Thursday, 3 September 2009

Is It Live Or Is It Hitlerex? [Paul T. Mero Edition]

I wandered into an exchange on Facebook yesterday and today that culminated in an extremely odd online encounter with what I'm assuming is the real Paul T. Mero, public face of the Sutherland Institute and a prime example of the highly concentrated conservative culture that festers in the dankest corners of Utah life (on a par with Chris Buttars or Gayle Ruzicka).

A friend of mine who is something of a moderate Republican is apparently friends with Mero, so when my phone pinged me that one "Paul Mero" had commented on the same post that I had, my reaction was halfway between "Well how about THAT, a local celebrity" and "...wait, Paul T. Mero, the same Paul T. Mero who argued publicly following the Prop 8 fiasco that gays come from a 'very emotionally immature frame of reference' while pretending to gladhand the gay Colmes to his Mormon Hannity in a weak sauce series of public forums?"

If that last seems hard to follow, it's because Mero is a unique figure in modern Utah culture. Ever willing to host a "dialogue," Mero is yet one of the hardest-right figures in Utah politics, and also one of the most powerful. He writes columns that are regularly featured in the Salt Lake Tribune (the shameful "voice of the opposition" in Utah politics). He's frequently featured on Radio West, the Glorious Socialist People's Voice of local NPR radio. He is ever present at panel discussions, forums, etc. He profiles himself on his Facebook as a proud workaholic.

So what would draw Paul T. Mero into an exchange with a little old nobody like myself?


I flat out don't like [Obama's upcoming speech to schools]. I want the federal government out of education in Utah...and that includes its chief spokesman.

We call it a "cult of personality" because it's not earned. When Obama can promote something like worldwide freedom, as RR did by collapsing the Evil Empire, then he'll earn my respect.

Disagreeing with the POTUS isn't disrespectful, neither is it an over-reaction...

Lastly, the iconography and imagery used by Obama is creepy and it is Hitleresque (the "I Pledge" video and all of his logos are just a few examples).

And I haven't ever called Obama "Hitler.

My response:

Paul, you're a lot more childish and ill-informed on facebook than even most of my conservative high school friends.

And the fact that you can type "...the iconography and imagery used by Obama is creepy and it is Hitleresque," hit enter a few times, and then say "I haven't ever called Obama 'Hitler.'" is literally side-splitting. I can see you've read Jonah Goldberg's opus magnum and are still playing the "not sayin', just sayin'..." game. Keep up the good work.

Mero strikes back:

Charles...the difference between hitleresque and Hitler is the same difference as between picturesque and a picture. No reasonable person would mistake an actual picture for picturesque. The "esque" part means a resemblance in style or manner. Obama's iconography and imagery is Hiltleresque...and, no, I didn't just call him Hitler.

So I can call Mero 'asshoulesque' by noticing that repugnant things frequently flow from his puckered features, without literally comparing his face to a human anus. If I were to call him an asshole, well, that would be offensive.

There you have it.

Not sayin', just sayin'...