Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bottom feeders

Michelle Malkin is a walking wonder of sorts -- capable of speaking out of both sides of her mouth simultaneously without imploding. The drooling hypocrisy, however, is quite the mess.

This week -- as part of her schtick decrying "unhinged" behavior from the left -- she decided to attack Jane Hamsher with a string of charming epithets, calling her, variously, a "nutball," a "Hollyweirdo", and most of all a "bottom-feeding blogger." So much for civilized discourse, eh?

Malkin makes much of Hamsher's pull-no-punches style, particularly her attacks on Kate O'Beirne, claiming: "She threatened O'Beirne on her blog: 'The bitch is dead meat'."

Threatened O'Beirne? Goodness, let's read the post ... oh, I see ... she threatened her with negative Amazon reviews! Oh my Lord in Heaven! What's next? Printing her home phone number?

Now, longtime readers of this blog know that cursing and profanity aren't really my style, though I do use them when the occasion warrants. And I have argued that obscene hate mail and vicious sexism have no place in the left's repertoire.

But there is a place for profanity. Even if it's not my style, I well understand that the outrageous behavior of the right inspires real and righteous outrage; people are being killed on behalf of their agenda, after all. After awhile, it's only natural to respond to constant abuse -- the threats, the charges of treason, the constant personal attacks, the outrageous abuse of power -- with a straight shot to the face: "Aw, fuck you, asshole."

I think bloggers like Atrios, Digby, Tbogg and Jane -- and scores of others -- do a good job of giving voice to that outrage, and it's needed. Reason and facts often are next to worthless when confronting these jerks, and though I do my best to provide them, I also applaud those who fight back -- especially when they do so with as much wit as you often find in left Blogtopia [yes, skippy invented that term].

That said, I'll admit I was disconcerted by the photoshopped image of Joe Lieberman in blackface that got Malkin's shorts in a bunch, originally accompanying Jane's post at Huffblog and since removed. It obviously was playing fast and loose with old racist stereotypes, which is always a dangerous business, if for no other reason that it can be easily misconstrued (just ask Steve Gilliard).

As with all such cases, it all boils down to intent. If this had been posted to derogatorily suggest that Lieberman was secretly a "black man" at heart (the kind of thing that is known to occur at certain far-right sites) then it would be a clear-cut case of race-baiting. If the intent, on the other hand, is to portray Lieberman as a pretend black sympathizer in the mold of a minstrel showman (as the artist responsible later made clear in the post's comments) then it's fairly harmless. Dumb, and not particularly effective, but harmless.

The upshot is that Malkin rushes to use the image to suggest that Hamsher is no friend of colored people. Can you say projection? I knew you could.

After all, this is a person who:

-- Writes for and openly promotes VDare, designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

-- Regurgitates and promotes in the mainstream racially charged conspiracy theories concocted and promoted for years by white supremacists.

-- Publishes fraudulent history as a way of justifying the mass incarceration of an entire ethnic group during wartime.

-- Has a long history of using bogus arguments and conspiracy theories to gin up hatred of Muslims.

In sum, the entire arc of Malkin's career has been predicated on one primary accomplishment: she can get away with publishing racially charged nonsense that, if written by a white person, would raise immediate questions of racism. Because Malkin is Asian American, she gets a pass. Talk about playing the race card. Malkin's only real talent, it seems, is providing bigots with prepackaged excuses for their bigotry.

A satirical photo made in questionable taste rather pales in comparison. The waters Malkin habitates are as foul and scum-laden as any on the planet, and she obviously not only swims rather readily in them, she positively feeds on them. That, folks, is the very definition of a bottom feeder.

UPDATE: TBogg has more, including an illustrative response from Malkin's defenders.

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