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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

I've come to Fights Go Here to start a fight about this comic.

[Click to view comic: 'You're all a bunch of white nationalists!']

If you read through our respective archives it'll be pretty obvious that Moturd and I have very different political views.  And that's fine.  There's a lot of stuff on Stripcreator that I don't like, and it's been that way for years.  Mostly I ignore it.  I told myself I would ignore this comic too, as long as it didn't win its contest, but it did.

My objection to this comic is that it's based on a false premise.  It claims, in the first dialogue bubble, that the phrase "white nationalist" simply means "a nationalist who happens to be white".  In the last bubble it reinforces this idea by implying that the phrase is synonymous with "Caucasian patriot".  There are two mistakes here.

First, the phrase "white nationalist" has been in use for many years (since long before anyone ever heard the term "alt-right") and it has always been used to refer to a person who supports the establishment of a state or society in which white people are the only residents, or at least the only first-class citizens.  I have never heard it used to mean "Caucasian patriot" -- and why would it be?  I'm hard-pressed to imagine a situation in which you'd be talking about a patriot and need to specify what color their skin was.

Second, the comic implies that nationalism and patriotism are the same thing, which is not true.  Patriotism is love of one's country.  Nationalism is the chauvinistic pursuit of one particular country's interests, even at the expense of others'.  We all like comics here, so let me just link you all to this SMBC page that explains the difference neatly:

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/an-important-distinction

So, as to the comic's central complaint:  if you are a person whose skin is light in color, and who harbors patriotic sentiments, but who bears no ill will towards people of other skin colors, and you hear the mainstream media say something unpleasant about "white nationalists", you may rest assured that they did not intend to refer to you.  And if, for some far-fetched reason, you ever need to describe a nationalist who is white, but who is not a white nationalist, I urge you to consider whether another term, such as "U.S. nationalist" or "European nationalist", might be more accurate.

I apologize for starting drama here, which I usually try very hard to avoid.  Moturd, I don't really expect to change your political views, and perhaps I should state explicity that as far as I'm concerned you're welcome to continue making comics here.  To my knowledge you have not done anything ban-worthy, and I'm not expecting you to.  I hope you'll see this thread simply as an attempt to set the facts straight, and not as a personal attack.

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The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

9-27-17 8:33am (new)
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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

It just occurred to me that my last paragraph probably sounds like it came out of nowhere if you don't know I'm a moderator here.

Only point being, I'm raising this issue as a "concerned citizen", and not threatening to ban anybody for their political beliefs.

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The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

9-27-17 5:14pm (new)
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Moturd
Stripcreator Newbie

Member Rated:

As you pointed out, there actually is something called White Nationalism, but in my life I don't believe I've ever met anyone in person who was a White Nationalist. What an absurd dream they have for America to non-violently self-segregate into geographical regions! I did meet someone once who believed that the Earth could be hollow and there could be whole civilizations living inside. But liberals cleverly word their articles to make us believe that this tiny segment at the fringe numbers in the 'millions of white people'.(1) Now, I realize that it is only anecdotal evidence, but in my personal experience the number of people who believe the Earth may be hollow with its own sun in the exact center and with oceans and maybe even dinosaurs, outnumber the people who are "white nationalists". Yet the liberal media hold this tiny group of, perhaps, thousands up as a bogeyman to scare the public. So who are the liberal media referring to when they write thousands of articles referencing these white nationalists and estimate their numbers to be so large as to flip an election that they predicted Clinton would win by a landslide?(2) When publications like WaPo and NYT use the term white nationalist do they really mean a few thousand nutjobs, or are they themselves applying the term improperly to millions of patriotic Americans of European heritage?

(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/10/hillary-clinton-trumps-inaugural-address-was-a-cry-from-the-white-nationalist-gut/

(2) https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/presidential-polls-forecast.html

9-30-17 10:39am (new)
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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

Your first link does not support your argument that the mainstream media claims that there are "millions of white nationalists" in America, although I can see how someone who was eager to be offended might jump to that conclusion.  In the article, Hillary Clinton (not the media) is quoted as saying that there are "millions of [white] people who were upset about gains that were made by others".  She (again, not the media) then claims that Donald Trump (not millions of white people) gave a speech that "was a cry from the white-nationalist gut", i.e., which gave voice to feelings that white nationalists have, even if Trump himself is not a white nationalist.  It does not follow, and I do not believe we are meant to infer, that all of those millions, whom Trump successfully persuaded during the campaign -- persuaded, perhaps, merely that he was the lesser evil, as is so often the case -- necessarily endorsed any ugly viewpoints that may have been in his inauguration speech.

