Let’s Declare Today ‘Act Like Bill Hobbs Day!’

I know, you’re thinking, “But, B.!  Today is Superbowl Sunday.  I don’t also have time to devote to Act Like Bill Hobbs Day.”

But listen, acting like Bill Hobbs seems to amount to just making sure that everyone knows what lying communists people different than him are and that Democrats, because they are different than him, are lying communistsand sending endless faxes to Liz Garrigan over at the Scene.

Well, folks, if you’re watching the Superbowl this Sunday, you are not, by definition, in the Superbowl and so the people on your television are different than you.  There will be times when you feel like yelling at some of them. 

All I ask is that, at that moment, you remember that today is also Act Like Bill Hobbs Day and you yell something along the lines of:

“You’re playing like a French anthropologist!”

“That call was a hoax!”

“You bunch of communists!”

“Probably a Democrat and the MSM just won’t tell us.”

And, if you have access to a fax machine, you might think of sending a few faxes to Liz Garrigan in the style of Hobbs.


I know what you’re saying now, “But B., isn’t Rigoberta Menchu a lying liar who lies so we can just ignore her and make some disparaging comments about the French in good conscience?”

But here’s the thing, folks.  Menchu wasn’t some timid, simple Guatemalan peasant woman telling Burgos the story of her life so that it might be written down in a version as close to the Truth as one might come and preserved for posterity.  Menchu was in the middle of a violent civil war, had lost family members to the violence, and was desperately trying to bring attention to the vast human rights violations being perpetrated during the war.

She was trying to tell a story to a person with an international audience that would spur that international audience to turn its attention to what was going on in Guatamala and help her people.

And, to an extent, it worked. 

Was it a completely factual history of her life?  No.

Was it effective propaganda?  Yes.

For that reason, you’d think the master propagandist, Hobbs, would have at least some begrudging respect for her.

24 thoughts on “Let’s Declare Today ‘Act Like Bill Hobbs Day!’

  1. Just so you know, me and the kids are planning to roll down the truck windows and shout “YOU GODLESS COMMIE BASTARDS!” at people we see along the way.

    I’ll probably get elected mayor.

  2. Because of course, no one else ever indulged in self-creation or self-delusion to create a winning persona for political gain…Checkers speech, good cloth coat, Gipper, a twice-divorced guy hiding their affairs while leading a Family Values Congress, Kennebunkport compound Texans, the multiple Congressmen who bugger congressional pages while running anti-gay campaigns…

    So it’s in the nature of politics, maybe, to try to represent yourself as more and less than what you are. We don’t need to bring the French into this to understand that basic truth. Menchu is a politician, the daughter of a gifted politician. That we know about her at all when most of the Guatemalan government wanted her dead (they did kill her father and most of the union he belonged to) and no one was paying the slightest bit of attention to the war on the indigenous poor is a tribute to her effectiveness at spreading her message.

    Not only has she kept herself alive, but she’s been instrumental in stopping the war on the Highland poor and expanding democratic institutions and representative governance in Guatemala. They’ve had ten years of democratic elections and have overturned a long history of bloody dictatorships. And despite what Hobbs would have you believe, Menchu has been fairly involved in helping Guatemala get involved in CAFTA and has been involved in the negotiation of free trade agreements with both Mexcio and Panama, probably because she’s the president and CEO of two Mexican drug companies who are in the business of delivering low-cost generic medicines to Central American countries.

    Hmm…advocate of capitalism? CEO of two corporations? Supporter of representative democracy? So why is Hobbs got his knickers in a twist again?

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  4. Aunt B.

    While Hobbs might have gone a bit far, the Tennessean article describes her as an “activist,” not a propagandist. Yet if she intentionally misstated facts before, shouldn’t her audience at least have the right to know that her comments might bend the truth in order to further her ends?

    It seems reasonable for the Tennessean to have mentioned the rest of the story.

    One could reasonably conclude that her actions were reasonable but it should have been part of the story.


    Mark Rogers

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  6. Mack, I look forward to calling you Mr. Mayor.

    Mark, I’m sorry, but if grown-ups don’t know that people might not tell them the whole truth or might slant things to put them or their cause in the best possible light, that’s a bigger problem than a few sentences in the Tennessean are going to help.

  7. It sounds a lot like you don’t like Bill Hobbs because he’s enough not like you. Maybe we should have an Aunt B Day where we take everything completely out of context in order to insult someone who disagrees with us.

