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January 30, 2011

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Dude, people in cities are all atheist commie-loving pedophiles. Don't you know this by now?

I surmise that the dog whistle is that we love our traditional, intact, nuclear families, with a father, a mother and children (especially if the mother does not work outside the home).

This is easy to understand. These sorts of statements are not meant to convey information. They are meant to affirm loyalty to a group, and to profess the goodness of the group. The quoted statement is the human equivalent of grooming the other members of your tribe, and then urinating in the direction of your neighbor's tribe.

Its a form of non cognitivism, or expressivism.

Lots of politics work this way. You think republican politicians who claim to be unsure about President Obama's citizenship are really crazy morons? They're not. They're just saying that because its a difficult to fake (this is a term of art in this context) indicator of group loyalty. Its almost unfair to evaluate them as if they mean what they say, because they're not saying it for its meaning. The underlying message when a republican politician says something like that is "I am one of you. If I weren't, would I say something this dumb on national television? Only those who are willing to make fools of themselves in this way can be trusted to truly hold the group above their own self."

Phyllis Schlafly, an Indianan, and President of the Eagle Forum, "Leading the Pro-Family Movement since 1972," will tell you what "we love our families" means.

"We love our families [and you don't]" ==> "You are alien, Other, not quite human, ..."

Or is it, "we love *our* families, we hate *your* families"?

It could mean,

"We love our community being organized around our conventional families in a way that heathen communities are not."

That is, the "our families" does not refer to actual individual families, but rather "families" of a certain type as a critical feature of society. That would be somewhat akin to saying "We love our mountains," or something, though the sentiment may be stronger.

What's it mean? Why, simple. There is only so much love to go around.

You know I'm pretty sick of the stereotype of the snobbish city person. To find a real godawful I'm-better-than-you smug superiority attitude, go to a small town.

To find a real godawful I'm-better-than-you smug superiority attitude, go to a small town.

Precisely. It's the reason people move out of small towns into the cities.

You left out the italics - they meant to say "we love our families..." It's a negative pregnant implying that unlike the cultural elitists of the midwest, the folks on the coasts make Sodom & Gomorrah look like Bible camp.

“Heartland America doesn’t feel the same way as people in the cities,” he said. “We do believe in religion, we go to church all the time, we shoot and fish, and love our families."

WTF does this guy know about people who live in cities?

The whole "Heartland America" thing is so freaking tedious it makes me want to puke.

Holwager needs to get out more and meet some people who aren't exactly like him.

The "we love our families" line probably is, as has been mentioned, just a bit of standard boilerplate group-bolstering: but coming from a Teabagger, it's probably the unspoken corollary, "dog-whistle", if you will, that is the more important part of the commentary, i.e.:

"...and we will viciously and violently fight to maintain our right to pass along our prejudices and extreme political obsessions to them without contradiction"

I'm pretty sure that if you're talking secret decoder rings, and you're not applying them to something printed on the back of a cereal box, you've gone wrong. Likewise dog whistles, if you're not talking about dogs.

"Secret decoder rings" and "dog whistles" are just excuses, when one's opponents aren't saying something satisfyingly outrageous, to put words in their mouths they didn't utter.

I'm guessing that, by "“We do believe in religion, we go to church all the time, we shoot and fish, and love our families.", he means that they believe in religion, go to church all the time, shoot and fish, and love their families. And, sure, he's implying that people in cities don't do these things, or at least not as much. But don't you think ill of your enemies, too?

Yes but most of us would admit that even Nazis* can have a happy family life without that detracting from their general loathability.
Some people prefer to keep animals instead of shooting them and the way some people shoot animals qualifies themselves to become targets (bears and wolves should be trained in the use of SAMs and light flak)
Btw, why should fishing in the sea** be morally inferior to fishing in lakes and rivers?***
No to forget that 'the heartlanders' also love to shoot up churches (that they don't like), make 'family values' a religion (in a way that crashes with the bible in places) and go to the government all the time to fish for mammon (while denouncing it in principle). And if I see the 'love' the self-appointed speakers of the heartland show, I would hate to be in their families They would soon sleep with the fishes if I were.

*this is not to be construed as equating the TP with the NSDAP
**that's were I used to fish and I am an inland-big-city guy.
***just a natural extension of their argument that city <> heartland.
=> city = coast
=> (since city = coast and city <> fishing) coast = no fishing (of any value to Americanness at least)

I'm pretty sure that if you're talking secret decoder rings, and you're not applying them to something printed on the back of a cereal box, you've gone wrong. Likewise dog whistles, if you're not talking about dogs.

Brett, you've lost me here. Are you saying that one cannot speak metaphorically, and communicate anything? Or are you saying that you lack any ability to understand metaphors? Or, if not one of those, what?

OTOH if your intention is to note that these metaphors are hackneyed threadbare, I largely agree.

But don't you think ill of your enemies, too?

Oddly enough, I don't think of folks like Mark Holwager, or Tea Partiers in general, as my "enemy", and it would strike me as highly peculiar if they considered me to be one of theirs.

I don't care if people go to church, shoot and fish, and love their families. Quite a number of folks I know, many of whom live in cities in the dreaded liberal coastal northeast, go to church, shoot and fish, and love their families.

And quite a number of folks I know don't.

So what?

Does Holwager want some kind of medal for his church-going, shooting and fishing, family-loving ways? Does he think he's some kind of special, extra-church-going, extra-shooting-and-fishing, extra-family-loving guy?

