Dog Whistle Politics & The Net's Culture of Organized Mob Violenc
You can imagine why such a story would appeal to me. I want to get things “on the record” and “in print”. There is a good amount of literature already out there about the mob being called out. And yet the deeper story about the pervasiveness of the “Dog Whistle” in our media and pop culture and it’s use as a political weapon remains buried.
No one is talking about the mob’s tactics, at least not with me, not “on record”. However I have had a few things happen on camera which are difficult to explain away. I have captured an organized harassment incident on tape outside a WallMart store in a busy downtown district. The tape shows a staged event with perps working in collusion with the shopping center’s security and the general public being amused. It also captures the coded use of language which I will crack for you and though not on tape, the interactions with local police following the incident not leading to any action being taken begs certain questions.
This video of course sets up a situation like the scene in every film like “State of Play”, Where the hard-bitten news hound presents the flimsy evidence of his story to his editor who shoots it down... “ you gotta love him for it, you give 24hrs, a body in the alley, and he turns it into a full blown corporate conspiracy”. What you will see here, I maintain, is a staged organized event being carried out against someone who is a target of systematic mob harassment, rather than a random theft caught on tape in an area where security and police don’t do much.
This video is foreshadowed by the MSNBC interview of Frank Schaeffer author of Crazy For God,by Rachel Maaddo at the end of my earlier post. In this video Maaddo presses the issue of Dog Whistle politics and it’s use in recent protests of health care legislation with a critic of religious extremism. Schafer speaks specifically of Christian Nationalism’s Soft Dominionists, who believe in biblically‑defined immorality and sin breed chaos and anarchy. People who believe, America’s greatness as “God’s chosen land” has been undermined by liberal secular humanists, feminists, and homosexuals. Purists who want litmus tests for issues of abortion, tolerance of gays and lesbians, and prayer in schools. This is only one group participating in dog whistle politics, although one of the largest.
<em>Dog-whistle politics n. A concealed, coded, or unstated idea, usually divisive or politically dangerous, nevertheless understood by the intended voters.</em>
Sarah Palin’s ‘Joe Six Pack’ and ‘he is not one of us’ rhetoric are examples of dog whistle politics. Nowadays words like ‘immigration’ have also become coded to signal many other things and can be used to talk in a discriminatory way without necessarily being blatantly discriminatory. For example rather than someone saying how much they don’t like people from Eastern Europe (in the case of the UK) or Latinos (in the case of the US) and they don’t want them in their country, they can instead couch their fears by coding them in talk about loss of jobs or changing communities, or the fact that now kids speak Spanish more than English.
This is all fairly common and most people, though they may find the term new, recognize passive aggressive language, and everyone has had to deal with someone saying one thing to them and implying something else. What is new however, are the corruptions of our media and entertainment by a national culture complicit with such a platform for politically motivated crime and violence. This culture of dog whistle language has gone mainstream as a platform for antisocial behavior, harassment, and verbal and emotional abuse which can be learned and used by anyone who chooses to. It is referred to as “talk in” or in a word as “this”. The entire cultural movement is referred to as “it” and those targeted as "one". As in "we haven't killed any "one" yet.
<em>Denotation and Connotation Denotation refers to the literal meaning of a word, the "dictionary definition."¨ For example, if you look up the word snake in a dictionary, you will discover that one of its denotative meanings is "any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles Khaving a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions." Connotation, on the other hand, refers to the associations that are connected to a certain word or the emotional suggestions related to that word. The connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings. The connotations for the word snake could include evil or danger.</em>
Playing the role of the hard-bitten newshound, I am maintaining the story unfolding in this video is an example of this new national culture of antisocial criminal behavior. The video shows my exit from a department store and a confrontation following my catching a perpetrator cutting a bike lock with a pair of bolt cutters.
The first thing you should notice are the two perps keeping watch on the front doors of the store watching for me to exit. Nearly shoulder to shoulder with the store’s security guard, one is wearing a red jersey #23 and the other a black sleeveless shirt. As I approach you can clearly see the perpetrator bent over clipping the lock on the bike, the bike teeters as the tension form the coiled cable lock cuts loose. Then he turns and begins stowing his bolt cutters in his back pack. I confront him, call on the security guards on site and he informs me that the three of them are not going to do anything because they are not police, while offering up repeated threats of violence, which is a violation of California Penal Code Section 422. Then his two accomplices jump in and begin speaking in code. “Thats craz-e man”, “It’s not even worth it man...” “why would you do ‘that’ man”. “you keep press in the issue more” Then one of the security guards tells me “you better let him leave”. The security and the perps turn the situation around and try to make me out as the person committing a crime, “you can’t put your hands on nobody”. As I stand down and the perp leaves he is ushered away by the security “go just go”. As the perp walks away he taunts me, “follow me, keep followin me”. The accomplice in the red jersey now tells the perp he will talk to him later “i holla at you man” then they proceed to fill me in on how exactly they are protected by the law, “you can’t put your hands on a homie, he can fire on you man”. They then say something that only makes sense if it’s in code. “I would have went off to ‘it’s vandalism dude’ that's a good bike”. Of course this doesn’t make sense he didn’t vandalize my bike or the lock, he got caught in the act of stealing. What they are saying is “it” being a target, or the culture of the mob means, = your things get vandalized and stolen, hence the audience members comment, “I think you better put a thick chain on there”.
