Can’t Make This Up: Conservatives Now Say They Hate Spock After Obama Praises Character

Star Trek Bones & Spock facepalm
Can’t Make This Up: Conservatives Now Say They Hate Spock After Obama Praises Character
Author: Jameson Parker

There is a popular belief among liberals that conservatives would stop breathing if President Obama came out in favor of air, and that may not be too far off.

After the tragic passing of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who had defined the role of one of pop culture’s most iconic science fiction characters, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, there was universal praise of both actor and character from across the world. The remembrance was largely apolitical, with people on every part of the political spectrum paying respect. Some Republicans (erroneously) even tried to claim Spock and Nimoy as a conservative.

Then suddenly, everything shifted. Today, the group is disavowing Spock and arguing instead that he was an “appeasing arrogant jerk.” What happened? You can probably guess.

President Obama had marked the passing of Leonard Nimoy with a moving statement released by the White House:

“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.  And of course, Leonard was Spock.  Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

I loved Spock.”

Loved?! As if on cue, conservatives have lined up to re-remember Spock as basically a pointy-eared version of what they believe Obama to be. Matthew Continetti, a writer for the conservative paper The Washington Free Beacon, summed up the sentiments with an astoundingly sad article titled “I Don’t Love Spock.

“I am also a Star Trek fan, but I admit I was somewhat confused by my rather apathetic reaction to Nimoy’s death. And as I thought more about the president’s statement, I realized he identifies with the very aspects of the Spock character that most annoy me. I don’t love Spock at all.”

Mistaking his own apathy towards the death of a fellow person as a sign that he was “on to something,” Continetti details the various ways Spock – a half-Vulcan living and working in deep space in the 24th century – is too liberal to ever be loved by conservatives. Let’s just say his examples are, to borrow a phrase, highly illogical.

“Not only do Spock’s peacenik inclinations routinely land the Enterprise and the Federation into trouble, his “logic” and “level head” mask an arrogant emotional basket case. Unlike the superhuman android Data, a loyal officer whose deepest longing is to be human, Spock spends most of his life as a freelancing diplomat eager to negotiate with the worst enemies of Starfleet.”

Negotiating with the enemy may sound like a reasonable way to avoid intergallactic war to you, but to Continetti it marks the very essence of what makes Obama an ineffectual leader. He expects his Star Trek characters to be like Data, a literal robot, who is defined by his loyalty, not by Spock, a man defined by his intelligence. The comparison is clear: Aboard the USS Enterprise, Obama would probably pal around with aliens – illegal or not.

The article continues to ooze with cherry-picked examples of times Spock led the Enterprise crew astray (just like Obama is leading America astray, wink wink nudge nudge).

“If we accept Star Trek (2009) as canon then the “cool” and “level-headed” Spock is responsible for the destruction not only of his home world and the death of 6 billion Vulcans but of the entire Star Trek timeline that audiences have loved for almost 50 years. As usual, evil happens because Spock is too idealistic, too in thrall to a value-neutral conception of science, to consider the unintended consequences of his actions.”

Continetti, having thoroughly described all the ways he feels Spock is the worst, then indicts Obama for liking him. (Presumably, Continetti hates the millions of other people who expressed grief and paid tribute to Nimoy, however they aren’t the ones that Continetti has a burning, all-consuming antipathy towards.)

“And Obama likes this selfish jerk? The coolness the president so appreciates in Spock is a thin veneer over a remarkably arrogant and off-putting detachment from human suffering. Dr. McCoy, played by the charming DeForest Kelley, bitingly exposed this truth about Spock’s nature again and again. Discussing the Genesis Project in Wrath of Khan, for example, Spock lectures McCoy, “Really, Dr. McCoy. You must learn to govern your passions. They will be your undoing. Logic suggests—”

But McCoy won’t hear it—and he’s right. ‘Logic? My God, the man’s talking about logic; we’re taking about universal Armageddon!’”

Strange, when dealing with universal Armageddown, one might hope the people in charge can maintain a cool, logical view of things. Instead, Spock – and by extension, Obama – are criticized for it. For conservatives, the goal is always to go with the gut. It worked so well for George W. Bush.

