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Am I a Pervert? My Reply to NewsRealBlog Smears

July 11th, 2010 at 9:08 am | 66 Comments |

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So the response from NewsRealBlog is in, and I’m writing about these events to “further my own career,” just like David Frum, the pseudo-conservative opportunist, does.

Now, if Frum’s an opportunist, then he’s a pretty stupid one. I’m pretty sure that refusing to negotiate one’s principles — even at the expense of one’s main source of income — doesn’t count as “opportunism” amongst normal people. Unless, of course, “opportunist” is merely a synonym for “someone I don’t agree with.”

Everything in David Swindle’s post is either totally irrelevant, an outright lie, or has already been addressed. Let’s take ‘em point-by-point.

1. The headline of my proposed article was “Ann Coulter: Traitor” because, as I mentioned in my previous piece, it worked as a tongue-in-cheek jab at her preferred style. It has nothing to do with some seething personal hatred toward her — it makes sense as a headline because the article is about Ann Coulter. There’d be no point in writing a headline such as, say, “Mark Levin: Traitor” because it makes no sense. Coulter, on the other hand, is notorious for such provocations. Really, I’m generally a fan of Ann’s work: I’ve read all of her books and check her columns on a weekly basis. But if making jokes about treason mark you as an unhinged lunatic, then I’m not sure what Horowitz is doing supporting Coulter in the first place. And if Swindle actually thought that I was literally calling her a traitor to the United States, then he has no business editing a student newspaper, let alone a blog headed by conservative professionals.

2. Apparently not believing that people who have served their prison terms should be confined to living under bridges makes me an apologist for child molesters. It would seem that anything short of wanting to personally slice sex offenders’ penises off with a basilard qualifies one as an apologist for child molestation in these people’s minds. Thanks to people like them — people like Horowitz and Swindle — it is simply impossible to have a rational debate about sex crimes. The only appropriate public line is that sex offenders are let off virtually scot-free: an utterly ludicrous contention. The insistence that anyone who deviates from the Nancy Grace-Bill O’Reilly moral panic is in bed with NAMBLA and all four of its members is astoundingly cynical.

My “creepy, bizarre” ideas about sex are unfashionable because they’re informed by history and biology, rather than by the desire to look virtuous in front of my peers. The idea that I wrote that fourteen-year-olds “should be looked at as sex objects” is — to paraphrase Ann Coulter on a New York Times reporter — so breathtakingly stupid that I question David Swindle’s ability to comprehend anything he reads. The point in question was a maxim lifted from the works of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who contended that fourteen was the age at which a girl begins to be treated like a lady. I guess Epictetus was a gigantic pervert, too.

3. It’s completely wrong to say that Coulter’s new-found opposition to the war in Afghanistan stems from different impulses than Ron Paul’s. She slams “neoconservatives” for their apparent penchant for “endless war,” brings up the idiotic Chalmers Johnson-approved bromide about Afghanistan being the “graveyard of empires,” and decries “nation-building.”

4. When I was on the team, my humor was “razor-sharp” but simply not appropriate for the subject matter. Now that I’m no longer in their good graces, I’m “unfunny” and “narcissistic.”

When I was on the team, I received an unsolicited e-mail telling me that my post outlining the truth behind the Israeli flotilla controversy was a major traffic boost. Now that I’m no longer in their good graces, I never generated any traffic.

I’m also reprimanded for not being “original” for slamming Robert Byrd’s racist legacy. Instead, Swindle writes, I should have been doing “creative” things, like criticizing the writers at the Daily Kos. Yeah, he actually wrote that.

5. And finally, the coup de grace from the modern right-wing populist playbook — if you’re not with us, you’re against us: I’m a future leftist. My teachers — radical leftists like Aristotle, Epictetus the Sex Pervert, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, Robert Kagan, and Camille Paglia — are basically a who’s-who of the radical left’s canon, after all.

Swindle topped this off by placing a link to his article on my Facebook page and sarcastically wishing me good luck on my post-graduation job hunt. His headline — crammed with dumb insults — was specifically designed to make me look bad to potential employers, I suppose. If the editors at the publications I hope to write for are as half-witted as David Swindle, then they’ll probably fall for it.

Recent Posts by Alex Knepper



66 Comments so far ↓

  • greg_barton

    Indeed. You’ve addressed it by being one.

  • JonF

    Re: is it impossible to transform a culture quickly enough to make it hospitable to at least semi-liberal aims? The answer is: maybe. But we won’t know until we try, and I don’t see anyone with any better ideas for fighting this plague.

