Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Case For Something Awful

Rightwing nutbars in the punditry -- who are, of course, legion -- often employ trademark schticks in their writing which has the effect, they hope, of sweetening the poison they peddle.

Naturally then it is the job of we in the Reality-Based Community to identify such schticks, and mock mercilessly.

Our dear friend Dr. Sebly F. No is particularly adept at identifying them and then crucifying their authors. Needless to say, he is blessed for his just endeavours with good karma and is carnally rewarded by groupies who can, as it is well known, suck a cannonball through a crazy-straw.

For instance, he has exposed Rightwing Nutbar techniques like The Besides That Syndrome and The Chewbacca Defense. Very good work indeed, Sebly. Our scientist, in netting, as it were, these rogue and virulent memes and then doing the hard work of taxonomy and preservation, has left for us in RealityLand some helpful specimens to which we may refer as we surf along, doing our own fieldwork in the Wingnut Wilderness of Journalism.

In the hope that I may add my name to this proud tradition, I offer you an expose' on a relatively old meme that has been perhaps too familiar to be properly studied. To continue the naturalist metaphor, where Dr. Sebly has captured exotic fauna, I humbly present a common housecat -- for which, as everyone knows, there is more than one method of skinning.

You've seen it many times: lurking, pouncing, retreating. Fortunately, I had my tranquiliser gun with me the other day, and the initial result was published to your collective, I'm sure, delight. It's known as The Case For Something Awful.

And now for a slightly more detailed dissection of The Case For Something Awful. As I said, it's obvious -- many, like Chuck Kraphammer and Niall "It's Important That You Listen To What I Have To Say!!" Ferguson come right out and use the phrase as titles -- but I bet you didn't know it was so frequent.

Of course it's simple. A Rightwing Nutcase simply finds a subject that he has always favored but is universally repugnant to the civilised world, and makes an argument of "exceptionalism" for it. Shall we conduct a test? Yes? Okay, think of something unsavoury or wicked in a banal way, first. Ahh, yes, there's the two subjects mentioned above:

The Case For Fearmongering
The Case For Hypocrisy

So far so bad -- but not quite bad enough, apparently, which is why the authors still had courage enough to make the object of the exercise -- as a current policy advocacy -- plain in the titles. So let us move on to worse things:

The Case For Racist Incarceration and Concentration Camps
The Case For Running Over Civilian Pacifist Protestors With A Bulldozer
The Case For Genocide
The Case For Tertiary Syphillis.

Now that's more like it. The Something Awful is always a thing they take pleasure in, or believe in, or otherwise enjoy. But most Rightwing Nutcases know that the sane people in the world will be horrified, therefore they mean to put either the best possible varnish on the turd of an argument, or they demand that one dismiss his instincts and instead appreciate the counter-intuitive genius of a position that "may" be obscene in most instances, but is, like, a total no-brainer in the "exceptionalist" context for which they advocate.

Add your favourite The Case For [Something Awful] examples in comments, please. I want to have a collection.

*Edit - Slightly revised.