Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just stop it already, really

I mentioned the other day that the local Boy Scout leader and I do not get along.

Anybody who visits Stonekettle Station on a regular basis probably has a pretty good idea of where I stand on things. For those you just joining the program, basically the thumbnail version is that I spent twenty years defending the US Constitution and the ideals it embodies. I believe that those principles apply to all Americans, and anyone who is a lawful guest in this country.

If you want to irritate me, start by telling me how the only real Americans are Straight, Conservative, devout Christian White People who speak English as their Native Language (and yes, I know some of that is redundant), justify your views with poor logic, falsely revised history, made-up sound bites, and unjustifiable platitudes - example: Gay people are bad because God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! (Funny thing here, if you believe in God, then it sort of follows that He actually did create Steve, just saying). But if you really want to piss me off, start waving the flag and talking about Patriotism - with the unspoken but implied assumption that everybody in the military is Christian White People who Speak English as their native tongue. I normally get this from NeoCons who have never actually served themselves (funny how so few of them have, isn't it?), but consider themselves experts on the military and thereby assume that they know me and know my ideals.

I hate lazy thinking. But more than that, I utterly despise when these bigoted assholes can't find anything to justify their ridiculous world view - so they just make crap up. And then they email it to as many other bigoted assholes as they can find. And these other bigoted assholes accept the made-up crap as 'fact' and then email it to yet more people, adding little "Here, here!" comments and "You've GOT to READ this. Thank GOD there are still REAL Americans in America! God Bless America!" (A side question: what is it with fundies and bizarre capitalization anyway?)

I hate teh stupid, and I really hate teh group stupid.

But what really infuriates me, what really gets my blood boiling, is when these NeoCon retards divine from my background that I must be one of them - and I somehow end up on their mailing list.

Take the following picture I received via email from the Straight, Conservative, Devoutly Roman Catholic, White, NeoCon, Scout Master:

Prefaced with the comment: All, I'm with the Duke!

And there it is, right there: just plain lazy stupid thinking used to justify bigotry and arrogance in the guise of patriotism. And it pisses me off.

1) I love that fact that John Wayne isn't patriotic enough for these people, they've got to photoshop in the giant American flag background - either that or this picture was taken from the time The Duke auditioned for the lead in Patton (oh yes, he did). Love the pistol in his belt, nice touch, though any real cowboy who did that with a single-action Colt Peacemaker would probably have ended up shooting his balls off.

2) It is highly unlikely The Duke would have ever said "Now just why in the HELL do I have to press '1' for English?" John Wayne died in 1979, about a decade before automated voice mail became common, and about fifteen years before automated multi-lingual voice mail was in widespread use. In fact, rotary dial phones were still in common use in 1979, touch tone didn't become common until the mid-80's. No touch tone, no voicemail. I can't find this quote attributed to John Wayne anywhere, it would appear on the face of things that somebody just, well, made it up. Also I love the fact that "HELL" is capitalized - apparently whomever made this bit of NeoCon propaganda can operate photoshop, but doesn't know how to use the italics function.

3) John Wayne, especially in the years following WWII, was certainly a conservative (though he did support a number of strongly liberal causes that earned him widespread scorn from conservatives). He was often called a 'superpatriot,' and he said a number of things that could be interpreted as bigoted or even racist (However, if you read his comments in context, you can see that he was actually forward thinking for his time, though far, far short of 'liberal.') and I can see why somebody who hadn't done his research would have thought The Duke might have said something like the bit above. But again, lazy thinking here. John Wayne was married three times, to three different Hispanic women. That's right, Hispanic. His last wife, his widow Pilar, was Peruvian and spoke Spanish as her native tongue, and Wayne spent considerable time in Central and South America. I find it fairly difficult to believe, whatever the man's other failings, that he would have been offended by multiple language options on a voicemail system. So, when the Scout Master adds the comment "I'm with the Duke!" I have to wonder if that means he's hot for Spanish speaking foreign Latinas. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm just asking here.

4) John Wayne, born Marion Robert Wayne Morrison (later changed to Marion Micheal Morrison), was of Scots/Irish decent. As am I. As are a number of white Americans. In fact, and here's the funny thing, a fairly large number of white Americans are the decedents of non-English speaking Scotish, Irish, Dutch, Italian, German (need I go on here?) immigrants. And I suspect the same is true of the picture's creator (though I don't know that for sure, he might be Native American. This is unlikely I'd say, considering the subject matter, but certainly possible). Pretty funny to me how, now, the English-speaking decedents of non-English speaking immigrants have so little regard for people who speak a language other than their own. Sad, really.

Voicemail is the bane of my existence (next to Wal-Mart that is), but for crying out loud are we really such bigoted assholes that it is necessary to fake-up crap like the above and mail it around the internet?

