IN SOVIET RUSSIA, SCANDAL FABRICATES YOU

I once spent four days at a conference in Branson, Missouri. It is far from the worst place on Earth – being safe and having indoor plumbing puts it ahead of a lot of the globe – but it most definitely earns its status as a punchline. It looks like a giant dragon that craps chain restaurants rampaged through the town, narrowly missing the countless ex-celebrity entertainers whose careers have gone to Missouri to die. Among the latter, famously, is 1980s comic sensation Yakov Smirnoff. He doesn't simply have regular gigs there. He has his own theater.

Yakov, for those who don't remember him, made a career out of a single running gag: he was That Soviet Comedian. Nearly every joke followed the now-infamous pattern of "In America you have _____, but in Soviet Russia we had ______!" The only deviation was for the purpose of reinforcing American stereotypes about the USSR, i.e. "First time I went to Disneyland I saw Space Mountain. Big building with no windows, everyone inside screaming. I said 'Hey, we have one of those in Moscow!'" Moderately amusing, until you hear the next 50 jokes and realize that they're identical. But I digress.

Obviously he camps out in Branson because kids who are 20 and under today were born after 1990 and thus the Soviet Union means about as much to them as the Holy Roman Empire. They can't tell you what "communism" is aside from its status as the Bad Guys in action or war movies. Stalin, Brezhnev, perestroika, SALT, the Domino Theory…these terms mean nothing to them. Since Smirnoff's comedy depends entirely on stuff like this, his career can only survive if he finds audiences that remember it. Enter Branson, where the average age of vacationers is in the high sixties. All of them are old enough to remember the Cold War, and some of them are senile enough to think it's still going on.

Fox News has been taking notes of Yakov's success and has adopted its own Branson Strategy with its latest balls-out effort to fabricate a scandal: the "New Black Panthers" voter intimidation "story." I mean, how the hell old do one's viewers have to be before the Black Panthers are a relevant cultural reference? Even the USSR was relevant until 1991. The Black Panthers haven't fueled the paranoid fears of white people since the early 70s at best. When even the commenters at well-known conservative websites don't buy this pathetic effort to make something where there is nothing – OMG, two black guys were standing outside a polling place! Why, no, we can't produce a voter who claims to have been "intimidated" out of voting by said Colored Men! – you know the goal isn't to convince viewers on the merits of the case. It's an unsophisticated attempt to remind viewers for whom that group is relevant, i.e. your grandparents and anyone else over 70, that intimidating, heavily armed, and hostile black people are coming to take away Our Way of Life.

Even by Fox's standards, this "story" is ridiculous. Apparently they feel that enough old white people are watching to make an appeal to 1968 nostalgia worthwhile. I can't wait to see what throwback they dredge up next to connect with their demographic. Baader-Meinhoff? The Symbionese Liberation Army?** Sacco and Vanzetti? The Sans-Culottes? Among its many other assets as a media outlet, it appears that News Corp is making a much appreciated effort take viewers on a trip down memory lane in its comical attempt to engineer public opinion.

**(Keep an eye out for my SLA musical, "From Tania to Cinque", which should be in theaters near you soon)

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65 Responses to “IN SOVIET RUSSIA, SCANDAL FABRICATES YOU”

  1. daphne Says:

    not only what you said but Wapo, among many other easily-intimidated news organizations, will never learn that appeasing the refs (to paraphrase Altermann) never works, but always evolves into a "kiss my ass and I'll kick yours" game. in other words covering the story will not silence the critics scolding about not covering the story.

  2. ts46064 Says:

    Ed, when are you ever going to make the Symbionese Liberation Army musical?

  3. Stephen Says:

    I'm just over 20, so the Soviet Russia gags still mean just a bit to me. The rest of the examples, in the end, mean nothing. Well, except the sans-culottes. Unless those have a second meaning relevant to American history?

    I will say that I would absolutely go to this theater, just for the novelty value. Watching the Fox News media machine? Not as much.

  4. HoosierPoli Says:

    It follows the traditional logic of "Justice Department lawyers dropped a case because there was no evidence on which to prosecute it" turning into "Obama hearts the Black Panthers"

  5. Jimcat Says:

    Sacco and Vanzetti, and the Anarchist-Syndicalists in general, are scapegoats that I'm surprised haven't been dragged out already.

  6. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    I think the added problem here is that the New Black Panther Party and the original Black Panther party are two different things. Rest assured that viewers know little about both.

