Archive for October, 2010

Other People Are Awesome

October 29, 2010 - 4:56 pm Comments Off on Other People Are Awesome

For lack of time and inspiration, a selection of links.

You’ve read Popehat’s list, my list, and Stingray’s, now go have a gander at NFO’s.

Reason TV’s cheeky YouTube presentation of attack ads circa 1800. It’s true, it’s a less civil and refined age; nobody can insult like this anymore.

Holly Pervocracy caricatures The People You Meet When You Write About Rape. When I say “caricature”, I mean it’s funny, not that it’s exaggerated. I’ve seen much much worse from people who were dead fucking serious, though thankfully never here.

Seal the Deal

October 28, 2010 - 2:09 pm Comments Off on Seal the Deal

So LabRat and Patrick at Popehat are offering advice on how to survive the coming onslaught of slaughter-happy psychos who come out of the woodwork each Halloween. No advice is given, however, for the hardest working people of the season, the slaughter-happy psychos themselves. It’s long past time to fix that hideous oversight. Some of these, I admit, are similar to points raised in “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon“, but that is entirely because a) you need to watch that movie, b) they’re very true and accurate, and c) I’m lazy. On with the list.

  • 1. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
  • While this is a general truism, it is especially applicable to the ambitious psycho. Sharpen your knives! Make sure the handle on your scythe is secure! Is that rust on your crowbar? When was the last time you replaced the trauma plate in your Kevlar vest? Is your getaway vehicle (if applicable) in good repair? Did you remember to pay your dues with the local demon’s union? Make sure you have enough pillows to make it look like “they’re just sleeping” before you need to, and keep those single-purpose pillows somewhere safe. You don’t want to slaughter Brad and Bambi and then discover that half of your body-pillows migrated downstairs, and excuse me could I just borrow that for a moment? Likewise, make sure the ceiling you’re attaching the eviscerated corpse to can actually hold the weight. Attention to detail can mean the difference between becoming the terror of legends, and being chalked up only as a footnote.

  • 2. Cheat.
  • Now that you know your equipment is going to work, make sure your victims’ equipment won’t. This may seem obvious, but if you leave a perfectly good machete in the house you’re going to be stalking through, don’t be surprised when you find out it’s your blood on the wall instead of Tiffani Amber’s. Dull the knives. Put dead batteries in the flashlight. Booby-trap the tool shed before you lock it, and sabotage each and every tool in it (but do try to be subtle). Got a gas can around? Fill it with water. Or better, fill it with something that will render unconscious the ambitious one trying to burn you out.

  • 3. Gravity is a harsh mistress.
  • Plummeting is a terrifying experience, and can be very helpful in wounding your prey. A twisted ankle means you don’t have to do as much running, and a broken leg can be an exceptional torture mechanism. That said, take care you don’t wind up falling yourself. If possible, add features that can act as safety rails without being obvious. A “tool storage” rack in the loft up in the barn will pass right through the panicked eyes of your victims (literally, if you arrange things properly), but holding on as they scramble towards the part of the loft you partly sawed through can keep you in the chase if you miss your footing.

  • 4. Know your turf.
  • Sure, you may have your victim terrified and screaming as they run through the cornfield or apple orchard, but what happens when you find the gopher hole in row 48 the hard way? Put in the effort. You’re going to be doing this in the dark, without a light, you’d damn well better know every inch of the area you’ll be using.

  • 5. Resource management.
  • It takes a lot of effort to pull off the “I’m just walking but I’m still gaining on you while you run” trick. It’s a great trick and scares the hell out of people, but if nobody in the group you’re working on is going to survive the night anyway, they won’t be able to tell anyone how scary it was. Run ’em down, gut ’em, and save the energy-intensive scare tactics till a survivor will be able to tell the tale.

  • 6. Grip
  • Blood is slippery. How are you going to hang on long enough to rip Jamie’s implants out if her freshly-waxed leg slips right through your hand? Keep some paper or regular towels in your pockets. You don’t have to go all OCD and sanitize between kills (unless that’s your thing), but make sure you can get a grip.

  • 7. Everything is a weapon.
  • You may have rendered everything in the tool shed useless according to item #2 up there, but your victims will have enough adrenaline pumping through them to reanimate Frankenstein’s monster without the electricity. Stay on guard, there could be a sofa coming through that second story window, or that copy of the tax code in the library could put a serious dent in your skull. By the same token, don’t be afraid to get creative yourself. It really freaks people out to see a corpse with a stuffed Eeyore stuck in their throat and Piglet emerging from their ass.

