I wonder. Did Dad cheat when he and his brother played Cowboys & Indians? Perhaps you know what I mean. The kid who, when you draw a bead on him and shoot him at point-blank range, yells “You missed me!” and runs away. That's how my father seems to me. No matter how much well-grounded data supports my refutations of his inane right-wing arguments, he runs away entirely unscathed to repeat his Beck-embellished falsehoods as if they're gospel. Reality is an irritant and irrelevancy in his smugly ossified perspective on the world.
The latest contretemps began in the usual way. Dad included me in his e-mail distribution of yet another tawdry mass forwarding. The archives at MyRightWingDad.net always show his mailings to be the stale tailings of an old extremist quote mine or the whole-cloth rantings of some pseudo-scholar (bogus historians and economists are favorites). But Dad doesn't care how old they are, even if they were crudely edited to replace each occurrence of “Clinton” with “Obama.” He's beyond embarrassment.
This time my in-box contained a call to arms by someone who ostensibly loves the U.S. Constitution so much that he wants to call a constitutional convention to rewrite it. (Remember “We had to destroy the village in order to save the village”?) Once I waded past the innumerable forwarding headers (these people do not know how to forward a message cleanly), I was told that “Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It takes only 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.”
Both of these statements are false. They didn't even get right the number of states required to convene a constitutional convention. Big surprise.
The message then started to rant about Congress—always an easy target. (As Mark Twain famously said, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.”)
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one termUtter bilge.
Sometimes I ignore these missives. Sometimes I slap them down. It depends on my mood—especially my exasperation level. This particular bit of stupidity was quite irksome and contained extremely easy targets. I picked one and potted it neatly:
At 03:37 PM 9/15/2010, CrankyDad@hisisp.com wrote:No doubt Dad would either ignore my correction or yell “You missed!” and run away.
Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term
Since it's not true, perhaps it's not so surprising that many citizens had no idea. On the other hand, something doesn't have to be true for lots of people to believe it or to forward it in e-mail.
You lie!! I never wrote that and I thought that you would NEVER do that.“Best wishes”? My father has officially turned into a jerk. I replied, but not quite in kind.
Perhaps it's a liberal trait because I hear Obama do it all the time and any one that does not see it is deeply indoctrinated
Best wishes, dad..
Dear Dad:My father was unrepentant. Since a good offense is always a good defense, he responded with his own demand for an apology:
Name-calling is not an argument. It is pathetic and sad. Have you ever considering using actual evidence to support a claim? Please identify any one-term member of Congress who retired at full pay. You can't, because it never happened. That makes me right and you wrong. Try to deal with reality.
You are entitled to think me mistaken and to disagree with me, but you have a lot of nerve to accuse me of dishonesty. I prefer facts while you embrace any forwarded Internet nonsense that agrees with your preconceptions. Apparently this does not embarrass you in the least, but it embarrasses me.
Don't bother to reply to this message unless it's with the apology you now owe me.
Dear son!!Oh, boo hoo! Now he's whining that I shared my refutation of his claim to the list of people who received the original spam-mail. Sorry, Dad (but not very). When I'm in truth-squad mode, expect my corrections to go out courtesy of Reply-to-All. He also complains that I picked on one “tiny part.” I doubt, though, that he would have been happier if I had gone point by point through the entire mendacious message.
The fact remains that I did not write that. It was a tiny part of that e-mail. and you e-mail my family and friends claiming that I had written it. So you owe me an apology too. sorry to offend you, Dad.
Note well, however, how the old bastard has a tiny fig leaf to cling to. “I did not write that,” he says. Right, he merely forwarded it. And that's all I claimed, too. But if you go back to my original rebuttal, you'll see how my e-mail program cited the text to which I responded:
At 03:37 PM 9/15/2010, CrankyDad@hisisp.com wrote:That's Eudora's quoting style. Dad has seen it a dozen times before, but now he conveniently forgets and imputes the e-mail program's quote header to me, as if I had personally written it and accused him of personally writing the statement he forwarded. I'm sure it gives him a nice sense of grievance to nurse.
He neglects to consider that every recipient of my correction was also an original recipient of his forwarded message, so absolutely no one is under any delusion that he is the original author of the piece and absolutely no one was tricked by his duplicitously liberal son into thinking he wrote lies. Nope. He never really writes anything. He just forwards delusional right-wing rants and implies his agreement with them.
Take some responsibility, old man.
I did not take his “sorry to offend you” as any kind of apology. I did not respond to his message at all. In fact, he's gotten nothing but silence from me ever since. He called me a liar and I demanded an apology. He still owes me one.
There it sits.