Battlepanda: Hate


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Publius over at Legal Fiction have a way of putting his finger on things I've been thinking along the lines of, but could never quite articulate. Here's his analysis on the wingnuttosphere's rabid, non-stop coverage of the Cartoon War:
For instance, although Michelle Malkin and LGF (bastions of tolerant Western liberalism that they are) have dozens of angry posts on the “cartoon jihads,” you get the sense that they’re not so much angry as giddy about their free pass to bash Islam. These are subjective calls obviously, but if you read their February archives, you get the sense that something more is going on here than defending press freedom. For them, it seems like press freedom is being used as a pretext for unleashing more deeply-felt prejudices.

So here’s my point – similarly to the way that certain regimes and fundamentalists are stoking the fires for ulterior motives, I think that the Malkinites’ rage also serves purposes other than defending press freedom or liberalism. In fact, I think part of the Malkanites’ outrage-at-the-outrage serves deeper psychological needs – specifically, it reduces cognitive dissonance.[snip]

Psychologically speaking, I think that Malkinites need the fundamentalist riots. Specifically, they help reaffirm certain pre-existing views that are rooted in base prejudice. Better yet, let’s just say that Malkin and LGF are not exactly beacons of shining liberalism on issues of race – especially when Muslims are involved. LGF in particular is infamous for including posts about Muslims that cannot be distinguished from late German fascism quotes about Jews (take the quiz and see for yourself).

Of course, no one wants to think of themselves as prejudiced. There’s cognitive dissonance there. Thus, when people like Malkin and the LGF posters see idiot fundamentalists doing idiot things, they seize upon it because it tends to support their pre-existing (and possibly subconscious) prejudices. It’s similar to the way that Steve Sailer seized upon the Katrina aftermath to reaffirm his pre-existing views of blacks:
In contrast to New Orleans, there was only minimal looting after the horrendous 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan—because, when you get down to it, Japanese aren't blacks.
Exactly. The question is not "why are the left silent", because we're not, but what is feeding the consuming and incessant focus on this issue on the right when there are a so many scandalous goings-on happening with their own government. Why is it necessary not just to condemn the violence, but to put up picture after picture of the rioters, day after day?

This reminds me of the Chinese blogger who put up photos of present day Japanese right-wingers goosestepping in WWII military gear in a post titled "Why China cannot forgive Japan". Of course the men in the pictures are engaging in odious behavior, and should rightly be condemned. But why choose to do it in pictorial form, again and again, if not to elevate and reinforce the visceral feeling of disgust those men engender -- or to put it another way, to revel in hate?