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April 17, 2006

Hunting Slugs

I know I'm not supposed to, but I pity Michelle Malkin. Really, I do. Punditry is a game of incentives, encouragement, luck. You write a hundred articles before striking paydirt with one. That zeitgeisty dispatch activates an eruption of applause and adulation, so you try to repeat it. Soon enough, you've got a niche, a style, a persona. The lucky ones, among whom I include myself, find their path opening towards responsible, serious commentary. The sort of articles that allow us to wake up, yawn, look in the mirror, and feel good about what we see. And then there are the unlucky ones, the Michelle Malkins, who achieve acceptance through hatred and venom, and find themselves groping down the darkest path to political success.

Right now, the dark-haired, lashy, Ann Coulter understudy is happily wrapped in one of her typical controversies: a crew of students at UC Santa Cruz, my alma mater, protested some military recruiters, and Malkin got hold of a press release with their personal contact information -- a poorly conceived inclusion on the students' part, but then, these are undergraduates, not trained media flacks. Rather than calling and speaking to them herself, which is what members of the press are supposed to use such releases for, Malkin published their personal information on her website, prompting her hordes of orcish mouth-breathers to brandish their pitchforks and inundate the unsuspecting students with death threats (some of which you can read here). When the students frantically called on Malkin to remove their numbers, she posted their contact information again.

The invaluable John Amato, who's got some video from the scene, gets it right. Malkin, he writes, "crosse[d] the line of decency..the death threats are emanating from her blog and she knows it. Malkin understands the nature of the fear and outrage she causes. Will she take responsibility when somebody gets hurt?"

"When somebody gets hurt." It's not just somebody, though. Malkin has already done grievous harm to an idea. I went to UC Santa Cruz. It's entirely possible I was friends with some of those Malkin has placed in danger. It's a school filled with young, idealistic kids determined to save the world, feeling their way through uncertain thickets of ideology and unfamiliar collections of ideas, and naive about the dangers of direct political action outside a university's protected confines. That, after all, is what college is about -- providing a protected space for young adults to experiment, learn, try out ideas and identities. If they made a mistake attaching their home numbers to a press release, it's understandable -- forgive them father, they know not what they do.

Malkin lays claim to no such ignorance. A skilled and experienced rhetorical warrior, she saw the pale, white flesh of their throats and lunged. The vicious always seek out the weak. Rather than forgive their poorly-written, too-revealing press release, she published their oversight, opening them to danger and harm. If any of these students are hurt by a crazed Malkinite, the blood will drip from her hands, the guilt will burden her shoulders. But forgive her just the same, for there is nought else she can do.

Malkin has created an identity of outrage, she trades in hate because she proved unable to achieve recognition for anything more elevated. It's a sorry fate for a pundit who, once upon a time, must have been an idealistic college student herself; learning, experimenting, seeking out an identity of her own. I wonder if her younger, better self ever once entertained the notion that she'd soon be a peddler of anger, successful in nothing but demagoguery and appeals to the reptilian brain? I wonder if she saw it foreshadowed in her own darker moments, if she feared it? Malkin may have hurt some idealistic young college students at Santa Cruz, and I loathe her for it. But I pity her, too, because somewhere along the way, she murdered her own.

Update: Here are some of the death threats the students are getting. They've really got to be read to be believed. Scary stuff.

April 17, 2006 | Permalink

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» Klein On Malkin from Riehl World View
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» Michelle Malkins short memory from THEOcracy
A little set-up: Webmonster Michelle Malkin is now being inundated with racist e-mails after reposting a press release with the names and phone numbers of some UC-Santa Cruz students protesting military recruiters on their campus. (Seeing as how colleg... [Read More]

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Ezra Klein has the goods on Michelle Malkin's latest hateful stun. "a crew of students at UC Santa Cruz, my alma mater, protested some military recruiters, and Malkin got hold of a press release with their personal contact information" and, of course... [Read More]

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When what goes around comes around to Michelle Malkin, the shit is going to hit the fan. Big time. Ezra: Right now, the dark-haired, lashy, Ann Coulter understudy is happily wrapped in one of her typical controversies: a crew of students at UC Santa Cr... [Read More]

