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The Federalist falsely accuses a black man of calling for white genocide, sort of

Elie Mystal: Does not actually want to kill white people

How do you falsely accuse a black man of calling for white genocide, when you know full well he didn’t actually call for any kind of genocide?

Well, if you’re David Marcus of The Federalist, you might do it by pretending that you’re making some sort of meta argument about how the left gets away with rhetorical excesses that would never be allowed on the right.

But before you get to that, you start with this categorical accusation:

In a feisty segment on Sunday’s “A.M. Joy,” Elie Mystal of Above the Law made an inflammatory comment in which he said white people who voted for Donald Trump should be destroyed. 

When The Federalist tweeted out a link to Marcus’ piece, using similar phrasing, fans of the publication reacted with predictable outrage, accusing Mystal of “hate speech” and “racism” and “inciting mass murder.”

“Well, if that isn’t a call, for an all out, guns a blazing in the streets, Civil War…… nothing is!” declared one especially outraged Tweeter.

Yet another suggested that comments like Mystal’s deserved some sort of divine intervention, possibly imagining it might come in the form of a thunderbolt.

On Twitter, Marcus made his insinuation even blunter. “I feel like there’s a word for suggesting that the majority of a racial group should be destroyed,” he wrote in a Tweet that was retweeted more than a hundred times.

There was just one problem: Mystal didn’t actually call for anyone to be literally “destroyed.” He was calling for those who oppose Trump to beat — to destroy — Trump fans at the ballot box. Here’s the full quote:

You don’t communicate to them, you beat them. You beat them. They are not a majority of this country — the majority of white people in this country are not a majority of the country. All the people who are not fooled by this need to come together, go to the polls, go to the protests, do whatever you have to do. You do not negotiate with these people, you destroy them.

It’s abundantly clear from context that he’s not talking about physical violence; he’s talking about winning at the polls.

But, knowing the propensity of right-wingers to take quotes out of context, the host of the show that Mystal was on, Joy Reid, jumped in to try to prevent someone like /Marcus from ginning up an invented controversy through deliberate misinterpretation.

“And by the way,” she declared, “the black man said ‘beat them,’ meaning in … an election.” Mystal himself added that he was using a “figure of speech.”

Marcus, of course, left these clarifying remarks out of his piece, in which he did exactly what Reid feared someone would.

Instead of acknowledging his rhetorical sleight-of-hand, Marcus went on to sniff indignantly about a supposed “double standard” in political hyperbole, in which Trump and his fans are criticized for talking about an immigrant “invasion” while liberals and leftists can get away with … suggesting that one should beat one’s political rivals at the polls?

When [Trump’s] supporters use fiery language and hyperbole, it is incitement to violence, but when progressives do the same thing, it is justified outrage.

Even the most generous interpretation of his comments — that “beat them” and “destroy them” mean at the polls — leaves some very troubling question. [sic] Are all of these tens of millions of people to be shunned and kicked out of polite society? If they are so horribly irredeemable that others cannot communicate or negotiate with them, what would Mystal have us do with them?

Mystal didn’t say anything about shunning anyone. And even if he had ,so what? Not getting invited to a barbecue is not the same as genocide.

More to the point, saying that it’s not worth trying to convince Trump supporters to come over to the Democratic side is not the same as declaring refugees to be some sort of invading force.

But why am I even bothering to respond to any of the details in Marcus’s piece? I’m sure most of those who reacted to his headline, or the first couple of lines of the piece, never bothered to actually read the whole thing. I don’t think they were supposed to.

It looks an awful lot like the real point of Marcus’ piece wan’t his meta argument; his piece looks, rather, like little more than a cheap rhetorical ploy — a crude, bad faith attempt to smear Mystal, and give the false impression he really did call for white genocide — as both the title and the start of the piece suggest. The rest of the piece, I think, is there largely to cover Marcus’ ass — though he knows, and I suspect hopes, that most people won’t read much past the headline.

Ironically, this whole invented controversy makes clear that Mystal was right: there’s no point in communicating with disingenuous asshats like Marcus who argue in such extravagantly bad faith. We need to vote Trump and the GOP out of power, and we need to send people like Marcus back to the political fringe where they belong.

And no, I’m not inviting any of them to any barbeques either.

— David Futrelle

Brand New Ugly highlights stories that are emblematic of the political and social ugliness of Trump’s America. Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Amtep
Amtep
1 year ago

“Are all of these tens of millions of people to be shunned and kicked out of polite society?”

