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In the wee hours of the morning of March 9, 1892, the three owners of the People’s Grocery Store, a market catering to the black community of Memphis, TN, were removed by a mob from the city’s jail, carried to a field outside of town, and “shot to pieces” by the mob.  The three men, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Wil Stewart, were members of Memphis’s vibrant black bourgeoisie, and their store unfortunately happened to compete with a white owned business across the street.  Their white competitor had invaded the People’s Grocery Store’s property with a white gang a few days earlier and the owners had defended their business with guns.  Three white men were wounded, and the black business owners were caught up in the police raids that swept through the city’s black community.

The murders of Moss, McDowell, and Stewart inspired one of their friends, muckraking journalist and editor Ida B. Wells, to expose the lynching of African Americans in the Jim Crow South, which reportedly reached nearly 5,000 deaths between 1882 and 1950. On May 21, 1892, Wells published in Free Speech, the Memphis paper she owned and edited, an editorial documenting the eight lynchings that had occurred since her previous issue.  Join me below the fold for a quote from that editorial, and a broader historical discussion of lynching in America.

Eight Negroes lynched since last issue… one at Little Rock, Ark., last Saturday morning where the citizens broke (?) into the penitentiary and got their man; three near Anniston, Ala., one near New Orleans; and three at Clarksville, Ga., the last three for killing a white man, and five on the same old racket – the new alarm about raping white women.  The same programme of hanging, then shooting bullets into the lifeless bodies was carried out to the letter.  Nobody in this section believes the old threadbare lie that Negro men assault white women.  If Southern white men are not careful, they will over-reach themselves and public sentiment will have a reaction; a conclusion will then be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women. (Cited in Jacqueline Jones Royster, editor, Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900 (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997), p. 1.)
Wells left on a speaking tour to Philadelphia and New York the same day her editorial appeared, and it turned out she would not return to Memphis for another thirty years.  In the aftermath of her editorial, the offices of Free Speech were broken into and destroyed, the paper’s co-owner had had to flee for his life, and a death threat had been issued against her.  Instead, she nationalized, in fact internationalized, her campaign to document the lynchings of African Americans.  Over the next eight years she would publish three critical pamphlets (Southern Horrors, A Red Record, and Mob Rule in New Orleans) in which she documented every lynching in the south in that period and she presented a compelling intellectual argument refuting the the defenders of lynching as a necessary if unsavory practice.  On two tours of London in the late 1890s, she helped establish the influential British Anti-Lynching Society, and in the United States she participated in the founding of both the National Association of Colored Women and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In her Introduction to the edited reprint of Wells’s pamphlets, Royster offers a history of lynching to explain why so many African Americans were lynched in this period.  The Oxford English Dictionary records the first literary use of the term “lynching” in 1817, though there are possible earlier references in Ireland in the 1600s and in America in the 1700s.  One possible origin traces it back to Judge Charles Lynch, a Virginia Justice of the Peace during the American Revolution who imprisoned loyalists on no other authority than his own word.  Lynch’s name, then, “came to be associated with any acts of punishment not sanctioned by law, including whipping, tarring and feathering, and other acts of humiliation and degradation.  As time passed, though, lynch law came to refer mainly to unlawful sentences of death.”  Royster notes that the OED also suggests “lynching” could have originated in Lynche’s Creek in South Carolina, a meeting place for Revolutionary era Regulators, the populist movement that carried out guerrilla attacks against suspected loyalists.  As Royster puts it, the Regulators attacked “enemies of local efforts to establish and maintain power structures.  The Regulators circumvented the law by attacking people who could be perceived as vying with them for economic and political power and control” (Royster, Southern Horrors, pp. 8-9).

This last point provides a critical element of the basic definition of lynching – the use of mob violence to restore or sustain the local organization of power.  It is worth pointing out that the earliest instances of lynching had nothing to do with attacks by whites on African Americans; in fact, Royster points out that during slavery extrajudicial attacks on blacks were exceedingly rare.  Most blacks in the United States were someone’s property and, as she says, “mob violence against slaves would have transferred the power of life and death from the hands of planters to the hands of the mob, whose numbers were quite likely to include non-elite whites.  Such a transfer of power would have loosened the systems of control, the general stronghold of the landed aristocracy over both economic and political life” (Royster, p. 10).

The lynching of African Americans only became an important phenomenon in the South after the end of Reconstruction, when the white power structure confronted the problem of how to disenfranchise the recently empowered African American minority.  Mob violence was an effective means not only of maintaining a clear line of separation between whites and blacks (as Dubois put it in The Souls of Black Folk, “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line”), but also of demonstrating to blacks exactly what they risked by attempting to rise out of the social station the white elite had defined for them.  That is, lynching was used to sustain the local organization of power.  (See, for example, the documentation of lynching and other atrocities against black Americans collected in the American Black Holocaust Museum, whose founder had survived a Klan lynching in Indiana in the 1920s.)

During the Jim Crow era, Royster cites statistics that over 80% of lynching victims were black, and in the first decade of the twentieth century that proportion exceeded 90%.  As we have seen, however, lynching itself as a named social practice long antedated its appropriation by white southerners in the postbellum era – dating back at least to the Revolutionary War itself, and perhaps even farther – and it has never been exclusively used by whites against blacks.  A look at lynching in popular culture can illustrate the point.

Perhaps the earliest lynching scene in American literature is in Huckleberry Finn, when the folk in an Arkansas town visited by Huck and Jim organize a lynch mob against Colonel Sherburn, the local aristocrat who had just murdered the town drunk in broad daylight on a city street.  Sherburn confronts the crowd, shotgun in hand, and calls them out for cowardice.  In his speech, we see not only Twain’s critique of the Southern aristocracy, but also an example of how lynching could actually work in practice:

“Why don't your juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark -- and it's just what they WOULD do.

"So they always acquit; and then a MAN goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back and lynches the rascal (Chapter 22).”

The problem with the lynch mob confronting him, Sherburn insulted, was the absence of a real man to lead it.  Implicitly threatening to kill one member of the mob, he succeeded in causing the whole crowd to melt away.

