Monday, May 05, 2014

The NaRrAtive.

The column was titled:
My first thought was "Well, when I saw Colion Noir on the show floor I was too shy to go up and introduce myself for fear of bursting into unseemly fangirl squee. Does that count as 'afraid to talk to black folks'?"

I notice that the media line on the NRA is pretty entrenched among Televison-Americans, and even people who should know better.

Notice how Amos Brown has seemingly uncritically absorbed the implication that the NRA is some kind of trade organization dancing on the puppet strings of the big bad gun industry. (A claim which is hilarious on its face, since the 'big bad gun industry' is a fraction of the size of, say, the big bad breath mint industry or the big bad athletic shoe industry. Heck, Nike's ad budget alone would probably buy the whole Remington group, lock, stock, and threaded barrel.)

The other entrenched meme is that the NRA is a partisan right-wing SoCon organization that happens to dig old movie actors waving muskets and the occasional loonie statement from crazy old rock stars who like to hunt. This was a meme I bumped into myself in the week leading up to the convention.

"Hey, you coming down to the show?" I asked the waiter at my local hipster in-town brewpub. I knew he liked guns; he'd just gotten his first AR-15 and often helped man a table at the big Indy 1500 fun shows.

"Nah," he replied, "I'm not an NRA member. I'm pro gun, but I'm a liberal," as though setting foot on the convention floor to look at Aimpoint scopes and the Magpul bus would be like signing on to support everything from the invasion of Iraq to HJR-3.

"Dude, it's the National Rifle Association, not the National Republican Association," I wheedled, "Besides, it's just like a big gun show; you'll love it. It's not all politico-religious or nothing; just guns."

Saturday night at Thr3e Wise Men, hanging out with the blogger crowd, my phone buzzed in my shirt pocket. It was a text from Caleb, who was down at the big stadium shindig:
"Sarah Palin just said "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists" word for word"
Thanks, Sarah. Thanks a lot.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Sarah must be channeling Ann, these days. That's unfortunate.

Too bad politicians can't keep their mouths shut and their hands out of our pockets.

Anonymous said...

"It was distressing that the NRA had nothing to say about urban violence."

Arm the good people. Shoot the perps. Arrest and prosecute the survivors.

Shootin' Buddy
Patron Member/Golden Eagle, NRA

Don said...

I thought you were with us on the floor when I accused Caleb of making that up. I was only half-joking; that was my real first reaction, although in the time it took to get from my head to my mouth, I had concluded that it was actually plausible.

It's funny because I read the first half of this piece while saying to myself, "Yeah, but, the thing is, those people think that partly because the NRA works so hard on its Prayer Breakfast/Country Music Heroes/OBAMACARE image." Then I woke up on the bottom of a boat gasping for air. :)

Old NFO said...

Yep, locked into the MSM 'closet'... So much for good reporting... I'm surprised they didn't call Noir and the many other blacks I saw there Uncle Toms...

Unknown said...

That kind of statement and those type of people are why I'm no longer an NRA member. Mr. Noir is the kind of person who makes me think I should consider joining again.

Paul said...

We need to be prepared for what is coming. Sara might be channeling Ann, but they are prepping the battle space.

To think we are not a war like race is to deny 40k of history.

LabRat said...

SERIOUSLY? Holy shit.

Tam said...


What you mean "we", kemosabe?

Caleb said...

@LabRat: seriously.

I about fell out of my chair.

fast richard said...

When I heard about that line from Palin, I thought "She's gone full Ann Coulter. She must have decided she's done with elective office."

That level of rhetoric may appeal to someone, but it's a bit much for me.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly does it mean if we are a warlike species? (I'm assuming you're not saying that only Caucasians or Pacific Islanders are warlike - thus 'species' instead of 'race').

If you mean, "Humans have a propensity for war, therefore war is great; the more the better!" I'm not sure that follows. We also have a propensity for cancer, fungal skin infections, and rotten teeth, which I do my best to avoid.

If you mean, "Humans have a propensity for war, therefore we should take the possibility of war into account whenever we're making future plans," this seems true, but probably not very controversial in this group.

Carmel IN

Jeffrey Quick said...