Yes. You cannot support Republicans and also be part of polite society. That ship has sailed.

I think it’s more accurate to say that they’ve kicked themselves out.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
1 year ago

A polite authoritarian/fascist is still an authoritarian/fascist. Seriously.

Austin George Loomis

Sailed, sunk, and inspired a heartwarming global blockbuster with Kate and Leo.

epronovost
epronovost
1 year ago

I think the Federalist has some problem wrapping their head around the paradox of tolerence. To be fair, it’s a paradox so it’s by definition a bit hard to understand. Then again, privileged people sometime struggles to understand things like justice, fairness and equality. It requires a lot of life experience, insight and empathy to understand and value such concept from the top of the pyramid all the while undertanding their universalism.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@Austin George Loomis:
Not sure what got warmed, but probably not the hearts of some of these folks.

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
1 year ago

I think they didn’t get the memo:

Last time humanity decided to “politely talk things over” with the Nazis, the Holocaust happened.

Susan
Susan
1 year ago

O/T @ Surplus, I have been thinking about you amd hoping you are doing ok today.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

If Christ was going to kick some ass, it wouldn’t be the asses of people who are angry at the corruption and cruelty of Trump and his fans. It would be the asses of Trump and his fans, who are going against his teachings by hurting instead of helping people who are poor, marginalized, or seeking refuge.

It’s fucking pathetic that a staunch atheist like me has a better idea of how to be Christlike than so many people who think of themselves as devout Christians.

I saw somebody describe the conservative Christian version of Jesus as “fanfic Jesus” as opposed to “canon Jesus.” I thought that was so apt.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

I saw somebody describe the conservative Christian version of Jesus as “fanfic Jesus” as opposed to “canon Jesus.”

Honestly, much of what people “know” about Christianity was influenced/inspired by The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, and Vanity Fair, which were themselves biblical fanfiction. So, basically yeah.

epitome of incomprehensibility

I haven’t heart of Elie Mystal, but it’s pretty clear he wasn’t advocating actual violence. He also wasn’t calling for a white vs. black conflict! Mentioning systemic racism as a factor in getting Trump elected – mentioning the demographics of people who voted for Trump – isn’t saying “all white people are bad, let’s destroy them lol.”

@Snowberry – Do you mean Pilgrim’s Progress? The novel Vanity Fair was named after a place/scene in Pilgrim’s Progress.

vaiyt
vaiyt
1 year ago

@epitome of incomprehensibility

Reframing attacks on racists as attacks on the white race is a classic racist tactic.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

@epitome of incomprehensibility: Apparently I did. For some reason I remembered that as the name of the entire work.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

@vaiyt: I wonder how many of them sincerely believe that (for a value of “sincerely” which is at least partly a form of shielding themselves from self-awareness) and which are simply arguing in bad faith. Not that it usually matters, unless you’re trying to decide if it’s worth the effort to change/redeem someone you know personally.

To expand on what you said, the stupider ones are usually just “no, you’re the racist” as if that were anything more than a childish comeback. The less stupid ones try to frame it as not allowing whites to hate on non-whites is racist against whites because of course white people can’t help hating anyone not like them, except it’s not really hating, it’s having a “realistic perspective.” The smarter ones just dogwhistle and respond to pushbacks with something like “I did not say anything about race. I did not mean anything about race. You were the one who made it about race by falsely implying something negative which was not there, meaning that you are the one who is seeing non-whites in a negative light. (Or alternately, implying that white people always think such things, making whites inherently bad.) Isn’t that, you know, kind of racist of you?”

If done correctly, the latter is extremely difficult to argue against. Not because it’s correct, but because it’s framed in terms of personal intentions (which you can’t truly prove or disprove, even your own, because after all you might be lying) and trying to change the framing looks like a bad faith argument on your part.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

Who funds the Federalist, anyway? They don’t like it when people keep asking that question. I wonder why?

ThingsComeUndone
ThingsComeUndone
1 year ago

The Federalist can’t persuade people with their ideas so they have to use emotion instead but they have to lie to even generate emotion.
They are a bunch of rich guys who read too much Leo Strauss and think they are the Plato’s elite because they have money and an education.
Sadly despite their social advantages they are not our societies best thinkers they mistake what’s best for them as good for everyone and they like junkies want short term highs ignoring the damage their ideas/drugs do to society.
The more desperate they get the more they lie.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 year ago

Now on YouTube: Elie Mystal DESTROYS white people using DEMOCRACY and LAW.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
1 year ago

“fanfic Jesus” as opposed to “canon Jesus.”

