This tweet came to my attention via the great Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money, The Environment in Which Trump Can Thrive. I don’t follow Erick Erickson, because he is not only a vile man, he’s also an idiot. He’s the sort of guy who would never have a writing job if he were liberal. He’s the poster-child of conservative affirmative action. The last time I wrote about him was all the way back in 2013, when he was saying if only the Republicans had kept the government shutdown going another day, week, month, year, then they would win!
But this tweet is a level vileness and stupidity that, while not exactly shocking coming from Erickson, is at least notable:
Growing up, I remember my parents never letting us have Asian food on December 7th. They were children of WWII.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 7, 2015
There are two issues here. The first took me a moment to see, because it is so part of the conservative ethos that it tends to be invisible. It’s racism. This has nothing to do with World War II or “December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.” It is just throwing together a huge group of people and blaming them for Pearl Harbor. The fact that Erickson’s parents would feel this way is understandable, I suppose. What is only explicable because Erickson is a vile and stupid man, is why he would proudly repeat this bit of bigotry.
It’s also worth noting that Erickson was born in 1975. So his parents are almost certainly not from the Silent Generation, but from the Baby Boomers. If Erickson’s mother was 30 when she had him, she would have been born just in time for the end of the World War II. If that is a child of World War II, then we are all children of World War II. (And to some extent, we are; that makes Erickson’s claim all the more silly.) In addition, this has to be in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That’s a real grudge to hold.
But the second issue is the real reason I’m writing this. It was Japan that attacked on on this date 74 years ago, not “Asia.” In fact, China was an ally and was savagely abused by Japan — costing the lives of 14 million Chinese people during the war. Now maybe Erickson means “Japanese food.” After all, he seems to have come from a somewhat affluent family (they moved to Dubai when he was five). But as Lemieux noted, “I would bet dollars to beef and broccoli lunch specials that the ‘Asian food’ the Ericksons were abstaining from was Chinese food.”
Right. You know: food that kinda sorta comes from the country that was our ally in the war that Erickson’s parents were children of. This reminds me of the way that bigots during that time equated Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and so on. And now they equate Arabs, Persians, Indians, and so on. But it is amazing that someone so important in the conservative movement would make this kind of mistake. You may remember that the conservative movement used to have people like William Buckley.
As I write this, Wikipedia has already integrated this tweet into his bio. It sounds to me like it was done by someone ridiculing him. But it could instead have been added by someone who simply has no idea about narrative flow:
It’s kind of like: “Eric was born in Louisiana. He had a turtle named ‘Prigsby’! He went to school in Dubai.”