Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 30, 2006

WB: Crying Uncle

Billmon:

Crying Uncle

Posted by b on October 30, 2006 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

Comments

Do the words "bunker mentailty" come to mind at thispoint?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 30, 2006 1:48:13 AM | 1

Tangentially speaking (with regard to the illustration Billmon provides), I urge bar patrons to see Al Jolson's movie The Jazz Singer - the first time I saw this, I found the scene in which Jolson puts on blackface shocking and thought-provoking.

Posted by: mistah charley | Oct 30, 2006 4:38:53 AM | 2

Blitzer: "Ah-Sir Cheney!"

Cheney: "Yes, Sir Blitzer?"

Blitzer: "Would you care for a little dash of sherry?"

Cheney: "Yes, thank you so much!"

Blitzer: "Over the lips and past the gums ..."

Cheney: "Look out, abdomen -- here she comes!"

---

Hudson & Landry
"Sir Basil"
Circa 1970

Posted by: Sizemore | Oct 30, 2006 6:11:41 AM | 3

Wolf is so enamored of the A team, and has been for some time, I'm surprised he doesn't drool when someone with an official title comes on. He does bow and scrape impressively, though.

Billmon and other WB readers, I have a request: I've started the world's most boring part-time job for the xmas season so I did a print of a week's worth of your posts and took them with me to read. What a delight! I especially love your longer stuff. If you can recommend some off the beaten path longer political stuff that I can get on-line, I'd very much appreciate it. (Books are a no-no. Go figure, since I'm working at a bookstore's satelite kiosk.)I also brough along Martin Amis's 10k tome on Islam and The NY Times magazine's piece on nuclear Islam. OK, so they all depressed me but it beats looking at conservative, redneck shoppers all day.

Thanks.

Posted by: vachon | Oct 30, 2006 3:29:06 PM | 4

Billmon nailed it .... the Cheneys are calling this a "slapdown" of Blitzer.


Posted by: chill | Oct 30, 2006 4:37:47 PM | 5

I have no way of getting a hold of Billmon, but if any of you do, it might be a good idea to ask him to get this racist tripe off his blog, before things blow up completely. The right wing is, of course, already glomming on to it, but communities of color on the left are not far behind.

Maybe he should take a trip through ebogjonsons flow chart of "should I use blackface on my blog?" for a few tips. Or go through all the stuff said by Black people and other communities of color (and white people with some sense) when Jane Hamsher decided to use blackface as well.

Posted by: Nanette | Oct 30, 2006 5:06:17 PM | 6

I am really shocked that Billmon would resort to this sort of racist imagery. It is racist, it is dumb and frankly, inexcusable.

I would've thought that Billmon would be smart enough to know better than to traffic in this sort of thing. Particularly since he is pushing Edward Said's Orientalism in his right hand sidebar. He might want to check out some information-slash-friendly advice and also White Liberal Blackface (Part 10 in a 138-Part Series).

And Blackface Joe: Five Grievances.

Posted by: sunrunner | Oct 30, 2006 5:51:29 PM | 7

RUBBISH!

Billmon's comments are not 'racist'!

The Neocons are trying to turn this planet into one huge 'plantation'. Is that a racist comment?

I don't know what the RW blogs 'glom' onto... I don't go there...

Posted by: crone | Oct 30, 2006 6:03:40 PM | 8

The Neocons are trying to turn this planet into one huge 'plantation'. Is that a racist comment?

No, it isn't.

But using an image of a Blackface Minstrel is, because the Blackface Minstel is an image which was manufactured by racist whites simply to mock and denegrate Black People. Go look at Billmon's blog and look at that image and think about how you would feel if a wingnut manufactured that image to score a political point, a political point which has absolutely nothing to do with race, btw.

Posted by: Sunrunner | Oct 30, 2006 6:21:31 PM | 9

Note to Sunrunner and Nannette. Now, my roots are AShanti - sunburnt to ebony. Grandfather sat in the sun too loong.

I saw the image. Got the message and had to be helped off the floor,my sides busting with hillarity. Not. racist. at. all.

Billmon nailed Massa - the media geneflects. Time they be liberated.