Love it.

occasional reader
occasional reader
1 year ago

Hello.

Christ was not a pacifist. He can kick some you-know-what if he decides to.

Hmm, we have a parody of that, in France. It is quite old (beginning of the 90, i believe ? Maybe Ohlmann can correct me), but well…



It is in French, and i am not sure a translation exists, but it is about Jesus if he was played by Stallone in a Rambo III fashion. There are many wordplays, but maybe the pictures alone will be enough to understand ?

Have a nice day.

Seraph4377
Seraph4377
1 year ago

Christ was not a pacifist. He can kick some you-know-what if he decides to.

I wish Bible thumpers would realize how ridiculous they sound when they say things like that. You’re trying to sound threatening, but you sound like a prissy nine-year-old. It’s a vulgarity, not a blasphemy. If you’re going to say it, go ahead and say it.

As for Jesus not being a pacifist, let’s look at that. He was a manual laborer who liked his wine, so he presumably knew how to throw a punch. Still, I can only think of three acts that Jesus, as presented in the Bible, committed that could be considered violent:

1) Getting really hangry and blasting a fig tree that didn’t have any fruit. You’d think he could have used his power to conjure up some fruit instead, he did it with the bread and fish.

2) Exorcising Legion and casting it into the herd of pigs. Which seems out of character for an avatar of the omnipotent Creator Of All Things, who should be able to simply cast Legion directly back into Hell. Less out of character for an itinerant prophet/magician, whose power would naturally be more limited. Hmmm…

3) The only real occasion I can think of where he was violent toward other people, which is the “moneychangers in the temple” incident. In other words, when presented with people who used their religious authority to take advantage of the rubes, he grabbed a “whip of cords” and whupped some ass. Maybe the Religious Wrong should think twice about using that incident to illustrate how badass their God is. It also illustrates why He might not be on their side.

Of course, they’re probably really talking about their God’s tendency to throw people into an infinite torture chamber, which is somehow supposed to be compatible with being a benevolent God instead of more evil than friggin’ Morgoth. If they ever read their Bibles, they might find that there’s less support for that than they might think.

Katamount
1 year ago

I had a minor epiphany yesterday regarding all calls to “understand” and “convince” or otherwise try to meet Trump-supporting white people halfway. The fact that these statements only ever go one way is the big tip-off. When was the last time you ever saw somebody on the right concern-troll a Trump supporter that they might turn off people in the center? Never. The assumption underpinning this is that not only do Trump supporters represent a bloc too powerful to cross, but also that they’re entirely justified in wielding that power to attack any perceived threat unless you cater to them or coddle them or take steps not to hurt their feelings.

But they’re not that powerful. Otherwise they wouldn’t have to cheat with voter suppression tactics and gerrymandering to win. Yet seemingly every media outlet around seems to act like they are. I wonder why that is….?

Kevin
Kevin
1 year ago

@ Seraph4377

The Religious Wrong (like it) probably would consider something like Luke 22:36 in anything like a modern context to be an incitement to violent crime.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

Fundamentally, the old Testament is about an angry, violent god who look like Zeus if he liked obedience more than women. The new one is about an entirely different figure who preach pacifism and all. It’s the direct opposite of the old testament in many ways.

That mean one can easily find a verse for everything and it’s contraposite. Sure, knock yourself out justifying murder with a specific passage of the bible ; at the very best, it will show you are more concerned with truthiness than any actual message in that book.

I don’t know the parody Occasional Reader have found, sadly. It did remind me of the christianity parody Soeur Marie Thérèse des Batignolles, which is a (EXTREMELY) non PC satire of the catholic church and french people at large. It come from the shock value school of french comic, and by and far it’s funny, but also often go beyond the pale even for my principles. More subtle and less racist/sexist/everything than the worse excess of Charlie Hebdo, but still.

(just in case : for thoses who only know Charlie Hebdo by the terrorist attack, it’s a newspaper who is proud to break every social convention. It’s extremely anti-religious, which often degenerate in racist when it talk of islam. Especially since the aforementioned attack, since the victims were by large the more subtle and nuanced one. Trying to make political caricature without subtlety can end very badly. Look at the Charlie Hebdo cover if you want to know *how* badly)

Seraph4377
Seraph4377
1 year ago

@ Kevin – They would think it was SOCIALISM! And y’know, they wouldn’t be wrong. Funny how they don’t obey THAT command…

@ Ohlmann – That’s actually literally true. In the oldest books of the Old Testament, YHVH is a member of the Elohim, the pantheon ruled by the god El. YHVH was one of the sons of El, and apparently a warrior god. He even had a wife named Asherah. A lot of the background of the Old Testament is His slow transition from war god who isn’t even the head of the pantheon to Official God of Israel to One God Of The Universe. By the time that sect with the unhealthy death-obsession was founded by the rabbi Yeshua ben Yussef of Nazareth, the transition had been completed.

