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"I hate your politics.
March 22, 2002 9:52 AM   Subscribe

"I hate your politics. Listening to any of you yammer on about the geopolitical situation is enough to make one want to melt down one's dental fillings with a beeswax candle and then jam an ice pick into the freshly-exposed nerve, just to have something else to think about. "
posted by maudlin (46 comments total)

 
I think that was a fair portrayal of all three affiliations...

I'm just waiting for everybody to come crawling out of the wordwork saying that it wasn't funny at all
posted by davros42 at 10:09 AM on March 22, 2002


The final paragraph makes it genius
posted by Leonard at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2002


I enjoyed that, never heard of the author before. Thanks maudlin.
posted by cell divide at 10:14 AM on March 22, 2002


Anyone who says "Just think about that for a while" has rarely said anything worth thinking about.
posted by liam at 10:17 AM on March 22, 2002


Libertarians most likely to respond to this column. The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner (Conservatives, more schooled in the art of poisonous replies, may actually achieve wit; liberals will reply that they don't find any of this humorous at all).

Well, I didn't think it was humorous- not because I'm liberal, but because this "article" is just a bunch of lame, smug, obvious cheap shots. What's next? Will he use his "subtle wit" to take apart world religions? TV shows? High school cliques?
posted by mkultra at 10:18 AM on March 22, 2002


I'm just waiting for everybody to come crawling out of the wordwork saying that it wasn't funny at all

It was intermittently amusing, but really in a cheap way. The thing is, it's exceptionally easy to write this sort of thing: rip the shit out of great big obvious targets while neglecting to offer any countervailing opinions that, oops, someone else may decide to rip the shit out of, or, more seriously, refute. It's a fundamentally cowardly approach to humor.
posted by Skot at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2002


Hee. Fairly succinct all `round, I'd say.
posted by dong_resin at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2002


Wonderful. Favorite line: "libertarians want to legalize drugs and prostitution, but probably don't want their kids blowing strangers to get money to buy crack." (mildly paraphrased)
posted by yesster at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2002


Oops! Should have linked to the permanent URL.
posted by maudlin at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2002


I love it!
posted by nofundy at 10:26 AM on March 22, 2002


Hell, it gave me a chuckle.
posted by chrisgregory at 10:26 AM on March 22, 2002


It's not so much that politics brings out the worst in people than it is that the worst in people goes looking for something to do, and that usually ends up being politics.
Truer words were never spoken! Overcoming politics will be the moral challenge of the next century. It begins inside of us, when we resolve to expunge our own political hatreds. (I'm personally having trouble doing this, but it's about the only worthwhile self-improvement project I've currently got on hand.)
posted by Faze at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2002


Funny, but forgettable; just a long series of ad hominem. Please sir, can I have some lasting social satire?
posted by Marquis at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2002


In the words of Pee Wee Herman: I know you are but what am I?
Having said they all suck, just what is he? a wirter with little to say who writes for a group he does not know about something he has said he dislikes. Get a life and an imagination.
posted by Postroad at 10:49 AM on March 22, 2002


and the rest of you just want your guns, drugs and brothels (here in the US, we call them folks "libertarians")

It's easy to be contrarian when you hold to know principles or political philosophy of your own. It's cool to be angry and insulting, because then you don't have to think or provide rational arguments to justify your simplistic categorizations of political philosophy.

I guess parts of it are funny, if you don't read it seriously. He gets in a good jab here and there on all three groups, but if this is his idea of satire, he needs to retake English 101.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:52 AM on March 22, 2002


Your politics suck. So do mine. To be able to realize this is a great moment in the spiritual history of humankind.
posted by Faze at 10:55 AM on March 22, 2002


The thing is, it's exceptionally easy to write this sort of thing: rip the shit out of great big obvious targets while neglecting to offer any countervailing opinions that, oops, someone else may decide to rip the shit out of, or, more seriously, refute. It's a fundamentally cowardly approach to humor.

First of all, it's *not* exceptionally easy to rip the shit out of obvious targets while being genuinely funny. (YMMV, obvously, but most people have found this column funny so far). There's a lot of lame efforts at the same style that just don't make it.

Parody, satire, and plain old hostile humour get their power from being mocking and critical. It's a very rare talent who can write something very funny and honestly constructive at the same time. If anyone can cite or link anything that manages both these things at once, I'd love to see it. A serious article with some flashes of wit won't count: it will have to be funny (or at least make a real attempt at it) all the way through.

