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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 
Urban Legends

Reggie Graves, a student at Red Lake High School, said he was watching a movie about Shakespeare in class Monday when he heard the gunman blast his way past the metal detector at the school's entrance, killing a guard.

Then, in a nearby classroom, he heard the gunman say something to his friend Ryan: "He asked Ryan if he believed in God," Graves said. "And then he shot him."


*sigh*

Teresa Nielsen Hayden explains:

Thing is, Jeff Weise wasn’t imitating the actual Columbine shooters. He was imitating a pious urban legend (what back home we used to call a faith-promoting rumor) that sprang up in the wake of the Columbine shootings: that shooter Dylan Klebold asked Cassie Bernall whether she believed in God, and shot her when she said she did.

This story, in many variant versions, spread as fast as the internet would carry it. Cassie Bernall—a cute blonde who had a classic conversion-narrative history of turning to religion after dabbling in bush-league wickedness—was hailed as a martyr, and her story has since been repeatedly invoked to push the usual religious agendas. It’s been especially useful for WASP Chinos who want to think of themselves as being cruelly persecuted for their faith, but who are inconveniently short on evidence that this has ever happened.

Trouble is, the Cassie Bernall incident didn’t happen anything like the stories describe it, and the shooters weren’t targeting Christians. As has gradually become clear, the media coverage of Columbine was notably bad, and the Cassie Bernall story was the single most egregious example of slovenly journalism in the whole mess.

[...]

I’m sure Jeff Weise’s behavior will be trotted out as further proof that Christians are coming in for persecution. If I’m right, that claim will be purest codswallop. What this tragic incident really teaches us is that kids who are exposed to non-reality-based right-wing Christian propaganda may subsequently commit horrid acts of violence.


Yes. Despite the fact that Weise was evidently imitating an urban legend, I doubt very seriously that the press will report it that way or that the religious zealots will take the proper lesson from it. They are too busy trying to keep a dead woman's body alive right now to notice this latest example of their horrible persecution at the hands of liberals, but they will eventually. They must continually gather evidence that liberals are satanically omnipotent or they lose their raison d'etre.

This reminds me of an e-mail I got from one of my trolls:

Michael Jackson is a special case to be sure, but so are the 90 million in Africa who are expected to get AIDS. What is special is that both are, in large part, victims of liberal Democrats. It seems that neither was taught Republican family values and so both embarked into the brave new sexual world that conservatives had long warned against.

Yes, Jackson was born into a very odd and abusive family, and with incredible talent. He was given neither education, love, nor sensible religious values. And, lastly, he apparently was also born with a tendency to be an effeminate, homosexual, pedophile. But perhaps most importantly, he was born into a feminist, homosexual, liberal, tolerant culture which wanted to make room for the entire rich and sophisticated panoply of diverse lifestyles that the liberal mind could cook up. Johnny had two dads, Suzy had two Moms, Michael was boldly liberal androgynous, and it was ok that 10,000 years of human history had been instantly reversed, or so it seemed.

In fact, Mr. Jackson at one point was on the cover of Time Magazine where he was hailed as the liberal symbol of the "New Androgyny". None other than Elizabeth Taylor testified to his glorious combination of male and female qualities. A raft of feminists chimed in that he represented the death of traditional macho men and the dawn of a glorious, liberated new sexual future. Some men did seem to cringe, but mostly in intimidated silence, at the thought of lipstick and makeup. Ok, so the liberal attempt to rewrite human cultural history in an instant didn't quite work out as expected, and even liberals seem to have drawn the line at pedophilia, but other aspects of the attack on the traditional Republican family continued unabated. The American divorce rate is 50%, nearly 50% of all American children grow up in broken homes, and we are paralyzed on the world stage about seeming intolerant toward even Africa's genocidal sexual culture.

But now it may be time for liberals to punish Mr. Jackson for his excessive liberalism. It is hard though. When a priest in Boston (Father John Geoghan) was send to prison for pedophilia, guards noticed that other inmates developed a predilection for urinating on his bed. In time he was then transferred to another prison, for his own safety, whereupon he was promptly stomped to death by another group of very intolerant fellow inmates. Very sadly, there was almost no reaction anywhere to our inability to make the proscribed punishment fit the crime. If Mr. Jackson does go to jail we can only hope the state's proscribed punishment will be administered, and not usurped by an insane, blood thirsty, liberal mob.

A liberal mob? Yes, a liberal mob indeed, and Hillary Clinton knows this grotesque truth all to well and seems quite happy to exploit it. Convicts are liberal Democrats as certainly as soldiers are Republicans. Her very recent "make every vote count" legislation seeks to enfranchise ex-cons because she knows the concentration of liberalism among ex-cons is as great as it is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It seems liberalism is everywhere: in Michael Jackson, Africa, Hillary Clinton, and in prison. And everywhere it is a horror.



I don't have the energy to deconstruct this incomprehensible mish mash. (I'm intrigued by the fact that liberals are responsible for the fact that Africans are not taught Republican family values, but whatever.) I think this is a pretty good representation of the cognitive ability of many of the right wing, so it's pretty clear that we are up against something that appeals to reason are not going to affect. It would be really nice, however, if the media could refrain from enabling their persecution fantasies as they did with the Cassie Bernal story and this Terry Schiavo circus. I'm not holding my breath.



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