Next the security officer starts criticizing me for where I locked the bike. The reason I chose the flag pole is due to repeated vandalism when locking the bike up at the rack. Now the perps accomplice in red is shoulder to shoulder with the security guard telling me how I am at fault somehow. The security guard is using the same code, “yeah that’s it, it’s not supposed to be over there with everybody else”. The security guard continues to engage in conversation while these two criminals offer there statements about not seeing anything as if they are security guards expected to call the police. They are in fact breaking the law by loitering. The security guard then makes the statement “if we don’t see it we won’t call the police”. This is a clear statement contrary to their purpose there. I caught someone stealing. I tell them he has the bolt cutters in his bag. The least they should do is ask him to show that I am mistaken and clear up the matter by showing he does not have bolt cutter on him. The video concludes with my bombastic comment alluding to the inversion of events which took place here. As I was instructed earlier I cannot do anything to stop someone or they have the right to assault me, “you can’t put your hands on a homie, he can fire on you man”.
As you can see I then mount my bike and leave the scene. I call the police and then return to wait for them to arrive. My visit with an officer includes him reviewing the video of the incident. He tells me had I not been pushing for the perp to be restrained and backed down when threatened by him he could arrest him for “terrorist threat” which is a felony, but since I was adamant and apparently not scared enough he can’t do anything. He also tells me that the security often call about stupid things and in this case should have clearly called, and it would have been an easy arrest because he had the bolt cutters on him. Although he did not say so explicitly, he implied that around here it is an illusion of safety and that they are afraid to do anything in situations like this. He did agree with me that the security are clearly more concerned with the perp getting away than with calling police or intervening in some way on my behalf. He also informed me of the frequency of theft from this store front area, “they come down on the blue line, pick something and head back on the train”.
Considering the officer’s agreement that the security guards are more concerned with the perp getting away than anything else. What explanation is there for their behavior, If it’s not the story I have articulated then what? There is clearly more going on here than gross negligence, conversation with the downtown business owners association's security officers confirmed that these security guards serve no purpose if they are not going to radio for police. There is evidence of an intended theft (my lock is hanging clipped form the bike) and I am telling everyone in earshot he has the bolt cutters in his bag.
>>>>>>>>See video attached<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Continuing to play my role of reporter to your editor, this post and video are the first scene. You are still skeptical — remember, “ you gotta love him for it, you give 24hrs, a body in the alley, and he turns it into a full blown corporate conspiracy”.
This post and video are an introduction to the rise of dog whistle political tactics in use in television, film, pop music and pop culture generally. The events just witnessed are intended to set the stage for the rest of the story to play out. You have now seen evidence of extra ordinary behavior, the question now stands as — if not the story line presented by the reporter to account for the behavior, then what is taking place? In the film state of play we are at the point when the victim's photos have been recovered, and show us a connection to a larger story. The character of the insider informant (Jason Bateman) upon which the whole story turns will be played by a aggregate of examples pulled form Television, News, Film, Sports, Music and other popular culture and the general public.
The critical task here is, articulating this use of language and the register of human communication. Showing how it has become a platform for adding entertainment value to cultural products by making them active participants in a growing national movement of organic radicalism embraced as the new “populist democracy” of the user.
How this developing society of control and exploitation and it’s use as a social prison system brings about a society with no effective rule of law is an issue of overwhelming importance. Such a change in the effectiveness of government to steward over a body of laws and courts protecting individual rights, effectively reconstitutes the very nature of culture and society.
As the values of the mob subvert those of an open society, we create a society of radical conformity. “Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal “families” all have well understood histories of violence and extra legal organized torture and harassment. The tactics in use exploit the rights guarantee by the first amendment to subvert other rights. The strategy is to retain the freedom to say anything (threaten) and do so in a way, such that you cannot be held responsible for what is said. Ordinarily the laws in place to deal with speech versus other rights are sufficient. The use of a coded language of speech and gesture subverts our current laws by making the meaning of the communication vague. There are also no laws on the books to protect individuals form the aggregate of antisocial acts. From the husband accused of cheating in an online forum being savaged by people he neither knows nor know him, to the recent stories of primary school class mates using a facebook account to slander and build an army of hate friends to savage the target — no effective rule of law exsists. The strategy is the misanthropes, the cowards warfare. There is no effective rule of law at the level of the register of human communication. Today curse words and flipping someone off are prohibited on television and other mainstream media, and these new tactics are only a new lexicon of similar gestures ranging form derision to death threats.
California Penal Code Section 422
Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
The next post will be a language lesson. An articulation of the coded communication and the other related areas of criminal behavior at large in culture our.