post that lists Giffords’ district among those on their ‘target list,’ and noted that ‘Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district’” are any different from Palin’s use of common political imagery and terminology. I know exactly why they’re different, but I want to hear them say “vaginal dentata.”

  10. SBVOR says:

    Dr. Socks,

    I would subordinate this point to your larger free speech point, but:

    The computer generated symbol Palin used on her graphic — the one you noted was included in your “Java map-building program” — has, ever since 1993, been known as a “Position Indicator” (as opposed to the “Bullseye” used in the Democrat map which you also presented).

    P.S.) I sincerely hope the TEA Party does — indeed — “take back the country” and restore respect for the supreme law of the land. Does that make me a “silly” “idiot”? ;-)

  11. Alex says:

    Thanks for this, Violet.

    And let’s not forget that Obama also loves a good gun metaphor…

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0608/Obama_brings_a_gun_to_a_knife_fight.html

  12. SBVOR says:

    Dr. Socks,

    Tonight is my first visit to your blog (via Althouse). Although I am one of those evil TEA Party sympathizers, I must say that:

    1) You are quite a talented, creative, insightful and entertaining writer.

    2) I am also impressed with the creative spirit visible in your blog layout — quite the work of art.

    3) Although we may fundamentally disagree on the largest of matters, I — so far — find you very, very reasonable on lesser matters (and that matters).

    Best Wishes,
    SBVOR

  13. Three Wickets says:

    Thank you Violet. Why don’t more “progressive” feminists get this. A constant source of puzzlement and frustration for me.

  14. SBVOR says:

    “Why don’t more ‘progressive’ feminists get this. A constant source of puzzlement and frustration for me.”

    In my view, it all revolves around the formal academic doctrine of Cultural Marxism.

    Under that doctrine, it’s a pretty simple hierarchy:

    Black male trumps white female, ergo Hillary gets pillaried.

    White, Conservative female is several notches below white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant male. The only creature lower in the hierarchy is a Black, Conservative female — ask Star Parker. Both must be demonized at any and all cost — damn the consequences.

  15. Cynthia Ruccia says:

    of course this tragic, senseless violence couldn’t possibly be about a deranged, unhinged soul who has destroyed and upended some poor unlucky people’s lives forever.

    What a convenience for the left that on the dawning of a diminished era, they were putting forth the anti Tea Party meme that most of the TPers come from disfunctional families (Steny Hoyer), etc. to keep their shrinking base corralled. A gift to the left that these murders fit right into their budding story line.

    But of course, the moralists on the left are above playing such games right? Only the evil folks on the right can lay claim to such fatuous nonsense. It’s the suffocating holier than thou attitude that blows my fuse. And you’ve called it out well Violet…….

  16. Violet Socks says:

    In my view, it all revolves around the formal academic doctrine of Cultural Marxism.

    Oh dear god. SBVOR, I’m glad you like my blog, but this is really not the place to pitch your worldview. No, I’m not interested in hearing about the commie pinko leftist plan to take over the world.

  17. SBVOR says:

    Violet,

    That’s fine, I’ll be on my way for good (right after this comment).

    But, if you are not familiar with the historically verifiable formal academic doctrine of Cultural Marxism, you might want to do yourself a favor and read the link.

    The simple truth — like it or not — is that this is the doctrine which is driving the Democratic party.

    Nice meeting you…

  18. Violet Socks says:

    SBVOR, I know who Bill Lind is. He’s wrong. Look, I’m not going to change your mind, nor am I going to try. But suffice it to say I am a longtime insider of every demographic and discipline Lind thinks he knows: the academy, Marxism, feminism, etc. And he’s just wrong.

  19. SBVOR says:

    Violating my promise to leave, but…

    I guess it comes as no surprise that an Academic, Marxist, Feminist would disagree with Lind.

    If you care to explain why Lind is wrong, I’m all ears. I may not agree, but I will listen.

  20. Violet Socks says:

    I am not a Marxist. And no, with all due respect, I’m not going to derail this thread into a discussion of why various rightwing conspiracy theories aren’t true. No, the Frankfurt School did not launch a secret Marxist plot to subvert Western civilization. No, there is no New World Order. Also untrue: FEMA concentration camps, mind control through fluoridated water, and Agenda 21 as a plan to take over America.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to report to my control.

  21. Sameol says:

    I don’t want to contribute to the derail, but if you’re wondering why normal people consider Bill Lind a dangerous crackpot while Stormfront links to him approvingly, the fourth paragraph from the bottom might be a good place to start.

  22. SBVOR says:

    Violet,

    Resorting to that sort of mockery is beneath you and and a very strong indication you have no real basis for claiming Lind is wrong.

    If you don’t want to pollute your thread, you are welcome to explain yourself on my blog — pick any threat you like. I won’t even argue, only listen and question — Socratically, if you will.

  23. Violet Socks says:

    The derailment is now officially over. Sez the blog owner. (ETA: One other thing, my own suggestion for those who would like to learn more about Bill Lind. Start here.)

  24. Violet Socks says:

    This is an excellent article about Loughner and what is known at this point about his situation:

    Jared Loughner: Focus on delusions, not politics

    “I doubt people who say this is about politics have a good understanding of mental illness,” said Dr. Bob Dolgoff, medical director of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s mental health division. “It could be conspiracy theories or men from outer space. The important thing here is, why wasn’t he in treatment?”

    I also recommend this from Salon: The real message of Loughner’s book list

  25. myiq2xu says:

    If Gabrielle Giffords was any profession except a politician and all we knew was that she was the target of Loughner’s murderous rampage, how many people would assume a political motive?

    We would most likely assume that she was his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, because those kinds of killings are commonplace. If that were the case the only thing noteworthy would be the number of victims, otherwise the shooting wouldn’t even be a blip in our national consciousness.

    If Giffords were a teacher at the community college that Loughner was kicked out of we would be focused on his mental illness and how he got a gun. Comparisons to Columbine would be fashionable.

    We might be talking about violent movies and video games, but nobody would be talking about Sarah Palin.

  26. Anglofille says:

    Violet, don’t you think it’s possible for women who are victims of misogyny to also do bad things themselves? Do you think it’s feminist for Palin to use violent rhetoric to target other women (such as Giffords)? Don’t you find something sinister about her cute little sayings, such as “Don’t retreat, reload”? I’m sorry, but just writing Palin off as “a silly rightwing Republican” isn’t good enough. She is the face of the Tea Party movement, thanks in no small part to her relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in front of the cameras. She has millions of fans and this makes her a powerful person, much more so than the average Republican. I don’t think she can be written off so easily. There are plenty of prominent right-wing nuts out there (Beck chief amongst them) so she certainly isn’t alone and the blame for this kind of right-wing rhetoric can be spread around. Do I think that Palin is an obsessive target of the media? Of course. Do I think that she is the target of horrible sexism and misogyny? Of course. But since she is in the public eye so much, her words carry more weight, whether that’s fair or not.

    I have often applauded you for being one of the few feminist to highlight the sexism against Palin and Clinton. During the Obama-Clinton nightmare, until I found your blog, I thought no women were standing up for feminist values, so I have always valued your insights. However, I think that this current situation is much more complex than you are making it out to be.

    As for Loughner, perhaps he targeted Giffords because she is a woman and/or a Jew. Or perhaps he targeted her because she is the Congresswoman for his district and was holding a meeting 5-minutes from his house, so he had easy access to her. Perhaps it’s all of these things.

    BTW, not all Hillary supporting feminists were over the age of 40.

  27. Anglofille says:

    P.S. This timeline of insurrectionist violence that has occurred since around the time Obama took office is very interesting. While violent rhetoric does exist on the left and right, right-wing people are more likely to be engaged in politically motivated violence.

  28. Violet Socks says:

    As for Loughner, perhaps he targeted Giffords because she is a woman and/or a Jew. Or perhaps he targeted her because she is the Congresswoman for his district and was holding a meeting 5-minutes from his house, so he had easy access to her. Perhaps it’s all of these things.

    Or perhaps because he’s a schizophrenic. That is my guess, and I would bet money on it.

    Every single thing I have read and seen about this young man screams “schizophrenia.” Everything. I was extremely surprised when I found people trying to put a rational political spin on it. Mostly that tells me that people aren’t really familiar with what psychosis looks like.

  29. Violet Socks says:

    Violet, don’t you think it’s possible for women who are victims of misogyny to also do bad things themselves?

    Of course. They do it all the time. And I think Palin’s politics are horrible. She’s wrong about everything, basically.

    But the reaction to her — and characterization of her remarks as somehow especially violent and references to her power-hunger and so on — are in my opinion out of all proportion to her actual behavior and character.

    I am 48 years old. I have lived through decades of rightwing politics and lunatics. I’m not a political neophyte. And there is simply nothing weird or unusual or new about anything Sarah Palin does or says — nothing except the fact that she’s a woman, and the first Republican woman with a chance at the presidency.

    Let me put it another way: if Sarah Palin were a man, she wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. The country is full of idiot Republicans saying and doing everything she does, and it has been for as long as I’ve been alive.

  30. Violet Socks says:

    This kind of thing, for example:

    She is the face of the Tea Party movement, thanks in no small part to her relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in front of the cameras.

    She’s a politician, for chrissake. That’s what politicians do. They want power, they want votes. They self-promote. They seek the limelight.

    I have never heard a male politician described in these terms. “Relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in the front of the cameras.” They all do it, but I’ve never seen it applied to a man, at least not in a categorical and consistent way.

    I have, however, seen that exact construction applied to women’s behavior many, many, many times. Whether it’s a woman getting up in church (“Did you see how she pushed her way up there? Always has to be the center of attention”) or a woman running for president (“she’s just a fame whore, just wants attention”). Funny.

  31. Nessum says:

    Ah, what bliss to read this great, sensible post. Thank you!

    Unfortunately it took only a split second for the “meme” that Palin is to blame because of her Target Map and because of the guy’s preference for “Mein Kampf”(!), to go global. It will take a whole lot longer and be so much harder to “undo” that, now, world wide opinion.

  32. Anglofille says:

    I have never heard a male politician described in these terms. “Relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in the front of the cameras.” They all do it, but I’ve never seen it applied to a man, at least not in a categorical and consistent way.

