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Those pearls won't clutch themselves

B: You realize what you've done, don't you?

A: Drawn a link between the spreading of malicious falsehoods and the practice commonly referred to as "lying"?

B: Well, yes, that. That's not allowed.

A: "Allowed?"

B: Right. You can say, "Sarah Palin's statement is false," because, you know, it is. And you can say, "Sarah Palin's statement is malicious," because, again, it's generally regarded as a mean thing to say about other people that they want to set up a death panel and kill your handicapped child.

A: I suppose it could be worse. You know, she could have accused health reform advocates of setting up a "buggery panel" in which bureaucrats would take turns …

B: Yes, well, let's not go there, OK? The point is you're not supposed to mention that her false and malicious statement was also a lie.

A: What, then, am I supposed to do?

B: You're supposed to clutch your pearls, put the back of your hand against your forehead and pretend to be massively, personally offended by her "death panel" comment. Swoon and complain of the vapors and keep it up until Palin responds with her lines.

A: Her lines?

B: Until she says she's sorry that anyone took offense over what she said and that she hadn't intended to hurt the feelings of the bureaucrats lining up to kill her parents and her handicapped son.

A: And what, exactly, would that accomplish?

B: This is America. That's just, you know, how we do it.

A: But that doesn't help. It doesn't fix anything. It leaves her malicious falsehood uncorrected and allows her to skip off tra-la-la with no consequences, without having to account in any way for what she just tried to pull. That just encourages her to try again with something even more ridiculous and outra –

B: But you're not allowed to fix anything. You have a role to play here and if you don't play it properly. Well …

A: Oh, crap.

B: Yes. Since you failed to clutch and swoon and feign the vapors while taking extravagantly over-the-top offense, that just means somebody else is going to have to do it. They're going to have to pretend that your accusing Palin of lying is even worse — far, far worse and more outrageous — than her accusing health care advocates of wanting to set up a buggery panel for her parents and children. They're going to have to pretend that you've accused everyone who disagrees with you of being irredeemably evil.

A: That's what she said.

B: I don't get it.

A: No, I wasn't making a "That's what she said" joke, I was just pointing out that that is, in fact, what Gov. Palin said about those who disagree with her. She didn't use the words "irredeemably evil," but the whole "death panel" for handicapped kids thing attributes lethal, Satanic malevolence to everyone who wants an alternative to the current American health care system. So how does her saying that lead anyone to accuse to me accusing others of …?

B: You know the game. Just play the damned game.

A: But the game is pointless and boring. Aren't they bored by now with this same shtick? I mean …

B: It's the ritual. This is what we do in America. You're going to have to play along. Stop accusing liars of lying and just say they offend you, like you're supposed to do. This is American politics, it's not about true or false or right or wrong, it's about your feelings. You're just going to have to learn to play by the rules. Those pearls won't clutch themselves. Now come on, you've been accused, so now it's your turn to apologize.

A: Fine. I'm sorry if anyone was offended when I said that the governor was lying when she accused us all of being homicidal Nazi bureaucrats. I'm sure it was an honest and innocent mistake on her part. That seems the likeliest explanation for what was certainly an incidental and inadvertent misstatement on her part.

B: There. Was that so hard?

  • Bugmaster

    The truly horrifying thing about Pratchett’s Vorbis is that he apparently does believe everything he says. He is truly convinced that external evidence is a needless distraction, and that truth comes entirely from within. If Vorbis was just another politician who was willing to say any kind of absurdity in order to gain power, he would not be nearly as frightening (nor as effective at accomplishing his goals, perhaps).
    I think that it’s possible (though perhaps not probable, it’s hard to tell) that Palin is possessed of a similar kind of faith. She knows that Obama and his Democratic minions are pure evil; any apparent evidence to the contrary is a mere distraction. As much as I hate to say this, I think it’s possible that Fred is being uncharitable (or, perhaps, too charitable, depending on how you look at it) in this case.
    Fortunately, Palin has nothing on Vorbis in the competence department, so at least we’ve got that much…

