Wingnut treasure hunt

A reader sent this in, describing it as “grotesquely stupid”. I agree.

This, to me, is part of a larger phenomenon that I find very troubling. Technology has made it possible for idiots to create extremely lengthy, confusing documents that are so elaborate that any criticism can be sort-of deflected with a “what about that red dot?” or “that is central to my point as you would know if you read the whole thing”. Megan McArdle is the ultimate example of this, but she is hardly alone. It’s Infinite Jest as political argument.

64 replies
  1. 1
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    Teatard stupidity used to make me react with sanrky derision. Then I moved on to disgust. Now I am beyond disgust.

  2. 2

    How apropos would it be if the nearest remains belonged to an agnostic?

  3. 3
    West of the Cascades says:

    I’d just describe it as “grotesque.” How far below the location of remains is the shopping mall going to be built? I take it that all national battlefields, cemeteries, etc. are now fair game for construction of WalMarts?

  4. 4
    licensed to kill time says:

    I embiggened the image and didn’t see any red sprinkles around the ‘mosque’ site. I’d heard that their trump card was the landing gear on the roof of the coat factory; the red sprinkles are new to me.

    With all due respect.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Can someone please explain why this matters? I be confuzzled.

  6. 6

    I am normally all for the greater use of infographics to explain complex topics (NYT actually does a pretty good job in this department – esp. online), but this is utter and complete misleading garbage.

  7. 7
    Guster says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The Muslims are feasting on our Honored Dead.

  8. 8

    only on what is left after the Burlington Coat Fascists got to them.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Guster says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Don’t make me get all Buffalo Bill up in here.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Guster: Oh. How quaint.

  12. 12
    Jay C says:


    So obsessive hysterical teatard bullshit nonsense about the AWFUL HORRORZ !!11!! of a “Ground Zero Mosque” based on the “remains” “defense” is, in effect, “defended” by a map showing, AFAICT, NO remains near the proposed Park51 site?

    One sighs…

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    What is this supposed to mean? No one ever told me what distance from ground zero would be ok. Now I have to figure out the right distance from a red dot? It’s like wingnut calvinball.

  14. 14
    mistermix says:

    You mean somebody is buying a dildo right now in a sexshop near where human remains were found? Well, at least they aren’t praying to Allah.

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:


    The last graph in the link says it best

    “It is a shame, shame, shame,” Mr. Mamdouh, 49, said of the Park51 dispute. “Sometimes I wake up and think, this is not what I came to America for. I came here to build this country together. People are using this issue for their own agenda. It’s designed to keep the hate going.”

  16. 16
    Steve says:


  17. 17
    Cerberus says:

    That’s not new.

    Google “rapture timelines”. They are filled with lots of dates and “ages” and other pseudo-scholarly functions which might even be filled with citations to Bible quotations. But has the same complete lack of thought and engenders “what about the red dot” deflections.

    Basically, the teatards are the die-hard core of conspiracy theorists and other whackaloons. And if there’s anything conspiracy theorists love, it’s complex diagrams that evoke thought and scholastic research while lacking either.

  18. 18
    Guster says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, if you don’t mind swarthy death cultists chanting ‘Kali Ma, Kali Ma,’ on your mother’s gravestone, that’s your business.

    All this means is: “Murder victims? Mosque! Murder victims? Mosque!”

    It’s not wingnut Calvinball, it’s wingnut Marco Polo.

  19. 19
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Jay C: Once any proposition and it’s opposite are accepted (p and not-p), any conclusion one desires may be derived. This is called the principle of explosion.

    Put another way, once you’re in crazytown, anything goes.

  20. 20
    Jewish Steel says:

    Tragic map…

    Apt. But not in the sense they mean it.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    The not mosque site is not at the WTC location and remains were not found there. This is not complicated.

  22. 22
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @John Cole: Once you drop any pretense to rationality, anything goes. See my post at 19.

    Wingnuts have been playing Calvinball for at least the last 10 years.

  23. 23
    jrg says:

    Ahh, wingnuts… Always speaking for people who are too dead to speak for themselves.

  24. 24
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Cerberus: It’s a form of bullshit: to give the impression of serious, intelligent research without having either. Notice how wingnut columnists as well as forwards, etc, always try to include little erudite references that do nothing to advance the argument. Also, Dennis Miller is an arsewipe

  25. 25
    Chad N Freude says:

    @John Cole: I want to know how far it is from Fort Hood. I’ve read that they have Islamic prayer services right on-site at Ft. Hood for Muslim soldiers. It’s a disgrace and a slap in the face to fallen American soldiers (except of course fallen Muslim soldiers). Why has no one demanded that Muslims be expelled from the armed forces?

    ETA: I think the stupidity should be spread around. Why limit it to WTC?

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Guster: Mom’s alive.

  27. 27
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You just don’t get it, do you. What do facts have to do with spreading tribal hatred?