    If you’ve never seen it applied to a male politician, then golly gee, I guess no man ever has been described in this way. Because you read every newspaper on earth, every blog on earth, attend every political rally and watch every TV show about politics. So if you haven’t heard it, then it’s likely never happened.

    If you wish to pick apart my comment and try to find little passages that you think show I am a closeted misogynist, be my guest. This is actually a new technique for you. You normally just try to show that anyone younger than you can’t possibly know what they are talking about. Oh wait, I just read re-read comment #29 – there’s the condescension I was expecting! If this is how you wish to engage with fellow feminists, with a lack of good faith, then I won’t be commenting here again. On this particular issue, you are digging in your heels in a Naomi Wolf-esque way and trying to protect your position on Palin at any cost. It’s beyond disappointing.

  33. Violet Socks says:

    I am not trying to show you are a closeted misogynist. I am pointing out that the rhetoric surrounding female politicians is qualitatively different from that surrounding male politicians. We all absorb it. And we all tend to reflect it, even feminists. That’s why feminism has to be a pretty much constant exercise in self-analysis as well as culture analysis.

    I don’t know what you think my “position on Palin” is that I’m trying to protect at any cost. I’ll tell you what my position on Palin is: that like Clinton, she is subjected to a level of revulsion that simply doesn’t track with her actual behavior and status as a politician. Sarah Palin is more reviled than Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Jerry Falwell, or any other major rightwing male of my memory. Not that those men weren’t and aren’t reviled: they are. But the quality and intensity of the response to Palin is beyond that. It’s also weirdly out of proportion to her actual power, which is nothing compared to most of those guys. Palin also has almost no defenders, almost no one who will say (as of Dubya or Reagan), “oh he’s just a front man, and he’s probably a nice enough guy,” or will say (as of Limbaugh) “oh, he’s an entertainer, and actually he can be funny.” Instead the reaction to Palin tends to be, like that to Hillary Clinton, intensely weird and obsessive. Like she’s personally evil. Which people have no problem saying, by the way.

    Now, you can think I’m lying or something by reporting that this is my observation, or that I’m bent on some quest to condescend to younger people or to defend some position on Palin (?), but I’m not. I’m just being as honest as I know how to be.

  34. votermom says:

    This whole thing makes me think of the literal burn the witch days, when “evidence” against a witch would be “she looked at my cow and now it’s milk dried up” or “she didn’t go to church on Sunday and now this guy whacked this other guy”– of course it’s her fault. Burn her.

  35. HKatz says:

    Thank you for posting this, Dr. Socks. The common sense is refreshing (though unfortunately rare among people publicly commenting on this massacre).

  36. HKatz says:

    And one more thing… since everyone is talking either about the shooter or about Sarah Palin (and how she supposedly brought about this tragedy), I like to read about the people who acted bravely and decently. There’s Patricia Maisch, a 61 year old who wrestled an ammo clip away from the shooter as he was trying to reload (I saw her story come out on yahoo today). Daniel Hernandez, a college student who was working for Giffords as an intern (it was his fifth day on the job); he stayed with her until medics showed up, held her head and put pressure on the head wound, probably saving her life. And there were a couple of guys who ultimately tackled the shooter, one of them I heard is Colonel Bill Badger, a 74 year old veteran who had been shot too. Good people.

  37. Michael says:

    Violet:
    A couple of things.
    First, you appear to be taking the “blame the mental illness” line with Loughner. However, if it hasn’t been brought to your attention previously, I would like to repeat it: people who are mentally ill are no likelier to be violent than others; it therefore follows that mental illness is insufficient as an explanation for violence. The following is a good article on the subject at Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2280619/
    Second, you say that you “thought [the crosshairs] w[ere] supposed to represent a camera sight”, but the accompanying tweet by @SarahPalinUSA (“Don’t retreat. Instead — reload”) rather suggests the more obvious interpretation of a gunsight.
    Third, to whom are you paying those million dollars — “an obscure map from a year ago that I bet you a million dollars almost nobody before yesterday had even seen” (apologies for indulging in that). The evidence is a video interview of some sort (apologies, I can’t find it right now) in which Rep. Giffords mentioned the map in question with the very interpretation that you dispute (you do say “almost nobody”, which would be a helpful hedge if the aforementioned video could be reasonably said to have been viewed by “almost nobody” prior to yesterday; and more people had known about the map than had watched that video, of course).

    myiq2xu @25:
    “If Gabrielle Giffords was any profession except a politician [snip]”
    Except — she’s not. That is to say, your hypothetical scenario is irrelevant.

  38. SYD says:

    What a fabulous synopsis. The voice of reason.

    Where would we be without you, Dr. Socks?

  39. Violet Socks says:

    Michael:

    A couple of things.

    First, you appear to be taking the “blame the mental illness” line with Loughner.

    I refer you to the post I wrote following the shooting: Classic Paranoid Psychosis. I am not “taking a line”; I am reporting my genuine opinion.

    I had no idea that Sarah Palin or any other political figure was being blamed for this shooting, or that it was thought to be the behavior of a political extremist, until many hours after I read the first article about it. My impression from first reading about the guy — an impression that continues to grow with every new piece of information — is that he is psychotic, probably suffering from schizophrenia.

    I am well aware that the overwhelming majority of mentally ill people, including schizophrenics, are not violent. I am familiar with schizophrenia and its manifestations.

    If there were evidence that Loughner were a rightwing nut (or any kind of political nut), I would not hesitate to say so. I just don’t see it.

    As I said upthread, I was very surprised to find people had pinned this on Sarah Palin. Frankly, I think what happened is that when people first heard about the shooting they assumed it was politically motivated—because indeed Arizona is the capital of crazy and Gifford’s office has been attacked—and this interpretation took root before the actual facts of the matter emerged.

    What is interesting is that people seem so invested in sticking to that interpretation, even though it is increasingly obvious that Loughner is in his own sad psychotic world.

    Second, you say that you “thought [the crosshairs] w[ere] supposed to represent a camera sight”, but the accompanying tweet by @SarahPalinUSA (”Don’t retreat. Instead — reload”) rather suggests the more obvious interpretation of a gunsight.

    I was referring to the symbols on my own map program, though of course I’ve seen them lots of places for years. You are citing a tweet by Sarah Palin as evidence that I’m lying about my own assumptions over the years about what those symbols meant, is that right? Okay, great. Thank you. Makes tons of sense.

    If your point is that Sarah Palin thought they were gunsights, that still doesn’t speak to whether Loughner thought they were or was in any way motivated by or even aware of that map.

    The evidence is a video interview of some sort (apologies, I can’t find it right now) in which Rep. Giffords mentioned the map in question with the very interpretation that you dispute (you do say “almost nobody”, which would be a helpful hedge if the aforementioned video could be reasonably said to have been viewed by “almost nobody” prior to yesterday; and more people had known about the map than had watched that video, of course).

    Had Rep. Giffords and her staff seen the map? Of course. Had Sarah Palin and her PAC members seen the map? Of course. Had hardcore political junkies who follow Palin or local congressional races seen the map? Of course. That is still, in the grand scheme of things, pretty much nobody.

    Even now, when the infamous map is all the talk of twitter, people don’t seem to have any idea what it was. Trending tweets suggest people are imagining it was a photo of Gifford’s face with a gun target superimposed and a caption saying “Reload!” A vanishingly small number of Americans ever saw that map before yesterday (or even now).

    Had Loughner seen the map? I doubt it. Of course, if he were a Tea Partier or Palin follower he probably would have seen it, but that’s begging the question. I simply don’t see the evidence that Loughner was plugged into that scene. I have seen no evidence that he was motivated by Tea Party stuff at all.

  40. djmm says:

    Thank you for this cogent post, Violet!

    djmm

  41. Uffda says:

    It never occurred to me that anyone would even see the map as a “call for violence” when I first saw it. Was astonished when the media played it up like they did.

  42. RonF says:

    Caught a link to this on Amptoons. While I’m well to the right of most of you here and I don’t agree with your opinion of the Tea Party, I must say that this is about the most balanced and perceptive essay I’ve read on this subject. Well done.

  43. RonF says:

    Violet, if you’ve never seen “Relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in the front of the cameras.” used to desribe men I’d have to say that you need to get out more. Here in Chicago it’s pretty much the default (at least on the right) to describe Rev. Jesse Jackson that way. Al Sharpton falls under that category as well. Plenty of men have been accused of this.

  44. Violet Socks says:

    Here in Chicago it’s pretty much the default (at least on the right) to describe Rev. Jesse Jackson that way. Al Sharpton falls under that category as well.

    That’s quite an interesting point, now that you mention it.

    I wonder if there’s anything else Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have in common.

  45. Sweet Sue says:

    Doctor Socks, I agree with your point but there is a political aspect to the murders in Arizona.
    If it weren’t for the Republican Party and their bedfellow/paymaster, the NRA, dangerous lunatics could not get their hands on pistols much less assault weapons.

  46. Sweet Sue says:

    Why am I always in default moderation these days?
    I’ve commented here-sporadically-for over a year without a problem. Thanks.

  47. Violet Socks says:

    If it weren’t for the Republican Party and their bedfellow/paymaster, the NRA, dangerous lunatics could not get their hands on pistols much less assault weapons.

    I agree with you.

    ETA: In answer to the other thing, I have no idea why The Filters are snagging you. It’s not personal.

  48. votermom says:

    I sort of agree about the GOP + NRA being to blame about easy gun access, but I rather think, given the past 2 years, that if the GOP ever decided to give the NRA the boot, the Dems would be eager and willing to take their place.
    Money is all that matters to either party.

  49. Reclusive Right Winger says:

    Although I generally disagree very strongly with you, Dr. Socks, on substance, your method and intellectual honesty are both admirable. You reason well and consistently, as much as I often take issue with your starting points.

    A quotation by Voltaire comes to mind….

    This is an excellent post that puts the entire matter in clearer relief and gives people on all sides something to think about. Keep up the good work.

    Kudos from a right-wing admirer, and frequent reader.