Twain established a clear trope in American literature, one that gets repeated over and over again.  The cowardly mob, egged on by its hysteria and perhaps a single leader or two, seizes a prisoner (in Huckleberry Finn, Sherburn was guilty but in later iterations the prisoner is nearly always innocent) and threatens to kill him.  In most cases, a single armed individual confronts the mob and forces it to back down.  See for example the 1956 B noir Western “Rebel in Town” (starring John Payne).  After the innocent Gray Mason has been jailed by Sheriff John for a murder Gray’s treacherous brother Wesley had actually committed,

the rabble-rousers break into the jail and pull Gray from his cell. Marching into the jailhouse, John orders the men to let him hang Gray. At that moment, the Masons ride into town, rifles drawn, and Bedloe tells Gray to come to them. When John refuses to release Gray, Bedloe warns that he will open fire on the crowd.
Bedloe’s threat leads to Gray’s release, eventually Wesley is discovered, and the movie ends with justice having been served.

“Rebel in Town” drew off a tradition in movie Westerns that had reached its height with William A. Wellman’s 1943 “Ox-Bow Incident” (starring Henry Fonda).  In this brutal, dark film a lynch mob in a Western town chases down, tries, and executes three men for a murder that had been rumored around town – over the loud and vocal objections of several members of the lynch party itself.  Only after the men have been killed do the lynchers discover the supposed victim of murder had only been wounded and the perpetrators of that crime had already been placed under legal arrest.  The homeowner wrongfully murdered by the lynch mob was given the opportunity to write a last letter to his wife.  His words are a stinging indictment of mob rule:

My Dear Wife.
Mr. Davies will tell you what's happening here tonight. He's a good man, and he's done everything he can for me. I suppose there's some other good men here, too, only they don't seem to realize what they're doing. They're the ones I feel sorry for, 'cause it'll be over for me in a little while, but they'll have to go on rememberin' for the rest of their lives. A man just naturally can't take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin' everybody in the world, 'cause then he's just not breakin' one law, but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It's everything people ever have found out about justice and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody's conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that's all I've got to say except - kiss the babies for me and God bless you.
Your husband, Donald.
“The Ox-Bow Incident” deviates from the trope in that the heroic individual is unable to save the innocent prisoners, but otherwise it is true to form.  One of the victims in this lynching is Juan Martinez (played by Anthony Quinn), a Mexican cowboy who is also accused (falsely) of gambling and murder.  In reality, many lynch victims in the West were latino, Native American or Asian, as documented by Ken Gonzales-Day in his photographic essay Lynching in the West, 1850-1935. This reality, however, was turned on its head in an early episode of “Cisco Kid,” the Western television series that aired from 1950-1954.  In “The Lynching Story” a band of white criminals murder a white mine owner and frame his white future son-in-law for the crime. They then break the framed man out of jail and ride him out into the desert where they plan to hang him; their plans, however, are foiled by the timely action of the Mexicans Cisco and Pancho who just happen to be in town that day and overhear the lynching plans of the criminals.  

This trope, of the courageous individual foiling the lynching of an innocent man, reaches its highest expression in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout Finch, standing at her father’s side as he faces down a mob prepared to murder the innocent prisoner Tom Robinson, recognizes one member of the crowd and begins speaking to him of his son, her schoolfriend.  The man is embarrassed by the human contact and calls off the mob.

In the large picture, of course, the novel treats the legal lynching of Robinson, falsely accused of a rape the girl’s father had in fact committed.  Despite his best efforts, Atticus Finch is unable to prevent Robinson’s conviction and death sentence by the racist court and jury.

Now, I’ve been away for a while and I have no idea how the kerfuffle over Ted Rall’s supposedly “racist” depiction of Barack Obama was resolved.  What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.  I make no apology for having made that statement at the time, nor do I intend to ever apologize for having made that statement.  It is historically accurate, and a perfectly acceptable use of the term.

The “reality-based community” should be broad enough and flexible enough to allow for valid ideological dissent.

Originally posted to litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:56 AM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 7-)

    The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

    by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:56:10 AM PST

  •  litho, u know we're on the same "team" on many... (13+ / 0-)

    ...issues, but not on this one.

    The schtick of trying to outdo others in over-the-top attacks on Obama has become a courage test and even a purity test in some radical circles.

    I just had an almost-ugly back-n-forth with an ACLU veteran from Nevada who placed Obama tied for 3rd in his "Worst Presidents in the last 100 years" list. When I called him out on it, he backtracked that he was talking "only about foreign policy" (which wasn't mentioned in his original post, and which NSA domestic spying was still somehow a part of) - a backtrack position which can be easily called out as totally ridiculous as well. Unless you are a right-wing nutjob, of course.

    Speaking of which: what those over-the-top radicals who know no bounds in their pursuit of "free speech" in slandering Obama don't notice, is that they tend to be middle-aged or older white men (Rall is, and so was that Nevada chap). Which, not coincidentally, is the precise constituency where the very same practice is the #1 national sport, albeit from the other political end.

    So IMHO what Rall got after his "funny nose" cartoon was a healthy immune reaction by site community, rather than "lynching".

    That aside, I think you can do better, than leverage a lengthy factual diary about the lynching of African-Americans to make a debatable point about some meta discussion of the limits of free speech on this site.

    Many would consider trotting out the history of lynching to defend that "funny nose" as.... well, neither funny nor tasteful.

    Nuff said. Happy winter vacation!

    •  We might not be as far apart on this one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, bronte17

      as you think.  My initial comment, the one that got troll-rated into oblivion, began by saying that I disagreed with Rall's critique of Obama, which I criticized as simplistic, but that I also disagreed with the attacks on Rall as racist.

      I think the evidence is clear that Rall's critique is political, of the ultra-left variety, and not at all racial.  The hysterical response to him was clearly an attempt to impose orthodoxy, and that same hysteria can be observed in the dozens of comments my initial comment received.

      One commenter asked ironically if I even knew what lynching means.  This diary is my response.

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:00:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree again. (12+ / 0-)

        Both w.r.t. the choice to do a diary that's structured this way (again, a very heavy dose of history just to make a meta point on a horse that most of the site would like to see buried properly by now?)

