This is Fascism. This is Un-American.

Since when did it become a crime to make fun of the Dear Leader?


BANNED FOR LIFE!
Clowns ordered to ‘sensitivity training’…
Announcer, rodeo president resign…
‘I know I’m a clown, Obama just running around acting like one, doesn’t know he is one’…
MO CONTROVERSY SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL…
NAACP: DOJ, Secret Service Should Investigate…

Does Jim Meskimen deserve .re-education camp for this?

Do we need to track down the disloyal and insensitive perpetrators of this sketch and punish them?

Rodeo clowns don’t need sensitivity training. Obama drones and members of his fascistic cult of personality need insensitivity training.

  • HornOrSilk

    I would suggest it wasn’t about “making fun of the leader.” It was asking if you want to see Obama run down by a bull. That kind of language is more than merely making fun, but suggesting a violent act against the president, and I think it is right to stop such violent rhetoric. Threats to the president are wrong. So your examples of mocking Reagan and Bush don’t get into what was wrong. There are all kinds of anti-Obama mocking which is done without such criticism.

    • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

      I suppose that makes Sid and Marty Krofft public enemies #1 (and #2 I guess) for the treatment their Reagan puppet often got on their “D.C. Follies” program in the 1980s (Reagan was sitting president at the time).

      • Chesire11

        No, they were public enemies for passing off “Sigmund the Sea Monster” as Saturday morning entertainment on a whole generation of children…well…that and “Lidsville.”

        • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

          Agreed. Purgatory will not endure long enough for them to properly atone for Lidsville.

    • Chris M

      bull trampling? really? because that’s what this was about. the conservative obsession with murdering the potus with bovines.

    • JF

      Silly. There was no personal threat. He was simply mocking. If anyone can’t see that, he’s got some serious emotional problems.

      • HornOrSilk

        He did more than mere mocking. Suggesting violence to a president is more than mocking. This isn’t really anything new. This kind of talk does get people into trouble.

        • chezami

          Um,, I don’t know about you, but it would never occur to me to want a rodeo clown to be run down by a bull. I don’t thin, rodeo clowns want to be run down by bulls since that hurts quite a bit. I don’t see how, therefore, this rodeo clown is saying he wants Obama run down by a bull.

          • HornOrSilk

            From the first article, where it says, he asked if the crowd wanted to see Obama “run down by a bull”:

            An Obama-mask clown at the Missouri State Fair was banned for life, after photos and video asking a crowd if they wanted to see Obama ‘run down by a bull’ went viral.

            • chezami

              Meh. Alec Baldwin isn’t “banned for life” despite his incendiary “stone Henry Hyde to death, along with his wife and kids” rant. Indeed, the Left minimizes it: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×3226309 This is draconian overreaction.

              • HornOrSilk

                And Alec Baldwin was wrong and should also face penalties for that, too. It’s not draconian over-reaction when you see the history of how seriously this is taken (and it is usually taken more seriously with the president, for obvious reasons, so when people made similar suggestions about Bush, they DID get in trouble, let alone previous presidents). This is very much a no-no, period. From any side with the president.

                And you know very well the “well, the left do it too” is not a good answer.

                • David K

                  I’m confused. You claim that the clown was really threatening violence against the Preseident. Yet that would lead to criminal charges. Cut to ther chase: do you want this guy arrested or not? If not, all your talk of “threats” is just bulldust.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    I would support putting him on trial for his actions here. Why not?

                    • David K

                      Now we get to your real intentions.

                      Why not? Because it would make everybody involved, including the President, look even more ridiculous than they already do.

                      “The left do it too” isn’t offered here as some kind of tu quoque argument. It’s just pointing out that mockery of a President, even aggressive mockery, isn’t and never has been a crime. As I recall, the Left salivated over a whole movie depicting George Bush getting shot in the chest. This collective death fantasy attracted no police action of any kind. Nor should it, distasteful as it was.

              • Chesire11

                Clearly, Baldwin’s comment was beyond the pale, however, he made the comment on his own, as a private citizen, not in his capacity as an employee.

                BTW, what do you think my boss would do if I used my company laptop to send all of my business and personal contacts an e-mail suggesting that some public figure (take your pick) should be run over by a bull?

                Answer – I would be fired in a heartbeat, and would never be considered for employment by my current employer again.

                Same thing.

        • Evan

          I don’t remember Bill Maher or Marc Maron being sent to sensitivity training and losing their jobs after they made the “jokes” about violent sexual fantasies against Michelle Bachmann.
          The point is not whether or not the rodeo clown was right to mock Obama, but that there is a blatant double standard from Obama’s devotees.

          • Chesire11

            The difference is that making incendiary political comments is what Maher’s, and Maron’s employers pay them to do. Back in 2001, when Maher made a comment that his employer didn’t like about the 9/11 hijackers, he was promptly fired from network television.

            • Evan

              There’s difference between incendiary political comments and threats of violence to someone.

              A clown is also paid to mock someone or something, so mocking Obama (or any political figure) at a rodeo was within the lines of his job.

              Maher may have been fired from network television, but he landed a good job on cable.

              There still a major double standard in the way this has been handled.

              • Chesire11

                There is nothing to prevent the rodeo clown from seeking employment as a rodeo clown with another employer, just like Maher was free to seek employment with HBO.

                Also, the rodeo clown was not mocking, he was engaging in political commentary which his employer did not deem to be part of his job, hence he was terminated.

              • kenofken

                I could buy that if there was a tradition or expectation of political humor (or edgy comedy of any kind) in rodeo or venues like state fairs.