  50. RalphB says:

    This is the best and most perceptive post I’ve read on this horrific episode. Thank you.

    Speaking of the NRA, didn’t Harry Reid get their support last cycle or did they punt at the last moment?

  51. Unree says:

    Thank you, Dr. Socks. And FWIW I didn’t perceive any condescension @29 above.

    If anyone is interested, over at Echidne’s place in comments to Anthony McCarthy’s “An Intentional Crime Not a Tragedy,” posted Saturday, I’ve been pressing a point similar to the one Violet makes here.

  52. Rita999 says:

    Well said, Violet

  53. Swannie says:

    What is needed ( and what is lost by taking the utterly irrelevant road to political opining ) is a national discussion on mental illness , early diagnosis and treatment . I know .Besides being an RN nationally certified in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing ; I have a family member who is violently mentally ill . She has never attacked anyone outside the family , but she tried to kill me once, and I only lived because I fought . She gets court ordered treatment now, but it took years and years to get there .
    This is a tragedy , that keeps repeating itself, the isolative,unstable, dangerous, person that chooses violence to bring attention to themselves . How we can take this to a poliical discussion , and blame any collective group or individual is a symptom of a national neurosis imo
    The internal stimuli that motivates a mentally ill person has almost nothing to do with outside influences, other than perhaps the general level of noise, light and activity , if they are already unstable.

  54. Michael says:

    Violet @39:

    Thanks for the referral, but I’d already read the previous post. Whether it is your genuine opinion that we can leave the explanation at mental illness was not the point of that statement, which I regret that you have missed, so allow me therefore to clarify: the problem is the opinion itself, not its source.

    “You are citing a tweet by Sarah Palin as evidence that I’m lying about my own assumptions over the years about what those symbols meant, is that right? Okay, great. Thank you. Makes tons of sense.”
    No. You are flat-out wrong. Either you are intentionally misinterpreting what I wrote, or you are somehow reading things that are not there. I did not claim you were lying about your assumptions; allow me again to clarify: I was pointing out, specifically, that the intended meaning of the symbols was clear from context, that that meaning did not match the one you believed it to be. It would furthermore be highly egocentric of you to assume that your own context-free interpretation was the interpretation of all who saw the map, so I do hope you don’t choose to argue that (notice: I did not just now claim that you had already argued that).

    I mean, really. The fuck, Violet, seriously: why are you bothering to twist yourself into knots defending the indefensible? I bring to your attention that, no, Sarah Palin’s map is not the only thing being discussed; also being discussed are Sharron Angle’s “Second Amendment remedies” remark and an event listing for an event for Giffords’ opponent which said “Get on target for victory. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with [blah]. Remove Giffords” or some such. It is, in fact, you who are focusing without justification on a single political figure (Sarah Palin).

    Sorry for the outburst there. But really! Final note: you say “If your point is that Sarah Palin thought they were gunsights, that still doesn’t speak to whether Loughner thought they were or was in any way motivated by or even aware of that map” — but if Sarah Palin thought they were gunsights, it doesn’t fucking matter if this specific case was directly caused solely by Loughner looking at the map (you know, I’m not arguing that, and I’m pretty sure other people aren’t either). The gunsights themselves are horrible, independent of whether violence directly resulted from them or not — consider: reckless driving isn’t okay if it turns out that no one gets hurt.

    Sorry — this probably won’t be very persuasive in terms of changing your outlook on the matter.

  55. blondie says:

    From the news coverage of the Tucson shootings that I saw over the weekend, it appears that the main reason Palin’s Facebook, tweets, speeches, etc. were a focus was an interview that Giffords, herself, gave about the cross-hairs map, saying something about how that sort of speech has “consequences.” It was eerie.

    Sure, other politicians are also self-aggrandizing, but what other politician has starred in a TV reality show? Has Palin received more criticism for being a fame-faddled celebrity than the actors, Reagan or Schwartzenagger (sp?)? I don’t know. Probably. Of course people should not attack Palin or other women politicians in sexist or violent terms or for saying or doing the same things as men politicians. That doesn’t give Palin, Bachmann, or Angle some sort of free pass to use gun rhetoric without criticism.

  56. Swannie says:

    Target stores,battleground states ,aim high, shoot baskets , we cannot control the language to the extent that everything a schizophrenic hears is innocuous , we are reaching the theatre of the absurd. What goes in is not interpreted from reality .. if you invite a paranoid to lunch , they think you want to poison them .
    What is needed is education and treatment and understanding.

  57. Violet Socks says:

    I mean, really. The fuck, Violet, seriously: why are you bothering to twist yourself into knots defending the indefensible?

    This is really incredible. Talk about a narrative in search of facts. Look, I’m sorry that you (and a bunch of other people) had already decided by Saturday afternoon that the narrative here was right-wing rage fueled by Sarah Palin and Tea Party rhetoric. Clearly you are unable to even take in the information that this Loughner guy did not fit that scenario.

    To me, this whole thing is ludicrous. I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time engrossed in the diaries and case histories of seriously ill schizophrenics, which is why I recognize it. When I saw that everybody had already gotten busy blaming the Tea Party fascists, I thought, “oh well, obviously they hadn’t learned yet what Loughner was really all about.” But amazingly, no matter what you read about Loughner, you’re still sticking to your same story.

    So, right. No matter what you learn about Jared Loughner, the story is still that Sarah Palin caused this with some stupid map and Loughner is her creature and a Tea Party extremist, etc. Fine. Knock yourself out.

  58. Swannie says:

    For families , this is a tragedy of major proportion­s , and they go thru denial too, to watch your previously healthy child deteriorat­e before your eyes is devastatin­g , very like watching them die slowly.
    understanding is what is needed , and treatment ..
    and just think
    he could have gotten treatment
    pills instead of bullets
    what a fucking tragedy

  59. SantaFeK says:

    Excellent piece, Violet. Very.

    Mea culpa my stupidity: I did write NOW for their blog on this issue and got nothing but a self-justifying repeat of the blame game, with the abortion meme throw in from the president of NOW. But NOW is then and so ovah.

  60. myiq2xu says:

    The “blame Sarah” arguments are similar to “blame the victim” arguments, except here we’re being asked to blame a third party instead of the actual victim.

  61. Violet Socks says:

    No, to me what it seems like is a continuation of the logic-free zone we’ve increasingly occupied since 9-11.

    Remember how Saddam had to be taken out because he was behind 9-11? Oh, but he wasn’t behind 9-11. So, does that mean you’re defending Saddam? Don’t you know he’s evil? Yes, he’s a bad guy, but he still wasn’t behind 9-11. So you’re defending Iraq? You’re defending Saddam? No, not really, I’m just saying he wasn’t behind 9-11 — So you want the terrorists to win?

    And on and on and on.

    This has become SOP on the right, and what freaked me out about 2008 was that it had migrated to the left as well. Every single Hillary smear was like that. And then every single Palin smear.

    And now I’ve got people in my spam filter accusing me of being an apologist for the Tea Party (!) because I’m pointing out the simple evidence that Loughner was on an entirely different wavelength.

    As for the somewhat more nuanced point that Sarah Palin is as bad as other wingnuts but not worse than them and certainly not deserving of her apparent reputation as the fount of all evil, which instead bears all the hallmarks of our culture’s obsession with scary powerful women — well, forget it. Either she’s bad or she’s not. Either I’m a Palin lover or I’m not.

    No wonder feminist thought is too hard for people nowadays.

  62. myiq2xu says:

    I would like to repeat it: people who are mentally ill are no likelier to be violent than others; it therefore follows that mental illness is insufficient as an explanation for violence.

    I guess you never heard of “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

  63. Michael says:

    It appears that I have again failed to communicate properly with Violet.

    So, Violet, let’s keep it simple. Is it, or is it not, morally reprehensible for a person to intentionally invoke gun violence against another person? Is it not particularly more so if one’s audience consists largely of the irony-deficient bigots that make up the vast majority of the Republican base?

    myiq2xu @60:
    Yeah, and your comment is kind of like toothpaste, except for the part where it’s not. (Couldn’t pass that up.)

  64. myiq2xu says:

    Every single Hillary smear was like that. And then every single Palin smear.

    And you can methodically refute every zombie lie each time they come up but soon a new face will appear and repeat the original smear, over and over and over.

  65. blondie says:

    Know who I blame far more than the right-wing blabbers? The NRA and other gun-rights advocates. If the shooter hadn’t been able to buy a semi-automatic handgun as easily as a Big Mac, he wouldn’t have been able to mow down 20 people before he had to reload. This country’s approach to gun control is culpable. What are handguns for other than shooting people?

  66. myiq2xu says:

    This country’s approach to gun control is culpable.

    Unfortunately we’re too busy discussing Sarah Palin to think about that.

  67. julia says:

    For anyone in AZ, there is a Peace group press conference tomorrow at UMC in Tucson at noon.

    First, second and third I blame woman-hating for this massacre. Then I blame US gun laws. It’s too easy to get a gun here.

    If guns were not part of the male macho sexist culture, men would still kill and abuse women, but it would be a lot harder to do it so quicky in public – and with no warning.

    The death that gets to me most is Christina Taylor-Green, age 9, who was there to learn about government. Did she ever.

  68. monchichipox says:

    an interesting quote from the guy who hanged Sarah Palin in effigy. Sort of sums it all up:

    “The image of a hanged black man is a lot more intense than the image of a hanged white woman — for our country, in the history of our country,” he explained to KCAL.

    When asked what the reaction would be if he had put up an effigy of a hanging candidate Obama.

  69. RalphB says:

    Jared Lee Loughner was a registered independent, didn’t vote in 2010 election

    It appears the shooter was simply insane and apolitical.

  70. gxm17 says:

    @ 68. Wow. Guess the guy who hung Palin in effigy (along with the majority of Americans) doesn’t know that:

    1. The largest mass lynching in America was of 11 Italians (the Crescent City lynchings).

    2. The number one cause of death for women homicide victims is strangulation, and the killer is usually a man they know (spouse, boyfriend).

    Depicting a woman being hung by a rope as part of a Halloween display is not only offensive but it perpetuates the idea that it’s okay to choke the life out of a woman.