    I am profoundly skeptical about any proposition that involves transforming cultures to order. History is full of failed experiments on those lines.
    As for the “plague”, and I assume you mean Islamism, I think we will just have to contain it as best we can (as we did with Communism) and let itself burn itself out. The mullahs have no better answers to the dilemmas of modernity than the commisars did– in fact the mullahs’ ideas are worse since Marx at least was reacting to modern reality while Mohammed was reacing to the 7th century.
    You seem to have a respect for ancient sages. Here are two gems, from China and Greece:
    “This too shall pass”
    “We step not twice in the same river”

  • Amorak

    Boy, am I ever getting tired of the left/right fight! This is like the choosing of sides for a scrub baseball game where the game can’t get started because a fight broke out over the choosing of sides. The sun’s going down but the fight sure is fun.

    Stop labelling everybody and every idea! Get going on the job of fixing the USA. There are NO PURE SOLUTIONS! If it wasn’t for the concern the rest of the world has about the USA slipping headlong into caricatured anarchy, the USA would be nothing but a laughing stock. You’re headed that way!

    David Frum, you can’t join in these blogger shootouts! People like Knepper can never be serious voices while engaging in the stuff we see here today, never! Well, they can preach to the applause of the enraptured choirs, but who cares? Even they will want to hit a few correct notes once in a while and will eventually drift off to form other, more in-tune, choirs.

  • BoolaBoola

    The error was to ever have taken Ann Coulter seriously in the first place.

    She has never been serious. She has always been a media clown.

  • jakester

    TMZ and PerezHilton have higher standards and relevancy than this writer and the scheiss blog he worked for.
    I don’t care if you are a pervert or not, just someone who has maybe a tad more sense and integrity than the theo-neo-con dreck you used to work with.

  • nhthinker

    Alex,

    Krauthammer is clearly closer to the Coulter camp than the Knepper camp when it comes to Afghanistan:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/24/AR2010062404870.html
    However, two major factors distinguish the Afghan from the Iraqi surge. First is the alarming weakness and ineptness — to say nothing of the corruption — of the Afghan central government. … But beyond indecision in Kabul, there is indecision in Washington. When the president of the United States announces the Afghan surge and, in the very next sentence, announces the date on which a U.S. withdrawal will begin, the Afghans — from president to peasant — take note.
    ====

    Alex: “the belief in the essentially anarchic nature of the world stage and the need for order, a *moral* component that states that *American* global leadership is necessary, and — something lacking in many neoconservative circles — an understanding of the Qur’an’s essentially totalitarian nature.”

    My guess is your “moral” component is indelibly tied directly to the continued existence/support of Israel.

    Most Americans are starting to question why. As bad as it is, Iraqi election law is now more fair than Israel election law. How much longer do you think Americans will support an ethnic component in the Israeli election rules?

    Clearly, Israel is not at all like the apartheid of South Africa- but it is also not looking to treat persons the same at the election box independent of their ethnicity.

    Neo-Cons were looking to destabilize ME countries by instigating democracy in Iraq.
    It’s impact might influence Iran…but then again the second domino might actually be Israel.

    Neo-Cons only hope for a resurgence is a “successful” jihadist attack on America. It’s sad when you need to rely on the success of your enemies to get your point across to those with political power.

  • easton

    I am late to this but I gotta address some of this rubbish:

    No, you lefties (I presume lefties is code for Democrats) are not about keeping government out of the bedroom. You hate government when it comes to abortion, and you are for same-sex marriage for what usually are the wrong reasons. (bizarre, what wrong reasons are these, and why would it matter what they are if the end result is the same? I am not “for” same sex marriage as much as I am disposed to allowing 2 consenting adults make the same kind of family contract as 2 other consenting adults who happen to be of the opposite sex)

    The party also tends to support gun control, (yes, we take the words well regulated militia seriously, and besides I think America could survive with such onerous conditions as waiting time and not selling to convicted felons)
    massive income redistribution, (the US is barely, yes barely progressive, Republicans forget all about payroll taxes, state and local taxes, sales taxes, etc. and the only tax they see is Federal income tax, America is a consumer led economy that can not survive without enough consumers. so Republicans can either pay a decent, livable wage, or have government provide some small safety net, or we can become like Central American countries of old wherein a few families had all the wealth and the country itself is miserably poor)

    intense economic regulation, (oh, you mean like glass steagall? Or how about offshore oil regulation, that remote blowout preventer that seemed like a terrible unnecessary regulation sure looks necessary now)
    protectionism, (Clinton: NAFTA and CAFTA, so Knepper is smoking something on this. I myself am an ardent free trader)
    multiculturalism, (oh lord, this is tiresome. Yes, everyone should act WASP. because white is the default culture)
    and think that the real problem in our schools is that teachers don’t get paid enough money.
    (more stupidity, Kennedy and Bush teamed up for No Child left behind. And as an educator I am tired of this crap since I never say that is the problem, ever. Obama himself supports charter schools, etc.) And that’s not even saying anything about foreign policy. (which you don’t, I, as a Democrat support the war in Afganistan and supported the war in Iraq and consider myself a fierce supporter of Israel) There are few worthy Republicans. (oh lord Knepper, what would you do to us unworthy creatures? Would you have us killed, spat upon? Don’t be a tool. It is unworthy of basic human dignity)

