So, once upon a time, there were three kinds of Bigots:
1) Out and Proud.
These guys love being prejudiced, and want everyone to know it. They like to say things like “I hate the [expletive deleted] [racial/religious/social group] and want them eliminated.” These people used to join the Klan. Some still do, but that level of organized racism against African Americans is way uncool now, so they’ve replaced it with hatred of Muslims, or they join the National Organization for Marriage.
2) On the Down-Low.
Down-Low bigots are smart enough to know it’s not okay to be a bigot, but too stupid to understand that the problem people have with bigots is the bigotry, not the rude language. They typically keep quiet until they’re fairly certain they’re in a room full of like minded haters, at which point they cannot wait to let out what they’ve been thinking in private, usually with a creepy joke. Otherwise, they tend to couch their hate behind pretentions of having reached their views via rational thought and real world experience (always failing to acknowledge that they simply found a way to sexy up their tiny minds with big words and ex post facto deduction.) They also tend to be libertarian.
You remember that one asshole back in the day who liked to say things like “Oh, I used to believe what you think about [racial/religious/social group], but then I got out in the real world and now I know the truth. They really are as [dumb/evil/desirous of raping white women/predatory] as people say.” This is his category.
The biggest problem they have is that they don’t normally get to be in a room full of like minded haters, and the rest of us just aren’t as obsessed with the objects of their resentment as they are. This makes convenient “since you asked” opportunities to hate with educated language a very rare commodity. Therefore, the pressure of having to appear sane in front of the normals inevitably leads to unusual outbursts – for instance, while employed as an ESPN commentator, they accuse the the NFL of reverse discrimination for hiring a black quarterback.
Typically, they act shocked and offended when actually called out on their bigotry. Of course, what they really offends them is that they can’t be type #1. And also that Obama was born in the US.
These pitiful people have internalized cultural notions about the essential wrongness of bigotry, but still have volumes of unexamined anger and resentment inside them. They cope by relying on a bizarre, passive-aggressive method of expressing these feelings: comfortably using language similar to that of people opposed to prejudice, in order to express their obvious-to-everyone-but-them bigotry.
They tend to say things like “there are [racial/religious/social group], and there are [horribly offensive term used by bigots to refer to said group].”, or “we ended [oppressive policy against racial/religious/social group], but [racial/religious/social group] wants to live in a perpetual victim state, acting like a bunch of [horribly offensive term used by bigots to refer to said group].”
The biggest problem engaging them is that they typically have been completely screwed over by conservative policies, and quite often lead genuinely tough lives. The hardship they’ve experienced should have triggered their latent ability to feel, but a lack of critical thinking skills, combined with a very narrow range of media exposure, channels the rage they should have for Reagan and Dubya onto Faggosexualislamic single mothers who want to take their guns. You can recognize these poor saps because unlike #1 and #2, these people actually believe that “reverse racism” exists, rather than just being a convenient euphamism for “people should know their place”.
Obviously, I’ve just described 3/4 of the Republican base.
“But Ross!”, I can hear you say. “3/4? Surely you mean 4/4, right?” Au Contrair! If you’ve learned anything from the last 8 years, it should be to never underestimate the ability of crazy wingnuts to mutate with the times, and our current times are no different from, um, other times. Since the election of Barack Obama, we have witnessed the birth and rapid development of a delightfully 21st century kind of hater.
This new model bigot is a bizarre, post-modernist combination of all three categories. This is a cognative leap previously believed (by all but the most insane psychological theoreticians) to be impossible for the human brain. It was, or so it was believed, the equivalent of simultaneously believing that Jesus and God are the same entity, and yet somehow also different entities with distinct personalities. In other words, cataclysmic Epic Logic Fail.
Enter The Internet. The vast data storage capacity of a world wide network millions of computers strong, sharing information endlessly (mostly about naked women, but never you mind just now). Add to it the perpetual motion machine that is right wing paranoia, a community of millions made up of conspiracy freaks, end timers, gun hoarders and get off my land jerks, all of them whining eternally about their lot in life, separated from 911 truthers only by their unwillingness to criticize George W. Bush.