    It’s amazing what horrors we, as a nation, choose to turn a blind eye to, to the point of denying not just history but the current reality of that which is true (and truly horrible).

  71. Puma for Life says:

    Blondie, men use gun language also and no one seems to notice. Joe Murchin, when running for senator in WV, had a campaign ad in which he actually picked up a rifle and shot a target and that was just fine.

  72. Joe Myers says:

    I am a Conservative, Christian male. I just stumbled across this discussion, and couldn’t help but say something.
    Though you folk, and I would probably never see eye to eye on a lot of subjects, I found this conversation I just read to be the single most civil, extremely intelligent, receptive and perceptive, kind, mutually respectful, and apparently empathic conversation I’ve personally witnessed on-line in so long that I don’t remember when. Years!
    I hope I haven’t darkened your doorstep, and
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! You’ve inadvertently made my day.

  73. Adrienne in CA says:

    Violet says:

    I am pointing out that the rhetoric surrounding female politicians is qualitatively different from that surrounding male politicians. We all absorb it. And we all tend to reflect it, even feminists. That’s why feminism has to be a pretty much constant exercise in self-analysis as well as culture analysis.

    So right, Violet. Prime example, this message from Women’s Media Center:

    Women’s Media Center Statement on the Arizona Shootings

    The Women’s Media Center (WMC) is stunned and saddened by the attack on Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and her staff and supporters. As media cover this tragic story, they have a special responsibility NOT to legitimize violent rhetoric that targets and attempts to silence women leaders and progressive voices. The Women’s Media Center will continue to monitor the coverage of this story, and encourages media to make the link between hate speech and violence, and to condemn violent rhetoric.

    Vitriolic, sexist, and racist language is a form of hate speech and bullying. Examining recent political intimidation can shed a light on the toxic political and media landscape in which the Arizona shootings took place. Here are some highlights from the past two elections that paint a broader context and help us analyze this tragedy. See recent examples here.

    To speak with WMC Board Member, author, and activist Gloria Feldt about the lessons learned from this horrible episode, contact the press contact above. Read her moving piece here, in which she explains that this incident is less about decrying our declining civility and more about teaching everyone from their earliest years how a democratic government works, because we are our government.

    Our hearts go out to the victims of this violence, and hope that through critical examination of the cultural factors that produce such tragedies, that we prevent them in the future, because violence against one woman is violence against all.

    *****A

  74. Sameol says:

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

    If anyone tried to make an issue of the irresponsibility this statement or tried to politicize it by pointing to gun related incidents in Philly during the next few days, the outcry (not against Obama, against whoever succeeded in making a media issue of it), would have been tremendous. If Sarah Palin had made this statement–wow, I wonder if there would have been outrage directed her way?

  75. Adrienne in CA says:

    And in case it’s not clear, I’m referring to the disconnect of WMC decrying sexist language while eagerly leaping onto the same blame-Palin bandwagon now groaning from the weight.

    *****A

  76. Carmonn says:

    votermom, I’ve sort of been wondering if this Guns don’t kill people, Sarah Palin kills people lunacy is due in part to the fact that the Democrats seem to have been moving toward this populist schtick over the past decade and many of them have softpedaled or abandoned support for gun control. If you’re prohibited from getting at the heart of the matter because that would rebound on pretty much everyone, and your base, while sitting in a country that sort of isn’t lacking for right-wing extremist kooks, is in a constant state of derangement over the 3 women in or around politics, it seems like an obvious distraction technique.

  77. Adrienne in CA says:

    Violet, did you watch any or all of Olbermann’s Special Comment? I know it’s hard because he’s such a jerk, but he did apologize rather profusely for his 2008 comment about Hillary Clinton (around the 5 minute mark, then more generally at the end). No interest in defending this putz so much as giving credit where due. He at least seems to be including himself in the list of media talkers who need to clean up their act.

    *****A

  78. Sameol says:

    to “blame the victim” arguments, except here we’re being asked to blame a third party instead of the actual victim

    Oh, not so fast. I’ve already heard a couple people blaming Congresswoman Giffords for her own shooting, due to her position on guns. Which is so unprescedented in American politics, of course. If she contends for higher office I have a weird feeling we might just hear a great deal more in that vein, especially if she runs against a man with an identical position on the issue. I’m psychic like that.

    I’ll give these guys one thing, they’re about as consistent as it’s possible to be. Hypocritical as can be, yes, but fundamentally consistent.

  79. Sarah says:

    Violet, why did you crop the Palin gtraphic? Including the actual names of the Reps makes it much more personally threatening. LEaving that off makes it more, as you said, underwhelming, when arguably it was more than that.

  80. Violet Socks says:

    Violet, why did you crop the Palin gtraphic?

    I didn’t crop it; I copied it. I see that this is an already cropped and reduced version, which is how it was when I copied it. I like it because it’s a good visual match with the one just below it.

    I disagree that having the long list of names at the bottom makes it more threatening. I think it just takes up a bunch of space. But if you have a link to the full one handy I’ll be happy to post the link.

  81. Violet Socks says:

    he did apologize rather profusely for his 2008 comment about Hillary Clinton (around the 5 minute mark, then more generally at the end).

    He did???? No fucking way!

    No, I admit I couldn’t bring myself to watch the whole thing. He starts burbling and intoning and doing his bad Edward R. Murrow impression and I just want to fucking scream.

  82. Sarah says:

    Hey Violet -
    OK thanks for the explanation. Here’s a link to the whole thing.

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/sarahpac_0.jpg

    I must say I disagree that including the names does not make it more threatening. It for example identifies the person “targetted” so that a nut case has an easier time deciding who to go after. As opposed to just targetting a district which is anonymous, as it were.

    I guess I just did not find that graphic as underwhelming as you did, or perhaps you were commenting on the one you had, sans names.

    Names make it personal IMO, and arguably easier for nut cases to follow through….

  83. votermom says:

    I cant watch KO at all either. I just get bad flashbacks to 2008.

  84. blondie says:

    Puma for Life, you are absolutely correct. I also read that Giffords’ opponent, who was a man, had a particularly egregious ad (I cannot quote it, sorry) about defeating her and inviting people to come and shoot an M-16 with him — implication — get rid of her with the M-16. Awful. Not funny.

    Unfortunately for Palin, the newspeople had tape of an interview where Giffords was explicitly saying Palin’s cross-hairs graphic had “consequences.” I think that put Palin in the initial hot seat, which I think her people recognized in almost immediately pulling the graphic.

    I think the threatening gun-rhetoric should be roundly condemned, whether from men, women, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, whoever. It is uncivil. It is dangerously provocative. The tone of and actual violence have been escalating … thinking of the bricks through Congresspersons’ windows, the head stomp, and now the shooting.

    It’s pseudo-macho crap and a blight on our country.

  85. readings on violence and rhetoric says:

    [...] Reclusive Leftist has a wonderful post that points out the absurdity of focusing on Palin’s violent rhetoric [...]

  86. gxm17 says:

    Sarah @ 82, thanks for the link. Now that I see the full graphic I’m even more underwhelmed by the map and disgusted with the so-called progressive chorus. You know, I had actually assumed that there was wording about “targets” and “knocking them off” or at least some vague and clever tagline that hinted at mayhem. And, lo and behold, there’s absolutely NONE.

    This freakin’ map, in all its uncensored* glory, is what ObamaNation is trying to pawn off as “violent” rhetoric? Geez Louise, but these folks need to set down the koolaid, step away from the punch bowl, and take the lampshades off their heads because they are making utter fools of themselves.

    Oh, and FWIW, those cross hair marks are also called register marks. One has to wonder why we don’t hear of more graphic artists going on killing sprees since we are inundated with such “violent” imagery on a pretty much daily basis.

    *Assuming, of course, that there isn’t a doubly uncensored version out there.

  87. Sarah says:

    Sorry I don’t buy it. Rhetoric like “Don’t Retreat, Reload” and pics of Palin with her rifle, or the ad name “In the Cross Hairs” with the sniper scope pic just do not call to mind Graphics.

    The fact that they’ve yanked all this off SarahPac means that they were not innocently thinking about graphics either.

    Are you really advocating the “both sides do it” argument? When overwhelmingly the violent eliminationist rhetoric and gun imagery and wording is from the right? For like the last 2 decades?

    This is not to excuse KO or any of the images from the left Violet has put up.

    But to conflate the 2 as if both are equally responsible for the normalilzation of violent eliminationism in the US is I think misguided.

  88. Teresa says:

    Way to put the crosshairs on the real story. Way to target the mark.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist using the ridiculous metaphors to describe such a really awesome, sensible post.

    The “how can we blame Sarah Palin THIS time” mode gets really tiresome after awhile.

  89. Violet Socks says:

    Are you really advocating the “both sides do it” argument? When overwhelmingly the violent eliminationist rhetoric and gun imagery and wording is from the right? For like the last 2 decades?

    This is not to excuse KO or any of the images from the left Violet has put up.

    But to conflate the 2 as if both are equally responsible for the normalilzation of violent eliminationism in the US is I think misguided.

    Not sure who you’re talking to, but no one here is doing those things. You seem to be having an argument with someone else.

  90. Nell says:

    I did force myself to listen to all of KO’s rant and must say I was underwhelmed by his apology for his death threat to Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary campaign.

    After excoriating the right for its inflammatory rhetoric, Olbermann soft-peddles similar tactics by the left by claiming the latter are “milder” and “inadvertent,” implying that the left harbors no ill intent. Only then does he apologize for his own remarks about then-Senator Clinton, never giving a hint to those unfamiliar with them just how vile, misogynistic, and directly-threatening those remarks were.

    Color me unimpressed. But then I’m unlikely to ever forgive this douchebag or any of his fratboy buddies for the woman hatred they displayed in 2008. Forty years of activism as a liberal Democrat and I finally had my eyes opened — it was life-changing, and not in a good way.

  91. Northwestrain says:

    Thank you Violet.

    What we need is more education about Mental Health — although those of us with training in Psychology etc. can recognize the warning signs — most people in the US are clueless.

    True the vast majority of mentally ill are harmless — there are the rare exceptions who make the headlines.