  • Bugmaster

    The truly horrifying thing about Pratchett’s Vorbis is that he apparently does believe everything he says. He is truly convinced that external evidence is a needless distraction, and that truth comes entirely from within. If Vorbis was just another politician who was willing to say any kind of absurdity in order to gain power, he would not be nearly as frightening (nor as effective at accomplishing his goals, perhaps).
    I think that it’s possible (though perhaps not probable, it’s hard to tell) that Palin is possessed of a similar kind of faith. She knows that Obama and his Democratic minions are pure evil; any apparent evidence to the contrary is a mere distraction. As much as I hate to say this, I think it’s possible that Fred is being uncharitable (or, perhaps, too charitable, depending on how you look at it) in this case.
    Fortunately, Palin has nothing on Vorbis in the competence department, so at least we’ve got that much…

  • lonespark

    Vorbis is scary as shit, and also tragic and you know how he’s gonna end up. Ugh.

  • lonespark

    Vorbis is scary as shit, and also tragic and you know how he’s gonna end up. Ugh.

  • Yeltar, Neighbor-in-Chief to the Great Republic of Texas, Head of the Alien Roundup and Presbyterian Administrative Goddess

    @ Lee Ratner & CaryB. – Highly recommend the book “Why Americans Hate Politics” by E. J. Dionne, Jr. Despite the rather poorly chosen, unnecessarily sensationalistic title, it’s a serious study of how America has swung back and forth on the right/left, liberal/conservative pendulums during the decades of the 50′s through the 90′s. I appreciated how even handed it was, and wished for a more recent update (it was published in 1991).

  • Yeltar, Neighbor-in-Chief to the Great Republic of Texas, Head of the Alien Roundup and Presbyterian Administrative Goddess

    @ Lee Ratner & CaryB. – Highly recommend the book “Why Americans Hate Politics” by E. J. Dionne, Jr. Despite the rather poorly chosen, unnecessarily sensationalistic title, it’s a serious study of how America has swung back and forth on the right/left, liberal/conservative pendulums during the decades of the 50′s through the 90′s. I appreciated how even handed it was, and wished for a more recent update (it was published in 1991).

  • TechSlave

    Well, aside from the flare up in the comments, I really appreciate someone coming out and saying it: Palin’s lying.
    I don’t think it matters if she is conscious of the lie or not. She’s spreading it, fanning flames that don’t need fanning, and once again dragging her children into the spotlight because the happen to be convenient for her to make examples with.
    Though it gives her absolutely no excuse, she’s got serious mental problems. Though anyone attending a church in which they cast out witches, and claiming your husband just ‘did not understand’ when he ‘accidentally’ joined a secessionist movement….I think we could all assume that.
    I spent 30 minutes on the machine at the gym tonight, sweating and staring at a wall of Fox News. Glenn Beck, with no sound, becomes even more of a farce. Mind you, if I had been able to hear what he was using all the clips of Nazi Germany as comparison for, I likely would have spontaneously exploded. That or thrown a huge fit about them allowing that filth to be on more than one TV in the entire building at a time.
    Please note: in a discussion where we refer to what makes someone an ‘American’, note the immediately fail. You are referring to citizens of the United States of America. Not Americans. Americans include hundreds of millions of people not living in the United States. The common usage it may be, but it is incorrect. I’m an American by grace of war, persecution, genocide, and basic essential human xenophobic prejudice. I’m a US Citizen by birth and later by choice.
    Jason – I’m impressed with anyone who has never wished someone dead. I’ll never manage that, but I recognize its not a logical reaction to someone’s viewpoint or even lifestyle choice. But I think Kit’s right, some states of mind don’t lend themselves to the discussion you want to have. And the exact situation that was posted is an archetypal mental relief valve – and I find those best left alone. If only because arguments against certain points of view only make people identify that point of view as part of their ‘self’ and feel that they are under attack, which fuels the exact opposite reaction from what you want to get. I know, cheap psychology on an internet posting. I’m for bed now.

