Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, October 17, 2011

Deliberate Obtuseness

I got the phrase “deliberate obtuseness” from this column.  Those two words totally capture one of the Right’s favorite arguing tactics.  After reciting the exact same simple-minded talking points over and over and over, their second favorite gimmick is to throw a wrench in the gears by playing Dumber Than Dirt.  They’ll make a totally clueless statement, or ask a “Duh, I don’t get it” question, so that the other person has to stop and patiently explain — for the 800th time — “No, I don’t hate business” or “No, I don’t want Communist thugs to come in and nationalize American industries.”

The example that Ben Adler gives in this column is the numerous rightwing talking heads who act confused about the “99%” label:  “So 99% of us are aging hippies who just left a Phish concert, huh huh huh huh uh uh uh uh.”  Ben Adler says:

“This is deliberate obtuseness. Of course it’s true that the dreadlocked campers at Zuccotti Park do not represent the cultural values of 99 percent of Americans. But they do not clam to. They say they represent the economic interests of the 99 percent of Americans who have been left behind by growing inequality and plutocratic policies.”

There was an Occupy Wall Street rally in our town over the weekend; about 200 people showed up.  Here’s a write-up from the local paper.  If you want to see deliberate obtuseness, check out some of the comments at the end of the article.  Several commenters have given very precise, articulate statements about what the protest means and why the public is furious at the financial robber barons who have the rest of the country by the shorthairs.

And the same tinfoil-duncecap-wearing teatards keep coming back and back and back with “What do you people want anyway?” “You just hate everybody who’s successful,” “You just want to get something for nothing.”  Etc.

Some of the other “99%” commenters have clearly explained that they themselves have jobs and own their homes, but they’re scared to death of what’s happening around them.  And again, the teatards’ only response is “Get a job!” or the sooo-funny “Why don’t you ‘occupy’ a job instead of the local park?”

Deliberate Obtuseness.  Now that we have a name for it, you’ll be seeing it everywhere.

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Blogger jadedj said...

Yes and they do it with a capital D and capital O.

We had about 500 show up here in my town on Saturday. The local ragsheet barely mentioned it, except they did say it was a "peaceful" demonstration (as if they expected otherwise, I guess). And yep, the comments online ran the exact scenario you posted here.

I am so sick of these asswipes that I refuse to engage them any longer in any conversation. They don't want to get it...they don't get it...and they never will get it.

October 17, 2011 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Ours has been up and running for a while and I have been more than a few times, taking supplies and whatnot. San Francisco and I know there is one in Oakland and in San Jose. The people that comment at the end of these different articles are sometimes paid by the powers that be. Really we need not go far and we see this unwillingness to understand, even on blogs, with some people.

October 17, 2011 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

The wingers don't care what the truth is. It doesn't matter. They repeat their mantras, and their mantras are the truth.Just like they did down in Jonestown.

October 17, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

To the local paper's credit, they gave a supporter of the movement the last word. In our town's paper, the article would have been highly critical and the last word would have been given to someone talking about hippies and drugs 'n stuff.

October 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"Deliberate obtuseness" is a good term for a much too familiar phenomenon. I've encountered it so many times. It comes down to a point where you realize that no matter how factual and sensible your argument is, you'll never get anywhere with today's conservatives, Republicans, libertarians and whatever they're calling themselves this month.

It comes down to the blindness of those who will not see. It's emotional attachment. It's willfulness. It's the result of brainwashing. It's an inability or unwillingness to step back from themselves, even briefly, and try to see the world through someone else's eye; to try to understand the argument from the other person's side.

So you get the dumb question, the "hey, look over there" distraction, the back-to-square 1 repeated dumb question, the insult intended to throw you off your game by making you angry.

The ultimate answer isn't persuasion of the gentlemanly debate kind. It's getting enough public support in the form of money and votes to roll over their pols and make their nonsense irrelevant because they have too little legislative power.

October 18, 2011 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Nice to see Unions are on Board speaking of Brainwashing:


October 18, 2011 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Tom they don't want something for nothing,they are already getting it being most of them are being supported my their rich mommies and daddies. The least those greedy Wall Street bankers could do is pay off the entire country's student loans.
This protest isn't to throw anyone off or distract them,this is a platform for Obama to use in the 2012 election, all by design.

October 18, 2011 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Deliberate Obtuseness. I like it. We can add this to Cranial Calcification, Cerebral Simplicity, Narrow Mindedness, Cognitive Dissonance, and Cult Consciousness to the Mental Maladjustments of Republican Regression.

October 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

jadedj: I think some of these rightwing commenters at news sites are being paid, like Jess says in the next comment, to derail any chance of a rational discussion. It's in somebody's best interest to not have an adult discussion where logical ideas can be exchanged.

Jess: I think that's it, these deliberately clueless commenters are just paid shills. If those people were as stupid as they're pretending to be, they couldn't find their way out through their front door.

JR: Yup, they love the taste of that Kook-Aid.

Snave: That's a good point about our local rag. Everybody slams them, but they don't seem to have an agenda or be biased towards the left or right.

SW: You've got them dialed, with all their different tactics and back-to-square-one variations. Hopefully an informed involved public will override these derailing tactics.

Lisa: Thank you for your comment. You've provided a perfect example of what this post is about.

Dave: I like your list of mental malajustments.

October 18, 2011 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 18, 2011 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I know Tom all of the Tea Tards are simple minded,confused racists and the Wall Street Protesters are the grass roots ,smart liberal minded ,all knowing 99%.

So let me get this right you See one or 2 photo shopped signs signs on the internet of a Tea Party Rally with a picture of Obama as Hitler(so you say) and they are all racists.
But you see alot of dirt bags taking of their clothes slumming on the street,creating chaos at the Wall Street Protest and they are nobody.
The left is more amusing then they give themselves credit for.

October 18, 2011 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,

How about the numerous photos of Southern Tea Party Chapters flying Confederate Flags (your Hero Alan West even was concerned about that) Just what Country are they trying to take back?


October 18, 2011 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Good question. Don't hold your breath waiting for a coherent answer.

October 18, 2011 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger jadedj said...

Tom, the link below is a SNL piece about trolls. I was particularly taken with the last of the three being interviewed.


October 18, 2011 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

jadedj: Too funny. That 3rd troll definitely reminded me of a familiar online somebody.

October 18, 2011 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

If I want a coherent answer I will go ask the Wall Street Hippies.

Hey I made a video for your entertainment.


October 19, 2011 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Coherency at its best

Don't blame me,these are your people

October 19, 2011 at 7:40 AM  

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