Meme Wars

I’ve seen this going around Facebook pretty virtually. This is a pretty good metaphor for how we argue politically these days: take the worst straits of jerks on the Internet and apply it to your political opponents as a whole.

Miss America Racism Meme

Maybe I just don’t run with any real “right-wingers” but I don’t know anyone who a) give a shit about the Miss America contest or b) gives a shit that it was won by a woman of Indian descent. The great thing about the Internet is that there are plenty of ignorant jerks on it, and the left have become expert at taking jerks and making those of us right-of-center own them. It’s an odious tactic, but it works. I think when new media first came out, the right owned it. I think the left owns social media. They are so much better at this stuff than the right, it’s not even funny.

My big fear with the direction of political discourse in this country is that we’re all increasingly viewing other people who don’t agree with us, that nebulous “other,” as a hapless caricature. It you really look at how this works, such that it takes off as a meme, it feeds on every caricature people on the left think about people on the right. Politics is increasingly becoming people shouting at each other in a cartoon world.

37 Responses to “Meme Wars”

  1. Asdf says:

    Those stupid Facebook memes only show that people have list the ability to form and communicate original thoughts.

    There is an antidote to this stupidity, though:


    • Zermoid says:

      So what if she’s brown, we had a black lesbian Miss America over 3 decades ago……

  2. Patrick H says:

    I constantly post on gun topics on Talking Points Memo. For those who don’t know, its a bastion of liberal thought, and heavily anti-gun. Let me tell you, its extremely easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the other side is the foaming at the mouth, ignorant, idiot, stupid caricature- because based on who responds to me, that’s what it seems like.

    But remember, the people who post usually are the most vehement- especially at TPM. But who knows how many of those on the face people who are liberal otherwise but on the fence about the gun issue read. They may not respond ever. But they could read. You just have to treat them respectfully, never call them names or imply motives, and understand who are you talking to.

    I know I won’t convert the hard core anti-gunners- but if I can just reach a few on the fences, I feel its worth it.

    • Sebastian says:

      Well, a good way to fight the meme is to not be the caricature, but that’s a whole ‘nother post :)

      • Jack says:

        Being not the caricature *and* being in their “Monkey Sphere”. Or failing that being one step removed from someone they know “for real”.

        That pulls it out from the cartoon world and into the real world.

        It turns you from an avatar/mask/cartoon into a real person.

      • Bryan S. says:

        I was just about to email you this.. but it fits.

      • That is pretty much impossible.

        Given the size of the internets, SOMEONE will play the fool.

        Even if miraculously everyone on our side is well behaved, our opponents can Sock Puppet someone to look like an idiot.

        Alinsky’s rules #5:
        “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

    • wolfwalker says:

      “Let me tell you, its extremely easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the other side is the foaming at the mouth, ignorant, idiot, stupid caricature- because based on who responds to me, that’s what it seems like.”

      That’s what it seems like because that’s what it is.

      As for “treat them with respect and maybe they’ll listen to my arguments” — you’re only kidding yourself. For years I tried to play nice while liberals freely slandered me, and for years I lost every single time. So will you. You won’t convince anybody. You won’t change anybody’s mind. You won’t impress anybody with your positive attitude. You’ll just become another focus for their two-minute hates.

      • Rob Crawford says:

        I’ve had close to 25 years of “fun” arguing with leftists. They never fail to assume my motives are evil, that theirs are pure, and that I’m a puppet of who-ever the left is hating at the moment. They apparently believe they can read minds, because they’re constantly telling me what I think — usually after I’ve explained to them what I really think, and why.

        In my experience, the left tend to be bigger bigots than the caricatures they have of conservatives. Their bigotry extends to everyone who isn’t exactly like them.

        They also tend to lie, in fact to treat lies as the highest truths and truth as the basest lie.

        Frankly, I’d be happy to never argue politics with a leftist again.

      • Patrick H says:

        I’m not kidding myself. I never said they’ll listen to my arguments. I said OTHERS might be. I haven’t lost any of the debates, because they throw out the standard anti-gun tropes, I prove them wrong, and they don’t come back. I win because they stop debating. When people see I’m the calm rational one, and they anti-gunners are the mouth foamers, they’ll stop and think about their position. They can’t hate me because I’m respectful and I don’t fit their narrative.

        I love arguing with them. I really do. It sharpens my arguments too.

  3. Merle says:

    Frankly I was rooting for Miss Kansas,,,,,

    • Neon says:

      Me too. but the winner is still a gorgeous woman.

      This method of taking some knuckle-draggers and portraying them to represent a whole group is hardly new. I recall it’s Alinsky-esque and has been reprised most recently in the “Preventing Gun Violence through Effective Messaging”. Humorous reply statements that that include accurate statistics work oh so well to dissolve the lying rhetoric in my experience.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      The tatoos blew it.

  4. Sigivald says:

    I’ve seen a few people blame “America” or “Americans” as a whole for those … two dozen tweets.

    Because, you know, group guilt.

    • Sigivald says:

      (The graphic there says 35, but the ones I saw counted up to 22.

      If searching Twitter for that only comes up with 35, that tells me racism is dead in the mainstream, period, not that it’s A Spectre Haunting America.)