  • TechSlave

    Well, aside from the flare up in the comments, I really appreciate someone coming out and saying it: Palin’s lying.
    I don’t think it matters if she is conscious of the lie or not. She’s spreading it, fanning flames that don’t need fanning, and once again dragging her children into the spotlight because the happen to be convenient for her to make examples with.
    Though it gives her absolutely no excuse, she’s got serious mental problems. Though anyone attending a church in which they cast out witches, and claiming your husband just ‘did not understand’ when he ‘accidentally’ joined a secessionist movement….I think we could all assume that.
    I spent 30 minutes on the machine at the gym tonight, sweating and staring at a wall of Fox News. Glenn Beck, with no sound, becomes even more of a farce. Mind you, if I had been able to hear what he was using all the clips of Nazi Germany as comparison for, I likely would have spontaneously exploded. That or thrown a huge fit about them allowing that filth to be on more than one TV in the entire building at a time.
    Please note: in a discussion where we refer to what makes someone an ‘American’, note the immediately fail. You are referring to citizens of the United States of America. Not Americans. Americans include hundreds of millions of people not living in the United States. The common usage it may be, but it is incorrect. I’m an American by grace of war, persecution, genocide, and basic essential human xenophobic prejudice. I’m a US Citizen by birth and later by choice.
    Jason – I’m impressed with anyone who has never wished someone dead. I’ll never manage that, but I recognize its not a logical reaction to someone’s viewpoint or even lifestyle choice. But I think Kit’s right, some states of mind don’t lend themselves to the discussion you want to have. And the exact situation that was posted is an archetypal mental relief valve – and I find those best left alone. If only because arguments against certain points of view only make people identify that point of view as part of their ‘self’ and feel that they are under attack, which fuels the exact opposite reaction from what you want to get. I know, cheap psychology on an internet posting. I’m for bed now.

  • Idivinev


    The ultimate bureaucratic boring nine-to-five villain banality of evil, I’d think.

    Yeah, I think that being on a “death panel” would be exactly as badass as being a guard at Auschwitz.
    Or maybe, they’re worried it won’t contain those provisions and the dying shreds of their integrity and conscience will leap up through their esophegus and strangle their brain?
    That still doesn’t work. If Palin never read the bill, then how can she speak honestly and knowledgeably about its text? The only way is if someone else told her what was in it (and I’m not opposed to that; I’ve read the bill and BELIEVE ME I could not ask anyone else to go through it). That would make *that* person a liar, and if she refuses to double-check such a controversial and bizarre statement with another source then she is at best lazy/stupid (she’s not, by the way, and that’s no excuse) or a… LIAR.
    Because if Sweden actually could be persuaded to take over the U.S., maybe we could get, oh, I don’t know, a working healthcare system??? With substantially less angst than we are going through now? They do seem to know what they’re doing, over there.
    Empires rarely give their colonies the same nice things that they give to the motherland. How many former British colonies have anything like the NHS (the answer isn’t ‘all of them’).

  • Idivinev


    The ultimate bureaucratic boring nine-to-five villain banality of evil, I’d think.

    Yeah, I think that being on a “death panel” would be exactly as badass as being a guard at Auschwitz.
    Or maybe, they’re worried it won’t contain those provisions and the dying shreds of their integrity and conscience will leap up through their esophegus and strangle their brain?
    That still doesn’t work. If Palin never read the bill, then how can she speak honestly and knowledgeably about its text? The only way is if someone else told her what was in it (and I’m not opposed to that; I’ve read the bill and BELIEVE ME I could not ask anyone else to go through it). That would make *that* person a liar, and if she refuses to double-check such a controversial and bizarre statement with another source then she is at best lazy/stupid (she’s not, by the way, and that’s no excuse) or a… LIAR.
    Because if Sweden actually could be persuaded to take over the U.S., maybe we could get, oh, I don’t know, a working healthcare system??? With substantially less angst than we are going through now? They do seem to know what they’re doing, over there.
    Empires rarely give their colonies the same nice things that they give to the motherland. How many former British colonies have anything like the NHS (the answer isn’t ‘all of them’).

  • Idivinev

    The common usage it may be, but it is incorrect.
    That’s right, but please don’t ever say the word “USian”. It’s fine when typed, but because of its relative novelty in speech it sounds so stupid, like calling a British person an “UKian” (Ookian?), or someone from Germany a Federal Republican, or someone from the UAE an United Arab Emiratesian.

  • Idivinev

    The common usage it may be, but it is incorrect.
    That’s right, but please don’t ever say the word “USian”. It’s fine when typed, but because of its relative novelty in speech it sounds so stupid, like calling a British person an “UKian” (Ookian?), or someone from Germany a Federal Republican, or someone from the UAE an United Arab Emiratesian.

