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May 30, 2013

RedEye Gang Not Sold on Outrage Over Adam Levine "I Hate This Country" Comment

I'm skeptical myself, of this and the Lena Dunham outrage. And that's because I've seen this before, and I've seen this sort of ginned-up outrage directed at us, and it seems to me to be an unfair tactic.

Let's look at the left-wing version of faux outrage. The left is convinced that the right is racist. Every single person on the right is racist. They are convinced of this.

This is a conclusion which only needs to go looking for some evidence to support it. And it does go looking, and when evidence is constantly being sought, and the flimsiness of this evidence does not matter, it will be found.

So, for example -- but this could apply to any of ten thousand recent cases -- the left is convinced that Rick Perry is racist, because 1, he's from Texas, 2, he's white, and 3, he's Republican. The left knows he's racist. To make their belief a story, they need only strike upon some chintzy proof of it.

Lo and behold, they find that he once vacationed at a place which once, in its past (before Perry had vacationed there), had a rock on the property upon which was written a racial slur.

Now this becomes a Big Story. But note the actual story itself is ludicrous. The story itself is not a story. It's only pretended to be a story because the charge it supposedly proves-- Rick Perry is a kissing cousin of a Klansman -- would itself be a Big Story, were it proved.

I see the same thing going on with Adam Levine and Lena Dunham in their two recent gaffes. Levine said "I hate this country" after televoters watching his show voted against him; Lena Dunham tweeted some idiotic over-sharing posts about peeing in various Starbucks, and then added "Happy Memorial Day" to one.

The right believes Adam Levine is a lefty. They are right in that belief. The right also believes that Lena Dunham is a lefty, and, furthermore, over-praised and over-promoted because of her leftism as well as her political usefulness to the left (Girlz can be funny!!!11!). They are right about that.

Now, the right almost certainly further believes that Adam Levine is one of those lefties who is always willing to run down his country as a shibboleth which increases his own Social Worth among other leftists for whom running down America constitutes a Conspicuous Signifier of Value. The right is almost certainly right about this; if I were a betting man, and if this could be proved one way or the other, I'd bet a pretty good sum of money on the truth of this proposition.

And the right believes that Lena Dunham probably doesn't even know what Memorial Day is memorializing, and that she is probably one of those idiots who will say, with all sincerity, that the Courage of the Artist is greater than a soldier's courage (I mean, soldiers didn't even go to college, as John Carry could tell you). The right believes, as a general matter, that Lena Dunham's cultural loyalty is to the culture of transgression/tearing down traditional values.

And, again, were I a betting man, I would bet a large amount of money that the right is completely 100% right about this proposition.

Nevertheless, while I think the right's briefs on Dunham and Levine are completely accurate, the evidence that we're currently talking up to advance these briefs is pretty thin. We would almost certainly be annoyed if the left were to use evidence of such slender import to "prove" that someone on the right was racist, or anti-woman, or Islamophobic, or whatever else.

We would object, rightly, that such "evidence" is hardly evidence at all, and merely is a pretext to begin once again talking up long-held but thinly-evidenced conclusions about Mr. Such-and-Such's racism.

And that this sort of evidence is only being dignified with that descriptor because it fits what the left thinks it already knows about Mr. Such-and-Such. It's the sort of evidence that the Italian justice system would permit, calling it "not incompatible" with the theory to be proven, but few other first-world justice systems.

(Think about how weak and strange that formulation is: "Evidence" which is "not incompatible" with a theory can be admitted as evidence. Like, for example, a man's possession of pornographic magazines can be (and has been) introduced as evidence that he may be a serial killer targeting women, because possession of porno mags is "not incompatible" with the theory that he butchers women on dark nights.)

I do think that Adam Levine is probably just what those outraged about his comments think he is, but the evidence here that we're using to hang him is so weak I just wouldn't permit it at trial.

I should also say that since Obama has been elected -- twice -- my very own estimation of this country has declined. I imagine that's true for many of you, as well, so I'm not sure what we'd be proving here even were we to prove it.

And I do think that Lena Dunham is a soft-headed, morally stupid, unserious, over-promoted narcissist. I would be surprised if she knew the point of Memorial Day, apart from "free day off!" and "barbeque."

Nevertheless, I think it's an enormous leap to think that this woman actually intended to denigrate Memorial Day by mentioning it in a tweet that also mentioned her weak bladder and peeing at Starbucks. I think that she just doesn't really even know anything about the holiday, and, while I suppose some might assign some blame in that, I'd also have to say that in this regard she is scarcely different from 35-45% of the country. So I don't see the big deal.

Again, I do agree with the right's basic take on these individuals. But I think the evidence is being trumped-up and taken to mean much more than it actually does, just because we know these things about Levine and Dunham.

And since we know these things, who cares how thin the evidence is?

Well the difference is, it seems to me, that we could have said all these same things about Adam Levine and Lena Dunham last week, too, with just as much evidence. The "evidence" that offers a new opportunity to discuss this stuff isn't really evidence at all; it's just a fresh opportunity to say things we already believed.

It's a pretext for revising old briefs and cherished beliefs-- just as the left seized upon Rick Perry's ancient vacation records to talk up its "Racist Republican" talking point.

And so I think it's a bit dishonest. We're not really jumping on Dunham and Levine and these comments, per se; we're jumping on these comments because we already figured them out, and already didn't like 'em.

Just to prove that, and the insignificance of the comments themselves: Had the Voice's voters voted Levine's way, and had he said instead "I love this country," would we have taken that as a sign of patriotism?

No. It's an empty remark.

And if Dunham had simply posted "Happy Memorial Day" in a freestanding tweet, without any other statement, no mentions of peeing at Starbucks, would we have looked at that and said, "Why, she's much more patriotic than I ever imagined!"

No. Again, it would have just been a fairly empty statement telling us nothing much at all.

Although I think I'm right about all of this, I continue to wonder whether we should trouble ourselves to be honest in cases like this. We all know the left doesn't. We all know the left seizes upon every pretext and every meaningless thing to "prove" its theory of Hatred and Racism and Evil at the heart of every conservative.

They've set the rules -- and as they own the media, which provides the fields, the refs, the whole damn league in this game -- why should we hamper ourselves by playing by more stringent rules, more enlightened rules?

On the other hand, I think most people are turned off by this sort of hyperventilating over tiny nothings, and see the people frothing about such slender proofs as hyperpolitical, filled with agenda, and not to be trusted, so I'm not really sure what playing by the left's rules on this point actually wins us. That is to say, even if we have the moral right to use these shoddy, absurd rules for our own purposes, is it prudent to do so? Do we actually advance ourselves in this way?

Anyway, the RedEye guys were skeptical too.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:05 PM

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