        And disagree w.r.t. the "non-racial" nature.

        I'm sorry, but to reiterate again I've seen white alter kaker lefties hyper-ventilate against Obama using ridiculous and even dangerous terminology and imagery, way too often to excuse it as vanilla radicalism rhetoric.

        I'd advise them to err on the side of caution on this one. Not that they seem to be listening.

        •  As I said in the diary, I've been away (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht

          for a while, and I don't know what discussions have happened on site.  I disagree with you on the racial nature of the cartoon, and we will have to agree to disagree on that.

          I structured the diary the way I did because I felt a need to explain to the community why I believe lynching is the right term to describe the reaction to Rall.  I don't ask you to agree with me, but I do ask you to read and assess the evidence for why I believe that.

          Despite ugly accusations against me (see below), I think there is ample reason to use the word lynching to describe the irrational violent behavior of a mob.  And I do think that mobs occasionally form on the internet, and their power at times becomes irresistible.

          The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

          by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:16:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Daily Kos needs room for us to discuss metaphor (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            litho

            and meaning, without it exploding into a pie-fight full of anger and accusations.

            You have already paid a very high price for one word people disputed: you got 48 HRs on three comments. When your first comment was sledgehammered underground, you persisted in reasoned debate, while being attacked from all sides. Your first response to the onslaught was one word, "Seriously." Even that got 4HRs.

            What is so offensive about "Seriously", that your one word of disagreement had to be hidden from view?

            So feelings run high on this issue, ideas get all conflated together, and this diary could easily urn into another pie-fight. Which, when you're working so hard, and so calmly, to engage in a discussion about freedom of speech, and allowable meaning, is a shame for Daily Kos.

            If you used the word "lynching" as you did in the comment that started this brouhaha, in a face-to-face conversation, you might have been called on it - but it could at least have been discussed in a civil manner. Instead, you said what you thought, all hell broke loose, and it turned into your own on-line . . . well, clearly I can't say that word.

            And fair enough. I get your point, litho. Anyone can, who has read what you wrote carefully, and seen that you're not trying to spread any hate or ignorance here, just to explain your meaning and reasons. But since it aggravates some kossacks so much, and since English is such a vast, rich language, let's find another expression, which conveys the same furious attacking, with less racial overtones.

            So that's a great question for the people who say you can't use "lynching" as you did: What word conveys the same amped up rage, the same mob tyranny, without minimizing our ugly history of Southern racism? What word has all the force of "lynching", without drawing on that particular ugly well of hate and hurt?

            Because if there isn't one - then "lynching", for all the hyperbole, is probably the word that many writers would use, to convey what you first meant.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:59:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Nice to see you know some black history (23+ / 0-)

    but to use it to somehow imply that Ted Rall was lynched  - and your "supposedly" in quotes  makes me wonder why you want to dredge up meta.
    We already discussed on here how may of us viewed Rall's cartooning - and whether you agree or not - Kos spoke on it.

    turn it over.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 10:49:26 AM PST

    •  Very glad I read all the way to the end before rec (11+ / 0-)

      As at first this article looked like it was all about the history behind lynching...

      And I was all for the informative post...

      But then it ends with the Rall note and I realized the author was just trying to play us all against ourselves.

      Rall's cartoons speak for themselves. There was no 'mob acting extra-judicially - what he lost was a popularity contest. The community here came to a general view that his opinions are not in line with progressive politics, and invited him to the door.

      He can easily make a career with the exact same comic strips, without changing a single word or picture in them, on redstate.com

      OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

      by Jyotai on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 10:55:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes - but really am saddened that (17+ / 0-)

        someone would manipulate one of the ugliest periods of our history to try to find a way to justify a racist depiction in a cartoon.

        "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:04:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're changing the subject, or missing the point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho

          This diary is not in any way a "way to justify a racist depiction in a cartoon." It may feel like that to you, because you still have some of the whole ugly pie-fight stuck in your craw. Fair enough - a lot of bile went down, and a lot of crassness.

          But litho did spell out, in conclusion:

          Now, I’ve been away for a while and I have no idea how the kerfuffle over Ted Rall’s supposedly “racist” depiction of Barack Obama was resolved.  What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.
          So his whole argument here is about allowable use of metaphor in argument, not a justification of racist cartoons. That case has been sorted, and it's not what litho's addressing.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:37:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, Brecht, it's not. (16+ / 0-)

            It's largely about litho's insistence that the only reason for so many here to find his cartoons upsetting is that they criticized the president.  Which is a lot like saying we refused to dine on dog shit because it wasn't cooked to our liking.  And pardon my phrasing, but there it is.

            So the whole introduction of such a high intensity word to that discussion by litho was based on false premises anyway.  And he threw that word out -- deliberately or not (though I suspect the former) -- into what was already a heated discussion about race.  More importantly, what had become an argument against PoC and allies saying their interpretation of what was and was not racist was wrong.  Now ain't that some dog shit?

            I quote, and far from the first time, my mother: there are none so blind as those who just won't listen.

            I saw the Berlin Wall fall; And I saw Mandela walk free; I saw a dream whose time has come Change my history
            -- Johnny Clegg

            by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:37:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No: the argument has moved on from litho's first (0+ / 0-)

              point. Yes, I think in his "lynching" comment, litho was making the point you refute here. But in this diary, he's not justifying Rall, or claiming his Obama isn't racist. He probably still believes that, but he's not saying it. He's saying that "lynching" is allowable metaphor for what happened to Rall.

              Meteor Blades has spotted the weakest link in litho's case: his complaint of a "mob which attacks a person under false pretenses". I think there was some of this, in that people were coming into Rall's diaries (long before his simian Obama became the sticking point), hunting for sins to accuse him of. But if litho is saying that the complaints about Rall's Obama were lies to manufacture outrage, then he has indeed missed the point. Since the mob was there weeks before, I took litho as referring to the whole Rall pie-fight, not just the end of it.