    As for Smirnoff, could he have been the first to overuse a joke in the same way that people like Jeff Foxworthy would copy years later?

    Some Smirnoff-style jokes still work in modern Russia: In America, police avoid Caucasians. In Russia, Caucasians avoid police! (Pause for laughter)

    Then again, some are more morbid: "In America, police can help you. In Russia, police rob, beat, rape, and possibly kill you." (Pause for laughter)

  7. Jude Says:

    Aslan, you can't be serious. Smirnoff was in no way the first comedian to flog a joke topic to death. Every comedian has a particular shtick–it's what they do. Mel Brooks has been doing the 2000 Year Old Man bit for almost 2000 years. Rodney Dangerfield made a living out of being a schlub. And Abbott and Costello probably went to their graves hating baseball and wordplay.

    As far as the New Black Panthers, I was actually surprised to see that thing blow up. I pay pretty close attention to right-wing lunacy, and that one was new to me. I guess it's marginally more plausible than "SEIU and ACORN will be used as shock troops to round up conservatives and herd them into FEMA camps," but, as Ed notes, the Black Panthers might as well be the Knights Templar to anyone under 40.

    If they had really wanted to appeal to young, scared crackers, they should at least have tried to pin this on the Nation of Islam.

  8. comrade x Says:

    Anarchists are back… at least that is how FUCKS NEWZ has described every anti- war, anti- corporate protestor since the 2008 RNC demonstrations.

  9. halten_Sie Says:

    I can't wait for Baader-Meinhof related fear-nostalgia. Oh wait, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765432/ . Great movie by the way.

  10. yam Says:

    "Remember the Maine!"

    Is it time for my pills?

  11. displaced Capitalist Says:

    It follows the traditional logic of "Justice Department lawyers dropped a case because there was no evidence on which to prosecute it" turning into "Obama hearts the Black Panthers"

    What still annoying me about this bit of lies is that the case was dropped in DECEMBER of 08! Almost a full month before Obama took office.

  12. Hazy Davy Says:

    Actually, one of FoxNews'es most profitable techniques is "bogeyman" + lather, rinse, repeat. Think: ACORN, NYC Mosque, Death Panels, etc. It works well for a few reasons:
    1) It plays on people's fears
    2) Repetition is a fantastic propaganda technique
    3) Provocation results in responses, which inevitably can be mined to support your case
    4) Sometimes, the bogeyman will do what you warned against. You can then argue that "the left isn't vigilant enough…they said we were racist/conspiracy-theorizing/unhinged/etc. but it turns out we were right once!"

    What I'd like to understand is how you combat this approach, especially with the maddening mongoloid masses who now feel unalone, and who are empowered by the propaganda. Unfortunately, we can't ignore them, since someone will respond. And since responding gives them fodder…
    Maybe someone could (or maybe someone already does) keep a report card of TV news outlets. So you could list all of the major themes/claims made by Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc, as well as the veracity thereof. You have to be comprehensive, and report on objectively measurable attributes. But then you could see that Fox makes lots of unsubstantiated claims, and that very few are objectively true.

    In Russia, we have free pizza. But better to wait in line for bread, and less expensive, too. [And...out of the gate, swing and a miss...]

  13. John Says:

    Well, to be fair, I think there is definitely an argument to be made that guys standing outside of a polling place in military-style garb with batons are definitely trying to send some sort of message. And that they did that is not in question — there's video evidence of it.

    Now, whether any voter intimidation went in in strict legal terms is debateable, and the Justice Department doesn't seem to think so. But I don't think Fox is entirely wrong to say that those guys were up to no good and were, at the very least, presenting a menacing appearance at a polling place.

    I think that the right's reaction to the event is wildly out of proportion, of course, and as has been said it's difficult if not impossible to produce someone who actually did not vote or changed their vote because they were intimidated… but I think it's just as silly to pretend that this was benign behavior.

  14. bb in GA Says:

    I think part of it is that the Left has manufactured an Empire State Bldg of PC assholism and the Right is looking for pay backs on any tenuous grounds of inconsistency by the Left.

    It ain't about Black Panthers or Pink Panthers.
    It's about that things like Breitbart's hit on "Polly don't wanna help the Cracker" (Score 1 – the Cracker Hater had to quit.)

    I see this as counter insurgency, but I'm sure y'all disagree.

