When I first started publishing my weekly political comedy videos on youTube, I knew I was tackling some fairly sensitive issues. But I still wasn’t prepared for the deluge of hate comments I would get, calling me horrid names, casting aspersions on my character, and wishing all sorts of misfortune on me. At first I was quite distraught – until I realized that the meaner the comments, the worse the spelling and grammar.
In the immortal words of Mark Twain, “All generalizations are false – including this one.” But it’s hard not to jump to general conclusions when so much outrage on the far right seems to lack basic language skills. Which is why I was thoroughly entertained by the recent standoff in Nevada over rancher Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay over $1 million in grazing fees, taxes and fines. Don’t get me wrong, the prospect of hundreds of well-armed crazed militia-types aiming at government officials is pretty horrifying. But their firm stance was a bit undermined by protest signs refusing to “surve” under a “facsist” government imposing “Marshall law.”
I know not everyone grew up with an English teacher for a mother, so most people are not horrified by split infinitives, but I like to think basic skills are still important – there’s no spell-check program for a hand-written protest sign. And the poorly spelled signs are a pretty good metaphor for a mis-informed faux rebellion (Bundy refuses to recognize the federal government and claims he’ll only obey the laws of the state of Nevada – I guess he forgot to read the Nevada state constitution which explicitly defers to that same federal government). But if we’re all dispensing with accuracy, what the heck – this suburban Jewish mother can turn into a faux country star to sing about it!