The @LibTardBot machine

>> Friday, May 21, 2010

So I was just doing my usual computer stuff this weekend, with a Gwibber window open on the desktop, and I tweeted (i.e., for those who don't know, posted a comment on Twitter) something or another about teabaggers. It was probably funny at the time, I don't know. And a few minutes later, the most mildly marvelous thing happened: I was re-tweeted (i.e. my earlier message was repeated) by something or someone calling itself @LibTardBot, with the addendum, "Libtard detected! Approach w/caution, probably delusional." Which I guess puts me in my place or something.

Now, @LibTardBot isn't actually that interesting: somebody set up an automated system to grab tweets (messages) that mention the word "teabagger" and re-post them with whatever little message the creator hopes will get someone's goat. Sometimes, rarely, he (the creator) jumps in to add a direct comment or response, and he has the 'bot set to filter messages a little (I was hoping to ratchet up a cute little pinball score by just saying "teabagger" a lot more than usual but he stopped re-tweeting me). It's a pretty useful service @LibTardBot provides--I actually started to follow @LibTardBot because it's a nice way to aggregate what other liberals and progressives (and occasional mis-tagged conservatives) are saying on Twitter, though I can't wholly endorse following him/it just because he aggregates a lot of messages and Sturgeon's Law applies to Twitter as much as it applies anywhere. But this isn't really what I wanted to write about, anyway; it just seemed like a necessary intro.

No, the interesting part was @LibTardBot's homepage, which turned out to be the Urban Dictionary page for the word "libtard", and this turned out to be something sort of curious. See, one might think that "libtard" is a sort of Sovietesque syllabic abbreviation of the words "liberal" and "retard," and of course one would be absolutely correct. And one might then think that was all there was to it, that nothing more needed to be said on the subject.

One would, it turns out, be wrong.

You see, the fine mob authors of the Urban Dictionary are motivated not just by a desire to explore the emergent diversity of the English language, but by a desire to show off how clever and witty they are (they are, in other words, exactly like bloggers). It is insufficient to merely say that a libtard is a "liberal retard," a UD contributor must explain, expound and pontificate, offer examples of usage inspired by but not actually anything like the examples of usage offered in real dictionaries, etc.

This turns out to be fascinating and mildly amusing.

It turns out to be fascinating and mildly amusing because few things are as fascinating and mildly amusing as somebody who isn't really clever trying very, very hard to show off how clever they are, especially on a subject that doesn't actually merit that much effort--and don't you dare say anything. (There's not a whit of irony here, thank you, because while I hope I'm amusing you, I am definitely amusing myself, and masturbation mandates that we expend much effort on something very small by the mere nature of the act. And yes, I am speaking for myself, thank you, smartass.)

Many of the authors of the "libtard" entry, in fact, manage to expend so many words on the subject they manage to write themselves out of "libtardism" (the state of being a libtard, natch) being a bad thing at all. Take this, for instance:

As repetitive as it sounds, it stands for "liberal retard."

A libtard wants to live in a fantasy world (in which life is the way that they WISH IT WAS) as opposed to dealing with life the way it actually is.

(This explains the religious fervor that many of them demonstrate when it comes to smoking pot).

The most idealistic libtard envisions a time when science/technology and Socialism will eliminate all poverty, hunger, war, disease, injustice, unemployment and prejudice. (It is a nice pipe dream but human nature will forever stand in the way of that goal).

Most libtards subscribe to the notion that "people are basically good", and build their foundation for activism and "improving the human condition" on that faulty premise. Because they deny the facts about human nature, their "reasoning" is diametrically opposite to common sense (blue states vs. red states).

The reality that people have different initiative levels, are basically selfish, and often work for their own interests before helping others, puts a libtard's panties in a wad. So, when citizens will not voluntarily comply with various libtard prescriptions for "the common good", then laws must be passed, or force used, to MAKE them comply. (It is the gradual path to totalitarianism).

A libtard, in other words, is a Star Trek fan. Possibly one who likes weed.

I'm not even wholly joking, I mean, read this again--

The most idealistic libtard envisions a time when science/technology and Socialism will eliminate all poverty, hunger, war, disease, injustice, unemployment and prejudice. (It is a nice pipe dream but human nature will forever stand in the way of that goal).

--and ask yourself how on Earth this is actually a bad thing. It might be an unrealistic thing, to be sure--maybe, maybe not. But are we to infer from something like this that a "smartcon" (or whatever you'd like to call the exact opposite of a libtard) is somebody who aspires to a world in which superstition/brute force and capitalism create a world full of poverty, hunger, war, disease, injustice, unemployment and prejudice? Really? Really? I mean, I would have assumed that a conservative Utopian aspired to almost exactly the same things as the "most idealistic libtard" with the difference of replacing the word "Socialism" with "free enterprise" or something along those lines.