  • 8. Leave the pet alone.
  • There’s more blood in a goat anyway, and you can eat it when you’re done.

  • 9. Why vote for the lesser evil?
  • This ties in with #2. That big dusty tome that looks like it’s bound with skin? I bet it has some good tips on removing bones from limbs before the subject expires from blood loss. What’s the worst that can happen, you go insane? That really ups the creativity when committing atrocities, and who knows, do it right and maybe you can end not only that pack of teenagers, but the whole world in the bargain. Work according to plan, but don’t be afraid to over-achieve.

  • 10. Resurrection
  • Don’t slack off and assume you’ll be taken to the nearest local morgue. If you get a big enough body count, you could find yourself in the next town over, or maybe the close one you planned on was just full. Defying death is meaningless if you rise dramatically, look around, and wander into Human Resources instead of the exit because you’re not where you expected to be. (If this does happen, at least be courteous about it and slaughter anyone you find on the way out. Nobody likes HR anyway.)

    Obviously this list isn’t comprehensive, and assumes you’ve already done your planning to arrange a good group of victims to work with. Don’t forget some sort of fire-proofing in your costume, and remember to at least get a good look at Bambi’s tits before you off her and Brad. You have to take time to enjoy the perqs. Or is that perks in this case? Besides, how else would you know she’s a filthy whore and must be cleansed? Other than the hours of surveillance video, of course. At any rate, stay safe, make sure you use the entire intestine when decorating, and remember that a spine will still be where you left it if you have to chase somebody down (unless you’re going to kill the one you’re chasing with it, in which case consider removing the head from the top first). Happy hunting!

    Genre Savviness Is Not Enough

    October 27, 2010 - 5:57 pm Comments Off on Genre Savviness Is Not Enough

    So today at Popehat, Patrick has a 25-item list of lessons learned from a lifetime of American horror.

    I can only wildly approve of his list, though I would also wish to add to it, or simply generate my own. I’ve been glued to horror since Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (whose stories were not particularly menacing but whose illustrations made even the innocuous, more-a-joke-than-scary ones into memory-searing nightmare fuel), and I like to think I’ve picked up something from it other than paranoia.

    1. Do not, under any circumstances, piss off, reject, abandon, or even annoy a Japanese woman. The most dangerous thing in the world is a Japanese woman- or worse, young girl- who died with any sort of grievance whatsoever. Being dead, she has absolutely nothing better to do with her time than to gruesomely torment and destroy the object of her pique. In fact, it’s probably safest to avoid the nation of Japan altogether.

    2. Cats are like mine canaries. If you’re feeling tense and a cat jumps suddenly out in front of you from somewhere it had no business being, vacate the area. Take the cat with you if you like it and don’t want to find it nailed to a tree.

    3. Obey the inverse law of death and population density. If your likeliest potential adversary is alive, move to a densely populated city and acquire several roommates, preferably well-armed ones. If undeath is a problem, move to rural Wyoming. One good rifle and about thirty rounds will take care of any zombie that can possibly find you before it falls apart.

    4. Have your own light source, with verified power source, on your person at all times.

    5. Whoever and whatever they are, they’re not really asleep.

    6. Do anything a decrepit old woman tells you to do. Angering her is probably extremely dangerous and helping her may have a high payoff.

    7. Anybody smiling inappropriately should be shot immediately.

    8. Childlike adults are best avoided. Either they’re harmless and sweetly innocent in contrast to you, which means you’ll be killed first, or they never learned not to pet the bunny until its neck breaks.

    9. If you are on an outing of any kind and find one of your group has been brutally killed and their body displayed before you had any awareness there was a danger, bear in mind that whatever was responsible has probably already found your vehicle. Start planning alternate means of departure now, don’t try the truck and the main road because they LOOK okay.

    10. If you don’t know who left the food there, don’t eat it.

    11. Hitchhiking never ever ever ends well.

    12. If you are in a house in a remote location having a party (you idiot), and somebody finds one of the group horribly mutilated, the best action you can take next is to immediately round up the group, grab any weapons that are in the room you are in right now, and then move as a pack to burn down all the outbuildings. As per rule nine, all vehicles are already a loss. Eliminate all positions that can be hidden in until you’ve either found and dispatched the killer as a group or narrowed it down to the last defensible one, and fortified it.

