The Streisand Effect — Republican style
For those of you unacquainted with the term, the Streisand Effect is the name given for ironically unintended consequences. In 2003, American actress and singer Barbara Streisand tried to suppress the California Coastal Records Project’s photograph of her cliff-top residence in Malibu, California. Word of Streisand’s attempted censorship got out and created far more attention for her mansion than might have otherwise happened. The crowning irony, perhaps, is that the image that accompanies the Wikipedia entry for “The Streisand Effect” is a photograph of that very house.
Republicans have a way of making the Streisand Effect (or what I’ll henceforth call TSE) their very own. For example, as I’m sure you’re aware, the Tennessee legislature recently expelled two of its members for speaking out against gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville.
The TSE of that event is well known, but for those of you who’ve since been confined to a cave and are only now emerging, the two brilliant young expellees, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, have become national heroes. Both men are persons of colour, both are exceptional and powerful speakers, and both were suddenly and ironically gifted national voices, amplified by the very racists who unsuccessfully tried to silence them. Both men were promptly reinstated by their respective County Board of Commissioners.
But the TSE irony doesn’t stop there, oh no. The failed attempt to expel the lawmakers exposed the corrupt underbelly of the Tennessee legislature. Democracy has all but disappeared in Tennessee. Committee chairmen (and they are all men) bang their gavels and announce the outcome of each voice vote without calling for a roll call vote. Very often what they announce doesn’t agree with reality, only their crypto-fascist preference.
As if Tennessee’s piquant version of TSE needed some help, another shooting, this time in a Louisville bank by a disgruntled former employee, underscored even more Republican hypocrisy. Prior to the shooting, Texas Senator Ted Cruz made a statement that very quickly didn’t age well at all. Ten days before the shooting, Cruz said, “When you go to the bank and you deposit money in the bank, there are armed police officers at the bank. Why? Because we want to protect the money we save. Why on earth do we protect a stupid deposit more than our children?”
Five people died and eight were injured in that subsequent Louisville bank shooting. I guess bank guards didn’t help there either, did they Ted? Perhaps a holiday in Cancun is in order.
I don’t know about these Republicans, but if I were one of the unspeakably evil paymasters at the NRA, I would be very disappointed with them. I’d start to wonder if maybe these Republicans are trying to deliberately sabotage the NRA agenda, which is to put ten massive weapons of war and murder in the hands of every American so they can make billions of dollars in kickbacks.
So there you have the ultimate irony, the NRA takes a big hit from the TSE of the GOP. I don’t worry about accidentally giving Republicans advice, because these days they are bulletproof against logic. But it seems to me that their mouths do more harm for their evil agenda than just about anything else. I, for one, am very much in favour of their use of the First Amendment to the detriment of their idiotic interpretation of the Second Amendment. The inevitable Streisand Effect is hilarious to watch. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.