without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism
I did a double-take when I heard a comment attributed to Nevada state assemblyman Francis Xavier Wiget II. The tea party Republican’s remark was so extreme that I thought it was probably a headline from the online spoof site, The Onion.
Republican Nevada state assemblyman said that he would vote for legislation in favor of slavery if his constituents wanted him to.
Only it was real. The story (and a video of the comment from last August) is being circulated on the Internet and on social networking services. The context of his remark is Wiget’s belief that a representative’s responsibility is to follow the voters’ will, and not to exercise individual judgment. You can watch the video and read more context and commentary on this story at Raw Story.
The other rather extreme comment I came across is one attributed to Rush Limbaugh and I thought that he had really gone over the edge this time. Here’s the headline version:
Limbaugh advises Muslims and blacks to avoid ObamaCare by committing mass suicide
I found the story at Newslo.com. The article said:
Limbaugh argued that if a person did not owe a tax refund the IRS had no way to access their bank account and impose the penalty, but today he went a step further by suggesting that mass suicide was perhaps the only way out. “The only reasonable response now to the government trying to impose socialized medicine on us is for every American, and especially the blacks and Muslims, to kill themselves en masse,” Limbaugh told his audience.
I’m not familiar with Newslo.com, so I could not immediately decide whether the preceding comment and a host of other “extreme” remarks attributed to Limbaugh there were true or a parody. (The first time I ever heard Limbaugh on the radio, I thought it was a parody of “talk radio.”) Internet searches for the quotation all point back to Newslo, Newslo, after closer examination , appears to be a parody site, with headlines like:
- Obama Delays Individual Mandate until Republicans Resume Government Shutdown.
- Hannity files for unemployment benefits
- Dozens of admissions officers commit suicide following U.S. News & World Report College Ratings
- Cumulus Radio to drop Limbaugh, Hannity doe to lack of lesbians
So I add myself to the anecdotal evidence that Poe’s Law is true.