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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Context matters. Except when it doesn't.

by folkbum

A moth or so ago--at the current pace of things, it may as well have been last century--then-current (now former) White House Communications Director Anita Dunn was flogged across the wingnutoverse because, in a speech that included quotes from the likes of Mother Teresa, she quoted a line from Mao Tse Tung that meant, roughly, "choose your battles wisely." Not a jarring sentiment in and of itself, but the context, we were told--after all, Mao was a Communist Bastard responsible for Countless Deaths and other Crimes Against Humanity And Decency--that context mattered, and Dunn's repetition of that quotation, however banal, crossed a significant line.

This week, those same futzes are all super-duper amused with themselves passing on the latest dimwit internet meme: "Pray for Obama," they say, citing a Bible verse, Psalms 109:8. That verse, if you haven't seen it, is "May his days be few; may another take his office" (depending on the translation). That's an ambiguous enough sentiment by itself to be not terrible. However, the context--reading the rest of the Psalm excerpted--makes it clear that this is one of a series of consequences imagined by the Psalmist after an enemy of his dies. The very next verse, for example, is "May his wife be widowed and his children be orphans." The whole thing is a prayer for death, not just a wish for a short term in charge.

So which is it, wingnuts? Does context matter, as in the Dunn case? Or does context not matter, as in your wish for Obama's assassination?

None of this should come as a surprise, by the way. Even just tracking the local hate-typists, you can see that in addition to thinking Obama's death a la Psalms is great, they think killing any Democrat is a hoot.

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