              Litho tried to make this diary about the word "lynching". He didn't dwell on the Obama caricature, and specifically put that at arm's length:

              Now, I’ve been away for a while and I have no idea how the kerfuffle over Ted Rall’s supposedly “racist” depiction of Barack Obama was resolved.  

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:08:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Look at what he said: (8+ / 0-)
                What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.
                 Of course it's what he's saying.

                As for people going into Rall's diaries looking for things to object to...  Seriously?  You're doing the same thing litho is.  Attributing people's genuine dislike of Rall's work to something else.  A bunch of people here fucking hated his stuff.  Nothing to do with being out to get him, as you imply.  His stuff is -- speaking of which -- full of overly stretched metaphors and comparisons... and not terribly good.  Why would anyone need to look for something to attack him for?  How about really bad political cartoons?  Not funny, not to the point, not useful.  At least in the eyes of some of us.  Many of us, in fact.

                Jesus -- is that how you function?  

                No?  

                Then why do you and litho persist in insisting it's how those of us who don't fall into lock step with you think?

                As for this endless dissection of the term "lynching" -- there's no way to end up on the proper side of justice or history.  (No, I'm not going to offer substitutes for it.  I can think of several.  Look at a thesaurus if you can't.)  It was an offensive application of the term.  It was a shock to the system then, it's just shoving our faces into the mud now.

                I saw the Berlin Wall fall; And I saw Mandela walk free; I saw a dream whose time has come Change my history
                -- Johnny Clegg

                by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:48:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Then why do you and litho persist in insisting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Yasuragi

                  it's how those of us who don't fall into lock step with you think?"

                  That's a bit harsh. I'm not saying everyone who disagrees with Ted Rall thinks the same, and I've never insisted people "fall into lock step" with me. I put my ideas out there as clearly and effectively as I can, and see how they weather fair debate. Which is why I recced you (didn't agree with your whole comment, but respected the argument), and Meteor, Denise, Assaf and Bill W, in this diary.

                  You say:

                  A bunch of people here fucking hated his stuff.  Nothing to do with being out to get him, as you imply.
                  The trouble with pie-fights is, that first sentence always bleeds a bit into the second, once the crowds come.

                  There were people who hated his stuff, so they didn't even read his diaries (Which was kos's first advice on Ted Rall: he didn't understand why people who disliked a kossack's diaries didn't just ignore them); there were people who hated Rall's stuff, so they called him out a few times for flaws in logic and explanation (e.g. in his ACA diaries), then left; and there were a few people who ran into every Ted Rall diary they saw, hungry and armed with pies.

                  You already know this, Yasuragi. Of course I'm not saying that everyone who criticized Ted Rall showed bad faith; but you can't deny there were some. This shit-stirring happens to many kossacks who regularly hit the rec list with contentious diaries: this year, Troubadour, Reggid, Ray Pensador and Ted Rall have all seen some of it.

                  As I've already said, I feel litho had a right to try to explain what he originally meant. Now that he's done so at diary length, it's clear that kossacks find "lynching" more inflammatory than effective. So I declare this horse dead.

                  I'm not sure why you say things like "Jesus -- is that how you function?", when you know it's not.

                  I had strong disagreements with jshooper, and I was rude and unclear in expressing them at first - so I put many comments into explaining precisely what I meant. Then I apologized for the offense in his second diary. I went on to raise several substantial points about racism in further diaries - and he didn't answer a single one of them. In the end, I was convinced he was stirring-shit and doing Daily Kos no good. Though I read every comment in his last two diaries, I added none, because I had tried many times, and found no substantial or good-faith debate there. And going there just to attack him would have merely contributed to the problem.

                  I know you're just caught up in the heat of argument: when you're calm and thoughtful, you do know I'm better than your last comment implied. No worries, it's essential that we be able to disagree and keep talking. But right now I'm out of here, and wish you well, Yasu.  

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 02:33:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The question... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poco, Brecht
                    Is that how you function?
                    I said, in effect, since it's not how you function, then why accuse "us" of doing it.  Meaning litho's reference to looking for reasons to agitate against certain posters here.

                    That's not an accusation against you --  of course I know you're not like that -- except to say you're defending litho when he's accusing others of doing it.  You know I know (that you know that I know that...) you don't do that.

                    I've defended you in difficult circumstances.  I'd think it would be clear to you that I wouldn't have posed that accusation against you.

                    Look: we're friends with very different views (probably, actually, not so different at the core) and, sometimes, different approaches.  All I can say is have a little faith in me, rather than assuming I'm insulting you.

                    I saw the Berlin Wall fall; And I saw Mandela walk free; I saw a dream whose time has come Change my history
                    -- Johnny Clegg

                    by Yasuragi on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 03:57:18 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  If it was not manipulation... (13+ / 0-)

            Then there was ZERO need to mention Rall...

            The article basically reads like this:

            Here is the horrible injustice
            Here is how it started - not with black people
            Here is how it involved black people
            Here is how it was really white people manipulating other white people
            Here is how it actually involved a lot of not black people
            Here is how a black writer recorded so much of it.

            Oh and, gee, I have no idea, but whatever happened to that white guy you all black folks done crucified on the cross a month back?

            - Yeah...

            NO.

            OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

            by Jyotai on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:02:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Dictionaries are the arbiters of meaning (7+ / 0-)

            Not you, not me.

            Try checking any authoritative dictionary. Not a single one will ascribe the meaning to the word "lynching" that litho ascribes:

            What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.
            No its not.
            •  Wiki supports litho's definition (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              River Rover

              Furthermore, if you were familiar with litho at all, you would know that bigotry and racism are NOT remotely components of litho's character.

              Definition of lynching from Wikipedia:

              Lynching is murder by mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a specific sector of a population. It is related to other means of social control such as charivari, Skimmington, riding the rail, and tarring and feathering, but with a drift toward the public spectacle.[1][2] Lynchings have been more frequent in times of social and economic tension, and have often been a mean for a dominant group to suppress challengers. However, it has also resulted from long-held prejudices and practices of discrimination that have conditioned societies to accept this type of violence as normal practices of popular justice. Though racial oppression and the frontier mentality in the United State have given lynching its current familiar face, execution by mob justice is not exclusive to North America, but it is also found around the world as vigilantes act to punish people behaving outside of commonly acceptable boundaries. Indeed, instances of it can be found in societies long antedating European settlement of North America.