The Holwagers of the world need to get over themselves. They're just normal people, like everybody else.

Hackneyed stereotypes and metaphors are not the exclusive province of liberals and lefties.

If Holwager's feeling threatened by scary liberals from the big city, he should get to know some. It would probably go a long way toward alleviating his anxiety.

He might even develop a taste for good deli.

What Patrick said.

This is "we are like THIS [good], not like THOSE PEOPLE OVER THERE [bad, obviously]." Nothing more.

sure, he's implying that people in cities don't do these things, or at least not as much. But don't you think ill of your enemies, too?

The thing is, Brett, the "God" and "guns" parts of his statement have some referrents in reality: "his people" *do* go to Just Plain Christian church more, and they *do* shoot guns more. The "love our families" part, though, has no obvious reference. I need a decoder ring because it's something that seems to be important to him, but which has no clear meaning -- or rather, the meaning it would have to me is pretty clearly *not* what he intends.

I also was reminded about slacktivist's post on "Pro-Family" means anti-families -- that organizations (or people) who stress they are "pro-Family" are opposed to things that help many actually-existing families.

I wonder how much the heartland view of the coasts is influenced by the fact that pretty much all of the cop shows on TV are set in coastal cities. (OK, the original CSI is in Las Vegas. But nobody mistakes that for a heartland location.) And all of those shows are full of horrific crimes and horrible people -- they may get caught and punished, but they are still horrible people.

Now, likely you don't see that sort of thing around you. And most people don't, regardless of where they live. And you don't see it on TV dramas set near you either, just those set on the coasts. So obviously something is really, really wrong in the coastal cities.

Now if someone would just set a crime show in Omaha or Indianapolis, maybe it would shift the perception....

Self congratulatory nonsense is hardly the exclusive province of the right (maybe I should go off on Sean Penn declaring that anyone who slanders Hugo Chavez should be sent to prison). Here, Dr. S is taking the words of one goober and imputing them to millions. I recall one of Dr. S' posts in which she went on, for quite a while, on Republicans splitting with science, and of course, liberals were the good guys, blah, blah, blah.

Finding someone who disagrees with you in a particularly stupid way makes it easy to minimize and marginalize anyone outside your cocoon. But then, that's what cocoons do to people, across the spectrum.

McK,

Here, Dr. S is taking the words of one goober and imputing them to millions.

Well, yes. But after all isn't this close to an echo of Palin's comments about "real America," and views expressed more commonly on the right?

wj: Now if someone would just set a crime show in Omaha or Indianapolis, maybe it would shift the perception....

Fox did that with The Good Guys, set in Dallas. Although the crimes were more "hilarious" than "horrific."

The show didn't even make it a full season, though.

Of course there are all the crime shows set in Chicago, which is a Midwestern city. But it's, y'know, Chicago, which is apparently now shorthand for "everything that's wrong with teh ebil libruls." So that probably doesn't count, either. Chicago is, like, San Francisco with Boston's mobs, New York's corruption, and Canada's climate. No good, god-fearing individual would go there.

The sentiment that cities (and their inhabitants) are evil and cut off from the good and healthy rural life is by no means an American specialty. The German Heimatroman/film is based on this axiom. It has also been an all-time favorite of racists from the 19th century on. They considered the city a Rassengrab (race grave = place where (pure) race dies and gets buried by mongrelization). I think some blame can be put on Rousseau there who popularized the meme that evil comes from moving away from 'good' nature towards 'civilization'.

Here, Dr. S is taking the words of one goober and imputing them to millions.

You should quote her doing that, McKinney, 'cause I don't see that anywhere, unless "he", "him" and "Holwager" refer to millions.

Yes, Sean Penn can be an ass. You should do a guest post, if someone can arrange that.

FWIW, there's an article in the latest ESPN: The Magazine (not available online, so far as I can tell) about the big-time recruiting of top HS girls to play college basketball. Certain schools, it is alleged, play up the "family values" of their programs, which defenders say is just general boosterism, but others say is code for "At least you won't be coached/seduced by lesbians here [unlike at unnamed X University]." Interesting.

Harmut,

The sentiment that cities (and their inhabitants) are evil and cut off from the good and healthy rural life is by no means an American specialty.

Think also of "la France profonde." The rural-urban value conflict is, I think, a feature of the history of many countries.

Now if someone would just set a crime show in Omaha or Indianapolis, maybe it would shift the perception....

Well, Close to Home was actually set in Indianapolis, Saving Grace was set in Oklahoma City, Chase is set in Dallas, etc,: so "crime shows" aren't exclusively the province of "coastal" America.

Of course, a great many TV shows "set" in various US cities are all filmed on the same backlot in Hollywood, with only the uniforms on the cops and the license plates on the cars to differentiate the locale. Amazingly, so many of them are also "set" (literally) in New York: which certainly has enough local film resources
of its own - I know, they block my neighborhood streets often enough....

Here's a decoding, if you like. We "love our families" means we didn't move away from them to the anonymous city. The things we do and say are constantly discussed, judged and remembered by our relations.

Obviously people in cities may love their families, but it feels like the ones who moved away from *us* aren't so much a part of the family any more.

is there a map of the US which shows the borders of "Heartland" ?

i'd like to make sure i never spend any money there.