  • Launcifer

    Indinev: like calling a British person an “UKian” (Ookian?)
    Continuing the Pratchett theme – I think I’d rather like to be an ourang, actually. Also, some of us Brits don’t even like being called British, though UKian sounds bizarrely amusing, having said it aloud.

  • Launcifer

    Indinev: like calling a British person an “UKian” (Ookian?)
    Continuing the Pratchett theme – I think I’d rather like to be an ourang, actually. Also, some of us Brits don’t even like being called British, though UKian sounds bizarrely amusing, having said it aloud.

  • Elmo

    Balls! Dat bitch is a lyin’ ho.

  • Elmo

    Balls! Dat bitch is a lyin’ ho.

  • Jeff

    [[I might get in trouble for the web-comic I draw, but I'm not linking to that here]]
    Color me intrigued. Can you give some more infomation: genre, style, rating (PG, R, X), or let us know the title, if you don’t want to link?

  • Jeff

    [[I might get in trouble for the web-comic I draw, but I'm not linking to that here]]
    Color me intrigued. Can you give some more infomation: genre, style, rating (PG, R, X), or let us know the title, if you don’t want to link?

  • Jeff

    BTW, welcome, jinxtigr! (I’ll let someone else give the sheep spiel).
    I hope you get lot of spiritual attention — all the best wishes with your recovery.

  • Jeff

    BTW, welcome, jinxtigr! (I’ll let someone else give the sheep spiel).
    I hope you get lot of spiritual attention — all the best wishes with your recovery.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Clearly when it’s a woman who’s lying, we have to throw in slurs against her gender and presumed sexuality too. Putting those insults in a string behind the valid complaint is a classic way to try to legitimize slut shaming. Because who’s going to go on record here defending Palin against irrelevant charges when she’s clearly guilty of the lying?
    Shorter me: “Not helping, Elmo.”

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Clearly when it’s a woman who’s lying, we have to throw in slurs against her gender and presumed sexuality too. Putting those insults in a string behind the valid complaint is a classic way to try to legitimize slut shaming. Because who’s going to go on record here defending Palin against irrelevant charges when she’s clearly guilty of the lying?
    Shorter me: “Not helping, Elmo.”

  • Idivinev

    I’ll go on the record. Sarah Palin is neither a female dog, nor a spiteful and overbearing woman, nor a weak-willed and contemptible man, or a prostitute, or a gardening implement. And even if she was any or all of those things (she’s not), that would be irrelevent as to her lies about H.R. 3200.
    Seriously, Nicole, since when have we ever been cool with misogyny here, as a community? Way to assume bad faith on the part of everyone here, though. Really appreciate it! :D

  • Idivinev

    I’ll go on the record. Sarah Palin is neither a female dog, nor a spiteful and overbearing woman, nor a weak-willed and contemptible man, or a prostitute, or a gardening implement. And even if she was any or all of those things (she’s not), that would be irrelevent as to her lies about H.R. 3200.
    Seriously, Nicole, since when have we ever been cool with misogyny here, as a community? Way to assume bad faith on the part of everyone here, though. Really appreciate it! :D

  • lonespark

    Because who’s going to go on record here defending Palin against irrelevant charges when she’s clearly guilty of the lying?
    Anyone worth their feminist or plain ol’ fairness salt? Not that it’s worth putting much effort into. I believe I’ll just echo your “NOT f’ing helping.”
    She’s a liar. And possibly a nut. She’s not those other things unless it’s somehow, in your culture, a synonym for “governor.”

  • lonespark

    Because who’s going to go on record here defending Palin against irrelevant charges when she’s clearly guilty of the lying?
    Anyone worth their feminist or plain ol’ fairness salt? Not that it’s worth putting much effort into. I believe I’ll just echo your “NOT f’ing helping.”
    She’s a liar. And possibly a nut. She’s not those other things unless it’s somehow, in your culture, a synonym for “governor.”