Having said they all suck, just what is he? a wirter with little to say

I generally read more than one article by somebody before assuming that I know everything about their prsonal and political philosophies. Scalzi was nothing but critical and funny this time around, but other articles show a different mix. You can dig through his archives and find several serious -- but not completely humourless -- articles. Here's a small sample:

"Rules" woman getting divorce
Gay marriages and sex education
Supreme Court decisions

(See? Not a coward. Those of you who disagree with the views he's posted above can now tear him a new one for being wrong. Those of you who assumed that Scalzi has no strong views of his own based on a single article have been, well, a little hasty in your judgment.).
posted by maudlin at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2002


The truest statements about each philosophy, IMO:

Liberals
...they allowed conservatives to turn their name into a slur against them, exposing them as the political equivalent of the kid who lets the school bully pummel him with his own fists (Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself).

Really quite embarrassing for me, as a liberal, and I've never heard it put so well.

Conservatives
Loathe women who are not willing to have their opinions as safely shellacked as their hair. Let their sons get caught with a dime bag and see how many are really for "zero-tolerance." Let a swarthy day laborer impregnate their daughters and find out how many of them are really pro-life.

It's easy to be a conservative. The rules are so simple, and you hopefully have the power not to have to play by them.

Libertarians
Libertarianism the official political system of science fiction authors, which explains why science fiction is in such a rut these days.

Now that's funny, as I've always likened talking to a Libertarian to talking to a Trekkie. "Yes, yes, but don't your realize that tricorders aren't real?"
posted by jpoulos at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2002


Now that's funny, as I've always likened talking to a Libertarian to talking to a Trekkie. "Yes, yes, but don't your realize that tricorders aren't real?"

Oh man. Totally. I always get accused of being a libertarian because of my sci-fi habits.

i thought that was a funny article. Is it only the sort of mish-mash political centrists who are sometimes realistic [get osama!] and sometimes idealistic [solar power for everyone!] types that AREN't offended by stuff like that?
posted by th3ph17 at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2002


That was pretty dang funny I think! I've never really been able to decide if I should be involved in any of the mentioned parties for reason of those exact same descriptions he gave!
posted by prototype_octavius at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2002


Reminds me of a cross between John Dvorak and Michael Moore: Smart ass troll trying to piss off everyone in an attempt to get attention. Read his hate mail guidelines to see his overall contempt for people.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:34 AM on March 22, 2002


I'm guessing you thought I was way off on your political philosophy but right on the button about the other two. Just think about that for a while.

That's the point.

th3ph17, I'm something of a libertarian, and I found it funny...
posted by syzygy at 11:35 AM on March 22, 2002


Hmmm summing up here (as my father would say): Opinions (political or otherwise) are like assholes. Everyone has one, and they all stink.
posted by trox at 11:35 AM on March 22, 2002


Well jpoulos, if we're making a list, perhaps we could make it less slanted toward your political leaning...

Liberal

Liberals champion the poor and the weak but do it in such condescendingly bureaucratic ways...Feel guilty about the freedoms their political positions allow them...Fractious and have no sense of loyalty...

Conservative

Self-hating moral relativists...Genuinely fear and hate those who are not "with" them...Conservatives believe in a government by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy...don't actually bother to spend time with people who are not conservative...

Libertarian

Unusually smug for a political philosophy that's never gotten anyone elected for anything...Blissfully clueless that Libertarianism is just great as long as it doesn't actually involve real live humans...Socially slow...Easily offended...

IMHO, the above is why Americans hate politics, and yet, can't get enough of it. They have the arrogance to feel this way, but the hypocracy to tag one of those labels onto their ass and wear it with pride. Ah God, I love politics.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:38 AM on March 22, 2002


Hey, what about us moderates? Why didn't he call us a bunch of wishy-washy fence-sitters or something? I feel so left out...
posted by tdismukes at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2002


Scalzi, you ARE my hero.
I may not agree with half of what you say, and I'm not really inclined to fight to the death for your right to say it (maybe fight to a standing eight-count, but that's it), but I haven't found anybody on the web who can so skillfully cut the crap, cut to the chase and cut to the quick, making me laugh out loud and spurt blood from several places simultaneously.
Personally, I found it all hilarious and well-targeted (even when it aimed at some of my own vital organs, and, considering I have inhabited all three labels at various times in my life, those were a lot of organs).

Of course, this essay was not supposed to provide alternatives to the political viewpoints he was lambasting (a verbal activity that is NOT associated with mint jelly). Its central meme is the basic truth that most of what passes for political debate today is between (or among) philosophies that have all been thoroughly discredited decades ago.
So don't expect the kid who declares that the Emperor is naked to design him a wardrobe; just praise him if he can make well-targeted withering remarks about various of his body parts while doing it.