"The "love our families" part, though, has no obvious reference. I need a decoder ring because it's something that seems to be important to him, but which has no clear meaning -- or rather, the meaning it would have to me is pretty clearly *not* what he intends."

I donno; Seems pretty clear he's imputing a lack of love for families to his political opponents. Asinine, but not exactly unclear. No need for any secret decoder ring here.

I think Brett just nailed it.

cleek:

Many people seem to use
this one.

You are incorrect, since it is unclear (to me, at least) what policy position a "lack of love for families" implies. Is there something to substantiate his claim re: lack of love? He is not sufficiently specific for us to even be able to attempt to falsify his claim. An unfalsifiable claim doesn't contribute much to a discourse; in this case, as has been noted, I have to guess that his intent was to vaguely gesture in the direction of "family values" policies like, e.g., denying gay people the right to marry or adopt children.

Of course, that is only a guess, since he was so unclear.

I don't know, Julian. If I say there is no god, is that unclear (or, rather how unclear is it)? It's not falsifiable, nor does it imply a specific policy position.

I mean, I understand what you're saying about the statement. What are we supposed to do with it, right? That's not clear. But I think Brett is right about the statement itself.

I read through all of this to see if there might be anything novel but didn't find anything. The code is that the heartland is right and the cities (particularly coastal) are left. Most all commenters here have already a concept of what that means to them. Since many politicians on the right campaign on issues related to self-defined 'family values', and rarely do we see politicians on the left use this terminology, why would 'we love our families' used here require any decoding that general political campaigning would not?

One demographic that needs to be recognized is that the 'heartland' is everywhere in the U.S., with 'cities' interspersed, more in some regions (coastal) than in others. So statistics for urban versus rural expressed political values will track similarly in both New Jersey and Indiana. How have the cities grown over time? Two major sources have been immigration from other nations and movement of individuals and families from the 'heartland'. And both of these sources bring more diversity in values to the 'cities' than will reside in the 'heartland'.

I don't think that there's a lot of nuance in what he's claiming. I think Brett is pretty close in his reading. I would like to emphasize, however, that the collocation, here, of religion, guns and family is not a mistake. Part of it is, no doubt, a defiant echoing of the 'cling to guns and religion' saw of the last election, but there is also a very strong implied sense that religion and guns are what keeps a family safe from the harmful ideologies of the coastal types. I also think there's an underlying fear of demographically driven cultural change in this and a sort of bunker mentality.

A South Park reference comes to mind. Kyle is competing in a spelling bee with the home-schooled kids, the final word he has to spell is "krocsyldiphithic." He asks to hear it in a sentence, and the judge says "Krocsyldiphithic is a hard word to spell."

So, while you can always say statement X is clear because

statement X = statement X

that property (the identity property) is not sufficient to achieve "clarity" by a reasonable definition.

With regard to "there is no god," I think that's more clear to most of us because we're familiar with the debate about the existence of god. But yes, actually, "there is no god" is not entirely clear. Are you referring to the concept of god, or god himself? How are you defining "god?" Judeo-Christian? What if it's just a really old being who is omniscient but not omnipotent? And so on. The reason I am pretty sure I know you mean "there is no X where X is an immortal omnipotent omniscient being or beings responsible for the creation of matter and the universe" is because we talk about that all time.

However, w/r/t "loving their families less," I can make up examples of things that would constitute such a deficiency, but I really don't know which ones he means. Do city people visit their families less often? Or do they have more divorces? Or more incest/rape/domestic violence? The set of "loving family less" is quite big and is, in my view, vague.


I think I am being nitpicky to just avoid being wrong, and vague is a term with a spectrum of meaning, so I will concede that my objection boils down that he was too vague for my taste but not for others. Still, my taste! It is offended!

Urban populations exhibit diversity in values and skills among individual members while rural populations exhibit greater homogeneity in values and skills among individuals. Individuals living in urban societies tend to exhibit a specialized set of individual skills rather than a diverse set whereas individuals living in rural societies exhibit much greater diversity in individual skills. I have lived for extended periods in both environments, so this is my opinion based on my experiences. These very different life styles may very well influence how political life is approached.

I read the Times Tea Party article and I can relate to it. I was involved at the precinct level in the move to replace Senator Bennett and I can see the same going on with Senator Hatch. These Senators have served their constituency well but both have been there too long and had (have) become Washington good ole boys. Same thing when Jason Chafetz replaced Chris Cannon in the House.

I'm not really a tea party activist but my thoughts and actions will align with theirs fairly well.

What else might "we love our families" mean?

You might want to reexamine the assumption that it means something.

Hogan may very well have it right, well-worn phases don't necessarily mean much, and that goes double when they are said in the context of politics.

But so much as it means anything, I'd suspect that Brett has it right. Its main function in solidarity--we love our families, HOORAY FOR US! Its secondary function is to insinuate that city people might not love their families quite as much, perhaps as an appeal to parents whose children moved to faraway cities for various reasons.

Suspecting it is about gays is a huge stretch. Most of those willing to be nasty about gays still don't bother disguising it much. Abortion is slightly less of a stretch, but still a stretch. Why can't it just be the insinuation that city people aren't quite as family oriented?

Here's one instance of how 'we love our families' could differ. Maybe in the 'heartland' 'we love our families bigger'. I have 2 daughters, one has 4 children and the other has 3. The one who lives in a rural setting is considered by peers in the country to have a small family (accompanied by few judgements about that circumstance) whereas the one who lives in a large city is viewed by peers in the city as having a large family (some of them judge that as an act of selfishness and suggest that one should have been enough).