    These extreme cases didn’t happen over night — they live in their own world. In a perfect world this sort of person would have been treated and under medical and psychological care and we wouldn’t be having this discussion AGAIN and again and again.

    Thank you again Violet for this discussion topic!!

  92. tinfoil hattie says:

    I’m with Nell. Olbermann’s “apology” was really of the “something I said MAY have at the time SOUNDED like it MIGHT have been INVOKING VIOLENT IMAGERY” type. He’s a jackass.

    Also, I don’t see Palin being blamed for this crap any more than I see any of the usual right wing blabbermouths being blamed. Palin is being called out for her “target” map because Rep. Giffords herself was disturbed by the map, and said so. I tend to side with the person being attacked. When Giffords voiced her objection, the thing to do would have been to TAKE DOWN THE STUPID MAP. It wasn’t funny or appropriate BEFORE anyone was shot, and it isn’t now. No gun, shooting, target, bullet, bullseye, or killing metaphors are appropriate when talking about fucking ELECTIONS, for dog’s sake.

    In my judgment, the misogyny and vitriol directed at Palin during the primaries was absolutely appalling and disgusting. But hey, it was only directed at a woman, so who cared? People do hate Palin irrationally, as they hate Clinton. It’s hideous and reprehensible, and it’s the big ol’ elephant o’ misogyny in the living room.

    And, I do not believe for one minute that Palin did NOT intend to invoke gun & shootin’ imagery in her attacks on Giffords. I do believe Palin thought it was just harmless fun. I disagree with that position. I also find it laughable that Kos used a similar map but IN NO WAY IS IT LIKE THAT BITCH PALIN’S MAP!11! Eleventy! It was TARGETS, NOT CROSSHAIRS!

    BTW, Limbaugh is now comparing poor right wingers like himself to RAPE VICTIMS – being blamed. He and Beck and Hannity and their whole f***ing sick male club are way more to blame for the spread of this hatred than Palin or, for that matter, any famous woman.

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201101110033

  93. Carmonn says:

    Is Congress some secret underground organization now? How does the DLC or Markos handle these situations, “We want to target a certain electorally vulnerable Congressperson for defeat, we can use the target map but we can’t identify them by name. We can let you know that they’re in a sort of rectangular shaped district in a state that’s sort of triangular. We hope you can work this puzzle out and make a donation to Candidate X’s opponent”?

    Sorry for being flippant, but the analogy between harassing abortion providers, private citizens, by publicizing their names and addresses and pointing out that KY-3 is represented by Joe Blow seems just a little thin.

  94. Sameol says:

    The fact that they’ve yanked all this off SarahPac means that they were not innocently thinking about graphics either.

    Except they apparently didn’t, as the story’s been retracted. And if you’re looking for a retraction from any of the various people who’ve been jamming on this story for days as evidence of guilt? Not so much. Wait 5 seconds and they’ll do a 180 and fault her for not taking it down.

    For what it’s worth, her camp is denying they ever intended to represent rifle sites.

  95. d says:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/cartoon/editorial-cartoons-january-2011/article1854663/

  96. Sameol says:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=80654

    “Map still up; Palin insensitive to shooting” So unpredictable, I must be psychic.

  97. Loretta says:

    Thank you so much for showing how utterly logical feminism (spelling?) can and should be! Of course, you know what that means? Your’re next! No, really, it’s just the same ole tune-Eve supposedly screwed things up in the garden-though belive it or not Jewish theology does not really support that-so all women are evil! But,thanks again for bringing a perspective back to this. I don’t thinks she is personally responsible, but the climate-political/cultural/whatever-in this country has alot to be desired these days. And, this is from the mouths of people in other countries!

  98. Violet Socks says:

    Also, I don’t see Palin being blamed for this crap any more than I see any of the usual right wing blabbermouths being blamed.

    I think it has shaded into that now, but when I wrote this post on Sunday, it was Palin all the way. Remember that Markos’s immediate reaction to the shooting was, “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Then Yglesias or one of the other dudes put up the stupid map and people started demanding that Palin be called in for questioning. On Sunday, Memeorandum was one long page of “Palin responsible for assassination attempt!”

    Which is what prompted my post. It’s like, come on, dudes, try this theory with my mom. My mom, who has lived through the past blood-soaked half-century of American history, from the JFK assassination to this moment. Wave your Palin map in front of her and explain that the lady who showed up from Alaska two years ago made this happen with her scary map icons.

    It’s just such a fucking insult to everyone’s intelligence.

  99. cellocat says:

    It seems to me that if Loughner hadn’t fixated on Ms. Giffords, it’s likely he would have fixated on someone else, and we’d be having a different conversation. People are conflating issues that really are separate. Given Gifford’s previous remarks about Sarah Palin, the consequent ease of association between her shooting and Palin’s map is understandable. However, it is off the mark and really unhelpful in terms of distracting the conversation from what would really help. That’s what blame often does; it provides a way to cop-out from working productively on a problem to find solutions and move forward.

    While it is true that issues are often related to each other, sometimes closely, it is also true that by focusing on too many things we can’t work on any one thing effectively. Fixating on particular politicians’ eliminationist rhetoric doesn’t actually help us work on find ways to support and help psychologically fragile members of our communities in order to make their lives better while also preventing (some percentage of them) from harming others.

    This reminds me of how people always want feminists to solve everyone else’s problems and issues before addressing their own. It’s true that feminists are usually people who care about the welfare of all underserved populations. However, in order to make forward progress happen with the particular issues of women’s rights and welfare, we need to be able to focus on those specific issues to the exclusion of others.

    The way some lefties are focusing on Sarah Palin also reminds me of the equally unhelpful tactic within relationships of bringing up ancient history every time there is a conflict. It makes it much harder to have a productive argument.

    Some people on the thread say that because the right wing is much more commonly known to use violent language and imagery, that it’s a false equivalence to discuss Democrats’ use of the same. But I think that if lefties were willing to acknowlege their own errors in this area, their criticisms would have a lot more weight. Imagine if KO were to issue a really heart-felt apology with no reservations, to express the degree to which his statements about Hillary were deeply misogynistic and sexist, that he was rethinking his speech and actions, and was going to make a serious effort from this point forward to avoid making similar errors. If he then followed up on his commitment, his criticisms of others would stand on much firmer ground. Were lefties to acknowledge their own violent imagery, their criticisms would gain some legitmacy. Simply focusing on Sarah Palin just creates the feel of an echo chamber, and doesn’t really move us forward.

  100. I’m Disturbed. We Should All Be Very Disturbed. | Vendela Vents! says:

    [...] As for the blame game spawning itself all over the news, the internet and the world – give it up. I am no fan of Sarah Palin: I think her crosshairs targets are reprehensible, along with her purportedly “entertaining” TV political campaign and the rest of her trigger-happy political statements. And trust me when I say I NEVER thought I’d defend Palin for anything but from a feminist viewpoint this link seems mostly right on the money: http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2011/01/09/palin-and-clinton-obsessives-suddenly-discover-that-viole… [...]

  101. tinfoil hattie says:

    I think it has shaded into that now, but when I wrote this post on Sunday, it was Palin all the way.

    I am probably late to the game, then, Violet – and it does NOT surprise me that the women-hating dudebros at Kos blamed a woman instead of BLAMING THE SHOOTER. Also? The shooter wrote, “Die, Bitch” on a note in his home.

    So, once again, it’s just good old garden-variety misogyny at work. THAT won’t be held up for admonishment on Kos, analyzed by a frowny-faced Olbermann, or clucked over by virtuous, superior left-leaning men who BLAMED the woman – any woman, but HOORAY, IT’S PLAIN! – for the murders A MAN committed.

    Remember the outrage from Dude Nation when Hillary Clinton mentioned that many other candidates stayed on in the primaries into June, as did Bobby Kennedy (who was unfortunately assasinated in June)? Remember how this was THAT BITCH HOPING OBAMA WOULD BE ASSASINATED?

    Whatever happens, blame the woman.

  102. tinfoil hattie says:

    Oops – in my comment that’s now in moderation, I typed “HA-HA, IT’S PLAIN” instead of “HA-HA, IT’S PALIN

  103. Michele Braa-Heidner says:

    This is brilliant Violet, just brilliant. Thank you so much for saying so eloquently and concisely what I have been feeling about all of this nonsense!

  104. SYD says:

    Finally made my comment on the tragedy and included your post:

    http://syd4.blogspot.com/2011/01/msm-boiz-try-to-take-down-two-women.html

    Now… back to lurking.

    Oh, and thanks for keeping me sane!

  105. Cynthia Ruccia says:

    you know, I just smell alot of sour grapes in this “blame Palin, etc.” meme. Although I haven’t heard anyone else express it, the critics of Palin, etc. in this incident are acting like a bunch of angry hornets, taking out their fury at being shellacked in the midterms on their favorite punching bags—–women, the hatred of the right, whatever.

    It’s as you have noted so sadly that it is always the women who are the easiest targets in the minds of these sexists. Sexists on the left, sexists on the right. Enough already…….

  106. Alex says:

    Just learned that the killer wrote a note saying “Die bitch.” right before the killing. At what point can we say the crazed killer was inspired by all the misogyny out there?

  107. Optixmom says:

    Dr. Socks,
    Thank you for this wonderfully articulated post. I like coming here to lurk even though I am an idiotic Republican (add “life-long” to that description).

    A woman cannot be conservative, moderate, liberal, or [insert political descriptor here] and have a valid opinion. If she wants to be a leader then she must be a lesbian, slut, or nutjob. It doesn’t matter what aisle she resides, all others looking over that line will take her down at any cost. “If she didn’t exist then all would be well in the world.” I am really tired of hearing this meme over and over again.

    Thanks for being a voice of reason, even if you think my political leanings are idiotic. ;-D

  108. gxm17 says:

    Alex @ 106. I’ve been saying from the start that misogyny was a motivating factor. More hateful words from Laughner:

    Later that day, he posted a rant titled “Why Rape,” which said women in college enjoyed being raped. “There are Rape victims that are under the influence of a substance. The drinking is leading them to rape. The loneliness will bring you to depression. Being alone for a very long time will inevitably lead you to rape.”

    from Postings of a Troubled Mind

  109. tinfoil hattie says:

    Finding more and more distaste for Palin’s stand on this. She’s completely distancing herself, as though she has NEVER EVER ENGAGED IN DESTRUCTIVE RHETORIC!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41036993/ns/politics-more_politics/

    I’m not buying it. She’s got no integrity here.