Image borrowed from Memory Alpha's_Arrow_(episode)A geek such as myself recalls that the "most idealistic libtard's" "pipe dream" is, indeed, more-or-less the future described to a fictionalized, time-traveling Mark Twain in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow." I don't know that Gene Roddenberry was particularly left-wing--his views seemed very Eisenhower-era Republican much of the time, to be honest--but there it is. And I have to admit I found ST:TNG's version of the future a bit facile and unrealistic, myself: I seem to recall somebody in that TNG episode telling Twain that poverty has been eradicated, which is a meaningless statement insofar as poverty is a relative state--if you're in a future where any item can be created by a fancy-schmancy replicator, it won't mean that there aren't any poor people, only that people who don't have replicators will be poor. Still, it's something to aspire to, however absurd or unrealistic or unachievable it might seem, no?

In a similar vein, this Urban Dictionary contributor possibly thinks libtards are martyrs:

A liberal ideolog who puts their political beliefs above their natural sense of self preservation.

Source: WikipediaSetting aside the misspelling of "ideologue," one boggles a little at the premise of the definition: generations of Americans, from the Revolutionary War to the present, have put political beliefs ahead of a sense of self preservation and have volunteered to go to war--instead of saying something like, "Well, you know, Bob, I really think Hitler is a fink and you know I'm opposed to totalitarianism and fascism, but those German guys are going to have guns--a guy could get shot!" Hell, Americans during the early years of the First World War and the Spanish Civil War (among other occasions), volunteered for wars America wasn't even involved in when they traveled abroad to enlist in the French Foreign Legion and the Lincoln Brigade.

This one is just kind of funny all around:

A person who has no opinion for their selves and will follow ideas with out any real logic. They usually believe in taking peoples money away that they worked for, and redistributing it to bums and minorities who dont want to work. Extremely hypocritical and selfish to the needs of honest people. Believes in nothing more than to destroy the American Constitution and will stop at nothing to make socialistic and communistic laws implemented into our society. A cross between a liberal, and a retard.

I'm leaving out the example in which this contributor spells "Pelosi" with a "w".

The common thread in nearly all of the entries over at the website is an almost pathologically-narcissistic selfishness, which I suppose I should find more sad than funny although I keep laughing at it. Libtards want to eliminate prejudice, redistribute money, sacrifice themselves and others for a greater good, and other such things that are inevitably doomed to failure because humans by their nature are small, selfish and stupid, or so we're told. It may be a sign of just how liberal and retarded I actually am that I read these definitions and can't help thinking, however, that libtardism as it's defined by these folks is at least virtuous; I would have thought conservatives of good will agreed to more-or-less the same ends as liberals such as myself, and that our argument was merely one (or perhaps profoundly one, actually) over the best means to those ends, silly things like minimizing or eliminating poverty, reducing injustice, that sort of thing. And if liberals and conservatives disagree over humanity's proclivity towards goodness, I might have hoped we at least agreed about humanity's potential; that is, liberals and conservatives might argue over whether Man is innately selfish while agreeing he has the potential for moral greatness if we knew how to nurture and sustain it.

I suspect the UD contributors are outliers, and that there's a mostly-silent majority of conservatives who are disagreeing about the means, not the ends; of course, this might be a symptom of my profound and congenital libtardation; perhaps the thoughtful and kind conservatives I know are, in fact, the outliers, and the majority of conservatives are unreconstructed Calvinists at heart.

What's most fascinating about the UD entries, of course, is that they provide a much greater insight into the authors than into the subject. Reading all of these entries, one finds that one actually knows little more than one already assumed about the word "libtard" and that this was in fact all one needed to know, but that one does have a sad-yet-comic insight into how some individuals evidently think (or in some of these samples, frankly, what some people do with their brains in lieu of thought).

It's self-evident that @LibTardBot, wherever and whomever he might be, thinks he's being biting and insulting. Looking over the page he links to and identifies with, it's obvious the contributors to the Urban Dictionary also think they're being smart, funny and cruel. In the process, @LibTardBot has connected me to a number of progressives and liberals whose short messages and links to blogs and news articles I would have otherwise missed, and the contributors to the UD create the singular impression that being liberal and stupid is preferable to being smart and conservative, or whatever else the opposition might represent. These facts would, if you're keeping track of such things, constitute examples of the much-abused word "irony." And so it is.


Random Michelle K Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:26:00 AM EDT  

This post is good, but it feels like a really long way of responding to the comment, "You're a bitch"

"You say that like it's a bad thing."


Eric Friday, May 21, 2010 at 9:37:00 AM EDT  

Heh. Thanks (I think), and yeah, that would have been shorter I guess. :)

Warner (aka ntsc) Friday, May 21, 2010 at 10:38:00 AM EDT  

My first wife collected and wore T shirts with the word Bitch on them.

My wife gets upset because when she calls me an SOB I answer 'yes.'.

mingex - former harem girl of Ming the Merciless

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