No Charles, they behaved like Obots

Charles Blow:

Bullies on the Bus

That’s the name of the video. It’s more than 10 minutes long, but if you make it through more than three of them with your eyes not getting misty and your blood not boiling then you are a rock, or at least your heart is.

The video shows Karen Klein, a 68-year-old grandmother and bus monitor in upstate New York, being relentlessly tormented by a group of young boys.

They hurl profanities. One asks for her address because he says he wants to go urinate on her door. Others are more explicit about defiling her.


But what, if anything, does this say about society at large? Many things one could argue, but, for me, it is a remarkably apt metaphor for this moment in the American discourse in which hostility has been drawn out into the sunlight.

Those boys are us, or at least too many of us: America at its ugliest. It is that part of society that sees the weak and vulnerable as worthy of derision and animus.

This kind of behavior is not isolated to children and school buses and suburban communities. It stretches to the upper reaches of society — our politics and our pulpits and our public squares.

Whether it is a Republican debate audience booing a gay soldier or Rush Limbaugh’s vicious attack on a female Georgetown law student or Newt Gingrich’s salvos at the poor, bullying has become boilerplate. Hiss and taunt. Tease and intimidate. Target your enemies and torture them mercilessly. Maintain primacy through predation.

Really Charles? You see a bunch of young males bullying an older female and you think of Republicans? Where were you in 2008?

Don’t you remember how the older female Hillary supporters were bullied by the young male Obama supporters? I sure remember it. Of course not all the women were old, and not all the men were young. Some of the bullies were women, and some of the bullied were men.

They chased us off progressive blogs, then followed us to our new blogs and harassed us some more. They even created blogs like Rumproast that were dedicated to stalking and harassing us.

Those bullies weren’t Republicans (although many of them used to be) they were Democrats.

They were Obots, and those kids on the bus behaved just like them.

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56 Responses to No Charles, they behaved like Obots

  1. DeniseVB says:

    I remember the ladies of the Slut Walk being asked why is it you can use a word you abhor in your message and demand Rush’s castration when he used it. I believe their response was when we use the word, it has a different meaning.

    I need a new dictionary. I’m sure the c-word has other meanings since they’re allowed only when lefty fems and misogynist “comedians” use it.

    • Erin says:

      Context of use is always important when a word is used. It’s unrealistic to think that an ironic use of a word is the same as a derogatory use of the same word, and to think that someone doesn’t have the right to be offended by the derogatory usage of the word because they have used it ironicaly in another context. It’s like the use of the N word as a form of familiarity among friends and the use of it by the KKK to suggest someone is less than human.

      • angienc says:

        I understand that thinking, and I reject it. AAs using the “n” word among “friends” still perpetuates use of the word. I think the same thing goes for the word “slut.” People think they are taking ownership of the word among a small group of their peers, but really they are accepting the word as a description of themselves that ultimately does them no good in the wider society. A woman using the word “slut” about herself thinks she is making a feminist statement, but it is nothing more than the patriarchy wrapped in a pink bow. (Same for the “n” word — it’s cloaking racism with a veneer of “acceptability” to a segment of the AA community).

        • Erin says:

          I understand your perspective, I just think it’s not realistic to always expect people to refuse to use a word that others have used against them in a derogatory manner, as opposed to try to change the cultural perspective on the word and the group of people it has been hurled against as a verbal weapon. If we stopped using words because someone used it in a derogatory manner the English vocabulary would disappear.

          The people I know who have participated in the “slut” walk in this country and in other countries (where to do it is far more risky than the US) did so to show other people in their cultures that their use of the word “slut” to describe behavior of women they disapprove of also describes their daughters, wives and sisters in order to change cultural perceptions about women, and to force a discussion on women’s personal freedoms, not to embrace the word as an accurate description of themselves. It is pointed political choice of ironic usage of the word. Not unlike the expression “you say it like B@tch is a bad word” or the pop hit “I’m a B@tch” that was used to as the background music to the homage to Hillary Clinton and the abuse she received during the 2008 primary campaign. Did the use of that music in the video upset you too? It’s another example of ironic usage of a derogatory term as a political tactic.

          I agree that there can be a down side to the political tactic aspect. I too think that the n word usage within the AA population doesn’t help eliminate it from use. When it is used in hip hop music you wind up with a whole new generation of white kids who want to emulate their musical idols and want to use the word in the same context it is used in that part of their culture. Granted they do so for a different reason than first caused it to enter into the lexicon, but the baggage of the n word when used by anyone who is not AA is still too great for wide spread usage of the word.

