November 2, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Obama’s Not Black Anymore Edition

In my informal surveys of John and Jane Q. Public-Sixpack over the years (and usually conducted near a six-pack), I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon – the more well-known and admired a black person is, the less black they become in the mind of the average honky mo-fo.

Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, et al – their skin color faded to neutral as their popularity with whites increased. Oprah Winfrey’s audience is comprised mainly of white women – do they think of her as black? No, she’s just ‘Oprah,’ girlfriend. Caucasian-Americans have embraced Michael Jordan, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, and scores of black sports stars as one of their own without regard to skin shade – what white sports nut wouldn’t rather hang out with Jordan than some mediocre ofay B-Ball player? And the Super Bowl a couple of years ago between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts was played by teams with black head coaches. No big whup.

In the music world, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, James Brown, B.B. King, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and others have all transcended race and now have more white fans than black. The pop music of every generation since the beginning of the 20th century, true American music – blues, jazz, soul, rock, and even much of country – all originated with black musicians in the South. Generations of white children have been conceived to the colorless ballads of Barry White, Lionel Ritchie and Isaac Hayes.

Let me put it this way, Barack Obama has been part of the national public consciousness for about two years now and he’s generally perceived by white America as an affable, intelligent, calm, non-threatening man, and he’s world famous, so his color has become immaterial.


April 30, 2008

The Baptism of Obama

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — Volt @ 6:43 am

March 31, 2008

Rip Van Obama

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , , , , — Volt @ 5:59 pm

March 29, 2008

Obama and the Class Question

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , — Volt @ 4:37 pm

Richard Florida, The Globe and Mail, March 29, 2008

For the past two weeks, all eyes have focused on Barack Obama and race. A couple of weeks ago, it was Hillary Clinton’s gender. A month before that, it was all about the Obama surge among young voters.

Pundits on all sides have framed this election – and especially the Democratic primary – as turning on the traditional fault lines of race, gender and generation.

The talk shows go on and on about how Mr. Obama is attracting black and young voters and how Ms. Clinton finds her voice among women and baby boomers.

But what is seldom discussed and yet most interesting about this election is not any young-vs.-old, black-vs.-white, or male-vs.-female dynamic.

At bottom, both the Democratic primary and the upcoming general election turn on an even deeper economic and social force: class.

Read More Here

March 23, 2008

Frank Rich: The Republican Resurrection

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Volt @ 9:43 am

Frank Rich, The New York Times, March 23, 2008

The day before Barack Obama gave The Speech, Hillary Clinton gave a big speech of her own, billed by her campaign as a “major policy address on the war in Iraq.” What, you didn’t hear about it?

Clinton partisans can blame the Obamaphilic press corps for underplaying their candidate’s uncompromising antiwar sentiments. But intentionally or not, the press did Mrs. Clinton a favor. Every time she opens her mouth about Iraq, she reminds voters of how she enabled the catastrophe that has devoured American lives and treasure for five years.

Race has been America’s transcendent issue far longer than that. I share the general view that Mr. Obama’s speech is the most remarkable utterance on the subject by a public figure in modern memory. But what impressed me most was not Mr. Obama’s rhetorical elegance or his nuanced view of both America’s undeniable racial divide and equally undeniable racial progress. The real novelty was to find a politician who didn’t talk down to his audience but instead trusted it to listen to complete, paragraph-long thoughts that couldn’t be reduced to sound bites.

In a political culture where even campaign debates can resemble “Jeopardy,” this is tantamount to revolution. As if to prove the point, some of the Beltway bloviators who had hyped Mitt Romney’s instantly forgotten snake oil on “Faith in America” soon fell to fretting about whether “ordinary Americans” would comprehend Mr. Obama.

Mrs. Clinton is fond of mocking her adversary for offering “just words.” But words can matter, and Mrs. Clinton’s tragedy is that she never realized they could have mattered for her, too. You have to wonder if her Iraq speech would have been greeted with the same shrug if she had tossed away her usual talking points and seized the opportunity to address the war in the same adult way that Mr. Obama addressed race. Mrs. Clinton might have reconnected with the half of her party that has tuned her out.

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March 6, 2008

Gene Lyons: Political Awakening Could be Costly

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , — Volt @ 5:10 pm

Gene Lyons, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 5, 2007

So it’s two days before the critical Texas and Ohio primaries, and how does the mighty Washington Post decorate its influential Outlook section? Well, the online headline kept changing: first, “Women Aren’t Very Bright,” followed by “Why Do Women Act So Dumb?” and finally, “We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?” Author Charlotte Allen’s thesis was that Sen. Barack Obama appeared to be winning the Democratic contest because irrational women fell for him like teenaged Beatles fans circa 1964. Also, because Hillary Clinton “has run one of the worst – and, yes, stupidest – presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex.” Specifically, whining, weeping, relying too much on her husband, and worst, hiring women staffers “chosen for loyalty rather than, say, brains or political savvy.” Allen’s deepest thought, however, is that “Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true.” Fundamentally stupid, women can’t drive, do math, or much of anything really, apart from care for children and get off on dopey romance novels and TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” allegedly one of Clinton’s favorites. Why, “even men’s brains are bigger than women’s.” Yeah, well, exit polls in 2000 and 2004 showed that women voted against that paragon of masculinity, George W. Bush, both times. So there’s that. Meanwhile, I’ve got a couple of big-brained fellows out in the barn who exchange significant glances whenever I bring them a carrot. Are horses secretly smarter than humans? Eighteenth century adventurer Lemuel Gulliver suspected so, but he was prone to exaggeration.

Chastened by reader reaction, Outlook editor John Pomfret alibied that Allen’s article was “tongue-in-cheek.” To paraphase Eric Altermann, what’s next at the Post? Satires about shiftless Negroes, greedy Jews, Irish drunks, Italian criminals and happy-go-lucky Mexicans?

Editorial advice: If you’ve got to tell people something’s funny, it ain’t.

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