The only point in the whole diatribe where I think he missed bulls-eye was about the "disloyalty" of Liberals. I mean, if the big-L people really do "publicly tear out the intestines of those closest to them at the most politically inopportune time", then why are so many so reluctant to denounce war criminals, child molestors and pet mutilators who just happened at one time to be on the same side on key issues?

If the so-called mainstream press weren't so skittish about someone who (1) writes for free on his own web site and (2) used to write video game reviews, Scalzi's Whatever would have a prominent place on every newspaper op-ed page thatr matters.
Or maybe they're now auditioning columnists for their ability to do TV News Punditry, and there is no way anybody less than a pharmacologically-enhanced Robin Williams can sustain that quality of wit over a half-hour of "Crossfire".

Yes, I did "think about that for a while", and the comments on the humorlessness of Liberals prompted me to finally get out the scissors and cut up my "Card Carrying Liberal" card (never mind it showed an expiration date of 1994, and I hadn't used it to get into parties at the Playboy Mansion since I got married).
Maybe the piece's only flaw was in locating the most obvious final, unifying, perspective-forcing point ("It's not so much that politics brings out the worst in people than it is that the worst in people goes looking for something to do, and that usually ends up being politics."), not at the conclusion, but before the main body of the rant.
Thus, anyone with a short-enough attention span (a group including most 'true believers' of any political philosophy) would have forgotten it before reaching the end of the piece. But, believe me, no editor of a major newspaper op-ed page would have fixed it.
posted by wendell at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2002


i thought that was a funny article. Is it only the sort of mish-mash political centrists who are sometimes realistic [get osama!] and sometimes idealistic [solar power for everyone!] types that AREN't offended by stuff like that?

I don't know. My official designation is "Raging Knee-jerk Leftist," and I thought it was hysterical. OTOH, I find that in my day to day interactions with people, I don't do the designation much justice, since I am willing to listen to opinions that differ from mine, and occasionally benefit from them.

Incidentally, thanks for this thread. I really love this Scalzi guy.
posted by Fenriss at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2002


Ahh, Scalzi. Every now and again he comes up with a real gem, like his hate mail guidelines that Mack Twain hated so much, and now and again, he comes up with a stinker, like this blathering piece of festulent crap. About par on course for any writer, some days are better than others.

But he can't dance. Really. And I have the videotape to prove it.
posted by Dreama at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2002


Reminds me of a cross between John Dvorak and Michael Moore: Smart ass troll trying to piss off everyone in an attempt to get attention. Read his hate mail guidelines to see his overall contempt for people.

I thought the hate mail guidelines were pretty good, and the following week's follow up was hilarious.

I don't see a contempt for people in those articles. I see a contempt for the kind of person who sends noxious hate mail and who isn't able to accept alternative views. The best way to deal with those people is to wither them with humor.

As for the political article, I think it has a lot of merit. Of course, as a liberal, my initial reaction was that the first part of it wasn't very funny, but I realized that there was a lot of truth in it. All the liberals I know are pretty funny people when they're amongst themselves, but when we start talking about politics with conservatives or libertarians, we have a tendency to become pretty strident, and it damages the message.
posted by anapestic at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2002


Never heard of the guy, don't know anything about him, but I almost spewed coffee on myself. I loved it.

This should be posted in every voting booth.
posted by groundhog at 12:15 PM on March 22, 2002


I'm so glad I'm an anarchist.
posted by Mondo at 12:24 PM on March 22, 2002


Great link. thanks.

"It's easy to be a conservative. The rules are so simple, and you hopefully have the power not to have to play by them."

That's going to keep me laughing all afternoon.
posted by keithl at 12:33 PM on March 22, 2002


Excellent link. Finally, I can add to my small list of bookmarks, something I haven't done in a very long time.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:05 PM on March 22, 2002


Brilliant and right on...
Thanks.
posted by black8 at 1:05 PM on March 22, 2002


Troll.
posted by dagny at 1:58 PM on March 22, 2002


This should be posted in every voting booth.

Right. Because politics is bad, and no one should have any strong opinions.
posted by jpoulos at 2:11 PM on March 22, 2002


nice...it's funny to see how everyone here reacts...I speculate that his point is this: don't buy into any one party's line- vote (remember that?) on each issue as you personally feel the issue pertains to you and your values...don't classify yourself or others (unless they classify themselves as one of a certain herd). very cool.
posted by ayukna at 3:01 PM on March 22, 2002


The nice thing about belonging to a political party is that it absolves you of any responsibility for formulating your own opinions.
posted by mkhall at 3:23 PM on March 22, 2002


The endgame of all politics is to take power away from you, and give it to me. The only disagreements are over what I will do with that power once I have it.