        • angienc says:

          First, as to your question “Did the use of that music in the video upset you too?” (re: the Hillary video). Um, I didn’t say I was “upset” about anything, so I don’t even know what point you were trying to make there.
          Second, as to your lecture to me about ironic use of a derogatory term. You may have missed it, but the first sentence in my post that you responded to was “I understand that thinking, and I reject it.” I don’t know how to make that clearer. So, thanks for the lecture on something I already understand, but even though I thoroughly understand the rationale I still, consciously & wholeheartedly reject it.
          Finally, as I ended my initial post: YMMV — that’s internet slang meaning you can certainly disagree, etc.

        • Erin says:

          Angie NC – I couldn’t nest this under the specific comment so I am putting it here. I want to apologize that my tone came across as lecturing. I did not mean it that way. I don’t consider it my place to lecture anyone on a topic. I was trying to dispassionately describe my opinion; not in any way correct or lecture you. I obviously failed at that.

          My question about the song title had to do with whether the use of a derogatory term like “b@tch” in such an obviously positive video about Hillary Clinton bothered or concerned you the way that the use of other terms by left wing feminist causes you to reject their approach. I ask because I see the use of the term in the song/video and the slut walk as applications of a similar technique. You may not. I found the Hillary video very moving and effective, and as a result I have to allow room for the any group (leftist feminists included) for using the same technique to try to do the kind of same thing. How successful they are at is another matter.

      • DeniseVB says:

        So, if conservative women decided to become ironic in response to the left using the c-word towards them and staged a C**T Walk, it would be okay? I wouldn’t be cool with that either 😦

        • Erin says:

          I would not like it either. Some of it is a degree question. Slut is a word that you will hear in dialog on TV. The c word is one that will get bleeped out. The cultural perception of the level of insult is a little different between the words, and the c word is about the worst thing that can be hurled at a woman to verbally demean her and treat her as less than human.

          However, I would still see a difference between women saying it to each other in a non derogatory context and anyone else saying it to them to insult them. I would expect them to be up in arms when an Obot said it to them as an insult. I agree it might not be the best way to ensure the usage of the word in a derogatory way would leave the language. My perspective is the context of the usage is what’s most important. I think it’s a little silly to have to say the n word or the c word in conversation but never the word itself if you are not using either in a derogatory context. If you do you wind up in a heap of trouble for uttering the word itself without the derogatory context.

        • angienc says:

          Ah, yes, it is a question of degree! IOW, it is a question of what degree the patriarchy allows you to co-opt the word. Slut, of course, is acceptable for women to co-opt because TPTB is allowed on TV. No flaw in that logic at all.
          Funny how that doesn’t work for the “n” word though.

        • angienc says:

          *Slut, of course, is acceptable for women to co-opt because TPTB allow that word on TV.

      • WMCB says:

        It’s like the use of the N word as a form of familiarity among friends and the use of it by the KKK to suggest someone is less than human.

        I think we are talking about three different uses of slurs here. And it has to do with intent.

        1) Affectionate, ironic use. Such as the “Hey, my n*ggah” stuff. Which I honestly have no problem with. My sister and I regularly tease each other with bitch and slut. It’s affectionate.

        2) “Reclaiming the word” use, which is a use by a group about themselves as a sort of a defiant protest against that word being used to hurt. This is more problematic, but I don’t really get heartburn over it.

        3) Use of a slur with the intent to demean and dehumanize using their minority status as the preferred weapon with which to hurt them. Always wrong. Whether that is a racist using the N word, or a lefty calling a conservative member of a minority group a faggot, nigger, or cunt.

        • Erin says:

          You said it much better than I did

        • threewickets says:

          If you do #1 and #2, the line that separates #3 will always be made fuzzier. There are plenty of words you can use that doesn’t denigrate people, whether you’re in that tribe or not. Fuck, for instance and all its variations. I always thought Slut Walk was stupid, and that idiot Hugo Schwyzer who promoted it is like somebody’s prank idea of a feminist.

  2. Lola-at-Large says:

    What drove me crazy about his article this morning was how he just skipped right over the gangs of young minority youth who now routinely sweep through urban cities attacking anyone who they perceive as “other.”

    6 hispanic males in New York attacked and beat and killed a young gay man in the wake of the Clementi affair. 100s of black youth swept through a state fair crowd last summer targeting whites only. Dozens of blacks beat an Irish tourist nearly to death in Baltimore during St. Paddy celebrations, calling him “whitey” the entire time. Last week 6 black youth ordered Chinese food delivery in a NYC burrough, shot the driver, took the food home, ate it, and then returned to the car with friends to see what else they could take and to get a look at the body.

