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August 14, 2013

A Reasoned and Balanced Call for the Ritual Stoning of the Subversive Rodeo Clown Which Is Perfectly In Keeping With Our American Values

At NRO, Michael Auslin calls for dramatic and quite possibly violent action to safeguard the dignitas of our post-Roman Caesar.

By now all America has heard of the national tragedy that occurred in Missouri. A rogue rodeo clown insulted the dignity of our princeps civitatis, I mean, President of the United States, at the Missouri State Fair. According to Tribune of the People, I mean U.S. Representative, William Lacy Clay, the offending clown threatened the safety of our Nation by showing “hatred, intolerance and disrespect.” This was echoed by provincial deputy governor, I mean state lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder, who “condemned the actions disrespectful” to our President.

The voice of the People has been heard, and already the announcer and president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has resigned and the threatening clown banned for life from working in Missouri’s rodeos. Yet, as Censor, I mean State Representative, Steve Webb declared, “sometimes apologies just won’t do.” Indeed, the officials of the Missouri Colosseum, I mean the Missouri State Fair, have demanded that the state rodeo association “hold all those responsible for this offensive stunt accountable.”

My fellow citizens, this is not enough. Never before has our Republic faced such a threat to our leader or our national future. Never before has the dignitas of our leading citizen been so violently attacked.

He then recounts some of the attacks on the dignitas of previous Caesars, but they were not Caesars at all, but merely proconsuls, so those cases can be easily distinguished.

Byron York similarly notes the sudden and unexpected urge to "punish your enemies," as a very wise guest-lecturer on Constitutional law once said.

The controversy over the incident seemed to have two parts. One was outrage in some quarters over the obvious disrespect and ridicule directed at the president. The other was outrage over the suggestion of violence toward Obama — in the form of an encounter with the bull — that was the premise of the act. This is the most complete video of the incident available; you can watch it to judge for yourself.

Of course the Missouri State Fair can do what it wants, but the lifetime ban seems excessive. Any president comes in for a fair amount of public mockery, and what happened at the State Fair does not seem worse than the mockery of the president that occurred — without consequences like lifetime bans — during George W. Bush’s years in the White House. It’s not necessary to recite all the insults, threats, and other offenses directed at Bush during his presidency; if you were awake during those years, you know there were a lot of them. But perhaps it would be useful to list a few, and ask whether they resulted in punishment and professional exile for those involved.

Read him for those.

Skipping to the "violence" suggested by the stunt -- which is silly, because assassins do not employ rodeo bulls as their modus operandi, and furthermore because clowns being hit by rodeo bulls is nothing strange in a rodeo. It is the whole point of the clown. The rodeo clown was asking, effectively, would you like to see the President do what I do every working day?

In what way is that any sort of "threat" against the president? The "threat" has been contrived, ginned up, and sprinkled with fauxtrage in order to achieve the real end, which is to simply punish anyone who declares that the Emperor has no clothes, lest the crowd pick up the chant.

But let's entertain this idea that the rodeo clown's silly prank was a "threat." Have any previous presidents similarly suffered such threats? And if so, what Lifetime Bans befell the perpetrators?

As far as the use of violent imagery and the president is concerned, the Bush years saw imagery much more serious than a bump from a bull. For example, the 2006 film “Death of a President” was a faux-documentary that told the story of a fictional Bush assassination, including a graphic depiction of the Bush character being shot in the chest. After its premiere at the Toronto film festival, where it won the International Critics Prize, “Death of a President” was handled by a major American distributor, Newmarket Films, and was reviewed, seriously and on its own terms, by the Washington Post, New York Times and other major press outlets. The film’s makers were not banned for life from the movie industry or anything else; the director has since made several films that have shown at festivals around the world and is now working on a documentary on David Bowie.

In the 2004 novella “Checkpoint,” author Nicholson Baker depicted a conversation between two men planning to assassinate Bush. “He’s one dead armadillo,” says one character, speaking of the president. The Washington Post was impressed by the book’s “fanciful flourishes and fierce, furious fits of anger.” Baker was not banned from anything and is still writing and being published today.

In June 2006, Alan Hevesi, then the comptroller of the state of New York, delivered a college commencement address in which he paid tribute to Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer by calling him “the man who, how do I phrase this diplomatically, who will put a bullet between the president’s eyes if he could get away with it.” Hevesi later apologized, explaining that he merely intended to praise Schumer’s courage and toughness. Hevesi was not banned from office; he was, in fact, re-elected as comptroller later in 2006. (He didn’t stay much longer, resigning when he was indicted on corruption charges.)

America is in a very strange and dark place.

What makes me especially aghast is that, while I understand, perhaps, that cultists must dismember those who insult the Prophet of Government, I do not understand why the Prophet of Government himself has not stepped forward to tell his cultists to chill out and remind them that dissent against the government and its leader -- even, nay, especially mocking dissent -- is not only permitted in America, but rather the whole point of it.

He could reap quite a bit of goodwill by simply saying, "Guys, come on, it's okay to mock me."

And yet he silently blesses the actions of his cultists.

This man was a guest-lecturer in Constitutional law.

Did he miss this part of the Constitution?



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posted by Ace at 02:01 PM

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