  • rbottoms

    It’s amazing what happens to a person’s worldview if he stops trying to define an entire party by its lunatics — when you stop doing that, the rationalizations for hatred toward one’s opponents disappear and you start trying to seek truth rather than a comfortable worldview.

    Sorry, I don’t hate anyone. I despise the political philosophy that demonizes people based on their sexual choices, and I vote as well as make my choices based on that knowledge. The GOP is full to the brim of just such people, the occasional outlier doesn’t change what it takes to get nominated and elected to national office if you are a Republican.

    John McCain is all for sensible immigration, until such a stand jeopardizes his re-election chances. Republicans of all stripes were able to take non-crazy positions on health care, the environment, and national security until it became a choice between parroting Rush Limbaugh to pacify the lunatics now running things.

    There is no way that any Republican’s election is good for my gay friends and relatives so I work to defeat them.

    All of them.

  • jorae

    Two rich kids, supported all the way through college now believe in “Right Wing” theories. From both their pictures, it is clear they are not old enough to grow one decent mustache. The “know nothings” that are still attracted to fairy tales.. ..Not ripe enough to be a Democrat.

    And….what a cop out with the military thing…I can almost seem him sucking his thumb. We still are in Ask, Don’t Tell….so who is he kidding. Neither are even close to being a man. A republican, yes…but not a man…

  • lcandell

    No, Alex, you’re not a pervert. You’re just a jerk.

  • SgtMom

    The word “pervert”, and the accusation “pervert protector” or “pervert lover” are the new millenium version of “nigger” and “nigger lover” no different from the ugly era of when the ’60s Civil Rights wars began gearing up.

  • busboy33

    Well done Alex! You’ve taken a clear case of being wronged, and managed to completely tangle it up into a wide ranging policy debate. You’ve taken overwhelming momentum and sympathy among the audience and flushed just about all of it down the drain. Hell, I’m following this story and thread closely and I have to affirmatively remind myself what we’re talking about — that’s how bad you let the marrative slip away.

    Debate is like hunting. You HAVE to know what your target is, why you’re going after it, how you plan to take it down, and you have to make sure you execute on the plan. Everything else is gravy. You should never hunt or debate from emotion. You’re not Rambo . . . you’re a surgeon. An Assassin. Precise. Clinical. Charging in screaming “Wolverines!” as you spray-n-pray is cathartic, no question, but usually you just end up with sloppy mess downrange and your target skipping away.

    This has, by your effort, changed from “Swindle owes me an apology” to “edgy Conservative Alex defines his core beliefs vis-a-vis the liberal perspective”. You are giving policy lectures. Whether you’ve yet earned enough credibility to be taken seriously as a talking head isn’t the issue. Swindle accuses you of being turned on by children sexually, and you reply with a policy defense? Why are we talking about “chickenhawk” policies? The point of your 1st post (how I got dumped) was that the actual content of the Coulter story was irrevelant . . . it was that a perfectly acceptable hit piece was rejected because it targeted Coulter instead of Reid or Olbermann. The merits of what you said (and by extension what you believe as an Edgy Conservative) don’t matter to the story. So why are we talking about it now?

    *sigh*

    This was gonna be such a great Swindle beatdown . . . I’m so disappointed this didn’t get resolved.

  • jmaharry

    Alex, most of your former allies and even your new allies sound awfully hostile. The nastiness that is Swindle actually smeared himself, as a contemptible person. His remarks were really inexcusable. Glad I’m not mired in the right – perhaps you’ll reconsider your positions as you mature.

  • PogueMahone

    “I’ve already addressed the idiotic chickenhawk argument here, so there’s no need to go over that again.”

    There is a point where the “chickenhawk” argument becomes a valid one.
    When one crosses a line in their reasoning , whether it sincere or rhetorical, stating that the war is not merely a good idea and in the interest of the US, but a war for our very survival, it becomes perfectly valid to ask then “why aren’t you fighting this war for our very survival?”