                • AnsonEddy

                  Go to one sometime. I remember a rodeo clown in the 90s joking on the arena floor that he had just stepped in Hillary Clinton’s Healthcare Plan. Went over pretty well actually.

    • chezami

      You can’t be serious.

      • HornOrSilk

        Actually, I am serious. Saying “should be run down by bulls” is more than a joke. It’s one thing to do parody and mock. It’s another, especially with the way some take violence, and suggest an attack on the president. This is not anything new. It has nothing to do with Obama, but everything to do with the kind of speech which has long been prohibited against a president.

    • Colin Gormley

      >It was asking if you want to see Obama run down by a bull.

      You would have to establish that this was the intent. Does the presence of a rodeo clown automatically insinuate that you want all clowns to get run down?

      >There are all kinds of anti-Obama mocking which is done without such criticism.

      Sure it is. It’s is criticized as racism. All the freakin’ time.

  • HornOrSilk

    While it IS wikipedia, with all the problems involved, I think the citations one can get here will help one see how far back this issue goes. Long before the Nazis ever existed, btw. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threatening_the_president

  • Will

    Something I remember from a college class was to criticize the actions, not the person. Perhaps I missed it where the announcer said the President’s immigration policy is no good, Obamacare is disgusting, all of the NSA stuff is terrible, SNAP should be eliminated, national defense is too weak or too much is being spent on national defense, etc.

  • Stu

    Anything that can be construed as racism, is racism.

  • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

    In Mother Russia, we are life of party. In America, Party is life of YOU!

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Oh for the love of Pete. Rodeo clowns, for all that they are dressed as clowns and act silly serve a very important function. When a rider is thrown, the clowns distract the bull or bronco from goring or trampling the rider to death. It’s an insanely dangerous job. It can be fatal. The clowns are not just there for entertainment or as a mascot to whip up the crowd.
    It should come as no surprise to anyone that those who participate in and watch rodeos are mostly conservative. It should surprise no one that they are sick to death of Obama and his policies. And I doubt we would have heard anything about this at all if they had a rodeo clown dressed as Marco Rubio or Rand Paul. This was not someone making a threat against the president. It was a man in a dangerous job getting a dig in at a public figure he dislikes and disagrees with.

    • HornOrSilk

      It’s not that he was dressed as Obama, but the commentary, where the announcer asked, “Would you like to see Obama run down by bulls?”

      http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/42381_Appalling_Incident_at_Missouri_State_Fair-_Anyone_Want_to_See_Obama_Run_Down_By_a_Bull

      From one who was there: “Last night, Lily and I took a student from Taiwan to the rodeo at the Missouri State Fair. Just prior to the start of the bull riding event, one of the clowns came out dressed in this. The announcer wanted to know if anyone would like to see Obama run down by a bull. The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather.”

      It’s already gotten someone else in trouble, when he said yes, I would like to see OBAMA run down by bulls:

      http://stpete.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/mckalip-campaign-manager-would-like-to-see-obama-run-down-by-bull

      For Nick Finzer, campaign manager for St. Petersburg District 4 city
      council candidate Dr. David McKalip, the answer might be yes.

      On a WTSP Facebook post about the incident at the Missouri State Fair Finzer commented, “I think that I would like to see Obama run down by a bull. Except that would make Biden president…”

      In other words, this is exactly the kind of speech which rightfully has a history of prohibition (and long before Nazis were in existence).

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        So anyone saying they’d like to see harm come to the president, VP or other government figure should be repressed, especially when the context does not imply that the person is actually planning anything against that person?

        • HornOrSilk

          Actually, suggesting violence to the president is indeed against the law, and has a long standing of such. It is not protected speech, just as yelling fire in a theater isn’t protected speech. So yes, suggesting harm to the president and other government figures is wrong. This goes with Mark’s other post, the lack of discernment; this is a discernment issue as well, and goes well beyond Obama.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            You didn’t answer the question. There is a difference between “wanting harm to come to the president” and “suggesting violence to the president.”

            One is a security risk, the other is thoughtcrime.

            • HornOrSilk

              When making a public statement, it becomes more than a mere want/desire, but a suggestion, and it is the kind of thing which gets many in trouble. Again, this is the kind of discernment which is also needed.

            • kenofken

              There’s a middle ground in that spectrum too where someone is not criminally liable for their words, but morally so. Most hate group or political violence, most Islamic terrorism, for that matter, is never done on direct orders. It is inspired by instigators who dangle violent suggestions out there in the wind, trolling for damaged and angry people to take up the call. Sooner or later, one or more answers that call and then the instigator weasels away. “What I said was always mean rhetorically, wink wink…” I don’t know that this is the case in this instance. I don’t think it rises to the level of fascism or persecution of hate crimes. It is not a government action against speech or expression. It is an employer disciplining employees for embarassing the organization on company time.

              • Chesire11

                “Will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?”

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  It’s sliiiiightly different when the king says it. But kenofken’s point is taken. It is an employer’s right to fire someone for this kind of thing. I, as a Christian, also think that this is in bad taste and in a poor spirit.

                  That said, it’s a horrendous double standard, and from a legal standpoint hardly rises to the degree of a threat on the president.

                  • Chesire11

                    Yes, but it does illustrate the point that we are not only responsible for what we say, but also for what we infer, and to a lesser degree, what others are likely to infer from how we say a thing.

                    The constant drumbeat of political opposition couched in violent imagery creates a dangerous political atmosphere, and is profoundly irresponsible behavior, regardless of who is the target of the hyperbolic vitriol.

                    It’s just NOT what mature human beings do, much less disciples of Christ.