    //bb

  15. Major Kong Says:

    Silly me. I forgot. Us white guys are "victims" now.

    It's horrible I tell you! They won't even let me use the n-word!

  16. comrade x Says:

    Yep, we'uns disagree.
    Actually its all about controlling people through fear.

  17. Monkey Business Says:

    Attempting to refute anything that's said on Fox News is a waste of time, for the following reasons:
    1) It's probably not true.
    2) The people that watch Fox News wouldn't believe you, even if you could prove it beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt.
    3) Refuting anything Fox News says plays into their martyr complex.
    4) They will come up with something even more sensational and inaccurate tomorrow.

    To paraphrase Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good As It Gets", Fox News is what happens if you took CNN, and removed reason and accountability.

  18. anotherbozo Says:

    I just wonder if the fear of Scary Black Guys that Faux News and Teatards are tying to tap into does anything to explain Obama. The conservamedia have been so eager to portray him as a wild-eyed black radical that maybe a lot of his disappointingly Republican traits and policies have been meant to counteract the stereotype. Sydney Poitier as president.

    Am I grasping at straws? His behavior is still for me the big enigma, maybe the only one. Otherwise dogs bark and cats scratch.

  19. Jimcat Says:

    @bb in GA:

    "It's about that things like Breitbart's hit on "Polly don't wanna help the Cracker" (Score 1 – the Cracker Hater had to quit.)"

    That story's not over yet. There are depths to the story that were ignored at first, and Brietbart's judgment may be due for a re-assessment.

    See this link:
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/07/everyone_take_a_deep_breath.php/

  20. HoosierPoli Says:

    "PC assholism" huh? You know, you're right; respecting your fellow man and rolling back centuries of unethical social structures is just us liberals being overbearing douches.

    Black people can call each other the N word but white people can't? Let's march on washington, there's POLITICAL CORRECTNESS to be defeated.

  21. HoosierPoli Says:

    BTW, you want to talk about fabricated scandals.

  22. bb in GA Says:

    FOX News had no part in breaking or reporting on the scandal. Rip 'em silly if you want on other issues. The NAACP also falsely accused FAUX (as y'all like to say) on this one. Beck said it broke after his show was launched yesterday and he didn't even know about it.

    BTW Beck reported on this one today and threw a knuckle ball. He's on her side at this point and it's looking like her context was shorn.

    There will be some mis-steps in the war. We lost 1500 men in one day just practicing for D-Day. Mr Breitbart may have to tap dance his way back from this.

    Spare me the righteousness and don't put words in my mouth O.D.

    PC still sucks

    //bb

  23. Jimcat Says:

    You're talking about "PC assholism" in the context of World War II, and then you ask US to spare YOU the righteousness?

  24. Jimcat Says:

    Oh, and no non-fictional liberal has used the phrase "politically correct" in seriousness since 1992. It's only used now by people in need of a strawman to beat down.

  25. Seth Says:

    This is another example in a long line of conservative tactics over the last, oh, 50 years (and maybe even before McCarthy, but certainly then)–

    They manufacture a controversy, often involving a practice of which they themselves are guilty (there's tons of evidence of Republican voter intimidation all over the US in both 2004 and 2008). Then, they accuse their opponents of doing exactly what the Republicans themselves are doing. The goal is twofold. First, it deflects attention from their own unethical behavior. Second, if their accusations get any traction, they get to make their opponents look like the bad guys.

    We've seen it dozens of times. As an academic who doesn't shy away from discussing my politics and activism in my classes, I spent a lot of time being concerned about David Horowitz and the whole Students for Academic Freedom "movement." Horowitz used this tactic for 5 years, maybe more–toss around accusations, hope at least a few people didn't bother to ask for substantiation, get a little traction, and then abandon the accusation when he got busted for fabricating it, hoping people would forget the details but remember the accreting number of accusations.

    Of course, having seen it all before doesn't make it easier to stop. Why not? Because Fox News doesn't need for anybody to believe the details of their "reporting." They depend entirely on feeding bloody red meat to their already hungry audience. I doubt very many people watch Fox News who don't already believe the big picture that Fox is presenting them.

  26. Ike Says:

    The whole voter "intimidation" thing is kind of foreign to me, I have only voted once in an actual polling place, and that was when I was eighteen years old at the nursing home 200 feet from my house. Ever since then, (12 years) I have somehow ended up receiving a vote-by-mail ballot every couple months for some primary or somesuch. I'm not sure if it is even possible for me to vote in an actual physical location. I am also perplexed by the signs I see on every corner bidding me vote for so-and-so for coroner. What the hell do I know about dead people and how can my vote have anything to do with determining said deadness?

