Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wingnuttery goes mainstream: The ABCs of lapel pin politics

For those of you who wonder how the wingnuts get regular, generally rational, mainstream/moderate people to support their crazy-assed antics, the percolating new cause célèbre provides us with an inside look. This morning, I received an email from my dad's cousin who (I think) is relatively moderate. The subject line was "Fwd: No Flag pins"
ABC NEWS BANS FLAG LAPEL PINS
This is true and even though I will have little effect on ABC News revenue I do plan on being careful to not view any program that is on ABC and boycott, if at all possible, the sponsors of ABC. Barbara Walters said that this was going to hurt ABC bad. As you know she works for ABC.

This should make your blood boil...it DOES mine!

ABC NEWS BANS FLAG LAPEL PINS!

YESTERDAY THE BRASS AT ABC NEWS ISSUED ORDERS FORBIDDING REPORTERS TO WEAR LAPEL PIN AMERICAN FLAGS OR OTHER PATRIOTIC INSIGNIA. THEIR REASONING WAS THAT ABC SHOULD REMAIN NEUTRAL ABOUT 'CAUSES'.

SINCE WHEN IS SUPPORT FOR PREVENTING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION SOME SORT OF A 'CAUSE'? SINCE WHEN IS PATRIOTISM TO BE DISCOURAGED?

I URGE YOU TO BOYCOTT ABC AND ITS SPONSORS AND AFFILIATES. WE ARE SLOWLY LOSING EVERYTHING OUR COUNTRY STANDS FOR AND EVERYTHING OUR MEN AND WOMEN FOUGHT AND DIED TO PRESERVE!

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO AS MANY AS YOU CAN. THIS HAS BEEN VERIFIED THROUGH: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/noflags.asp

THIS ONE NEEDS TO GET OUT IF IT HASN'T ALREADY!
This email reminds me of the ones my former Admin, an absolutely bat-guano crazy fundamentalist who slathers herself in Wingnut butter™, forwards to me about secular threats to the US, threats to Christianity, Israel, Messianic Judaism, etc. Oddly, I don't even think the former Admin would jump on this bandwagon, let alone forward it to me and yet, my dad's cousin did. She doesn't know me well, she is after all my father's cousin and one I don't see often. She reached out to me while my mother was dying and I find the fact that she has forwarded a couple of emails regarding political issues as a weird little compliment. I have been more polite when disagreeing with her than I am with Uncle Completely-off-his-rocker (he was off the charts bonkers before the Alzheimer's and the disease has made our sparring partnership significantly less fulfilling for me despite the fact it has not diminished his masochistic‡ enjoyment of it). She was also part of the family thread regarding BHO's impact on Israel, so she has some idea that I am absolutely compelled to interject some rational thought when someone comes at me with an emotional argument.

So, what gives with this chocolate covered poo of a "controversy"? Is it actually something worthy of an action-item, boycott ABC email? Of course not, if Madonna had a financial stake in the network, I'd think she was giving them marketing advice to increase ratings for many of their shows that aren't doing too well (they all seem pretty lame to me, though people do actually watch some of their sillier shows in droves). So what gives to make ABC's decision so controversial that it appears to be the next "war on Christmas"? Like the fake war on Christmas, it creates an antagonist that is presented as taking an extreme action against something so mundane (and yet, so "important") that the action itself must be a sign of something truly sinister and threatening to the entire country. In other words, the ban seems extreme considering the banality of the act being banned and that is a dog whistle mainstreamers hear loudly enough to think something's amiss without seeming weird enough to cause them to wonder about the underlying rationale for the decision.

Truthfully, ABC's decision makes sense. The job of the reporter to is convey a story without bias or distraction. Lapel pins or other insignia can be a distraction because they are items worn with the sole purpose of making some sort of statement. Due to the idiocy of the flag pin focus of the election, which boiled these pins as a way to differentiate people as patriotic or not, the symbolism of the pin became empty at best due to the absolute Bachmannesque McCarthyesque nature of the focus on them.

This being said, my guess, based on the timing of this policy, is that it’s not to prevent anyone from showing their faux patriotism via flag pin, it’s really to prevent the questions and complaints that will come from reporters who may insist on being permitted to wear white knotted ribbons to show solidarity with the LGBT community fighting back against the passing of Prop 8 and similar “let’s use the Constitution as toilet paper “ type legislation and those will could chose to use their lapels to make other statements that take the focus away from what should be an unbiased news report.

‡ I've always suspected he actually agrees with me but is addicted to drama and wants someone else to smack him back to reality when it comes to Israel.


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3 comments:

Quercki M. Singer said...

I love your "guess."

max lapel pins said...

The first ever use of such lapel pins was done by the Soviet Union in different types of political gatherings and to dignify the technical achievements of the nation..!!

Jaide Smith said...

such custom pins were widely used by the Soviet Union in different fields like sports, politics and culture; amongst others...