Monday, July 25, 2005

The Violent Spatula

I consider myself a political liberal. So, when I found out that one of the co-hosts of the Texas Blogfest 2005 was Lord Spatula (aka: Spats), I was pretty turned off. I felt, based on visiting his blog and reading what he wrote, that this was the guy my grandfather was talking about when he said that there were more horse's asses than horses.

Yet I went to the blogfest and am still glad I did. I got to see my old friend El Capitan, I met Zippo, Beth, Denita Two Dragons and, yes, even Delftsman3. I also met Spats but pretty much blew him off. I know assholes when I see ‘em and I just don't give them the power over my life to ruin the good times any more.

I missed the gathering at Spats place the next day. Frankly, I figured I would spend the whole day arguing with him and a couple of the other wingnuts. My life is too short for that crap. That is where the infamous photo was taken:
  • Photo taken from

  • Now I see that Spats has managed to get into it with a Reverend Mykeru resulting in a various threats of violence (refereed and unrefereed) between the two. I probably would have missed the who stupid affair, but for the fact that it has caught the attention of Jesus' General and Journalist and expert on right-wing hate, David Neiwert at Orincus.

    There are a lot of good blogs out there; in my opinion Orincus is one of the best of all of them. It's certainly in my top three. I was very disturbed to see that he considers Spats: a right-wing intimidation artist who calls himself "Lord Spatula," who has a habit of spewing all kinds of vile eliminationist rhetoric in the direction of a number of liberals who post on the Internet, including various threats of physical harm.

    Revisiting Spats' blog it is pretty clear Neiwert's charcterization of Spats hits the nail right on the head. Maybe I ignored what I did not want to see back then, but right now he is proudly declaring his racist hatred. He's got a little FAQ which sounds more like the guy I met and still was not impressed by, but I'd be ashamed to have written the stuff he writes. Truthfully, my big reaction to what I read is surprise that people I know and like would want to hang with this guy. I just don't get it. I don't see anything appealing or interesting about the him, at least, not from his blog.

    The sadder thing is, from my perspective, that the person on my side of the political spectrum in this story, Rev. Mykeru, seems to me, little different from Spats. Let me illustrate what I mean. Read these quotes.

    From Rev. Mykeru:
    (Taken from email addressed to Spats) I don't need a weapon, it's just that actually beating you to death is complicated by all the padding you are carrying around. In fact, even with a knife it would present a technical challenge to eviscerate someone with a 3" push dagger when they are carrying around 4" of stored Cheetos.
    From Rev. Mykeru:
    However, it (this particular conflict with Spats) did serve a purpose.

    First, it can be used to continue to humiliate a particularly malignant net bully whose threats could have a chilling effect on discourse if the people threatened are unaware that he's just a big pussy.

    Second, it could generally dissuade people from the notion that liberals are doormats that will not take a stand and fight.
    From Spats:
    (Taken from email addressed to Mykeru) Oh, _now_ I know why you're too afraid to come down here, needle-dick. You couldn't live it down when a 42-year-old kicks every last ounce of shit out of you. BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...!!!

    Yeah, I know - while you'd be insisting on a slap-fight like the little pussified wimp-ass you are, I'd be shoving my steel-toed boot up your skanky little rump-ranger ass. Your butchie-boy of a butt-buddy might not like seeing your colon up around your adam's apple too much. Gotta keep your pimp happy, y'know.
    From Spats:
    These are cowardly little bullies we're dealing with here. Now maybe they're bullies for the first time in their pathetic little lives, but they're still bullies. And my father taught me - well, he tried to teach me, anyway - that there's only one way you deal with a bully: You stand up to him and nail him in the nose.

    That's what I do. And, if nothing else, it drives home the point to these cretins that they're pretty insignificant in the big scheme of things. That in itself is worth the effort.
    Both of these guys have cast themselves in the role of the hero, standing up to the bully. Both of these men see themselves the exact same way. That should set off alarm bells in both their heads. They are behaving exactly in the same manner that they both profess to despise and detest: like a bully.

    It is unfair to characterize Mykeru and Spats as being completely the same however. First of all, from perusing Mykeru's blog, this is not typical daily fare for him. I cannot say the same for Spats; as far as I can discern this type of hate is the predominant content of his blog. Secondly, after reading both blogs intently, I am going to say: for all of his bluster, Spats does appear to lack the courage of his convictions.

    Now, back to the central point: the violence. There is fighting back and then there is fighting back. And no, I am not a pacifist. There are times when there is no alternative but violence. This is not one of them. I believe that Rev. Mykeru's small battle with Spats did two things: it confirmed in Spat's mind that he is correct about liberals. And it confirmed in Mykeru's mind that he is right about conservatives. Again, like so many things in the past twenty or thirty years, it leaves us, as Americans, divided, hating and mistrusting each other. I want to join in with Mykeru; I like that feeling of being right, being pumped. But I can't.

    I believe in a Higher Power and I believe that that Higher Power, whom I call Goddess (you may call that same Power Allah, Jesus, God, Krishna, etc.) calls upon me to treat other people the same way that I wish to be treated. And man, that is the fucking hardest thing in the world to do. But I have to look at the results. Look at my friendships. They extend across faiths, across political bounderies. That is my job. My job is to represent my Faith, my Politics, myself in a way that is attractive to others. To bear witness through deeds. I often fail at this job; but that is what I am here to do. And this job is important; very important and I will tell you why.

    My friends Beth, Denita Two Dragons and Delftsman3 are all conservatives. Yet I believe they know and like me. Whenever they hear characterizations of liberals as traitors they have to square that with what they know of me. The only way to change people's minds is to get to know them; to influence them personally. I'm not looking to turn them into liberals. I just want them to see past the false image of liberals projected by the Right Wing Corporate Media. In order to ask them to do that, it is incumbent upon me to look past the stereotype of conservatives and get to know the people behind the label. And you know, they are just people, like me, like you.

    That does not mean that bullies should not be stood up to; they must be stood up to. Bullies help shape these divisions and splits in our culture. They get their kicks from driving people apart. Some of them earn their living that way. In that sense, what Mykeru did was absolutely right. I just don't like the method. But he stood up where I didn't and proved that at least one of the people willing to tear America apart was nothing more than a blowhard. One person has managed to find a positive in this; Mykeru has the details but the upshot is that money will be going to families of injured veterans out of it.

    An eye for an eye will leave us a world full of people blindly stabbing and shooting at each other. We have travelled too far down that road again; do we really want another civil war? How do we get from where we are to where we can hear one another? I don't know, but I do know this: both Spats and Mykeru took the wrong direction.