  5. SPQR says:

    She is lovely. And us Conservative Neandertals hate us some South Asians….

    Bobby Jindal for President!

    • Tam says:

      Bobby Jindal for President!

      Exactly. If Republicans hate women and brown people so much, how come they keep voting for them?

  6. NotClauswitz says:

    Seems to me the Indian chick who caught the most flack was Nikki Haley, the first woman Governor of South Carolina – and all the shitstorm came from bigots on the Left – the Left OWN’s projection as a psychological manifestation.

  7. Andy B. says:

    ” the left have become expert at taking jerks and making those of us right-of-center own them. It’s an odious tactic, but it works.”

    Complain about it working, but just don’t forget that it does.

    One good way to wind up owning something, is not to do anything to disown it. And, there are countless unsavory people and causes that seek to snuggle up to gun owners, potentially to recruit them, using gun rights as a “decoy” issue. Anyone who talks good shit about guns can’t be all bad, can they? So maybe we should give them a break regarding their other viewpoints. . .

    Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is “the best pro-gun legislator in Pennsylvania” while also a raving homophobe not afraid to make a fool of himself on the issue in public; he also makes a cottage industry out of immigrant bashing. But we will ignore those things, because, you know. . .

    We own him. He owns us. People know it. And so another plausible association is made. How rude.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      He’s a “homophobe”? Really? You have the documentation that he has an irrational fear of gays?

      Or is it he just doesn’t agree with you politically on certain issues?

      • Sebastian says:

        I’ve heard him make disparaging remarks about gays that go beyond mere disagreement. I am not a Daryl Metcalfe fan, despite his strong position on the gun issue.

      • Tam says:

        Bigotry that is more popular with one political party than the other is still frickin’ bigotry. Smear all the lipstick you want on that pig and it still smells the same.

        • Windy Wilson says:

          You mean there is bigotry on both sides of the political aisle, but each is unique to its political persuasion? What a novel idea!

          Or rather, I should say “Racist!”

  8. aerodawg says:

    The devolution of the discourse is part of the reason I expect another civil war, possibly before I die, but almost certainly before my children do.

    It’s nearly inevitable as soon as people start breaking into tribes defined by “we’re not those people” trying to marginalize the other side. We’ve already done that one time but nearly ever modern nation has gone through it multiple times. Once a group of significant enough size feels they don’t have a voice, bloodshed will ensue…

    • Jeremiah says:

      The ongoing “discourse” has reminded me of the discourse leading up to the Civil War, and in some sense to the Revolutionary War (which was also a “civil war”). It’s troubled me ever since then. Unfortunately, you may be correct, but I think we all best work against it and what passes for “discourse.” Perhaps history repeating can be avoided…at least I pray it can.

      • Windy Wilson says:

        Maury Klein’s “Days of Defiance” describes this development clearly and in excruciating detail (excruciating if you have family from both sides of that late unpleasantness with stories.

  9. I Aim to Misbehave says:

    Has anyone asked those Jackwagons to explain the popularity of one Gov. Bobby Jindal amongst “right-wingers”?

  10. Andy B. says:

    “Maybe I just don’t run with any real “right-wingers” but I don’t know anyone who a) give a shit about the Miss America contest or b) gives a shit that it was won by a woman of Indian descent.”

    An additional thought to my above: Maybe like us “libertarians” who embraced the label back in the ’70s and ’80s, then watched the definition changed from under our very feet in the ’90s and ’00s, people who choose to identify with “the right” are going to have to find a new definition for themselves, or, choose to embrace what their definition has come to mean. It may be ‘way too late to fight for the definition.

  11. hillbilly says:

    Oh yes, politics has devolved so much. Oh for the good old days, you know, like when the Kansas Jayhawkers and the Missouri Border Ruffians just burned, killed and scalped each other instead of posting nasty drawings playing on stereotypes! Or how about for those days when political rivals discussed topics with logic and manners.

    Yes, if we just had a little more class, you know like Burr and Hamilton.

    These nasty, mean-spirited pictures on the Facebook have just gotten out of had.

  12. Mike says:

    Right out of the Alinsky playbook.

    13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it”

    • Andy B. says:

      Of course we have never known anyone else who followed Alinsky’s Rules — which seem more than a bit echoic of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, etc., etc.

      Deplore the rules, but learn them. They haven’t been used for centuries and by every sort of faction because they don’t work. And analogous to physical weapons, there is no one who won’t use an effective weapon, no matter how distasteful, rather than lose.

  13. Zermoid says:

    Maybe I just don’t run with any real “right-wingers” but I don’t know anyone who a) give a shit about the Miss America contest or b) gives a shit that it was won by a woman of Indian descent.

    There was a new Miss America chosen?

    • Geodkyt says:

      Oh, yeah, apparantly (not that I would have even known had it not been for this blitzkreig of fingerpointing).

      And she’s really hawt — not another cookie cutter blonde. (Of course, I have a mild preference for brunettes. . . LOL)

      Oh, did someone say she’s got an ethnic background not historically native to North America? Wow, I never realized that all Miss Americas up until now were Amerindian. . .

      • Zermoid says:

        Well, since they say the American Indian also came to this land as an immigrant thru the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age, are there really ANY “Native” Americans?