Somehow, these two powerful entities combined in the same way bacterial life combined with Earth’s primordial soup, and the result is that the right wing brain has… evolved. I admit that it feels dirty using that word in this context, but how else do you explain it? Conservatives have shed such cumbersome hinderances to personal fulfillment as “basic empathy”, “intellectual honesty”, and “learning from mistakes”, allowing these people to live lives free of the kind of concerns normal people experience before making decisions. Liberated, they stand ready to lead America into a glorious golden age that, apparently, is a combination of Red Dawn, Casablanca and Caligula.
However, of all evolutionary advantages they have acquired, the most compelling is the development of something that philosophers and religious leaders have dreamt of since the first skeptic asked “so, how do we know that this god person actually spoke to you?”: The ability to hold contradictory thoughts in their head, at the same time, and experience absolutely no confusion or uncertainty. In short, the end of Cognitive dissonance.
Which brings us to the newest form of Bigot.
Like Type 1, they have awful, sometimes psychotic veiws and they truly do not give a frack who knows it. In fact, they’re proud of it.
Then again, like 2, they know you cannot be racist in public.
And, like Type 3, they honestly believe that they are not racist, often going so far as to insist that they are themselves the greatest defenders of the rights of the minorities and social outcasts they disparaged.
The combinations are endless and awe-inspiring. Filled with a deep seated need to share their bigoted ideas, they also long for approval and to be told that they are correct, but also moral and good. But, and this is the most important part: unlike their predecessors, they possess a curious mutation that distinguishes them from their cousins in hate – these people almost never rant and rage, except at the people who have the audacity to get offended. Instead they spew their hateful stereotypes and vile rhetoric with a mirthful, cheeky sense of humor that for some reason they think is endearing. And whenever caught, the react with an Urkel-esque “mmmdid I do thaaat?”
The most recent example is the current Vice Chair of the National Young Republicans, the wovable and adowable Audra Shay, who landed in hot water because… well, let’s let Raw Story tell it!
The Vice Chair of the Young Republicans is in political hot water after being caught laughing — and seemingly endorsing — a racist “coon” joke on her Facebook page.
“On Wednesday, Shay—a 38-year-old Army veteran, mother, and event planner from Louisiana who has been endorsed by her governor, Bobby Jindal—was holding court on her Facebook page, initiating a political conversation by posting that ‘WalMart just signed a death warrant’ by ‘endorsing Obama’s healthcare plan,’” Avlon notes. “At 1:52, a friend named listed as Eric S. Piker, but whose personal page says his actual name is Eric Pike, wrote ‘It’s the government making us commies… can’t even smoke in my damn car… whats next they going to issue toilet paper once a month… tell us how to wipe our asses…’”
Piker then posted again. “Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist,” he penned. “Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals.”
In reply, Shay wrote: “You tell em Eric! lol.”
Okay, now first I was a bit taken aback by being informed that a 38 year old woman is a member of the “Young” Republicans. I’m 35 and while I’m quite immature, “young” is something I increasingly ain’t. But then I remembered – you know how they say “anyone under 30 who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart; anyone over 30 who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain?” That’s 50% right. Hioo. But seriously, since the average Republican is approximately… Let’s see, Satan is 6,000 years old and Dick Cheney is 68, so 500 years? Well, point is, based on this woman’s post, 38 in Republican is approximately 13 in normal person years, so she’s obviously in the right organization.
Anyway, here’s a screen cap.
Audra claims she was referring to Eric’s previous comment. And maybe she’s serious. Probably not. The thing is, there’s something about this – it’s insanely adorable, you see, because first, you have something we think should behave in a specific manner (a human being, “rational”), juxtaposed with poorly written, grammatically incorrect phrases they don’t really understand. Plus, these hilarious outbursts seem to happen exclusively online, almost as though they don’t understand that whatever they post to the intertubes is forever. It reminds me of something. Right on the tip of my tongue. But what could it be?
Could it be:
No, that’s not it. Wait, how about:
No, that’s not it either. Hang on, it’s right there… I GOT IT!
That’s it! The modern face of Conservatism and Bigotry isn’t Rush Limbaugh, or crazy ass people who show up at Palin Appearances, or even murderous sociopaths. It’s the cutesy, aw shucks “ain’t I a stinker” purveyors of casually adorable hate.
Let’s call it the LOLcist.
I simply cannot wait to see the next manifestation of this wacky online trend.