...framed that way, everyone seems like a raging fascist. Which is nice, for a change.
posted by aramaic at 3:39 PM on March 22, 2002


since im an imperialist... what? have him whacked. ha...haha...ha...hem...
posted by clavdivs at 6:40 PM on March 22, 2002


The first time I ran for local office, I was out one fine Saturday morning doing some politicking in front of the Post Office downtown. This generally involved standing around holding a sign with my name on it, waving at a few cars, and occasionally going up to someone to introduce myself and give them a flyer whenever I got my nerve up to do so.

One fellow I did so with took my flyer, looked me in the eye, and said, "well, what party are you in?" This took me back for a moment, and I quickly tried to explain that candidates don't run in parties for local elections (at least around here), it's just who you are and what you say you want to do.

That didn't really satisfy him, so I went on. I said how I basically leaned to the left on social issues, and thought there were a lot of good points in the Democratic (liberal) agenda for people in general, but that I also saw some strong arguments on the right as to fiscal responsibility, self-help, and a less-intrusive government, so I accepted the Republican (conservative) viewpoint on a lot of policy issues as well.

He looked me in the eye again, and said, "Well, I can't vote for you, then" and walked away.

And to this day, I don't know if he couldn't vote for me because I wasn't a Democrat or because I wasn't a Republican.
posted by yhbc at 8:13 PM on March 22, 2002


Along similar lines, a blogger's collecting sarcastic political bumper sticker slogans.
posted by dhartung at 9:33 PM on March 22, 2002


As it turns out about, about 46% of you are liberal, 46% of you are conservative, and the rest of you just want your guns, drugs and brothels (here in the US, we call them folks "libertarians").

I think he got those numbers wrong. What he forgot about was the largest party in the US: The disaffected, the cynical, the non-voter party.

These interesting individuals stand apart, and lob rhetorical bombs at anyone who belongs to a party, or gives evidence of believing in anything. The thing they hate worse than any other is seeing what appears to be genuine feelings of concern for some political issue, think of all political parties in terms of simplistic, self-constructed caricatures, and believe that their caricatures are actually brilliantly perceptive truths. They rarely vote - because "all politicians are crooked, and you can't tell the difference between any of them". This party (or rather, non-party) is now in the majority (For some time now, nearly half the country hasn't bothered to vote even in presidential elections, and it is far less in the mid-terms). They will never carictature themselves of course.

Bah. I'll take the most extreme conservative, the farthest left liberal over this lot any day. The fact that the average citizen on the street can think through a public issue and come to a reasoned conclusion, that they can organize and campaign for representatives and issues that will be voted on; that fact that we call all argue wildly from seriously opposites perspectives is not, I think, a cause for cynacism, and does not deserve to be a target of derision - no indeed, it is a rare and precious historical anomoly.

This fellow's rant is merely the clever whining of a small child that sees adults engaging in activities he can't quite understand, and feels the need to make fun of to ease his sense of inadequacy.

Plus - he's just wrong. Even his caricatures are tired old concepts that don't hold anymore.

Liberals ... "The stupidest and weakest members of the political triumvirate ..."

er, who virtually owned both houses of congress for nearly 40 years.


Conservatives ... "Not every conservative is an old wealthy white man on his third wife, but nearly every conservative aspires to be so, which is a real waste of money, youth, race and women ..."

Ignoring that the last election was a split between the coasts (where most money is, but who went mostly for Gore) and the heartland - who went mostly for Bush.

Libertarians ... "Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to "Get Off My Property."

Er, not only not worried, but rather hoping people will figure out that it boils down to "Get off my property" ... and that whether they admit it or not, they largely believe the same thing.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2002


"Not every conservative is an old wealthy white man on his third wife, but nearly every conservative aspires to be so, which is a real waste of money, youth, race and women ..."

Most conservatives are white. Most conservatives are men. And most conservatives believe whole-heartedly in capitalism, and their ability to get ahead in the world without the government's help. So yes, MidasMulligan, that is a truth he speaks.
posted by Ptrin at 10:17 AM on March 23, 2002


Liberals ... "The stupidest and weakest members of the political triumvirate ..."

er, who virtually owned both houses of congress for nearly 40 years.


No, Democrats virtually owned both houses of Congress. That included old-line southern Democrats who were considered "conservative," although probably not by the modern laissez-faire definition (which is really classic liberalism or libertarianism) or the Christian/family values one. They were, though, against civil rights, mostly against redistributional programs (except for their own purposes, which is true of the majority of today's Republican conservatives) and social change in general.
posted by raysmj at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2002


Arrgh! I don't like anybody!

Fuck this idiot. What I don't respect is some poseur dipshit wannabe asshole who doesn't have a opinion on anything.
posted by mark13 at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2002


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