    But yeah, Republicans are evil.

    • angienc says:

      Blow is a Kool-Aid swilling Obot beyond all help. Facts, the bigger picture, etc. are of no use for him. Everything is seen through the prism of how he can advance Obama; nothing else. How else can he use the actions of 7th graders to make a statement about an entire political party.

  3. DeniseVB says:

    Oh this smarts, immigrants going through the legal process now pushed aside for Obama’s swell plan ….. should read 4.6 million in the url….

  4. WMCB says:

    You need look no further than the WI recall fiasco or OWS to see which side bullies more. You need only look to 2008 with Hillary supporters, or Sarah Palin.

    Whatever policies one prefers, republican voters are in general (not in EVERY case, but in general) nicer people. Sorry, but they are.

    • SophieCT says:

      Sorry, I’m not willing to generalize that far. Just because I only discovered that Democrats were just as horrible four years ago doesn’t suddenly make Republicans the nice, good guys. Before I was called a raycist, I was called unpatriotic. (I am a veteran and I was called that by chickenhawks.) People under the influence of group-think will be bullies regardless of political ideology. You don’t have to take my word for it–read some of the comments over at Greta’s.

      • WMCB says:

        Sophie, I’m not talking about random asshole comments on news stories. Those could be anyone from any “side”.

        Look at the overall behavior of, say, the teapartiers vs. the left’s protests. You’d have to be blind to not see the difference in attitude and behavior. The fact that cities routinely do NOT have to pile on very visible extra police presence when the right protests, nor usually clean up behind them, while it is routine and expected when the left protests, is very instructive.

        And yes, most (though not all) of the republicans I have personally interacted with in my life are very nice, polite, well-mannered people. I have run into a lot more jerkwads on the left, most notably in the last 8 years or so. Prior to that, jerkwaddiness was less accepted. Now it’s almost celebrated.

        Note I am not talking about policy here. I am talking about everyday, non- political interactions.

        • jeffhas says:

          Personally, I think there are plenty of a-holes on both sides. I cede your point that it’s telling that Tea Partiers don’t need to be picked up after… and yet when I work with people, the last thing that comes up in getting a job done is their political persuasion. I can count plenty of lazygoodfornothins as both lib and con, that goes for smartypantsnonothings and leaderless manager

          I find cluelessness of purpose to be an equal opportunity employer.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Conservative tend to have better public manors, but they also tend to be just as vicious when they think no one’s paying attention. Also, I don’t think it’s wise to forget their groupthink circa 2000-2006.

          What’s ironic about today is that the left in general has embraced every single thing they stood against during those years (2000-2006). That’s where the blinders come off.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Geez. *manners. Insomnia is KILLING my spelling.

        • SophieCT says:

          Lola, exactly:

          What’s ironic about today is that the left in general has embraced every single thing they stood against during those years (2000-2006).

          Perhaps we still (in the far corners of our minds) expect more of the left so when they do anything reprehensible, we judge them more harshly. Sort of like the way we judge anti-feminist women more harshly than outright misogynist men.

          WCMB: I don’t think Tea Party vs OWS is a great metric for comparing left to right. There are other factors like crowd size and median age. Also, Tea Party was co-opted by Koch brothers whereas OWS sites were often co-opted by the homeless.

    • yttik says:

      “Sorry, but they are.”

      Sad, but true WMCB. I’ve never been called names, harassed, bullied, by anybody on the right. I’m supposed to believe that their policies and ideology are bullying and mean, so even if they’re nice to me in person, they’re still evil people. The left on the other hand, allegedly has such a good and noble agenda, that they’re allowed to behave anyway they want towards others.

      • When I was a Dem candidate for Congress, I was bullied by the right—terribly bullied, for a number of my stances. I don’t think candidates are more deserving of bullying than anyone else. However, I know that both sides do it, both sides are capable of doing it, and both sides are horrible in that regard. Groupthink——-both sides are as guilty as hell.

      • threewickets says:

        Oh please. I’ve personally been bullied by the right more times than I can remember, as a kid and as an adult. There are assholes on all sides. The right generally tends to be older than the left, so they may be slightly more mature in their behavior, but at the margins there is never any shortage of stupid groupthink or excessive behavior or self-serving propaganda. It’s human nature and it’s politics.

