The Phyllis Schafly legacy

Phyllis Schafly is the godmother of the current conservative movement.

phyllis_schaflyWhen the death of Phyllis Schafly was announced, there was plenty of “Ding, dong! The witch is dead!” sentiment. I understood the feeling, though, and it wasn’t only because she was the antithesis of everything I believed about equal rights for women, being the leader of the successful anti-Equal Rights Amendment faction in the 1970s.

I had started reading Chris Mooney’s 2012 book, “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality” this summer, and only got 50 pages before getting too busy. Still, on page 1 of the Introduction, Equations to Refute Einstein, Mooney introduces us to Conservapedia, “the right-wing answer to Wikipedia, and ground zero for all that is scientifically inaccurate, for political reasons, on the Internet.

It was created by Andrew Schafly, “a lawyer, engineer, homeschooler, and one of six children of Phyllis Schafly.” While his mother used mailing lists and newsletters, Andrew would “marshal ‘truth'” through the web.

Conservapedia includes “items attacking evolution and global warming, wrongly claiming…that homosexuality is a choice, and incorrectly asserting… that abortion causes breast cancer.”

The site not only spends 6000 words “debunking” Einstein’s theory of relativity, but it also claims that liberals have “‘extrapolated the theory’ to favor their agendas.” Never mind that GPS, PET scans, and particle accelerators, for three, rely on an understanding of relativity.

It has fanned the flame of people operating with their own “truth” so that what I had assumed was unpoliticized “fact” often comes into question for a wealth of issues, from the identity of the President of the United States to the current status of the economy, to the United States being “Christian nation,” to evolution.

Mooney says, “The rise of the Religious Right was the epitome of conservatism on a psychological level – clutching for something certain in a changing world; wanting to preserve one’s own ways in certain times, and one’s own group in the face of difference – and cannot be explained without putting this variable into play.”

Thus Phyllis Schafly is the godmother of the current conservative movement. Both she and her son Andrew are Harvard educated. She excelled in school at a time women were not often given a chance, which would suggest a budding feminist, but she became quite the opposite.

Mooney says of Andrew: “His own words suggest that he’s arguing to reaffirm what he already thinks (his “faith”), to defend authorities he trusts, and to bolster the beliefs of his compatriots, his tribe, his team.”

And liberals, including President Obama, fail to understand the psychology of conservatives. Someone I know recently referred to him as the most arrogant President ever; this makes no sense to me at all, from my mindset. But if you see the world in a much different light – one this book that I’m only a sixth of the way through promises to explain to me – then it’s a much more plausible viewpoint.

Phyllis Schafly, more any almost anyone else, helped create the alternative world of “facts” that have made fruitful discussion of the important issues of the day so difficult to achieve.

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.


Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

Ferguson, from a conservative’s view

Even if you read only the parts of the Ferguson DOJ report that come directly from the files of the FPD, the report paints an incredibly damning picture.

Attorney General Holder meets with local residents and community leaders of Ferguson at Drake's Place Restaurant
Attorney General Holder meets with residents of Ferguson, MO

As usual, I read a variety of points-of-view on political issues. This was one of the items I read this week about the US Department of Justice’s report on the police of Ferguson, Missouri:

People are highly resistant to changing their minds and they become impervious to new evidence, often dismissing out of hand outright facts just because they are reported by a given source (e.g., “the media is untrustworthy” or “you can’t trust the Holder Department of Justice.”) Perhaps nowhere has this phenomenon been more obvious (or regrettable) than in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown…

Conservatives…have become highly resistant to assimilating information that strongly suggests that the Ferguson PD – as with many other municipal police departments in the country – truly is out of control, in that it recklessly violates the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ferguson and does so in a manner that has a clearly disproportionate impact on minorities…

Even if you read only the parts of the Ferguson DOJ report that come directly from the files of the FPD (which is to say, files that would be most favorable to the Department), the report paints an incredibly damning picture of the Ferguson Police Department. No conservative on earth should feel comfortable with the way the Ferguson PD has been operating for years, even according to their own documents.

This report did not come the left-of-center Daily Kos, which DID note this month, If you think ‘reverse racism’ is worse than what blacks face, read the Ferguson report.

Instead, it came from the right-wing publication Red State, written by the noted conservative Erick EricksonLeon Wolf. It was titled “Many Conservatives are Blowing it on the Ferguson DOJ Report,” with the subhead: “Their reaction is neither fair, accurate, nor good for America.”

Meanwhile, The Weekly Sift noted:

Both the city manager and the police chief have resigned, but the mayor is determined to hang on. He isn’t even convinced the city has a serious problem:

The report stated there was probable cause to believe the police and court routinely violate people’s civil rights. But, [James] Knowles [III] said, “that’s not proof.” He added that “there is probably another side to all of these stories.”

One might suggest that Mayor Knowles didn’t read the same report Leon Wolf did.

Our Viewing Tastes Are “Polls” Apart

“Interestingly, the majority of both parties conclude that movies have a liberal bias…”

I was, for a brief time, receiving, for free, this conservative magazine called Newsmax. The February 2012 issue has “How Grover [Norquist] Conquered Washington,” Norquist being the author of the “taxpayer Protection Pledge.” One of the features in that issue reported polls commissioned by the Hollywood Reporter about movies, and the other by Entertainment Weekly about television.

The reported premise is that Democrats like comedies, “at least today’s version of it,” while Republicans prefer reality TV which is, according to an Iowa professor, “the only genre that regularly includes Christian conservatives and treats them like they’re normal.” But Republicans do like the sitcom The Middle.

Conservatives like reality shows on History such as American Pickers (collectibles), Top Shot (shooting challenge), and Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, while Democrats like the “raunchy” Jersey Shore. The Democrats also like the scripted HBO drama Treme, which shows “sympathy for the underdog.”

In the graphic box, the favorite TV shows of Republicans are Castle, The Biggest Loser, Hawaii Five-O, and The Mentalist, while Democrats prefer 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Glee, and Cougar Town.

As for movies, Republicans like Secretariat, Chariots of Fire, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music, while Democrats prefer Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Kramer vs. Kramer, American Beauty, and Crash (the 2005 version).

“Interestingly, the majority of both parties conclude that movies have a liberal bias…The movie that [both parties] say reflects that left-wing bias most happens to be the biggest blockbuster in history: Avatar.”

I found Chariots of Fire boring, but The Sound of Music has wonderful music. I know some Castle fans who probably aren’t Republicans. And I find it fascinating that the NBC shows that apparently, Dems like (30 Rock, Parks & Rec) haven’t translated to higher ratings.

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