The Oregon Militiamen Need Several Magazines Of Caps In Their Asses

Hang on just a second, America. You thought you were done with the Native Americans? Done driving them off their lands, killing them off, infecting them with smallpox-ridden blankets, massacring them, breaking treaties, taking over ancient hunting and ceremonial grounds, mocking them with derogatory and offensive stereotypes? Not so fast. Much work remains to be done, and the brave Oregon militiamen who are gallantly battling the Bureau of Land Management and have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have much to teach you.

First off, roads need to be built, using bulldozers, right through archaeological sites that are of great historical, emotional, and symbolic value to a Native American nation–in this case, the Burns Paiute Tribe. Such infrastructural support is necessary to transport the truckloads of lubricant and dildo that have been shipped from all over the country, with great affection, to the militiamen–all the better for them to put the final touches on their frontier fantasies, wherein, you know, men are men, and get really friendly on long, lonely, cold nights. The road building–which will scrape several inches of the topmost layer of earth off the ground–will also ensure that damage will be done to land protected  by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. (“More than 300 recorded prehistoric sites are scattered across the refuge, including burial grounds, ancient villages and petroglyphs.“) Remember, archaeological sites are the kinds of places where you see folks handling just about anything with kid gloves–like in those musty documentaries which show people on their hands and knees brushing dust off relics oh-so-carefully.

Second, six-thousand year old artifacts need to be rifled through by as many grubby paws as possible, all the while accompanied by faux expressions of concern and a desire to take care of them in cooperation with the Burns Paiute Tribe. (“Some of the artifacts — including spears, stone tools, woven baskets and beads — date back 9,800 years.“)

Tell you what, Oregon militiamen. Go home. Go home and take care of your business(es). And your families. This sideshow provided some cheap amusement at first, and allowed for the expression of some outrage at the double-standards so clearly on display in the kid-gloves treatment you received at the hands of the federal law enforcement authorities. In exposing those double-standards so clearly, you might even have performed a public service. So, like, thanks. Thanks too, for highlighting the injustice of mandatory sentencing minimums. You’ve made yourself into heroes for a certain demographic; you’ve ensured yourself invitations to the NRA’s Defenders of Liberty Luncheon and the Federalist Society‘s Breakfasts with Antonin Scalia. Who knows, some of you might even be invited on to guest blog at the Volokh Conspiracy.

But now, the show is over. Your addition to the never-ending abuse of Native Americans is not welcome and it is not funny. Your ersatz expressions of concern for their property, which you have already desecrated, and which you feel free to run your hands through, mark you as very particular bunch of dipshits. Pack up the guns, pick up any half-used tubes of lube, remove all dildos from bodily orifices, and fuck off right on back to where you came from.

Road-Tripping With Rush Limbaugh And Glenn Beck

Yesterday, I drove up to Albany to meet an old friend. After spending the night, I returned this afternoon to Brooklyn. While driving, I sought entertainment through radio. The usual fare of FM was hard to snare: reception was often spotty–for whatever reason, the selections were uninspiring–a little too much emphasis on the Eagles methinks, and as usual, there were way too many commercials. After entertaining myself for a little while with the Hudson Valley’s WPDH, as I got closer to Albany, I found WGY on FM 103.1, ” a radio station licensed to Schenectady, New York and owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., broadcasting a news and conservative talk radio format.” On it, I heard Rush Limbaugh yesterday afternoon, and Glenn Beck this morning. It was, as might be expected, an edifying experience.

