Lord, I Need a Scapegoat

I need a scapegoat (Sung to the Tune of “I need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler)

Someone dirty and unclean

Someone unsightly and mean

I need a scapegoat.

If I’m Catholic, I can blame the Jews

If I’m Jewish, I can blame the Arabs

If I’m Arab, I can blame the Christians.

I need a scapegoat

Someone dirty and unclean

Someone unsightly and mean

I need a scapegoat.

If I’m rich, I can blame the poor

If I’m poor, I can blame the rich

If I’m middle class, I can take my choice.

I need a scapegoat

Someone dirty and unclean

Someone unsightly and mean

I need a scapegoat.

If I’m White, I can blame the Blacks

If I’m Black, I can blame the Whites

If I’m Indian, I can take my choice.

I need a scapegoat

Someone dirty and unclean

Someone unsightly and mean

I need a scapegoat.

If I’m a Democrat, I can blame the Republicans

If I’m a Republican, I can blame the Democrats

If I’m Independent, I can take my choice.

I need a scapegoat

Someone dirty and unclean

Someone unsightly and mean

I need a scapegoat.

Oh Lord, help me to find a scapegoat.

Isn’t it wonderful, there seems to be a scapegoat for everyone and every person!  A simple definition of the term scapegoat is “Someone we can blame when things go wrong.” Scapegoats must have different values, virtues and ideally look different than us, although the latter is not always essential.  Of course, they must be stupid, illiterate, lazy, dirty, uneducated, devious, mean, sneaky and not belong to any of the same associations as we do.  For instance, if you belong to the Masons, then they cannot also belong to the Masons.  However, you could select a scapegoat from any of the following:  Elks, Moose, Eagles, Rotarian, Jaycees, Lions, and Knights of Columbus.

If you belong to a country club, they could not be from your club but they could be from another club.  If you go to Johnston High School or Harvard College, they must come from some other school like South Providence High School or Boston College.  It is essential that scapegoats be in somewhat close proximity to your group or they will not be as useful.  The best scapegoats are usually in the next neighborhood or just over the border.  When scapegoats are too far away, it is difficult to remember why they are so guilty or evil.  A daily view of the target for your grievances is helpful to remind yourself of just how despicable and unworthy of respect your scapegoats are.  Out of sight and out of mind, is not a good quality for a scapegoat.  Thus, you should endeavor to select a scapegoat who will be around when needed.

Some of you may be wondering what a funny word scapegoat is.  Where did the term originate?  According to Wikipedia:

Scapegoat derives from the common English translation of the Hebrew term azazel (Hebrew: עזאזל) which occurs in Leviticus 16:8 after the prefix la- (Hebrew לַ “for”). The Lexicographer Gesenius[2] and Brown–Driver–Briggs Hebrew Lexicon[3] give la-azazel (Hebrew: עזאזל) as a reduplicative intensive of the stem azel “remove”, hence la-azazel, “for entire removal”. This reading is supported by the Greek Old Testament translation as “the sender away (of sins)”.

See, you really did not want to know the derivation of the term.  So let’s get back to some fundamentals.  What is the best way to find a scapegoat?  Well, we already know that they must be stupid, dirty, sneaky, etc. and not be part of our existing associations.  So basically, that leaves the field wide open.  Let me give you an example.  Let’s say I am a student flunking freshman English.  Who can I scapegoat?  The answer is easy.  Pick from other students who brown nose the Professor, pick from those minorities in the class who get the easy affirmative action grades, or in worse case, choose the Prof who speaks poor English and must have recently immigrated from Somalia or Russia or India.  Recent immigrants are always a good choice for scapegoats since they have less power to retaliate.  Speaking of retaliation, that is another key criterion for a good scapegoat.  They must have less ability to throw shit on us then we have to throw shit on them.  It’s like that old saying:

Never draw on the Lone Ranger,

Never arm wrestle with Superman,

And never piss in the wind.

You don’t want to find a scapegoat who can turn the tables on you.  This means they must be less powerful than your group and ideally they are harmless, pacifistic individuals or groups who do not believe or subscribe to principles of violence, vendetta, revenge or retribution.  Thus, it is clear you don’t want to scapegoat the Mafia, the Hell’s Angels or any White Supremacist groups.  It is a lot easier on your lifespan and health to find groups like Mothers for Peace or the Sierra Club or the Quakers to scapegoat.

Another good criterion for a scapegoat is that they don’t really know why you are scapegoating them or at least to them your motives appear uncertain, undeserved and confused.  An example should help here.  We all know that Gay men and women are sexual deviates who pursue and molest young children, however, the actual data shows that Gays are no more likely than straights to be pedophiles, commit rape or sexually harass anyone.  However, in good scapegoating, we never ever let the facts intrude.  Thus, we are more than justified in our beliefs that Gays are bad immoral strange people.  Again, don’t let the facts confuse you here or you will have to choose another group to scapegoat.  A good scapegoat is hard to find but once found can serve for decades if not centuries as a target for your problems and frustrations.

It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat. — Richard Hofstadter

I realize that I am just barely touching the subject of scapegoating in my blog.  I have to apologize for not describing in more detail such aspects of scapegoating as:

  • How to humiliate and demean a scapegoat?
  • How to find new groups to scapegoat?
  • How to ensure that the rest of society hates your scapegoat?
  • How to ostracize a scapegoat?
  • How to transfer guilt and blame to a scapegoat?
  • How to get good publicity for your anti-scapegoat campaign?
  • How to convince others to join in hating your scapegoat?
  • Finally, how to crucify or stone a scapegoat?

