Bryan Zepp Jamieson
April 25th, 2023
I have been thoroughly enjoying reading about the firing of Tucker Carlson, and the widespread consternation on the far right over the slap down of their little tin god. I doubt he’s gone from the public eye; he’s fucked up several previous jobs with MSNBC and CNN and bounced back. If Fox had a yellow-dog clause forbidding him from working broadcast for a rival for a set amount of time, he’ll either enter politics or try to set himself up as a religious leader. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the last of that dirt bag.
But for me, it isn’t just the weary disgust I have for the vicious paid liars at Fox and the loony-toon shouty-boys on the web or lurking in the corners on Newsmax or OANN. My hatred and disgust for Carlson is personal.
As regular readers know, I’m a member of a group known as the Lying Socialist Weasels. This group was established by a group of Usenet liberals some 30 years ago. There was a Usenet user, a Reagan supporter named Brett Kottman. He was in the habit of screaming that any critic of Reagan, no matter how mild, was a “lying socialist weasel!”
So we formed a club. The Weasels included some of the leading voices in online liberalism at the time: Howie Klein, Bartcop, Milt Shook, Milt Brewster, Glen Yeadon, Isaac Peterson, Jim Kennemur and, well, me. I wasn’t a founder: I was the first of the second-generation Weasels, invited in by Jim. Several of us are Weasels to this very day. Usenet has dwindled to a wasteland of Nazis and child molesters, and the Weasels all drifted away. But not from one another. We’ve added many wonderful people since then, and at least four of the originals are still alive, active and involved with the group both online and in email.
One of our most prominent members was a fellow named Steve Kangas. Steve had a website, Liberalism Resurgent, which stood out as one of the most literate, informed, and conscientiously factual websites around. Some of the Weasels were bigger names and more influential, but we all looked to Steve when we needed to fact check ourselves or simply learn more on nearly any given topic.
On February 8, 1999 Steve died under the most mysterious of circumstances. His body was supposedly found in a restroom on the 39th floor of a Pittsburgh skyscraper owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, billionaire and funding father of what we were already referring to as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. It was only feet away from Scaife’s office. His body was allegedly found at two AM that morning, long after the tower had closed for the night.
It was announced that Steve had shot himself at 2am in that restroom, 2,000 miles from his Nevada home and in the headquarters of a man who had every reason to hate and fear the careful factuality of Liberalism Resurgent. In direct contravention of Pennsylvania law, there was no autopsy. There was a rumor that Steve had somehow managed to kill himself by shooting himself twice in the back of the head. The following day, a man later associated with Scaife turned up at Kangas’ parents home and removed the hard drives from Steve’s computer.
Enter Tucker Carlson, then a silver-spoon nobody writing for VRWC flagship magazine The Weekly Standard, jumped in. He began a campaign of defamation against Kangas, claiming, among other things, that Kangas was heavily armed (Kangas was a champion of gun control) and that he carried on his person that night a copy of Mein Kampf (unlikely under pretty much any circumstance.) Both claims are still on Steve’s Wikipedia page, with no corroboration, of course.
A couple of former Usenet Nazis celebrate Steve’s death every February. These are people who love Trump and can’t bring themselves to spell “Jew” with a capital ‘J.’ They weren’t celebrating Steve carrying Mein Kampf. Even for them, that was a bridge too far. Didn’t stop old Tucker, though.
He also argued that Steve was intrinsically suicidal, self-loathing and with absolutely horrible self-image. Uncharacteristically, he actually offered a factoid to support this claim. He reported that on Usenet, Steve often referred to himself as a “weasel.”
Yes, Steve was a Weasel. A Lying Socialist Weasel. He was quite proud of that, and respected us as much as he respected himself.
Had Tucker spent five minutes reading the posts of people Steve communicated with, he would have learned that amongst Usenet liberals, “Weasel” was the exact opposite of disparaging. But he wasn’t there to report: as he does to this very day, he was there to hate-monger, divide, and smear. He was a disgusting parody of a reporter then, just as he is to this day.
He’s one of the big reasons why America is the septic mess it is today. There’s a number of reasons why even Kangarupe Murdoch finally decided he was too vicious, too out-of-control. Some say it was his role in promoting, knowingly, the lies leading the the disastrous defamation suits against Fox. Some say it was sexual harassment and creating a toxic workplace. Reports of a possible defamation suit from Ray Epps that the January 6th participant was supposedly an undercover agent for the FBI, a theory that Carlson has been promoting. One of the more arresting theories is that Murdoch broke off his short-lived engagement when he realized the woman was extremely religious, and Tucker just happened to pick right then to start trying to lead his audience in prayer. Who knows? Maybe Kangarupe realized that Zealots are extremely dangerous allies. Well, it’s a nice idea, right?
Tucker is gone, for now, but his stench lingers over the body politic.
But for us Lying Socialist Weasels, its a good time to lift one to Steve, and say, “This one’s for you, Mister Kangas.”