              • MoLeland

                Did you actually compare a rodeo clown joking about a national politician, and the world wide call to jihad by Islamic terrorists? Come on man, you present here a perfect illustration of the danger of this kind of selective persecution. The kind of lumping together you do here is exactly why this type of media driven hysteria should be opposed.

                • kenofken

                  No, but people who make their living on hate, to degrees mild or severe, play the same game of obliquely suggesting violence and then absolving themselves from any responsibility. I said I don’t know that any harm was meant, but I do take issue with the idea that any consequence or condemnation from one’s choice of words constitutes “persecution” or “fascism.” If Obama or the feds used criminal charges or official harassment in retaliation for the joke, or applied official pressure to his employer, that’s persecution/fascism. I certainly wouldn’t put it past this administration, but I don’t see any evidence or solid claims that this was the case here. Free speech means we’re able to speak without government prosecution or intimidation. It does not mean that any asshattery we conceive must be tolerated or embraced by those who employ us or the public at large. Getting in trouble at work for violating company policy or poorly representing your organization does not make a person a free speech martyr.

                  We are a deeply divided nation these days. More so than at any time since the Vietnam War or even Civil War. Political humor is volatile stuff these days. Dressing up in a grotesque caricature mask of a black man is, to say the least, risky humor, and one which carries a heavy load of racist baggage. That doesn’t mean edgy humor shouldn’t be done and can’t be done well, but as a comedian, you better make damn sure you know what you’re doing and that your venue and employer is on the same page and backing you.

                  • MoLeland

                    Thanks for the reply. I must say I don’t find much to disagree with in your post. I do think it is a shame that a guy get publicly pummeled in this way for what he probably, however naive, thought was a little light mocking of a prominent politician. If you can’t make fun of a politician, of whom can you poke fun? I don’t think this guy is full of hate, or actually wants to see any harm come to the president, or that he was “putting out the word” like a fatwa. put out by terrorists.

                    I certainly don’t judge him as harshly as you do, but I do agree that he should know the venue and employer. I just don’t think this guy was that sophisticated, which to me is evidence that he probably meant no harm.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            They’re missing a lot of folks then. I don’t think the man’s actions or words were prudent or Christian. I just don’t see how this is different from the nastiness aimed at conservative public figures by comedians and talk-show hosts. If they are within their rights to make incredibly nasty jokes about Sarah Palin and her children, then this man is within his rights to do this.

            • Chesire11

              Comedians and talk show hosts are using their employer’s megaphone for the purpose for which they were hired. The rodeo clown was using his position to gratuitously inject his own personal political sentiments in an inappropriate manner (“Mommy, why does the clown want our president to die?”) to an apolitical context, so he was fired…just like I would be if I started to spout my political views to my employers customers.

              • Rebecca Fuentes

                Comedians and talk show host are hired to insult political opposition? They’re hired to talk about how a politicians child doesn’t deserve to live?
                I think the employer overreacted. Banned for life is more than just fired. I think the overreaction was because the insult was to THIS president and people started, once again, to frame it all as racism–they even trotted out the comparison to the KKK.

                • Chesire11

                  Yes, they are hired to insult politicians and public figures in general.

                  Personally I have never been fired for misconduct (or any other reason for that matter), but I think it’s pretty safe to say that anyone who has been fired for cause, is banned for life from employment by that particular employer.

                  • Rebecca Fuentes

                    I will check with my friends in rodeo, but I suspect that this doesn’t just mean he’s banned from being a clown at those rodeos. It likely will prevent him from ever competing and may carryover into other rodeo associations in the rest of the state or other states. I think what he did was stupid, but I also think his employer is going overboard in trying to fix it. I understand it isn’t just the clown who is in trouble over this too.

                    • Chesire11

                      According to the reporting that I have read, he was banned from performing at the Missouri State Fair…that’s one gig/year. If he is blackballed by other employers and is unable to work as a rodeo clown in the future, that would be excessive, but there is nothing to indicate that is the case, and I have little doubt that he will be well taken care of by conservative opponents of the president…heck, he’s probably already being miked up for his own show on Fox!

                    • Rebecca Fuentes

                      I’m sure Hannity already has him lined up, Heaven help us. Ha! We can read the tell-all authoritative book by this time next year. Then he’ll be up for Missouri Senate.

                    • Chesire11

                      Lol! :)

          • Dillon T. McCameron

            Do other people have the same, er, protections, or does it only apply to government figures?

        • Chesire11

          Ummm…yes.

  • JmcBoots

    “Above all else, the Devil cannot stand to be mocked.” — C. S. Lewis

    • HornOrSilk

      But this is also Lewis:

      The real use of Jokes or Humour is in quite a different direction, and
      it is specially promising among the English who take their “sense of
      humour” so seriously that a deficiency in this sense is almost the
      only deficiency at which they feel shame. Humour is for them the
      all-consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it
      is invaluable as a means of destroying shame. If a man simply lets
      others pay for him, he is “mean”; if he boast of it in a jocular manner
      and twits his fellows with having been scored off, he is no longer
      “mean” but a comical fellow. Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice
      boasted of with humours exaggerations and grotesque gestures can be
      passed off as funny. Cruelty is shameful–unless the cruel man can
      represent it as a practical joke ( The Screwtape Letters,1947).

    • Chesire11

      …but everything the devil does is a mockery.

      Not all mockery is virtuous defiance of evil.

