Freedom In Peril: Streich(er) One

My impression was that the democratic electoral wins in November dimmed the chances of a further (rapid) erosion of civil liberties in America, a movement from the current meritocracy to a new aristocratic/technocratic police state. I wasn’t alone – but not every one sees this as a good thing.

In addition to absolute control of information flow, propaganda is critical in any dictatorship. One of the most distasteful propagandists during the Nazi regime was Julius Streicher, the publisher of the anti-Semitic rag Der Stürmer. Over the Christmas holidays, while other people were enjoying the company of family and friends, the merry gentlemen at Wonkette were uncovering a modern version of Der Stürmer; this time not from the neo-nazis, but purportedly from our friends at the NRA.

The story started on December 22nd, when Wonkette posted images from what was supposed to be an NRA propaganda pamphlet. The original Wonkette post starts:

Pro-gun Democrats did better in the midterms than probably any other class of politician, but the National Rifle Association is not in the business of reflecting moderate political reality. The NRA lives off memberships, and the standard card-carrying member has two enemies: Democrats and … deer, moTerrorist Land Lobstersst likely.

But even loyalists go soft, as the GOP learned last month, and you need some Grade A propaganda to get people riled up again. Let no one accuse the NRA of shirking its duty. Freedom In Peril: Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century, is a spectacularly beautiful graphic novel. Here, for example, is one of the biggest threats to the white suburban hunter: dirty hippies and their evil sidekicks: the dynamite-carrying owl, sinister pig, angry Wall Street bull, dire wolf, terror chicken and Land Lobster:

The story was quickly picked up by BoingBoing and derided both in the California CCW – concealed carry forum and in DailyKos by the slightly gender confused (still thinking Wonkette is feminine) writer GoSlash27. The poster at CCW noticed discrepancies in the jpeg naming tag in the posted images and BoingBoing was also completely sceptical. The conflict continued in comment wars both pro and con.

Wonkette fired back. They forwarded not the images they had captured but the original PDF to their detractors. The complete document is now available for download from BoingBoing. This changed the tone of the conversation moving from the determination of the origin to a discussion of who actually did the artwork and the secret messages hidden behind the images.

After two days BoingBoing and CCW convinced themselves that the document might very well be genuine with even the CCW admin conceding:

Seeing those images out of context I initially thought they couldn’t possibly be from the NRA, based on the message and the visual style. I further convinced myself with my faulty JPEG analysis. Seeing the images in context, I’m now inclined to think that, unless we hear otherwise from the NRA, this is genuine. Congratulations to Wonkette for scooping this.

I certainly owe Wonkette a six-pack of organic lager. As soon as Ken sends me their mailing address said six-pack shall be on its way. It’s cool that he’s now a member and is coming to California, so hopefully he will join us at some of our fun events soon, and our crack GC experts can help him out on his GC.

After the issue finally landed at Raw Story, Wonkette, being Wonkette, had the last word. (I think they’re still a little grumpy about not getting credit for scooping the Washington Post on that whole Congressional Page Fo’ Paw faux pas thing.)

Of course the document, real or not, is an amazing amount of work. The amount of time and effort that went into the production of this – um – screed is astounding. It reminds me of the copies of Der Stürmer that I’ve seen. Juilus Streicher was hung after his conviction at the Nuremburg trials. I wonder what the fate of the publicist here will be?

In any case, it will be interesting to see if the story gets more air time and depending on how this turns out, it is either another scoop for Wonkette and Streicher strike one for the NRA or Wonkette has struck out.

PS: I love the hairy legs on the activist in the image. You can’t be a real ecoterrorist and SHAVE for god’s sake.

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