On Friday Salon.com ran a piece from editor Joan Walsh entitled “Frat-boy conservatism in the Rose Garden.” The column reflects on the actions of Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro, specifically when he shamelessly interrupted President Obama’s speech about the executive order to stop the deportation of young children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. The article scolds Munro’s behavior and then goes on to reference several other instances of GOP disrespect for the Commander in Chief.
…it’s unbelievable how wingnuts treat this man with such unprecedented and bullying disrespect: from Rep. Joe Wilson screaming “You lie” during Obama’s 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress, to Speaker John Boehner denying him his choice of dates for another congressional address (for the first time in history) last fall, to Donald Trump’s persistent, humiliating demands for the president to show him his papers (with no rebuke from ally Mitt Romney).
Conservatism has always been associated with deference to authority, but lately it’s only for authority they respect. The Romney campaign has been glorying in this new form of frat-boy conservatism, first sending campaign supporters to heckle Obama adviser David Axelrod during a press conference, and yesterday sending its bus to circle and disrupt an Obama event, honking its horn.
Now, you’ll find no argument from me on a lot of this. Yes there are a lot of reasons to be upset with Obama. There are a lot of reasons to dislike Obama. But I doubt I’m alone in believing that no matter who holds the office of president, you respect the office. I’m reminded of a quote from Band of Brothers in which Major Richard Winters informs his former incompetent and tyrannical commander Captain Herbert Sobel, who attempted to avoid saluting the recently promoted Winters, that “you salute the rank, not the man.” I’d like to think that readers of this website, the majority of whom are both fraternity men and self proclaimed patriots, subscribe to that notion. In short, Neil Munro is an attention seeking douche bag who needs to shut the fuck up.
I’m also not really a fan of Joe Wilson yelling “you lie” during Obama’s 2009 speech. Although I’ll admit that C-SPAN would provide infinitely more entertainment if Congress devolved into the British House of Commons, or better yet if congressmen started beating the shit out of each other with walking sticks again.
“Tune into C-SPAN this Friday night for FRIDAY NIGHT STICK FIGHTS! It’s time to fili-bust some ass!” (*cue exploding graphics*)
The rest of the grievances listed are just petty politics, which is something that is incredibly annoying and counterproductive, but also something for which Democrats are equally guilty. My problem isn’t with Walsh’s complaints, but with the title of her story, and her subsequent branding of these annoying, abrasive political tactics as “frat-boy conservatism.” She’s basically using “Frat-boy” as a euphemism for douche bag. But what’s interesting is that by branding it “frat-boy” she also tries to convey that ONLY conservatives are guilty of these sorts of actions, because to call upon an image of a frat boy is to call upon an image of white privilege, i.e. conservatives.
Even if she was using the term “frat boy” because many of these actions were loud and obnoxious, two traits that we are admittedly guilty of carrying every now and then, it still doesn’t quite fit. You want loud and obnoxious? Go find a protest with a drum circle. Go watch videos of the Occupy protests. In the end “frat boy” seems to fit her point so well because of what it calls to mind, white privilege, conservatives, etc. Loud and obnoxious might be an intended part of the image, but if it were the most important part surely she could have found a better way to make this point.
I really don’t even know where to begin on how much of a load of bullcrap that is. I could start with the fact that there are so many diverse members of fraternities (and sororities) that this image she is trying to create is basically a cheap stereotype. I could point out that there are plenty of liberal “frat boys” out there. I could create a laundry list of ways George W. Bush was similarly disrespected while in office. In fact feel free to do so in the comments, we can call it hipster liberalism, since all Democrats are TOTALLY filthy hipsters. But really it’s better to just keep it simple: Labeling this political behavior as “frat-boy conservatism” paints a one sided picture of what is actually a two sided and ever deepening problem in American politics. A problem so divisive that it might eventually HAVE to be settled with stick fights. Still, I’m most annoyed that calling these actions “frat-boy conservatism” does everything I listed all the while throwing a group of people who have no direct relation to this story (Greek Life) under the bus.
So please Joan Walsh, find a better way to get your point across. Just call a douche bag a douche bag, because Neil Munro certainly is a douche bag.
- [image via Salon.com]