Urban populations exhibit diversity in values and skills among individual members while rural populations exhibit greater homogeneity in values and skills among individuals.

This is very true. And this diversity is one of the major drivers for why cities are so much more economically productive than rural areas.

Individuals living in urban societies tend to exhibit a specialized set of individual skills rather than a diverse set whereas individuals living in rural societies exhibit much greater diversity in individual skills.

I don't understand this. I live in a city and talking to my neighbors I hear a much greater diversity of skills than I'd seen while visiting the country. I can see how this statement might be correct if you define skills to be 'hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, and other stuff', but that seems like an absurd definition. Reading ancient greek, building robots, and designing new musical instruments are no less skills despite the fact that they're probably more likely to be practiced by the urban crowd.

One demographic that needs to be recognized is that the 'heartland' is everywhere in the U.S., with 'cities' interspersed

Exactly wrong.

You can stop at "the 'heartland' is everywhere in the U.S.".

Look, living in the country is different from living in the city. Also, living by the ocean is different from living in the desert. Also, living in the mountains is different from living down in flat-land. Also, living where it's cold in the winter is different from living where it's warm all year round.

Whatever floats your boat.

People should live where they want to live, how they want to live. Make your choices and enjoy yourself. Be happy. Mazel tov.

But leave the 'heartland' thing aside, please.

People use that language to indicate that their point of view and experience is somehow more authentically American, or maybe just flat out more authentic, than other folks'.

It's a load of crap.

The Heartland was the original "Real America" right? Actually, come to think of it, it almost certainly wasn't the *original* one. Just the direct predecessor.

Suspecting it is about gays is a huge stretch. Most of those willing to be nasty about gays still don't bother disguising it much.

Right. No one has ever tried wrapping up gay-bashing in a friendly-sounding euphemism like "family values" or "protecting the sanctity of marriage."

You never cease to amaze me, Sebastian.

"Suspecting it is about gays is a huge stretch. Most of those willing to be nasty about gays still don't bother disguising it much. Abortion is slightly less of a stretch, but still a stretch. Why can't it just be the insinuation that city people aren't quite as family oriented?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_on_the_Family

Brett: But don't you think ill of your enemies, too?

Not really. At least, not about the basic idea that most people value their family and their community and have strongly-held moral values that they have a right to use as the basis of their political activities.

I actually think most people on both sides think most people on the other side are perfectly nice, decent people who care about their families. This kind of crap finds a limited audience.

Fun to argue about, though. And I am always amused by the idea that the cities are some hellhole of depravity. Not only are the cities primarily full of boring married middle-class people (hard for them to be otherwise since 80% of Americans live in cities) but almost all the gays and sexual deviants I know are also married, often with kids, all extremely boring in a basic sense.

The one lesson that people have had to learn over and over again is that when someone tells you that group X is nothing like you decent people - is amoral and strange and gross and whatever - it is always a lie intended to get you to do their dirty work for them.

Absolutely everyone on the planet cares about their family and friends and community and has a basic assumption of goodwill towards strangers. Because we're programmed to do it, because we're grown-up monkeys who evolved in cooperative groups and that's what we do.

I think it's quite nice, but then, I'm programmed to think that it's quite nice. Not something I lose sleep over.

MckTexas: "Here, Dr. S is taking the words of one goober and imputing them to millions."

Yes, enough with the takings and the imputations. Shame on the good Doctor.

Better the heartland conservative Republican way, in which the millions choose the biggest, dumbsh*t goober among them (say, Sauron Angle, in goodoleboy's territory -- pick your poison) and elect them to high office as their representatives in the rhetorical and imputational departments , and where the words and imputations about the odd habits of the heartland folk (shooting fish, for example) and of the cityfolk (proposing to send their tax money to rural hospitals, for example, so heartland Medicare parasites don't have to drive to the city for their lead poisoning treatments) are imputed, amplified, repeated, and represented ad nauseum on any old cable news network as the views of the millions.......

..... in other words, you.

Seb, I think UK might have a point. Many of the a-holes who use "family values" mean, among other things, gay people are bad. Still, this was a needless post about a single douche bag that has produced much about very little.

HSH--while its true that Dr. S was complaining about one person, she conflated that with Tea Party followers universally. Otherwise, no need for a Tea Party decoder ring, just a douche bag Decoder ring. As for a guest post, I really don't have much to say . . .

Mr. Holwager argued that there is a disconnect between Tea Party supporters and many of their representatives in Washington.

The above comes just before the Holwager quote from the Times article. It is Holwager who presumed to be speaking for Tea Party supporters, so he would be the one requiring any decoder ring to be of the Tea Party variety. The guy wasn't simply speaking extemporaneously about his thoughts, leading Doc Sci to assume a Tea Party association. Holwager did the imputing here, not Doc Sci, so the your lack of a quote of Doc Sci is understandable.

Still, this was a needless post about a single douche bag that has produced much about very little.

A "single douche bag" quoted in the NYT might be someone with a unique viewpoint, newsworthy because of its uniqueness. Or he might be someone who is quoted because his viewpoint is typical of a significant segment of the public. I'm sure those are not the only possibilities, but I do wonder whether McKinney thinks Mark Holwager fits into either category.