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Comments

Malkin's site is deeply disturbing, a reflection of a personality (whether hers or her husbands, since we know that he writes a great deal of her stuff) that is angry, vengeful, and lashing out at any and everything that doesn't fit with their master story. And here's the saddest and sickets thing. We know from their treatment of right wing icons and fellow travellers that as soon as those people start to waver in their support of endless war, immigrant bashing, anti-education (anti student) rhetoric, gay bashing or whatever other hate Malkin and her husband are proposing as the action of the day these, too, will fall under the ban of "moonbats" and "traitors" fomenting "sedition." I'd check to see what Malkin has to say about the Generals asking for Rumsfeld's resignation but my stomach isn't that strong.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Apr 17, 2006 5:44:04 PM

That, after all, is what college is about -- providing a protected space for young adults to experiment, learn, try out ideas and identities.

Oh, how innocent a depiction Ezra has provided of these students. Just little butterflies fluttering from subject to subject, learning as they go, opening their minds, the little darlings. Here's the truth: All is fair in love, war, and politics. All adults involved in politics pull dirty tricks...Democrats and Republicans alike (Oh, please challenge me on this!).

UC Santa Cruz is a publicly supported university and is there for students who wish to take classes and head toward graduation. However, if these students wish to enter the rough and tumble world of adult politics by getting involved in the anti-war movement and run the military off, then they had better be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 17, 2006 6:01:22 PM

aimai,

Malkin links approvingly to this:
We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking.

So I'd guess that's what happens when members of the right wing begin to waver. I just love how she's got a monopoly on truth. Must come in handy.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 17, 2006 6:06:29 PM

The most disgusting aspect of the thing is her cowardly disclaimer that she doesn't 'condone death threats or foul language'. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. This is standard Malkin practice: she appeals to the sickest, vilest impulses of the public, then tries to distance herself from the sickos she encourages.

And I don't know any of the protestors, but I did go to UCSC (I think I graduated before Ezra was born), and I think Ezra has it exactly right.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 17, 2006 6:06:37 PM

Fred Jones explicitly endorses thuggish brutality against speech of which he disapproves. What a shocker.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 17, 2006 6:08:02 PM

Fred Jones explicitly endorses thuggish brutality against speech of which he disapproves.

Tom,
First explaining in my post that is is a dirty trick and then explaining that no one should be shocked is a far cry from "endorsing thuggish brutality". However, feel free to be just as big of a JACKASS as you wish.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 17, 2006 6:23:30 PM

Fred, go ahead and try to backpedal. I don't think your line about how "they had better be prepared to suffer the consequences" is really all that ambiguous.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 17, 2006 6:28:44 PM

That was great, Tom!
You're on your way, but there are other jackasses out there as well. If you want to be the jackass of your dreams, you will simply have to try harder!!

You can do it, man!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 17, 2006 6:41:15 PM

As always, notice how Fred refused to engage the substance of Hilton's interpretation, and instead called him a "jackass." Truly the level of our civic discourse has been elevated on this day.

And no more cussing each other out in this thread -- I spent some time on this post, and there's a reason I put it here rather than a playground bulletin board.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 17, 2006 6:47:14 PM

Hey Tom! Give Fred a break. He lashed on to a numnuts person for president in 2000. He did it even when many could see Bush was a total dufus. Now he sees the world tumbling down around him, and there is nothing the Fred Jones, Malkins, Coulters, Limbaughs and all the other similar poop-for-brains can do about it. There is something we can do about it though; enlist all means to bring an end to this bunch of morons.

Posted by: jimbo | Apr 17, 2006 6:48:12 PM

I have the perfect nickname for Malkin...

"Spin-Ninja."

Start using it, and maybe we can start something.

Posted by: Marasmus | Apr 17, 2006 6:49:47 PM

I've deleted this comment as it sought to provide Fred's e-mail address and open him to harassment. I will not attack Malkin for raising these students to public reprisal and then have a similar tactic used on my own site. You want to disagree, go for it. But this thread is where it stays. Sorry kharma, but to let this stand would be bad karma. --Ezra

Posted by: kharma | Apr 17, 2006 6:51:30 PM

Hmmm... wonder if these young, idealistic students might need a young, idealistic lawyer? Or, alternatively, an old, crotchety, and cynical one who might bring a tasty little tort action against Malkin.