  110. Alex says:

    TH -

    There is no proof that the shooter Even saw that damned map. What in the world do you want?

    If you’d like a national dialogue on violent imagery, metaphors and rhetoric that would be another conversation. Even then, I’d put Palin and her stupid “reload” metaphor at #526 in order of importance.

  111. Alex says:

    Gxm17,

    yes, it seems like another shooter who was in part angry from being rejected by women.

  112. d says:

    death threats to Palin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxgJKNpjSNI&feature=player_embedded

  113. Seriously says:

    Thanks for being the only voice of sanity left. I thought we’d plumbed the depths of idiocy on this topic, but now that it turns out Loughter was as usual motivated by good old-fashioned woman hate, those photo indicator things have ceased to be gun scopes or whatever they’re called. Now, they’re white supremacist celtic cross symbols. I guess the only way we as a nation can care about murdered and injured women is if we can get some traction out of blaming some other woman.

  114. tinfoil hattie says:

    Alex, Sarah Palin should acknowledge her part in this destructive and distasteful use of gun, weapon, KILLING imagery and metaphor WHEN DISCUSSING ELECTIONS. To pretend that she is a poor victim of “blood libel” – come on! is disingenuous at best and highly indicative of her self-indulgent narcissism.

    (Yes, I know “narcissism” was removed from the DSM. Who do you think took it out? But I digress.)

  115. tinfoil hattie says:

    And I can’t get past “blood libel” – why didn’t she, with her white privilege, just say “lynch mob”?

  116. Sameol says:

    Has anyone come forward to take responsibility for engaging in the rampant practice of use violent imagery and metaphor in politics? The only one I’ve heard of so far is KO, and he only did it in a hypocritical way to attack Palin.

    Unlike Palin, other political actors potentially have something to gain from a mea culpa. They’d be forgiven (well, most likely told there’s nothing to forgive), praised for their statesmanship, and used to hammer Palin. Yet, they’re not exactly lining up for miles to volunteer to take her place as the poster child for our unseemly discourse. And if they were being singled out and virtually accused of murder, they’d probably feel that that was pretty inflammatory, feel quite defensive, be preoccupied with defending themselves, and be even more unwilling to step forward and take the burden on their shoulders. There’s a pretty strong dividing line between politicians and saints.

  117. Alex says:

    TFH,

    So you agree that THERE IS NOTHING connecting Palin’s stupid map with the shooter? That he unlikely never even saw the friggin map?

    So why in the world would we begin this conversation about violent rhetoric, imagery, etc. with Palin????? Her map and countrified “reload” crap is pretty tepid considering all else that is out there!

  118. tinfoil hattie says:

    Alex. Stop “screaming” at me. I did not post the map. I did not use violent, gun-totin’ imagery during a national election. I did not host shootin’ events at my campaign events. Hell, I didn’t even shoot 20 people, killing six of them!

    There IS a connection between all this crap and the violent events that have happened over the past several years. Palin is a part of this connection. I did not “start” with Palin. This particular post is about Palin. I strongly believe she is part of this problem of using violent imagery. Giffords, who was actually shot through the head at a political event, believed it too. She specifically mentioned Palin’s “map” and that it disturbed her. If Palin didn’t want to be part of this kind of story, Palin could have not posted the map, or taken it down when another woman, the usual “target” of violence in this world, expressed her discomfort. Instead, Palin now wants to pretend she is the victim of some sort of accusation by Christians that she has killed Jewish children in order to obtain their blood.

    Oh, wait – that’s not what she meant? Well, gee, that’s what “blood libel” means. Guess she should be responsible for what she says.

    Please get a grip, and stop taking out your issues on me.

  119. votermom says:

    The “blood libel” is a trap and the left are falling right into it. They are going to use this to try to attack her as anti-semitic, when she is so pro-Israel that she had their flag hanging in her governor’s office. Not that anyone is going to listen to me, but don’t say they weren’t warned. Haven’t they noticed that the more they attack her the stronger she gets?
    Palin’s weakness, like all GOPers, is policy. Unfortunately the incumbent Dems can’t debate her on policy because now they have such a solid track record of talking about wonderful policies and delivering crap and corruption. In other words, they got nuttin.

  120. sam says:

    Melissa McEwan has a piece up at Alternet today saying conservatives have cornered the market on hate speech because they dominate newsfotainment media. But I’ve seen pornography, and it is a multi-billion dollar entertainment media machine that manufactures the kind of hate white men find arousing.

    There was a news item last week reporting research that sexism in jokes more profoundly reinforces sexist men than non-humorous sexism.

    “There is no proof that the shooter Even saw that damned map.”

    Lots of little birds have told me all men use porn. Some research or other was recently cancelled because no men who hadn’t seen porn could be found.

    I feel weird pointing out the blatant hate speech in librul-approved porno in this context because I believe it’s only part of what encourages men’s longstanding violence problems. However, I’ve read so much this week about conservatives being The Haters of Humanity that a small blogpost reminder of how the world’s battlefield lines are actually drawn, who drew them in the first place, and who repeatedly re-etches them seems necessary if somewhat odd and inadequate.

  121. Alex says:

    Melissa McEwan has recently lost my respect for her recent rants against Palin. And it’s absurd to say that conservatives have the media dominated. Conservative news is basically FOX News and talk radio. There are plenty of cable news stations and basic channels that are more sympathetic to the democratic party and Obama. That is not to say that they are liberal – just sympathetic to dems.

    And yes on everything you wrote Sam. It is astounding to me that Palin haters are all of a sudden horrified by hateful rhetoric! Not only have dems used hateful rhetoric widely themselves but as you mention the wider media, hollywood and yes, porn seems to be oddly ignored as ia possible factor as if it exists on another dimension protected by god.

    This brings me back to that stupid movie, Bowling For Columbine which took on gun issues (rightly so) but denied any sort of connection between violence and violent imagery in the media. Michael Moore is simply liberal for the dudz.

  122. tinfoil hattie says:

    votermom: Only someone completely ignorant of the term “blood libel” would use it to describe being criticized for political actions. Come on. Her use of the term was at best ignorant and at worst, highly inflammatory and yes, anti-semitic. So what if she has a flag of Israel in her office? If I have a flag from an African nation in my home, can I then say that people who are criticizing me are a “lynch mob”? B/C I have friends who are black, so that counts!

    Palin showed her ignorance and her narcissism in this whole episode.

  123. Violet Socks says:

    I’m sorry, tinfoil hattie, but I disagree. The term “blood libel” has been used for years by both sides and in political terms. I am not happy about linking to the National Review, but this is a useful compendium:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/256955/term-blood-libel-more-common-you-might-think

  124. votermom says:

    That’s me, ignorant! Bitterly knitting and clinging to my, er, glue-gun and agnosticism! :)

    And I can live with you disagreeing with me. It’s stlll a trap. This is like “death panels” all over again.

  125. tinfoil hattie says:

    Well, Violet, I’m not against disagreement. Lots of Jews don’t like the mis-appropriation of the term.

    But my larger point is: Palin, be a grown-up. Acknowledge your part in ugly discourse instead of pretending it’s all about you and how everyone does you wrong, all the time!

    Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Cavuto – I’m looking at you, too.

    And FTR, I’m not a “Palin Hater.” I’ve never been one.

  126. tinfoil hattie says:

    Besides, re: “death panels” – Palin did use that term, and knowingly so, to raise anatagonism against health care reform. How is this “like that” all over again?

    Palin is not some hurt, innocent child who is bewildered and shocked, shocked! at people’s interpretations of what she knowingly says. She’s an opportunist, and without integrity.

  127. votermom says:

    It’s bait to outrage the left and keep them talking about her. How is that hard to understand?

  128. votermom says:

    I watched several of the Sarah Palin’s Alaska eps (missed dvr’ing the latter ones though).
    In the second one, I think, they are at a shooting range (outdoor) and she mentions that the baby shower for one of her kids was held there. Then she grins and says “I love telling that story. It always gets the liberals all wee-weed up.”
    Sarah Palin whistles and the left start barking. It’s Pavlovian.

  129. tinfoil hattie says:

    votermom. Sarah Palin cast the bait, then. “How is that hard to understand?”

    Please refrain from condescension. I do have a big ol’ IQ in the triple digits, even. And I’m not your enemy. And I haven’t been rude to you.

    Here’s a question for anyone/everyone: If Sarah Palin uses “blood libel” as something other than what it originally means, is it also okay for Andrew Breitbart to say the left being mean to Sarah Palin is like rape? Because hey, “rape” doesn’t just mean rape, righ?

  130. Sameol says:

    Sarah Palin didn’t originate the misuse of the term. Most of those examples are about at the level of “George accused me of eating half of the last cookie–blood libel!” And, mysteriously, nobody blinks an eye. But when that [call Limbaugh or Jerry Brown to finish the phrase] uses it to object to being accused of being responsible for a mass shooting, all of a sudden it’s an issue.

    Fine, she shouldn’t have used that phrase. Okay, she’s a narcissist. Go further, maybe our discourse was beautiful and our society perfect before she came along. Maybe it all rests on her shoulders. Maybe she deserves every bit of violent anger that’s been thrown her way. Maybe she’s the Anti-Christ. She still has a right to be upset over being accused of being responsible for a massacre she had fuck-all to do with. Yeah, there are some things about which it’s necessary to put on one’s big girl pants, and she probably knows that considering everything she’s had to deal with. But YMMV, maybe this isn’t one of them, even for evil Satanic sociopath whatevers. They’re not hurt, innocent children down at your local bar, either, but if you’re going down there to accuse random people of murder, some upset may occur.

