Project Wonderful Banner

Monday, April 07, 2008

That damned Typical Person

What's Mallard raving about today?

Barack Obama, Racism.

Obama came out immediately and clarified the remark. So Mallard's entire construct, that the comment was OK for Obama, is patently untrue, a fact that will shock absolutely no one reading this blog.

The more salient point which Mallard underscores in gigantic felt-tipped pen is that, not surprisingly but disappointingly, the entirety of the Right Wing Water Carrier Group, for which Mallard is an empty-headed echo chamber, heard Obama's speech on race and said to themselves "We like politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism."

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle -- as we did in the O.J. trial -- or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina -- or as fodder for the nightly news.

We can play Rev. Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children.

This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st Century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.

This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.

We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

28 comments:

factinista said...

It's utterly amazing that Mallard chose this benign phrase to harp on, and not any of the other, far more obvious talking points the GOP's toadies have spouted thus far. Honestly, the Rev. Wright fallout gave Mallard a storehouse full of ammunition to use against Obama, and he used a pea shooter instead.

He even fails at being a right-wing troll.

Matt Ramone said...

I'm a cynical old rat bastard, but this is one of the few genuinely inspiring speeches I've heard in my life. I have no idea how anyone could misconstrue any part of it, except deliberately and with malice.

Truce Binsley said...

I'm trying to make sense of the premise that it's even possible to make a racist attack on your own grandmother.

Isn't that like being a Jewish Nazi?

Michael said...

12xuser, I think we know from whom that lady learned her pornographic ventriloquism.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

I'm going to ask for it (again) by taking the "wrong" side, I'm afraid.

Tinny's screw-up here is his whiny, defensive posture: "Poor, poor whitey. He can't be a complete asshole too!" Nevertheless...

First: I remember when Ross Perot's "you people" remark demolished his campaign, and how the use of the word "niggardly" has, without intent, set off a few career-destroying firestorms. There was no "clarification" allowed in these cases.

Second, Obama's campaign staff was very willing to play racial politics against Clinton until the media caught wind of the tactics (whereupon Obama slammed the lid down).

Third: I wouldn't say it was "a racist attack" by Obama on his grandmother; "threw her under the bus" is more accurate.

Of course, right-wing squawkers like Joe Scarborough said likewise, so now anyone who points this out is automatically a right-wing squawker. Aw, s***, I just blew my cover. Almost had you all. Oh well.

It was completely unnecessary to serve up his own granny like that--and according to his autobiography, it's not even true. According to that, his grandmother was once afraid of being mugged on the street by a hostile person who happened to be black. Still, I'm sure it made to speech more palatable to some for Obama to publicly paint a close family member as Archie friggin' Bunker.

"Hope" and "change," "monster who would do anything to get elected," or just politics as usual?

Side Note: Truce Binsley said, Isn't that like being a Jewish Nazi? Jews who have publicly disagreed with Israeli policy towards Palestinians have been called "anti-Semitic." Check this astonishing nonsense out.

Side Note Part II: Randi Rhodes got kicked off Air America for calling Clinton and Ferraro "f***ing whore(s)." I'm sure Tinny will be all over this in two weeks with his ham fists, but it still shows the Left has its own Limbaughs. Check out how many wonderful, clear-thinking "Progressives" in the comments section of the linked article think Rhodes was "right on." Nicole Belle must be delighted by her fellows (she shut down comments in less than 24 hours). Kudos to Air America for taking out the trash.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

I'd also like to point out that Obama was forced into his speech because the Reverend Wright s***storm came hot on the heels of Keith Olbermann's rant against Clinton over Ferraro; KO demanded that Clinton not simply allow Ferraro to resign the campaign and repudiate her comments, but also repudiate Ferraro as a person, chase her down, beat her to death with a shovel, and piss on her corpse. (Strange how crap like that backfires, regardless of who's doing it.)

As for the "Important Dialogue On Race," I haven't heard a peep about it since the media got finished tired of telling me what an awesome, reality-transforming speech that was. I am not holding my breath.

rewinn said...

I'm a typical white guy.

* Everyone knows what Obama meant, except for the deliberately stupid. But there are people, like Tinsley, who make money from being deliberately stupid.

* I have never heard of anyone being attacked for saying "typical black person". I dare anyone to produce an actual, sourced example. Go ahead.

* What draws ire and fire is attaching a malevolent stereotypes to a general class such as "black person. Example: "black people are lazy". No-where does Obama do anything remotely comparable; to the contrary, his speech is about race so of course he talks about race, but no-where does he insult anyone.

* And how the heck is someone supposed to refer to a group of people without referring to the groups of people? Tinsley is crying because Obama is referring to whites as a group; why is that forbidden? It's not as if no=one ever refers to blacks as a group.