I must also apologize for not going into more depths on certain groups.  There is a plethora of good groups to scapegoat that history and time have shown to be ideal for blaming and harassing.  For instance, if we had more time, I would like to show how you could apply the principles of scapegoating to such groups as:  Fat people, old people, young people, Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers, Foreigners, Immigrants, Jews, Muslims, Intellectuals, Transvestites, people with disabilities and Atheists.  These groups can all be excellent scapegoats if you follow the principles of good scapegoating.  Remember,

  1. Don’t let the facts confuse you, keep in mind that facts are your enemy.
  2. Don’t personalize relationships with a scapegoat; never ever get to know one on a personal basis.
  3. Try to find as many differences as you can between your group and the scapegoat group.  Look for traits and behaviors that you don’t understand and that seem strange to you.  Like Norwegians eating Lutefisk.
  4. Be suspicious. Be paranoid. Remember your scapegoat is out to get your spouse, your money, your TV and maybe even join your club.
  5. Don’t try for a win-win with a scapegoat.  Win-wins are for Wusses, Commies and Fags.
  6. Think negative, negative, negative.  Always believe the worst. Good guys finish last.

 Time for Questions:

What can we do to personally stop scapegoating?  Are there people or groups who you scapegoat?  Why?  What role if any does scapegoating play in your life?  When was the last time you challenged someone who was scapegoating?  What happened?  Have you ever been scapegoated?  How do you feel when you are scapegoated?  Has anyone ever stood up for you?  How did you feel about them?  What if more of us stood up to the scapegoaters?  Does anyone really deserve to be scapegoated?

 Life is just beginning.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fred Broussard
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 14:02:39

    Your words helped begin a good day for me. “Scapegoaters” are close kin to gossip spreaders, in my opinion. One response I use is..”what can you do about it?” They usually can’t do anything and the negative conversation shuts down..assuming the person has reasonable intelligence.
    If the scapegoater is a skeptic there is a chance they can be intelligently convinced to change their thinking. If a cynic..better to avoid them unless you enjoy wasting life’s precious moments. It’s useful to know how to separate the cynics from the skeptics but once done, well worth the investment in time and patience.
    Thanks, John, for sharing your thought provoking words.


  2. johnpersico
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 14:49:19

    Thanks Fred, I appreciate your comments. Hope you have a great week. In ten or 15 days we will be heading back to Arizona but by way of R.I. to visit my sister. First a plane, then a car. Wish we head a boat, I would go by ocean. 🙂


  3. QMM
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 19:06:56

    Hi John, I have always tried to face up to my own responsibility for things I have done and decisions I have made but I am guilty of scapegoating the Vatican at this point in my life. I have got to say how happy I am that Pope Francis says he plans to put a stop to time spent on 2 or 3 things that folks are driving into the ground. Of course his words will be misunderstood and now I hear folks saying “The Pope has changed his mine on this or that.” Not. Enjoy your traveling, still, I see. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather.


  4. johnpersico
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 12:09:59

    Hi Peg, thanks for the comments. I agree with your comments about the new Pope. I hope he sticks to his convictions. His comments seem like a good start.


  5. Greg Gorman
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 01:09:21

    1. What can we do to personally stop scapegoating?
    Take responsibility for your own actions. Don’t make excuses for your lack of success.
    Do unite; do not be divisive.
    Do not say never. Do not say always.
    2. Are there people or groups who you scapegoat? Why?
    I sometimes scapegoat the republicans and their Tea Party because they act as a group contrary to my own interests and priorities. Since direction is my majority within the party, those who might be contrary in their opinion to the majority are lumped with the majority regardless of their own individual opinions.
    3. What role if any does scapegoating play in your life?
    It makes for good conversation when commiserating with friends.
    4. When was the last time you challenged someone who was scapegoating?
    Fairly often, and my intercessions result in few invitations from those who like to commiserate over a few drinks.
    5. What happened?
    Most people recognize that these generalizations cannot stand when faced with even very weak evidence. Some may try to continue to hold on to their beliefs if they can find enough support on their behalf from the group.
    6. Have you ever been scapegoated?
    Yes, at work because I was behind in my assignment.
    7. How do you feel when you are scapegoated?
    It turns the feeling of a team to a feeling of us and them.
    8. Has anyone ever stood up for you?
    Yes. I was eternally grateful.
    9. How did you feel about them?
    10. What if more of us stood up to the scapegoaters?
    Scapegoaters are not individualists. Destroying a consensus destroys the illusion.
    11. Does anyone really deserve to be scapegoated?
    Every stereotype has an element of truth in it. The reality is that this truth cannot be connected with all or never.


  6. johnpersico
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 03:29:32

    Greg, I like your comment that your confrontations result in being invited to fewer parties, mixers, potlucks, etc. 🙂 I will still invite you over.


  7. johnpersico
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 13:56:41

    Reblogged this on Aging Capriciously and commented:

    This is one of my favorite blogs. Why is it scapegoating seems to be one of humanity’s favorite pastimes? Who do you blame for your problems? The world is going to end soon in a fiery holocaust and we must find someone to blame.


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