              One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

              by bronte17 on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 04:42:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  litho has been here a long time Denise (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, River Rover

          and never displayed a racist bone in his body of work here.

          This was actually a decently written diary with historical reference, but some words and the weight they carry are just too rancid to be parleyed around. Especially within the confines of the cultural atmosphere where said rancidity was viciously partaken and is still ongoing in many respects.

          Long way of saying that litho is sensitive and culturally aware. And if he received 48 HRs on one comment and then a pile-on of HRs on other comments... I can guarantee it wasn't because he is an obnoxious bigoted flaming racist asshole. He is the exact opposite. But, he's attempting to make an academic argument that got flamed all to hell.

          And litho said that he hasn't been around, so he probably isn't even aware that Rall ratcheted up the rhetoric against DailyKos (and the thought police).


          One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

          by bronte17 on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 04:35:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Denise, you were one of the people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      who hide-rated my comment, the fifth one to pile on a movement raptavio had started. You also made comments questioning whether I understood lynching and demanding an apology for my use of the term.

      This diary, in very real ways, is a reply to you.

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:06:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't appreciate your "reply" (15+ / 0-)

        not using black bodies swinging in the southern breeze to somehow brand black folks and white folks and other folks here who all objected to Rall's image -

        spare me your concern.

        I didn't donut this - but you set it up in such a way that most folks may not read to the end ...

        plus it is published by History for Kossaks which i respect.

        This meta - not much.

        "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:15:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I structured the diary in the way I did (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, bronte17

          to demonstrate the concern I do have for black bodies swinging in the southern breeze -- and whether you acknowledge that or not, I feel it as deeply in my soul as you do.  However, I also know that not all lynching victims were black, and not all of them suffered in the south.

          In the diary I offer a real history of lynching, I situate it within a social context of power relations, and I show how it has operated both in American history and in American popular consciousness.

          What you don't appreciate, I fear, is that I have an opinion different from yours, and that I am willing to argue it based on a socially-conscious and nuanced reading of history. You don't appreciate that valid readings of history can lead to conclusions different from your own.

          The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

          by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:23:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  we know the history of lynching (12+ / 0-)

            very well.

            We write about it in Black Kos very frequently.  Some of us have family members who were lynched.
            You defile their memory with this mierda .

            That has nada zilch to do with Ted Rall's simian cartoonery.

            Take it up with Markos - I'm outta here.

            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

            by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:31:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I made no suggestion you are unaware (0+ / 0-)

              of the history of lynching.  I do however reject your accusation that I am unaware of it.

              And your reaction here simply confirms my conclusion that you are unable to deal with people who intelligently disagree with you.

              The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

              by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:35:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  as I said to some other person here... (10+ / 0-)

                it's not only that you don't get it, you so don't get it, that you don't get what you don't get.

              •  I found this an admirable post, until the end. ANd (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poco, Onomastic, Brecht, Yasuragi

                I appreciate that you discuss lynching within a social context of power relations. What you seem to be distancing, for some reason, is the power of a word like "lynching," and the need to deal with that within a social and historical context.

                If you felt that people were being unfair to Rall, and criticizing him excessively, I assume you wanted to communicate that, to get people to understand that.  You're intelligent and articulate.  Surely you understand that when people are already in an intensely emotional discussion, and you want to change their views, you need to address their errors in a calm and dispassionate way.  There's really no gain in reaching for the most incendiary image you can possibly find and applying that to people who are already keenly upset by behavior they find both unethical and painfully galling.

                Say, for instance, you come into an argument with a bunch of Kossacks, and tell them, "Stop this criticism -- you're attacking this person unjustly, trying to force your will on him -- you're acting like a bunch of rapists."  This will not cause people to slow down, take a deep breath, and decide if they're overreacting.  It will cause people to be enraged.  And it doesn't matter if you then analyze the ways rape (as an expression of dominance and control, and a denial of the other person's agency) is in fact parallel to other abuses of power, even, perhaps, metaphorically, parallel to shouting someone down and denigrating them on the internet.  

                As long as we live in a social/historical context in which every single woman here has either been raped or knows women who have been raped, you cannot in fact make metaphical rape a useful tool for communicating in heated, painful situations.  You just can't.

                Nor can you really claim its use would be truthful.  Really, internet criticism, even if exaggerated and unfair, is not the same as rape.  Really, it's not.

                The parallel is clear.  As long as we live in a social/historical context in which there are people here who remember the relatives who died by lynching, and many more of us who remember specific lynchings (the year they happened, the reasons, the photos of hanging bodies, the sickening details) -- as long as those wounds are still that raw, YOU CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY COMMUNICATE  by telling people that what they're doing is (in some sense) the equivalent of a lynching.

                Nor can you really claim that what you're saying is true.  Even if Rall was unfairly criticized, even if his experience was emotionally painful, he's still out there drawing cartoons and publishing them, getting interviews, trashing Daily Kos, making increasingly racist comments as he goes along, and showing no signs of any metaphorical internet death or grave trauma.  Comparing his experience to lynching trivializes humiliation, terror, torture, and death at the hands of completely brutalized and unaccountable power.  I'm not saying it was your intention to trivialize what the victims experienced.  I'm sure that it wasn't.  But I think that's what led Denise to say that you defiled their memory.  And I expect she's not the only person here who feels that.

                You tried to communicate in a powerfully charged atmosphere by using the most powerfully incendiary imagery you could.  It failed.  I think that's what you're missing here.  It would always fail.  It violates basic laws of communication with human beings.  The answer is not to convince people that you understand lynching, so they should accept your criticism.  The answer is not to try to communicate in that particular way again.

                --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

                by Fiona West on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 03:17:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  the meaning of words isn't based on opinions (5+ / 0-)

            Thats what we have dictionaries for.

            •  And you may have noticed (0+ / 0-)

              I cited a dictionary in the diary.

              (Though I'm not entirely convinced that any dictionary, even the OED, can be accepted unquestioningly as an authority.)