(I'll observe, by the way, that both Clinton and Robert Costa, the author of that article, are white.  Would they consider themselves "Caucasian patriots"?  One imagines so.)

Your second link does not mention skin color or racial ideologies, so I assume it wasn't intended to support your argument that white nationalists are being blamed for flipping the election, but only that the election was mispredicted -- which it was, by pretty much everybody.  I'm no political scientist and won't pretend to know how or why that happened, although I will cheekily observe that they weren't entirely wrong in that Clinton did win the popular vote by quite a bit.  I'll also point out that even if white nationalists can be blamed for the unexpected election result, that's not the same as saying that white nationalists voted in sufficient numbers to turn the tide by themselves.  It could be instead that they managed to influence the thinking of many other voters.

I too had thought, and still think, that white nationalists are a small portion of the population.[1]  I don't believe that you, or Trump supporters, or Trump himself, are white nationalists.  I do believe that he, and they, are willing to tell white nationalists what they want to hear, and allow white nationalists to hold positions of power, and work alongside white nationalists, if it helps them achieve their actual policy goals, which in my opinion is a regrettable ethical failure.

But more relevant to our discussion, I also believe that at least some Trump supporters, and some "Caucasian patriots" in general, are allowing white nationalists to make patsies of them.  How?  The Washington Post article you linked contains a good example: after Clinton said that Trump was "taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party", Trump turned around and told his supporters that Clinton was calling all of them racists, which of course was not the case.  But now, when next they hear Clinton (or anybody) disparage racists, some part of them may think, "she's talking about me".  This creates a situation where people begin to identify themselves with the word "racist" even though they aren't really.  It's a clever rhetorical trick, but a dishonest and insidious one; it pushes people toward the ideological extremes, and thus distracts them from the many interests and beliefs they have in common with their countrymen.

The reason I objected so strongly to your comic above is that it seems to me to promote the same kind of association.  A person who was both white and a patriot might, after reading your comic or things like it, come to the erroneous and dangerous conclusion that media reports about "white nationalists" had something to do with them -- or, even if they don't quite embrace that theory, might still involuntarily bristle at such reports all the same.  If they feel defensive when they hear condemnation of white nationalists... the only people who will benefit from that are the actual white nationalists.

To be clear, I am NOT accusing you of being a white nationalist propagandist.  But I do worry that you have been getting some of your information, directly or indirectly, from someone who is.  When you entertain the paranoid idea that established and venerable news institutions are pursuing an agenda against people like you -- even though they are staffed by many people like you! -- then you allow yourself to be played in the same way.  I urge you to resist this tendency.


[1]:  Of course, even if there were one million of them, it would still only be 0.31% of the US population -- but I don't really mean to defend the "millions" statistic, which we haven't even established that anybody is claiming.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has an interesting "Hate Map" which says that there are 100 specifically White Nationalist "groups" in the US -- a count that does not appear to include groups with similar ideologies such as Neo-Nazis and the KKK -- although it doesn't give estimates of membership numbers.

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The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

10-02-17 9:42am (new)
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Moturd
Stripcreator Newbie

Member Rated:

The first article I linked was not meant to be comprehensive. There are literally thousands of articles written by those two very liberal news organizations that reference the subject, and I said that. 

But regardless, that one is a good example. WaPo titled the article with the words "white nationalist" then proceeded to talk about 'millions of white people', actually printing that phrase three times in rapid succession which is the magic sauce in Advertising to make listeners remember something.

The fact that you are reading the article like a lawyer is ironic because that was the punchline of my comic, how they could get out of a slander suit by creating doubt about the meaning of the words. Now I feel like a magician who is forced to reveal how his trick works, but I will. The joke is based on the following premises:

Lawyers will pick apart any phrase or even a single word to create doubt about what was actually communicated. Do you remember who said, 'It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.'(1) Yes, it was Bill Clinton amending his testimony regarding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He received his Juris Doctorate from Yale. For a lawyer, quibbling over the meaning of a such a basic and elementary piece of our language (I would be shocked if it is not the most used verb in English) is not even surprising.

That sort of wiggle room is what allows WaPo and NYT (and Southern Poverty Law Center) to brand anyone they dislike with ugly terms to elicit emotional responses.(2) They know that emotions override reason and that is the only reliable method they have to influence their readership. They create the impression that Donald Trump being elected President is evidence that half the population of the U.S., 160 million people, are White Supremicists instead of the few thousand that actually are.