    ETA: Besides, it’s not there-ness, it’s close-to-there-ness that’s important. Where close is defined as any distance that I want it to be.

  28. 28
    auroraborealis says:

    Can someone please explain to me why a community center that contains a prayer room built maybe possibly near where some ashes landed is more offensive than a frickin mall built inside the site of people’s demise?

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, people.

  29. 29
    sparky says:

    well, it IS calvinball, but i can’t fault them for using irrational marketing to further their irrational preferences. after all, it’s worked pretty well in the land of politics for at least thirty years now, and in the world of consumer marketing, much, much longer. the only thing i find surprising is that despite its pervading every aspect of their existence, the vast majority of Americans apparently have not acquired any sort of immunity to advertising.

  30. 30
    Cerberus says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:



    “This may seem incredibly stupid, divorced from reality, and only designed to appeal to your base ignorances, fear, and tribal loyalties, but it totally isn’t. Look at this confusing diagram. Only a smart person could come up with that and you could be a smart person too if you follow me, smarter than those other smart people who look down on you with their confusing talk. Just shut off your brain and come with us and we’ll never tell.”

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chad N Freude: I guess I just am not very good at tribal hatred. Although, I am getting better at it. I just prefer mine to be fact based.

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    the red dots form an obvious crescent

  33. 33
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I’m surprised they don’t try an “ashes of the dead’ map. After all, they blew all the way to Brooklyn,

  34. 34
    psychobroad says:

    @John Cole: I think you won the tubes with that one! Wingnut calvinball indeed. Can I use that? I promise to give you credit.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Hey, no reading ahead to the next chapter.

  36. 36
    Boudica says:

    The worst part is the clip of those clowns on Fox and Friends discussing this map. I never wanted to throw something through my computer screen so badly in my life.

    Fox & Friends nonsense

  37. 37
    Johnny Gentle (famous crooner) says:

    Hey, leave Infinite Jest out of this.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Boudica: You can’t make me click on that. I won’t do it.

  39. 39
    Winson Smith says:

    Folks, folks, this is just fundamentalist Catholic-envy.

    Catholics have been venerating relics — obsessing over them, building little shrines around them — for millenia. Protestants declared this idol worship and rejected it. Martin Luther famously joked, “Jesus had 12 disciples and 14 of them are buried in Germany.”

    Still, they know that in their heart of hearts that attributing magic powers to pieces of dead people is just good fun! They’ve even taken it to a new level. One local wingnut pointed out that some parts of landing gear hit the Burlington Coat Factory building, making it holy.

    The fundie Christians in this country have clearly been bored with that hippy Jesus for quite some time now, and are sneaking around and dabbling in necromancy. You almost have to feel sorry for them.

  40. 40
    Mumphrey says:

    These fucking people are ghouls.

  41. 41
    Zuzu's Petals says:



    Strippers didn’t attack the World Trade Center!

  42. 42
    Bill H says:

    The wingtards displaying it is repugnant and stupid, so what does that make you for displaying it? By all means, let us stoop to the level of the lowest common denominator.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bill H: Pointing out the stupidity of someone’s argument often requires making reference to it.

  44. 44
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Oh this isn’t the kind of thing that technology enables. What this essentially is is statistics, and people since the dawn of humanity have been jamming statistics up against each other trying to show there’s significance where there’s no meaning.

    Besides, I don’t even know what the fuck they’re trying to demonstrate with that image. It’s just the graphical form of what they’ve been whining about all this time, and it doesn’t illustrate their moronic point any clearer.

  45. 45
    Triassic Sands says:

    @John Cole:

    No one ever told me what distance from ground zero would be ok.

    I think the minimum acceptable distance is about a quarter of a million miles or roughly the distance to the moon. I have it on good authority that very few Amurkins would object to the construction of a mosque on the moon — as long as it’s on the dark side. That way no one would have to look at it.

    (Warning: the dark side of the moon might lose its acceptable status should we, i.e., Amurkins, ever colonize the moon. The only decent thing for Muslims to do at that point would be to move to Venus or Mercury.)

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Triassic Sands: I think it may be summed up this way: D=x+y. D = acceptable distance, x = whatever distance someone proposes, and y = some non-zero positive number.

  47. 47
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    Clearly, there’s going to be a boom in the construction industry now that we have this new restriction that you can’t build anything near where human remains were found. I guess that makes basically the whole east coast off limits?

  48. 48
    bjacques says:

    Look at the map again. Under the proposed Victory Mosque is where the last case of Canadian Club is hidden. Sharia Law! Bastards…

  49. 49
    PurpleGirl says:

    @auroraborealis: Not really a mall — several shopping concourses (although the total area will be about 500,000 square feet). Two levels below ground of the replacement towers and three or so levels above ground connecting the other 3 office towers. Just like the shopping concourse that was there in the original Twin Towers.

  50. 50
    ChrisB says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    How apropos would it be if the nearest remains belonged to an agnostic?

    Or a Muslim.