  131. votermom says:

    Yes, she cast the bait. Every time the left attacks her, it gives her an opportunity.And every time the left attacks her unfairly, which is what happened with the map, people in the middle start tuning out the left about her. Every time they attack her, basically, she gains a vote.
    What the left SHOULD be doing is arguing policy. But they can’t do that because they no longer have credibility. No one trusts them anymore. All that credibility earned in the peace and prosperity of the 90s, thrown away for lobby money. So they are reduced to frantically trying to make the other side seem worse.
    What the left needs to do is work on rebuilding credibility and trust. That’s earned in deeds, not in pointing out how the other side is evil evil evil.

  132. Alex says:

    TFH,

    A few differences. Nobody cares about the use of the word “rape” as a metaphor. Nobody cares about women. So when a few enlightened women do complain about this use of the word it comes from a tough place where rape is hardly acknowledged. So using the word rape in the context of “Dominoes Pizza is raping us all with the new price of their pies!” is a bit insulting. Using the term “blood libel” in such an cavalier way is also insulting and if you read the article Violet linked to, you would know that it has happened and in those instances no one ever batted an eyelash.

    Also, Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” is not so far off the mark in terms of what it means. I don’t know why everyone is screaming ignorance. I am sure Palin knows the meaning of the word, the history and how it has been more recently used in the media and political conversation. She has been blamed for a murder that she did not commit, all to gather hysteria, (violent hysteria at that) against her and her supporters. I understand her use of the word “blood libel” and so does my Jewish family.

  133. Donald says:

    “Relentless self-promotion and hunger to be in the front of the cameras.”

    Can’t think of a male politician described this way? Ever heard of Ralph Nader? Go to almost any liberal blog, mention his name, and you will see vitriol that makes Palin seem like a beloved liberal icon in comparison. Liberals hate him worse than they hate Bush. Maybe you feel that way, for all I know–it’s the first time I’ve visited.

    And something rather similar happened to Jeremiah Wright when he became too great an embarrassment to Obama. He wasn’t just criticized for his behavior at that press conference–he was held up for public flaying and demonizing by virtually every Obama supporter once Obama had to distance himself from him.
    There was no balance here, no attempt to go through his statements critical of America and be fair about them or to him personally–no, as a public figure he was destroyed. And I don’t think he deserved it (not that I think he didn’t deserve some criticism).

    The charge of egomania and publicity-seeking is actually pretty common. It’s used against person X by supporters of person Y if X is some sort of political danger to Y’s chances. Person X can’t possibly have any legitimate reason to be speaking out or running for President or whatever–X is endangering Y’s chances for no good reason and X has to know that. Therefore X is evil. Obama was a sort of messiah figure for many back in 2008 (for reasons I can understand, but find idiotic). Hillary stood in his way and actually had the gall to stage a partial political comeback, so of course she got the treatment by Obama fans. They didn’t think she could win, so she had to be an egomaniac. And also a lot of lefties thought, quite rightly, that both Clintons represented the DLC wing of the Democratic Party, while being foolish enough to think Obama was different. If it had been possible for Bill Clinton to have run he’d have been similarly abused. It seemed to me that Clinton fans were rather similar to the Obama fans in their, ahem, mindless intensity. It’s just the Clinton fans lost.

    Palin gets treated this way because she’s an idiot and apparently much beloved by many on the far right. If it was someone else on the far right they’d be similarly mocked. I remember it being done to Reagan, before he was elevated to sainthood. Reagan was a man, as I recall.

  134. tinfoil hattie says:

    if you’re going down there to accuse random people of murder, some upset may occur.

    Yeesh. Straw, much? Please, I am begging you – please quote where I accused ANYONE of murder. Please. Show me.

    Alex: I care about rape. Very much. I care about the misuse of the word, and I care about mis-appropriation of other cultures, and I care about not using extreme expressions to describe disagreement. Even if some of the disagreement is ugly. I’m glad your famil thinks it’s ok for Palin to use that term. Lots and lots of Jews do not. So, who gets the final determination?

    Sarah Palin refuses to accept ANY accountability or responsibility in this; she’s making it all about HER; and I have no respect for her actions in this instance.

  135. julia says:

    How come no one is blaming Jesse Kelly, the man who ran against Gifford? What he said was a million times worse! I’m sick of all these famous “progressive” broadcasters and journalists
    blaming Palin.

    The memorail for Christina-Taylor was yesterday, it seemed like there were hundreds of local people who lined the streets with canldes, wearing white. I talked to two women and their daughters, both Republicans, who were disgusted at the violence.

  136. Truth says:

    Sarah Palin did not make it about her. Her attackers made it about her by blaming her for the shooting absence of any fact that in any way ties her to the shooter. She has every right to defend herself. Folks who blamed her for defending herself would have done the same thing if they are in her position and feel the blame game used was wrong.

    For folks to blame her and her allies for that kind of rhetoric and pretend their side don’t is to make it about those folks and their ideology, not about the tragedy. It is making incendiary rhetoric of their own while masquarading as calling for civility. It makes it like they pretend to care about the victims when they are simply using them gleefully. It is horrific on their part. (Much like alot of right-wingers act shock at how Bill Clinton cheated on his wife many times, as if they care about how Hiliary feels.)

    The host blogger here got it right- to say Palin is to the left as Hiliary Clinton is to the right. The treatment of both women have been shameful. And I say this as a right-winger who is very ashamed of how Hiliary was tteated by right-wingers in the Bill Clinton President years.

  137. Jeff says:

    As ever, an excellent thread. It is refreshing to be in the company of adults. Even when we disagree.

    For what it’s worth, those are ‘register marks’, generated to align multiple pages, and among the earliest computer clip-art, used both in topography and publishing. The poor idiot that used them on that map just reached for something convenient, imo.

    The bulls-eyes, though.. that is arguably far more deliberate.

  138. Grace says:

    If Sarah Palin is so stupid, ignorant, rhetorically violent, narcissistic,empty-headed, moose-hunter, and evil monster creature, why is it that people are talking and obsessing so much about her? Wouldn’t make more sense to ignore her or just laughing about her antics like we used to do with Dan Quail back in the late 80′s? (like when he compared himself to JFK or didn’t know how to spell the word potato).

    May be that’s a question that people need to be asking themselves, sort of like opening a therapeutic window into their own souls and finding out what’s eating them inside, or what a hell they are projecting and dumping on this woman?

    I agree with Violet that she is just another right-wing fanatic but so are many other guys such as Glenn Beck, Senator De Mint,Ron Paul, and the rest ot the Tea-Party crowd. And yes, the more she is attacked, the stronger she will get. Did people ever wonder why Hillary never, ever, said anything negative about Palin?

  139. Alex says:

    “Sarah Palin did not make it about her. Her attackers made it about her..”

    I am in disbelief that the left is using this line. The left, who spends their time wandering aimlessly in an alternative reality in which Sarah Palin is everywhere haunting them, has the gaul to say that Sarah Palin is making this about her! I’m wondering if this “she’s making this about her” is somewhat misogynistic itself. There’s a peculiar sort of narcissism that is prescribed to women – ya know, we’re all a bunch of divas…

    “For what it’s worth, those are ‘register marks’, generated to align multiple pages, and among the earliest computer clip-art, used both in topography and publishing. The poor idiot that used them on that map just reached for something convenient, imo.”

    When Sarah Palin wrote on her FB that those “targets” were in fact survey targets, I thought she was bullshitting us. But when I saw this:

    http://bigjournalism.com/dloesch/2011/01/09/the-difference-between-purveyor-symbols-and-crosshairs/

    I realized that she was not. The two look similar but her graphic is identical to the survey targets and not identical to a gun target. I think this was done intentionally by the designer and yes, the more common bulls-eye might have been thought to be a more deliberately violent metaphor.

    I do understand though, with Palin’s silly gun metaphors in use that her survey targets were misconstrued as gun targets. Also, most people know what a bullseye is and know what a gun target is but do not know anything about surveyor maps. So using an image that no one has any background with wasn’t a wise choice. Perhaps both Dems and Repubs should just use yellow dots in the future?

    Regardless, neither the Dems bullseye map nor Palin’s “target” map is the most violent thing out there. And interesting that information on the shooter’s misogyny is coming to light and yet we are not holding the media and our culture’s rampant misogyny responsible. There are always a thousand distractions when it comes to dealing with misogyny and doesn’t Sarah Palin make for the perfect distraction?

  140. Terry says:

    I agree with Violet here. I remember the hated spewed around Hillary Clinton for daring to be involved in the health care debate at all. This is similar. Certainly the violent tone of our political debate now excites those predisposed to violence as means of change, but it’s not all coming from Sarah Palin. The switch to demonizing those who have different views is certainly a factor in someone attacking a politician in particular violently, but not the major factor when said person is nuts already. We all need to back off on the “evil, traitorous, dangerous” rhetoric about those we disagree with.

  141. d says:

    http://www.ndp.ca/takingaim

    NDP leader’s website: Taking Aim

  142. gxm17 says:

    All I know is as a liberal and a feminist, I am disgusted and just plain fed up with people thinking they can own words, or designate words to certain demographics. Nobody owns the words “blood libel.” They just don’t. Sarah Palin was using the phrase to describe false accusations of murder and not as an insult. Talk about “appropriation.” Who the hell is the Ruler of All Words who gets to appropriate our language and divvy up the words to select groups? It looks to me that the professional left is attempting to use censorship as a sexist bludgeon to silence a charismatic woman leader. And let’s be clear, Palin is charismatic to the point of threatening. You know, three years ago I would not have labeled America as one of the most anti-woman, misogynistic and gender repressive countries on the planet, but that reality is now proven to me on a daily, practically hourly basis.

    If one has a problem with what Sarah Palin said then address what she said. Make your argument about whether or not she was accused of murder, not about whether she’s allowed to use the words “blood libel.” It is truly amazing to me how many people who claim to be liberal just plain refuse to actually listen to the woman. Instead of listening, they run around in circles screaming “targets!” “bulls-eyes!” “reload!” (about a map that has nary a target, bulls-eye or the word “reload”on it) and “blood libel!” Crickey, that damn video was over seven minutes long and that’s all you can latch on to are the words blood libel? (Personally, I thought the video was a total snooze fest and it really annoys me that I had to watch the damn thing.)

