Conservatives are now bashing Maya Angelou on Twitter

Maya Angelou visits YCP! 2/4/13 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

So much for resting in peace.

Conservatives are having a rough week. First they were up in arms about how the #YesAllWomen hashtag identified and challenged institutional misogyny; now they’ve been forced to contend with the death of a respected female writer of color.

The most excoriating right-wing response to Maya Angelou’s passing came from occasional Fox commentator Debbie Schlussel, who took the poet’s message of tolerance for Islam (delivered on the anniversary of 9/11), support of Palestine’s right to exist, inklings of communist sympathies, and unfortunate decision to speak at Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March in 1995 as proof of her racist, fundamentally anti-American character. Naturally, Schlussel was trying to get a rise out of “Black Twitter” and, playing the victim, retweeted furious replies to her blog post, which noted that she’d never actually read Angelou’s work and expressed the fervid wish that the author “rot in hell.”    

A quick search of “#tcot + Angelou” revealed that Schlussel was hardly alone in her deranged loathing for the beloved author. The so-called “top conservatives on Twitter” had a virtually inexhaustible list of gripes as to her influence on the sociopolitical landscape.

In a bizarre wrinkle, other conservatives chose to highlight Angelou’s anecdote about firing a gun at a home intruder (as well as her criticism of President Obama’s education policies) in the hopes of undercutting her image as a liberal voice. The result? An amusing schism between Second Amendment enthusiasts and the rest of the Tea Party peanut gallery.

But appalling as some of these reactions to Angelou’s death are, they’re not exactly novel; due to her closeness with Obama, she had long suffered this sort of tangential abuse.

Angelou’s own last tweet, as it happens, might be the perfect advice for her detractors:

Too bad God won’t get a word in edgewise till that font of sputtering rage dries up.

Photo by York College ISLGP/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Miles Klee

Miles Klee

Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions,  and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'