I understand satire, hyperbole, sarcasm, and humor...most of the time. I also understand that the above things truly work when everyone is in on the joke - that they understand that Statement X, followed by Punchline Y is a joke and not some sort of factual truth. However, I fear that email forwards that are meant to go from Political Subscriber A to all his/her friends of similar ideology, for the sake of like-minded humor, might become misunderstood as factual truths by some people of similar ideology. In any case, a lot of the generalizations (attempts at political humor) in these emails are pretty lame, and this goes for everyone across the spectrum. I just tend to rip apart the ones from Bush's social conservatives - the soc. cons., err, the suck 'ums? because they've misrepresented all the conservatives with whom I have had intelligent (albeit sometimes oppositional) conversations.
I'm going to analyze this email forward called "23 Ways to Be a Good Liberal," with my own personal policies italicized. I believe I found this particular version of the email in the comments section of an article at You Decide 2008 (apologies, as I have misplaced the exact URL of the article).
23 ways to be a good liberal:
1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion.
If I were a despot, I'd use one of the rules found in a science fiction book about Neanderthals and humans coexisting: All bad guys must be sterilized, as well those who share half their genes (the convicts' parents and children).
Being pro-choice isn't about killing fetuses, and with all the interpretations (pejorative and sugarcoated) concerning this issue, let me say that I'll abstain from voting and let all women (and the pregnant dude on Oprah) decide this issue. I'm pro-Women-choosing-the-outcome. If only I were a despot...
2. You have to believe that businesses creates oppression and
governments create prosperity.
Bush's administration - a form of government - verges on oppression and destroyed the prosperity of the 1990s.
3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U. S. nuclear weapons
technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.
As long as law-abiding Americans remain law-abiding (and that the laws are worth abiding by), the Second Amendment is cool with me. Also, for every "U.S. nuclear weapons technology" there's either a "Nazi nuclear weapons technology" or a "Soviet nuclear weapons technology" or a novel nuclear weapons technology. Playing keep away might not be the best national defense policy.
4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.
I tend to fund my own art, thank you very much.
5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by documented cyclical changes in the
earth’s climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV’s.
Who cares about the cause - the effect is more important. If you're concerned about the future of humanity, learn to adapt and advance. (Read yesterday's rant.)
6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.
Gender roles in a hierarchal society are governed by the norms of that very same society and are a combination of the "natural" and the "artificial" (though all humans are a part of nature, but I digress); in more basic societies (hunting and gathering, for instance), biological/anatomical differences tend to have a greater say in determining which combination of gender roles is successful. Also, there is a good chance that homosexuality could be hard-wired before birth, though I have no expertise to elaborate further on this matter.
7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of Federal funding.
8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can’t teach fourth graders how to read is some how qualified to teach those same kids about sex education.
9. You have to believe that hunters don’t care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside San Francisco do.
Straw man, now with stereotypes!
10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.
11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make “The Passion of the Christ” for
financial gain only.
What are you looking at, sugar tits?
12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good
because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
The converse (or is that the inverse, or is that the opposite?) is true for most of the blogs affiliated with "stopping the ACLU."
13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
It all depends whose war those taxes fund, and I rarely use an ATM...so I wouldn't know.
14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas
Jefferson and Alexander Graham Bell.
All Americans should be important to American history, it just depends on the subject: Alexander Graham Bell and feminism? It's also interesting that the author of this blurb mentioned two women in a pejorative manner against two men.
15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.
Questions about yachting (extreme example, I know) to determine the intelligence of non-rich students is actually classist. Universities should make their racial quotas class-based or gender-based, much to the chagrin of the probable upper-middle-class white male author of the above sentence. (The ultra rich, as well as their reptilian humanoid peers, care not for the affairs of the middle and lower classes, by the way.)
16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and a very nice person.
Ad hominem. Haven't you heard? Nobody's normal, except Average Man!
17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried is because the right people haven’t been in charge.
Socialism tends to work in some smaller localities (where it is a cooperative democracy), but not in subcontinental empires (where it becomes a form of totalitarianism).
18. You have to believe Conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.
Plot hole; ad hominem. See cocaine addict.
19. You have to believe that parades displaying people in drag, transvestites and acts of bestiality should be constitutionally protected but manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
Bestiality parade? (Can't a reptilian humanoid party hardy once in a while?) Straw man.
20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding from the Chinese Government is somehow in
the best interest of the United States .
And the Saudis (and the hand-holding)?
21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast right wing conspiracy.
A forwarded email is a lame excuse for a conspiracy. Instead of a smoke-filled room, we have a dim bedroom with a computer! (The reptilian humanoids are not amused.)
22. You have to believe that it’s mandatory to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it’s not okay to say “Merry Christmas.”
Straw man. It's okay to do both. If saying/not saying "Merry Christmas" hurts a business, blame the marketplace and cultural climate, but who's taking your personal right to celebrate a holiday by its traditional name or by a non-traditional name?
23. You think that Barack Obama belonging to a black-only church whose minister preaches “unabashed afrocentrism”
is OK because he’s for “change”.