Mud Slinging. Oh what Fun!

So, awhile back, I helped my buddy Mike with a website theme for, which is basically an anti-Rand Paul website. Rand (son of Ron Paul) is running for the 2011 KY gubernatorial US Senate in the upcoming 2010 election*. He claims to be a Republican but he seems more libertarian, so Mike, being the good Republican that he is, created the site to call Rand’s bluff. Mike warned me before putting a link to my site at the bottom of the theme that I would eventually be a target of Rand’s party. It took longer than expected, but it finally happened. In response to my post informing everyone that I liked my antique Snoopy book, some guy named Hightower^ had this to say:

What about your own Web-Master, Jerry Travis, who states in his entry of November 25, 2009, “(My vampire obsession goes a long way back, and doesn’t involve a single, boring, pasty-faced Cullen “… interesting, so the guy you used to assist you in your web site design is a admires drinking the blood of human-beings, and is self-admittedly “obsessed” with this? My my, you should be careful who you collaborate with.

That’s gotta be one of the funniest things anybody has ever said about me, especially considering the post was about my love of Snoopy!

This is a great example of context, and what can happen when snippets are taken away from said context. The poor sap probably doesn’t even know what my Cullen reference is talking about. Furthermore, Hightower probably didn’t click on the link for the text “vampire obsession.” It was a post from way back in July 2003, where I talked about how happy I was I got to watch a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during that summer. He actually believes that because I like vampire stuff that I drink human blood. By that logic, I guess that means he likes to smuggle whiskey because he watches Smokey and the Bandit every other day.

If he’s going to sling mud at me, he’s going to have to do better than that. If Rand is anything like Hightower, he is Too Kooky for Kentucky.

*Correction: When I first posted this, about an hour ago, I mistakenly put that Rand was running for KY Governor in 2011. He is, in fact, running for the US Senate in 2010. Everybody’s probably going to have a field day with that :)
^Correction 2: The comment wasn’t made by Hightower. It was a guy going by the name Lycurgus.



“Rand (son of Ron Paul) is making a run at the 2011 KY gubernatorial election.”



“This is a great example of context, and what can happen when snippets are taken away from said context.”

Did it ever occur to you, that this is exactly what your “buddy Mike” is doing the whole time on his blog in regards to the Paul campaign?
I´m pretty sure the only point of the comment was to demonstrate how patently ridiculous such behavior is (and of course had nothing to do with you personally). Ever heard of sarcasm and irony?


I’m unfamiliar with sarcasm and irony. Please explain.

I have no idea whether or not the guy was trying to be sarcastic, ironic, sardonic, or cute. I suspect he was going for irony, but who knows. Without actually having talked to the guy, I have no idea what he thinks of me…And frankly, I don’t care.

As far as context goes, Mike is doing the same thing most political people do: He’s highlighting the reasons why he is against a candidate. Political science (as I’m sure you know) has a whole lot to do with manipulating perception.

You can help the Rand campaign if you want. You could create a site called and extol Rand’s virtues. You could put angel wings and a halo on Rand. It would be epic. I’m sure after you did that, no one would remember Mike’s silly ol’ site.


Dear Trav,

I posted that comment regarding you Mr. Travis, and I intended it to convey the ease with which a political opponent can smear and besmirch the character of another individual, as well as attempt to tar another person through “guilt by association.” Being a Republican State Delegate in my home state for the past decade, I was merely opposing Mr. Bryant’s personal smears of Dr. Rand Paul, a conservative’s conservative. Mr. Travis has an appreciation for Buffy the Vampire slayer and various bloodsucking flicks… more power to him, and Mr. Hightower is a fan of heavy metal… When one takes the comments of Mr. Travis and Mr. Hightower out of context, one can make Hightower into a raving racist, and Travis into a bloodsucking incubus.–Neither should be done, and thus my comment.

Mike is not highlighting reasons he is opposing Dr. Paul, he is attempting to portray him as a racist… an accusation which is belied by the fact that a libertarian by definition, if indeed he is one as you say he is, is in favor of the recogition and protection of the individual, against group characterizations, and thus that worldview is inconsistent with bigotry based on a milimeter’s pigmentation.

Most Sincerely,




That was a well thought out response. I suspected you were probably trying to make a point. For me, without inflection or having any other information about somebody posting on the Internet other than the post itself, it is kind of hard to tell whether a point is being made, or if the poster is a nut-job. In matters of politics and religion, zealots go to all sorts of extremes to try to paint their view as the best. You are clearly not a nut-job and I’m sure you represent the Republican party well.

The sad truth in politics is that voters thrive on sensationalism. Big promises and/or big scandals swing elections more than the truth. I’m sure there are exceptions where the upstanding candidate who didn’t manipulate perception actually won, but I suspect those are few and far between. No, I don’t have any hard numbers to validate this claim. I think hard numbers of this type are all but impossible to get due to the near-infinite number of factors that make or break a candidate. All I know is that many people I talk to claim to hate mud slinging, but they’ll jump ship if a big enough clod of dirt is uncovered.

Not to sound too much like Sarah Palin, but like my papaw told me once, “I don’t go to vote for a candidate as much as I go to vote against another.” If the populace at large is as much like this as I figure it is, then highlighting any bad stuff about a candidate will sway folks in the other direction quicker than nitty gritty details about the issues.

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