The “oh, not scum like YOU” rule

It’s a sure sign of someone talking out their ass: they make generalised statement after generalised statement, [group] are scum, [group] make no contribution to society, [group] don’t deserve human rights like real people do.

And then someone turns around and says, “Actually, I’m a [member of group].”

And then the ass-talker says, “Oh, but you’re different, I didn’t mean [group] like you, just [group] like those scum.”

It’s been brilliantly illustrated in the comments of two recent posts at the Standard.

In the first linked (second chronologically, but I’m feeling lazy this evening) deputy Corrections Minister is being called out on starring in exactly the kind of “what do our convicted criminals get fed for Christmas?” story he derided in April.

Cue the conservatives:

Should be mince, bread, veges, water and vitimin pills only. This is too lavish for the crims. I want to see their food bill come down to $2/day in these hard economic times.

and

Prisoners should of thought that before they murdered, rape, committed child abuse, stole etc etc etc.

(Which incidentally ties in with my favourite treatment-of-prisoners malarkey, the “they’re scum so we don’t have to treat them like human beings even though we, society, have taken it upon ourselves to refrain from the kind of criminal action we condemn them for”.)

Cue the personal experience:

That Xmas meal isn’t too bad, so Sharples is right. But the $4.50 / day is an average, so on other days in that week prisoners will get sandwiches that may contain a single slice of beetroot or very dry coleslaw. The evening meal may be a pile of rice with a spoonful of a vege / chicken sauce ladled over it. Filling and it doesn’t taste too bad at all, but it wouldn’t cost a $1 to make.

and from a former inmate:

… one night it’s “chow mein” – watery, greasy mince with some soya sauce spooned over macaroni – the next it’s “chill con carne” – watery, greasy mince with the merest trace of hot sauce spooned over macaroni. After throwing up so many times I lost count, I’d swap my meals for a piece of fruit and a couple of slices of precious fruit bread.

Voila, backpedaling!

The people who commit VIOLENT crimes are on the right side of the wire, the people who obey the law and don’t hurt people are also on the right side of the wire.

Yes there a lot of people in prison for crimes that weren’t violent, but aren’t most non violent offenders getting home detention, now days?

In terms of the violent criminals, say the few that rape and murder, its hard to feel sorry for them for getting cold mash potatoes, when their victims are dead and cant eat anything.

Oh, it’s not all prisoners who should be forced to subsist on a crap diet, it’s just the violent ones. Not the scum like you, the other scum.

It should go without saying that the exact same thing happens when you sub in people on the unemployment benefit for prison inmates. Before the righties even have time to sharpen their pencils, we have a guest post from Ben:

Don’t get me wrong, we’re lucky to have benefits to keep us going when we fall on tough times. Just don’t go thinking that people like me are bludgers. It isn’t easy to get the dole and it sure isn’t easy to try to live on it. It’s great to have it while you need it but, like most other people on benefits, I’ll be keen to get work as soon as possible.

Mr Magoo in the comments even explicitly dares the wankers to do it:

Cue the right posters talking about how you are not a typical case or some such?

No?

Perhaps how there are really jobs out there, you are just not looking hard enough?

Anyone?

And like magic:

The long term unemployed (say on it for 1 year +) are people that should be focused on. Not necessarily having their benefit cut off, but surely warrant special attention of some sort…

Not the scum like you, Ben. The other scum.

Sure, you can argue, “oh, but these commenters were just clarifying their points of view”.  Sure, they probably didn’t mean to imply that all people on the dole are bludgers, or all prisoners are total scum.

Except that’s what they said. That’s what they say time and time again until people like Rex and Ben turn around and say, “Sorry, mate, but I was in that situation.” And then they back the hell down like the cowards they are.

Because it’s really easy to hate on people who are behind bars. It’s really easy to hate on people on the dole and below the breadline who can’t afford the Internet access to see what you’re saying about them, or are too worried about “Will I be able to eat and pay the power bill this week?” to bother with the Higher Planes of Online Discourse. It’s really easy to run your mouth off about your great plans that would totally fix the country as long as we refuse to give a fuck about our fellow human beings, or to care about being good people … right until someone calls you on it.

The speed with which you then back down and pretend oh, you totally didn’t mean all that stuff, and quickly modify your views so as to attract as little negative attention as possible, is telling, predictable, and fucking funny.

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