  • Chesire11

    Sorry, but the rodeo clown chose to use his employer’s platform to make a personal political comment. That is inappropriate, whether you agree with the point being made or not, and he was fired for it. It has nothing to do with intolerance of criticism but an employer’s entirely warranted expectation that their employees not use them as a megaphone for personal political opinions that are not only gratuitous, but possibly offensive to a significant segment of the public.

    I’m reminded of when homosexual activists tried to march in Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade, in order to hijack the parade to serve a message that was inimical to the significance of the parade itself. There is nothing inappropriate about homosexual activists parading, but there is everything inappropriate about them commandeering someone else’s parade.

    • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com/ Joel

      I have to disagree that it was merely a personal comment. Rodeo audiences tend to be about as conservative as, say, a Joan Baez concert would be liberal. The clown was making a joke he knew would resonate with them. Especially since (as somebody comments above) nobody takes a rodeo clown’s antics seriously. There’s no underlying message in them.

      • Chesire11

        The fact that his employer fired him for it certainly implies that they certainly considered them to be his personal, rather than their institutional position.

        • Melissa

          Or that the hyper-sensitive gits who take offense at slightly off colour jokes directed against their preferred public icons (but laugh uprororiously when an off-colour joke is directed towards a public figure that they don’t like) ginned up their media-response mechanisms and made such a big stink in the media that the rodeo employer capitulated and fired the fellow just to get the negative attention to go away.

          • Chesire11

            Sorry, but the git is the one who is unwilling to express his political views without recourse to violent imagery, not the person who objects to it.

            If a person wants to express a political opinion, that is wonderful, but he or she has a civic duty to express his of her views with a modicum of maturity. There is nothing wrong with mockery or ridicule, but the moment a person makes allusion to violence they have crossed a line.

            • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com/ Joel

              Chesire11, have you ever been to a rodeo? (That’s not as snide a question as it sounds; lots of people haven’t.) Being chased by a bull isn’t an act of violence there; after all, it’s what the clown does all the time. It’s ridicule, perhaps, but not violence.

              • Chesire11

                No I haven’t, though I HAVE been chased by a bull (lesson there is never take a short cut through a cow pasture in the Springtime…’nuff said!). The reports of the even, however, say that…

                “The audience was asked, over a public address system, if it wanted to see Mr. Obama ‘run down by a bull.’”

                Not chased, but “run down by a bull,” which is a rather violent imagery, and thoroughly inappropriate.

                • MoLeland

                  The crowd would have reacted the same way if he would have said “Hey do you guys want to see this clown run down by a bull”, or “hey, do you guys want to see the pope run down by a bull”. It is a known fact that people like seeing other people get run down by bulls. That’s why they have rodeo clowns. Don’t they have a big event in Italy or Spain called “the running of the bulls”, which is a celebration of people being run down by bulls?

                  • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com/ Joel

                    In fairness, the point of the event in Pampluna is NOT to be run down by bulls. :)

                    In a rodeo, anybody who’s in the arena with the bulls is taking the chance by choice, not because somebody tied him up and threw him in a bull’s path. So in this context, it’s “do you wanna see the president do something stupid?” rather than “do you wanna see somebody hurt the president?” Granted, Obama is no more popular at a rodeo than Bush would have been at the above-mentioned Joan Baez concert, so probably there are people there who WOULD like to see him trampled by half a ton of pissed-off beef. But that’s not what the clown was aiming at.

                    (I’m sorry, I can see the distinction clearly in my head, but I may not be articulating it very well.)

                    • MoLeland

                      My point is that Obama is no more or less popular at a rodeo than Bush would be at a rodeo, at least when it comes to being run down by bulls. The crowd would have enthusiastically supported W. being run down bulls as much as Obama. I’m telling you that’s the reason they are there. It is like people who like Nascar like it because they like seeing the crashes. They don’t want to see anyone hurt, but they are attracted to the danger, and the courage of the participants.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              In that case, since I consider abortion to be unavoidably violent, all pro-choicers have crossed that line.

  • Melissa

    I spent a year in Ecuador as an exchange student. As New Years Eve approaches, the little shops fill up with caricature masks of pretty much all and any public figures (the president, ministers, well known media personnel, maybe even the Bishop, I don’t know). The tradition is to create and dress up a straw man, put one of these masks on him, sit him up outside your gate for the couple of days approaching New Years, and then burn him in effigy in the street at midnight.

    Well. I was a little taken aback at this tradition. To my overly-polite Canadian sensibilities, this seemed like it encouraged violence toward public figures. Then I gave my head a shake. Because, no matter what way you look at it, an effigy is still an effigy, and people are smart enough to tell the difference when frustration or violence is directed toward an effigy in order to remove pent-up steam, or when that violence is actually intended toward a real person.

    There was no violence intended toward Obama here.

    • HornOrSilk

      “People are smart enough,” sadly is not true. Lots of violence come out of the suggestion of violence to someone you don’t like.

      • Melissa

        Example, please, of a time that violence came to a hugely powerful and well-protected person because he was mocked in fun?

        • HornOrSilk

          As I have pointed out, it was not just mockery but suggestion of violence which is at the issue. You and many others are ignoring the violence.

          • Stu

            When groups of people start unleashing their bulls in or around the White House, I’ll start to believe you.

            • Dillon T. McCameron

              Which would make for better viewing that the last slew of “White House Attacked!” films that came out this year.

              • Rebecca Fuentes

                It would have to be better than Sharknado and Ghost Shark. Why does sci-fi channel have such good series and such awful movies?

              • Stu

                Less “bull” as well.

          • Melissa

            Context, sir. Context. The “violence” was “suggested” by a CLOWN. Everybody knows you’re not supposed to take clowns seriously.