  27. Crazy for Urban Planning Says:

    I'm with Ike – why do we have to vote for the sheriff or the judge? What do we know about these professions that gives us that right? I leave those blank. Also, I have voted absentee for the past ten years or so. Its private, more comfortable, and I can cheat and google the candidate before I fill in the oval.

  28. Major Kong Says:

    We had political correctness way back when I was growing up – we called it "politeness".

  29. beau Says:

    @Kong – Yeah! Us too! We called it 'correctness'.

    Well, no, we didn't. But I have always taken Politically Correct to mean "Correct, but I was happier back when before we knew this was correct, so I'm going to continue pretending nothing has changed".

  30. beau Says:

    Me sentence construct you good.

  31. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    BB, where is your loading dock? I ask because the driver of the FAIL truck has a delivery for you.

    First off, political correctness is a myth. The fact that people have more freedom today to speak out when they are offended(people such as women, minorities, gays, etc.), does not mean that political correctness is dominating your life. Keep in mind that up until about the 1960s, white people could say pretty much whatever they wanted about black people and other oppressed groups. During and shortly after that struggle for civil rights in the mid-60s, the right-wing backlash began IMMEDIATELY. That means you can read the words of racists and conservatives from the late 60s and 70s talking about how the struggle for women's or minority rights had gone way out of control, and that white men were losing their precious freedom to call a black man a nigger right to his face. Oh what a pity. The claim that political correctness reached some kind of cresendo in the 90s is a damn lie.

    The problem is that people are often taught about the civil rights struggle, but we often don't hear the side of the reactionaries that opposed it. That is not saying they had a valid point, rather we need to know what they were saying so we can compare it to what conservatives are saying today.

    In the middle of the 90s, one survey found that something like 93-95% of white people believed that that US had no serious problem with racism, and that there was equality for all. Makes sense right? Well not when you consider that the same percentage of white people said the same thing back in 1963, at the height of the civil rights struggle. Lesson: Maybe white people aren't so good at identifying systematic racism, and maybe instead of telling black people what to do, they should shut up and listen to what black people have to say about their experience. I gave it a try and I have to say it has worked wonders.

    The principle tactic of the so-called "backlash" has been the same for several decades now-

    1. Act as though you acknowledge, in some roundabout way, that there WAS some inequality and institutional racism in America's past.

    2. Act as though at some time(Civil War, 1960s) this was "fixed."

    3. Claim that continued talk about race and inequality has gone too far, and is now about "special rights" or privileges at the expense of white people. Claim that white people are now the victims. BONUS:Hint that because all the problems with racism were fixed, problems in the black community must be their own fault.

    4. Totally fail to understand the racism inherent in #3.

    If you don't believe me, next time do some research. For example, take some outrage like the Don Imus scandal. First of all, what he said was pretty hateful, and he said it because they were black. If he had heard about say, the women's basketball team from Minnesota, or say, Lithuania, would he have referred to them as whores? Probably not. Anyway, yes he got canned, but do a search to find all the conservative bloggers, radio show hosts, and cable TV hosts who either came to his defense, or used the incident to decry "political correctness."

    This brings us to an additional point: If political correctness is so strong, why is it we have an AM band dominated across the country by conservatives bitching about PC things all day? Why do we have one of the most successful cable news networks decrying it? These people also claim that they represent the majority of Americans. With that kind of domination, which in reality also extends to networks like CNN and MSNBC, how can one possibly claim with a straight face that liberal PC warriors control America?

    Oh wait I know how, because conservatives read books by pundits which consist largely of anecdotes and unrelated stories, often misrepresented, and cobbled together to supposedly prove America is under the thumb of PC.

    Absolute nonsense. If any of this were true, why would shows like Family Guy or South Park be so popular? Even left wing shows like The Daily Show say things that could be construed as offensive. Sure they are jokes, but those who warn us about PC claim that PC warriors have no sense of humor. Then again, the "PC warrior" is really just a figment of the conservative imagination.

