Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Through the Looking Glass; or my visit to Freeperland

I’m still a relative newcomer to the political blogosphere, and spend most of my days happily reading diaries at Daily Kos, MyDD, and now here.

I should subtitle this “anthropologist channels Alice.”  

I visit Huffington Post, and TPM, but that’s pretty much the extent of my exploration, unless a link in a diary takes me somewhere else.  

Intrigued by a diary on DKos discussing the meltdown over in a foreign country (to me) called RedState, I resolved to pay a visit, but then it was suggested that I avoid FreeRepublic.


Well, like any good anthropologist I’m intrigued by visits to risky and unexplored turf, so during the debate, I had one eye on the tube, and the other on my laptop screen, as I stepped into the mirror, and fell down the rabbit hole.

I landed in FreeRepublic land in a very long thread preparing for the debate.  There was a lot of praying going on.  Christian prayers interspersed with snarky remarks that are not foreign to me, we have plenty snark on this side as well.  The difference was in the content of the snark.  Quite a bit of it was racial. Odd to be the brown  fly on the wall   observing people blithely spewing and laughing at racist jokes, with no sense of shame.  I wished I could have been in not only observation mode, but participatory, though I realized that I would be shunned for raising a lone voice.  

Twas brillig and those slithey toves were certainly wallowing in the mud.  I do suspect that there may have been a few others about who were also visiting from my side of the universe, but the anonymity of the internet makes it hard to identify – there were a few notes of concern trolling.  But most of the expressions – quickly typed in the frenzy of liveblogging seemed to represent the view of that tribe.

The heavy use of prayer was a bit jarring at first.  Not that those of us who are left – or center-left are not religious – or spiritual, though we probably have a higher percentage of atheists and agnostics.

But we don’t seem to view our political struggle as a battle of the angels of the Lord against the minions of Lucifer.  There seemed to be two sub-groups – one who were depending  on Jesus, (they often referenced Palin) and the others who were Republican – though not particularly enthused by John McCain.  They were hoping that perhaps he could pull off an upset, but resigned to the fact that he probably wouldn’t.

I won’t bother to cite the prayer crew here- they were pretty standard, garden variety appeals to the Almighty.

An example of the second type:

To: All

Same old crap from John. Wall Streets greedy, let’s bail out home mortgages, blah, blah, blah. If this is his opening salvo we are screwed. The man has no fire in his belly. I feel sick.

This falls into the foxhole prayer category; the commenter doesn’t seem to think prayer will work:

I am praying, but can’t watch. The stress of this makes me too upset. If McCain scores some big points I will be happy – and it will be about time he shows Obama for the socialist he really is. If not, it won’t change my decision to vote for him, but I hate to see him humiliated by the media if he doesn’t outshine Obama by a lot tonight. So I am praying with the rest of you, but going to play some POgO games to pass the time, LOL.

Then came a series of remarks I would have expected on the liveblog at Kos:

(screen names have been removed to protect the guilty – you can visit the thread if you are interested in the cover names of those who posted these remarks)

Did McCain have a root canal? Is his left cheek always that swollen?

McCain looks better sitting down

Somebody please wake up John McCain!

(referring to Obama) He’s being far more specific than McCain.

McCain looks like he’s blinking a lot!!

Oh, gloom….McC went right into policy wonk stuff on the first question. Boring answer. First opportunity down the drain.

I hear you…I would rather watch my Dodgers be eliminated tonight than my stomach churning watching the debate. I’ll hope for McCain grand slam, bit I don’t think the old timer has it left in him. We made the bed, we have to sleep in it as well (even though I voted for Romney)

I’ll follow this thread for signs of life….If McCain lays downs and dies, he should resign from the Senate.

Is middle class the drinking phrase?

Probably. McCain sickens me with his free-spending bail out everybody ideas. It’s like he’s taking a page from the Democrats’ playbook.

Could this “plumber” be the savior of this election?

McCain is BUNGLING freaking attack lines. WTH

I’d rather the plumber debate Obama on the economy at least the plumber will confront and not sound like stuttering stanley.

I was wondering what rabbit hole I had entered.  Or perhaps I ate too many pieces of the mushroom offered by the caterpillar.


Much of the thread (which went on and on) was similar to the quotes above.

The final eyeopener – which I will quote in its entirety shocked me more than the racism, snark and cynicism.

It was after the debate had finished and the livebloggers were watching the roundups – pundit discussions on all channels – reporting to each other the verdict. (a win for Obama)

This was the response to (gasp) Fox that we love to call Faux:

“I just sent an email to:,, and – to let them know how disgusted I was by their unfair and biased reporting tonight. McCain WON tonight and something is gravely WRONG with this picture.”

I sent them the following e-mail (I was on a roll and talked not only about tonight’s post-debate commentary, but about their “all star panel” too):

It is obvious that Fox Cable News has been intimidated by the veiled threat that Barack Obama made today about Fox News being biased against him. Thus, in your post-debate discussion it is apparent Fox felt it necessary to claim Obama won the debate and proceed to knock McCain for his debate performance. There was better treatment of McCain’s performance on CNN, NBC, and CBS tonite than on Fox News. What a bunch of sellouts you all were tonite. Fox News All Stars my derriere. It is the Fox News Sellouts. Even Brit Hume was a disappointment tonight. Or are you just all cowed by Obama and what his goon squads will do if they win the election. Afraid of the Fairness Doctrine? Afraid he’ll go after Murdoch’s business interests? Afraid for your jobs? Or, another way of putting it, are you a bunch of cowards? Sure appears that way.