Posted by: collin | Apr 17, 2006 6:51:44 PM

I think Fred's got some issues. I think he'd be a threatening caller. Can't you"feel"the escalation of his demeanor, with each post?

Posted by: Shag | Apr 17, 2006 6:58:38 PM

And no more cussing each other out in this thread -- I spent some time on this post, and there's a reason I put it here rather than a playground bulletin board.

Sorry, Ezra--didn't mean to start anything there. It's an excellent post, in case I didn't say that already.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 17, 2006 7:05:34 PM

Malkin was so sleazy during the 2004 election that she even got a rise from Chris Matthews, a pretty sleazy character in his own right. When she posited her theory (pulled from thin air or a darker place) that Kerry's wounds were self-inflected, Matthews went off on her. She was stunned and it was a funny moment.

Fred is classic. When Bush supporters hear anything approaching a threat, they start braying and crying like little babies. Big Fred just thinks death threats are part of living in the big old world, but I'd bet 100 bucks he's never had to deal with a death threat.

Posted by: Bluedog49 | Apr 17, 2006 7:05:38 PM

Malkin was so sleazy during the 2004 election that she even got a rise from Chris Matthews, a pretty sleazy character in his own right. When she posited her theory (pulled from thin air or a darker place) that Kerry's wounds were self-inflected, Matthews went off on her. She was stunned and it was a funny moment.

Fred is classic. When Bush supporters hear anything approaching a threat, they start braying and crying like little babies. Big Fred just thinks death threats are part of living in the big old world, but I'd bet 100 bucks he's never had to deal with a death threat.

Posted by: Bluedog49 | Apr 17, 2006 7:06:05 PM

Understood Ezra and sorry about that. I don't think a little spam would be that bad for Fred. Hey, he may even find out that a lawyer for a family that died in Nigeria wants him to accept an inheritance or something. With his mental intellect, he should figure it out after the 3rd family or so. But yes, it probably was bad karma to dish out karma purposefully and I will try not to do it again.

Posted by: kharma | Apr 17, 2006 7:06:24 PM

Malkin deserves no pity. Even if she is just Ann Coulter in cheaper shoes. She and her kind sow damage and hate everywhere they go.

Posted by: Thesaurus Rex | Apr 17, 2006 7:06:51 PM

Thanks for understanding, kharma. As my mother liked to say: always stay on higher ground.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 17, 2006 7:20:17 PM

Fortunately for all of us, the kind of people who frequent Malkin's blog, and others of it's ilk, have an aversion to danger and violence, or they would have enlisted already. I know it's very upsetting for the kids at Ezra's alma mater but they are not likely to come to any physical harm.

Posted by: JT Davis | Apr 17, 2006 7:22:04 PM

You guys can wait on Karma.

Freddie is going to be receiving a lot of offers for gay porn via email...

Posted by: Alex Cutter | Apr 17, 2006 7:22:26 PM

"However, if these students wish to enter the rough and tumble world of adult politics by getting involved in the anti-war movement and run the military off, then they had better be prepared to suffer the consequences."

First off, they're all 18. The adult world is their world, because they can sign up for the national guard and end up massacree-ing poor people around the world.
Second, why discriminate based on age anyway? When adult politics means bombing children, children ought to have a say as well. Before they're thoroughly indoctrinated about the wonders of capitalism and the evils of islam, I would imagine many minors would be passionate enough about preventing ridiculous wars to spit in Malkin's or your face. I know I felt this way when I was under 18.
Malkin and the bloggers who threaten activists are petty children; I wish we could kick them out of the family. Let's leave the dirty tricks in our past, and demand that our peers accept adult responsibilities.

Posted by: tim | Apr 17, 2006 7:23:01 PM

I think Freds rant illuminated an interesting belief by many, 'Anti-war' = Terrorist sympathiser = Enemy Combatant = Should be subject to interrogation by methods not bound by the Geneva Convention

If that isn't possible, simply threaten to take their life over the phone to encourage them to speak their mind again next time.

Posted by: Dingo | Apr 17, 2006 7:25:54 PM

Can Malkin, even though a resident of Maryland, be charged with a crime under California's cyberstalker law?

Posted by: Big River Bandido | Apr 17, 2006 7:26:12 PM

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