    Oh wait, another load of fail just landed by parachute: 749 US soldiers and sailors died in a rehearsal for a landing on Utah Beach when they were suddenly attacked by German E-boats. Are you trying to compare this, in some sick, retarded way, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? First of all, WWII was a war for a just cause. Japan attacked the US and Hitler declared war on the US on 11 December. Second, this was a conventional war, and it had a clear goal- destroy Germany and its Axis allies, and the Empire of Japan(incidentally it was the three major axis powers which after 11 Dec made a public statement not to lay down arms while they still could fight, and not to make a separate peace, therefore nobody can fault FDR for calling for unconditional surrender). Also because it was a conventional war, the Axis had far more resources with which to include casulties on the allies.

    Do the insurgents have airplanes? Artillery other than mortars and unguided BM-21 rockets? Cruise missiles? Tanks? Nope, they have none of this. But they will continue to fight indefinitely while we prop up corrupt, theocratic governments.

    As usual, the conservatives use ignorance and inaccurate comparisons.

    Ok now you need to sign for all this FAIL.

  32. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan:

    I really appreciate the fact that you took a significant amount of your time to lay out your case for my manifest ignorance.

    We disagree on so many things and I am sure those who agree with you here are saying Amen (or whatever the Liberal equivalent is)

    This is a free and wonderful land still (though declining) but my experiences in my 64 years on all these matters are not subject to someone's argument. My interpretation of what's happened in my life may be incorrect, in an absolute sense, but it is mine.

    So, where do I sign?

    //bb

  33. THNRV Says:

    And there, my friends, is the all-too-common crux of the ("libertarian") conservative viewpoint: subjective experience and anecdotal evidence trumps all.

    At least Taft, Goldwater, the Pauls, et al. went through the trouble of constructing/propagating an ideology (divorced from reality as it is) to stringently adhere to and/or hide behind in the face of (relatively objective) fact.

  34. Jimcat Says:

    bb, if you didn't exist, Ed would have had to invent you.

  35. dugerger's outlaw Says:

    The full video of the event in question has been released. I have to say that especially in light of what she grew up with, Ms. Sherrod seems like nobility/nobleness personified.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/longer-video-of-controversial-speech-released-by-n-a-a-c-p/?hp

  36. bb in GA Says:

    The audience did not know that this was going to be a redemption story.

    Did you notice that when she got to the juicy parts about how Shirley was stickin' it to Whitey by slow walking her efforts, the mostly Balck audience was smoking and joking, Hee Haw, The Man's gettin' his, uh huh.

    That's the NAACP boys and girls, showing their bigotry and mean spiritedness.

    Now – If the giant knife switch were in front of you with FAUX GNUS printed below it, would you move it to OFF? If you had the power, hmmmm?

    //bb

  37. dugerger's outlaw Says:

    Yeah but they cheered even harder when she made the point that it was more about class than race and how poor people should stick together.

  38. mothra Says:

    Don't think the Sans-Culottes will be trotted out to stoke folk's fears by the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Roger Ailes. The people who would worry about the Nouveau Sans-Culottes don't watch Fox News–and don't want to give the underclass that DOES watch Fox News any ideas.

  39. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan:

    I apologize for being dismissive of your well written FAIL truck piece. I was subjective and weak in my reply.

    "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." – Vince Lomabardi

    I cop to that. I will reply to your main points later.

    One I can deal with w/ right now. My poor communication skills somehow convinced you that my "war" mis-step comment had to do with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    No Sir or No Ma'am.

    The war i was talking about is the propaganda war going on between the Left and the Right. I was looking at Breitbart's hit as a mis-step in that war (although upon further review, maybe not). Then I brought in the example of the people lost in preparation for D-Day.

    This kind of lanuched you into a rant on Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Hitler…all aboard! My fault, not enough detail.

    The counter insurgency has to do w/ the Right's propagandists trying to fight back against the Left's to win hearts and minds. Isn't that what a counter-insurgent does?

    This is a demanding medium for someone of my skill level and intellect. I need to be more attentive to detail, but not insult your intelligence at the same time.

    more later

    //bb

  40. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    BB, I'll lay the whole WWII topic to rest. But I would comment on this:

    "This is a free and wonderful land still (though declining) but my experiences in my 64 years on all these matters are not subject to someone's argument. My interpretation of what's happened in my life may be incorrect, in an absolute sense, but it is mine."

    It's not that your experience is totally irrelevant, but it is highly subjective, and anecdotal. Real evidence of ongoing discrimination against minorities in housing, hiring, health care, and law enforcement is based on hundreds of scientific surveys and studies. What they show us is that yes, racism is still a major problem in the US, and it is mostly against minorities.

