Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Tosspottery at its Finest
Panel on Making the 'I-Think-I-Just-Shat-Myself Face'
Here’s a thought: Shut the fuck up, right blogosphere. Shut the fuck up about shit you don’t know fuck-all about. Have the self-awareness to know when you don’t know shit about fuck or fucks unknown, then apply a healthy dose of “shut the fuck up” to your internal monologue.
Now, we’re all prone to talking about shit we don’t really know shit about. It’s part of the nature of the way things work. Some of us do it more than others, sometimes it’s not such a big deal, sometimes putzing around Wikipedia is enough to qualify a person for the conversation, sometimes it blatantly isn’t. Sometimes you don’t really need to know all the details about the various states of decay of the cashews to be able to confidently label the item under discussion as “shit”.
I am told this is called epistemology, and that it was invented by Ayn Rand.
All well and good, but there are times when the talking out of our collective asses reaches a tipping point into the realm of the surreal. Which brings us to Islam and the Muslim world … the two subjects most talked about by rightwing tosspots¹ who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.²
Take the Cartoon War. The other day, CNN’s On the Story (video here) trotted out ubiquitous tosspot’s tosspot Glenn Reynolds to give his views on the cartoon controversy, a subject he might know even less about than monitoring comment threads, if that’s possible. Juxtaposed on the split screen against Reynolds was CNN’s Beirut bureau chief Brent Sadler, who has spent the past 25 years living and traveling in Muslim countries to cover events as a journalist.
For those of you keeping score, that’s Random Asshole with a Blog on one side, and somebody who might actually know what the fuck he’s talking about on the other.
Here’s how that played out: “Internet reporter” Abbi Tatton kibitzes with Reynolds, who smirks, scolds and puffs out his chest about how “everything’s offensive to somebody” and they just need to get over it; On the Story studio host Joe Johns kibitzes with Sadler, who plays objective journo and reports that most Muslims - across the spectrum of religiosity - whom he’d spoken to re: the cartoons “think a line has been crossed here”; Back to Reynolds, who whines that his “beliefs” aren't respected the same way Muslims’ are, because “they” burn down embassies; End of segment.
Predictably, the reaction of the right blogosphere was to declare Random Asshole with a Blog the clear winner over CNN and its veteran journalist with decades of reporting in Muslim countries under his belt. A sample:
Comment from Maria Sanchez: “Glenn Reynolds [Instapundit] = 1, Cartoonless News Network [CNN] = 0.”
Blogger Pierre Legrand: “Big time win for the blogsphere with Glenn Reynolds getting on CNN to tell the world how dumb it was not to publish the cartoons.”
Blogger Alan Woody: “I just came across a great video clip of Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. Instapundit) on a CNN program telling them in detail how they blew it on the coverage of the cartoon controversy.”
Comment from “venmax”: “The Beirut correspondent is so full of bullsh*t it isn’t even funny. He’s equating religious opinion (blasphemy) with obscenity – and then turning around and trying to pigeon-hole the issue by saying it’s ‘Denmark’s Legal problem’. He’s so objective he can’t tell his ass-end from a hole in the ground.”
Comment from “elguapo”: “Yes, a lot of us do agree with Reynolds’ analysis. To reiterate what was already answered to your question: We do not go burning Arab embassies, or attacking those who wanted those Abu Ghraib photos released.”
Now how did Reynolds engineer this “big time” win? Let’s recap:
● By offering his expert opinion as a non-Muslim blogger in Tennessee that the cartoons were “tame” and not really that offensive to Muslims.
● By piling more dirt on the corpse of irony by pleading, “Do I need to burn embassies to get respect for my beliefs?” … while airing those beliefs on a globally syndicated news network.
● By dredging up a lame analogy to Christians and “Will & Grace” that was punctuated by a smirk at the camera.
● By excoriating CNN for not running the cartoons out of “concern for not offending” … while citing dubious “intellectual property” issues to explain his own chickenshit failure to himself publish the cartoons he demands others show.
● By reporting that (duh): “I don’t think I’ve gotten a single hate email over” cartoons he hasn’t even published, which clearly proves how uncontroversial they really are.
Victory, Tosspotosphere! Conversely, shut the fuck up.
¹ In the fine tradition of “wanker,” “wingnut” and “cobag,” Parrotline proudly appropriates “tosspot” as its descriptive term of choice for fucktards. That’s one-third of the Holy Trinity of the snarkblog secured ... now we just need a proprietary go-to tosspot who hasn’t yet been claimed by one of the (fill-in-the-blank)Watch blogs or by Sadly, No!, The Poorman, World O’ Crap et. al.; plus our very own pet troll in comments.
² Note: I don’t claim to know shit about modern Islam or the Middle East, other than what I see through the lens of the media, though I’ve spent a small amount of time in other parts of the Muslim world. I do claim to know that sitting in your mom’s basement creeping on Charles Johnson’s warporn collection isn’t the sanest way to develop an opinion about these things.