Sunday, October 19, 2008

When Do the Joes get to Fight Back?

I used to work for journalists. I wasn't a journalist, but a librarian, a proofreader, compositor, cartoonist and stuffer. I even continue to deliver newspapers on an emergency basis. The tipping point for me leaving the world of journalists came when, sitting around with the sports editors, we began a pool to see if O.J. would actually kill himself during the slow speed cop chase of his White Ford Bronco. I didn't actually bet, and neither did the other guys. It was just an off-handed kind of remark, mostly. So no funds were actually collected or disbursed. I said, "5 bucks he would do it at such and such time," only he decided to live.
It was at that point I had to ask myself, "What kind of low life am I to be betting on something so horrible as this? Even casually?" And I realized, pretty horrible. And I was only the librarian. My job was never to write opinions or pontificate on the world around me. It was to file and categorize stories we'd written and published for our databases. It was to do research for the reporters, and help folks who were looking into their genealogies and kids who needed help on their essays and term papers. I enjoyed doing this. I liked being a catalog of instant information. It came easy to me and I always felt great helping others with their facts.

I considered myself well-read, and informed, and yet, because I was a conservative, I had to put up with a lot of snobbish bile. Back in 1993 it was no big deal, I just considered it part of the job. I developed a sense of humor about it, and often made fun of their sensitivities, saying, "The motto of journalists is Tolerance through Intimidation." I said that back in '94. It is even more true now.

Here we are 14 years later and it has gotten nastier. I quit in 95 because I didn't like being part of the slime festival that I believe journalism had become. Even a few of the librarians had that holier than thou attitude. But even before I quit, I encountered this in places normally considered quite conservative, like Billings Montana, where I worked in the composing room of the newspaper with editors all night long. You wouldn't have believed the insane meltdown they had collectively when Reagan was reelected in 1984. Their anger was just beginning to manifest itself. Back then, I just thought it hilarious, but now, not so much.

For your consideration: Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, plumber, Holland, Ohio. He owes back taxes and he's divorced, and he would like to buy his boss' plumbing business one day. He asked The One how that could be possible with the kind of punitive taxation He proposed. The One reassured him, saying that they just wanted to spread the wealth around, and Mr. Wurzelbacher correctly pointed out that this was Socialism, not the American Way. WELL! The press and the leftist douche-tards blogosphere have been investigating everything this poor man has ever done in his life and vilified him in the process.

So now it has come down to this: If you deign to ask your elected officials a genuine, heartfelt question about a policy, and they answer in a way that troubles you, and you say "Hey, that doesn't sound like a good idea at all!", will you be given the 'Plumber's Treatment'? What's an ordinary citizen to do, cowed and fearful of an attack by a press that has finally shed all pretense to objectivity and gladly lends itself to being the cudgel that silences EVERYONE ELSE'S free speech? Here are some ideas:

From Iowahawk, a little Light Warfare, some support, but no punches.

First, a pre-emptive apology for the intentional non-humor to follow. I promise that all future non-humor will be strictly unintentional.

We've all witnessed a lot of insanity in American politics over the last few years. Up until the last few days, none of it has seriously bothered me; hey, just more grist for the satire mill. But after witnessing the media's blitzkreig on Joe 'the Plumber' Wurzelbacher, I can only muster anger, and no small amount of fear.

Politicians -- Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, et al. -- obviously have to put up with some rude, nasty shit, but it's right there in the jobs description. Joe the Plumber is different. He was a guy tossing a football with his kid in the front yard of his $125,000 house when a politician picked him out as a prop for a 30 second newsbite for the cable news cameras. Joe simply had the temerity to speak truth (or, if you prefer, an uninformed opinion) to power, for which the politico-media axis apparently determined that he must be humiliated, harassed, smashed, destroyed. The viciousness and glee with which they set about the task ought to concern anyone who still cares about citizen participation, and freedom of speech, and all that old crap they taught in Civics class before politics turned into Narrative Deathrace 3000, and Web 2.0 turned into Berlin 1932.0.

Godwin's Law! you say? if the jackboot fits, wear it.

If it's meta-memes and meta-meta-narratives these media headlice want, so be it. I hope you will join me in expressing a simple bit of solidarity with this guy, Spartacus style. I AM JOE. I am a Wal Mart schlub in flyover country who changes my own oil and unclogs drains without a license. I smoke and drink beer and toss the football in the front yard with my kid, and I figure I can fend my way without handouts from some Magic Messiah's candy bags. Most everyone in my family and most everyone I grew up with is another Joe, and if you screw with them, you screw with me.

Are you a Joe? Say it proud. Leave it on every goddamn newspaper comment section and online forum. Let these pressroom and online thugs know you won't stay silent when they try to destroy the life of a private citizen for speaking his mind -- because for every one of them, there are a million Joe Wurzelbachers. And for that we should all be thankful.
A lot of style without actually hoping for a change in press behavior. Still, his heart is in the right place. He's much more deliciously dangerous when he's funny. Seriously.

and from Ace of Spades
My kind of self-defense free speech free for all, and something David Horowitz has tried to warn conservatives about for years:

Re: Vetting the Media

A lot of people want to know why we shouldn't begin "vetting" the media -- and by "vetting," I do in fact mean vetting. I mean starting a fund to put fucking detectives on them and begin outing them, one by one:

In the closet.

Hits his wife.

Fucking her editor.

Stoned out of his mind on coke half the time.


And to reduce costs, I'm sure some budding citizen journalists-detectives would be wiling to take a night a week following these bastards around, taking pictures.

The media's position that Joe the Plumber who merely asked a question must be "vetted" out of existence certainly supports the full-blown "vetting" of them.

After all, far more turns on the questions they ask and... refuse to ask, more importantly.

Will we do this?

I've had angry phases where I was within inches of proposing just this. Even starting a corporation with limited liability protections to do so.

It may be time.

But not now. There are only two weeks left. The media isn't changing. They are in the tank for Obama; this is the full-court press. If we "got" one or two of these bastards by election day, what effect? None.

However, I have been loathe to even post such a notion in the past. It's too ugly, too vicious.

Not anymore.

It is their own "rule" -- those who ask questions that harm one's preferred candidate must be hounded and harassed and humiliated until they are silenced.

If this is the rule they impose on everyday citizens, it's time for everyday citizens to impose it on them.

Yes, this is where we're headed. And while I used to greet the prospect with disgust, now I'm comfortable with it.

It is their own "rule."

They will have to live by it, same as all of us.

Joe the Plumber was the last straw.

He was the last "freebie."
I liked this comment from 'someone':
"What the media doesn't understand is that once they unleash Anonymous on them, they're fucked.
"None of us is as cruel as all of us."
(And yes, it won't necessarily be *that* Anonymous, but same thing.)"

It is going to be a long cruel, asymmetrical war against ourselves. That much is for sure. No use thinking that we can pretend that all is well in America. Many festering wounds are going to be lanced, and soon. (For what it's worth, I don't see many yard signs or bumper stickers this time, although I have seen plenty of this one:


  1. Jewel, glad you visited us. I stole the Joe The Plumber Pipe graphic :)

  2. I borried it from Iowahawk! I recommend you read his site regularly, too!

  3. Lotsa sign stealing going on this election........of all kinds! hehehe

  4. I like the one I stole from Patty Ann's site. That was the one that I used for Citizen Journalists at a McCain Rally.

  5. I stole the Were screwed one off your page for if my choice doesnt make it hehehe.


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