  5. DeniseVB says:

    N.O.W. is rearing it’s head against Laura Bush, protesting an award for women’s causes. I’ve alway thought Laura was quite accomplished in that area, especially with Afghani women. Good opinion piece on NOW picking the wrong battle….again…..bullies!

  6. leslie says:

    It’s funny (no, not really) but whenever I see bullying or mistreatment of “others” these days – even if it is just someone turning right at a “no right turn” sign, I think (He/She must have voted for Obama” and most times, I look at their bumper or their rear window, and I see “Obama-Biden 2008”.
    Just an observation – not necessarily a universal truth.

  7. leslie says:

    BTW: A tee-shirt store on Michigan Avenue “the Magnificent Mile” the street where TehOnce has his campaign headquarters, is selling Obama tee-shirt at 75% off.

  8. Lulu says:

    Now the NYT is looking at how stupid the Democrats were to pass the abomination known as Obamacare.
    “Congress held no hearing on the plan’s constitutionality until nearly a year after it was signed into law. Representative Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker, scoffed when a reporter asked what part of the Constitution empowered Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. “Are you serious?” she asked with disdain. “Are you serious?”
    I think it is arguable that it is not only Obama that is an amateur but most of the Democratic congress members. And they too bullied any members that had any objections, questions, or opposed this mess. Let us all remember the treatment the public took from these ignorant assholes and we were fucking right.

    • leslie says:

      also addressed on CBS news radio this morning (at least in Chicago)

      • Lulu says:

        The first test of any federal law is if it is constitutional? They did not even consider it, and if anyone brought it up they were derided, insulted, called morons, etc. After the states brought suit and it was apparent they meant business they had hearings to spread more propaganda and come up with more talking points. The hubris, ignorance, group think, insularity and waste of time and money is enough send this idiot party to the garbage heap of history. No serious student of government can consider them serious. They are fools.

        • leslie says:

          Don’t tell that to Pelosi or Hoyer or any of the other Ds. Because “you’ll know what’s in it after it passes”.
          Plus “we don’t need to know no stinkin’ details.” anyway.

    • DM says:

      When Pelosi bends arms and passes a law, it’s constitutional (snark)

  9. leslie says:

    Last night I was out with a gay friend of mine. Little over 6 months ago, she was supporting Obama. (“He ended don’t ask, don’t tell” said she.) Last night, as I was telling her about the Obama special event gift registry – which she thought was a hoax – she said she was going to vote for Romney. “It can’t be any worse for me than Obama has been”, she said.

    • SophieCT says:

      I don’t credit B0 with the repeal of DADT. Gates, Lieberman, Collins did most of the leg-work. I think public acceptance played the biggest role. Wikipedia:,_don%27t_tell#Repeal

      • leslie says:

        That’s what I tried to tell my friend back then. But as far as she was concerned at the time, it was on Obie’s watch and so he got the credit. But that was then and last night, was now. Now, she and many of her friends are seemingly thinking differently. It’ll be interesting to see the signs at the Pride parade today.

        • leslie says:

          That would be the Chicago Pride parade in which TehOnce never marched.

        • Erica says:

          No kidding, leslie. He was too busy getting a haircut, going to the gym and then having a massage. At the time (2008), I remember thinking, “how gay is that?”

      • Erica says:

        I don’t either, Sophie. It was handed to him on a golden platter, and he still tried to reject it.

  10. Lola-at-Large says:

    Second time I’ve seen Campbell Brown call out leftist women’s orgs this year. She perceives them as running the same hazardous gameplan as unions. When you rely on the power structure for your bread and butter, you can’t afford partisanship.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    This should make Myiq happy, Toure Neblett’s getting a show on MSNBC (well on a panel of 4, aka like The Five format)

    S.E. Cupp will be the token conservative.

  12. HELENK says:

    under backtrack’s EO on immigration the would be DC suicide bomber would be accepted

  13. HELENK says:

    why the ridiculous is no laughing matter.

    this article made me stop and think. Mouslini was a clown but look at the damage he did

  14. HELENK says:

    this story sickened me. Maybe we should start teaching our kids respect

  15. r u reddy says:

    I saw this video posted on Reddit several days ago. I began watching it and stopped after a few seconds because I didn’t want to feel as bad as I knew it was going to make me feel. So I scrolled right down to the comments. Some commenters were saying that justice will be served, one way or another. Another commenter claimed to have found out the names of two of the nasty kids and offered them to the readers. One hopes the kids will be made to feel some consequences.

    It brought back memories of school for me . . . memories which can still fill me with rage and hate if I dwell on them for too long.

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