  51. 51
    auroraborealis says:

    @PurpleGirl: Thanks for explaining it. I knew there were going to be offices and shopping as well, but wasn’t sure of the exact setup. Out here in the middle of nowhere we’re not so big on multipurpose, so I’m used to calling enclosed places with stores, malls.

    At any rate, I still don’t see how commercial space (as opposed to say, a park) is _more_ respectful than a place of worship, which is what these protesters seem to be saying.

  52. 52
    SP says:

    @Zuzu: Didn’t a bunch of the hijackers go to a strip club right before the attacks? How do we know they aren’t planning another attack from the “Gentleman’s club” right down the street? (Boy, there’s a whitewash euphemism for terrorist planning grounds.) Someone needs to recreate this map for the distances to that den of sin- it’s on Greenwich St. so there might be a red dot right on top of it.

  53. 53
    Uloborus says:

    I think it’s important to point out that (at least for the rank and file, and probably many of the major purveyors) this is not ‘bullshit’ in the sense of a deliberate attempt at obfuscation and deception. This is plain old conspiracy theorist logic. ‘I can draw a link between A and B, therefor C is true.’ I hooks up beautifully with classical wingnut ‘proof by anecdote’ logic, where a random fact or quote that sounds kind of like it supports the case you want to make is itself sufficient proof.

    The Neocons rebranded the political right as the anti-reality movement. And now they have to look at who they’re sharing the bed with.

  54. 54
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    But which of those red dots represent the remains of muslim victims? How can we know where the veil of sacredness falls unless we can avoid where muslims fell.

  55. 55
    ruemara says:

    As a NYer, I’d personally like to kick all these fetishizers and ghoulish tragedy pimps in the nuts with a pair of steel clad doc marten’s until I make some nut jelly.

  56. 56
    Cacti says:

    Okay, so within what distance of a red dot should the First Amendment no longer apply?

    If you ask the people in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at least 890 miles.

    The folks in Sheboygan, Wisconsin say 940 miles.

    The residents of Temecula, California say 2800 miles is still too close.

  57. 57
    PurpleGirl says:

    @auroraborealis: NYC’s engine of all things is real estate. That is where the power is, in addition to Wall Street and the banksters. When the buildings first came down and the various constituencies began to make their desires known, some people wanted the buildings rebuilt exactly as they were. Others wanted new buildings, there were proponents of leaving the site a park, having a memorial and/or a museum. There was also three levels of government involved and the Port Authority of NY and NJ (the actual land owners — Silverstein owns the rights to manage the property and owns some buildings but not the land itself). The name of the game was competition, who had the power to decide what.

    There will be 5 office towers. Mixed use commercial space. A museum, below grade/ground level. A memorial area on top of the museum and below grade/ground level with water fall and trees and such. Some of the buildings were designed and then redesigned for security reasons. It’s been a long nine years in NYC real estate. If people outside the City do not understand it, many in the City don’t either.

  58. 58
    Ripley says:

    Wingnuts: And you shall know them by their trail of dead.

  59. 59
    Quiddity says:

    Judging from the map, the Park51 center is at a place that was upwind on 9/11. That’s clearly a message from God, who, if he didn’t want Park51 established there would have caused the wind to blow in a different direction. So I see it as divine certification of the proposed Park51 project.

  60. 60
    Persia says:

    Can someone shop in where the sex shops and strip clubs are on the map? I think it would be all the more educational then. (And maybe mark where that prayer room was in the south tower, and the stairwell by Windows on the World…)

  61. 61
    Chris says:

    “Tragic map shows just how close human remains were found to the proposed site of an Islamic cultural center” -fear-jerking graphic

    Yeah? How about a map showing how close to “ground zero” Bernie Kerik got to “honor the dead support the troops Remember the Alamo! Remember the Maine! use an apartment donated for emergency responders/rescuers/etc. as a fuck-pad”? You don’t see people arguing that Bernie Kerik’s sexual indiscretions means nobody can get off within blocks of ground zero, do you? Okay, nobody aside from Delaware teabagger Senate candidates, that is.

    (by the way, if “fear-jerker” isn’t a word of political insult, it should be; it’s like combining “tear-jerker” and “fear-monger” with an implicit jerking-off reference, and all three of these apply to the people who get off on telling other people what honoring 9/11 requires them to do.)

  62. 62
    Shelton Lankford says:

    Perhaps the point is to reflect on the wide dispersion of remains from a building collapse that our alleged government says took place without the aid of explosives. Steel girders weighing tons were hurled up to 600 feet away, impaling themselves in buildings across the street.

    Or, if contemplating that is too disturbing, perhaps we can just stage a public burning of Newton’s In Principia

  63. 63
    Bill H says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    But it doesn’t require copying it. I didn’t really want to see that hideous thing. Those are people who died. Does it make you feel good to display them as red dots, and display how they were scattered over the landscape? Is that fun for you?

  64. 64
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Ignorance troll is objecting to knowledge! Call teh intertoob cops!

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