Continetti concludes:

“It will take America some time to recover from the legacy of our Spock-loving president—though probably not as long as it will take my friends to stop laughing at me for writing this column.”

Mr. Continetti, you are being too humble. No, it is likely the entire galaxy that is laughing at you for writing this column.

Right Wing Cocoon Begins To Revolt Against Its Own Biased Media

MSNBC Making Moves Against Fox, While Right-Wingers Revolt Against Conservative Media

The downfall of Fox may be the story of the election.

Catholic Loon Sean Hannity, one of the Fox News channel’s strident crackpot conservative voices.

The big media story of the week continues to be the seeming implosion of the Fox News channel after its on-air talent’s refusal to acknowledge Obama’s lead, then victory, in the polls. The network’s  mishaps have made it a laughingstock, while rival network MSNBC just keeps growing.

The NYtimes reports on the way MSNBC has begun creeping up on the conservative news behemoth:

During Mr. Obama’s first term, MSNBC underwent a metamorphosis from a CNN also-ran to the anti-Fox, and handily beat CNN in the ratings along the way. Now that it is known, at least to those who cannot get enough politics, as the nation’s liberal television network, the challenge in the next four years will be to capitalize on that identity.

MSNBC, a unit of NBCUniversal, has a long way to go to overtake the Fox News Channel, a unit of News Corporation: on most nights this year, Fox had two million more viewers than MSNBC.

But the two channels, which skew toward an audience that is 55 or older, are on average separated by fewer than 300,000 viewers in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers desire. On three nights in a row after the election last week, MSNBC — whose hosts reveled in Mr. Obama’s victory — had more viewers than Fox in that demographic.

“We’re closer to Fox than we’ve ever been,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, who has been trying to overtake Fox for years. “All of this is great for 2013, 2014 to keep building.”

Just as interesting is the critique of Fox from within the conservative movement, particularly younger conservatives like Ross Douthat, who have had enough with the “bubble.”

Today, a story in POLITICO features Douthat and a bunch of young conservatives  scolding their elders for buying into the myths Fox perpetuates, and not finding other ways to reach the public:

And this, say next-generation Republicans, is where cocoonism has been detrimental to the cause.

The tension between the profit- and ratings-driven right — call them entertainment-based conservatives — and conservatives focused on ideas (the thinkers) and winning (the operatives) has never been more evident.

The latter group worries that too many on the right are credulous about the former.

“Dick Morris is a joke to every smart conservative in Washington and most every smart conservative under the age of 40 in America,” said Douthat. “The problem is that most of the people watching Dick Morris don’t know that.”

The egghead-hack coalition believes that the entertainment-based conservatives create an atmosphere that enables flawed down-ballot candidates, creates a cartoonish presidential primary and blocks needed policy reforms, and generally leave an odor on the party that turns off swing voters.

It even fosters an atmosphere in which there’s a disconnect with the ostensible party leaders.

Even big-ticket donors have bought into this disconnect, surrounding themselves with Fox news, talk radio and their “apocalyptic” vision. They entered the bubble wiilingly, right along with the party rank and file.

In the Washington Post, there’s a profile of Beth Cox, a member of the GOP faithful who personally bought into the bubble created by the conservative media–now she is devastated by what she sees.

She turned on her computer and pulled up an electoral map that she had filled out a few days before the election. She had predicted the outcome twice — once coming up with a narrow Romney win and once more with a blowout.

Florida: red.

Colorado: red.

Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: all red.

Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.

Cox recognized that much of the blame lay at her own party’s feet:

She blamed some of the divisiveness on Republicans. The party had gotten “way too white,” she said, and she hoped it would never again run a presidential ticket without including a woman or a minority. The tea party was an extremist movement that needed to be “neutralized,” she said, and Romney’s campaign had suffered irreparable damage when high-profile Republicans spoke about “crazy immigration talk and legitimate rape.”

Still, she is one of many who now believes the country is headed to hell in a handbasket.
It’s hard to imagine conservative media not taking the lucrative chance to capitalize on the fear and anger of people like Beth Cox. And if the party and media do change,  what will they replace the fearmongering with? Vague reassurances about “reaching out” are all we’ve got so far.