Off-Topic: Bush-Bashing Forwards

In Jay Nordlinger’s NRO column yesterday, he reported on an email he received from a reader:

     And from another reader: “…I’m impressed that my lefty friends send me nasty anti-Bush jokes all the time, but neither I, nor any conservative I know, would send anti-Clinton jokes to anyone but another conservative. My sister says her e-mail is always clogged with lefty crud from her husband’s lefty brother. She does not try to send him pro-Bush material in return.
“Is this a phenomenon you have observed?”
In a word – yes.

When I read this, I realized that I experience the same thing: I have liberal friends who forward email or links with the nastiest Bush-bashing material. They know our politics; they presumably know that we click the delete button as soon as we see the message subject. Yet they keep on sending them.

Neither Dymphna nor I ever send any politically fraught email unless we’re already sure the recipient has more or less the same opinions that we do. To me, it’s a part of normal email courtesy: I don’t send dirty jokes to people who don’t like dirty jokes, and I don’t send cute cat photos to people unless I know they’re cat people.

Anyone else have similar experiences? Go ahead and weigh in; maybe someone can explain why the forwarding of political email is such an asymmetrical phenomenon.

14 thoughts on “Off-Topic: Bush-Bashing Forwards

  1. I once told a dirty joke to a friend only because I knew a devout Christian woman was listening. I did not dislike her. My action was not commendable, I knew that at the time. On analysing the motive – she annoyed me. How? By giving the impression she had the right ‘stuff’. I wanted to annoy her back. Childish? You bet.

    Or your ‘friends’ might get a kick out of schadenfreude? Lots do.

  2. A commenter over at Redneck Texan actually lost his job for sending a lefty political e-mail from work. Never mind that the lefty in question is a veritable hate filled spam factory! They got up a calling and mailing campaign to his company, and even posted his personal info at KOS, ensuring an avalanche of bile.

    What’s good for the goose is definately not good for the gander in the left leaning world of group think.


  3. During the presidential election, I was surprised to receive continuous obnoxious, anti-Bush email from a close fried from Texas. Twice I politely asked that she exclude me from the list of people who she sent political email. When she didn’t, I sent an email that basically asked her what her problem was and that when I said not to send this s*** to me, I meant it. She then took umbrage at my “attitude”, stating that clearly I wanted to be part of the theocracy that would soon be imposed in the US. Alas, I am no longer her friend and haven’t heard from her since last November.

  4. Doc–

    We have a friend who won’t take our rejections seriously. Even when I sent a 3 paragraph fulmination. He just keeps sending that stuff.

    Of course, he has a federal gummint job. He has the time and motivation, hmmm?

    The Baron and I discuss this a lot. Diagnosis: oh how the mighty have fallen and oh how sore they are about it.

    Reactive hatred for differences, while mouthing platitudes about diversity is sure a gap between rhetoric and reality. A large gap into which they are falling like lemmings off a cliff.

    OTOH, it must be very painful to have to shore up that many sandbags to prevent reality from washing in…

    And that’s my mixed bag of metaphors for today. I suppose the vicodin they put me on for my fx rib is the cause(see wheelbarrow post).

    Or maybe it’s Howard Dean. What do you suppose *he* might be on?


  5. Jude, I think annoying the enemy is part of the motivation. But I wonder why right-wingers seem to be less likely to do it.

    Pofarmer — yes, I remember reading about that one at the time. The political opinions of my boss (who has a “Bushisms” desk calendar) is one of the reasons I blog anonymously.

    Dymphna has kind of let my cat out of the bag. I wonder if the lefties unconsciously know that they have lost the argument, and have to compensate by lashing out at the winning side.

    The Good Dr. Sanity can probably give us a professional opinion on that one…

  6. Dr Sanity – I thought lefties wanted a theocracy. A muslim one.

    Is it jealousy? Are conservatives viewed as being wealthier and smarter? Or at least better educated and therefore having a vested interested in keeping the system going while (I don’t know what to call them – left wingers?
    Liberals? Socialists? Communists?) see themselves as the harbingers of a new order where instead of rich and poor there will only be the poor? Is that the sort of equality they want?

