10 January, 2012

Curb your outrage

There is an old and wise saying:
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
I can’t help thinking of this piece of wisdom while watching the controversy over Teresa Gambaro’s comments about migrants.

“Who?” you may well ask.

Apparently, she’s the Liberal member for Brisbane and apparently she’s suggested that new migrants should be taught to use deodorant and how to queue politely.

Of course, we could talk about how this trivialises the issue of multiculturalism, we could talk about how it appeals to racists, we could talk about the irony of a daughter of Italian immigrants saying something like that but really, who cares?

Who had heard of Ms Gambaro this time yesterday? Anyone? And now, thanks to the outrage sparked by her comments, she has gone from being unknown outside her electorate and party room to having a national profile. Way to go! And don’t try to tell me this is going to harm her image. I’ll lay odds that no-one who has spoken out against her would have voted Liberal anyway. Meanwhile, every Herald-Sun reader has just become a fan. We all know there are Liberals and their supporters who wear pissing off the left like a badge of honour. I’ll bet Andrew Bolt has already written his latest “defending free speech” column citing this as an example. How many callers will talkback radio air saying, “She just said what everyone else is thinking.”? Menzies House must be creaming themselves.

Need I remind anyone that this is how Pauline Hanson got her start?
Previously unknown political figure makes stupid comment sparking moral outrage, suddenly becomes darling of racists and reactionaries.

To engage in assessments of Gambaro’s insensitivity and detailed rebuttal of her premise is to make her more important than she is. That doesn’t help anyone.

I was perfectly happy having never heard of Ms Gambaro. Forgive me if I am not shocked to learn a Coalition backbencher said something stupid. Rather than taking the bait and giving the reactionary right another matyr, progressives should let the inanity of her remarks be self evident and never argue with an idiot.

Update: Sal Piracha presents a differing view here: The Idiot and the Village

1 comment:

  1. I think online social media is making us all more stupider.