That said, even in the earliest books, YHVH commanded justice, humility, charity to the poor and welcome to the stranger. So American Bible Thumpers aren’t just ignoring the New Testament in favor of the old, they’re picking and choosing the verses from the Old that indulge their bigotry and wrath and those from the New that suggest they don’t have to do anything but say “Lord, Lord.”

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@occasional reader:
Not familiar with that, but I wonder how many others (especially of the Canadians here) have seen ‘Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter’?

@Seraph4377:
W.r.t. ‘Religious Wrong’, I always liked that one of the groups in the Illuminati card game was called ‘The Religious Reich’. It seems even more appropriate today than 25 years ago.

@Katamount:
Because a majority of the Trump supporters are also susceptible to affinity scams extracting money from them bu being them in fear, and the people doing the extracting (such as the advertisers who are the real customers of a lot of the media) don’t want their revenue stream messed with?

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

@Seraph4377

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing the Religious Wrong would take refuge in the fact that the scouring of the temple was about the temple. See, he wasn’t attacking bankers per se: he was specifically attacking them for working in the temple, so it was now more of a bank than a religious place. If they’d conducted all their business in a bank next door, he’d have been just fine with it.

At least, I assume that’s how the argument would run.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

None of the gospels state that Jesus hit anyone with the whip. He probably didn’t need to; cracking it loudly while waving it around and yelling would have gotten the people and animals moving without him having to strike anybody.

I’m so sick of this Super Macho Jesus crap. Jesus overruled his friends when they tried to tell some children to scram; instead he blessed the kids and told the apostles that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to “such as these.” He said of himself that he was gentle and humble and would give rest to those in need of it. Doesn’t sound like much of an ass-whooper to me.

Moon_custafer
Moon_custafer
1 year ago

@Jenora Fuer:

but I wonder how many others (especially of the Canadians here) have seen ‘Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter’?

(Raises hand) It drags a little in places, but it has wonderful moments – the surprisingly large number of atheists who jump out of that car (and they don’t actually seem to be working for/with the vampires, so apparently they’ve all just been driving around looking for god so they can fight him)! The best dramatization I’ve ever seen of the Parable of the Good Samaritan! Santos the luchadore! Star Wars scat-singing! All on a budget of approximately $29.99, by the looks of it.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@Moon_custafer:
I will admit that one of my favorite moments, just for the absurd truth of the little things, was right at the end… Jesus is doing a new Sermon on the Mount (on Parliament Hill) when a cell phone goes off. Everybody in the audience starts patting themselves down to check if it’s theirs… including the 9 year old kid standing next to his mother. And, of course, it turns out it was Jesus’ phone that had been ringing.

It really was just such a beautifully absurd movie. “I am everywhere!”

Simon
Simon
1 year ago
Tovius
Tovius
1 year ago

@AsAboveSoBelow
And yet many evangelicals (at least in America) are part of the prosperity gospel, which as far as I’m concerned is the modern day money changers in the temple.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

Ugh, don’t get me started on the prosperity and word-faith nonsense. If you’re poor and/or sick, it’s because your faith isn’t strong enough. Bull. Shit.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@AsAboveSoBelow

If you’re poor and/or sick, it’s because your faith isn’t strong enough.

Not to mention that they seem to think that if you are LGBTQIPAN+ it’s because you chose to be and that if you’re depressed it’s because you wanted to be. I knew someone who had depression and whose Evangelical parents kept telling them that they should simply choose to think more positively.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

None of the gospels state that Jesus hit anyone with the whip. He probably didn’t need to; cracking it loudly while waving it around and yelling would have gotten the people and animals moving without him having to strike anybody.

And cracking a whip at someone to get them to do your bidding under threat of grave physical violence, which has likely already been done to them by other whip-crackers in the past, is a good thing because….?

Kevin
Kevin
1 year ago

@ Tovius/AsAboveSoBelow/Naglfar

Prosperity Gospel types and ‘faith isn’t strong enough’ promulgators are also falling into the sin of Simony and the errors of ‘Job’s comforters.’