    As Tim Wise has admitted, sure there are people like Shebazz(I believe that is the surname of the leader of the NBPP, which is nothing like the original Maoist BPP) who literally hate white people and are by definition, racist. The thing is, that people like Shebazz have no power. Sure, he could go off the deep end and start shooting people, but his ass would be in jail. White racism has power in this country, the power to ruin or even end someone's life.

    On the other hand, I am actually ASKING you to use your own experience. Next time you think about some "PC outrage", ask yourself, where did I hear about this from? If the country were really dominated by PC, you would have all the AM band and a great deal of cable news up in arms every time a nativity scene is taken down.

    People believe in this great PC conspiracy largely because the are told, constantly, that it exists. If it really existed, you wouldn't hear about it so prominently and so often. PC is also often used by conservatives to explain why their theories on history or society don't correspond to actual reality.

  41. bb in GA Says:

    Let's see if I got my mind right about invented scandals.

    Would y'all say that this Journo-list scandal is one of the FNC (actually Daily Caller) type over-inflated deals where the fire brand liberals who want to see EL Rushbo die on the carpet and have Karl Rove branded as a racist are just weenies with no power or influence?

    Sort of like the knight at the bridge in Monty Python?

    Are y'all too young for MP references?

    //bb

  42. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan sez: First off, political correctness is a myth.

    I am sorry I don’t have hundreds of studies, but my personal experience in corporate America in the 1970s thru the early 00s contradicts your “PC as a myth position.”

    Just a simple story – The very definition of “tolerance” was changed through the decades as we were required to attend re-education sessions relative to race, gender, orientation, etc. etc.

    We even had a program where you were “confronted” in small groups for a few looong days with real personal “in your face” Black facilitators improving your sensitivity by berating you, badgering you and race baiting you. Real uplifting stuff

    Very Stalinesque

    Tolerance in the corporate setting used to practically mean “You don’t think much of me or ‘my kind’ (thank you Shirley) and same back at you, but for the ‘Good of the Order’ or ‘The Mission’ we are going to put all that aside and get the job done.”

    The new definition became (for example) “I am Lesbian and if you are not willing to CELEBRATE the fact that I am a Lesbian, YOU are a bigot.”

    The pressure was there and it was real. If you were a corporate ladder climber (and White), you made sure you ‘celebrated’ correctly.

    It was a hoot because I worked for a corp that was about as diverse as you could get: We had many women in professional and managerial positions, Jews, Muslims, Pakistanis, Indians, Africans, Orientals of every description, Black Americans, White Devils, and ethnic Europeans working side by side for decades.

    We were all subjected to foolishness like “In our diversity is our strength.”

    How about “In our competence is our strength, and BTW, we don’t care who your momma was” ?

    Think my corporation was isolated and unique in the indoctrination?

    //bb

  43. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    "I am sorry I don’t have hundreds of studies, but my personal experience in corporate America in the 1970s thru the early 00s contradicts your “PC as a myth position.”

    No, actually it doesn't, and the very fact that you think your own personal experience can trump scientific studies is a sign of everything that is wrong with American society. What would you do if I told you my personal experience verified that arsenic could be a very effective painkiller?

    "Just a simple story – The very definition of “tolerance” was changed through the decades as we were required to attend re-education sessions relative to race, gender, orientation, etc. etc."

    The definition of tolerance, in this context, did not change. It is basically "don't be a dick to people based on their race, gender, etc." Of course when there is a paradigm shift and the government and corporations realize that now, heaven forbid, they must start actually GIVING the equality promised by the constitution to everyone, they had to make sure all employees understood this.

    "We even had a program where you were “confronted” in small groups for a few looong days with real personal “in your face” Black facilitators improving your sensitivity by berating you, badgering you and race baiting you. Real uplifting stuff"

    And I by contrast, never had such a class, ergo, according to your logic, the whole thing must be a lie. But forget about that for the moment. The fact that there are ineffective ways of teaching tolerance in the workplace does not mean that there is some kind of PC conspiracy. Even when the message is anti-racism, some people still fuck up.

    "Very Stalinesque"

    I'm quite educated on the Soviet Union from 1924-1953 and I don't remember anything about "in your face" black guys.

