A critique on the abuse of epithets used in the “Oh No Ross and Carrie” podcast:
An epithet is an adjective (or adjective phrase) that qualifies a noun by naming an important characteristic of the subject, such as a “dark sea” or a “sweet mother.” However, they can be misused in a derogatory fashion in the form of racial epithets or abusive epithets when a journalist seeks to smear a particular target.
When you read the homepage of the most recent Oh No! podcast hosted by Carrie Poppy and Ross Blocher, you can see how abusive epithets are littered across the introductory page. The tactic of “piling on” mentioned in the “5 Mistakes Rookie Journalists Make” article is in full force here and is being deliberately employed to taint the audience’s perception right from the start in order to manipulate them into piling on to Ross and Carrie’s “target.”
For brevity’s sake, I’ll cover only three of the many abusive epithets on the homepage:
1) Questionable Bible Scholar
2) Secretive Profiteer
3) Conservative Christian Congregation
1) Pastor Scott is not simply listed as a “Bible Scholar” but a “Questionable” one. The first question you have to ask is, “who is questioning her scholarship?” Hebrew and Greek are the two original languages of the bible, yet Ross and Carrie were not even able to decipher the Greek language atop the Fountain of Faith. They were completely astonished and confounded by the simple letters, which means they are not even at the kindergarten level of Greek language studies. Since the two podcasters themselves are not qualified to give an assessment of biblical scholarship, who then is questioning Pastor’s competence? Another Bible Scholar perhaps? If a named scholar was quoted as questioning her abilities, we could all weigh the commentary and judge for ourselves as to who has better command over the historical languages. Well, Ross and Carrie admit they’re still looking for a scholar that will talk to them, but as of yet, they haven’t been able to find one. So, the epithet “questionable” is thrown out there willy nilly with the intention of planting seeds of doubt in the collective minds of the audience.
2) The next epithet, “Secretive Profiteer” could be used against anyone in the United States whose tax returns are not available to the general public — anyone. On a grander scale, it could be used to describe the Clinton Foundation, Donald Trump or even George Soros. But basically it describes any one who earns a profit from working for a living but doesn’t care to share their income statements with the public at large. Of course Ross and Carrie can’t tell you how much she profits, or if she actually profits at all, but it’s so secretive, she must be profiting! Oh No! “Secretive Profiteer” is simply a nonsensical description used to spread distrust as well as create an element of mystery to peak their audience’s interest. From one who has been around the ministry before Pastor Scott even arrived, I can attest to all the countless hours, stress, headaches, battles and general work she has had to put in to save and maintain the ministry when all of her detractors claimed she was destined to fail. But I don’t expect outsiders to take my word for it without question. One only has to assess her behavior. If she was a “secretive profiteer”, on the day of Dr. Scott’s death she would have secretly sold all the ministry’s assets and secretly retired to the Caribbean and probably not so secretly flipped the bird and laughed, “see ya later suckers!” The epithet does not match the behavior on any level.
3) Being that I’m part of the congregation, this next epithet, “Conservative Christian Congregation” ticked me off the most. I tried explaining to Carrie on her Facebook page about my own political views as well many of those in our diverse congregation, but she quickly diverted the argument by calling us “secretive”, hence worthy of any smear imaginable. But, before one can recognize this as a smear, one must first look at the secular humanistic base of the Ross and Carrie Oh No! podcast. Their audience, if they are as “progressive” as Ross and Carrie are, will undoubtedly sink their teeth into the “Conservative Christian” epithet like chum in the water, as it conjures up all sorts of negative imagery. It’s a dysphemism at best. The argument I posted on their Facebook points out the ridiculousness of that label, and I’ve re-posted it below for readers to check out. You will see how this “conservative” epithet is a blatant mischaracterization designed to whip up their base to “pile on” to the target of their so-called investigation.
Much more to come in subsequent articles so check back often!
– Richard Harvey is a journalism major from San Francisco and a first-time guest poster on this site.
Posted to Ross and Carrie Facebook October 2016:
I still contend that you’re using the label “conservative congregation” as a pejorative to malign us right off the bat. Particularly in this heated election period where people are “unfriending” Trump supporters at a rapid rate. So let me try again. I will repackage the information into a standard multiple choice test and you tell me which church is CONSERVATIVE:
Church A exhibits these following characteristics:
1. Founding Pastor would cuss, smoke cigars, and has shown horses and bikini-clad playmates on his program.
2. Founding Pastor fought for church freedom and a strict separation between church and state, holding strong opinions against the church using politics to try to legislate morality on others.
3. Founding Pastor said back in the 1980s, “if men could get pregnant, abortion would have been legal a long time ago. Abortion is a woman’s choice between herself and God, no one else’s business.”
4. Founding Pastor said gays were welcome in the church, starting way back in the 1980s.
5. Founding Pastor stated that he felt most comfortable speaking with “liberal” intellectuals as that is who he spent most of his time with during his time in academia at Stanford University.
6. Founding Pastor used to enjoy reading “Redneck Jokes” on the air that his congregation would send to him.
7. Founding Pastor welcomed the following liberals and prominent Democrat politicians to join him on stage to address the congregation. Among them: Rev. Jesse Jackson, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Senator Nate Holden, Pasadena Mayor Chris Holden, Assemblyman Richard Alatorre, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, L.A. Mayor James Hahn, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
8. Present day Pastor is a multilingual, European female who speaks English as her second language and only recently became an American citizen.
9. Present day Pastor is constantly demonized by her conservative Christian detractors who allege a pornstar past and describe her in “Trumpian”, mysogynist terms such as “whore”, “slut”, and “bitch” railing how women must only play the traditional, subservient role in the church or otherwise keep silent.
10. Congregation is ethnically diverse consisting of Anglos, Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians. One dude wears a dress to church and one dude looks like Frank Zappa, but sadly no Armenians.
Church B exhibits the following traits:
1. Pastor wears white suits to illuminate his own righteousness. And often shows footage of his wife and kids to promote family values.
2. Pastor blurs the lines between church and state, speaking regularly on political matters, hoping one day to help institute theocratic rule in the U.S. Regularly organizes his flock into voting blocks to fight against pornography, gay marriage, homosexuality, Planned Parenthood, sex education, and abortion.
3. Pastor rails that abortion is the worst sin. Any woman who does so is going straight to hell.
4. Pastor regularly preaches that homosexuality is one of the worst sins. New congregants are scrutinized to make sure they’re not a little “too light in the loafers.” And “coming out” means getting kicked out immediately.
5. Pastor is most comfortable around simple folk and often derides higher education. “A little knowledge puffeth up,” is his favorite Bible quote. He’s proud of his time at Bethany Bible college, but considers a secular education at a place like Stanford too liberal and worldly.
6. Pastor is fond of ethnic jokes as long as no “tattle tales” are within earshot.
7. Pastor prides himself on having procured the following guest speakers: Jeb Bush, Jim Daly from Focus On The Family, and Jerry Falwell.
8. Pastor is a middle-aged white male who speaks only one language — English, and doesn’t speak that one very well. But is an ardent “English First” advocate and suspicious of foreigners and foreign languages.
9. Pastor was surrounded in controversy when his computer was hacked revealing a vast collection of pornography. He tried to get on Oprah to publicly beg for forgiveness and turn the PR tide, but was relegated to local TV where he shed crocodile tears, “Oh Lord I have sinned!!!! Oh help me Jesus!!!” His wife joined him on stage in solidarity with tears forming tiny rivers through her caked-on mascara.
10. Congregation is all white.
Which church fits the description of Conservative Church:
a) Church A
b) Church B
c) I don’t want to answer because I’ll look stupid if I say “A”