I suspect Jesus might have a post-mortem word or two with her about trash-talking His sacrament. It might go better if she apologizes to Him beforehand.

Anonymous said...

That's horribly sacrilgious.

RevolverRob said...

Anatomically modern humans have existed for 120,000 years, at least. Seeing people invoke the fossil/prehistoric/historical record as justification for behavior makes my eye twitch. It not only illustrates a clear misunderstanding of that record, it ignores the potential for behavior to evolve, and uses historical inertia as a justification for continued bad behavior. No thanks.

Finally, I am convinced that Paul has a frog in his pocket. As my father always used to say, "Who is this 'we', do you have a frog in your pocket?"


Anonymous said...

It was sort of a crass, unsophisticated statement. So the calculation is whether it is worth it to make Sarah Palin take some shut up pills, so that people that are pro gun, but liberal, will come and play? What happens to the NRA if you succeed in adding a whole bunch of liberals to the voting membership? I seem to recall that NRA-ILA started around the middle Sixties, in reaction to what liberals were trying to do. Why should the Left's Long March stop at the news media, entertainment industry, or universities?

I look at what Sarah Palin has put up with since the 2008 campaign, and I figure her don'tgivea$#!+ometer is pretty well pegged. Eyes are going to roll if someome asks her the time and she looks at her watch. Give her the boot to attract waiters from hipster brewpubs. There are a lot of other things you would need to change for this makeover, since Sarah Palin isn't the only problem one would have in trying to be more attractive. Did Caleb mention whether the waterboarding crack got very much applause?

I'd better admit here that I'm a bit of a Palin fanboi, but only for the right reasons, and none of the wrong ones, I swear.

Mike James

Kristophr said...

Sigh ...

A lot of Republicans just don't get it.

Torture is evil. Period.

Far more evil than simply killing someone.

Bob said...

Let's just take the closing scenario of your post and change it a tiny bit:

Saturday night at Thr3e Wise Men, hanging out with the blogger crowd, my phone buzzed in my shirt pocket. It was a text from Caleb, who was down at the big stadium shindig:

"Charlton Heston just said 'From my cold, dead hands!' word for word"

How is Sarah throwing red meat to the crowd at a red meat event (as Wayne, Ted Nugent, et. al., do every year) different in deserving scorn?

Tam said...


Because "From my cold dead hands" isn't invoking a religious trope to make a joke out of torture?

However to think this post was specifically about Sarah Palin is reading a lot into the text that's not there.

Further, were I expressing, as you put it, "scorn", you'd have fuckin'-a known it. I even have a special post tag for "scorn" in the sidebar.

Robin said...

With respect to the idea that some have that it is the "National Republican Association", that has resulted solely from the actions of Democratic Party.

It was the Democratic Party that decided that advocating gun control would be a party issue. They like the taste of that sweet, sweet Bloomberg cash - even as they know that the issue appeals only to the more fanatical of their party base.

A generation back, the NRA had prominent Democrats in leadership roles including the very powerful John Dingell (who was himself the one that actually created the "Jackbooted Thugs" line about the ATF during oversight hearings about the ATF's abuses in the '80's).

Tam said...


Absolutely true, but if they want to lash themselves to the mast of gun control, let that be a loser on their part. It's not an automatic corollary that gun rights are the sole province of the "teh gays 'n' the 'bortion" wing of the GOP. That's still a political winner now, albeit by ever thinner margins, but trends point that it's not long-term viable.

I dunno, this is bigger than I'm gonna be able to tap out on a tablet over dinner, but it's a topic that I discussed with quite a few folks at and around the NRAAM.

Caleb said...

There was a lot of 2nd Amendment ra-ra at the rally. I didn't text anyone about that, because saying "from my cold dead hands" isn't in the same fucking ballpark as saying "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists." To borrow words from a wise man: "It ain't the same league. It ain't even the same fucking sport."

Anonymous said...

Uh . . . and "cold dead hands" was about guns.

NotClauswitz said...

Somehow I don't think Sarah is an American Baptist, but as a PK/MK Baptist-kid it doesn't bother me at all - unless we're out fishing and you didn't bring any beer for me to drink all-of. ;-)
The Flip-side is beheading is how Muslims convert non-believers to Allah and nobody laughs.