--TP

I am detecting a strong whiff of "No True Teabagger Scotsman" coming from this thread.

Also, I've been reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem lately, and it occurs to me that much of the nonsensical "pro-family"-esque rhetoric under discussion here stands as an excellent real-world example of bulshytt, as described in the book.

When Heartland America speaks of loving its families, it used to mean that what the patiriarch says is law. Outside the house and away from the patriarch, wife, daughter, son and all might have other opinions. Near the patriarch, they all agreed with him.

Fear and hypocrisy are Heartland family values.

but I do wonder whether McKinney thinks Mark Holwager fits into either category

I think, if someone wants to write an article to make a point, they pick the foil that best makes the point. The NYT does it, so do most other media outlets. Holwager may be a big piece of cheese in Indiana or he might be someone who gave a really incendiary quote that made for good press. Either way, I couldn't tell you. Whether he is truly a spokesperson for Tea Partiers, who knows? Who cares? Sean Penn is way better known than Holwager. Intellectually honest conservatives will not impute Penn's BS to liberals and progressives across the board because Penn is a known outlier. Holwager's "we love our families" statement is just stupid. Why anyone pays attention to it is beyond me. If even a sizeable portion of Tea Party sympathizers feel this way, why would anyone else care?

Mark Whatsface didn't sau anything that Sarah palin didn't say over and over and over. Or is she just some goober?

Mark Whatsface didn't sau anything that Sarah palin didn't say over and over and over. Or is she just some goober?

Thank you. That needed saying.

If even a sizeable portion of Tea Party sympathizers feel this way, why would anyone else care?

Because a "sizable portion" of a sizable chunk of people can swing a close election in ways that directly impact people like myself and people who are important to me. But hey, you live in Texas, so we know you love your family.

SOMEBODY around here is certainly hung up on Sean Penn, and it doesn't appear to be anybody I'd classify as a liberal. Brings to mind the old saw, “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs, and the one that yells loudest is the one that got hit.”

Mark Whatsface didn't sau anything that Sarah palin didn't say over and over and over. Or is she just some goober?

When Palin says something that simple-minded (I didn't "if", I said "when"), then take her up on it.

McK TX --

I wasn't talking about Holwager's comments to mock "some goober". He's a locally significant Tea Party supporter, at minimum, and he was willing to be quoted by the NYT.

None of the other things he said struck me as at all unusual, so I assumed that -- as a good spokesperson would -- he was sticking to established talking points. In that context "we love our families" seems a very *odd* talking point, to me -- as though he's trying to say or signal something else.

Brett:
But don't you think ill of your enemies, too?
I try not to think *ridiculous* of them, though. Or to say things that only make sense if I don't think they're human.

Not to mention the fact that using "enemies" to talk about a different faction of one's own political party seems wildly out of line ... I take it back. It's quite natural for one group of Republicans to see another as "enemies", because they're both struggling for control of the same party and people. Fights between Democrats and Republicans can be much more diffuse.

I try not to think *ridiculous* of them, though.

Heh. 8^)

In that context "we love our families" seems a very *odd* talking point, to me -- as though he's trying to say or signal something else.

Thanks for the link. He is the website guy for the Tea Party of Jennings County, Indiana, population 27K and change. I agree he meant something by his statement. The implication is that stupid liberals and regular Republicans don't love their families. It's the kind of really stupid thing that idealogues say about themselves to diminish their opposition all the time. If questioned closely on his statement, he'd look like the idiot he most likely is. That he's willing to be interviewed by the national media is entirely consistent with a large ego, but is probative of nothing else. Why worry about, or focus on, random stupidities and impute them so broadly? There is much else to worry about that really matters, or at least, is more interesting.

Why worry about, or focus on, random stupidities and impute them so broadly?

First, they aren't random.

Second, how do you define "so broadly?" Where do you find evidence in the comments of such broadness?

If these stupidities are repeated and common talking points, they are repeated and common talking points. Maybe most Tea Partiers don't believe them. They should complain. But I've yet to see this universal conflation you mention here:

HSH--while its true that Dr. S was complaining about one person, she conflated that with Tea Party followers universally.

Quote, please.

And why shouldn't people care if there's a large political movement in this country whose members and leadership allow, without noticable complaint, insulting nonsense to be spouted on their behalf? Whether they believe it or not, it's worrisome that there's so little evidence that they don't believe it.

Also, too, why does it bother you that it bothers others, McKinney? Why should you care?

(And when are you coming to Philly/Jersey to hang out with us family-hating, coastal, urban, elitist commies?)

Title of Post: Tea Party Decoder Ring, please

Concluding sentence: Does anyone have a decoder ring?

Also, too, why does it bother you that it bothers others, McKinney? Why should you care?

(And when are you coming to Philly/Jersey to hang out with us family-hating, coastal, urban, elitist commies?)

I am bothered by the trivial nature of each side being offended by the other side's self-congratulatory nonsense as well as by the self-congratulatory nonsense itself. It is one of the least significant aspects of public discourse there is, IMO.

As for a visit with you bomb-throwing commies, my hope is sooner rather than later, but nothing on the travel calendar yet for that neck of the woods. Unfortunately. Atlanta in a couple of weeks, but nothing up north for a while anyway.

I am bothered by the trivial nature of each side being offended by the other side's self-congratulatory nonsense as well as by the self-congratulatory nonsense itself.