              The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

              by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 03:34:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Denise Oliver Velez, Yasuragi

                but, you didn't mention the prescribed definition, just its historical context.

                If dictionaries can't be accepted as authoritative, then where does that leave us? For us all to create our own definition of words? Imagine the chaos.

                •  Words are defined through social use (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bronte17

                  and dictionaries simply record the observed behavior of a community of speakers.  It is the community, not the dictionary, that defines the word.

                  Infants do not learn the meaning of the word "blue" by reading a dictionary.  They learn it by observing how the speakers around them use the word.

                  As for what I cited from the OED, which if you do a little research is considered the single most authoritative English language dictionary, I gave the dictionary's conclusions on where the word came from (either Judge Lynch in Virginia or Lynche's Creek in South Carolina) and early examples of how the word was originally used.  For example, while today the word is generally used to refer to mob actions that kill someone, in its initial sense according to the OED it was used to describe any humiliating punitive action carried out by a mob.  Lynch mobs in the 18th and 19th century could very easily have resulted in tarring and feathering, for example, or other kinds of non-lethal torture.

                  Because meaning is negotiated between speakers, it is not only possible but quite common that the meanings of words change over time.  "Ill" doesn't mean the same thing to today's high school students as it did back in the 70s when I was in high school.  And, through a similar process, Latin eventually became French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian -- not to mention Catalan, Galician, Languedoc, and other lesser languages that have no nation-state to back them up.

                  Yep, language, life itself, can be pretty chaotic...

                  The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

                  by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 04:20:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  "a perfectly acceptable term" (13+ / 0-)
    What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.
    I would amend that to read, "lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which tortures and kills a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity."

    Last I heard, Ted Rall is still alive, so I don't think it's an apt metaphor at all.

    •  So we can't have metaphor, nor speak poetically? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho

      That's how writers convey strong meanings, and how we all do in conversation.

      "I'd kill for a margarita." Ohmigod, how can he say that, would he literally murder someone just to have a drink? No - that's why it's called a metaphor.

      Litho used "lynching" to make his point. And it worked, But it also made another point, which many here object to: they felt his metaphor trivialized the actual murder of thousands of blacks, because Ted Rall didn't even suffer on the same scale as those who were actually lynched.

      But people murder language all the time. If "lynching" is a metaphor too far, what word should litho have used to convey what he meant with the same force?

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:09:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if enough members of the community... (8+ / 0-)

        have repeatedly asked NOT TO USE one particular metaphor - why insist on doing it?

        •  I don't believe that litho plans to keep using the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho

          word "lynching" every week, just to get up people's noses. So he's not insisting or persisting - he's explaining himself clearly, once.

          When litho used the word "lynching", he was HRed into oblivion, and had dozens of people arguing with him alone. If you read that original thread, you may object to what he said - but he worked hard to have a fair discussion over different interpretations, and he never got it.

          Does litho have no right to be heard, to explain himself? He obviously put a lot of work into clarifying his views here.

          If people disagree with him, they don't need to HR his tip jar for disagreement. There's no hate in this diary, nothing so ugly it can't be stated. If people hate his use of the word "lynching", they can leave a comment saying so, and warning that they'll HR him if he throws it around loosely in future.

          But he deserves this chance to explain how he sees things, in detail, without just being jumped on for an honest attempt to communicate.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:24:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  if this is so... (6+ / 0-)
            I don't believe that litho plans to keep using the (0+ / 0-)

            word "lynching" every week, just to get up people's noses.
            posting this diary was an extremely ill-advised step.
            •  Apparently so. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kalmoth, litho, bronte17

              I can see an interesting discussion underlying this diary, about freedom of expression: when is metaphor effective in making its point, when is it inflammatory, what is allowable?

              And there's worthwhile history in this diary, as Ojibwa noted. But I'm not sure that litho got us from the history to a clear view of the metaphor debate, and I'm certain that most of his commenters aren't getting there.

              I still think everyone deserves their day in court, and I wish people weren't HRing a diary that, I believe, was not built in order simply to inflame.

              Nevertheless, litho has heard the prosecution.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:52:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Brecht, as he has so often do over the years (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, bronte17

              interprets me fairly and well.  I had a lot of people jump down my throat for expressing an opinion I felt -- still feel -- was valid and fair. The diary is an attempt to explain why I feel that way.

              Hrs, to my mind, are an attempt to censor an honest debate.

              The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

              by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 03:55:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  First, are we or are we not a community? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, litho

              If we claim to be a community, litho has been a steadfast positive contribution to this community for many long years.

              Secondly, through the inadvertent use of a word that many took in an entirely malicious fashion that litho's conscience did not compose ( i.e. litho doesn't think the ugly thoughts contained in the accusations), litho was viciously attacked by a number of members of the community via the negative mojo system and subjected to derogatory public humiliation.

              That is not healthy behavior for a community.

              This diary is an academic attempt to defend the right to choose non-conformity and engage in autonomous critique for those who have a broader depth of the world. litho's use of the word is historical and expansive across many cultures, while showing that applications of the word was to force conformity... one way or another.

              Finally, quite simply, it's hurtful to do this to one of the long-term thoughtful, engaging kossacks. And it's stupid to keep driving off the kossacks who expand the depths of our thinking and horizons.

              litho... let it roll off. Shit happens here... just roll with it and move on. Happy Holidays to you and yours, "Wishing You Peace and Good Fortune in the New Year" as Tom Udall said.


              One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

              by bronte17 on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 07:05:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you for the kind words (0+ / 0-)

                and I hope you have a great holiday too.

                The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

                by litho on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 04:34:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Good post, bronte17 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, Yasuragi

                Indeed, shit does happen.  I've been on the receiving end of that as well--I was accused of bigotry a while back not because I had actual bigoted views but because I chose wording that had multiple interpretations.  It sucked--I have fairly thick skin for giving and taking barbs, but I really do try to be conscious of my own biases and really resented being mischaracterized as a bigot.  