  8. Aunt B.

    This is hardly some minor issue about a few random lapses in memory. As such, one would hope that the sponsoring organization would have noted that, while the substance of her story is true and important, her comments should be taken with some caveats. Similarly, the Tennessean should inform readers of the details.

  9. When Newt Gingrich spoke at Vanderbilt last March, did the Tennessean inform their readers that he substantially misrepresented his marital history during the years he was Speaker of the House to preserve his standing with evangelical voters? Did they tell readers that he governed as a warhawk while being a draft evader who reportedly said that he was “too smart to die”? Did they dredge up his role in illegal PAC fundraising during the mid-1990s? His bogus “business” where he sold videos of badly written and delivered history lectures to raise money for right-wing organizations in a skirting of campaign finance law? Or did they stick to the NEWS story at hand, which was that he was going to be speaking at Vandy and you might want to show up to see him and form your own conclusions?

    Newspapers aren’t supposed to think for you, Mark, nor are they supposed to serve as history textbooks. Intelligent people employ multiple sources of information to form their judgments. Neither is a daily newspaper the place where you typically look if you want to air decades-old partisan dirty laundry. They have a point to communicate — there’s a person in town, here’s why you might want to see her, here’s where she’s going to speak. That’s why they call it news, not “olds”.

  10. I am spending the day admiring my curly hair. Which isn’t all that different from what I do on days that I’m not emulating B, but ( hope) it’s the thought that counts.

  11. I’m going to have a dance party in my office then go home and play with a wigglebottomed dog.

    I’m also going to be thoroughly fabulous!

  12. Bridgett,

    “When Newt Gingrich spoke at Vanderbilt last March, did the Tennessean inform their readers that he substantially misrepresented his marital history during the years he was Speaker of the House to preserve his standing with evangelical voters?”

    Comparing a prominent national political figure like Gingrich to a foreign activist like Rigoberta Menchu is a bit of a false analogy, no? I bet there were even protesters there.

    Now we should know more about the conditions she will discuss. But if she is here to provide witness, people ought to know about her mis-statements. Since the event is being publicized in the paper, doesn’t the public deserve some disclosure?

  13. Mark, I don’t see how you can say at all that it’s a false analogy. Newt Gingrich is a prominent national political figure and Rigoberta Menchu is a prominent national political figure in her country. She just ran for president of Guatamala. Gingrich toyed around with the idea of running for president of the United States.

    If people want to go protest Menchu, it’s a free country. And, heck, if people were protesting Menchu, then the Tennessean would have reason to cover the controversy. But if folks can’t be worked up to give a shit, I don’t see why it’s the paper’s job to work them up into giving a shit (in a news story. If the Tennessean pulled its head out of its ass long enough to write an op-ed about it, that’d be great).

    I’m not trying to be pedantic, at this second. I just really can’t understand why this is such a big deal. She’s a politician. She sometimes lies for political purposes. How is this news?

    Would we expect the Tennessean to list every politician’s lies in every story about them?

  14. Would we expect the Tennessean to list every politician’s lies in every story about them?

    Only if they affected Tennessee and not any other part of the country (or the world). At least, that’s how I read their new editorial policy of “we can’t make any endorsements in the primary Tuesday because the candidates haven’t been in Tennessee much until last week, and goodness knows that all the issues they’ve been talking about for months couldn’t possibly have the teensiest bit of impact here, nor could we have been expected to pay attention to them any sooner, because we can react only to things that have been given a local spin.” When combined with their policy of “we do no national reporting because we expect you to get that news elsewhere” and their policy of “since we’re too cheap to pay reporters or feature writers, would you, dear readers, help fill our page by sending us your news, stories, recipes, and comments, and, by the way, tell us what topics you’d like us to pretend we’re covering when we print the material you’ve sent us,” it’s enough to make me consider not reading the local newspaper every day, which I have always considered something of a civic duty.

  15. They’re the ones who should be embarrassed. Except in the sense that it’s embarrassing to live in a city none of whose newspapers is worth reading.

  16. I don’t think he does, actually. I didn’t even get into the level at which his histrionics become dishonest. I mean, here’s a man who’s arguing that there’s something wrong with inviting a woman to speak because she exaggerated things in her biography AND HE’S EXAGGERATING the level of her exaggeration. Her autobiography is not a hoax. Even her biggest critics have never claimed that the whole thing was false. Her dead relatives are certainly real enough.

    That’s what I find funny about it. If he were held to his own standard, he’d never get invited anywhere.

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