Apparently you aren't, because you're on the side of the self-congratulatory nonsense from the right wing. You're just objecting when we point out how objectionable and hateful the people on the right are by trying to dismiss the objections. But the fact is that you cleave yourself to a delusional culture in which the sentiments of Mr. Mark Holwager are considered normal: but you only get upset when it is pointed out that this is who you are and whom you associate with. I realize the fact that you have to get defensive when it's pointed out how, frankly, crazy the ideological movement you belong to is, but saying, "well I object to both the sentiment and pointing out the sentiment" is just an evasion. This sort of rhetoric is standard fare from the right. I don't think it's unfair to remind the public time and time again what we're dealing with: a culture full of people who eat this stuff up like candy.

"Right. No one has ever tried wrapping up gay-bashing in a friendly-sounding euphemism like "family values" or "protecting the sanctity of marriage."

You never cease to amaze me, Sebastian."

First, if he had said something about "protecting the sanctity of marriage" that would have been completely different and you would have much more ground for suspicion.

Second, the fact that some people have used 'family values' to mean 'anti-gay' does not mean that anytime anyone uses 'family values' it means 'anti-gay'. The linkage is not nearly so tight as you seem to be claiming. Now if you wanted to offer further evidence that this particular use, by this particular person, has that particular meaning, I'm open to it. But I see literally none of that here. And he didn't even use "family values", which at least sometimes has been used in an anti-gay fashion, he used "love our families" which to my knowledge has not been used in an anti-gay fashion in large scale public discourse.

It is self congratulatory claptrap. It is an almost meaningless phrase to show political solidarity. It is almost certainly stupid. Feel free to criticize on those grounds. If you do that, he looks silly. But if you want to call it anti-gay, or racist, or some knockout punch that consists of overreading or what anyone who doesn't already agree with you will see as overreading, you've turned an opportunity to make him look silly into an opportunity to make yourself look silly.

Congratulations, me!

And he didn't even use "family values", which at least sometimes has been used in an anti-gay fashion, he used "love our families" which to my knowledge has not been used in an anti-gay fashion in large scale public discourse.

You go, Sebastian! Give it all you got! There's literally nothing you won't do to give the Tea Partier the benefit of the doubt, and show that even when the people who criticize him from the left are right...they're still wrong. Because people on the left are always wrong, even when they're right...or they're right, but in the wrong way...or they're right, but for the wrong reasons...

Do you never tire of it? Do you really not see how transparent it's become, not to mention how screamingly tedious?

Now if you wanted to offer further evidence that this particular use, by this particular person, has that particular meaning, I'm open to it. But I see literally none of that here.

I'm sure you don't. When Trent Lott said that electing Strom Thurmond as President in 1948 might have saved the country "all these problems," you didn't "see" a reference to racial segregation. Maybe he was talking about housing policy! So I know full-well how weirdly selective your vision can be.

you've turned an opportunity to make him look silly into an opportunity to make yourself look silly.

Thank you for your concern.

Second, the fact that some people have used 'family values' to mean 'anti-gay' does not mean that anytime anyone uses 'family values' it means 'anti-gay'.

Sure. It could mean 'anti-abortion'.

The "family values" mantra is a shining example of right-wing political correctness. Politically, being pro-something always sounds nice, noble, uplifting -- in other words, correct. So we get "pro-life", and "pro-family", and "pro-states' rights" as PC descriptions of meaner, baser, more divisive sentiments. Over time, even a mantra gets shopworn. So "family values" evolves into "we love our families", for instance. But it remains a fatuous bit of political correctness.

--TP

TP - so what does it mean when progressives say they are for family values also? And I want to clarify that this is a serious question. More than once i have heard Democrats say that conservatives don't own the market on family values.

D'jou guys eat yet?

D'jou know, is Glenn Beck going to talk about George Soros on tonight's show? D'jou hear Soros and the State Department and the Obama Administration, and the S.E.I.U and other unions, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Marx Brothers and Chinese Communists have big plans for New Zealand, otherwise know as Tel Aviv down under?

D'jou know Beck is going to check Soros for lice on his next Christmas special?

When Obama is called a Marxist by Bill Sammon at FOX News, I suspect Sammon means merely that Obama's favorite Marx Brother is Zeppo because the President admires the latter's sweet awkwardness in the musical numbers.

On the other hand, when the Tea Party carried signs depicting Barack Hussein Osama as a witchdoctor last year, I'm pretty sure they were merely inquiring innocently about WHICH doctor the new healthcare plan would permit them to patronize and would they still get free scooters.

When the Tea Partiers packing weapons carried signs threatening "Next time, we'll use 'em!" last year, I think Jared Loughner succumbed to a certain amount of silliness. The signs might have been referring (one hopes, given the gene pool) to condoms, but more likely they meant they would use those coupons they'd saved for the Sambo's freedom meals next time they were in town.

Barney Faggot. D'jou know him? And has anyone heard of Dick Armey lately since he and his saluting namesakes were run out of town those many years ago? I don't think he's surfaced since to lead any causes, being totally discredited. Probably minding his own business.

I think "Heartland America doesn't feel the same way as people in the cities. We love our families" can be translated harmlessly and avedisly as "Heartland America doesn't feel the same way as people in the cities. We love our families, including Uncle Ernie, who is a little light in the loafers, but I wouldn't share a shower with him or share a drink from the same cup."