* You'll note the word "typical" is carefully chosen to exclude "Wackos." Perhaps Tinsley feels excluded.

* Billywitchdoctor is at best mistaken to say Obama threw his mother under the bus. To the contrary, Obama gives his grandmother the respect to talk about her real self, not as some idealized figure, but as a real person, full of love AND fear.

* And Billy -- if you say something untrue and get criticized for it, it doesn't help to start off by saying "I'm probably going to be attacked.... ."

* If mainstreammedia refuses to have the honest dialogue on race for which Obama calls, you can't blame him. Who owns MSM anyway?

* Finally - today's strip is an example of a typical rightwing tactic: to reframe an important issue in trivial terms. Example: Speaker: "Most rapist are men!" Response: "Why are you attacking men?"

Truce Binsley said...

"It was completely unnecessary to serve up his own granny like that--and according to his autobiography, it's not even true. According to that, his grandmother was once afraid of being mugged on the street by a hostile person who happened to be black."

I take it you didn't actually read the book, because that's not an accurate description of his account therein. "A hostile person who happened to be black"? Obama quotes his grandfather as saying she was scared because the man was black.

exanonymous said...

Frankly, only a moron completely ignorant of american history can't understand why "typical white person" might not be as offensive as "typical black person".

But remember, ignorance is everyone else's problem, not Mallard's.

Anonymous said...

Mallard is just a typical cartoon duck person. My grandmother warned me about them, and I'll still cross the street if I see Donald or Daffy walking towards me...

Anonymous said...

I just heard that Mike Ramirez won his second Pulitzer for editorial cartooning today.

What are the odds that Tinsley will draw something about it?

Gold-Digging Nanny State said...

I had the misfortune of watching Bill O'Reilly (my dad's a fan) talking to a black man who was attempting to defend Obama and Rev. Wright after Rev. Wright was received with cheers back at his home congregation. O'Reilly asked his guest whether he thought white people had a right to be disturbed by that kind of footage. O'Reilly immediately clarified his question, stating that obviously not all white people think alike, but wasn't there a certain number who would be concerned? His guest said yes, but this is a church and it's about forgiveness, not throwing someone under a bus. Then there was about three minutes of O'Reilly interrupting his guest and his guest trying to correct him and get a word in edgewise, and of O'Reilly trying to take quotes out of context while his guest attempted to explain them with the nuance with which they were intended. O'Reilly ended the segment by telling his guest that he was nuts if he thought white people weren't going to have a problem with this. I said, "I see we're back to all white people thinking alike again."

Man, it's just like Tinny to be calling out O'Reilly, I mean Obama, for that kind stereotyping, racist talk about whites.

That said, I have to echo rewinn's point that Obama did not throw his grandmother under the bus and note the obvious points that, for instance, Obama has no control over what people like Keith Olbermann say about Clinton and Ferraro or what the media's reaction was to Ross Perot. I'll also point out the obvious fact that Obama isn't the only candidate who's had to put the kibosh on things his/her staff have said. Can we please cut the crap about whose campaign staff is playing dirtier tricks? As long as it doesn't get to the level of breaking into the Watergate Hotel or anonymously calling voters to ask them if you'd vote for Candidate A if you knew he had an illegitimate child, I think comments harping on whose racial politics is worst do more harm than the initial salvo by the candidates' staffs. They do little more than create a huge echo chamber where petty arguments can be rehashed, instead of having meaningful, civilized discourse about real issues of substance like, say, education or health care.

I've said it before, BWD, I'll say it again. I don't attack Hillary, and I deplore the kind of attacks Mallard and the concern-trolls hurl at her. I respect her as a candidate. But I and many other Dems support Obama. I would appreciate it if you don't attack him. Save your vitriol for the jackass duck. That's what this blog is for.

Michael said...

DaveyK is right. There are plenty of valid criticisms of Obama, but attacks like this are ridiculous. To accuse Obama of being racist, you'd have to not only ignore the content of the speech, but also forget that he was raised by white people.

BWD's opinion of Obama's speech is much more valid, but here's why I disagree and don't think he betrayed his grandmother: all white people in America (myself included) have racist relatives they are embarrassed by, but we freely admit it because we understand they were living in a time of different sensibilities. Likewise, our grandchildren will be embarrassed by us. Since Obama is half white, I think he's allowed to act like a white person and admit that, like many people of their generation, some of his relatives were racist by today's standards. Any white person who can't admit that is kidding themselves, and maybe should take the Implicit Association Test.

GeoX said...

Jesus Christ, there are alleged liberals buying into this idiotic meme about how Obama allegedly betrayed his grandmother? And using the exact same "threw her under the bus" phrasing introduced into the discourse by those delightful right-wing demagogues. What a coincidence!