Echo said...

If we're sticking with the nautical metaphors, I'm afraid gun control might be the rat in the bilge of the HMS Rainbow.
If it makes it to the (Brave) New World we're bound for as an invasive species, we'll never get rid of it.

Ok, that was tortured, even by my standards. But probably not by Palin's.

It's sort of sad, though. I wish I could have been part of the support for gay marriage in my state, but political organization they built for that were also pushing gun control initiatives.
Politics comes in packages, and I've been cursed with an awkward one, I guess.

Robin said...

Tam, I'm not saying that gun rights are nor should be the sole province of the social conservative wing of the GOP. Far from it.

I'm saying that the Democrats have been making gun control part of their left wing base. They've decided to make the gun control fight party partisan in nature where it was less so a generation back.

Because of Democratic actions, the voices heard in gun rights side of the fight also bring with them some social conservative themes and those now sound dominate to you because they are unmatched.

I'm pretty conservative, albeit not social conservative, but I don't want the NRA to become a pure GOP org in appearance as that will reduce its effectiveness.

Sidheshooter said...

Sarah just succeeded at scrabbling back into the limelight for a moment; that's what *that* was most likely all about. Assuming one defines limelight as the corona inhabited by television-Americans (I love that; I resolved to use that tag as soon as I possibly could...didn't take long!)

Joe in PNG said...

There is no *facepalm* .gif that expresses what I am feeling as I read Sarah's rather dumb little statement.

Reno Sepulveda said...

NPR of all networks ran a pretty decent feature on FILIPINOS WITH GUNS today. Maybe things are starting to bust loose.

Seerak said...

I'm surprised they didn't call Noir and the many other blacks I saw there Uncle Toms...

That's the next step, after ignoring or hiding them becomes impractical.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I don't get the whole "let's attract members by alienating a lot of people who agree with us based on criteria that has no bearing on our cause" mentality. The NRA should be a one-issue organization. The only test for membership should be a) are you a responsible gun owner or interested in becoming one and b) did you pay your dues? Beyond that, I don't care who you do with your life.

We change the D's stance on the 2A by courting D voters who will vote to hold their Congresscritters accountable. We would also do well to note that this strategy would help us make pro-2A advances, rather than merely playing defense all the time.

Having never been to an NRA convention, is it more like SHOT show that anyone can attend or an ILA pep rally? I'd love the former but would avoid the latter like an STD. I have always loathed pep rallies, and they are only more ridiculous as an adult.

As much as I loved Sarah P as a governor, she wasn't ready for prime time, and she's well past her "sell by" date, as are the pants-pooping draft dodger (Ted) and the man with one facial expression (WLP). Evolve or die.

John said...

Too bad Amos Brown didn't visit the Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors shindig on Saturday. It was even more lily white than the NRA Annual Meeting. At least at the NRA Annual Meeting I got to hang out with Pastor Kenn and meet Rick Ector again.

As to Sarah, sigh...`

staghounds said...

I like the way he anoints himself as "Black Folks". That way, thge fact that he's an announced enemy with an anti NRA agenda has NOTHING to do with it.

Because if any blue eyed NRA devil from the frozen caves of Europe treats ME poorly, then we can tell that's the way ALL blue eyed NRA devils from the frozen caves of Europe feel about EVERY Black person.

See, RACISM!!!!

Way to let skin colour define us all, Mr. Progressive.

Boat Guy said...

Gotta say it. Waterboarding SUCKS but it is NOT torture. Torture IS wrong.

RevolverRob said...

@Echo - If it's awkward, we'll be awkward buddies together.

@Tam - Would love to see a post on this more progressive NRA.

I am seeing it more, that maybe those of us who screamed loud and hard enough that NRA stands for National Rifle Association not, National Republican Association, might actually be heard. Heck maybe, in my lifetime I will be a lifetime NRA member. But until the NRA quits pandering to bible thumpin, 'bortion-hating, jingoistic right, I'll just donate my annuals to the NRA-ILA for their work and the SAF for their work. And keep that membership fee for buyin' ammo and training new, left-leaning people in the world.