I sent a "reply to all" email back, informing these people that I do NOT agree with either the subject of the picture or the rest of their narrow-minded, bigoted agenda. I told them in no uncertain terms to take me the hell off their mailing list. I also informed them that I am not a Republican and that I think it's about time that Conservatives stopped acting like lying self-righteous patriotic assholes. Either they'll stop mailing me, or their computers will melt down, either way I'm good.


  1. Well, see they wanted to make sure you knkew exactly which words they were accentuating. Like how I continually get asked to not only bold, italic, underline and make the word larger, but also in red. No, seriously, I was forced to do that for a presentation (even after I explained by makinig it red people wouldn't be able to red it, red being the color of least light energy).

    I rarely get those emails anymore. I always replied to all and proceeded to rip their (what they thought were) rhetorical arguments to shreds, including documentation, and then (because most were by Good Christian Fundies) explained that they lied and that this made them accomplices of the Father of Lies (Satan) and so should really see to their souls instead of sending out his emails.

    I especially like the ones that use bad logic (See Scalzi's winner in the LOLCreation Contest) or miss glaringly obvious counter arguments or mitigating factors.

    This is one of the reasons I like Frank (aka CoolBlue) or at Scalzi's. He has the same argumentative problems, but at least he makes me work for it and they do require research instead of common knowledge.

  2. How very odd that people "assume" the same things about me simply because of my status as a veteran.

    My personal favorite was the one going around about Cindy Sheehan's protesting the Iraq war. It made the "agrument" that because she had not been the custodial parent after she divorced her son's father, then her "grief" at her son's death was "contrived." Clearly any self-respecting mother would never allow their child to live with his father, who was (presumably) good enough at one point to contribute genetically.

    I found this one particulary offensive because my own children lived with their dad at one point. Since I was deployed to the middle east, it seemed the sensible decision to make at the time. Obviously that decision means any grief I might feel at their death would be contrived.

    Grr. Now my blood pressure's up. Thanks a lot, Jim. Stupid neo-cons.

  3. CONFESSIONS OF A ENGINEER, Volume I, or the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Technology

    Alas, I have to admit I am guilty, guilty. And ashamed! Oh, yes!

    Those extremely irritating "voicemail" systems that are the bane of Jim's existence are just one component of how I make my living.

    I know, I know - hard to believe, but there it is.

    I am a systems engineer, and I design communications systems for large businesses. The components of such systems frequently include "Interactive Voice Response" (IVR) components, which are those incredibly irritating machines that shield employees of a company from actual, human contact.

    But wait, there's more!

    I also sometimes include what's called a "Predictive Dialer," which is that profoundly irritating component that calls you during the dinner hour to ask if you'd like to donate to whatever cause has purchased it.

    I know, I know. I well and truly suck.

    In my defense, however, I was instrumental in getting the American Red Cross call center up and running immediately following Katrina.

    I am hoping not to be disowned...

    1. Hey, things just get better. If you have the patience to listen and enough to correctly press the right key these systems can get you certain kinds of information quite rapidly. I will admit that you can just go in circles for something a bit more arcane, like wanting to actually talk to a live body in the Insurance department.
      You can actually get to go in circles speaking only with live bodies. I needed something specific from a bank about a particular item. I spoke only with live people and ended up being transferred 19 times, twice back to someone that I had already tried. Long experience with some of these things makes me write down the name and number of the to whom people you are transferred. So it was all jotted down there on the notepad.

  4. Appalled, Janiece, I'm just appalled - you're a Systems Engineer? I had no idea.

  5. Hee! That post is one of the reasons I wish we had a teleporter so I could nip up to Alaska to give you a hug.

    As it is, I'll make due with the Expando-matic iHug (Platonic Edition).

    Thanks for being you, Jim!

  6. I think my wife would be ungood with strange woman (heh) teleporting in from the world to hug me.

    But, you know, I do appreciate the thought.

  7. Actually his given name was Marion Michael Morrison, he first used the stage name of Duke Morrison, later changing to John Wayne.
    If you're going to rant at least get your facts straight, like the Kevin Costner character in Bull Durham put it, "if you're going to sing get the words right".

  8. Actually, no, anonymous. John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. His parents changed his middle name from Robert to Mitchell when they decided to name their next son Robert.

    He was nicknamed Duke as a child after the family dog - people used to say "here comes Big Duke (the dog) and Little Duke (Wayne).

    All of which is well documented in numerous places including Wayne's autobiography which is sitting on a shelf about ten feet from me right now.

    But thanks for catching the typo. I've fixed it.

  9. Glad that we got that part cleared up and you're quite right on the part about the senoritas. He admitted to a propensity for finding himself in latin american climes when he was between wives.
    I used to see him often during summers when swordfishing commercially off the southern CA coast. Fourth of July weekend wasn't complete without the 'Wild Goose' on a mooring in White's Cove at Catalina Island. Entertainment at its finest with a boatload of kids, and a major surprise to hear an inquiry in a familiar voice regarding the two 'swords' we had harpooned that day, and were in the process of cleaning. It was the man himself at the wheel of a 21' Boston Whaler, congratulated us on our good fortune and announced they were heading for Avalon for a restaurant dinner.
    Pushed up the throttle and gave us everything but 'we're burning daylight'.