    You tried to compare it to firefighters and teachers – explaining that just because you believe that fires need to be put out, that it doesn’t obligate you to join the fire brigade. And that would make sense. But if you truly believed that this war is a war for our very survival, then you would look pretty silly standing on the sidelines watching your house burn down, and at the same time refusing to grab a bucket and join the line.

    And claiming that even if you wanted to join you couldn’t because you’re gay, is kind of a cop out, don’t you think? I disagree strongly with DADT, but just because it is in place shouldn’t discourage you. Besides, I doubt that any given military recruiter would know who you are -and if you didn’t blab about your sexual preference, they certainly wouldn’t.*

    So it’s on you, man. If we are truly endangered of being over run by those evil jihadists, it’s time to roll.
    But if you don’t… then maybe your belief that this war is so necessary is just as shaky as your convictions.

    Cheers.

    *btw, why would you open up like that? Does being gay give you extra street cred amongst the lunatic fringe? Does it affect your opinions about policy? Does it add or detract from your arguments? I’ve never felt the need to divulge my sexual preferences to argue a point. Tell me, does it help?

  • ktward

    Perhaps mine might be a closing comment to this thread, perhaps not.
    But I’ll leave floating the following thoughts.

    After years (4? 5?) of blogging at sites both Left & Right, I’ve only been banned at one: RedState. And now it appears, amusingly, at NRB.

    Admittedly, my experience at NRB has been both recent and limited to this particular Swindle happenstance. But if Swindle is representative of the site’s inherent sensibilities, as I’ve every reason to believe he is in his editorial capacity, then they’ve clearly a rather, ahem, high opinion of their newbie blog selves.

    Which is to say, they’ve crafted a biz model entirely dependent upon the numbers of their built-in audience, the RW fringe.

    They’ve clearly no interest in fostering coalition within the GOP, much less building upon readership within a long-term, sustainable model; their message is singularly choreographed to appeal to a fixed, partisan subset. Period.

    Previous to all of this, I was not familiar with Swindle himself. My bad, no doubt. But none of this comes as much surprise to anyone who is even peripherally aware of David Horowitz’s decades-long activism within extreme, ideologically driven politics. Historically, his activities have, for the sake of convenient categorization, been alternatively labeled both ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. Within either ideological sense, Horowitz was, and remains, an emotive radical.

    That said, when DH was on the ‘Left’ way back when, mainstream Lefties/Dems didn’t pay him all that much mind. He was not ever really granted a legit podium. He remained relegated to the fringe.

    Today, it seems Horowitz is embraced by the pseudo-mainstream Limbaugh/Beck/Palin Right. An interesting dissection exercise for another time, perhaps.

    Meantime, I don’t blame Knepper for his contributions at NRB.
    Absent the growing scarcity of a creative’s best-case scenario to support their need for food and shelter (wealthy, supportive family or even wealthier, sympathetic sponsors), writers go wherever the relatively palatable opportunities are. Equally, given present day employment realities, Knepper’s wise to begin building a body of work while a student.

    I get that.

    Nevertheless, I rarely agree with Knepper.
    In terms of women’s issues, on occasion I’ve found his arguments altogether offensive. Then again, he’s a young gay dude with a transparent fascination for stirring controversial pots, so it’s easier to keep his meanderings in persepctive.

    But unlike some of the other tripe that we too often (for my own tastes) find here at FF (Vecchione, Guardiano, Linnane to name the worst of the worst), I’ve found Knepper rarely guilty of willful distortion of facts, and he is inarguably a critical thinker. That’s precisely what we want in our young people. Particularly published voices.

    So. Follows is my final comment at NRB which was, with my ‘Submit’ click, automatically met with, “This comment has been deleted by the administrator.” …

    I see that you did not post my reply to your reply.
    No worries. It’ll make its way around the blogosphere eventually.

    Assuming you haven’t banned me on sight*, I will attempt to sneak just these most relevant points past your censors:

    - My initial comment was not only brief but altogether benign, by any comment policy standards. However, it did not stroke your ego and so, evidently, it was censored.

    - It’s beyond absurd that you should point an accusatory ad hom finger at me–or anyone!–given that your piece above is a veritable primer in ad hom.

    *I’ve never been banned from any blog, except for RedState– that must be well over two years ago by now. But since I’ve a few unmistakably Conservative blog friends who were also banned there, coupled with the i-kerfuffle that took to task RedState’s bizarre banning practices, I figure that doesn’t count against me.

  • Sean Linnane

    You ladies need to calm down – you’re making the Trollz look sane by comparison . . .

    . . . STORMBRINGER SENDS