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Calling all ?assassins?
October 23, 2004 12:16 PM   Subscribe

At what point does it become a little counter productive? While it's no secret that The Guardian is hoping for Kerry to win isn't there a level of rhetoric that hurts their cause? As their recent forays into influenceing the US vote might have shown them. Is a columnist hoping for assasination over the line? "... John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?"
posted by soulhuntre (66 comments total)

 
More campaign advice from republicans, taken for what it's worth.

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz.....
posted by Space Coyote at 12:21 PM on October 23, 2004


I'm sure many people, world-wide, have wondered why no one's assassinated the moron yet. I'm not at all surprised a British publication said it--a couple months back, an American author said it and an American publisher published it--and I wouldn't be at all surprised if, should he be "re" elected, someone actually goes ahead with it.
posted by dobbs at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2004


At what point does it become productive for a UK newspaper to be openly against the US President? Sure, it may sway the Guardian readers against Bush, but what percentage of Americans have heard of the Guardian, let alone venture onto their editorial pages? More Americans have heard of the Page 3 girl than the Guardian.

Remember, America doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks.
posted by graventy at 12:49 PM on October 23, 2004


I can give you two words why nobody's done that, and probably never will: Dick Cheney.
posted by contessa at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2004


Assassins of world-leaders are usually grandiose and delusional, not practical. What I mean to say is that they come from a fringe that's always there. In this sense, no leader is more likely to be assassinated than another.

These days, there are a large number of people, myself among them, who are emotionally inclined to think positively of a Bush assassination. But we're realistic, practical people, mostly. I can't think of anything a Bush assassination would actually improve, and many ways in which it would make things worse. If you really sit down and think about it, assassinating a prominent figure almost invariably is counter-productive to the cause of the assassin. I suppose the exception is in a totalitarian state where it would be a potent demonstration of the state's vulnerability. Otherwise, though, where we're talking essentially partisan politics, martyring your enemy is a really, really stupid thing to do.

And that's why most assassins are crazy people.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:53 PM on October 23, 2004


Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides, in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.

I loved that part. : >
posted by amberglow at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2004


If you really hate Bush, then you should be content with hoping for the likely Kerry win. I've come to believe that a lot of Bush psychology involves father-issues. If he loses, then only in one sense can he see himself as succeeding where his father failed: Hussein. And I don't think that Bush pere thinks he failed in leaving Hussein in place. Othwewise, Bush will be a one-termer like his dad; I think there's little doubt that he's disapointed his dad and he knows it; history is already viewing his administration negatively compared to his father's. And a Bush loss may mark an end to the Bush dynasty—it may well end Jeb's hopes for a Presidential run. In that sense, Bush's failure will be a failure for the whole family, prompting the question: what if it had been Jeb, and not George? Shrub will live with these insecurities for the rest of his life. I think that's a fine punishment for someone like him.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:04 PM on October 23, 2004


Charlie Brooker (for it is he) is also responsible for Unnovations and TV Go Home, and co writing among other things, BrassEye, so I think he may not be entirely earnest when he asks for the assassination of Bush.

It's a humorous column, in short, and if you can't ask for someone deeply unpopular to be assassinated for a punchline, then I weep for humanity.
posted by Swandive at 1:05 PM on October 23, 2004


...in short, and if you can't ask for someone deeply unpopular to be assassinated for a punchline, then I weep for humanity.

Here you and I differ. I think that if you can't ask for someone deeply popular to be assassinated for a punchline, it's cause to weep for humanity.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2004


Do they really say "drink-driving" in the UK?
posted by smackfu at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2004


The answer is yes. Such outright vitriol accomplishes nothing for the kerry side except appease/entertain the radical/loony side of the dem party.
posted by justgary at 1:14 PM on October 23, 2004


It's a humorous TV column. This is hardly an op-ed piece on the part of The Guardian. The author, Charlie Brooker, is well known for, and employed because of, his vicious, vitriolic satire. He's said much worse about minor TV personalities.

In short, this is nothing to get your knickers in a twist over. It's supposed to be funny. Besides, if you think this is bad, just see what he had to say about Nathan Barley.
posted by influx at 1:23 PM on October 23, 2004


The polls have shown that Bush supporters believe he popular abroad and that the rest of the world hopes he will become president. This was described in the study as a willfull denial of reality.

If Bush supporters don't get it yet, then pump up the volume, shout it from the hilltops: "This is a stupid, stupid man, who is ruining this country and might just bring down the rest of the world with it!
posted by xammerboy at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2004


To put this in perspective - this is a TV review column that appears just before the TV listings in an A5 sized entertainment magazine called The Guide. They print light hearted articles about soap operas, advertisements, pop music and if we're lucky - the occassional article by Joe Queenen.

