7 Absurd Right-Wing Follies This Week: Bundy/Hannity Breakup Edition
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1. Cliven Bundy: Black people were better off as slaves. Now, they put themselves in jail.
That Cliven Bundy turned out to be a colossal racist is not a hugely surprising twist ending to the ridiculous Hannity/Bundy love affair, media circus and saga that was such a marvel to behold this week. If there is a more perfect example of Fox and the right being exposed as the utterly backward haters they are, we cannot imagine it. The greatest fiction writer in the world would be hard-pressed to come up with a more airtight scenario. Truth cannot only be stranger than fiction; it can be more satirical than satire itself.
Still, Sean Hannity was shocked—shocked, I tell you—that a man who had previously said perfectly reasonable things, like he did not believe in the existence of the federal government, the face of which just happens to be a black man, turned out also to harbor morally repugnant views about race.
Good ol' Cliven was not about to let his moment in the Fox-induced sun go by without weighing in on a whole variety of topics. With the microphones on, he waxed lyrical about the “Negro,” though his actual pronunciation included a short “I” rather than the long “e” in that retrograde word. Equally ironic, perhaps, is that he opened this bit of philosophical rumination by criticizing “negroes” who are on government subsidies, when his cattle are on the bovine equivalent of food stamps, grazing away on federally owned land for zippo.
For those who missed it, here’s Bundy’s refrain, one more time: “Negroes abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Apart from the obvious outrageousness of saying anyone is better off as a slave—much of the rest of this just doesn’t even make sense. Black people put their men in jail—no, that would be the police who put them in jail, often due to racist drug laws. And then that weird causality that Bundy implies, they put them in jail because they didn’t learn to pick cotton. How is that causal? Explain.
Black people are less free now that they are no longer slaves. OK, totally veered off into the realm of absurdity. Demonstrably false, crazy, head-exploding stuff.
2. Cliven Bundy: If I’m racist, it's MLK's fault.
Further demonstrating his tenuous grasp on both logic and reality, Bundy elaborated on his deep thoughts on race on CNN later in the week. He was very taken aback that people found his musings on whether black people might be better off as slaves offensive, and so he sought to clarify them, or find someone else to blame. Oddly, he figured it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s fault, for not finishing “his job.”
Perhaps someone should break it to Bundy that MLK was assassinated.
Just as oddly, Bundy thought that the thing that people found most offensive about what he said was that he used words like “black boys” and “Negroes,” as opposed to the whole “better off as slaves” bit.
Finally, he concluded, "We need to get over this prejudice stuff." This puts him in fine conservative company. Conservatives are very upset that people keep calling them racist for doing things like siding with Cliven Bundy, or blaming blacks for their own problems, or in the case of the Roberts Court, for saying that we live in a post-racial society where we no longer need affirmative action to make sure colleges are diverse and educational opportunities are afforded to all.