Monday, March 01, 2004

I’m going to be rich
Last week I claimed to have found a new meme in the making. This week my amazing powers of prediction have been vindicated. It is indeed a full-fledged meme. I’m sure James Randi will accept this as proof of my ability to predict the future and send me a million dollars.

The meme, of which I found three examples, went like this:
[T]he liberal media elite is either celebrating, or shamefully silent on, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s act of civil disobedience in deciding to have the city issue same sex marriage licenses. Yet last summer this same liberal media elite couldn’t heap enough abuse on Judge Roy Moore’s act of civil disobedience in plopping a Ten Commandments monument in the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court. You see, it’s all about hypocrisy. Liberal media elites have no moral grounding, so they can disapprove of civil disobedience one week and applaud it the next. That’s how evil they are.

Martha Bridegam wrote to comment that:
It's not really civil disobedience at all. It's a public official's act based on a legal opinion interpreting state and federal constitutional law. As I say on my site, if gay marriage is "civil disobedience," then so are John Ashcroft's assorted stompings of habeas corpus.

Interestingly enough, many of the meme pushers make the complimentary point, which is that Newsom’s actions are not civil disobedience, they are out and out criminality (suggesting that civil disobedience requires surrender to the authorities and jail time).

Of course, either of these arguments requires that the meme be taken seriously. There are in fact a great number of important differences between Moore’s action and Newhouse’s. My point was simply to ridicule the meme. These kinds of arguments based on sloppy reductionism and equivalency are childish and often no more than insincere talking points, more marketing than discourse.

Today after reading David Neiwert’s piece on Roy Moore and the Constitution Party, I went Moore Googling and discovered the meme popping up all over. Everyone’s favorite objective media watcher, Howard Kurtz, not only made the argument himself, he quoted annoying blonde Laura Ingraham also making it.
Newsom, she says, "is being treated as a modern-day Rosa Parks. He's a nice guy and a very eloquent public speaker, but he's also not following the law. When Judge Roy Moore wasn't following the law, people were trashing him. He was just ridiculed in the press.... If you have a politically correct view and violate the law, you're a hero."

That’s a perfect statement of the meme. Roy’s commandments and gay marriage are equal. The liberal media are hypocrites for applauding one and condemning the other.

Bill O'Reilly mouths the meme in Murdock’s New York Daily News (with the non-spinning headline: “Left-wing hypocrisy: Alabama judge is hit for defying the law, not so S.F.'s mayor”). Lesser conservative ranters are also jumping on the bandwagon for this one. And I predicted it. That makes me a psychic and James Randi owes me a million dollars. Right?

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