      • MoLeland

        Yep, Like approving a drone strike on 16 year old citizen.

    • Elaine S.

      In the Catalonia region of Spain around Barcelona they have a Christmas tradition of placing figures in Nativity scenes — usually hidden in a corner, but nonetheless part of the scene alongside Baby Jesus and Mary and the shepherds and angels — who are depicted … how do I say this… in the act of squatting and taking a dump. These figures are called “caganers” and they are often sculpted to resemble well-known public figures…. including Obama, Bush, the Pope, European politicians, sports figures, movie stars, etc. It’s been done in Catalonia for centuries and the Catholic Church there has never spoken out against (or for) it. Originally, the story goes, the tradition commemorated a young shepherd boy who had to answer the call of nature while waiting to see Baby Jesus; only in the 20th century did it become a vehicle for poking fun at well known people, and reminding us in a rather extreme way that they put their pants on (or in this case, pull them down) one leg at a time like everyone else.

      However, when an art gallery in California scheduled an exhibition of caganers that included the Pope and religious figures, the Catholic League protested it, on the grounds that even if it was OK to portray the Pope that way in Spain, that didn’t make it OK to do in America because our cultural standards are different.

      People may be smart enough to tell the difference between “blowing off steam” and actually threatening violence, but the fact remains that no action takes place in a cultural or historical vacuum. An action that is perfectly harmless in one culture or historical era can be unforgivably insulting in another. Words, gestures, expressions and styles of dress that are shocking to one generation are commonplace to the next, or vice versa.

  • Chesire11

    It’s not fascism…in fact it has nothing to do with fascism.

    Incidentally, considering that this IS a Catholic blog, I find it remarkable that the outrage is directed against the clown’s employers, and implicitly against the POTUS for being intolerant of criticism, but the very un-Christian malice of the clown’s comment gets a pass. I should think that was the naughtier sin.

  • Sven2547

    This isn’t fascism. The government isn’t even involved in this, it’s disciplinary action on the part of an employer regarding inappropriate behavior be employees.

    This hyper-partisanship poisons reasoned discourse.

    • Michael Bayer

      Preach.

      Agree 100%.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Yeah, if there’s one thing Mark is always guilty of, it’s hyper-partisanship.

      Wait wha?

      • Chesire11

        No, he’s not hyper-partisan, but sometimes his intense dislike/mistrust of Obama gets the better of him and the resulting hyperbole can look like partisanship. Though I disagree with him in these instances, and think he can sometimes be less critical than he could be when it comes to finding fault with Obama, his willingness to criticize the right as vociferously as he does the left is one of the reasons I respect him even while I disagree with him.

  • RelapsedCatholic

    This would be fascism if the government threw the clown in jail. This is a business freaking out over bad press and taking swift action to kill the story and prevent further backlash from activists. How is this any different than the Dixie Chicks saying they were ashamed of GWB and then getting dropped from country radio and their label? Actually this had racist elements when one clown ran up and played with fake Obama’s big negro lips. So in summary, bad taste, objectively stupid, not fascism. Social protest is incredibly important, but this wasn’t exactly effing Voltaire.

    • Stu

      Is it wrong to want a bull to chase the Dixie Chicks?

      • Chesire11

        Not if you have ever been forced to listen to one of their albums it’s not.

      • RelapsedCatholic

        Of all the country acts my wife has forced me to endure(it was in the fine print of our vows apparently) they are amongst the most tolerable. The music could be tolerable, but their harmonies were amazing.

    • MoLeland

      I agree that you are technically correct, but I ask you this question. Who is really in more danger from the other. Is Obama in any real danger caused by this rodeo clown? Is the rodeo clown in any danger from this president, the propagandist national media, and an american public so brain dead that they are especially susceptible to said propaganda. I would suggest the answer to this question is obvious.

      It is easy to see who holds the power position in this situation, yet those in the weak position are the ones seen as dangerous. It just shows you how effective the propaganda has been.

      • kenofken

        The only danger to the rodeo clown is from the guy he sees in the mirror each morning.

        • MoLeland

          This statement is false in too many ways to list. There are people who weren’t even directly involved with this who are getting threats.

      • RelapsedCatholic

        Well of course the rodeo clown has ore to lose, but this is a false situation. The rodeo clown had nothing to fear from Obama, but his employers had everything to fear from bad press. I’ don’t think the man should have been fired, I wish people could use this to reflect on racist stereotypes that we accept far too blithely.

  • Stu

    This reminds me of the best rodeo pastime.

    The rodeo monkey.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IolGVHkv1vQ

  • AnsonEddy

    I really hope Mark will recall this comment string the next time he’s tempted to declare that his readership is mostly politically conservative. It isn’t and hasn’t been for some time.

    • HornOrSilk

      What do you mean by that? Politically conservative people should also be people who respect office and people in office and respect the laws of the land, laws which include “do not indicate threats to the president.” Is it a new thing for conservatives to think it is fine and dandy to insult the office of the president and to give out threats to the one in office? That’s not any conservative principle I know.

      • AnsonEddy

        Your unfamiliarity with conservative principles is well established. You’ve really covered yourself in glory on this one. Seriously though, I may have missed it: Who threatened the president?

        • HornOrSilk

          “Who wants to see the president run over by bulls.” That is suggesting an action against him. And you didn’t show me where these were conservative principles. I expect Kirk, Buckley, et. al. would be disgusted at this.