    13. Never use a mirror for anything more esoteric than shaving or applying makeup.

    14. Quaintly regional small towns, in any country or culture, are extremely dangerous. Globalization is your friend.

    15. Circuses are NOT good clean fun.

    16. Contrary to government advice, make sure any doll you give your children is readily flammable.

    17. Turning up on strangers’ doorsteps asking to be let in for any pretext save bleeding out from the jugular is rude. Defend the boundaries of etiquette, and your threshold, with a shotgun if necessary.

    18. Nothing good is ever kept in an attic.

    19. Rule nine, if in a large building, also applies to elevators. Take the stairs or prepare to defend your position.

    20. Any person who, in life, made time to torment you will certainly have unlimited time to do so after death. Take the precaution of destroying all their possessions when they die. Break the bank at the estate sale if you have to. This may not work but it beats trying to figure out which of some several hundred objects with sentimental significance their malevolent spirit is anchored to while it’s throwing you down the stairs and making the walls bleed.

    21. If you are traveling and must stay in a strange place, if a Holiday Inn is not available, just sleep in the car.

    22. If a loved one is possessed and an exorcism is your only recourse, quintuple-book your priests. You’re going to go through at least one in the process and probably more.

    23. If one of your friends has been cursed by gypsies, it’s probably best to just stake the poor bastard out in the desert and flee to another continent. It may seem heartless but it will beat what happens when you try to help.

    24. If you hear a nursery song and you are not in an actual nursery, vacate the area immediately.

    25. If your travels must take you through a rural area in which agriculture is done, try to make sure you stick with the towns that grow ground crops. No one has ever been chased through a field of peanuts by an eldritch abomination or cult. Avoid cornfields and apple orchards at all costs.

    Minor Ironies

    October 26, 2010 - 4:51 pm Comments Off on Minor Ironies

    Clock’s ticking down on finding something worthy of making content out of in the time I still have available before the night’s social commitment, but something about yesterday’s Very Srs Bsnss post did strike me as fairly funny.

    Peter and I are posting about rape, responsibility, and social realities… and a few months ago he was giving me a drink at a party, knowing that I’d already had one or more drinks but not how many or how strong they were and also knowing I wasn’t at my normal altitude, and I accepted this drink despite already having had a few beers and also not having any idea how hard it would hit me. (Unfamiliar liquor.) I had only known Peter as a fellow blogger until that weekend, not in person.



    October 25, 2010 - 5:41 pm Comments Off on Minesweeper

    Post so titled because I’m acutely aware I’m stepping into a big old minefield, and not at all certain I’m not going to blow something or myself up before completion.

    Peter posts today about rape, rights, and responsibility, and I encourage you to go over there and read it in full either before you read this or before you react to it, since I don’t want to take any chance whatsoever on misrepresenting what he said and the position from which he said it. (See, there’s that caution again- I like Peter a lot and what he wrote didn’t even remotely offend me, but again, minefield.) The upshot of his post is a reaction against a strongly stated position- a woman’s right to control over her own body remains in place at all times, up to and including after she agrees to go to her home or his with a guy, after she’s had a drink or twenty, after she’s agreed to sex with one guy but not necessarily the rest of his rugby team too, and so forth. Peter points out- and his point is valid- is that in the real world there are a lot of people who will not respect your rights and you should at all times remember this fact before taking any action whatsoever.

    I’m going to attempt to dispense with a large wall of text carefully trying to sort out the issue because I think the heart of the matter is that both points of view are absolutely true. Peter’s right in that there are a lot of wicked people out there just looking to take advantage and if you are not careful you are likely to become their prey; the point of view he’s responding to that a woman does have the right to autonomy over her own body under all circumstances is correct. I think the latter needs to be said because there’s a disturbing amount of sentiment out there that consent is, rather than being what I’d recognize as consent, a sort of game with conditions to be met that result in consent whether the person whose consent is assumed and whose further opinion is rendered invalid knows it or not; a more extreme example of this attitude would be the one I’ve encountered that there is no such thing as marital rape because marriage itself is open sexual consent.

    More common examples seem to be that if you agree to have more than one drink with someone, that’s open consent, if you agree to go home with them, that’s open consent, if you wear something that could be construed to be a sexual invitation (to whom? anyone turned on, apparently) that’s open consent, and so forth. All of them carry an undercurrent of the attitude that women are the sexual property of men and any individual one just needs to meet the proper conditions to claim it, and while Peter is correct in noting that a disturbing number of men do indeed have this exact attitude and one must always be prepared to encounter them, it’s also correct to point out that this is a fucking disturbing attitude and one whose existence as a default is something we would be better off not accepting so blithely as we so often tend to.

