Sarah Palin: Metaphorical Violence?

Despite the bricks through windows, slurs and spitting, a cut gas line, and an anthrax threat against Congresspeople who voted for healthcare reform, Sarah Palin has been blithely unapologetic about the violent language and images she has been using on Facebook and elsewhere, most notoriously the image at right, which features the districts of Democratic congresspeople in crosshairs, and her call of “Don’t retreat, reload” (since removed from her Facebook page, but still on her Twitter feed). She claims the violence is metaphorical: All she’s calling for is more political action.

Now, Palin is a flaming idiot. She’s just enough of one to honestly believe that using she can use violent language and her followers can subsequently commit violent acts and there is no connection whatsoever. Nevertheless, the irresponsibility is staggering. Anyone ought to accept that, when a rash of violence breaks out, the thing to do is to condemn it swiftly and completely. Even if there is no good reason that your words should incite more violence, you should still watch them extra carefully.

The blogs were quick to point out the danger in her behavior, so she eventually changed the title to “Don’t Get Demoralized!  Get Organized!”, but left the graphic.  Her subsequent attempt at humor, a post about March Madness filled with gun- and war-related idioms and titled “Warning: Subject to New Politically Correct Language Police Censorship,” reveals her poor grasp of the situation.  For one thing, she doesn’t understand that changing her own post title isn’t censorship (nobody forced her to do it, and the people saying “you shouldn’t encourage your followers to kill people” are merely exercising their own first-amendment rights), nor is removing a more or less direct call to violence against one’s opponents political correctness so much as, oh, sanity.

Much more importantly:  It’s safe to use this kind of language in sports because the friendly rivalry of sports fandom so rarely leads to real violence.  Angry language, yes; shoving matches and similar faux-violence, yes.  But I remember the controversy when fans at a Mariners game held up signs that said “Yankees Suck.”  Many people considered that going too far, stepping across the line from friendly to mean.  It’s true that, occasionally, real fan violence breaks out during a game in the heat of the moment, but sports essentially never leads to coolly premeditated acts of hate like calling someone to threaten sniper attacks on her children, nor out-of-the-blue violence like ramming into a car with a 10-year-old girl in it because of a bumper sticker.

But here’s the real question: Are Palin’s followers getting the metaphor? Has anyone who supports her made the mistake of the “lamestream media” and failed to realize that what look like gun sights are actually supposed to be surveying symbols? Even if 99% of her followers understood her perfectly, that leaves 200 of the 20,000 people who like every one of her Facebook posts who think that they should actually go shoot someone.  It doesn’t matter if they’re deranged and mentally unstable.  Motivating 200 potential deranged gunmen is irresponsible and completely unacceptable behavior.

I’ve been stymied in my attempts to find out.  While the post has about 10,000 replies, Facebook’s “Show all replies” function only shows the most recent 50 or so and doesn’t allow you to view additional pages of replies, making it impossible to gauge how people initially responded to the post (naturally, all the recent replies are of the “liberal lametards don’t know what a metaphor is” variety).  I also wanted to look at the Twitter traffic from her followers after the post, but while all tweets are archived, they become unsearchable after about a week.  If anyone else happened to archive or link to the sort of stuff that was being said in the wake of Palin’s post, that would be edifying.


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One response to “Sarah Palin: Metaphorical Violence?

  1. Great Comment about Sarah

    As I drove to what I hope was my last job interview yesterday to Westchester Country, a local radio station was a playing one of my favorite Nick Lowe songs “So it Goes.” As I read my blog response this morning I checked the news to see when we passed the
    “Anything Goes bill” along with the “Don’t let facts get in the way law”

    Another question I dare ask who the hell is Mike Vanderboegh? And why are people listening to this man? Eric Cantor (R-Va.) commented that these recent acts of Violence shouldn’t be used for political gains. Good statement BUT,,,,,,,here are some facts, you can find them also, you have type in google. Joe “you liar” Wilson, makes a good Tee shirt for a price of course. Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer, on Monday acknowledged he yelled out the words “baby killer” during a floor speech by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) on healthcare reform. So now that comment is being used as a vehicle for a pledge drive on his web site. Let’s not forget about our sister Sarah’s “RELOAD” plea. And again who the hell is this guy Mike Vanderboegh?

    When our parents moved my brother and I from the Bronx to Garrison, NY we were called carpet baggers, city slickers, a few more remakes i can’t remember. Back then a good reply was a couple flips of the bird solved the whole issue, ahh the good old days, when you can flip someone off and not be on youtube. But i’m thinking that these aren’t the good old days anymore, and isn’t that the real pity of it all.

    Yes I know that Joe Biden used the F bomb (love that phrase, tee shirts are now available by the way) during the signing of the Healthcare bill. So if it’s good enough for our VP bombs away, What have we gone Fucking crazy?

    My God look at our problems. Trust me we all know the economy is bad, 20% real unemployment, foreclosures are still up, Wall street is in a bigger bubble then ever before. Whatever side of the healthcare reform you stand on. Pray for us all lord we have a Black President. Buzz Aldrenn is on Dancing with the Stars. And is anybody still watching American Idol. And again I ask who the hell is this guy Mike Vanderboegh?

    Listen it’s getting late and I have to make dinner for my wife, thank God she’s working.

    Let’s ask Mr. Google about Mike Vanderboegh. Oh look from my9tv website.

    Encouraging people to throw bricks through Democratic Party office windows could bring Alabama blogger Mike Vanderboegh just what he wants: the chance to spread his anti-big-government views. The blog – which claims to take a “strict constructionist, libertarian point of view” – encouraged readers to throw bricks at the windows of Democratic headquarters across the country. Vanderboegh, 57, is taking credit for someone throwing a brick through the glass doors at the Democratic Committee’s Rochester, N.Y., office either late Saturday night or early Sunday. The brick had a note attached that quoted Barry Goldwater’s famous statement: “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.” His call for brick-throwing is aimed at getting the attention of Democrats before the country breaks into civil war, according to the newspaper. “If it takes a few bricks and broken windows for people to understand how close we are to widespread violence in this country, then the bricks in the windows will have been worth it,” he said.Vanderboegh said his blog, called Sipsey Street Irregulars after the name of a fictional street in a novel he’s working on, gets between 5,000 and 7,000 hits a day. At least three windows have been broken recently at Democratic offices: the Rochester, N.Y. office, and office windows of Congress members in Arizona and New York, reports the Phoenix New Times blog.Joseph Morelle, the Monroe County (N.Y.) Democratic Committee chairman who filed the police report in the Rochester incident, said he’s considering asking the district attorney to file charges against Vanderboegh.”That would certainly give me an opportunity to make my case to a larger public,” Vanderboegh told the Advertiser . “I wouldn’t enjoy a sedition charge but I’m willing to accept it. Perhaps that’s a more efficient use of my resources than getting arrested for vandalism.”

    If I may make a comment to Mr. Vanderboegh and more importantly to his followers?

    Dose Jim Jones ring a bell. Belly Up.

    Things to do but i wanted to mentioned Scot Brown and Rachel Maddow here’s a link it’s your turn to laugh.

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