          • AnsonEddy

            I want to see the Vikings win the Superbowl. But that doesn’t mean I’m threatening to have the Vikings win the Superbowl. No, the clown did nothing conservative. Didn’t do anything liberal either for that matter. What is illiberal is policing individuals’ speech to drum up outrageous outrage against them as people. And what is illiberal is outside the conservative tradition. Peggy Noonan quoted Orson Welles today: “It is the job of the American people to take the mickey out of the President.” I don’t think Kirk or Bill “First 100 Names in the Phonebook” Buckley would disagree with that sentiment.

            • HornOrSilk

              So those trying to ban flag burning were liberals?

              And there is a big difference between mocking the president in legitimate methods, and a wink-wink-nod-nod do violence to him. The second is something Kirk and Buckely would not approve (among other things which are found in “conservative” discourse today).

              You clearly know nothing about history, because if you did, you would know how clearly inane your position is. Which is why you can’t show conservative principles when asked. Enough.

              • Sherry

                Yet conservatives are told to lighten up and it’s all in good fun to depict Sarah Palin being hung as a Halloween decoration. “Legitimate methods” of mocking a President or politician are apparently those favored by the left, and no others.

                • HornOrSilk

                  Several things. Who cares what the “left” does. Again and again this way “conservatives” justify immorality is disgusting. So what if someone is immoral and does what is wrong, does not justify someone else to do wrong.

                  Second, I’m not sure what “Halloween decoration” you mean. If you say hung as in suggested killing, that is wrong.

                  Third, mocking is different from suggesting violence. This is something many do not yet get, for some reason. There are all kinds of mocking of Obama which are done all the time which are not given this kind of criticism. The issue is that it went beyond mere mocking and into suggested threats. Also, as I’ve seen others mention elsewhere, this is at a State Fair, paid for my state funds. This also has all kinds of implications — a State Fair is to be politically neutral, I would think. I would hope, at least.

                  So again, you are ignoring the issue. The issue is not mere mockery. It is how the “mocking” is done. When death threats are used to mock Republicans that is also wrong. Why not deal with wrong as wrong, no matter who does it, and start there? But what I see a lot of “conservatives” do is justify wrongness by “they are doing wrong.” This is used to justify nuking Japan (“they attacked us at Pearl Harbor, they were bad in the places they took over, so it’s ok for us to do this). It’s used to justify all kinds of attacks on Muslims (not all Muslims are extremists, and the Church does expect us to treat Muslims with respect, as Pope Francis repeats the teachings of previous Popes on this). It’s now being used to justify outrageous behavior. No, this does not work. And it doesn’t require one to support Obama to say this.

                  What is right is right no matter how much wrong others do. Using the wrongs of others to justify more wrong is just to increase the work of evil in the world.

              • Jane Galt

                You may be an alright fellow, but you have absolutely NO sense of humor. The “wink wink nod nod” thing sounds like the racist “dog whistle” concept. There’s a racist behind every tree. I know you feel passionate about Obama, but lighten up.

                • HornOrSilk

                  Here you go, the typical response: if you think someone does something wrong in regards to Obama, it must mean you “feel passionate” about Obama.

                  It can’t be that there are legit ways to engage criticism. It can’t be that I think the office of president, no matter who is in office, deserves some respect and should be treated that way? It has nothing to do with the person, but the mode of engagement which is wrong.

                  If someone started torturing Obama, I would also call that wrong. Would that also make me “feel passionate” about him? This again is how blindness to immorality comes about. You keep trying to ignore the good because of your own passionate feelings and project your feelings upon me.

  • Paxton Reis

    Thou shall not make fun or mock the god king.

    • kenofken

      Thou shall not do it on company time, unless thou are damn sure thy employer shares thy views and is willing to weather the enormous public relations and business costs thou unleashish upon them by mocking the god king on the clock…..

  • Stu

    The Meskimen video is a hoot. Here is a difference of note. I’m confident that GWB would find the Meskimen video to be funny as well.

  • fondatorey

    “Since when did it become a crime to make fun of the Dear Leader?”

    I have it on good authority that when Obama heard about this he went upstairs to his room and cried like a little girl for an hour and a half. Is that what we want, a country where anyone can just up and make the president cry – by performing in front of rubes no less!?!

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    Remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they very mildly, in comparison at least, criticized Dear Leader Bushie? Right wing heads exploded all over the country with well publicized album burnings and such.

    Dear “conservatives”, why do you make it so easy for us to expose your blatant hypocrisy?

    • Stu

      Who here burned their records?
      (You’d actually have to own one to burn it anyway.)

  • Paula

    For all of y’all tenderfoots the job of the rodeo clown is not just to put the crowd in a good spirit. It is to distract the bull if (when really) a rider gets thrown so that the bull will not gore or trample the fallen rider. So really the clown was asking if the crowd wanted to see Obama as hero, willing to give his life to save another. No wonder so many think he is the second messiah.

    Paula

  • Silly Interloper

    In support of the clown, I think we should have a national “Kick Obama in the Butt” day. Everyone print out a paper mask of Obama, glue it to cardboard, and fix it to their faces with string or elastic. Everyone who participates in wearing them on the same day will also wear a sign on their back saying “KOitB” to indicate they can be kicked. Good fun.

    If I were in MO, I’d organize a march in paper masks, making sure to visit the organizations involved in this crap.

  • Elmwood

    It’s because he’s partially sub-Saharan African. You can’t appear to make fun of the way a sub-Saharan African looks in our country without appearing racist.

  • wlinden

    How many Dixie Chicks albums that I don’t want must I buy to exonerate myself from accusations of “censorship”?

  • Rebecca Fuentes
  • kwdayboise

    Fascism has real definitions, none of which have anything to do with this story. I wish people would stop using it for “harshing my mellow”.