    We tend to maintain a pretty healthy balance of attitude when it comes to other common crimes that consist of a violation of someone else’s bodily autonomy; when considering assault, we all agree that it’s not a good idea to associate with certain people and not a good idea to deliberately provoke them and that we should be aware of ways in which we might do so inadvertently, but when assault happens we generally take it as given that the burden of blame is on the person who decided to take their fists or weapon and start inflicting grievous bodily harm on the other. Legally speaking, we also have no problem entering a he-said-she-said (or he-said-he-said, or whatever) situation and taking one side or another; it’s not treated as a delicate and fraught thing, if one dude claims the other beat the shit out of him and the other dude says he was defending himself from the first dude’s face, we don’t have a terribly difficult time taking Dude A’s side of things legally even if we think he might be kind of a scumbag himself. The degree to which he may have somehow earned a beating from the universe in general just isn’t relevant to the prosecution or defense unless the defense really thinks it can make a case that he goes around attacking people with his face.

    Likewise, we accept that stumbling down the back alleys drunk at three in the morning with lots of cash on you is a dumb thing to do, but we don’t doubt that it was a mugging, take reasonable doubt that the mugger might have thought Drunky McStumbler was offering the money as a gift, or excuse Mugger McBlackjack as anything less than a criminal with as low a legal and moral status as any other criminal. We think Drunky was dangerously naive or careless, but we don’t regard Mugger’s actions as just what anyone under the same circumstances would do and therefore deserving of lesser blame or perhaps a pass entirely.

    The thing is, unlike Mugger McBlackjack and his cohort, who have the sort of backwards courtesy to identify themselves clearly as predators in the act of committing a crime, rape- especially date rape or rape at a party, which is usually the situation where the argument comes into things- does not have such conveniently drawn lines. Everybody knows as a matter of basic “duh” level social training that there is no such thing as implied or assumed consent to help yourself to the contents of someone’s wallet or beat the shit out of them or walk off with their property, but romantic interactions and sex are, even when completely innocent, often tied up in a sort of social game of unsaids, implications, invitations, and deliberately lowered inhibitions.

    We look at a situation in which someone was raped after drinking with (or getting drunk with) a man or men she didn’t absolutely trust, but at the same time having a drink or more at a party or on a date is an established social convention to the point where you are generally supposed to provide some sort of reason for refusing a drink that isn’t “I reject you and your company now”; you provide a religious reason, or say your father was an alcoholic, or that you’re driving, but it’s enough of a departure from the norm that some sort of reason you wouldn’t accept a drink in a social situation is expected*. Likewise, for a relaxed social setting in which the mood is “let’s all have fun together”, part of expected social behavior for a woman is that she herself be relaxed, smiley, and a little flirty; to keep smiles to the cool and polite minimum is viewed as rejection in the personal (and most people do take rejection personally) and ice-queen, standoffish behavior in the general. The problem for her is that she has no idea if the individual guy she is talking to and smiling at and being slightly flirty with is thinking:

    a) “Cool, this is fun, we’ll have a nice conversation and maybe I’ll talk to this other chick next and maybe we’ll all play Parcheesi, maybe I’ll find someone to go home with and maybe we’ll just all have fun.”

    b) “She smiled at me, she probably won’t reject me in the next thirty seconds.”

    c) “She smiled at me and that blouse is sexy as hell. Maybe I’ll get lucky.”

    d) “She’s smiling at me and wearing a totally slutty outfit. She’s clearly dying for it. Let’s see how many drinks it takes to get her to admit it.”

    e) “Welp, found my bitch for the night.”

    Or to put it more broadly, any given woman in a mixed-sex social setting that isn’t strictly business is required to have two simultaneous views of every man in the room that she isn’t deeply familiar with:

    a) A potential predator who may take any excuse to separate me from the group and brutally assault me.


    b) A friendly human like myself who might be a good friend or even potential partner, whether for the night or more.

    It is, to put it mildly, difficult to hold both views of a group of people you don’t know very well at the same time. Leaning toward option A means you miss out on a lot of social opportunities, even so low-level as basically just having some fun in a group, and leaning toward B means you’re metaphorically hanging a “COME AND GET IT” sign around your neck to whichever equally-non-threatening-looking dude in the group holds the “women as sexual property” view. It’s also the one most people lean to, because we don’t normally require people to pass extensive tests in order to consider them basically unthreatening and to view sudden assault and violation as unlikely. We get offended when people assume us likely to commit what we view as serious crimes (murder, assault- rape) just because we’re a member of a certain group or social class and that class isn’t “the Crime Is Fun And Awesome club”.