    "Tolerance in the corporate setting used to practically mean “You don’t think much of me or ‘my kind’ (thank you Shirley) and same back at you, but for the ‘Good of the Order’ or ‘The Mission’ we are going to put all that aside and get the job done.”"

    Did anyone actually say this, or is this just the way you perceived it?

    "The new definition became (for example) “I am Lesbian and if you are not willing to CELEBRATE the fact that I am a Lesbian, YOU are a bigot.”"

    Again, did anyone actually tell you this, or did you just infer it?

    "The pressure was there and it was real. If you were a corporate ladder climber (and White), you made sure you ‘celebrated’ correctly."

    Again, any actual evidence to back this up, or did your bitter white ass just perceive it to be that way?

    "We were all subjected to foolishness like “In our diversity is our strength.”

    How about “In our competence is our strength, and BTW, we don’t care who your momma was” ?

    Think my corporation was isolated and unique in the indoctrination?"

    Obviously the indoctrination wasn't so effective if you can still be a bitter old white guy whining about things like stupid slogans(i.e. diversity is our strength). But I'm sure your perception toward those things was tempered at the same time by an increase in voices from the media decrying all such practices, and perhaps helping you form that perception that the real goal of those people was to get you to "celebrate" lesbians and what-not. The very presence of that voice, which is now a cacophony today, disproves this so-called political correct conspiracy.

  44. ts46064 Says:

    BB,
    How can you compare diversity training to Joseph 'Send the Jews to the Gulags' Stalin?

  45. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    One more thing BB- In the 50's and 60s, the film industry, television, and schools used to "indoctrinate" children about proper social values, ideology, etc. J. Edgar once endorsed a schoolbook which explained the difference between Communism and "Freedom"(till reading that book I wasn't aware that the US was officially a Freedom). Films like Girlstown, Invasion USA(the original, not the Chuck Norris film), I Accuse my Parents, and a host of others contained conservative messages with the subtlety of an exploding whale(google it, it's not very subtle).

    The thing is that people like you want your own political correctness, one which has existed for most of this country's history. In this version of PC, black people don't bring up topics that make whites uncomfortable. Women take sexually charged comments in the workplace with a smile on the face, and gays stay in the closet.

  46. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    TS, what the hell are you talking about with "send the Jews to the GULAG?" Jews were never persecuted in the Soviet Union based on being Jewish. And don't even try to bring up the whole "bourgeois cosmopolitan code-word" nonsense because this word was not a euphemism for Jews, as is evident from its prior usage in the USSR.

  47. ts46064 Says:

    Please excuse my error.

  48. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    All is forgiven. Besides, you made a good point. These people act like a simple diversity class is some kind of brainwashing exercise. I'm sure that in the beginning, many attempts at teaching tolerance in the workplace were probably ham-fisted and poorly organized, but why would we expect it to work perfectly from the beginning right?

  49. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan:

    You are so right. Is there any hope for me? Scuse me, I got to go out and mistreat me some [FILL IN YOUR FAVORED VICTIM GROUP HERE]

    When we get that wonderful Obama care in 2014 and subsequently lose Grandma to the NICE equivalent, we can talk about "ham fisted" again.

    //bb

  50. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    So, BB, am I to understand then that you are disputing the well-established fact that women, gays, and minorities have, and in fact often still do(based on a number of studies), face mistreatment? As usual, you're just a whiny white guy who's upset that you actually have to treat other people equally. You might as well come out and say it. Otherwise there's a place called Stormfront for people like you.

    And what the hell does "Obama care"(a policy I have always been opposed to) have to do with this? How is Obama care going to kill your grandmother? If your grandmother was rejected by an insurance company, she would be just as dead.

    Coherence, acquire some.

  51. Elle Says:

    and subsequently lose Grandma to the NICE equivalent

    What's wrong with NICE?

  52. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan:

    You are so damned intelligent that simplicity escapes you;

    If you don't understand the difference between appropriate behavior control (I treat you in a prescribed fashion) in a corporate setting and freakin' attempts at mind control and belief modification then…no mas.

    I realize that a hard time here is the "price of admission" for someone like me, but other than massaging your flesh, calling me names doesn't advance your argument with me (if you care).

    //bb

  53. Bob Hopeless Says:

    Just to let you know, I had to write a letter a while back to our local tabloid in re a column in which our local insane wingnut, a woman named Christine Flowers, complained about the DHS report on possible right wing terror activity in the U.S. The gist of her complaint? That there was no similar DHS report on left wing radical activity (indeed, there was) and that there were plenty of left wing terror organizations to worry about. Her examples included the Baader-Meinhoff gang and the Weather Underground. So what if these organizations haven't existed in 40 years and, in one case, never existed in the U.S.?

