Please excuse the somewhat less than local aspect of this story, but sometimes it’s useful to know the motivations of your commentator.
If you’re a Fox News watcher (I’m not), and I know that many of you are, I’m sure you’ve been following this story with glee. In short:
A woman named Shirley Sherrod, who worked as rural development director for the USDA in Georgia, was fired a couple of days ago because of a two-minute, edited clip from a 43-minute speech she gave to an NAACP chapter.
This tape is the latest installment in the efforts of man named Andrew Breitbart, a proud, aggressive “conservative” activist, who was long one of Matt Drudge’s henchmen. Breitbart is the guy behind the doctored ACORN pimp tape. (Go look it up. It was doctored.) Ed. Note: Here are the unedited tapes.
In this case, Breitbart received from someone this two-minute clip in which Shirley Sherrod described a moment in 1986 when she worked for a non-profit, non-government organization focused on helping struggling black farmers. In this instance, she felt condescended to by a white farmer coming to her for help and privately decided just to do the bare minimum she was expected to do to help him. That included bringing him to a lawyer for help.
“I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough,” she said. That’s it. 25 years ago.
Anyway, Breitbart posted this clip, which seems to show a now government official discriminating against white people. Ha ha. Chortle chortle. See, black people people are prejudiced, too. That’s his kind of schtick.
It burned through YouTube. Fox picked it up. You Fox watchers loved it and got your outrage off. And the panicked centrist coward who runs the USDA, a guy named Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, fired her.
Well, I guess she had it coming, right?
Well, it turns out that Breitbart published the 2-minute clip without ever seeing the other 41 minutes of the speech. And, accordingly, Vilsack fired her without ever seeing the other 41 minutes. The NAACP has now published the full tape. I urge you to watch it all for yourself, but below the window I’ll give you the highlights.
The “full force” story was an anecdote contained within a larger story about how Sherrod overcame racial bad feelings stemming from the unpunished murder of her father by a white man 45 years ago and the cross later burned in her family’s yard. As CNN later reported, she eventually helped save
that man’s the white farmer’s farm and became a good friend to him and his wife.
The rest of the speech revolves around the need for poor and moderate income people generally, and black people specifically, to save money, forego instant gratification, and build businesses. That’s how you strengthen communities.
One quote: “We need to stop trying to get the things we don’t need. Take the time to save money.”
Yeah, she’s really the freaking white-hating, welfare-loving black radical of so many of your fantasies.
“Black people,” whatever that phrase even means, don’t want or need my protection or defense. And raging against an abstraction like racism, whatever that means, is a fool’s errand. I like to rage against behavior. I don’t care if Andrew Breitbart is a racist. It’s completely undefinable, anyway, in this age where so many words have no meaning. I feel much more comfortable hanging dishonest asshole on him. This incident serves as proof.
And I wonder how many of you out there bought Fox/Breibart’s dishonest crap hook, line, and sinker, and will buy it again the next time he/it spews something out because for some odd reason it makes you feel good. That will probably be today, by the way.
I was at my Kiwanis meeting a couple of weeks ago listening to a speaker gratutitously insult generations of Democratic political leaders in talking about nuclear power. At one point, a venerable member of our club decided to yell out, “More people died in the back of Ted Kennedy’s car than at Three Mile Island.” Which I thought was classy. (Really, if you ever doubted that Kiwanis, for all its wonderful qualities, is the lunching and singing wing of the Republican party, don’t.)
Anyway, at one point, the speaker happened to say that President Obama “chooses his words carefully”.
The guy next to me turned and said, “Yeah, except he can’t speak without a teleprompter.”
I sort of blanched, and turned to him, and said “You’re one of those?”
“Well, he can’t.”
For the record, morons, whatever Barack Obama’s faults – and he has them – one of them is not the inability to speak without a teleprompter. If you remotely pay attention to life, you will know this. The fact that this malign silliness is somehow a treasured trope amongst the Fox Newsers out there speaks to something deep in the human lizard brain. You can name it whatever you want.
I have given up convincing anyone to rethink their emotions. It’s enough for me to make it clear I’m not in on your Shirley Sherrod, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama jokes. You bring them to me, and you’re going to pay with a little bit of discomfort, wherever we may be sitting. That’s a hell of a lot less than Shirley Sherrod has done over the years, but we all have out limitations.
Andrew Breitbart is a vulture. He picks the dead flesh of lives for money and feeds it to you and Fox News because you seem to have a taste for it.
And there are plenty of assholes trolling every day for fake outrages to feed you about people who don’t share your backgrounds and emotional attachments. There are plenty of assholes ready to take a beautiful story about overcoming horrible, violent racial experiences and turn it into unemployment because they know you’ll lap it up and laugh about it at your next club meeting.
The forces trying to fend them off could use a few more assholes of their own. Not that anyone cares, but that’s why I talk and write the way I do.