It doesn't appear in the main paper and is not in anyway an editorial. It doesn't appear in any part of the paper that contains serious content.

I'm pretty sure that Brooker has wished ill will on loads of other people from Simon Cowell to the schedulers at BBC2 who kept moving Seinfeld around. None of his readers have felt inclined to kill them either. Which is a pity.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:30 PM on October 23, 2004


I'm sure Charlie Brooker would be most amused if he saw this post.
posted by influx at 1:32 PM on October 23, 2004


Charlie Brooker very rarely has something nice to say about anyone in that tv column -- one of the highlights of the week is to see who he's going to attack next. The fact that he went for the big one suggests that he's really annoyed, so actually by comparison, this column is pretty tame.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:39 PM on October 23, 2004


Actually Hinckley fucked it up so I don't know what he's doing on that list.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:41 PM on October 23, 2004


Is a columnist hoping for assasination over the line?

Yes. Next question.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:04 PM on October 23, 2004


All his assassination would mean is that I wouldn't have to wait another 30 or so years to piss on his grave.
posted by keswick at 2:07 PM on October 23, 2004


piss? nope--try sodomy or an orgy or something, with stem cells as lube ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:16 PM on October 23, 2004


piss? nope--try sodomy or an orgy or something, with stem cells as lube ; >

omg the gays are corrupting america.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2004


shouldn't you be out tearing up Democratic voter registrations, Krrrlson?
posted by amberglow at 2:31 PM on October 23, 2004


I think it was less "Bush should be assassinated" and more "why Lincoln and not Bush?"
posted by abcde at 2:33 PM on October 23, 2004


shouldn't you be out tearing up Democratic voter registrations, Krrrlson?

yeah it's a sad day, i got voter registration tearing up cramps in my wrists from tearing up all the democratic voter registrations here in canada.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:39 PM on October 23, 2004


What an utterly dozy FPP. The Guide is the listings section of the Saturday edition of the Guardian and contains a lot of tongue-in-cheek/downright lunatic writings from various columnists. Taking them seriously shows severe mental deficiency.

Grow a brain.
posted by i_cola at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2004


Interesting that the Guardian's website has clunked out at the moment. Good ol' pay-tree-otts stickin' it to those limey liberals?!?
posted by i_cola at 3:44 PM on October 23, 2004


what Ethereal Bligh said. (only briefer and more succinct!)

each of us has the opportunity to really fuck that son of a bitch bush up on november 2, go to the polls, stick the knife in, go for the jugular.
posted by quonsar at 4:11 PM on October 23, 2004


Ha ha ha ha!

It was linked at Instapundit! What a chump! I guess Reynolds is only happy when he gets his articles printed in The Guardian.

Oh, and surprise, surprise - it's on all the other right wing loony websites. I'm going to read the comments on LGF - should be good for a laugh.
posted by dodgygeezer at 4:18 PM on October 23, 2004


First of all, I would like to remind everyone here that threatening the life of the President of the United States is a serious felony, even in jest, and individuals who do so are regularly, and successfully, prosecuted. If you are living in the US, and you make such a comment in this thread, you may expect a visit either from the FBI or the Secret Service.

If nothing else, by making such a comment you are exposing the operators of MetaFilter, and their web hosts, to harassment, even if they are located outside of the US.

Ironically, what amounts to threats is liberally interpreted by the US government. So please be careful what you write.
posted by kablam at 4:54 PM on October 23, 2004


and kablam brings an official tactic of the GOP--fear-- into Metafilter, with a threat to Matt and the rest of us. sad.
posted by amberglow at 5:01 PM on October 23, 2004


The hell with them crooked tooth motherfuckers. Shit like that just solidifies my vote for Bush!
posted by WLW at 5:31 PM on October 23, 2004


In other words, people should watch what they say.
posted by keswick at 5:39 PM on October 23, 2004


LGF's discussion on this is the funniest thing I've read in weeks.
posted by influx at 5:55 PM on October 23, 2004


hey, maybe that's it--when Ari left the White House, he came here as kablam.
posted by amberglow at 6:05 PM on October 23, 2004


(On a casual level, I'm amazed that political assassinations occur as infrequently as they do. The genes which hold our shit together do a surprisingly good job on this one.)
posted by Opus Dark at 6:10 PM on October 23, 2004


I think people realize that it wouldn't change much, and can backfire too.
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on October 23, 2004


Okay, amberglow, feel free to express whatever threats you feel like expressing directed towards the President of the United States. Far be it from me to "supress" your right to do this, or create an "element of fear" in MetaFilter.

