Friday, September 3, 2010

what you do with bullies

Last month, Michael Ian Black logged his exchange with what we're (I guess) now calling Tea-Party fellow-travelers:

Last night, as I was talking about how much I love the president (because I do), somebody yelled out “Heil Hitler.”

Heil Hitler?

My immediate reaction was to crumple to the floor, which I did. I don’t know why, except that it seemed to me in that moment that the show had now gone south very quickly, and if bottles were going to be thrown, I didn’t want to get hit.

But then I stood up and asked the person (shrouded in darkness, as people who scream “Heil Hitler” often are) why he yelled that, thinking maybe he thought it was funny in some obtuse way, like maybe he though shouting that would be interpreted as clever satire. Or maybe he was being ironic. Grasping, I know, but I honestly had no idea why somebody would yell that outside of a Klan rally.

But I am still being polite.

The guy in the dark says, “Because when you say you like Obama, that’s the same thing to me as saying ‘Heil Hitler.’”

The audience, predictably, starts booing. I ask them to please calm down, that I will handle this in a mature way. While I am saying this to the audience, I am thinking, How do I possibly handle this in a mature way.

So the audience settles down, and I turn to the gentleman and say, “Sir, I say with this all due respect - you are a fucking moron.”

And then I kind of lost my shit.
How, precisely, MIB lost his shit is worth reading through, but he ends his post with an apology to the anonymous heckler for losing his shit, with qualifications:

There was no reason to meet your idiocy with my own, even though you are a fucking moron.
That, in turn, brings to mind Shoutey McGlasserson's cogent rebuttal to opponents of the Islamic Community Center in Lower Manhattan. (Yeah, we're not calling it the G****d Z**o M****e, because it's not. Here are other things it's not: a dirigible tethering station; a BP oil derrick; an ice skating rink.)

The take-away here, aside from the helpful neighborhood context, is that "this is America, dammit" and banning houses of worship isn't really how we roll.

Which brings us to today's news that the Justice Department has taken "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio to court for his enthusiastic enforcement of the Nuremberg Laws not cooperating with an investigation into his enthusiastic enforcement of Nuremberg-like Laws. What sayeth thou, Grey Lady?
Obama administration officials called the suit the first time in 30 years that the federal government had to sue to compel a law enforcement agency to cooperate with an investigation concerning Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”

At a news conference on Thursday, Sheriff Arpaio said he was surprised by the lawsuit since he thought his lawyers and those of the government had been close to an agreement. “I’m not going to be intimidated by the federal government going to court against us,” he said.


The Justice Department issued 51 requests for documents, most of which Sheriff Arpaio’s department ignored, as well as asking for tours of department facilities and interviews with commanders, staff members and inmates.

Sheriff Arpaio, who has denied that he engages in racial profiling, has remained defiant of the government’s investigation. His lawyers have repeatedly refused to provide the documents sought by the Justice Department or provide unfettered access to its facilities.

“It is ironic that the very sheriff who regularly demands that others turn over their papers has refused to turn over his papers,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, which has been critical of Sheriff Arpaio.
(Snip snap.)

The bigger point is, just like Olbermann says above, when people are being idiots, it's your stand up and call them out on it. And hopefully not just in comedy clubs.

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