    Making it all much murkier is the fact that it really IS almost impossible to tell from the outside what constitutes rape and what constitutes a sexual encounter one partner regrets and what constitutes a case of one or both participants being too fucked up to remember which one it was later- which makes it all the more tempting, from the outside, to decide which one it was based on a combination of experience and prejudice. There really is no other crime like rape, both in terms of the importance of consent, the ramifications of any kind of judgment impairment liked with the social commonness of lowering inhibitions a bit, or the sheer situation it represents of being able to go so instantly from “everybody is being fun and having fun in an acceptable social setting of fun” to “someone is being horribly violated, and everyone else thinks that’s fun or can’t tell that it’s not.”

    So yes, I am all for stressing that your own safety is your responsibility to look out for, first and foremost. I am also for stressing and extending the attitude that everyone has the right to bodily autonomy and there is no exception to that rule. What I’m not for is pretending that avoiding rape is exactly as obvious and easy as avoiding being drunk in dark alleys with a wad of cash in your wallet.

    *Which is not saying “it’s a social obligation to get drunk at a party”, but rather “the line between being socially normal and being stupid is pretty fuzzy and often only visible in hindsight”, especially given how much tolerance can vary for even the same individual. Depending on altitude, time of day, my blood sugar level, and hydration level, I either have a hollow leg or am a two-drink cheap date, for example.

    Unwanted Roommates

    October 22, 2010 - 4:25 pm Comments Off on Unwanted Roommates

    Lissa writes of her and her husband’s encounter, and subsequent defeat of, a wolf spider.

    As long-time readers know, I am a somewhat recovered arachnophobe. I have an atavistic fear of spiders that used to be quite severe when I was a child, and at this point can best be described as controlled loathing tempered by education and exposure. I no longer am sent into a berserker killing spree at the sight of the eight-legged and can even tolerate them being in the room with me, although crawling on me is still grounds for an immediate death sentence.

    My problem is that my life mate and best beloved actually likes the little bastards. I can broadly accept that having benign arachnid top predators in the house is better than having venomous ones, so except in the case of black widows (which he seems to slightly regret killing), this house is free-range for all types of spiders save those. Including wolf spiders. I’m well used to wolf spiders, as they’re quite common here, but as Lissa observed, the females in particular grow to… stunning dimensions. The one she has in her photographs is somewhat middle-sized for a female.

    Currently, we have a quite large female in residence. While under normal circumstances Stingray is willing to shoo the ones big enough to still make me scream in shock outside- this is solely because during those normal circumstances he believes the spider in question to have better hunting opportunities outside. With the temperature outside dropping and insect populations going dormant, he now believes that this spider will be better off indoors, despite potential danger from the cat and Kang. (And me, should she get too near me.) Presumably she will be steadily knocking down the other spiders in the house until she’s large enough and feeling game enough to try for mammalian prey, which she already looks nearly ready for. I wouldn’t give a baby mouse long odds on surviving her, at any rate.

    The end result of this uncomfortable arrangement is semi-daily events like this:

    Me, somewhere random in the house: “AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGH!”

    Stingray, *excited*: “Oh, she’s still here? Shoo her under something, would you? Don’t catch the dog’s attention.”

    Me: “YOU.”

    Stingray: “Fine. C’mere sweetie…”

    And no, I am not “sweetie”.

    Kang is very confused. Her normal response to small skittering animals is to eat them or squash them, but Stingray has informed her in blunt terms she is not allowed to do this with this spider. Her look of mingled heartbreak and disbelief as she slouched back to the corner to go back to sleep was certainly expressive, at any rate.

    The other woman. Not our individual, but the same species. And yes, as one commenter at Lissa’s noted, her eyes DO glow in the dark.

    Stingray On The Air

    October 21, 2010 - 8:01 pm Comments Off on Stingray On The Air

    Stingray co-hosted this week’s BB&Guns again. Nice, polite, PG Stingray made another appearance.

    Tune in for “Things I’ve Learned From Liberals”

    Domestic Exchange Number We've Lost Count

    October 21, 2010 - 4:41 pm Comments Off on Domestic Exchange Number We've Lost Count

    LabRat: *playing Cellcraft* “Ooooh” *happy game noise*

    Stingray: “What? Did your cell just learn Leaf Spin?”

    LabRat: “Better! It just learned how to turn glucose into ATP!”

    Stingray: ………

    LabRat: “And I just caught a Mitochondrion!” *chair dance*

    Stingray: “You’re blogging that.”