  54. Prudence Says:

    Aslan, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the whole Doctors Plot thingummy was aimed squarely at Jews.

  55. ts46064 Says:

    "If you don't understand the difference between appropriate behavior control (I treat you in a prescribed fashion) in a corporate setting and freakin' attempts at mind control and belief modification then…no mas."

    MIND CONTROL!? That statement is strong evidence for my case that our country is fucked up, spoiled, and lacking of perspective.

    Diversity training=communist mind control
    Public Health= the Holocaust
    Taxes=FUCKING COMMUNISM!
    Any government program I don't use=FASCISM

    Fine BB, hold on to your fucking racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc views, but don't complain when a company tries to educate their employees. Its in the companies interest to not have a bunch of fucking asshole working for them.

  56. Prudence Says:

    "Mind control"? BB, have you been staring at goats?

  57. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    "You are so damned intelligent that simplicity escapes you;

    If you don't understand the difference between appropriate behavior control (I treat you in a prescribed fashion) in a corporate setting and freakin' attempts at mind control and belief modification then…no mas."

    Oh yes, DAMN intelligence!!! The thing is this IS simple. If this is an attempt at mind-control, it's a damn pathetic one. After all, it's not like we have a shortage of whiny white guys who are constantly upset about not being able to sexual harass women in the workplace or call people spics, niggers, and what -not. And they have PLENTY of media channels and venues to voice their phony victim fantasies.

  58. beau Says:

    @bb – "I realize that a hard time here is the "price of admission" for someone like me,"

    Welcome to life as part of a minority.

  59. bb in GA Says:

    Perfect example of word stuffing, Aslan.

    Why do you attribute vile motives to me (or my 'kind')? You have no idea how I treat others. You have no access to my check book and day timer.

    My daddy would kick my ass (if he were here) and my momma would positively haunt me (she promised to if I ever raised my hand to a woman [of any color]!) if I acted like you describe.

    Was I raised with bigot training? You bet, but I learned the evil that is outside of corporate America.

    Ah hell, why bother

    //bb

  60. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    If you don't treat people that way then why are you so upset that others need to be reminded? And don't you realize that in the past, for a long time people DID act that way to minorities and women in the workplace, and so obviously some new rules had to be laid down.

    I suggest next time before whining about something like this, do some research into the history of table etiquette. The simplest rules today would make someone in the 18th century seem like a barbarian.

  61. bb in GA Says:

    Aslan:

    I'll certainly try to control my whine in the future. Thanks for all your help.

    //bb

  62. Anonymous Says:

    Jesus, people. Don't feed the troll. He's not a serious person, he doesn't deserve serious consideration, and you're wasting your time treating him as though he has any interest in doing anything other than poisoning the discussion.

    And if he were capable of doing anything besides whine, he would have done it by now. Let his sort secede again, if they have the balls, or emigrate, if they don't like it here – I believe that's what they spent eight years telling us to do.

  63. News Nag Says:

    "Gin and Tacos asks: "I mean, how the hell old do one's viewers have to be before the Black Panthers are a relevant cultural reference?" The short answer is that a racist, conscious or not, will reflexively reach out to any era in order to bolster the mental fantasy that keeps them feeling justified in their bigotry, and the more ignorant they are of history and "the other" the easier it is to do so. The longer anecdotal evidence follows:

    I know a late 20s man, a pleasant fellow, enjoyed many conversations with him on broad political/historical topics, who doesn't know he's a white nationalist, and that he is only "an event" away from being a white separatist, who loves the ginned-up New Black Panthers controversy. He's someone who feels personally and as a racial type threatened by someone of a different race speaking assertively up for their rights. I don't know why he feels this way but it's obvious he does. He seems to think, in a default zero-sum kind of way, that "they" are "overreaching" – if 'they' get theirs, then I won't get 'mine'. He also says he's partial to The Constitution Party (or whatever it's officially called), and is one of the cultural and political right-wing's success stories. Oh, and did I mention he was in Special Forces served very early in Afghanistan and in Sudan, etc., and still trains Special Forces recruits stateside for the military? Yeah, the future's bright, as in white phosphorus explosion plumes.