Sunday, February 13, 2011

Name-Calling From the Left Doesn't Help

I like Jim Horn’s wit, and his empathy for students and teachers certainly come from a good heart. But when he resorts to the same kind of shock jock name calling of his pet bogeymen, (e.g., Beck and Limbaugh, et al) he insults and potentially turns off many of the same regular folk who we need on our side in the fight against the corporatization of the public sector.

Today he justifiably went after Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, but unjustifiably attacked its poor white rural residents as “hate-filled Indiana hillbillies who get lathered up daily watching Fox and listening to Clear Channel.” Certainly we should be concerned about the near monopoly on public opinion held by right-wing media, but it is overly simplistic to blame them for Americans’ misdirected anger. If our unions were doing their jobs, people would be much better organized and educated about working class issues. They’d have a sense of solidarity and, instead of only 9% of the workforce being unionized, virtually all workers would be members of unions and willing to fight to defend their interests. However, it is also simplistic to blame the bureaucratic and collaborationist mainstream unions. They have been failing to do their jobs, but they have also been hamstrung by years of anti-labor legislation and court rulings.

It is also overly simplistic to blame the media for people’s understanding of the world and their attitudes about it. This notion is particularly shocking to come from an educator who surely understands that learning does not occur simply by funneling facts (or propaganda) into the ears of learners. People construct their knowledge and understanding based on prior knowledge, preconceived notions, social and cultural attitudes and world views. Much of the hate-filled propaganda of Fox and Clear Channel (as well as the less hateful stuff on NBC, CBS and ABC) is consistent with the delusional American Dream fantasy and Protestant notions of work and personal responsibility and therefore easy to swallow for many viewers. It is also much easier to hate and attack those who are your equals than to go after the big boys (i.e., ruling elite) who have all the guns and money on their side.

Then there’s Horn’s disdain for fat people.
I agree with him the Chris Christie is a nasty, dangerous bone head, but it is completely unnecessary and gratuitous to attack his body as he did in New Jersey’s Fat-Headed Governor, calling him “lard ass,” and a “morbidly obese loud-mouthed bully,” the latter insult he repeated here, and here. He loves this insult so much that he used it against Rush Limbaugh, too. Rhetoric like this makes Horn sound like the demagogues he hates, and has the potential to turn off the 63% of Americans who are overweight, many of whom are teachers and students.

No comments:

Post a Comment