In Plato's Republic, one of the definitions of justice is "to do well to friends and to harm enemies." Robert Stacy McCain's lengthy rebuke to yours truly was an attempt to do right by his friend, Michelle Malkin. It was also, I think, a friendly warning to a budding conservative writer not to mess with Malkin, a woman of considerable and well deserved fame. Robert asked me, rhetorically, if I want to go to war with the Divine Ms. M. I would be crazy to seek out such conflict, a point Robert made in a tweet alerting me to the coming smackdown. Let's go to the tale of the tape: @BillZeiser, 1010 followers on Twitter. @RSMcCain, 81 thousand followers. @MichelleMalkin, 692 thousand followers and counting! Look upon my tweets, ye Mighty, and despair!
Indeed, I want no part of a feud with one, make that two, of the most respected writers on the conservative blogosphere. There is a reason why M&M are both well known and I am a graduate student toiling away in obscurity in Palookaville. Perhaps it was, as McCain says, "foolish impropriety" to "insult" Malkin, an error for which I will pay by being reduced to a "smoldering crater marking the spot where [I was] standing when [I] decided to insult The Boss."
McCain wrote on his own blog that I had "expressed remorse" for my affront via Twitter. I would gladly express remorse, if I had anything to express remorse for. I do not. I did express hopes that Malkin would take my post in the spirit with which it was intended. A reader who only saw McCain's rebuke would think that I had acted out of supreme disrespect. Perhaps I insulted Malkin's family or poured sugar in her gas tank. Whatever I did, it was so rotten that "it would be unseemly for [McCain] to let this insult to her pass unnoticed." I was a bad news bear, and I needed to be put down.
My great crime was to make a minor criticism regarding a minor tactical point. I did not act with any disrespect at all, nor did I, a "lowly soldier in the ranks," "undermine the intangible prestige that is the basis of the commander's authority," thereby spreading demoralization throughout the conservative all volunteer army. Though if that is the metaphor we are going with, I must insist that I get to be one of those special operator types who wears a beard and sunglasses and blends in with the locals.
"One may disagree without being disrespectful..." So claimed McCain in his piece. The opening words of my own offending piece? "I am a big fan of blogger Michelle Malkin. She mastered the incisive internet takedown years before anyone else and remains one of the best in the game. But today she got it wrong in her response to an offensive tweet from comedian Stephen Colbert. Well, partially wrong." Those words could be a sidebar on the Wikipedia entry for "respectful disagreement."
Malkin, being "The Boss," was unaware of this little worker ant's mild criticism until McCain pointed it out to her on Twitter. Her response was that I should read her own piece on the Colbert issue. It was at once biting, intelligent, and hilarious. The sort of piece that made Michelle Malkin the rockstar that she is. The part that Malkin likely wanted me to see?
I'm not surprised at many on the right who tripped over themselves to side with the entertainment industry Cool People -- or "coolists," as Greg Gutfeld brilliantly captures them in his new book, "Not Cool." In elite circles, it is uncool to say you think Stephen Colbert is unfunny. The suck-ups go along with Colbert's painfully inane Ching-Chong Ding-Dong schtick because they want to show they "get" Cool Colbert's "satire."
Wake up. These smug liberal elites are not your allies in the fight against political correctness run amok. Colbert and company marginalize conservatism while laughing all the way to the bank. Why would conservatives enable them? Gutfeld explains: "Pick a political, cultural or moral universe, and in each one it's the cool who seek to punish, mock or thwart the uncool. They do this freely and without much resistance, for exacting cool revenge is so common that the uncool let it happen without a fight -- a sort of cultural Stockholm syndrome."
That is a good point. It doesn't apply to me, however. In my own piece, I argued that what Colbert said was offensive and should be ridiculed. Or, to answer McCain's rhetorical question, no I do not want to go to war with Michelle Malkin over "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong." I merely wondered out loud if the way in which Malkin decided to wage that battle was the most beneficial for the conservative movement on the whole.
McCain suggested in his piece and in comments he posted below it that I sought to defame Malkin in order to aggrandize myself, or that I was playing the "concern troll;" pretending to be a fan of hers in order to give myself cover for mischief making. To address the claim of self aggrandizement, no one contributes to a blog because they are without ego. There is an impulse to share your ideas on the biggest stage possible. I would not have written what I wrote if I didn't think it would become a topic of discussion. That does not mean that my disagreement with Malkin wasn't genuine or that I didn't mean what I said. And as to being branded a "concern troll," well, that's just not the case either. And I would never accuse Mr. McCain of being that other scourge of the internet, the "white knight." He was attempting to dispense heartfelt advice, and to stand up for his friend. I respect that and would never question his motives.
I think, had Malkin read my piece, she would have understood the spirit in which it was written. She may "keep score," as McCain has advised me, but I did nothing worthy of her ire. I understand that not everyone will agree with the point I made in my piece. That's fine. But no insult to Malkin was intended or could be inferred from a reading of what I wrote. I have alluded to Plato, Shelley, and Galileo. I now add that other fount of wisdom, professional wrestling. McCain has made me out to be the "heel." The bad guy who is so bad, people love to hate him. That is not me. But for showbiz purposes, I'll play along. Maybe someday I'll have 800 thousand twitter followers.