Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why calling South Dakota a sh*#hole is unhelpful (or, an illustration of why two wrongs don't make a right)

Twitter sent me a push notification overnight.  It wanted me to see a Tweet by Andrew Kaczynski      to Tomi Lahren.  Here it is:

The clear implication is that South Dakota, which is apparently Lahren's home state, is a sh*#hole. 

Oh no, here we go again, I thought... And why did the Twitter algorithm want to ensure I saw this?  Does it know I'm a ruralist? Does it know there is such a thing as ruralists?  Is there such a thing as a ruralist?  Or is it just

I don't know much about either of these people, just that Tomi Lahren is some sort of quasi-celebrity by virtue of having been a political commentator and that she's quite far to the right, even supports Trump.  Indeed, wikipedia tells me she is "an American conservative, political commentator, and former television host, currently working for Great America Alliance, an advocacy organization that supports Donald Trump

Andrew Kaczynski describes himself on his Twitter page as
Reporter at CNN's KFile. Challenged to a duel by @RandPaul. “Flex Cam” winner at a @BrooklynNets game. Likes cats.
I know Kaczynski as a Twitter regular, a lefty who often criticizes Trump (as do I, I might add).  Like many (most?) political commentators on Twitter these days, he's willing to get edgy to draw attention and accumulate followers. 

And, of course, Kaczynski is responding to Lahren's defense of Trump's use of the term sh*#hole to refer to Haiti, El Salvador, and the entire African continent.  What Lahren wrote, in case you cannot read it, is
If they aren't sh*#hole countries, why don't their citizens stay there? Let's be honest. Call it like it is. 
Make no mistake: Trump's trash talk about these countries is wrong, and it is deeply embarrassing that he would use such profanity to refer to other human beings and other sovereign nations.  Trump seems to reveal his racism at every turn.  Similarly, I make no apologies for Tomi Lahren. 

But isn't Kaczynski also wrong?  Or at least unhelpful in ridiculing a "flyover state"?  Yes, what will be seen as a clever wit, a getting back at the rubes, is likely to garner him a few more Twitter followers.  But make no mistake he is ridiculing residents of South Dakota. 

My mother always taught me that "two wrongs don't make a right." And I don't think that Twitterverse kudos are a sufficient reward for over-riding that principle--especially not in these extremely politically polarized times. 

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