Here’s a rule of thumb I came up with a few years back, and maybe you’ve noticed it too: By the time I learn enough about a huge news story to realize I don’t care, it turns out to be bull$#!+ anyway. The press latches onto something, focuses on it like a laser, and then it turns out to be nothing. This keeps happening, again and again. And over the weekend, it happened twice in as many days.
First, BuzzFeed gave us the impeachment-justifying scoop of the century that, er… wasn’t. The bombshell was a bust. Then, for some reason, over the weekend we were all expected to care about an altercation in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Not even an altercation. Just a smirk.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the Shot That Launched a Thousand Takes:
Video shows a crowd of teenagers wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats taunting a Native American elder after Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial https://t.co/2bYADuaUV2 pic.twitter.com/NDtiifPjoo
— CNN (@CNN) January 20, 2019
When I first saw this, I saw what I was supposed to see: a bully in a MAGA hat getting right up in the face of a sweet old Native American man, while the kid’s buddies screamed and cheered. I didn’t think it was a big deal, just kids being kids, but I figured that young man should at least apologize to his elder. I fell for the propaganda. It didn’t make me angry, like it was supposed to, but I did fall for it. I admit that.
Then, every lib on earth went completely insane. They saw a white kid wearing an enemy uniform, and they projected all their fears and hatreds onto him.
Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019
One theme of the conversations over the past 24 hours = how deeply familiar this look is. It’s the look of white patriarchy, of course, but that familiarity — that banality — is part of what prompts the visceral reaction. This isn’t spectacular. It’s life in America. pic.twitter.com/TmziDwAjYA
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) January 21, 2019
Ps. The reply from the school was pathetic and impotent. Name these kids. I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these fuckers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again. https://t.co/IS80wiaQ7v
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 20, 2019
The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.
Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself. #FirstThoughtsWhenIWakeUp
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 20, 2019
You are on planet delusion if you think a MAGA hat is equivalent to Uber or Under Armor. It’s NOT and sure the hell wasnt worn to be. It’s a symbol of patriarchal white supremacy. Which the wearers represented PERFECTLY.
— Pam Keith (@PamKeithFL) January 21, 2019
Back in the old days, white supremacy meant burning crosses, threatening and hurting and killing people, saying racist things, etc. Now all you need to do is stand in one spot, literally saying nothing, and that’s white supremacy. It’s a lot less work, I guess?
Then it turned out that the situation was more nuanced, to borrow a term from our lib friends. Robby Soave, Reason magazine:
Partial video footage of students from a Catholic high school allegedly harassing a Native American veteran after the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., over the weekend quickly went viral…
But the rest of the video—nearly two hours of additional footage showing what happened before and after the encounter—adds important context that strongly contradicts the media’s narrative.
Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby…
Here is video footage of the full incident, from the perspective of the black nationalists. Phillips enters the picture around the 1:12 mark, but if you skip to that part, you miss an hour of the Black Hebrew Israelites hurling obscenities at the students. They call them crackers, faggots, and pedophiles.
It’s true. See for yourself.
Here is a video clearly showing that Nathan Phillips approached the students. On the basis of the evidence we now have, I believe that people who issued categorical and one-sided condemnations of the students should retract and apologize. pic.twitter.com/GxmXcMuQgC
— Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) January 20, 2019
The white kid, who I’m not going to name, didn’t roll up on the elderly Native American man. He wasn’t trying to intimidate anybody. He just stood there while some dude he didn’t know walked up and banged a drum in his face, after listening to some other guys he didn’t know screaming insults at him. The kid’s big crime was… smirking. That was it. A teenager smirked at somebody who was trying to provoke him, and it’s national news because the troll was a designated victim and the kid was wearing the Hat of Evil.
You’ve heard of “Standing While Black”? Well, this was “Smirking While White.” What this country needs is some common-sense smirk control!
This was a highly successful propaganda effort. It’s completely unfair to this kid, but the people who created and disseminated the propaganda don’t care. They don’t care about people as individuals, and they know their target audience doesn’t either. They just see a face they’re supposed to hate, underneath a hat they’re supposed to hate. So that’s what they do. They hate. Then they congratulate themselves on standing up to “bigotry.”
Orwell was an amateur.
So now what are they going to do? Ruin this kid’s life? They’re already doxing him, and doxing people who vaguely resemble him. The roaming outrage mob has found its new target. It’s MLK Day, and they’re judging a young man not by the content of his character, but by the color of his skin. And hat.
Ruining a kid’s life because you think his smile is weird is something a bully does
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) January 21, 2019
And in a day or two, the seething mob will get bored and move on to a new target. Anything or anyone will do. Their anger must be fed constantly, and it’s not a picky eater.
Well, at least now we know what it takes for the media to pay attention to the March for Life!