For everyone else, however, let me assure you that this law is enforced, and was enforced in the Clinton administration, too.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa040398.htm

"...Every year, the Secret Service investigates over 1,500 reported or discovered threats against the President. While most people who threaten the President are just venting, even joking, all reported threats are taken very seriously and those who make them are in for, at least, a tough time..."

Now truthfully, amberglow, are you angry that you have been reminded that you could be investigated, harassed, or even arrested for something you might write here, a rather odd, but frequently enforced law?

Would you be angry if someone "created an element of fear" by reminding you not to joke about bombs before flying in a public airline? Are you just...plain...angry?
posted by kablam at 6:47 PM on October 23, 2004


While most people who threaten the President are just venting, even joking, all reported threats are taken very seriously

Yes. Vote for Bush. The President who takes jokes seriously. And not, say, memos entitled 'BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN US'.
posted by tapeguy at 9:50 PM on October 23, 2004


I'm angry at you alone, and deeply resent you trying to scare people here and silence them. How dare you act as Ashcroft here, in a discussion? Who the fuck do you think you are?

Now truthfully, kablam, are you angry that you've been reminded that people dislike Bush? So have you decided to shut everyone up with a threat?

Again, stop trying to silence others. It does not work, especially when people are discussing something another person (not here) wrote.

and Meta. (Which is where you should have posted your threat to begin with.)
posted by amberglow at 9:59 PM on October 23, 2004


If you really sit down and think about it, assassinating a prominent figure almost invariably is counter-productive to the cause of the assassin.

I would say this is wrong. Look at JFK and Johnson. Special case? Maybe not. Maybe they're the reason presidents don't pick hostile vices anymore. Now not here to debate any consipracy theories but if JFK had not been assasinated we might be out of Vietnam and not have such a strong intelligence arm that we do now.
posted by geoff. at 10:18 PM on October 23, 2004


Man, those twits at LGF sure are a thick, humorless lot. Then again it IS tailored to the Bush voter, so that's not very surprising.
posted by clevershark at 10:26 PM on October 23, 2004


those twits at LGF sure are a thick, humorless lot.

You post that in this thread? An attempt at irony I hope, and not from lack of self awareness.
posted by justgary at 10:47 PM on October 23, 2004


Regardless of how you esteem kablam's political opinions, his remark about the Secret Service is on the money. There are a number of people who have posted something (+5 Funny!) to Slashdot or Kuro5hin, even before 9/11, and received visits later.

In my experience, joking about harming the President is just one of those things you don't do on the Internets, just like you don't joke about bombs in airports. People really do take that stuff seriously.

Just in case I get called an Ashcroft too, I'm a registered Democrat; I'll be voting Kerry in Allegheny County, PA on Nov. 2; and in 2000 I voted for the dead guy instead of Ashcroft on a Missouri absentee ballot. (With great relish, I might add.)
posted by tss at 11:07 PM on October 23, 2004


I think it's funny that someone thinks that a British article written about American politics is a ploy to influence the American voter. Sometimes, in other countries, people just have opinions that they share with their fellow citiziens. Opinions about other countries and their politics. Strange, but true.

Some things actually aren't directed at Americans, can you believe it?
posted by Hildegarde at 12:02 AM on October 24, 2004


threatening the life of the President of the United States is a serious felony, even in jest, and individuals who do so are regularly, and successfully, prosecuted.

kablam, this is true, but sloppy conflation of investigation and prosecutions. Prosecutions are generally of persons deemd to be a serious threat -- that is, they have means at their disposal to carry out the threat, or they have made positive steps in that direction, such as purchasing a weapon. Merely joking, as even Craig Kilborn found (with a similar comment four years ago), does get you a question-and-answer session with the humorless men in sunglasses and earphones, but it doesn't generally get you thrown in jail.

An example this year is Sue Niederer, whose son died in combat in Iraq; in May she said to Counterpunch,

WEILL: What is your response to the recent evidence that this war was waged on the basis of "misinformation"?

NIEDERER: I wanted to rip the president's head off. Curse him, yell at him, call him a self righteous bastard and a lot of other words. I think if I had him in front of me I would shoot him in the groined area. Let him suffer. And just continue shooting him there. Put him through misery, like he's doing to everyone else. He doesn't deserve any better.


She was placed under investigation by the USSS for this quote; but the context for that is that days earlier she had heckled Laura Bush and was arrested for trespass. Those charges were later dropped. In fact, a 1969 Supreme Court case, Watts v. United States, defined clear distinctions between true threats and free speech.
posted by dhartung at 12:21 AM on October 24, 2004


Charlie Brooker must be opening his emails, I can hear the laughter from here.