                The lessons I learned were twofold.  First, as you say, roll with it and move on.  I know that the individuals who interpreted my post as bigoted were caught up in the same polarizing conversation I was and likely wouldn't have interpreted the same words from me in the same way had the context been different.  

                Second, that context DID matter.  If it were a diary about how stupid Sarah Palin is or something else we all agree on, a similar comment from me might have received a handful of recs and not much else.  In a heated diary with several hundred comments of argument, the same comment becomes inflammatory.  To wade into that means to either choose your words a little more carefully or be prepared for some pushback.  Given what I have learned, I would consider it unwise to go into a heated comment thread about whether something is or isn't racist and then throw out a term like "lynching" and expect any good to come from it.  Regardless of other historical context you are able to dig up, I know I'm not alone in that when I hear "lynching", I think of only one thing--and it isn't pretty and it isn't a helpful term in any discussion that directly or tangentially involves race.  

                Litho has a lot more history and contribution here than I do and is well aware of these things.  When I first read this diary, it came off as an attempt to pick at a scab that was going to heal and fall off on its own anyway--hence my snarky comment yesterday.  This morning, I give it the benefit of the doubt that it's an attempt to have another chance to offer an alternative explanation for comments that upset a lot of people and to do so under calmer circumstances.  

                I didn't HR or reply to litho in that Rall diary and it probably really sucked to be on the receiving end of that pile-on, but I do disagree with the the reasoning in this diary.  I'm not at all a fan of the "word policing" that often happens on Daily Kos, but some words do stick out as obviously loaded and unproductive under certain circumstances.  "Lynching" is one of them.  As a an avid birdwatcher, I'd suggest that "mobbing" in the ornithological sense is a nearly-exact description of what happened to Rall from the perspective of his supporters.  

                Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

                by Mark Mywurtz on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 05:38:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  There are a few metaphors... (7+ / 0-)

        ...that I prefer to avoid.  "Lynching" is one, "rape" is another.  
        By the way, did you find it offensive when Clarence Thomas compared having Democrats saying mean things about him to being lynched?  I did.

  •  Is Ted Rall Dead? (24+ / 0-)

    Hanging from a tree?

    Balls cut off?

    Burnt to a crisp?

    I ask again: Is Ted Rall dead?

    Fuck no.  He's still out there in the big wide world saying whatever the hell he wants to and drawing whatever the hell he wants to.  He just can't draw the President in a simian manner HERE.

    And the process in which he was so informed of that tiny limitation on his right to say whatever the fuck he wants is not, therefore, a lynching.  The targets of lynching end up DEAD.  That was always the intent, and that has historically been the effect.  To pretend that it is to somehow just "change their behavior" as you have done.

    So the fact that you actually have the audacity and the nerve to not only bring that shit up again here, when NO, Ted Rall has not fucking been lynched here or anywhere else (he hasn't even been "silenced" despite all the whiny cries to the contrary) but to coopt the history of millions while doing so is absolutely over the top cooptation of a brutal history to twist its ends to your personal (white) political proclivities.  It is damned near supremacist, the absolute insistence that you get to use OUR history as Black people here to further YOUR cause to apologize for a racist against US.  How. Fucking. Dare. You.

    Ida B. Wells would likely slap your face for this absolutely offensive diary. Thank God she's not hear to read her history, her Godly work, so deliberately misused to minimize the voices of her own people.

  •  Informative post, but. (7+ / 0-)

    I learned things I did know, so I appreciated the first n-2 paragraphs.  But really???  Pushback on a blog is the same as lynching?  No.  Just no.

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    by Joy of Fishes on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:18:31 AM PST

  •  I almost hate... (14+ / 0-)

    ... Clarence Thomas; but if Ted Rall drew Thomas as a simian, I'd get in Rall's face and he'd whine and his minions would whine and the whining would be so cacophonous that the din would drown out the fact that Rall and his minions are nothing more than entitled apologists to their own knee jerk sense of entitled superiority.

    And anyone who brings it up is just subjecting them to another hi tech lynching.

    Heard it all before.

    Listen to The After Show & The Justice Department on Netroots Radio. Join us on The Porch Tue & Fri at Black Kos, all are welcome!

    by justiceputnam on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:38:10 AM PST

  •  You haven't posted even a comment in almost (12+ / 0-)

    a month and chose to reemerge with this set up.
    There is no comparison between the history of people of color being lynched and what happened to Mr. Rall. None.

    He is alive and well, free to do his cartooning as he sees fit. He can even post here, as long as he pays attention to the long history of racist caricatures and does not choose to indulge in the same.

    But you know all that.

    This is low ball shit stirring, a gimme gotcha of the worse kind - designed to inflame and harm from a lofty perch of supposed lefty intellectualism.

    HR'd and reported.

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 11:55:49 AM PST

    •  So if you're going to insist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, bronte17

      the focus is on Rall, you're going to continue to miss the point.

      The focus here is on how people attacked Rall, and how they went to attack everyone who disagreed with their interpretation of Rall.

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:17:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you refuse to accept that there was (7+ / 0-)

        an honest and deeply hurt response to his shit that had nothing to do with who likes what about Obama.

        Wake the fuck up before you fall off your high horse.

        I saw the Berlin Wall fall; And I saw Mandela walk free; I saw a dream whose time has come Change my history
        -- Johnny Clegg

        by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:48:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh? (6+ / 0-)

        There seems to be multiple points.

        First, your self assumed role as the "courageous individual foiling the lynching of an innocent man."

        Secondly, your repeated generalizing of a variety of responses to Rall's caricatures from across the ideological divide as a "mob."
        That is simplistic thinking at best.

        And underlying it all, your assumption that only you have the authority to define how the word "lynching" can be used and what constitutes a proper response to that usage.

        No. This post of yours in nothing more than flame bait thinly disguised in an intellectual veneer.

        You rode in on your white horse to play the pseudo heroic rescuer for Rall, weeks after anyone had wasted a thought on him.

        That leaves one to wonder, why?

        Why this, now? There is no good answer.

        Have a good evening.

        There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

        by Onomastic on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:30:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why now? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, bronte17

          Because I am a busy human being and didn't have time to compose the diary until now. But, yes, I was hurt and angry when my first contributions to the debate received the responses they did.