  • Izzy

    I would respect Palin much *more*, for the record, if she were either a prostitute (in the real or metaphorical sense) or a bitch. Whores are generally more honest, and, as a bitch myself, I like to believe we’re smarter. ;)

  • Izzy

    I would respect Palin much *more*, for the record, if she were either a prostitute (in the real or metaphorical sense) or a bitch. Whores are generally more honest, and, as a bitch myself, I like to believe we’re smarter. ;)

  • Idivinev

    I would respect Palin much *more*, for the record, if she were either a prostitute (in the real or metaphorical sense) or a bitch. Whores are generally more honest,
    Not really. They sometimes give bad directions to tourists, and if they get metaphorical then you might as well get directions from the Transit Police.
    and, as a bitch myself, I like to believe we’re smarter. ;)
    I’ll give you that. Dogs generally aren’t clever enough to be dishonest. “Smarter” is pushing it.
    She’s a liar. And possibly a nut. She’s not those other things unless it’s somehow, in your culture, a synonym for “governor.”
    Ho could be a slang term, like “guvnor” is for people in certain other countries. When certain people call you “govnor” they’re not exactly being respectful…

  • Idivinev

    I would respect Palin much *more*, for the record, if she were either a prostitute (in the real or metaphorical sense) or a bitch. Whores are generally more honest,
    Not really. They sometimes give bad directions to tourists, and if they get metaphorical then you might as well get directions from the Transit Police.
    and, as a bitch myself, I like to believe we’re smarter. ;)
    I’ll give you that. Dogs generally aren’t clever enough to be dishonest. “Smarter” is pushing it.
    She’s a liar. And possibly a nut. She’s not those other things unless it’s somehow, in your culture, a synonym for “governor.”
    Ho could be a slang term, like “guvnor” is for people in certain other countries. When certain people call you “govnor” they’re not exactly being respectful…

  • Consumer Unit 5012, with certificate and clock

    I thought “prostitute” was a universally-accepted synonym for “politician” these days, regardless of gender? :-/

  • Consumer Unit 5012, with certificate and clock

    I thought “prostitute” was a universally-accepted synonym for “politician” these days, regardless of gender? :-/

  • Idivinev

    I thought “prostitute” was a universally-accepted synonym for “politician” these days, regardless of gender? :-/
    It’s not accepted by me. Prostitutes are people who have sex with other people in exchange for money. Politicians are people who run for public office. The fact that both are considered to be so morally reprehensible (for different reasons) is one of the reasons why the health care debate is being sidetracked by made-up stories.

  • Idivinev

    I thought “prostitute” was a universally-accepted synonym for “politician” these days, regardless of gender? :-/
    It’s not accepted by me. Prostitutes are people who have sex with other people in exchange for money. Politicians are people who run for public office. The fact that both are considered to be so morally reprehensible (for different reasons) is one of the reasons why the health care debate is being sidetracked by made-up stories.

  • psul

    Not sure if this has been mentioned in other comments, and I know it’s not *quite* on point, but thinking about the rhetoric of offendedness reminded me of Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski.
    His best/only device for winning an argument is the phrase “Am I wrong?”. His friends end up in a variety of unpleasant situations because it feels rude to them to respond “Yes”, and answering “No, but…” is taken as proof that Walter is correct.
    Without in any way knowing the full background of the debate, I wonder whether the question “Is Sarah Palin lying?” needs to be answered “Yes!”, because a “No, but… [she's misinformed, etc]” will be taken as not refuting her initial statement.

  • psul

    Not sure if this has been mentioned in other comments, and I know it’s not *quite* on point, but thinking about the rhetoric of offendedness reminded me of Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski.
    His best/only device for winning an argument is the phrase “Am I wrong?”. His friends end up in a variety of unpleasant situations because it feels rude to them to respond “Yes”, and answering “No, but…” is taken as proof that Walter is correct.
    Without in any way knowing the full background of the debate, I wonder whether the question “Is Sarah Palin lying?” needs to be answered “Yes!”, because a “No, but… [she's misinformed, etc]” will be taken as not refuting her initial statement.

  • http://barkingreed.blogspot.com Josh

    Fess up, Mr. Clarke… You’re writing a book here, aren’t you, and just using us for the free editing? Yes! Now the church of fred can have its very own holy writ. Who else is in for a pre-ordered copy?

  • http://barkingreed.blogspot.com Josh

    Fess up, Mr. Clarke… You’re writing a book here, aren’t you, and just using us for the free editing? Yes! Now the church of fred can have its very own holy writ. Who else is in for a pre-ordered copy?


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