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Phony political scientist sees morons at fake Independence Hall and is impressed.


With all apologies to J.D. Salinger, I can’t resist reading Donald Douglas’s account of a Michele Bachmann event at Knott’s Berry Farm in Holden Caulfield’s terms. This is contemporary conservatism boiled to the bone: some morons convince a phony of their patriotism by speaking before a replica of an actual American institution. Douglas’s photo-essay captures what history signifies when you subscribe to Tea Party logic even more starkly than those fake patriots who demonstrate their solidarity with the Founding Fathers by showing up at rallies with tea-bags.

Did I say rallies? I meant “sparsely-attended speeches by purported conservative celebrities in the most conservative county in the country,” because as Douglas’s own photos attest, David Horowitz and Michele Bachmann have little drawing power within spitting distance of the birth place of Richard Nixon. Not that Douglas would care, mind you, because he can’t tear his authentic eyes away from all the ersatz history. Even his grammar becomes ambiguous in the presence of all this fakery:

As you can see, the park’s Independence Hall is an exact replica of the original historic landmark in Philadelphia, PA. Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed there.

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in Knott’s Berry Farm’s Independence Hall? According to Knott’s Berry Farm, they most certainly were:

Douglas then produces:

[a] shot of the [Knott’s Berry Farm’s replica of the] bell’s famous crack.

The faked crack on the fake Liberty Bell is famous? All morons hate it when their grammar reveals that they’re morons.

Not that it’s just the grammar, as his caption to this picture demonstrates: “[t]he sweeties at the gift counter, in 18th century dress.” If you press your ear against the monitor, you can almost hear him declaiming: “That is too an authentic 18th century windbreaker!” But perhaps the best part of Douglas’s account is the definitive evidence that Tea Party patriots don’t know from English. He notes that Michele Bachmann

came to California straight from Washington and the last night’s SOTU. She reminded the crowd that this time last year the big talk was Joe Wilson’s “you lie,” while this week it’s Samuel Alito’s “not true,” and she turned that into a little chant to fire up the patriots in attendence.

If that chant sounds like Douglas suggests it does—”You lie! Not true! You lie! Not true!”—then those patriots sure told Joe Wilson a thing or two.

Update. If you’re going to pretend to be an academic, Donald Douglas, you shouldn’t link to something that says I’m a “Doctor of Philosophy of English,” then write that I claim to have “a Ph.D. in the ‘Philosophy of English.'” People who work in academia should, after all, know what the letters “Ph.D.” stand for. Moreover, survival in academia requires the actual refutation of points. It’s cute that you noticed I made two typographical errors, but neither error was material to my argument (the substance of which you’ve yet to refute).

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