Spate! It wins votes
June 16, 2004 7:12 AM   Subscribe

The spite factor - Or, why Democrats are in danger of losing their wonderful, angry momentum.
posted by Space Coyote (40 comments total)
So, as I understand it, America just needs to get laid?
posted by SPrintF at 7:40 AM on June 16, 2004

More of this please. Keep it coming, straight on through November, and don't let up for a second. Lots of hysterical shrieking about the white American male's cowardly toxic spiteful sexual desperation - that'll win votes! That'll show Bush good!
posted by techgnollogic at 7:41 AM on June 16, 2004

Wow. Just wow. What a complete nutter. Methinks if you looked up "projection" in the dictionary, you might find his face.

That being said, I do hate all of you and want you to be miserable.
posted by jammer at 7:50 AM on June 16, 2004

That piece reads like something that, under deadline pressure, the writer churned out in about 10 minutes. There may have been some actual ideas underneath, but it was hard to tell. Takes me back to my grad school days grading essay exams.
posted by psmealey at 7:51 AM on June 16, 2004

I like the spite in you.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on June 16, 2004

I CAN TELL YOU WHY. They do so out of spite. Put your ear to the ground in this country, and you'll hear the toxic spite churning. It's partly the result of commercial propaganda and sexual desperation—a desperation far more common than is admitted


The wretched truth is that America is an erogenous no man's land. Most white males here (at least the straight ones) have either dismal sex lives or no sex lives at all.


If there were one perfect spite president, it was Richard Nixon. He looked mean, spoke mean and stomped on the hippies who were having too many orgasms, the last real orgasms this country ever witnessed.

I wasn't aware Freud was still alive and writing political commentary.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:58 AM on June 16, 2004

Yes, I secretly adore my boss and love being raked over the coals, more torture (check that, freedom tickling), more anger, more rage, more, more, more.

By the way, Space Coyote, did you intend on putting the page title as Spate! It wins votes?
posted by fenriq at 8:08 AM on June 16, 2004

Actually, I thought this piece was hilarious. Especially this:

If I'm an obese 40-something white male living in Ohio or Nevada, locked into a permanent struggle with foreclosure, child support payments and outsourcing threats, then I'm going to vote for the guy who delivers a big greasy portion of misery to the Sarandon-Robbins dining room table, then brags about it on FoxNews. Even if it means hurting myself in the process.

This explains the mystery of why Bush still has a chance of winning in November, even though most Americans acknowledge that his presidency is little more than a series of slapstick fuck-ups with apocalyptic consequences. Inspector Clouseau meets the Book of Revelations.

posted by kgasmart at 8:53 AM on June 16, 2004

Wow. That is one disturbed fellow. However, I began enjoying the article after the first couple of paragraphs. He reminds me of the guys walking around carrying "end of the world is nigh" sandwich boards. Weird, but in an entertaining way.
posted by CRS at 9:00 AM on June 16, 2004

Spite voting is mostly a white male phenomenon, which is why a majority of white males vote Republican. It comes from a toxic mix of thwarted expectations, cowardice and anomie that is unique to the white American male experience.
hysterical--and holding up Nixon as their role model too! Do any of you white guys want to claim this as truth? Witty?
posted by amberglow at 9:05 AM on June 16, 2004

holding up Nixon as their role model too! Do any of you white guys want to claim this as truth? Witty?

I'm a white guy who is pissed off by most of the modern left, but no, I won't claim Nixon as a role model. I'm as much a member of the bitter no-heroes generation as most of the rest of you. The closest thing I have to a role model at this point is G. G. Allin, and look what happened to him.

But GOD, he was punk as fuck.
posted by jammer at 9:10 AM on June 16, 2004

Ah. G.G. Allin. If my parents had named me Jesus Christ (for real), there's no telling how fucked up I'd have turned out.
posted by psmealey at 9:21 AM on June 16, 2004

Reminds me of this quote from Rafi Zabor's (excellent) book The Bear Comes Home:

Americans are the most miserable bunch of motherfuckers on the planet but they have to keep pretending on pain of death they’re having a great time.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:22 AM on June 16, 2004

If the average American white male actually thinks that having Bush for President somehow hurts those like Susan Sarandon or Tim Robbins....then they are actually very very stupid indeed!
posted by SweetIceT at 9:25 AM on June 16, 2004

Another essay positing that only someone who is stupid or not in their right mind would ever cast their vote for anyone that isn't a Democrat.

"People who disagree with me are stupid" has never been a convincing argument.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:39 AM on June 16, 2004

If you are able to not take the message seriously, as the writer seems to have intended, then you might find it a fun and enjoyable read. Thanks Space Coyote.
posted by vito90 at 9:56 AM on June 16, 2004

The trouble with posting humour to MetaFilter is, of course, that everyone wants to think that they could have done better.