I fear for the republic; I really do.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Me (initial post): Of course, right-wing squawkers like Joe Scarborough said likewise, so now anyone who points this out is automatically a right-wing squawker. Aw, s***, I just blew my cover. Almost had you all. Oh well.

GeoX (right on cue): Jesus Christ, there are alleged liberals buying into this idiotic meme about how Obama allegedly betrayed his grandmother? And using the exact same "threw her under the bus" phrasing introduced into the discourse by those delightful right-wing demagogues. What a coincidence!

Now you know why I started off with that, rewinn; I knew exactly what was coming. The same tactic is used all over the blogosphere: you said the sky was blue, Hitler said the sky was blue, therefore you are Hitler. HITLER!!!1

Truce Binsley: I take it you didn't actually read the book, because that's not an accurate description of his account therein. "A hostile person who happened to be black"? Obama quotes his grandfather as saying she was scared because the man was black.

Ah, well then, that matches up perfectly with the impression he created about her in his speech (not so much). Frankly, I was astounded by this as I listened to the speech; again, it was utterly unnecessary to identify her under the circumstances.

Gold-Digging Nanny State: I would appreciate it if you don't attack him.

If we're discussing a candidate, that discussion can fly both ways and should be free to do so.

Also, I never said Obama has control over Olbermann, Perot, or the MSM; the point is--and this is what I actually said--circumstances compelled Obama to bring up the Race Issue. I don't believe it would have come up otherwise.

The Perot reference, et al, was just to illustrate the double standard that exists. Of all the reasons Perot was unqualified for the White House, saying "you people" to a group of people shouldn't have been the deciding factor.

As for Obama: if you wish to vote for him because you believe his policies are superior, that's fine.

If one supports him for any other reason--because everyone else is doing it, because you feel the need to hold "the Youth Vote," because you think he's an "outsider" who will bring "change," or because you hope voting for the black guy will prove your political credentials, or whatever--that's sheer idiocy.

Hey, if this place is supposed to be another one of the Internet's hermetically-sealed political fart chambers free of "uncomfortable" open discussion, maybe someone should've put a sign up out front.

GeoX said...

Now you know why I started off with that, rewinn; I knew exactly what was coming. The same tactic is used all over the blogosphere: you said the sky was blue, Hitler said the sky was blue, therefore you are Hitler. HITLER!!!1

This seems to be turning into a "who are you gonna believe: me or your lying eyes?" thing. I HEARD the speech. I KNOW what he did and did not say. Playing into the right-wing narrative like this?

If one supports him for any other reason--because everyone else is doing it, because you feel the need to hold "the Youth Vote," because you think he's an "outsider" who will bring "change," or because you hope voting for the black guy will prove your political credentials, or whatever--that's sheer idiocy.

Yes. Idealism is for idiots. THAT'S a philosophy that's wins elections. Somehow I imagine that if Clinton were capable of inspiring people, we wouldn't be hearing this line of reasoning.

Anonymous said...

As a Reagan Republican, who usually excites only angry scorn from BillyW and the other regulars here, I appreciate the new open door policy! I thought the Obama speech was excellent but that the "typical white person" remark was a bit insensitive. He really didn't clarify it later, though I don't think it was motivated by animus to begin with. Quite a few old-style conservatives and libertarians are becoming interested in Obama, given the choices we have left. I sincerely hope that anti-war sentiments transcend the old "liberal/conservative" labels, as I find Rush, Hannity,Tinsely, et al. increasingly repulsive.

Truce Binsley said...

billywitchdoctor: Ah, well then, that matches up perfectly with the impression he created about her in his speech (not so much).

Hilarious. You post an inaccurate account of what Obama wrote in his autobiography. When you're called out on it, you merely repeat your accusation in less specific terms.

Did you actually listen to Obama's speech, or did just see a few clips on Scarborough?

rewinn said...

Billy, you protest too much.

If you don't want to be criticized for posting garbage like "threw her under the bus" all you have to do is not post garbage like "threw her under the bus"

BillyWitchDoctor said...

...And now the arguments against me have taken on the same tactics I've been accused of using, because they can't address the points directly.

Sure, Truce, I listen to Scarborough all the time. In fact, I don't get my info from anybody but FOX News. Shrill much?

I watched Obama's speech on my local TV network; "threw her under the bus" came to mind on the spot, thank you very much.

I mentioned Scarborough because the progblogs immediately latched onto his own comment (in foaming outrage) as a form of inoculation; I knew it'd be thrown back at me for guilt-by-association. And hey, you're still trying it!

At least GeoX has dropped the pretense of impartiality that fooled nobody in our earlier argument. (Idealism is fine, BTW; it's hands-over-ears-and-eyes bandwagon idealism that's for idiots. Is policy and experience for idiots?)

And rewinn's comeback is best of all: You stand your ground, which just shows how desperate and wrong wrong WRONG you are! *slow clap*

Truce Binsley said...