  10. I somehow ended up on their mailing lists too - and I'm gay and non-Christian.

    I got a campaign phone call the other day from one of these people, starting out with, "Hi, I'm Amanda and I am NOT a recording! Liberal special interests..."

    I cut off her harangue right there. "Do you realize you're calling a liberal household?" I asked. Dead silence. "Two out of the three voters in this house are registered Democrats. The third is independent. And the person you're speaking with pretty much IS a liberal special interest, being a practicing witch and a lesbian."

    She was clearly flabbergasted, and stuttered a bit. I told her I was on my way to work and to take me off her calling list, and then wished her a good day. I think the last bit of simple courtesy probably blew her mind completely.

  11. Wow, liberalism run wild. I happen to agree with the picture and it's quotation. First, it was never meant to be a historically accurate depiction, so your little "rant" about when voicemail came out, was more an indictment of your stupidity, then anything else. Second, the quote is 100% truth. Why should anyone in this country have to pres 1 for English? People who come to this nation should learn to speak English, PERIOD. If you go to Mexico, Russia, Italy, or anywhere else, and live there, you are expected to learn their language. We have bowed to the liberal twits too often. It's about time this nation put its foot down and insisted that immigrants, so hell-bent on coming here for a good life, start learning to speak the language and appreciate this nation for what it is, not just what it can give them. Lastly, your closing comment was another indictment of your stupidity. Conservatives do not believe we are 100% right, and in no way do we push that lie, but we are right in this matter, and many others. You'd do good to listen to a few Americans, and stop being so damn progressive, that you stop seeing the reason you even have a RIGHT to be progressive. It's about time some of you liberals start showing some more appreciation for the flag and country that gives you the freedom to be such blowhards. Without America, you'd be nothing more then some political prisoner in some third world country, or better yet, a red stain on the street. Show some appreciation, and just leave America to the Americans. Thank you!

  12. Blow it out your ass, @commonsense. I served this country in uniform for over 20 years, don't you dare try tell me that I'm not American enough. If it wasn't for Americans like me, you'd be a red stain in the street.

    As to Americans living in foreign countries and having to learn their language, you obvious don't know many ex-pat Americans.

    Now fuck off and don't comment here again.

    1. I do know quite a few number of ex-pat Americans. A common complaint I hear is that when they talk to a German, the German frequently switches to English, which makes it really hard for them to practice their German. Drives 'em up the wall sometimes.
      Government agencies commonly do expect the use of German, although the case workers are generally happy to translate as needed.

  13. I love how @CommonSense just proves the whole damn point, capitalisation et al.

    As a Dutch person who has lived in 14 countries all over the world, I am still always flabberghasted at the level of general ignorance that is displayed by so many Americans vis a vis internationally agreed human rights, common decency, good manners and etiquette. Afterall, the very first rule of etiquette is that the most important rule of all is to always make sure the other person is made to feel comfortable and welcomed, whetever "social rules" they are breaking from your point of view.

    My personal experience is that the further "right" an American declares themselves on the political scale the less "kind" they seem to others in general.

    In The Netherlands my political views are considered very right-winged; in the USA my political views would nowadays be labelled communist, socialist,liberal and anti-religion. Only in the US media would you see such diverging terms all be used together to denote something negative. I wonder how many of the politicians and journalists scattering these sound bites around willy nilly have actually read the communist manifesto, understand the basics of socialism or actually know what liberalism actually means.

    Thank you for providing consistently thought-provoking posts and showing us European idiots that there are decent, intelligent, kind, bonafide human beings still living in the USA. With all the crazy people getting so much media coverage, we need reminding every now and then.

    Keep up the good work.

  14. I love how "CommonSense" states that the picture was never meant to be a "historically accurate depiction". Oh, of course not, but it apparently is O.K. to imply that Wayne would have said that if he had to deal with the situation today. After all, he's dead, so they don't have to worry about him coming up and smacking them upside the head for putting words in his mouth. It's the same self serving, fuzzy thinking that has people telling us what the "founding fathers" REALLY meant (Their capitalization, not mine.) in this or that document, all historical further writings and history to the contrary.

  15. Does the photo-sender know that Wayne never served in the military, I wonder?

    Or were all those rôles as a member of the US Cavalry and other branches of the armed services enough to convince him that the man actually was a bona-fide patriot?

  16. Well, I'm a Muslim female immigrant and Facebook is convinced I'm a big Trump supporter going by the political ads they show me. So, yeah to them for not stereotyping, I guess?


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