  7. No Jude, the lefties are not simply jealous. They are motivated rather by the certainty that their story is more legitimate than yours. A story that is “constructed” by conservatives or misled patriots is simply a mask for the social domination of conservatives (imagine, they might say, the cheek in the conservative calling himself jude the obscure!). Whereas, otoh, the story of those who oppose the system is, tautologically, oppositional and hence guaranteed to be a superior word to that conservative logic which is masked by the illegimate metanarrative that has been constructed precisely to mask the “real reasons” for, e.g., the war.

    IOW, the lefties no longer believe (as some once did, and maybe there are still a rare few…) in causes that need to be analyzed carefully with an eye to paradox and contradiction, since their idea of “root causes” is simply that someone is being oppressed; they simply believe that wrong is caused by the imposition of illegitimate stories (and the muscle to enforce them) on behalf of an authority that must be opposed because it is authority. They thus dissimulate their own institutional (academic, journalistic, etc.) authority, and by taking the side of the oppressed they seek an epistemological guarantee of their righteousness which is desired in order to forego the need for serious conversation with the evil enemy about causes.

    The evil conservative is the master scapegoater, so if we scapegoat him it’s only right and then we don’t have to get into fundamental questions (why bother, cause there’s no universal truth, save the truth of power, which is a lie), e.g. questions of how scapegoating is humanity’s original sin and fundamental to the violence propagated against America. YOu’d have to be a Christian, Jude, to get into that conversation. The lefty knows that America is the really violent one. Enuff said. We just gotta be right, er left.

  8. Remember when you were 8,9,10 years old. You had to have a bunch of friends to side with you or you wouldn’t venture into the world for any reason. Then when you matured, you learned that you could survive on your own without, either physical or intellectual reinforcement from your peers.

    For conservatives that maturity comes sometime before puberty ends, for those on the left it happens at about age 93. They must, therefore, spend their lives seeking someone to tell them they are liked.

    Pity. They don’t know and don’t know they don’t know.

  9. I called a truce with my liberal friends some time ago. We just don’t talk about it anymore. Seems there is always something we can agree on like border security, outsourcing and the like. In 2000 I dated a woman for 6 months, until something I did or said made her ask me if I voted for Bush. I said I did. She said with abject revulsion, “I can’t believe I’m dating a Republican!” No lovin’s for me. I do not want to talk politics ever again with women.

    Speaking of e-mail, J Nordinger did a great piece regarding similar concerns with campaign buttons.

    “It may be some group impulse — or some form of preening. I don’t know. I am not a psychologist. To me, wearing a Kerry-Edwards button in a Manhattan concert hall or opera house is like wearing a button that says, “I’m a good person,” or, “I hate all things bad.” I’ve been trying to figure out why I despise it so (this button-wearing). Maybe it’s because it’s too easy, too safe. Wearing a Bush-Cheney button would be interesting; admirable, in a way. Wearing a Kerry-Edwards button is just joining up with the mob.”

  10. I got into blogging after a relative sent me an email message that had been floating around among her rich leftist friends that was so infuriatingly vile that I felt and still feel an explosive urge to respond to the whole world.

    Van Helsing

  11. I sometimes send unsolicited e-mails announcing my posts “to the other side”, but make it a point to stop when asked.

  12. Prior to the election I got so many of these everyday.

    In the last few months it seems to have stopped.

  13. I see it on all kinds of blogs and forums. The lefties generally, at least I think, genuinely beleive they are right, and absolutely cannot beleive that any one would disagree with them. It’s a special kind of group think they have going. The kind of single mindedness they can have is scary, and indeed, could be dangerous. I do hope it’s on the way out.


  14. I think it’s a symptom of the anxiety resulting from the discrepancy between real world trends and their assumptions and ego props. Sort of a group version of cognitive dissonance, and the response is to reassure each other with juvenile gibes and japes.

    As the facts sandblast away the layers of rationalization and self-deception, the need to re-coat, re-cover, and re-paint becomes more frantic. But it will eventally collapse. The real world has more persistence and power than even the most desperate of self righteous justifiers.

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