31 January 2014

Thin-skinned hypocrisy

According to the Republican party narrative, the problem with liberals is that they're far too quick to take offense at everything and too willing to suppress freedom of speech out of sensitivity to hurt feelings or in the name of political correctness. By comparison, Republicans are supposed to be happy warriors who know how to give and take a joke. Lately, however, it's hard to tell which side has the thinner skin. Again we hear Republican whining over an insult that appeared not on the MSNBC network itself, but on its Twitter feed. The offending tweet suggested that "maybe the rightwing will hate" a forthcoming Super Bowl commercial spotlighting an interracial family. For the hypersensitive right, this was tantamount to saying all Republicans are racists. Their howls of protests forced an apology from the president of MSNBC to the Republican National Committee, even though the "maybe" in the tweet should have dispelled any libelous impression.

Meanwhile, as this story clarifies, the theoretically offending commercial is a sequel to an ad that aired during the last Super Bowl and did provoke hateful responses on the advertiser's YouTube channel. Who was doing the hating? While it may not follow from any particular observation that the entire "rightwing" is racist, it would be a good guess to assume that all racists, or all the people taking offense at the sight of a biracial family, are on the right wing. Perhaps some Nation of Islam types would also be offended, but they hardly count as liberals. Of course, my more general proposition (all racists ... are on the right) would be challenged, fairly enough, by those who perceive "race men" like Al Sharpton (an MSNBC host) as haters, so let's clarify terms to single out a kind of rightwing-racism that objects strongly (as I suppose Sharpton doesn't) to phenomena like interracial marriage. Whoever condemns a commercial because it has an interracial couple in it is most likely a rightwing racist.

If Republicans seem increasingly oversensitive it may be because they've grown more obsessed than ever with proving Democrats to be hypocrites. To them, the MSNBC tweet proves that Democrats and liberals "hate" as much as MSNBC claims that Republicans do -- that is, it proves MSNBC to be hypocritical. Yet to the extent that Republicans still accuse Democrats of being hypersensitive, humorless, and intolerant of frank discussion, Republican reaction to this minor outburst proves them to be hypocrites as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty much everything repugnicans say publicly proves them to be hypocrites.