    The Queue

    October 20, 2010 - 5:00 pm Comments Off on The Queue

    Wednesday afternoon punt, because there’s some chance SOMEone might find it interesting and it’s meme-shaped.

    As do most adults that have more things they want to read than time they have to do it in (not to mention a terrible problem that gets more severe the better they make their recommendation software), I have a backlog of books in progress and on the shelves. Here is the current queue.

    Reading now:

    On my desk: Fergus Henderson, The Whole Beast: Nose To Tail Eating

    On the coffee table: Brian Boyd, On The Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction

    On the nightstand: H.W. Crocker III, Don’t Tread On Me: A 400-year History of America At War (As a side note, this reads exactly as you’d expect a history by someone named “H.W. Crocker III” who has decided to dispense with hiding his biases would.)

    Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things (Reread. Gneil writes my kind of bedtime stories.)

    On shelves and coffee table, in rough order of intent to read:

    Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Vendetta (Obligatory, and Stingray devoured it so thoroughly I’m debating skipping this one up and doing the same before I finish either of my current doorstoppers.)

    Dale Guthrie, The Nature of Paleolithic Art

    Peter Watts, Blindsight

    Sean B. Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo

    Stephen King, Under The Dome (Little dubious about this one. My willingness to stick with King past a thousand pages has gone down along with my supply of free time. On the other hand it will probably still go faster than On The Origin of Stories just because of relative density.)

    William Stoltzenburg, Where The Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

    Kim Stanely Robinson, Red Mars

    Donald Wilson and Richard Stevenson, Learning To Smell: Olfactory Perception from Neurobiology to Behavior

    Chandler Burr, The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession

    Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader or Sarah Palin?

    October 19, 2010 - 3:49 pm Comments Off on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader or Sarah Palin?

    I’m not actually much of a Sarah Palin fan; I liked her a lot more when I knew her only as her record (which as an actual governor is mostly one of leaving people the hell alone except where government actually has business), than when she hit the national spotlight and, having the two paths of Libertarian Sarah and Populist Sarah open to her, mostly took that latter fork. Not that I blame her- it’s working incredibly well for her and it’s certainly annoying the right people, but populism is not my cup of tea, as it were.

    It goes without saying that the tack the left has adopted with Palin is treating her as an obvious deluded moron who is not worth discussing except to mock. It’s old, it’s tired, and it’s obvious, but I have to say today it’s reached a high water mark. Palin told supporters at a rally that they can’t “party like it’s 1773″ yet and can’t until Congress is taken back.

    Because this is the age of Twitter, in which any random thought can be immortally shared with the entire world mere seconds after your neurons have finished sparking, odious “Daily Kos” pundit Markos Moulitsas fired the shot heard ’round the web (that’s a 1775 reference in this context, kids) to mock that stupid moronic moron-woman of stupidity in misquoting the year of American Independence. Such was gleefully retweeted and commented on within such circles as you’d expect. OMFG 1773 what an idiot!

    The problem is, as everyone with a fifth-grade level of historical literacy knows, that 1773 was the year of the Boston Tea Party. You know, the one the movement is named after, which has inspired absofuckinglutely endless tea bag jokes on the part of the exact same ummmmmmm media for whom Palin-baiting is a recreational sport akin to lawn bowling.

    More entertainingly, one of the re-tweeters was Gwen Ifill, intellectual giant of PBS and moderator of the 2008 vice-presidential debate between Palin and renowned cerebral heavy-hitter Joe Biden. She is now claiming to have been merely quoting Palin, because obviously contextless snippets of Tea Party rally speeches with dubious noises are normal commentary fodder for Ifill.

    That the media has gotten entirely lost in their own framing of Palin as a moron and the Tea Party as a collection of grunting apes following some sort of atavistic stone-the-smart-people instinct is not news, nor is the fact that they have bought into their own self-image as “educated” in contrast to everyone who disagrees with them to the point that it’s possible for basic ignorance on that level to go unremarked until someone from the other side points it out for them.

    The incident itself is not particularly newsworthy either; Twitter provides just one of multiple means in which it’s possible for anyone with any sort of media profile to devour their feet, something that is a fairly normal occasion for humans, being humanly flawed and all. The only thing unique about it is the degree to which it invites all your friends to join you in the foot-feast.

    Does that make it any less satisfying to watch those who apparently believe it their job to tell us all how stupid anyone not of a very particular demographic is demonstrate their own appalling ignorance and impulsive bigotry on a national scale?

    Not really.