Spin Control: Despite Culp’s claim, “Get a rope” is not a metaphor for responsibility
When a man allegedly attacked a Seattle nurse in early March, knocking her down the stairs of a light rail station for no apparent reason, breaking her ribs and collarbone, many people were shocked.
When it was revealed that the 40-year-old homeless man had an extensive criminal record, as well as a history of no-shows in court and that he may have stabbed another woman several times the day before, many were indignant.
The man, who was arrested shortly after the train station attack, was arraigned on multiple assault charges and held on $650,000 bond. But that did not stop the discussion about what steps should have been taken to prevent someone with such a long criminal history from being in public where they could commit more.
Loren Culp, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate now seeking to unseat U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse in central Washington’s 4th congressional district, offered a solution that sparked a back-and-forth between him and the Seattle Times.
‘Get a rope,’ he tweeted about 10 days after the arrest, ‘not just for the low life bastard who did this, but for the worthless judges and prosecutors who continually let this happen sending back violent criminals only to make new victims. No ropes, a firing squad and I will volunteer.
This prompted Times columnist Danny Westneat to question the silence of other Republican Party members in the state about Culp calling for the lynching of not only the assault suspect, but also judges and prosecutors. .
While the state’s GOP remained mostly mum, Culp then issued a lengthy rebuttal, of sorts, on a notice of an upcoming meet-and-greet campaign in Grant County. He argued that the phrase ‘Get a rope’ was just a metaphor that does not mean self-defense justice – ‘which was clear to anyone with an IQ above room temperature’, he said. – he argued – “and means accountability (due process and jail time) for violent offenders, the prosecutors who license them and the judges who release them.
Assuming this is a serious retort and not an attempt to get a second round of accolades from supporters by ending the post with, “Thank goodness for the Seattle Times fake news,” there are three problems with his explanation.
First, it is not strictly a metaphor, like a simple declarative sentence where there is no comparison between two seemingly different objects. If he meant it as a figure of speech, it is perhaps more correctly a hyperbole expressed as an exclamation. But that’s politics, not seventh-grade English.
Second, it’s much more likely to be understood by anyone reading the tweet in the historical context of a call for vigilante justice like a Wild West hanging, or the racial injustice of a Jim Crow lynching.
Angry white residents trying to block racial integration of their schools by black children often wore the phrase on signs, sometimes accompanied by a drawing of a noose.
Movies are full of this phrase, dating almost back to when sound first began to accompany on-screen images. A quick internet check of movie quotes shows he appears in westerns such as “Tombstone”, “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean”, “The Westerner”, “The Lawman”, “Sons of Katie Elder” and “The Streets”. from Laredo,” as well as non-Westerns like a version of “Robin Hood” and “Stalag 17.”
Paul Stekler, documentarian and professor of public affairs and radio-television-film at the University of Texas, said there was only one clear meaning of the phrase.
“You’re basically making a comment about a hanging,” said Stekler, who wrote about the phrase and its context after a pair of Texas politicians, including Governor Greg Abbott, used it and then tried to pass it off as a simple joke related to an old advertisement.
“Get a rope” was a tagline for a 1980s Pace salsa commercial in which a cattle drive cook, naturally named Cookie, commits the “crime” of using New York salsa while he lack of San Antonio salsa. But even in that context it is a hanging, and politicians use it deliberately knowing that, he said.
“You energize the base by saying the most outrageous things you can,” Stekler said.
The third thing that undermines Culp’s suggestion that he was simply calling for accountability, not execution, is the end of his original tweet. Firing squads are not a metaphor for anything, and they certainly mean more than “due process and jail time” when applied to judges and prosecutors, as one might expect. let the former chief of police know.
Culp finds himself in a hotly contested primary for the congressional seat, one of five Republicans trying to unseat the incumbent. Based on the latest Federal Election Commission reports filed late last year, he is third in fundraising, behind Newhouse and newcomer Jerrod Sessler.
He is competing with Sessler for the pro-Trump vote among Republicans who could still be forced into Newhouse for voting to certify Joe Biden as the new president on Jan. 6, 2021, and a week later to vote to impeach the former president. . Even as the funding disparity continues, Culp has one thing that might be more valuable: Trump’s endorsement. His “grab a rope” comment is unlikely to hurt him with the former president’s segment of voters who cheered when Trump called on a crowd to “knock the crap out” of hecklers.
The real question is, will it hurt him along with other Republicans whose belief in law and order has evolved beyond a rope and a tree branch?