What an embarrassment your commentary was tonight. McCain did the best job he has so far in the three debates. It was obvious to anyone making a fair assessment of tonight’s debate performance. He was good tonight. Obama held his own, but McCain was definitely and strongly getting his points across tonight. But you all felt the need to not just praise Obama’s performance, but to slam McCain’s. In particular Fred Barnes. I am so sick of Fred, and his arm crossing and uncrossing, his fidgeting, his scribbling on his notepad and I mean scribbling, not writing, his RINO propensities (Fred ain’t no conservative), and his constant slamming of what he claims to be his own Party.

Why don’t you get a couple of true conservatives on your panel. Krystol is not to be trusted at all (another RINO), and ever since he has started writing for the NYTimes, he has gotten more and more hostile to his own Party. Same thing happened to Ben Stein since he started working for the NYTs. And Krauthammer is basically a fiscal conservative and social liberal (which is a contradiction in terms in itself). I love to listen to Charles anyhow because he is quite brilliant and has some depth of thought, and I never considered him a conservative so I am pleasantly surprised when he says something reasonably conservative. But I do believe he is honest in his opinions. You should have Bill Sammon on your panel more often as he is the only one I believe to actually be a conservative in thought. Mort Kondracke (sp?) is a passive-aggressive moderate Dem and Moira Liason (sp?) is a nice lady who looks down all the time as she spews the Dem talking points and lies, because she knows they are lies. Plus, nice as she seems to be as a person, why do you keep her on, so that we are forced to listen to her frequent coughing spells because of her allergies? So we the listening public have to deal with someone who can’t do her job well because of her affliction? I feel sorry for her, but not to the point that you foist her medical problem off on the listening public. Listening to frequent coughing fits is not enjoyable. And Juan Williams, well he’s just Juan, and at least he amuses me. The bottom line here is that you need to get rid of some of the old deadwood from your panel, and get some fresh new faces in there, a couple of whom are actually truly conservative.

What we’ve got here is two major cable TV news stations that are totally liberal (CNN and MSNBC), and one that is at most half conservative. That means the conservative viewpoint has exactly one-half of a cable TV news station that speaks for them, and two and a half stations that parrots the liberal viewpoint. How totally discouraging. I guess we should be happy with the few bones thrown our way by Fox as it’s better than nothing at all. But after Fox jumped on the Obama bandwagon after the debate tonight, those bones have no meat on them at all. Now we are down to truly bare bones. Thanks Fox. At least I have the Internet. That is until Obama and the Fairness Doctrine gets us all. Too bad you are so intimidated and have thus capitulated to Obama’s veiled threat tactics. Greta inferred as much on her post-debate program tonight when she referenced what Obama had said and how Fox was reacting to it which was to bend to Obama’s will. How sad for all of us.…

Oh Lordy – Fox is in the tank for Obama?  Time to leave Freeperland and head back up the rabbit hole to write up my field notes.

Curiouser, and curiouser.

(cross-posted to DailyKos)


  1. NavyBlueWife

    i went to faux noise after the debate, and i was surprised to at how positive the early coverage was, until hannity got on and then i had to change it…

    to sum up that crap, i would rather be a socialist any day than be a racist for one second…

    excellent diary…thanks for coming to the moose.

  2. sricki

    Fascinating account, really enthralling to read, and all the better since I wasn’t the one doing the research myself. ; )

  3. Hollede

    Thank you for going where I am unable to venture, and for bringing back such interesting nibbles from such narrow burrows.

    I went to Redstate once and it made my eyes bleed. Any exposure to fox causes all orifices to hemorrhage. Oh and thanks for the video. It helped me crawl back out of the very strange trip you took me on.

  4. fogiv

    Did you at all feel as if you were Hans Nevermann,  observing the c. 1940s Marind-anim?  Given the current unrest in the GOP, how long before they turn to cannabalism?

    Unrelated Note of no importance:

    Regarding “Participant Observation”…

    I’ll never forget my very first Cultural Anthropology course.  The Prof, dry of humor and drone of voice, would sneak odd photos into his weekly slide slows.  Few in the class paid attention to these things, some even dozed.  

    Once, when showing some slides from his fieldwork with the Yaqui, he announced:

    “Here’s one of me engaging in Participant Observation”.

    I looked up to see a photo of our droll, straight-laced Instructor passed out in a hammock with a half-spilt bottle of cheap Tequila sprawled across his chest.  The work “SLUT” had been written on his cheek in bright pink lipstick, and three grinning, bronze faced Yaquis squeezed themselves into the frame.

    I involuntarliy barked with laughter, waking half the class.  By the time most had looked up, the slide had changed. It was as if I was the only one who had seen it.  After that, I always paid close attention.  You never knew what was going to pop up next.

  5. mostly

    Have you checked out The Confluence, for example?  They were also furious at Fox for having betrayed them, then when Hannity came on there were jokes about who gets to be his girlfriend.

    The racial stuff is pretty heavy though so be warned.

  6. ragekage

    I even have an active account there, still. I’ve thought about doing a GBCW diary, but I figure I ought to keep that account handy, just in case.

    It’s sickening. There’s nothing left of the Republican party I want to salvage.

  7. To everyone who can go to the hard right sites.  I can’t take going there, and, when I do stumble upon one via a link, I “hit and git.”  I appreciate converse opinions, but not abject idiocy.  


    It looks like the commenters at FR were not happy with McCain’s performance but when Faux said it wasn’t good, they got angry.  They expected Faux to alleviate their own misgivings with spin and talking points.  When Faux displayed the same luke warm response to McCain’s debate performance, they were outraged and shocked.  

  9. Kysen

    You are a braver soul than I.

    I would need to be heavily medicated in order to keep my blood pressure under control on such sites.

    I used to visit Alegre’s soap box…but, upon the advisement of my doctor (ok, my wife) I stopped doing so.

    Great diary….loved the Alice theme woven into it.

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