I could barely find the words to respond Mr. Mike James. I respect your viewpoint. Although I think it comes off as liberals are hippy scum destroyin' 'Merica, with nothing to provide. Progressive, freedom-loving, individuals that don't support legislated morals or big government couldn't have anything to provide, could they?


Matt G said...

Boat Guy: Yeah. It's torture. Let me simulate your drowning for 10 minutes, and see whatcha think.

Buzz said...

Dear Amos:

I'll talk to you.

Stop raising children to believe that their skin color matters and people hate them for it.

Stop celebrating thuggery, drug use, and abuse of women in entertainment.

Stop elevating sports over education.

These are a good start, because once you poison a mind by making a kid believe that he doesn't matter and bad things are good, he doesn't respect life. It doesn't matter whether it's a gun, knife, baseball bat, or rock, but the lack of respect for human life is the problem, not guns.

Don said...

"From my cold, dead hands" is a bit theatrical, but it's a statement about refusing confiscation of firearms, from the face of the NRA. It was appropriate (by which I mean that it was an action that fit the time and place; it belonged in its circumstance.)

In contrast, a statement that torture is good, and forced religious conversion is good, and torture and forced religious conversation together are greater than the sum of their parts* and also funny has nothing to do with firearms, nothing to do with freedom, and is jarringly out of place at a "Stand and Fight Rally" put on by the NRA for that reason.

Furthermore, Mr. Amos is wrong, but if your response to him is "because skin color doesn't matter" you're voluntarily giving up your credibility with most black people in this country and an awful lot of white folks, too. Racism exists, and people know it from personal experience. I (I won't make the mistake of throwing the W-word around) want to be more than just the opposite of some goofball I don't agree with. Just because someone like Amos says "X" is the problem doesn't mean that my options narrow down to "-X" or nothing.

*Because they are synergistically creepy, see?

Echo said...

Would it be crap-posting to just say "THIS^" a thousand times?

Mycroft said...

O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.
I propose the Mycroft Corollary:
Any organization or enterprise will become left wing after the Libertarians oust enough of the right wing members.

alex. said...

Well, hell, there goes our outreach to the liberal Broad Ripple barkeep crowd. Damn you, rightwing alaskan barbie!

I love how we attack our own. Laughing Joe Biden can opine that illegal aliens are "already Americans", and the left doesn't say shit. Some chick can live tweet her abortion: silence from the dems. California legislator indicted for smuggling honest to god assault weapons? Crickets from his team.

But let Sarah Palin fire up the NRA crowd with some red meat and we engage in navel gazing and hand wringing. Every movement needs some bomb-throwers, and Palin is one. Reasoned discourse is not a balanced diet. You need someone to fire up the troops, and she does it well.

Tam said...

Hey, thanks for helping to illustrate the problem!

Like I wrote upthread: What you mean "we", kemosabe?

I don't know who you think my "own" is, but I can tell you that my 2A rights have precisely dick and squat to do with waterboarding, baptism, or any of that stuff. This ain't some kind of package deal. The right to keep and bear arms ain't part of some kinda NeoCon package deal.

Speaking more broadly about your "firing up the troops" statement: Tying the RKBA to the brylcreem 'n' term life insurance crowd is a long term loser because they are dying. Old people vote, yes, but dead people don't, and alienating future old people because they have tatts and don't give two shits about keeping gays from getting married is D-U-M dumb.

For gawd's sake, the failed VP candidate and the indicted talk-show host were just the opening acts for the feature entertainment, which was by a forty-year-old country band that hasn't recorded an album in over a decade, hasn't been on the charts in two, and has a lineup old enough to collect social security.

This does not plot well long-term. Fortunately, a lot of people seem to understand this.

Anonymous said...

"Old people vote, yes, but dead people don't, ... "

Actually, they do, they just don't vote Republican--as examples, Chicago, New Orleans, et. al. The Democratic Party has long cultivated the post-death vote. Zombies as a voting bloc can be relied upon to choose anti-2A candidates, which should came as no surprise, considering.

Which suggests an unexplored area of outreach for the NRA, beyond homosexuals or hipsters. A mascot, like Eddie Eagle only "differently vital", might be called for.

Mike James