While browsing at the local library yesterday, I came across a book in the “new releases” section: “Blowing Smoke” by Michael Wolraich. Its subtitle explains it all: “Why the right keeps serving up whack-job fantasies about the plot to euthanize grandma, outlaw Christmas, and turn junior into a raging homosexual.”
Chapter one starts with the following quote from H. L. Mencken: “The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts.”
How apt, I thought. That’s scamblogging in a nutshell. The mysterious conspiracy by law schools to take huge amounts of scambloggers’ money and to stop them getting jobs. And as I continued to read (I’m nowhere near finished), almost every tactic of the far right (Beck, Limbaugh, Robertson and countless friends) parallels the scamblogging movement. Literally everything.
Most interesting was the section on the “frustration-aggression” theory, which explains the link between paranoia (scamblogging) and economic conditions:
According to the theory, when people are blocked from achieving a desired goal (frustration), they become angry (aggression). But instead of directing their anger toward the source of the frustration, they displace it onto vulnerable targets . . .”
Interesting. The economy is the source of many a law grad’s employment woes (along with the fact that no law school guarantees employment, and everyone who was smart enough to get into law school since the dawn of the Internet knows damn well that regardless of what law school statistics claim, there is no guaranteed job or specific salary waiting at the end of it all.) Yet the frustration of unemployed law grads is diverted to the law schools, with claims that the few cases of slightly-misleading stats (“Look! This school claims 85% employment, but in reality it was 79% employment! I was scammed!) I guess this is logical, since it’s easier to blame failure (or, more accurately, bad luck) on a tangible enemy rather than something as vague as the “economy.”
The true scambloggers – those who fail to see any redeeming qualities in a legal education, or who firmly believe that law schools are part of a huge plot to defraud students and tie them to a life of servitude to huge loans – are waaaay out there with their beliefs. There is very little to support their claims, and you’ll notice that when one minor story is printed in a student newspaper, they all grab onto it and screech “proof! proof!” Mainstream media has avoided this story (for the large part), primarily because it’s a non-story. The scambloggers are pointing at the Emperor and screaming “look! He’s got no clothes on!”, when in reality, he’s missing a button from one of the sleeves of his jacket.
Nothing to see here. Move along.