And Now, Rodeo Clowns Inspire Some Nuanced Parsing
1. It is right and fit that the President of the United States, whoever that is at any given moment, should be mocked, ridiculed, parodied, insulted, and generally reviled.
2. It is a good thing to live in a country where you can mock, ridicule, and revile the leader and not be arrested, disappeared, prosecuted, or murdered.
3. It is — to borrow Teddy Roosevelt's phrase — unpatriotic, servile, and morally treasonous to complain that ridiculing and mocking the President at an event like a rodeo is "disrespectful."
4. It is contemptible to suggest that there is something wrong with ridiculing the President at an event paid for with public funds. If public funds render an entertainment event the wrong venue for ridiculing public officials, then we should stop supporting entertainment events with public funds.
5. Some people hate the current President for really stupid reasons, instead of really sensible ones.
6. Some of the hatred of the current President is related to cultural factors including, but not limited to, the color of his skin.
7. Some people are going to act like a huge pain in the ass because I wrote #6, even though I said "some." These are people who will refer to any discussion of race as "race baiting."
8. Some descriptions of the announcer at the Missouri State Far asking the crowd if they would like to "see Obama run down by a bull," and whipping up crowd enthusiasm, sound extremely creepy and not fun-time-rodeo-clownish at all. If those descriptions are accurate, it is reasonable to inquire whether the display was calculated to play upon the racial and cultural factors referenced in #6, above, for a cheap cheer.
9. It's possible for a criticism of a politician to be racially tinged, and for the outcry in response to be both rational and defensible (to the extent they suggest that racially tinged crowd-pleasing is ugly) and irrational and indefensible (to the extent they suggest that there is anything wrong with a rodeo clown mocking the President).
10. Rodeo clowns don't need to confront shades of gray. Grown-ups do.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Follow-Up: U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Right This Time - September 12th, 2014
- The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strained, But It May Have A Litmus Test - September 11th, 2014
- [Rerun from 2011] Ten Things I Want My Kids To Learn From 9/11 - September 11th, 2014
- Yale Might Want To Look Into Some Sort of Basic Civic Literacy Course - September 10th, 2014
- U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong - September 6th, 2014