All Of Them Stabbed Caesar

14 Jan

That’s the best way I can put it, and I’m having a hard time letting it go.

Eight people stabbed Julius Caesar.  I’m not going to bother and look up if that includes Brutus or not, because the details don’t matter.  It’s an analogy.  A bunch of guys stabbed Caesar, and then Brutus stabbed him, too.

Caesar was stabbed 23 times, according to Google.  I have a couple of Shakespeare scholars out there, reading once in a while, so corrections on my Shakespeare stuff are welcome and inevitable.  Shakespeare’s barely the point.

The point is, when you talk about who killed Caesar, you don’t really score it up, do you? 

Eight or nine guys stabbed him, but they did it 23 times, so some of them were doing it more than others.  I’ll bet there was one guy who was doing it like crazy.  Like ten of those stabs are probably his.

And then there’s Brutus, who only stabbed him once.  Or if I’m wrong, then we can imagine that there was one conspirator who only stabbed Caesar once.

Either way from a moral perspective, I’m not too impressed by the guy who only stabbed Caesar once. 

I’m kind of thinking, but yeah, you were out drinking beers with these guys all night, and then you all went to Caesar’s house, and then when everybody started really stabbing the guy, you went ahead and stabbed him too.  You kind of said, dudes, this sucks, but that’s it.

Seriously, I would have left, and dealt with not being popular or whatever.  I don’t stab people, that’s my policy. 

No if you were there that day, when everybody stabbed him, and your response was to go ahead and stab him too, then I dont’ need to hear the numbers.  I don’t need to know who stabbed him the most. 

I’m just thinking, what’s up with you stabby motherscratchers?  That guy’s dead.

So let’s say then that a buddy of Brutus wrote a scathing article called The Wrath of Fools, and it was all about how some of the conspirators had been working together, and this was all their fault, and they’d pretty much killed Caesar.

Look at these charts, they said.  They stabbed him 21 times!

That’s a lot.  But then what if old Tommy C. asked about the other two times that Caesar was stabbed.  Let’s say Tommy C. said, hold on.  Don’t forget about our buddy Brutus.  Here’s a picture of him stabbing Caesar, too.

And then you said, that’s outrageous.  The other guys stabbed him almost every single time.  Brutus only stabbed him once.  Maybe twice or there might have been another guy, whatever, not NEARLY as much as the Right Wing, errrr the other guys.

I’m saying, that’s not something to get all cocky about.  I don’t think it’s time to declare some kind of Innocence Victory, by just being the person who stabbed Caesar the least.

That’s the argument I hear the most right now, when I point out that we all had an indirect hand in the Arizona massacre, just like we all have a hand in everything in our society.

The question is, how direct does your influence have to be?

In the case of Loughner, we don’t even have a single knife wound to look at.  We can’t find one solid indication that he got his plan from any particular place in the media.  From say, Fox News or MSNBC or nowhere on television at all (Gasp!).

It’s not like he was a regular commenter on Glenn Beck’s web site or Sarah Palin’s Facebook page.  And even if he were, it still wouldn’t be clear that words and images on a screen passed before tens of millions of eyes caused one out of the vast multitude to shoot people.

If it was clearly the rhetoric, then why only one guy?  

Was the rhetoric special, or was the guy’s particular brand of crazy special?

Really.  You might think that your side contributed demonstrably less than the other side, just like Brutus might think, hell, I only stabbed the guy once, these guys stabbed him at least a few times apiece.  Hell you might even think you did nothing more than own a little stock in the knife company.

I think that’s flimsy.  If you’re so quick to blame the right, then I guess you are pretty confident that the left always structures their messages such that nobody crazy ever receives them, and then continues to act crazy. 

There isn’t even a direct connection between Loughner and the Far Right.  William Rivers Pitt really glosses over that fact in his vitriolic The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter To The Far Right.  He doesn’t make a single compelling connection between Jared Loughner and the Far Right, other than his own subjective assumptions.

It’s that simple.  Read his rant and show me where he does it.  He makes a crazy ass leap right in the middle in which he declares it to be obviously the Far Right, but he documents it like a Roswell conspiracy theory – barely at all.

But he was shooting the vitriolic leap of logic right at someone who the Far Left hated, so they jumped on board, and cheered their version of what Pitt was claiming to decry.

Fact:  The only person directly responsible for the killings in Arizona is Jared Loughner.

Therefore:  If you’re assigning blame elsewhere, you’re talking about indirect blame. 

Fact:  Indirect blame is very difficult to disprove. 

For example:  Prove that you are not indirectly responsible – you live in our society and support its laws and statutes.  Tell me all about how this has absolutely nothing to do with you.  Prove it.

Response:  Of course in a vague, philosophical way we’re all responsible, being contributing members of the society in which it happened, but look at Fox News, they’re WAY more responsible.

You’re right, is what I think.  Fox News figuratively stabbed this country’s dignity more times than you or MSNBC.  Telling me that there is demonstrably more rhetoric on the right is like telling me that they stabbed Caesar more times than you did.

And let me guess – the acceptable number of times to stab him is somewhere between their number and yours.

I think when we’re standing over the body of Caesar we should all admit what we did, regardless of the sales board.  And if you don’t think you stabbed him at all, guess what, I don’t think you did either.  But if Sarah Palin did it with just the philosophical effect of her cartoon crosshairs, then you did it, to a far lesser degree, sure, but you’re part of this society.  

We end up talking about the political climate, the general air, not specific instructions from the right wing to Loughner.  So if we’re talking about the general air, then we’re all contributing to it.  Here’s an example right here of how you can contribute to the right wing, just by being destructive and nasty with your own left wing rhetoric.

We can’t quantify the contributions everyone’s making to the possible philosophical concept that controlled Loughner’s mind, so I’m not getting how you’re keeping score.  

The media in America is ugly, but it’s not squeaky clean on the left.  It’s cleaner, to be sure, but I can’t see how you believe that the left doesn’t contribute to the vitriolic, divisive, violence air.  They contribute less, almost certainly.  But they’re all kicking in.

All of them stabbed Caesar.  Looks like the plan is, let’s all jump on the guy who stabbed him the most, tell him, hey you, that’s way too much stabbing, you’re only allowed to stab in the moderate way that we do, and that threshold is subjectively up to us.

No, we’ll take that guy and stab him good.  We’ll show him how we handle stabbers.  And then when he’s gone, we’ll extra super definitely stop stabbing – we won’t point our stabby knives at anyone else, right?

Words Matter, says Pitt, and most of the people spreading his post.

Hell yes, they do.


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2 responses to “All Of Them Stabbed Caesar

  1. robertgbobo

    January 14, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Well said Tom but you forget that nobody in this country is responsible for their actions. Although it is not funny, this post made me chuckle remembering something that happened yesterday at the store. A woman, while talking on her cell phone and her cart in the middle of the aisle, reached for a jar of olives on the top shelf after much deliberation. Of course, she did not pay attention and knocked another off which broke on the floor. I am sure she would have just slinked away but she became aware (finally) that I was standing there. I did not say a word. She looked at me and said, “It’s not my fault. If they don’t want things broken they shouldn’t stack them so high.” I find it very ironic that the one man who could try to use the “not my fault” defense, Jared Loughner, has not but others have for their own agenda. On a side note-the “Great and Powerful Pitt” has used his words just as those he accuses of doing the same.


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