How did you come up with such an inaccurate version of what Obama wrote in his autobiography? You clearly didn't read the actual book. Whose distorted version did you pass along?

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Truce, I will now demonstrate to you how to win an argument like this.

http://notfrisco2.com/leones/?p=3296

But I wanted to talk about Obama’s grandmother. As it happens, the story of her fearing the black men in the street is one he’s already told, in his first autobiography, Dreams From My Father. People who haven’t read that book have been speculating in the blogosphere as to what she was afraid of. Isn’t it normal for a woman to be afraid of men in the street? And perhaps insensitive of Obama not to realize this? She wouldn’t be afraid of Sidney Poitier, right? And then, on the other side, no, he’s said she was afraid of black men.

In fact, as the story was told in the autobiography, she was afraid under circumstances in which many women fear strange men - while waiting alone at a bus stop. It came up because Obama heard her and his grandfather arguing; his grandfather was angry that she didn’t want to ride the bus. Obama saw no reason why; what was wrong with her being afraid? He would give her a ride. He later found out the cause of his grandfather’s anger; his grandmother had specifically admitted to fearing the black men that she encountered at the bus.

It isn’t, of course, the whole picture of Obama’s grandmother, as she appears in the autobiography, just as it isn’t all he says about her in his speech. She also, bottom line, accepted her daughter’s marriage to a black man at a time when such a marriage was still illegal in many states. She loved Obama and cared for him. But she had her complications and contradictions, like many of our grandparents, and, actually, like many of us.


See? That's all you had to do. Google a bit; copy and paste.

And suddenly, I'm in the position of "clarifying" while you cackle in triumph. I did read the autobio, but I didn't read it yesterday; turns out we were both partially correct and wrong--Obama recalls a single event, but his grandmother apparently confessed to a general trepidation of black men at bus stops in the heat of an shouting match.

I still stand on the point that it was poor form, in the midst of a public squabble about race, to drag a specific family member into the spotlight like that and play Fear Of A Black Planet.

"Whose distorted view did you pass along?" is just more of the same smear tactic GeoX relies on. I'm grown-up enough to admit when I'm wrong; however, my point about policy-versus-blind faith/idealism/bandwagonism still stands, as do all the other points I made.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

And a little more Googling finds direct quotes from the autobiography (excerpts), with the secondhand description of Grandma's race-terror highlighted:

Her lips pursed with irritation. "He was very aggressive, Barry. Very aggressive. I gave him a dollar and he kept asking. If the bus hadn't come, I think he might have hit me over the head."

...

He turned around and I saw that he was shaking. "It is a big deal. It's a big deal to me. She's been bothered by men before. You know why she's so scared this time. I'll tell you why. Before you came in, she told me the fella was black." He whispered the word. "That's the real reason why she's bothered. And I just don't think that right."

The words were like a fist in my stomach, and I wobbled to regain my composure. In my steadiest voice, I told him that such an attitude bothered me, too, but reassured him that Toot's fears would pass and that we should give her a ride in the meantime. Gramps slumped into a chair in the living room and said he was sorry he had told me. Before my eyes, he grew small and old and very sad. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him that it was all right, I understood.

We remained like that for several minutes, in painful silence. Finally he insisted that he drive Toot after all, and I thought about my grandparents. They had sacrificed again and again for me. They had poured all their lingering hopes into my success. Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would. And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fear.

...

"What I'm trying to tell you is, your grandma's right to be scared. She's at least as right as Stanley is. She understands that black people have a reason to hate. That's just how it is. For your sake, I wish it were otherwise. But it's not. So you might as well get used to it."

Frank closed his eyes. His breathing slowed until he seemed to be asleep. I thought about waking him, then decided against it and walked back to the car. The earth shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment. I stopped, trying to steady myself, and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone.


And now, no one can claim--or present--a "distorted view"...at least, of the book version.

Truce Binsley said...

I win. Yay!

GeoX said...

Hey Billy, you forgot to post the part where he throws her under the bus. If you did that, your argument might make more sense, or at least be an argument.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

That's right, GeoX--demonstrate to the world just how immature and obtuse an Obama supporter can be.

"Look at me, everyone! I'm taking a metaphor and treating it literally! I am a genius!!"

Anonymous said...

"Look at me! I can create fake quotes in a ham-fisted attempt at parody!"

GeoX said...

Well, I'm just a simple country boy who don' unnerstan any of that there big-city speechifyin', but I reckon if yer gonna use one a them there hifalutin metty-fors, it probly orta have some relashin to what the feller akshally said. But mebbe I'm wrong. Lahk I said, I don' unnerstan you smart city-folk.

Anyway, enough talk--gotta go slop the hawgs an put an Obama sticker on mah tractor.