TP - so what does it mean when progressives say they are for family values also? And I want to clarify that this is a serious question. More than once i have heard Democrats say that conservatives don't own the market on family values.

Actually, I would like to hear what conservatives think family values consist of first, if you please.

I asked first!

so what does it mean when progressives say they are for family values also?

It means we value and respect the family as a social unit. It means we love, value, and respect our own actual families. It means we want public policy and society in general to support families and family life.

And please leave the "also" out of it, there's nothing "me too" about it.

Serious question, serious answer.

"Actually, I would like to hear what conservatives think family values consist of first, if you please."

What russell said.

Russell, I think you are saying what most people who aren't wearing their family values on their sleeve take it to mean. When politicians on the right use that term, it is intended to do several things. First, imply that people who disagree with them on policy grounds lack family values and, second, to imply that single parents, gay couples, etc. aren't "family". It's one of the ugly sides of social conservatism that many generic conservatives don't care for.

" When politicians on the right use that term, it is intended to do several things."

Really? All of them? How "right" do they need to be? Right of me? Right of Lieberman? Right of DeMint?

Its one of the ugly sides of social progressivism that anyone who might not agree on every issue somehow gets tarred with the brush that they think single parents, gay couples, etc. aren't "family".

What russell said.

Thanks Marty.

As a practical, hands-on matter, I don't see much difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to family.

I agree with McK's analysis, and also understand and agree that conservatives as a group are a larger and more various population than the folks who are, if you will, conservative for a living.

I will speak only for myself. I'm a product of the Deep South and when I turned 18, I left home and went to the big city (up north, not Atlanta). I spent the next decade doing what single guys traditionally do, interrupted by a stint in the military, until in my late 20's I connected with a lady I thought would be an excellent partner for the long term and who had a personal value set compatible with mine. We both wanted to have children and teach them those values so they would grow to maturity and have opportunities to repeat this process. So we had this family and worked diligently to instill our family values in them. We have been doing this for 45 years now with 3 children and 7 grandchildren as a result. So far, it's working, at least, for one more generation. Two daughters are married and they have the seven children, and my son, the musician, has not chosen to get married, and I think that's a good thing from the standpoint of our family values, since it would make a most difficult life for a family with children.

To me, personally, it's straightforward and simple. I teach my children what I value and what I don't. Much of it takes, some of it doesn't. And none of it requires the evil postures frequently under discussion here, or any decoding for that matter.

I will speak only for myself. I'm a product of the Deep South and when I turned 18, I left home and went to the big city (up north, not Atlanta). I spent the next decade doing what single guys traditionally do, interrupted by a stint in the military, until in my late 20's I connected with a lady I thought would be an excellent partner for the long term and who had a personal value set compatible with mine. We both wanted to have children and teach them those values so they would grow to maturity and have opportunities to repeat this process. So we had this family and worked diligently to instill our family values in them. We have been doing this for 45 years now with 3 children and 7 grandchildren as a result. So far, it's working, at least, for one more generation. Two daughters are married and they have the seven children, and my son, the musician, has not chosen to get married, and I think that's a good thing from the standpoint of our family values, since it would make a most difficult life for a family with children.

To me, personally, it's straightforward and simple. I teach my children what I value and what I don't. Much of it takes, some of it doesn't. And none of it requires the evil postures frequently under discussion here, or any decoding for that matter.

It's one of the ugly sides of social conservatism that many generic conservatives don't care for.

And yet the latter empower the former as often as they can, as much as they can. Where, for example, are the "generic conservatives" who "don't care for it" enough that they voted for the DADT repeal?

Catsy was right. The "no true Scotsman" in here is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Sorry for the double post!

Really? All of them? How "right" do they need to be? Right of me? Right of Lieberman? Right of DeMint?

I was speaking generally, but to address your larger question: if someone sincerely believes in family values, a la Russell, they have no need whatsoever to say so out loud, much less strut their 'values' stuff in public at political rallies. I won't wear an American flag lapel pin because I don't feel the need to to announce that "I'm an AMERICAN!", even though, it should be fairly obvious from other threads that I view America as an exceptional country. The conservative 'family values' clique is, by and large, icy toward any nontraditional, non-nuclear family. They are particularly hostile to the notion of gay marriage or civil union.

But, just as some on the left like to say they believe in science or are reality-based--implying those on the right do not or are not--preening oneself as being committed to family values is a cheap shot at one's opponents. Always has been, always will be.

And yet the latter empower the former as often as they can, as much as they can. Where, for example, are the "generic conservatives" who "don't care for it" enough that they voted for the DADT repeal?

Catsy was right. The "no true Scotsman" in here is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Phil, normally I let your bile pass. Catsy's too. But this time, let me refer you to Ted Olson. Do a little research and have a nice day. :-)

On the other hand, when the Tea Party carried signs depicting Barack Hussein Osama as a witchdoctor last year, I'm pretty sure they were merely inquiring innocently about WHICH doctor the new healthcare plan would permit them to patronize and would they still get free scooters.

Why do I bother, when CMI always does it better?

McTX, as long as we're name-dropping, let's not forget Mike Castle, Charlie Christ, Gordon Bennett, and so on. If and when Ted Olson runs for office, all true Scotsmen conservatives will vote for him, no doubt. But if he has to run in a GOP primary, I suspect that won't amount to a majority.

