It’s been something of a time for The Belmont Goats and their fans. First, the unfortunate passing of one of the goats, the first such loss. Then, the very next day, self-professed (but not really) “anarchists” cut open the fence to let loose the goats in protest of a sweep of houseless campers.
Now, an owner of the goats has appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss these events.
This is me taking in a long, deep breath, followed by letting out an even longer, deeper sigh.
I’ll be honest here: it took me an entire day before I could even watch the segment. Friday morning I’d woken from a sleep of nightmare after nightmare after nightmare, and come Friday evening when I discovered this clip I sort of might have wished that somehow I was asleep and suffering another one.
Sadly, this is all too real.
I’d only just days previously written something here that began as a post about a goat but was forced by circumstance also to be a post about human beings, about mutual aid, about building both solidarity and capacity.
All of these are things that nazis oppose, and Tucker Carlson is a nazi.
(I’m not interested in a debate here. I’ve given a sop to pedants by using the lower-case; that’s as far as I will go.)
It’s true that, superficially anyway, the segment went about as well as possible given the venue. That’s not, though, really saying much of anything. If anyone’s buying the idea that Carlson has any real concern for goats or for urban green spaces, they just don’t understand Tucker Carlson’s schtick. This at best was the proverbial lipstick on a pig. At worst it was an act. You certainly don’t give him the benefit of the doubt.
(Just for context: Carlson spends the entire first block of this very episode denying the climate crisis and dismissing environmental and climate activism as a cult. When at episode’s end he thanks The Belmont Goats for “protecting animals and protecting nature”, his audience knows that this is all a joke.)
You don’t, if you don’t want to, have to punch nazis. But this? You don’t do this. You don’t play their game, on their turf. Carlson’s audience (what the center at its most generous might at least be willing to call the nazi-adjacent) intimately understands the game he plays.
Carlson did this segment for one reason, and one reason alone: to denigrate Portland, anarchism, and the houseless—all in one, fell swoop. (Is that technically three reasons? Not really, because the one reason was “to be a nazi”.) Whatever goal The Belmont Goats had here, they violated a very simple rule.
You do not use nazi ink to promote your cause.
To my recollection, in its ten years this is the first national television press The Belmont Goats has received. The first national television press The Belmont Goats has received was Tucker Carlson. The first national television press The Belmont Goats has received was a nazi.
I cannot adequately express my revulsion. Everyone deserved so much better than this. Except for Carlson, who deserves so much worse.