SmirkGate and the Illusion of Morals

Last weekend, (as of when I wrote this,) while the rest of the world landed rockets on the moon, launched revolutions, enjoyed a good soccer match, or whatever it is other people do, Americans lost their shit over a teenager smirking (SMIRKING, I tell you) at a Native American.

This smirking teenager was so shocking to the American conscience that no less a newspaper than the New York Times covered the incident:

They intersected on Friday in an unsettling encounter outside the Lincoln Memorial — a throng of cheering and jeering high school boys, predominantly white and wearing “Make America Great Again” gear, surrounding a Native American elder.

Of course, many pundits have argued that wearing a hat supporting the sitting US president is itself a crime.

Condemnation for the crime of “getting up in yo face and smirking while wearing a hat” was swift. A Disney producer called for the boy to fed, head first, into a woodchipper.

h/t Sarah Palin on Twitter

Calmer voices advocated for merely punching the boy in the face.

About five minutes later, more video footage of the event emerged, and the real story began trickling through the internet–contrary to what the NY Times had reported, the smirking teens had not surrounded a Native American elder. The elder, (Nathan Philips,) had walked up to them, and they, waiting for their bus at the end of a school field trip, had stayed put and kept waiting for their bus.

At this point, some in the media apologized–and others doubled down. Smirking was a crime. The students were racists.

It’s Time to Make it Impossible for Racists to Live Public Lives


Meanwhile, I came across several other stories last weekend that didn’t elicit nearly so much condemnation:

A 10 yr old boy committed suicide because his classmates were bullying him for being disabled.

Everyone who bullied this little boy absolutely deserves to be beaten and then their parents deserve to be beaten for raising such disgusting little shits, but no one is calling for them to be put into a woodchipper, because the good and thoughtful of America don’t think bullying a disabled child to death is as terrible a crime as smirking at a guy.

Illegal Immigrant Macario Cerda was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and impregnating children, at least one of whom was under the age of 14. He has been deported multiple times for violent and predatory behavior, but hey, Trump’s the real bad guy for saying that illegal immigrants aren’t the best immigrants.

I have yet to observe anyone in the media suggesting that we could save the American taxpayers a bundle by feeding Cerda through a woodchipper instead of keeping him in prison. Does he have a punchable face? More like a face that would break your fist if you tried.

These “parents” were arrested for splitting their 14 month old baby boy’s tongue with a pair of scissors, among other horrors. The New York Times will never write an article about them. No one will ever advocate that we should make it impossible for them to ever return to public life once they are released from prison.

Prison inmates in Ohio were stabbed by another prison inmate while they were handcuffed to a table, unable to get away or defend themselves.

I could go on. Criminals do terrible things every day. People raped, tortured, and murdered, even children. True, we have a system in place that tries, (albeit clumsily and at times with sociopathic carelessness,) to punish criminals and remove them from the rest of us, but the high and mighty of our nation seem utterly unmoved by their crimes. They express only confusion–and anger–at the peasant rabble that gets worked up by such meaningless events as “someone murdering your daughter.” Don’t these peasants know that the real crimes are committed by smirking schoolboys? That the real crime is smirking?

The real divide in America today is between people who think it should be illegal to shoot home invaders but legal to put MAGA teens through woodchippers, and everyone else who hasn’t gone completely fucking insane.

Tribalism is a strong drug.


16 thoughts on “SmirkGate and the Illusion of Morals

  1. The guy wasn’t even smirking. To smirk is to grin in a malicious or smug way, whereas he was smiling nervously, trying to keep his composure and remain polite while some stranger inexplicably banged a drum in his face for an uncomfortably long time.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. People always learn the wrong lesson from events.

    Indians should be greatful my forefathers let any of them surrive vs bitching about what happened to them. We all know often as it such technically backwards people get replaced completely

    And the lesson to learn for White folks is, don’t let any of them fuckers surrive because they will be a whinny annoyance to your decendants for generations

    White folks should also understand what will happen to us if we ever become a seriously small minority

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t really blame Philips too much, which is why I didn’t focus on him. He banged a drum and made up a stupid story, but it was the NY Times that decided “teenager smirked at old man” needed to be national news. If you’re looking for a story to fit a particular narrative, sooner or later you’ll find it, especially if you’re willing to accept rumors and lies.


  3. I think there is a difference between crimes and acts of war.
    Murder = a crime. Criminals should be treated humanely in a society as illuminated as ours.
    Wearing the wrong hat =an act of war against our illuminated an humane society. And wars are never humane.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another dangerous issue, I think, is that different parts of the country have different standards of what your “resting face” should be. I grew up in the Midwest, and when teaching high school students in the Northeast, it could be hard to convince them I was unhappy with their behavior, because to them, I was smiling. At the same time, visitors from New York City often comment that people in Boston smile a lot.. Long story short, for all the talk of cultural relativism and valuing different ways of doing things, there’s not a lot of tolerance for what are obvious cultural differences that very clearly don’t actually cause any harm unless we decide to start something. Benefit of the doubt, anyone?


    • Yeah I saw some article which started with a whole tirade about how “of course you don’t talk to the Black Hebrew Tribe” people – they’re terrible”, and then it transformed into the kids’ fault somehow for not just ignoring those pekple. Like how are you supposed to know about this weird group that mostly exists on NY subways if you’re from, really, anywhere else in the country?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am a nervous smiler, so now I just try not to have facial expressions.

      There’s not a whole lot of sympathy out there for the “how on earth were some kids supposed to know how to react to this situation they’d never encountered before?” position.


  5. Here is how I think this insane reactions happen, as an input – output model. Input -> person -> output.

    Normal case: Information about the event and the circumstances -> person -> reaction/opinion.

    Insanity spiral:

    Picture -> person1 -> makes up fake story.

    Fake story + picture -> person2 -> exaggerated reaction.

    Exaggerated reaction of person2 -> person3 -> even more exaggerated reaction.

    Even more exaggerated reaction of person 3 -> person4 -> insane reaction.

    What I mean it is like a game of telephone. The input for person4 isn’t even a story or anything like that. It is just that person3 “stood up to racism”, well, person4 does not want to fall behind, and better too much than too little, nobody ever got thrown off the gravy train for a little too much zeal, so make sure to give an even stronger reaction etc.

    Sanity means reacting to a set of reliable information about an event and the circumstances. So it means everybody basing their reaction on Step 1 and not on the reaction of someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

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