          I do believe the responses to Rall constitute mob behavior.  That is the whole nature of the dispute.  In particular, my personal experience of expressing counter opinions to the majority leave me feeling attacked en masse.

          This diary, however, has nothing to do with Rall, despite the mention of him in the diary and tags.  It has to do with whether counternarratives are permitted at daily kos, whether those who disagree with prevailing narratives have the right and the opportunity to post here, or whether we will be subjected to the ugly abuse and false accusations that you can find scattered throughout the comments to this diary.  No, I do not refer to you, but to several of the early commenters who have speculated darkly on my motives without bothering to read the actual words I wrote.

          I reject your suggestion that I believe only I have the authority to define lynching.  In fact, what is happening in this debate is that a large number of voices, yours included, seeks to deny the interpretation of lynching that to me makes sense.  Because I feel silenced and censored, I write a diary expressing my views.

          And because I write that diary, I run into a number of voices, such as your own, that seeks to further silence and censor me.

          I hold my beliefs strongly.  My diary makes a solid argument for why I believe the word lynching makes sense in the context I used it.

          The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

          by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 03:31:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fail. (9+ / 0-)
    Now, I’ve been away for a while and I have no idea how the kerfuffle over Ted Rall’s supposedly “racist” depiction of Barack Obama was resolved.  What I do know, however, is that lynching is a perfectly acceptable term in American culture to describe the actions of a mob which attacks a person under false pretenses in order to impose or sustain a particular ideological conformity.
  •  I never thought (10+ / 0-)

    I would see whitespainin' about lynching on Dkos. Poor Rall, however will he carry on...<snark>

    They also serve, who only stand and wait. ~ John Milton On His Blindness

    by vcmvo2 on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:07:55 PM PST

  •  "attacks a person under false pretenses"... (20+ / 0-)

    ...is the big problem with your penultimate paragraph. Ted Rall was NOT attacked under false pretenses and he wasn't lynched, not actually and not metaphorically.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:17:23 PM PST

    •  I was convinced by Seneca Doane's diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, bronte17

      and if Seneca was wrong, then I apologize for that.

      I don't really care about Ted Rall.  I never much liked his holier-than-thou ultra-leftism, and I especially didn't like the particular cartoon that set off the controversy.  I did, however, feel that the response to him was disproportional and overheated.

      I feel that way about the response to this diary as well.

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 03:58:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, for fuck's sake. (14+ / 0-)

    Ted Rall was not publicly castrated in toto and without benefit of anesthetic.  He was not beaten to a bloody pulp.  His bleeding body was not dragged through the streets to be spat and pissed upon.  He was not hanged from the neck, dying slowly, painfully.  He was not then tossed upon a pyre to burn while his grieving relatives were forced to watch, while people of another race who formed the dominant culture got drunk and celebrated.

    Ted Rall engaged in racism. Period.  But go ahead with the offensive, racist hyperbole defending someone who thinks he's a victim for being called in his behavior, which includes calling a Black woman a "house n------"; changing his portrayal of the first Black president to someone ape-like, complete with memes of thuggery and shiftlessness; and drawing some truly vomit-inducing cartoons mocking people with developmental disabilities.

    This is shameful, it has no place here, and I will HR each and every fucking use of this kind of bullshit false equivalency every time I see it.  What a load of absolute shit.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:25:18 PM PST

  •  HR'd (10+ / 0-)
    I won't justify my support for a new community driven rule of "don't draw African Americans like monkeys", with a healthy dose of "don't be that white guy telling African Americans what is and isn't racist" -- because really, the reasons are pretty self-evident.
    Wherein I decline to justify the obvious
  •  HR for using sorrowful history to make (9+ / 0-)

    a despicable point justifying a long-over issue which has already been deemed "untouchable" by a bunch of your allies who drove out a new poster for bringing it back up again and you were wrong in the first place as you're wrong now so you really need to delete this deceptive and horrific diary.

    I saw the Berlin Wall fall; And I saw Mandela walk free; I saw a dream whose time has come Change my history
    -- Johnny Clegg

    by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:43:25 PM PST

    •  Diary's not going anywhere (0+ / 0-)

      and because I've been away I have no idea what's been going on here in my absence.

      I don't run with a pack.

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 04:00:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Despicable. (7+ / 0-)

    Here's a handy guide for when it is acceptable to use 'lynching' as a modern-day metaphor:

    NEVER.
    Clear enough? HR'd.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 01:53:29 PM PST

  •  We use language to communicate (9+ / 0-)

    And, the effectiveness of the communication is based on a common understanding of the meaning of the precise words we use.

    If I said, "the sky is red" because imo, red means blue, and in your knowledge base "blue" means "blue", then we're not communicating effectively.

    Thats why we have dictionaries. Dictionaries serve as the arbiter of the meaning of words.

    Merriam-Webster provides only one definition for the word "lynching":

    lynch transitive verb ˈlinch\
    : to kill (someone) illegally as punishment for a crime
    :  to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

    Oxford also gives only one definition:

    verb
    [with object]
    (of a group of people) kill (someone) for an alleged offence without a legal trial, especially by hanging:
    her father had been lynched by whites
    Dictionary.com also has only one definition:
    lynch  [linch]  Show IPA
    verb (used with object)
    to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.
    So, I think you lose this argument. As individuals, we don't get to create our own definitions for words. If we did, communication would be impossible.
    •  You'll notice that all your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17

      definitions include the key features "mob action" (or "group of people") and "without legal authority (sanction) (trial)."  What none of your definitions even touch is the social function of lynching, though if you do even a little research you'll find that Royster's analysis cited in the diary, of sustaining local structures of power, is fairly widely accepted.

      What exactly is our argument?  That lynching is mob behavior was exactly my point...

      The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

      by litho on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 04:05:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    River Rover

    A diary about lynching that resurrects the Ted Rall pie fight 2 days before Christmas didn't make the Rec List or Community Spotlight????

    That's making me reconsider publishing the diary I've been working on titled "Reggid Diaries are Exactly like the Holocaust".

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 06:10:06 PM PST

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