It made me smile a few times, but it could probably do with a bit of restructuring of the flow. On the whole though I enjoyed it.

People getting defensive about the accusations in the article makes it more than worth it, however, and is much funnier than the article itself.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:57 AM on June 16, 2004

ah, but in the cola wars, what about the sprite factor?

(ducks from pies) ... obey your thirst!
posted by Peter H at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2004

SweetieIceT, watch it unfold, and dismiss this completely at your peril.

I smiled through it, but there is a part of me that thinks that there might be something to this guy's sexually frustrated ramblings. Spite has moved mountains and toppled empires. It's an emotion that's central to understanding the American character. (Nixon was a stellar example of this, but see also Starr, Ken.)

So the solution is simple. Everyone should get with a white dude. For America.
posted by chicobangs at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2004

After reading this article, I've changed my election plans. I'm going to wrtite-in Hunter Thompson.
posted by Loudmax at 10:17 AM on June 16, 2004

The trouble with posting humour to MetaFilter is, of course, that everyone wants to think that they could have done better.

Q: How many MeFi'ers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: 17,339 - 1 to go ahead and do it, and 17,338 to say how much better they could have done it.
posted by psmealey at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2004

I could have done a better lightbulb joke.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:30 AM on June 16, 2004

and a few to ask why the hell they bothered doing it, and yet more to complain that putting in a light bulb is insensitive to heliophopic-americans and quonsar to bring in an elephant to poop on the rug.
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on June 16, 2004

funny and thought-provoking. i think there's definitely something to this
posted by jacobsee at 10:47 AM on June 16, 2004

It sounds to me as if he's suggesting that if you're a white dude and don't get enough really good lovin', you vote Republican.

The scary thing is, I think he's on to something there...

I'm voting Kerry... and proud of it!
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:54 AM on June 16, 2004

Damn that quonsar and his pooping elephant!

I'm a white dude who doesn't have Nixon as a role model or personal hero. And there's no damned way in hell I would cast a vote for Bush, even if he were running against a Big Bird/Grover ticket! Not until I start getting my GOP kickback checks at the very least!

And then, I'd probably just not vote at all.

As it is, I'm not only voting for Kerry, I'm working on his campaign.
posted by fenriq at 11:11 AM on June 16, 2004

But see, fenriq, the problem with that is that while Big Bird would win in a walk, someone would assassinate the poor bird instantly, because y'know, then it'd be President Grover: This time it's not Cleveland!

And how cool would that be? I mean, really.
posted by chicobangs at 11:24 AM on June 16, 2004

I actually found the article to be fairly interesting as well... it's an interesting observation/theory anway. But the author really seems to start "freaking out" a bit in the paragraph just before "SPITE VOTING IS not just an American problem;".
posted by Witty at 11:30 AM on June 16, 2004


"If the average American white male actually thinks that having Bush for President somehow hurts those like Susan Sarandon or Tim Robbins....then they are actually very very stupid indeed!"

I think that's exactly the point. It's the perception that it hurts the leftie "elite" that could affect the votes.

I dunno man... I know a lot of people here are laughing this off, but I think it has some psychological merit. Lots of people do things all the time that are completely counter to their well being and the general well-being of others, and for spiteful reasons too. This could actually be a factor.

There's a lot of mean, selfish people out there who'd rather make everyone as miserable as they are than work to make themselves and everyone else happier. A few of my ex-girlfriends come to mind... it's like the seeming paradox of why abused children grow up to abuse their own children later in life: "My life sucked when I was a kid, why shouldn't yours? So you get it too, and I'll make bloody sure of it!!"

Tony Soprano's mom said it to his son early in the show's run, when he was asking her some question about why life is the way it is: "The world is a jungle... what makes you so special?"

That really sucks, but it's common behavior.

That being said, I'm a white male (who works for a dot-com and makes "mid-yuppie" income from it) in the "coastal elite" city of LA, who has a dismal-to-nonexistent sex life - but I am generally liberal and Democrat. Then again, I'm a fairly well-educated, sensitive and introspective guy, and I have no internal need to project my misery on others.

Jim-Bob Thistlewhite from Amarillo, TX who works his ass off in a field or factory for "mid-blue-collar" wages, having a similar dismal-to-nonexistent sex life, from a strict Baptist upbringing and barely graduated high school... he might have a different point of view. And a lot of company in that point of view.

Worth taking some second consideration of the idea, in a non-sensational context, I think.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:35 AM on June 16, 2004

Grover has too much of a past to run for public office.