--TP

'On the other hand, when the Tea Party carried signs depicting Barack Hussein Osama as a witchdoctor last year, I'm pretty sure they were merely inquiring innocently about WHICH doctor the new healthcare plan would permit them to patronize and would they still get free scooters.

Why do I bother, when CMI always does it better?'

this style of invective directed broadly at groups is unappealing to me. the reason I don't have friends is because i would need to invoke too often the expression 'who needs enemies when you have these friends'. Much of what the tea party stands for publicly I can support. That doesn't mean that everything anyone who can be associated with the tea party as a group says or does I support. Those who paint with this broad brush perhaps have some evil in their heart, regardless of how amusingly couched. I refuse to belong to groups or have friends. I have family and acquaintances so I can keep my problems manageable.

TP--yes, that is the problem, here in Texas as much as anywhere. I chatted a couple of years back with the former finance chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. Pretty much verbatim, he said "I don't know what you call it, but it ain't being a Republican". The 'family values' wing of the party is a significant force. The bigotry barely gets by today. Ten years from now, in the rear view mirror, there will be a lot of backing and filling.

Charlie Christ

Although some might have thought him to be the second coming, he was, alas, only Charlie Crist.

"I'm sure you don't. When Trent Lott said that electing Strom Thurmond as President in 1948 might have saved the country "all these problems," you didn't "see" a reference to racial segregation. Maybe he was talking about housing policy! So I know full-well how weirdly selective your vision can be."

Are you talking about some other Sebastian? One who didn't write for example this "Trent Lott elected to GOP Minority Whip

Great move! I'm sure GOP Senate members were thinking to themselves: "Huh, the Democrats seem to be attracting a lot of attention with some corrupt members of the House. What can we do to compete with that? Hey, I know! We could re-elect Lott, the guy drummed out of leadership for being affiliated with racists, to a position of power."

I know you don't like what I'm saying, but that doesn't make me a Trent Lott fan. I can recognize all sorts of racist and anti-gay comments. I just don't think they are hiding under EVERY bed, EVERY time.

Mark Whatsface didn't sau anything that Sarah palin didn't say over and over and over. Or is she just some goober?

When Palin says something that simple-minded (I didn't "if", I said "when"), then take her up on it.


Well that would be every speech she made as a VP candidate and every speech in her repotoire for her current grifter act. One expample is her oft repeated praise of "little pockets of real America" addressed to all-white small town audiences in red states.

Surely you aren't suggesting here that Sarah Palin has ever said anything that wasn't simple-minded?


Seriously.

Another odd aspect of Holwager's statement (“Heartland America doesn’t feel the same way as people in the cities”) requires that he means two kinds of cities: those bi-coastal, evil ones; and, presumably in contrast, the virtuous cities out West. This is because the area between the 100th meridian and the Sierras is actually the most urbanized region in America, in that a larger percentage of its population lives in urban areas than anywhere else in the USA. (Patricia Limerick at the University of Colorado has written a lot about the implications of that fact.)

I love goodoleboy's family.

Seriously!

I may be wrong -- I usually am -- but I suspect Ted Olsen is more frightened right now by what is going on to the right of MacT and GOB than he is by what's happening to the left of me.

And I'm not just talking about gay issues.

Brett:

"I'm pretty sure that if you're talking secret decoder rings, and you're not applying them to something printed on the back of a cereal box, you've gone wrong. Likewise dog whistles, if you're not talking about dogs."
Brett Bellmore on January 02, 2011 at 07:05 PM:
I not only heard those words, but got the crap beaten out of me by my peers, but had no clue that they had anything to do with sexual practices, until I was at college. It's not like nerds get invited to participate in PE locker room conversations, after all. Being a social pariah can leave you pretty clueless about that sort of thing.
Brett, you've written many times about how you're clueless about "that sort of thing." Could you pick one answer from one column, rather than one from column a and one from column b?

Which is it? You're sure of the implications of words, or you're "pretty clueless about that sort of thing"?

Or is it variable? Or? I don't want to ask a multiple choice question, nor ask you to write an essay. A short clarification, however, might help all of us, perhaps.

Meanwhile, why are you sure? Please show your work. Thanks!

What are Dog-Whistle Politics?

Are you suggesting that, say, you know better than Taegan Goddard's Political Dictionary?

dog-whistle politics


A type of political speech using code words that appear to mean one thing to the general population but have a different meaning for a targeted part of the audience.

The Economist: “Over the past few weeks, a new expression has entered the Westminster lexicon: dog-whistle politics. It means putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed.”

SEE ALSO:

1. whistle-stopping
2. smoke-filled room
3. one-minute speeches
4. politics ain’t beanbag
5. soft power

How familiar are you with the concept?

And, remember, attempting to prove a negative is problematic.

Thanks!

GoodOleBoy:

Urban populations exhibit diversity in values and skills among individual members while rural populations exhibit greater homogeneity in values and skills among individuals. Individuals living in urban societies tend to exhibit a specialized set of individual skills rather than a diverse set whereas individuals living in rural societies exhibit much greater diversity in individual skills. I have lived for extended periods in both environments, so this is my opinion based on my experiences. These very different life styles may very well influence how political life is approached.
I pretty much agree with you.

Jay C:

[...] Of course, a great many TV shows "set" in various US cities are all filmed on the same backlot in Hollywood,
You mean inside and outside of Vancouver and Toronto.

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Whatnot


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