How do you feel about Tucker Carlson’s text?
Write what you mean. It’s my most fundamental writing advice. Tucker Carlson apparently did that.
According to a text revealed by the New York Times, here’s a text that Tucker Carlson sent the day after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol:
Tucker Carlson January 7, 2021 — 04:18:04 PM UTC
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?
What this says
- Believes you can make generalizations about how white men fight and how non-whites fight.
- Wanted the mob to hurt the guy it attacked, because he was “Antifa.”
- Felt guilty about wanting to the mob to hurt somebody.
The most interesting thing about this is that Tucker Carlson was surprised and conflicted to find that he still has (or had) empathy for other human beings — probably because the denial of that empathy is so central to what he talked about daily in his television program.
If you are conservative and support Trump and Carlson, which of the following rationalizations help you to feel okay about this?
- This is a private text, it’s not fair to hold Carlson accountable for what he said in private.
- You can’t trust the New York Times, this text could be fake.
- Violence is an acceptable response to the threats to our nation.
- The radical “woke” left says things much worse than this.
- The radical “woke” left is responsible for far more violence than this one incident.
- Carlson said he had a conscience, that’s what matters.
- White men really do fight differently from nonwhites.
- Given what Antifa does, those people deserve whatever they get.
- There is violence on both sides.
- Carlson is mostly a force for good reflecting a unique and worthwhile point of view, so why hold one text against him?
Now think about the fact that several people were ganging up on another human being, and you are looking for justifications why it’s fine to feel okay about that. Is that really who you want to be?
Looks as though your legions of right-wing fans are busy today. 🙂
What struck me is that the text didn’t seem much different from his normal public statements — there’s racism, hatred, schadenfreude, then sanctimony. His biggest worry seems to be that his reaction might interfere with his sense of superiority. I’m guessing there must be something more his his dismissal, such as a more personal attack on the monsters who run Fox.
When I saw today’s headline–something like FOX troubled over Carlson text on How White Men Fight, I assumed how white men fight was a reference to the court battles that likely are happening/coming between Carlson and FOX. I still think that lawyering might be what he meant (now that I have seen the text). But I do not know what he meant.
I’m not a fan nor a consumer of FOX or Carlson (so I am not sure what either sell (and I do not understand why folks buy)). Not a fan of Trump either. I don’t think I understand what antifa is. Not a fan of what either the far left or right does.
The text is interesting for how human it shows Carlson as. We want to extinguish others with opposing views. We get angry; we enjoy bloodsports; we enjoy “our” side winning and “their” side losing. I think we have to consciously elevate our thoughts to get beyond that terrible base instinct; to remember that we are all human. Politics has always been a place that revels in the base instincts. Advertising and TV and many other things grabbed onto the success of politics and also became those places.
We could deny we have these thoughts or we can address them and embrace the good thoughts we have–no one, no human, deserves to reduced or harassed or hurt for one’s beliefs and thoughts or actions. Or do they? Where do we and should we draw the line?
I do not believe in banning books, hate speech, restricting speech (with some exceptions), harassing folks, cancelling persons, or beating people. Or being better than others. Or cheering such activities.
I am sure your last paragraph is a red herring. His text is not suggesting it is OK to “gang up” or to justify that horrible act. He concluded it is indeed not OK to do so.
You get to choose how you treat other people. Let’s put it top of mind.
Any idea how one texts such long and coherent messages?
A.O. Scott has an excellent analysis of Carlson’s message: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/03/books-review/tucker-carlson-text-message-whiteness.html