The hamster wheel of trying to prove something

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, October 5, 2009 14:00 EDT
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Okay, this made me laugh.

Conservatives Are Weird

Not that I really care, but the whole Olympics thing was just bizarre.

The link goes to Media Matters, which chronicled the strange celebration conservatives threw because Obama wasn’t able to get the Olympics to Chicago.

Conservative media figures have celebrated the International Olympic Committee’s elimination of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and used the event to bash President Obama, who flew to Copenhagen to lobby IOC members on behalf of Chicago’s bid. For instance, Glenn Beck called the news that Chicago’s bid had failed “so sweet,” Rush Limbaugh declared himself “happy” and “gleeful” with the results, and Matt Drudge proclaimed: “World rejects Obama.”

All this reminds me of what happened to us Friday night when we went to see Zombieland at the Alamo Drafthouse South at 7PM. We get there early to get good seats and food, and Marc ends up sitting next to this guy who has very little sense of personal space. Over the course of the next 20 minutes before the movie starts, when we’re ordering our food and cracking jokes about the cheesy clips from 60s and 70s era zombie movies they’re showing, this guy proceeds to bump into Marc like 30 times. His elbow comes careening towards Marc’s face, and he has to dodge it. He keeps stepping on Marc’s foot. Finally, like two minutes into the actual movie, Marc cracks, and says to the guy, “I don’t know if you realize, but you keep bumping into me. Do you mind being more careful?”

At this point, the guy turns and says something like, “Step off, faggot.” Right that second, his wife, who is sitting on the other side of him, grabs his arm and immediately tries to defuse the situation, sending the signal loud and clear that she’s used to this kind of overreaction from her husband. She suggests that she and her husband switch seats, and Marc nods and suggests that’s a good idea.

Then the guy gets up—presumably to switch seats with his wife—and instead turns to Marc and strikes the wide-stance, squared shoulders pose. You know the one—I’m a big, tough man ready to fight pose. He looks, in other words, ridiculous. Marc noted later, “It was a lot like watching ‘Animal Kingdom’, when those lizards puff out their necks in order to look bigger and tougher.”

His wife gets totally flustered, and then the guy says to Marc, “You want to take this out to the parking lot?” and then swipes the air in front of Marc’s face, tapping his nose. We all stared slack-jawed at the guy, because we were in a movie theater at 7PM, not at a loud bar at 1AM, where you’d expect this kind of drunken stupidity, even though it’s still not excusable. And that was that. Marc got up, went to the manager, and had them kicked out. And then we enjoyed Zombieland in peace.

I bring this up, because I would bet a large sum of money that guy votes Republican. Not that Democrats don’t have their share of assholes, but that level of overreaction, that eagerness to get into a fight with someone for no discernible reason, that paranoid reaction to the world, and the fact that his wife immediately snapped into damage control mode, demonstrating that this is typical behavior for this guy—that’s the sort of over-the-top pointless assholery that defines the scrambling remains of the Republican party. The guy’s insecurity about his masculinity radiated off him, and I suspect he may have been bumping into Marc because he both enjoys just dominating spaces and showing other people they don’t matter to him, and also because he hopes someone says something to him so he can threaten them. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he instigates this shit in spaces where he’s guaranteed to get the slack-jawed reaction and a quick end without any actual violence, so that he can declare victory and savor that fantasy that he totally could have won if he’d had the chance, all without actually putting his bravado to the test. Watching it all go down, I was reminded strongly of Dan Riehl fantasizing that a group of black teenagers on the Metro was right about to fight him, so he totally kick some ass. Why, he imagines it so strongly it practically happened!

And that’s what the Olympic crowing was about. Making up imaginary victories over Obama, who threatens them in this very personal-seeming way, so they can feel like Real Men$reg;. Of course, the feeling wears off in milliseconds, as the gnawing anxiety is a beast that can never be satiated. They can’t even really savor it, they’re so busy chasing the next victory over the President. It doesn’t matter what it’s about. They’d stop him from picking up an old lady that fell down in the middle of a busy street if that meant feeling, for just that small blip in time, like they’re powerful. Before they’re reminded that he’s still the President.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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