    • chezami

      When the White House is issuing official statements to micromanage the sense of humor of a rodeo clown for making fun of the Dear Leader, I’d call that fascist.

      • davidson

        Just because you’d call it that, doesn’t mean that it fits the definition.

      • HornOrSilk

        It’s not about micromanaging the “sense of humor of a rodeo clown.” That is a false presentation of the issue.

        “Who wants to see X run over” is not a mere joke. And to have it done by an official state-paid spokesman, that sounds more like the actions of fascists. And that is what is being forgotten: this was not just a rodeo, it was at the STATE FAIR, being paid for by the STATE. This is why many were appalled when they saw it.

        And you know fascists also used “mockery” to attack political opponents and paid for it by their official funds. And this is what happened here. Criticism of the event some could suggest is the ACTUAL criticism of fascist tactics, where you create an officially sanctioned mockery for the sake to increase violent tendencies against one’s political opponents.

        You need to look beyond the knee-jerk reaction of the right. This is not about micromanaging a “sense of humor.” And, as Lewis pointed out, it is often the cry of the devil to suggest someone can’t take a joke when something cruel is being said and done.

  • Eve Fisher

    I hope, Mr. Shea, that you made this same admonishment to the people who sent death threats to the Dixie Chicks for saying they were embarrassed by President Bush.

    • chezami

      I thought the Great Dixie Chick Panic was stupid too. Only the White House never felt the need to weigh on it, so that’s a point in Bush’s favor. Our Dear Leader’s press apparatus actually bothered to stoop down to land a punch on a rodeo clown. He’s not vain or anything.

      • Eve Fisher

        Two quotes: White House spokesman Josh Earnest says he had no reaction from Obama.
        But he says that personally, as a native of Missouri, “It was certainly
        not one of the finer moments in our state.” Obama never commented.
        George Bush directly spoke about the Dixie Chicks: “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they
        want to say. They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out.”

        Can we now all get over this and move on to serious stuff?

    • Paula

      First Eve, death threats being sent to the Dixie Chick by mentally
      unbalanced idiots would only be comparable to this situation if the
      Rodeo Clown was receiving death threats from mentally unbalanced idiots
      too.
      I missed where a concert venue (in reaction to what the Dixie Chicks said) demanded that persons
      wishing to perform there undergo sensitivity training so they could
      understand how morally offensive it was to make political statements
      that criticized President Bush. Now that would be equivalent to what is
      happening in regards to the State Fair’s reaction to the rodeo clown’s
      behavior.

      Cult followers are not deep thinkers, so I get this is hard for y’all to grasp but I’ll try. A private citizen is pretty much free to do what he likes (short of breaking the law) on his own time under his own roof and to a great extent out in the wide world. If he works for someone restrictions will be put on his behavior and violations of such restrictions (unless protected by law) may result in a pink slip.

      Other people may agree or disagree with the actions that lead to the pink slip, as well as to the giving of the pink slip. But that is as far as it should go because everyone has acted within their rights and powers as private citizens; no State interference is necessary. This is because there has been A. No laws were broken and B. No ones civil rights have been abridged.

      Now what about if the person working is an actor or a musician or a rodeo clown or a journalist. Well here it gets a bit harder for some to grasp. Although these persons are not protected from their contractual employment obligations if the say, sing, or write stuff the boss hates; they are protected from Government action against the content of their work under the First Amendment. Yes that First Amendment means people even have the protected Constitutional right to perform really tasteless political satire even if such a performance means they get canned from their jobs.

      Now when upset groups demand that the State bring all of its powers against a person because that person has exercised his Constitutional right of free expression/speech that is a tactic of Fascist wannabees who believe that rights are parceled out by the State for adherence to correct beliefs and behavior. If the State agrees to use their powers that is one of the markers of a Totalitarian regime of both the Left and the Right.

      Such demands are usually done on the very flimsy allegations that a crime has been committed. Make no mistake any person with an ounce of common sense knows dang well political satire done in a venue where such satire may well be expected is not the same as a bona fide threat to the person being satirized. The Brown shirts don’t care about that, what they care about is silencing speech they don’t like by any means necessary. Coming out with the big guns first just saves them time.

      I’m certain you still won’t get it, after all many of the Left still believe Westboro Baptist pickets = Islamist terrorists blowing up buses.

      Paula

      • Eve Fisher

        Having been told “America, Love it or Leave it” many times in my life, because of my opposition to the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and capital punishment, I know a lot about Fascist wannabes. What disturbs me is that you mistake the committee that runs the Missouri State Fair (in search, by the by, of profits, not political correctness per se) for the government of the State of Missouri and, apparently for the current Federal government as well. The Missouri State Fair, just like the South Dakota State Fair, or any other corporate entity (profit or non-profit) has the right to fire anyone they want, for whatever reason they want. Sad, but true.

        My beef is that this rodeo clown has now been turned into a right-wing hero for his firing, whereas any criticism of former, conservative Dear Leaders, was treated as treason (re Ann Coulter’s memorable book title).

        I am still trying to figure out what you were implying with that last sentence. Yes, I find the Westboro Baptist Church detestable in all its public pronouncements, public engagements, and pickets. I have never compared them to Islamist terrorists, because I know the difference between pickets and bombs. On the other hand, I am very glad for the biker groups and others who block the Westboro group from the view of grieving families. And I do wish they would stop. If that’s “Leftist thinking”, I’ll stick with it.