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

Yeah, the ‘your faith wasn’t strong enough’ types are a curse on any society. It’s not even strictly a religious thing, ‘The Secret’ is very similar, and so is a lot of ‘alternative medicine’.

I was told that the money changers being driven from the Temple was at least in part because their presence was encouraging one-upmanship, where rich people going to the Temple would buy animals to be sacrificed in order to show off how ‘pious’ they were. So the issue with them was of a piece with ‘do not pray on the street as the hypocrites do’… the actual gospels are rather harsh on empty displays of piety.

Good luck getting that across to folks who insist on dressing in their ‘Sunday best’.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

@kupo: My point was to counter that made by Pamela Sund in one of the tweets quoted above. Jesus is never described as kicking anyone’s “you-know-what” in the Gospels.

@Kevin: Job’s comforters, yeah. Job’s buddies were doing great until they started talking. 🙂

@Jenora: “The Secret” is as pernicious as word-faith/prosperity teaching.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

My point was to counter that made by Pamela Sund in one of the tweets quoted above. Jesus is never described as kicking anyone’s “you-know-what” in the Gospels

Okay, well maybe if you want to talk about how non-violent your mythological dude is, don’t pretend like cracking a whip isn’t a violent action.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@kupo

Your mythological dude

Can we not. Its one thing to not beleive in something. Its another to go to someone who does believe in it and tell them it isn’t real.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
1 year ago

My contribution to the growing list of macho-Jesus parodies: the SNL skit “Djesus Uncrossed,” starring Christoph Waltz.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Lainy
Definition of myth:

a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon

Not sure how biblical stories don’t fit into that.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@kupo

And it’s still a jerk thing to do. It may reach the definition but I’m asking basic respect and to not do a jerk thing like calling someone’s religious beliefs a myth.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@kupo

Also I’m not saying that you are a jerk. You are a lovely person. But the action is a jerk thing to do. I just want to say I’m not making a negative remark about your character. Just what you said.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

While biased as an atheist, I believe that christians and co should be tolerant of other people talking about their mythological figures. I mean, they actually believe other religions to be myth, so they are forced to accept that other people can see their god as a myth too.

As for Jesus himself, there’s the classical problem that as an omnipotent being, he could just make people not-jerk instead of trying to teach them a lesson by scaring them. But it enter quickly debates on what omnipotence even mean, so …

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

Re: the Jesus as myth thing
Most historians agree that Jesus existed, so referring to his story as a myth doesn’t seem correct. Of course, a small contingent of historians believe he didn’t exist, but this is a minority opinion that most reject.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 year ago

Sure, but the historicity of a person at the centre of stories doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t reference the stories themselves as myth (kind of like King Arthur, maybe, or Achilles, for varying values of historicity). Or like Alexander the Great, say – known historical figure, legendary exploits.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Really, the only reason that Bible events and people are not typically referred to as mythology or legend is because Christianity is dominant and privileged. I see talk of Hindu mythology, Native American legends, etc. all the time.

And whether or not Jesus existed as a person, I haven’t looked at the evidence all that closely, I feel pretty safe in saying there’s zero evidence of divinity/supernatural powers. So, I don’t think the possible historical existence matters that much. It should also be noted that many major historians are of a religious tradition that believes Jesus did exist and may have their own biases.

Anyway, to me Christians being sensitive about how people talk about them are a little like white people who complain about reserve racism or men who complain about misandry. Even progressive Christians sometimes have a tendency to expect preferential treatment and a sensitivity usually reserved for marginalized groups. Given the oppression, both historical and current that’s done in the name of Christianity, it’s a bit unfair to demand excessive civility when discussing the oppression.

Just my two cents. Although I expect it won’t be a popular opinion given that I’ve been through this exact same argument here many times before and been in the minority.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

@kupo, Please stop putting words in my mouth. Thanks.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@AsAboveSoBelow
I’m not attempting to put words in your mouth. I’m attempting to interpret your statement. What was your point then, if it wasn’t that cracking a whip is somehow non-violent?

@Ohlmann, opposablethumbs, and WWTH
Thanks for helping me explain the myth thing.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

My point was that as depicted in the Gospels, Jesus was not a kicker of “you-know-what,” despite whatshername’s tweet describing him as such. Whether or not the man existed (I think he did, but who knows), the people who wrote about him didn’t depict him beating up anyone. That’s all I was trying to say.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@AsAboveSoBelow
And cracking a whip is not implying beating because….?