Charlie fucking Brooker.

Does anyone ever try to justify that stupid fucking "can't joke about killing the president" law by the way? What a complete waste of time and resources.
posted by fullerine at 1:16 AM on October 24, 2004


I would say this is a shitty FPP but for two things, I forgot to buy the paper yesterday so thanks for reminding me to catch Screen Burn, and the LGF thread is funnier than Mr Brooker.
posted by fullerine at 1:17 AM on October 24, 2004


geoff: I was thinking about this earlier. I don't agree about JFK—I think he would have done much the same as LBJ did. I realize that Oliver Stone disagrees.

But, after some thought, I did decide that there are exceptional cases where it might be productive rather than counter-productive. It really has to be a case where the individual is uniquely influential but not so charismatic that he/she would be martyred and his/her policies carried out anyway. For example, Hitler very early on would have made a difference, I'm not so sure that Hitler after the war began would have made much of a difference. I'm not a WWII historian by any stretch of the imagination, though. In contrast, I think perhaps an assasination of Himmler might have made a big difference. And there would have been no chance of martyring Beria (indeed, when he was eventually disposed of, no one missed him in the least), but getting rid of him at almost any point would have probably done a great deal of good.

So, I think you could argue that second-tier figures who are not charismatic but who exert a great deal of particular influence for a particular policy or policies that otherwise would not be present could be rational targets.

But the sorts of people that people normally think about are in most cases charismatic leaders with many followers who would be galvanized by an assassination. Usually, too, these people are very Tolstoyian in how they are playing their role in history—that is, they are more puppets of large forces than they are individuals who determine the world's future.

So, in general, I stand by my assertion. Assassination of world leaders or similar is more often than not mostly counter-productive to the cause of someone who would contemplate such a thing. (Well, um, unless the "someone" is actually a person in a position to uniquely capitalize upon or influence subsequent events. But that's more like a coup, isn't it?)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:17 AM on October 24, 2004


Kablam - I read through amberglow's comments, and nothing he said could be remotely construed as being in that spirit. Apart from your misdirected volley at Amberglow, your warnings are well taken and something for people to to remember : that they should step back from their feelings about George W. Bush and realize that there are legitimate reasons of state which demand that the FBI and/or the Secret Service should investigate hate speech concerning the President of the United States.

Soulhuntre brought up the subject in the first place - although the language of his post was, I thought, within the pale - he did bring up that "a" word.
posted by troutfishing at 5:41 AM on October 24, 2004


You post that in this thread? An attempt at irony I hope

Most of us here seem to clue in that the article is a joke. Having seen a good deal of the LGF thread it's evident that they don't.
posted by clevershark at 6:37 AM on October 24, 2004


troutfishing: my first comment wasn't directed at amberglow, it was a general, "please be careful what you say on this point" statement. amberglow then decided to go off on me for "...a threat to Matt and the rest of us", with what I consider a nasty sneer, a kneejerk response typical of someone in an extended pout.

I have had a two friends harassed, for one taking a picture of the other in front of a federal building on a city block, which earned them a visit, all at once, from the FBI and the local police. This lasted for almost FOUR HOURS even though it was evident after a few minutes that they were not a threat. Four MISERABLE hours of repetitive and intrusive questions. Not something I would want any honest person to have to endure.

And now in this ONE topic, the federal government goes bananas. As they have done since BEFORE 911. Actually, since about the time REAGAN was shot. They can and DO track down anyone and everyone who shoots their mouth off about THIS ONE THING.

This is NOT a threat to amberglow or Matt. They regularly do this shit to people. So hardly a "threat", more like a promise. Anymore, I don't even know if being in Britain helps--the damned British government might muck with you just as much as the US government, as a "courtesy" thing--like the shutting down of the Indy Media servers.

So amberglow can feel all supressed and paranoid about GOP plots that he wants. He can roundly curse me and call me a tool of his evil antichrist of the hour. He can put his fist through his computer screen and blame Bush for it if he likes. It still doesn't change the facts. The feds have no sense of humor about this.
posted by kablam at 9:43 AM on October 24, 2004


