Spin can be a glorious thing. You can tell someone to f*** themselves sideways with a brick wrapped in barbed wire, and make them think you are giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a fabulous romantic evening.
When Sarah Palin recently delivered her word-salad speech, I found that my liberal friends were ignoring the truth of what she was saying. They couldn’t hear it between the incoherent mumbling and the trite phrasing. Taking spin and?cutting it down?to the idea that informs the spin takes a certain skill.
Dog-whistles are deliberately unintelligible to non-Conservatives. They are meant to hide ugly ideas and hate speech behind trite expressions. Understanding dog-whistles requires a level of familiarity with Conservative language that would drive most liberals crazy.?Fortunately, I am a former Conservative. So I have spent years deciphering bullshit, and I have been privy to enough back-room conversations to cut through spin.
Here for your edification and entertainment are just a few recent Conservative soundbites and what they really mean.
Quote: “I have often said that when you talk about the event or the movie ‘Selma’ you can’t just say ‘Selma.’ You have to say ‘Selma’ [said in tone obviously meant to mock grief.] You have to put a tinge of sadness. It is getting to the point where you have to talk about Katrina that way. Katrina [again, said with the mocking faux tone of grief.]” (Source: Media Matters)
What he meant: Look, folks – between us, it is okay to act like the heedless and heartless bastards that we are. But we need to cover our racism and sociopathy when we are around normal people by mimicking the verbal inflections of those who have genuine compassion and empathy. But we will silently simmer with loathing for those wimps who try to be kind.
Quote: “‘The Man,? can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then ‘The Man’ can’t ride ya.? (Source: The Washington Post)
What she meant: If you are oppressed, that is your own fault. If your back was strong – i.e., if you had guts and a real work ethic – you wouldn’t let anyone oppress you. So stop complaining about “the man” like some 1970s dirty hippy and work like a white person.
Quote:?“So many people have told me that I should host ?Meet the Press? and replace the moron who is on now.” (Source: Twitter)
What he meant:?My employees (yeah, the dudes that I browbeat and threaten to fire six times a day) unanimously?answer my question: “Who should replace that moron on ‘Meet the Press’?” with a resounding:?”You boss!” And I pat them on the head?and reward them by not yelling at them or threatening them for the following half-hour. Oh, and?at the party my wife threw last weekend, everybody there said yes to the same question. Sure, some of them didn’t start off saying yes, but by the time I spent a little time talking to them, they all said yes before they left. Now that’s leadership!
Quote:?“We’re working on [an alternative to Obamacare]?having discussions amongst our members, we got a lot of divergent views about how best to go back to a doctor-patient relationship that’s revered. About rewarding medical professionals, as opposed to all those rules that are coming down and frankly, driving doctors out of the system.” (Source: 60 Minutes on CBS)
What he meant:?Look, we have another plan; we just don’t think that you will like it if we say it out loud. Our plan is called “Survival of the Fittest and the Richest.” If you are healthy enough not to need healthcare or rich enough to afford it, then you live. If you don’t, that is just God’s way of making our nation stronger by letting all the moochers die off. And may the odds be every in your favor!
Quote:?“‘I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem of rape…?We just need to find a way, definitionally, to not get us in a spot about where we’re debating what legitimate rape is. That’s not the cause that we’re in. We’re not here debating legitimate rapes. We’re here talking about saving babies at 20 weeks.” (Source: TPM)
What he meant:?I am going to need someone with some seriously bad-ass spin skills to help me out.?We have decided that it isn’t politically expedient to?make women carry their rapists’ babies. But we aren’t about to let them get an abortion just any old time that they say they were raped.?We aren’t willing to trust them with their own bodies; what in sweet hell makes you think that we would trust them to tell the truth about rape? They lie about rape all the time now, and there really isn’t that big of incentive. If they have to say that they have been raped in order to get an abortion, you better believe that those sluts will be claiming that they were raped every other month when they show up in abortion clinics to get their precious babies murdered. We demand that these women continue their pregnancies long enough for us to?call the resulting children a drain on society and mooches. ?So one of you peons had better? figure out a way for me to say this without sounding like the braying jackass that I really am.