        • Paula

          Eve, I want to apologize for my less than charitable tone to you. Un rereading I see where I was snarky in some places where you personally had done nothing to deserve such a poor and ugly attitude from me.

          Paula

          • Eve Fisher

            Apology accepted, and apologies in return if I was less than charitable with you. I think we are all prickly these days, for a variety of reasons, among them the internet and its anonymity, which has turned commentary into, often, an echo chamber. Civil disagreement is a rapidly disappearing art form, which is a shame, because it is the foundation of democracy. I find it refreshing that, on the Patheos sites, we can still discuss things, from differing viewpoints, as mutual citizens both of this country and the kingdom of God.

        • Paula

          Eve, When I bemoaned people demanding that the power of the State be brought against someone exercising their right to free expression I was referring to the demands of the NAACP for the DOJ to investigate the incident. When I wrote that a private business may determine the standards of employment I was including the Fair commission in that group. I hope that clears up any misconceptions.

          I don’t think the clown is a hero, but I do think how the incident is being treated by the Left (as if Obama is a god who must not be mocked) really shows they don’t understand why such a worshipful approach towards any politician should be anathema to any of us. I can’t help but think such a belief may explain why they excuse things like his use of drones.

          The clown’s bad taste satire is being treated as if it were blasphemy. Yet the Left are the ones who scream that allowing Christians to have a voice in the public square means we are welcoming a Theocracy. Oh the irony.

          Again my apologies for being too snarky and for not making a clear distinction between the collective you and the personal you.

          Paula

  • Patricia Banker

    Please explain how this relates to Catholicism?

    • Paula

      You have certain groups demanding that the power of the State be brought against a person who is exercising his constitutional right of free expression. The implication being that they believe those rights are not ours by nature by virtue of the dignity of personhood but an object of government largesse. This philosophy of government taken to the extreme means we are no longer citizens of a republic but subjects of a despot.

      Such a relationship between a people and those who rule over them objectifies people because their value is seen only in how well they serve the needs of and advance the goals of the State. Rights are withheld or proffered based on their allegiance or lack of allegiance to the hierarchy of the ruling class.

      Catholicism is concerned with the relationship of persons with those who govern them. Stressing that such a relationship must always have at its center the preservation, respect and protection of the dignity of the human person. Not that it become the personal police force of favored political allies.

      So even minor events such as this, that signal a growing shift in what people believe is the role of government is worth a comment by a Catholic blogger.

      Paula

      PS, everything is Catholic, after all catholic means universal.

  • Patricia Banker

    In reading some of the comments below, I was at first dismayed that some commenters were attempting to use their Catholic faith (note that’s with an upper case “C”) to disguise their bigotry.

    “Fascism” ? Really?

    Then Paula said: “Catholicism is concerned with the relationship of persons with those who govern them. Stressing that such a relationship must always have at
    its center the preservation, respect and protection of the dignity of
    the human person.”

    And then I remembered that this was Texas. And I’m glad that some of its citizens are apparently waking up to the fact that, by their own definition, their state could well be considered the most fascist state in the union.

    Rick Perry, George W. Bush, (both of whom seem to love executing people, e.g., Cameron Todd Willingham), the board of education, guns, religious zealotry, smog-filled Houston, airless Dallas, scorched wasteland El Paso…and the way they treat immigrants, blacks, gays, children and women? They have a lot to learn about “respect[ing] and protect[ing] …the dignity of the human person”

  • W. Randolph Steele

    Fascism? YOU don’t know the meaning of the word. NOR have YOU ever experienced it, either. I grew up in Indianapolis in the 1950′s where Catholics were regularly discriminated against. Factories on the Eastside regularly posted hiring signs that said “No Irish or Catholic need apply”. My dad’s paving company lost a valuable contract in the early 1960′s when it was “discovered” that he and my uncle who owned the company were Catholics. Fast forward to the mid-1990′s when my brother who was an outstanding salesman at a local company was “invited” to lunch time bible study. He politely declined(the owner was/is a fundementalist)and suddenly found his performance reviews drop from outstanding to unsatisfactory. He quietly got another job. I would point out that Indiana in the 1920′s was only Northern state to be taken over by the Klan and their descendants are still around. Not only did they burn crosses in the yards of my relatives, but nearly murdered one(but for sudden, timely appearance of his friends). So fascism? YOU DON’T HAVE A CLUE!
    As for the clown, the reactions of many of the posters here sadly reflects “Obama Derangement Syndrome” brought on the sudden realization that a BLACK MAN is president! And not only that, but he got REELECTED! Our very democracy is threatened!!!. Why? Because the era of white privelidge is ending. .
    Of course, my wife (who was educated at Catholic Schools through her M> A. in Theology and is the first African-American pastoral Associate in our diocese) and I have experienced the stares, hostile reactions(we kiss at the Sign of Peace) and patronizing remarks at many suburban white parishes. it’s why we attend the most “progressive parish” in the diocese where are not merely tolerated, but welcomed.
    My wife read this post and was so completely disgusted all she could say was “Your People” and walk out of the room.

    • Archaeopteryx

      Re: ‘Obama Derangement Syndrome,’ and the ‘end of white privilege.’

      Because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to disagree with or dislike President Obama based on his political ideology. No, it absolutely HAS to be because of his skin, because Racism!

      Gag me with a spoon.

      • W. Randolph Steele

        As you wish. Your screen name says it all. My wife said it best when she read your post: YEAH IT IS RACISM!

        • Archaeopteryx

          So objecting to, say, President Drone-kill’s authorizing the murder of a sixteen-year-old boy (and an American citizen at that) is racism.

          Thank you for proving my point.


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