They do this by building associations in the public consciousness between certain terms over a long period of time and across many articles such as the equating of "White Supremacist" with "White Nationalist" which I pointed out in the comic, but also between White Nationalist and Alt-Right and between Alt-Right and Conservative and between Conservative and Republican. At some point, otherwise rational people, maybe even a news anchor for ESPN, will unconciously connect those dots and make untrue statements like, 'Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.'(3)

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4XT-l-_3y0

(2) http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/29/southern-poverty-law-center-put-me-on-its-hate-list-it-s-smear-and-don-t-belong-there.html

(3) http://www.newson6.com/story/36384909/trump-demands-espn-apologize-for-anchor-jemele-hills-racism-comments

10-02-17 7:05pm (new)
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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

I don't agree that "not inferring something that isn't stated" is the same as "reading the article like a lawyer".

I tend to have liberal political views, and I haven't gotten the impression that all Republicans, never mind all conservatives, and certainly not "half the population of the U.S.", are white supremacists.  Not from anything you've linked in this thread, not from anything I've read in the mainstream media, not even from anything I've read in any media outlets that are actually biased (in whatever direction).

So, an ESPN anchor -- not someone whose political opinions I would normally pay attention to, but I get it, she's famous so she speaks with a louder voice than people like you and me -- this ESPN anchor did come to the conclusion that Trump and many of his advisors (but, again, not all of his supporters) are white supremacists.  Okay.  We don't know why she thinks that.  I don't agree with it but, you know, it's not like it's completely out of the blue.  Maybe she's been brainwashed by advertising tricks, as you say.  Maybe she listens to him talking about border walls and Muslim bans and dog-whistling about "violence on many sides" and draws her own conclusions.

But let's say it is the brainwashing.  Then what's your argument?  That some people have succumbed to paranoia so you should too?  Don't respond to generalization and misinformation with more of the same.

Don't get me wrong, by the way -- we all make comics on this site, and comedy often has to rely on generalization.  That's one reason why I haven't said anything about your other political comics even though they may bother me.  I am, again, narrowly concerned with the correct usage of the term "white nationalism".

It seems we agree that that really is the name of a hateful ideology, and, like I said at the beginning, I don't really hope to change your politics, so I guess I'm done here.  But if you're willing to indulge me:  next time you read something in the news that makes you hate or resent another person or group of people, ask yourself, who stands to gain from that hate?  I doubt it will be the mainstream media, who have little to gain by alienating potential subscribers or shedding their reputation for objectivity.  So please, give them the benefit of the doubt.  And I'm almost certain that you yourself won't profit from hate either.

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The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

10-03-17 10:17am (new)
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Injokester
Probably drunk

Member Rated:

[Click to view comic: 'We're all a bunch of white nationalists!']

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Dinosaurs had eggs bro, the chicken came way later.

10-03-17 5:35pm (new)
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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

Sorry, Injokester.  :(  But if it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure people would argue about politics with or without your art.

---
The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

10-04-17 7:07am (new)
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Injokester
Probably drunk

Member Rated:

(Jovial, and clearly laughing at himself) Naw man, I found it amusing as **** that I was so naive I actually thought I was doing a "good" deed by drawing those characters. It's only now that I can see the flip-side of having minorities represented on a website literally designed for anyone who wishes to put words in their mouths. I was quite left-leaning a few years ago.

(Light and compassionate) But it was satire, nothing more, and very meta. Replace that first speech bubble with any suggestion you might find in any news office, regardless of political lean, and you'll see what I mean. I'd also wager that Moturd will read the comic a little differently, picking up on the subtext representing the futility inherent in positive action, when action is replaced by words. I've since abandoned both the left and right, and now lean toward the Socratic.

(With a hidden wink behind the eye) I'm beyond sure people will argue about politics with or without my art, but now I can appreciate that it's a battle that can be only lost, by blunders, and never won by reason :)

(Peering over the top of his glasses with an evil smile that's just a little bit sexy) But the real punchline here is that you're arguing through large blocks of text, on a webcomic maker site, when a satire-off is an option.

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Dinosaurs had eggs bro, the chicken came way later.

10-04-17 7:19pm (new)
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evil_d
Riding through your town with his head on fire

Member Rated:

I think it was still a good deed.  On balance I think it's better if strippers can represent groups they hate accurately than if they have to resort to who-knows-what.  And I've been making a conscious effort to diversify my own comics (not entirely succeeding, but...).

And don't worry, there are still plenty of satirical comics being made.  I just thought this was a special case.

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The what mentioned above is total fiction. Please don't take it seriously!

10-05-17 8:02am (new)
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