Speaking of people who project their misery onto eithers, a friend of mine forwarded this email to me last week, just to get a rise out of me, I think.
Not quite as funny as the piece on the FPP, but a pretty good window into the mind of someone that likely feels like shit all the time, but doesn't really know why.
posted by psmealey at 11:51 AM on June 16, 2004

Chicobangs, the best part about a dead Big Bird ex-president would have to be the Big Bird BBQ!

On Preview: Damn! I got Grover confused with Oscar the Grouch! I like the idea of a VP sitting in a trash can. Hey, maybe that was Cheney's undisclosed secret location?
posted by fenriq at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2004

Democrats are in danger of losing their wonderful, angry momentum.

As long as they don't lose their angry modem.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:34 PM on June 16, 2004

This reminds me a an Onion piece, vol. 40, issue 30, entitled, "Yee-Haw! My Vote Cancels Out Y'all's." It has rolled off of the main site but included the following gems:

Now, you probably waste a whole lotta good-fishin' Saturdays readin' yourself the papers, watchin' all the talk on the TV, and sittin' around thinkin' real hard about which way you gonna vote. Well, it's a real shame, then, ain't it, that all that time you spend in real careful considerin' don't count for nothin', once my vote runs y'all's right off the road.

So maybe you think what we got here is one a them Mexican pissin' matches, what with my vote and your vote both bein' worth the exact same. . . . Now, if you ain't noticed, we got a lot more parkin' lot space down at the racetrack and the Farm & Fleet store than y'all do out in front of your bookstores and muffin shops. All of us add up real quick, and our votes do a damn bunch more than just cancel out all y'all's!

posted by caddis at 1:14 PM on June 16, 2004

Reminds me of that scene in Good Will Hunting where he's talking about taking a punishment to save his mom:

Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, "Choose."

Sean: Gotta go with the belt, there.

Will: I used to go with the wrench.

Sean: The wrench, why?

Will: 'Cause fuck him, that's why.

posted by RylandDotNet at 1:27 PM on June 16, 2004

I've noticed for a long time that right-wingers get a lot of joy out of driving liberals crazy. There's a lot of spite there.
posted by Holden at 2:16 PM on June 16, 2004

posted by solistrato at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2004

I think this article, aside from it's ranting tone, makes perfect sense. I can see a lot of this kind of reaction in the right-wingers I know, and sadly I know plenty. When they discuss politics, rather than focusing on how to make things better for everyone, including themselves, they treat politics like kids treat birthday cake, hollering like crazy if someone else occasionally gets a more generous slice even though they themselves just won a huge box of candy at the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game. I see just as much spite directed at whoever is lower on the ladder, not just Sarandon-Robbins, although they certainly don't like them either. It's that they get so much pleasure from seeing benefits cut for those at the bottom, even while at some level they know that they are only one or two paychecks from needing those benefits for themselves. I know of two lower-income, hard-core Republicans who've declared bankruptcy, one of whom also has kids and whose husband gets disability payments from Social Security. They keep voting Republican and worshipping Reagan and Bill O'Reilly and Rush, and just don't care that those people would just as soon see them rot in the poor house as give them a helping hand when they need it, and they just love spitting in the eye of those that have had a hand in helping to keep the bankruptcy laws as generous to the lower classes as possible and who try to keep payments to kids of disabled parents from gettng slashed by Republicans. As well as spite, I think some of it is shame and denial about the possibilty of being in the same groups that they pride themselves on being able to look down on, like Reagan's Cadillac welfare queens.
posted by marsha56 at 5:45 PM on June 16, 2004

Metafilter: selling pancreatic balm to the needy!

posted by sic at 6:13 PM on June 16, 2004

SC: People getting defensive about the accusations in the article makes it more than worth it, however, and is much funnier than the article itself.

Now there's a slippery slope that leads under a bridge...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:19 PM on June 16, 2004

since this is the end of the post anyway, i'll repeat something that i have actual link backing up: in the civil war the main reason that the poor southerners faught for the south was because they wanted to make sure that the slaves remained slaves in order that they continued to have someone to look down upon.

Now ask yourself, when you give money to a homeless person or charity do you do it because you like the idea of someone else being helped, or do you do it because it makes you feel better then someone else (ie: i have the money to give and they don't).

spite is a great motivator for many. I think we all have a tendency to see our oportunity lost and decide that instead of playing the round through to it's mediocre end we'd prefer to just throw the great board game of life into the air (i'm pretty sure i've ended a risk game or two by way of nuclear holocaust).

that said, there is no singular solution for explaining the great divide that is so strongly believed in (wether that's true or not)...but i'm sure spite does play a role as long as humans play a role.
posted by NGnerd at 10:47 PM on June 16, 2004

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