SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2012
Selecting a sauce for the imperfect gander: Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t know Charles Blow or Joan Walsh.
We're sure they're both perfectly decent people. Most people are.
Is either one of these people a bigot? We would be hugely surprised if that were the case—and we think all meaning has been drained from that term by its promiscuous use. But even as the New York Times was throwing its B-bombs around this past week, Blow and Walsh were apologizing for their own imperfect statements.
Everyone says something dumb at some point. Even folk in our own tribe!
Uh-oh! As Blow live-tweeted the last GOP debate, he threw down a fiery remark about one of the candidates’ “magic underwear.” It was a semi-nasty Mormon jibe! A jibe aimed at Romney’s religion!
Two days later, Blow apologized, congratulating himself for his forthrightness. For a review of the facts from New York magazine, click here. For a conservative reaction—and for a few more of Blow’s fiery tweets—check this Newsbusters post.
Walsh’s subsequent Mormon joke came on primary night. For her apology, click here; you can note the several ways she couched her own apology. It’s always great when you can hide behind Elie Wiesel and the late Daniel Pearl!
(Question: In 2004, did we like it when the other side tried to make Candidate Kerry answer for his own church’s behavior and views? If memory serves, we did not—although your lizard brain will be able to churn a long list of major distinctions.)
Romney is a horrible candidate with truly gruesome proposals. But that doesn't seem to be enough. Even worse, he’s a Mormon! With funny clothes and beliefs! Completely unlike us Catholics! Maureen Dowd has now played this card in at least three columns (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/17/12)—but Dowd is the unchallenged worst in show. Now, in fairly rapid succession, two leading liberals have gone there too.
No, it isn’t the end of the world. But we do think it’s kind of amazing—and perhaps a bit instructive.
Walsh likes to recall the terrible ways we Catholics were treated by those people back in the 1850s. Given these heartfelt sentiments, we don’t know why she’d be inclined to play the Mormon card against Romney. Unless our side might even have some of the same unfortunate impulses/instincts we’re eager to savage in others! Unless we’re human too!
Good news! Your lizard brain will be able to explain away events like these with ease. Your lizard brain will help you see that we are not a bit like them, not in the slightest way. But remember: Last week, the New York Times unleashed its B-bombs again, complaining that “right-wingers” in the New Hampshire legislature have a bigoted view on marriage equality. The Times forgot to mention the fact that the bigots’ view is the same as President Obama’s. (Although his view is evolving!)
In the case of Blow’s live Tweet, the newspaper gave its own guy a pass. We don’t necessarily disagree with that response, although his tweets were unattractive. (Why must they tweet?) But why are those other people so vile while their guy is so meritorious?
Lizard brains function like that! As a general matter, we aren’t real high on Blow or Walsh, which is part of the reason we note these remarks. But no, these imperfect people aren’t “bigots”—and everyone on every side is imperfect in various ways.
Among other shortcomings, we think Blow and Walsh tend to be unhelpfully tribal. No, their jibes aren’t the end of the world. But this may help you see what we mean.