Regardless of how you esteem kablam's political opinions, his remark about the Secret Service is on the money. There are a number of people who have posted something (+5 Funny!) to Slashdot or Kuro5hin, even before 9/11, and received visits later. - tss

tss speaks true. The SS has no sense of humor. None. Zero. Nada. And the Patriot Act has given them significant power to make life difficult for citizens.
posted by dejah420 at 10:47 AM on October 24, 2004


hey kablam, i fuck george bush with your dick. then i pound his simian face repeatedly with my bare fist until it's little more than a damp goo dribbling onto his shirt. and no matter what you do or how you gobble the official knobs the feds can't provide you with testicles even though it makes you feel manly to invoke them. when i was nine i once watched a bully attempt to weasel out of a deserved asskicking on the basis that it was a violation of cub scout rules to fight while wearing the cub scout uniform. you remind me a lot of that kid. if the secret schmuck squad wants to piss away your tax dollars paying me a visit i'm fine with it. i'll tell them to keep their trained monkey the fuck out of my reach. i'll tell them that for four solid weeks if need be. the man is a disgrace and he deserves a good facepunching. someone punching out that lying traitorous piece of pigshit is nothing less than a fucking patriot. so stick your fascist fearmongering penis-substitution rant where the sun doesn't shine - right up the secret services bunghole.
posted by quonsar at 11:12 AM on October 24, 2004


The quonsar-automaton the men in black left behind when they disappeared him passes the Turing test. It's indistinguishable from the real quonsar.
posted by jfuller at 11:19 AM on October 24, 2004


*clanks, whirs softly*
posted by quonsar at 11:31 AM on October 24, 2004


jfuller - but how do you know that the MIB didn't bring the real Quonsar back, from planet Niburu, to reinstall him in his rightful place - after they had dissolved the imitation Quonsar in a bathtub full of hydrochloric acid ? You don't, do you!

Ha.
______

"my first comment wasn't directed at amberglow" - Kablam, I also commented about this, in the Metatalk thread, to the effect that I thought your warning in that first comment did amount to a public service announcement - "Hey, folks. This is a serious issue. Don't be stupid."

I love a good number of your comments and strongly disagree with some too - so I find you one of the more interesting commentators here for being so unpredictable (to me).

I interpreted that exchange (after your initial public service announcement) as a personal clash between you and amberglow.

And, I am not channeling the spirit of Ethereal Bligh either.
posted by troutfishing at 11:42 AM on October 24, 2004


quonsar/quonsar evil twin/faux quonsar: everything you just wrote above was legal, except for the two "facepunching" comments towards the end, of which I really can't say for sure. Other than that, rest assured that I hold you in the lowest esteem, and that by expressing your thoughts on the Internet, you achieve the diversion of much needed electrons from where they could do more good, but little else.

And yes, I hope that the good fairy grants your wish to be visited by FBI agents, and I hope you tell them what you really think.
posted by kablam at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2004


did you guys notice that there's just an apology now on the old URL?
posted by jessamyn at 3:01 PM on October 24, 2004


Hell hath no fury like Metafilter.
posted by troutfishing at 8:19 PM on October 24, 2004


It seems that wasn't laughter I heard, it was Charlie Brooker's spine melting.
posted by fullerine at 4:53 AM on October 25, 2004


Homer once said he needed a gun just in case he had to shoot the King of England. I hope Fox have made Matt Groening apologise for condoning the assassination of world leaders.
posted by ZippityBuddha at 5:09 AM on October 25, 2004


"Everybody's
Got the right
To be happy.
Don't stay mad,
life's not as bad
As it seems.

If you keep your
Goal in sight,
You can climb to
Any height.
Everybody's
Got the right
To their dreams..."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:29 AM on October 25, 2004


I'm so mad I didn't see this over the weekend -- I missed out on some serious humor! I don't care about whether it was wise -- heck, I'll concede it was a joke. And what a classic it is: "John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?" Hoohoohahahaha! *slaps knee* *wipes tear* Man, that shit's comedy gold! See, it's funny because, like, those other guys assassintated presidents (or tried to), and that would be one way of getting rid of "dubya." Well, that doesn't actually sound so funny (particularly not from a "peace" lover) Maybe it's funny because ... um ... well ... it just is, I guess.

If this douche is guilty of anything, it's of failing so miserably to in his attempt to be "funny."
posted by pardonyou? at 9:21 AM on October 25, 2004


octobersurprise: is that from Assassins?
posted by amberglow at 9:39 AM on October 25, 2004


It is indeed. James Earl Ray! John Wilkes Booth! Lee Harvey Oswald! Why do these rednecks always have three names!

My other favorite line is: Is Bremer here tonight? Where's Artie Bremer!?

Bremer: It was a bum rap! My penis made me do it!
After the Wallace shooting, a reporter asked Bremer's mother if she could explain her son's behavior. She couldn't, she said, adding "It must've been something he ate." Honest.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:29 AM on October 25, 2004


Four MISERABLE hours of repetitive and intrusive questions.

Your threshold for "misery" is set extremely low.
posted by rushmc at 9:36 PM on October 25, 2004


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