    And thank you Jeff @ 138. I’ve been trying to point out for days now that those are register freakin’ marks. But the Obama and D00d Nations just want to run around in circles like the proverbial headless chicken going on about crosshairs which FWIW are not the same thing as bulls eyes. We really are living in the Age of Unenlightenment aka the Age of Disinformation.

  143. Tabby Lavalamp says:

    d@142…
    As long as the picture of the dart in the Taking Aim logo isn’t included, that looks bad. But the context of the dart does make it harder to take it as violent imagery as dart attacks aren’t an everyday issue and that does make it harder to connect their entire graphic with violence. That said, I’ve got a feeling they included the dart deliberately because they knew how bad “Taking Aim” by itself looks.
    Part of the problem is that focusing on specific ridings/districts is a legitimate and appropriate way to approach politics, but there are only so many ways to make it short and catchy without unfortunate connotations and even fewer ways to do it with graphics.
    The only decent word I can come up with right now is “focus” (though knowing me, as soon as I step away from the computer I’ll think of another one), and the only decent graphic I can think of is a magnifying glass or microscope (a camera could come across as stalkerish).

  144. monchichipox says:

    So in North Carolina there is another new serial killer. This one is targeting black women and his next victim be his 9th(there are 4 others though that the police may think he’s tied to).

    I sure hope Kaite Couric and Andrea Mitchell do another story about Sarah Palin’s map.

  145. tinfoil hattie says:

    It looks to me that the professional left is attempting to use censorship as a sexist bludgeon to silence a charismatic woman leader.

    Every time someone on the left expresses objection to something someone on the right says, someone is sure to scream, “censorship!”

    “Censorship” is government-, media-, or other authority- anctioned repression of words, phrases, and expressions. Commenting negatively on something with which one disagrees is not “censorship.” It is expressing an opinion about something one finds to be distasteful.

    It’s not “censorship.”

  146. Sameol says:

    Tinfoil Hattie, what are you talking about? Seriously? No one said you accused anyone of murder. We’re talking about 99% of the blogosphere and a percentage of the opinosphere who have done just that (a phenomenon of which you seem to be completely unaware which seems to be the root of the confusion here).. However, your annoyance in thinking you’re somehow being accused of something does sort of prove my point that most people react badly to false accusations.

  147. Grace says:

    OK, let’s change the word “censorship” (I agree that it doesn’t apply here) for “unproven accusations of wrongdoing” such as when HRC was accused of wishing that Obama would die in June during the 2008 primaries like Robert Kennedy. That wasn’t censorship but a malicious comment fed by CNN (led by sexist Obama’s ass kisser Roland Martin) that was made to force her into a defensive position, later having to apologize, etc. And something similar happened, in my opinion, with the “blood libel” and Sarah Palin. The only difference is that, unlike Hillary, she didn’t apologize.

    So, the left as well as the right are equal when it comes to pettiness, chicanery, attacking the messenger, and making someone look guilty until proven innocent if ever, and with a total disregard for debating the issues as opposed to demonizing people. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a matter of mental laziness (Dude, are you stone or just stupid?)

    Perhaps we could call the whole thing a “witch hunt.” And historically, who have been accused of being witches? Not men, I betcha.

  148. Teresainpa says:

    Violet, thank you for the diary. The whole episode has made me sick. It is discouraging to realize how many friends and family members are logic impaired when it comes to pretty much everything.

    TFH,

    Sarah Palin refuses to accept ANY accountability or responsibility in this; she’s making it all about HER; and I have no respect for her actions in this instance.

    Are you kidding? She CAN NOT take responsibility for something she is NOT responsible for.

  149. alwaysfiredup says:

    tinfoil hattie says:
    And I can’t get past “blood libel” – why didn’t she, with her white privilege, just say “lynch mob”?
    January 13th, 2011 at 1:13 am EST

    TH,

    Here’s the honest truth: Palin used the term because by the time she made her statement, the right/conservasphere had already been using ‘blood libel’ for two days in discussing the things people were saying about her.

    See Glenn Reynolds, “The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel (WSJ Jan. 10, 2011).

    Also @andrewbreitbart: “And to the gutless GOP establishment who watches in silence the blood libel against @SarahPalinUSA. We will remember. #TeaParty 5:57 PM Jan 11th”.

    Palin didn’t drop her video til the 13th. She has also said several times that she reads the WSJ and everyone knows she’s on Twitter.

    Palin was participating in the national conversation as she saw it remotely in Alaska from Fox, WSJ, the conservasphere, Twitter and Facebook. Her version of mainstream media was already using the term ‘blood libel’ in exactly this context. That’s why.

    Aside: She also defended the rest of the Right in her statement. Yet, did you see how many male Republicans leaped to her defense?

    Right. Patriarchy doesn’t have a party.

  150. Truth says:

    I wonder what is the excuse for feminists trying to blame Palin for what happened with sites like this below:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/node/15258

  151. alwaysfiredup says:

    *vid dropped on the 12th. Still post hoc.

  152. Carmonn says:

    How come no one is blaming Jesse Kelly, the man who ran against Gifford? What he said was a million times worse!

    Because it’s Jesse, not Jessie. Jesse would never do anything like that unless forced by Sarah and/or Jessie.

  153. Teresainpa says:

    How come no one is blaming Jesse Kelly, the man who ran against Gifford? What he said was a million times worse!

    because Jesse kelly is not going to run against obama in 2012. Plain and simple, destroying anyone who is or might run against obama is always okay.. and the sheep go baaa baaa baaa.

  154. votermom says:

    It is all about 2012, speaking of which, that memorial pep rally is a clear signal to me that BO is definitely running for a second term. Campaigning is his element.

  155. gxm17 says:

    votermom, that memorial pep rally was disgusting IMO.

  156. gxm17 says:

    I posted this earlier, not sure if it’s trapped in the moderation filter so Violet please remove it if it’s a double post:

    Actually, censorship does include suppression of behavior on moral grounds. IMO, that is one of the main control mechanisms used in gender repression. Patriarchy functions and is perpetuated through control of our cultural narrative, that is by using gender-specific control and suppression of the behavior of women, usually on moral grounds, and the extent that they are allowed to give voice to their experience. Women in America are censored every single day.

    Given the fact that politicians on the right, as well as the left, have peppered their propaganda with violent imagery (they bring a knife, we bring a gun, etc.) and given that Sarah Palin was the initial and central target of the Word (and Map) Police, I think it’s pretty safe to say that she has been (and will continue to be) subject to angry and hostile reactions and attempts to silence her. I’m not agreeing with Palin or her rhetoric, I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy of these attacks and that they are coming from a place of patriarchal control and misogyny.

    tfh, no one was singling you out. We are discussing the professional left’s horribly and, yes, violently (“someone should shoot Sarah Palin”), misguided reaction to a tragedy. You have a right to your opinion. And, yes, I disagree with you. I think agonizing over the use of the words “blood libel” is petty considering that Palin was defending herself over accusations of murder. She has been attacked not because of the defense she put forth, she is being attacked for two words that she used. So, yes, IMO, that is an attempt at silencing through censorship, by diminishing her participation in, or outright excluding her from, the cultural narrative.

  157. gxm17 says:

    Violet, I have double posts trapped in the moderation filter. If you decide to let one through, please use the latest one. It’s a little clearer (I hope).

  158. Carmonn says:

    Personally, I’m not sure it has much to do with 2012. They say she has all this support, but it never really seems to manifest itself. Like alwaysfiredup says, misogyny has no party. If she runs, I don’t think she’ll ever be able to survive the relentless media onslaught. Which makes it all the more gratuitous, basically all she is is a reality TV personality at this point, but she’s relentlessly singled out because there are fewer and fewer appropriately shaped targets in the political world.

  159. Carmonn says:

    Make that fewer and fewer appropriately shaped scapegoats, would you mind please changing that for me Dr. Socks? Thanks very much.

  160. tinfoil hattie says:

    She CAN NOT take responsibility for something she is NOT responsible for.

    She is absolutely 100% responsible for the ugliness and “gun” imagery of her words, and she refuses to take responsibility for her contribution to the ugly discourse of this nation.

  161. tinfoil hattie says:

    Or, as Lynn Paltrow put it in her “Letter to Sarah Palin”:

    If you do not mean literally that elected officials should be targeted with rifles and threatened by political activists armed with loaded weapons, what do you mean?

    Just answer the question. Palin, Angle, Beck, Kelly, in fact, all of the NRA: What exacly DO you mean when you use these kinds of images and language?

  162. Truth says:

    TH: She is absolutely 100% responsible for the ugliness and “gun” imagery of her words, and she refuses to take responsibility for her contribution to the ugly discourse of this nation.

    Me: Like those bash her take responsibility. It’s a case of pot calling kettle black.

    Why she should alone have to take responsibility? She’s not responsible for what happened in Tuscon.

    And as to the discourse, don’t even go there. Both sides have used gun imageries aplenty, Obama included.

    If anything some of her media critics like Krugman are even more explicit when it comes to using gun imageries against conservatives.

    Have the media take any responsibility for falsely accusing her based on zero evidence that she influenced the shooter to do what he did?

    No.

    Besides some of the liberal media folks like David Brooks who called out her liberal accusers and said they acted shamelessly and irresponsibly in these attacks on Palin.

  163. Truth says:

    TB: Just answer the question. Palin, Angle, Beck, Kelly, in fact, all of the NRA: What exacly DO you mean when you use these kinds of images and language?

    Me: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”- Obama

  164. tinfoil hattie says:

    Why she should alone have to take responsibility?

    Did you read what I wrote? Or are you just arguing with what you imagine I said?

    And yes, add “Obama” and “Kos” to that list.

  165. Truth says:

    Yes, I read what you wrote. You are hellbent on making her take responsibility when the whole context of folks demanding do so is in light of the shooting. And many of those folks who are not above using this same kind of violent rhetoric they condemned in her and others.

    Try being the object of the media blaming you for all these murders based on rhetoric that you used that is commonplace on both sides, including the very media accusing you, though you know the rhetoric have nothing to do with the murders. And have them do it for days on end until you can’t take it anymore and you respond.

    Don’t tell me you would have respond better. Based on your getting defensive to posters for much less, there is no way you could have done better.

    For that matter, probably 99 percent of us.