Here are some of my takeaways:

  1. Rush Limbaugh is most accurately analogized to an angry, blustering, bully, who imagines himself the leader of an insurrection; his broadcasting booth is the balcony of his palace. Glenn Beck imagines himself a deeply religious libertarian scholar of the constitution, one deeply steeped in the history of this nation, this “republic” (which might be his favorite word of all time), who also happens to be leading a folk movement to take back political power.
  2. Donald Trump is scared of no one but Rush Limbaugh. With great glee, Limbaugh played an “audio bite” of Trump responding to a reporter’s question about Limbaugh having described him as not being “a true conservative.” Trump’s response went roughly as follows: “I’ve heard that, and I just want to say that I respect Rush; he’s been great to me, and I have a lot of respect for him. I love him and I think he’s been great to me.” That’s all. Limbaugh played this clip at least four times, chortling on each occasion.
  3. Glenn Beck speaks with many, many, pauses for dramatic effect, all the better to let the portentousness of his pronouncements about “the republic,” the Constitution, “this nation’s founding fathers,” “self-evident truths,” and liberty sink in. This is a man who clearly thinks he is saying Very Important Things.
  4. Both Limbaugh and Beck agree, roughly, that this nation “is hanging by a thread,” that there is “a state of cultural decay,” that “we are headed for a dictatorship.” They also agree that the disdain of the Republican Party for the Trump candidacy is proof positive that the Trump is doing something right, that he, as Beck put it, might be “the one we’ve been waiting for.” (They both also breathe heavily into their microphones.)
  5. Limbaugh is definitely the more paranoid of the two: the Bernie Sanders candidacy is a conspiracy, stage managed by the Democrats to show that Hillary Clinton is a tough candidate, capable of riding out a tough primary challenge, and of dispelling any notions that she is merely placing the crown on her head. (Rush also thinks Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith are bigots and racists for suggesting a boycott of this year’s Oscars.)

I did not just listen to a couple of radio shows; I traveled to distant lands. Sorry to sound like an anthropologist, but my sense of having encountered a distinct cultural formation was very acute.

 

Guns and Speech, Gunslingers and Writers

Patrick Blanchfield examines some of the troubling constitutional questions raised by the gun-toting folks who showed up to protect Cliven Bundy in Nevada:

According to open carry advocates, their presence in public space represents more than just an expression of their Second Amendment rights, it’s a statement, an “educational,” communicative act  — in short, an exercise of their First Amendment freedom of speech. (See this, from the group Ohio Carry, and this Michigan lawsuit.)

This claim bears serious consideration.  The First Amendment has historically been much harder to limit than the Second, and so extending the freedom of speech to the open display of weapons raises several urgent questions about how we understand the relationship between expressing ideas and making threats, between what furthers dialogue and what ends it.

But are guns speech?  Is carrying a weapon as an act of public protest constitutionally protected under the First Amendment? And if so, what do guns say?

These are very important questions and they deserve a serious answer. Much to the relief of gun advocates everywhere, I will argue the analogy holds quite well.

Guns are pens, pencils, styluses, word processors, take your pick; bullets are their words; gun users are writers. Those who use guns are rightly distinguished by their manner of employing them. For instance, your garden-variety, pistol-packin’ gunslinger is akin to a popular tabloid writer, perhaps emptying a few magazines–see what I did there?–in the direction of the target of his polemics; the sharpshooter armed with a high-powered rifle is a much more accomplished wordsmith, able to use expensive precision equipment with style and delicacy alike to bring down his quarry. (Remember how we used to speak of the ‘cut, thrust, and parry’ of verbal jousters? Swords, foils, and rapiers then, guns now.)

Many words of wisdom, dispensed to writers and sharpshooters, are analogous to each other. For instance, the sage advice that you should wait till you can ‘see the whites of their eyes’ is like telling a writer to wait for the right moment to publish his book or essay or blog post, or share it on Facebook or Twitter (the wise ones always share links during work hours, when you can be sure the salaried worker is busy killing time with social media.) Sometimes, just like in writing, you should show, not tell; let folks know you are carrying heat; there is no need to say any more.

Brevity in gunfire, as in writing, is always appreciated: don’t be profligate in your consumption of ammunition; never use two words to do what you can do with one. After all, a well-placed bullet between the eyes is always better than spraying a whole clip of ammo at the target; you are more likely to go home with a kill that day.

Who are the readers? The targets, of course. A good writer needs good readers. And good shooters need good targets, a fact we are always reminded of whenever we see those wonderful photographs of hunters standing over their dead prey–such noble, brave, beautiful, splendid animals, their brains blown out and splattered all over the ground.