Posted by: idredi | Oct 30, 2006 6:55:53 PM | 10

Blackface is designed to entertain white folks by mocking and emasculating black men visually, in cultural preparation for doing so physically. Redirecting (toward Joe Lieberman or Wolf Blitzer) that heavy arsenal of historical hatred and violence doesn't change the underlying dynamic. If you think blackface is funny, you also think slavery is funny, lynching is funny, white supremacy is funny, because those are the historical currents that blackface signifies.

As Sunrunner points out, Billmon's invocation is especially gratuitous because there's absolutely no reason to bring race into this discussion about Blitzer and Cheney -- unless you think that the most vicious avenue of attack you can summon against a political opponent is to invoke race and call them n*****; which is called "racism".

The message of Billmon's post: "Look! Wolf Blitzer is as subservient and stupid and confused as a house n*****! Look, he's so retarded he doesn't even know why massah wasn't nice to him! Hardy har har! Good one!"

Posted by: Kai | Oct 30, 2006 7:01:35 PM | 11

Sunrunner, how many different names did you use in this thread to raise you one 'voice'?

Not very kosher...

Posted by: crone | Oct 30, 2006 8:17:34 PM | 12

so what's next... you gonna call Billmon anti-japanese each time he posts a "Hirohito Watch"?

can you think of a more apt analogy for blitzer - who apparently thought that he was safe because of his relationship, only to be surprised when lynn cheney pulls the same screeching harpie routine she uses to beat on the rest of the media?

Posted by: chill | Oct 30, 2006 8:44:55 PM | 13

As one of mixed race I give my voice whole-heartedly to Billmon. What he did was very funny, and Wolf Blitzer deserved it.
There are light years between Hamsher's use of blackface and kow-towing Blitzer. (Oooh, a mixed race metaphor! Go tell it on the mountain.)

Posted by: SteinL | Oct 30, 2006 8:48:18 PM | 14

Sunrunner, how many different names did you use in this thread to raise you one 'voice'?

Not very kosher...

Don't be silly. All you need to do is click through to the various sites in the names to see that all the voices are different. Unless you are thinking that idredi is also sunrunner?

It is, of course, much easier to imply sockpuppeting than to address the various points, but that's okay. They are not for you to address anyway, really. I thought possibly someone here might have a way of getting hold of Billmon, and hopefully that is the case.

Posted by: Nanette | Oct 30, 2006 8:48:37 PM | 15

Nanette: If you look at billmon.org you will see that billmon is aware of the controversy and has posted on it.

Posted by: edwin | Oct 30, 2006 8:55:53 PM | 16

in any case malcolm x was not beyond using the stereotype of the house & the field negro - in a inherently refined rhetorical gesture

i think you will find that there are those great man such as we dubois, marcus garvey - who were not naive in trangressing such stereotypes

billmon is a lot of things - some of which - we differ greatly - but he is not & could not be called a racist, to any degree & any such attempt to label him so is of such stultifying stupidity - it would be wiser counsel to honour yr silence

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 30, 2006 9:06:30 PM | 17

Edwin, thanks. Glad to hear it.

rememberinggiap:

in any case malcolm x was not beyond using the stereotype of the house & the field negro - in a inherently refined rhetorical gesture

i think you will find that there are those great man such as we dubois, marcus garvey - who were not naive in trangressing such stereotypes

It might be noted that there are just a few differences between all of the above mentioned and billmon. One major one, in fact.

Anyway, he's apparently aware of at least the discussions now, so that's good.

Posted by: Nanette | Oct 30, 2006 9:18:19 PM | 18

Sunrunner, how many different names did you use in this thread to raise you one 'voice'?

One name: this one. And the site owner has my permission to verify this.

Posted by: Sunrunner | Oct 30, 2006 9:18:38 PM | 19

Billmon obviously isn't a pointy-hat racist but many white liberals seem to have a hard time understanding that eliminating racism from our society will take hard introspective work from all of us.

And please: Billmon is no Malcolm X or W.E.B. DuBois. Let's just say that if Malcolm heard a white man saying the same things that he himself said, it would be a big, big problem. Source and context matter a lot in racial politics.

As for Billmon's response: he thinks the only people who are offended are opportunistic right-wingers and PC white liberals. The historical experiences and perspectives of actual people of color are not acknowledged.

Here's a test that has been suggested elsewhere: would Billmon be comfortable walking into a bar with only black patrons, in a poor black neighborhood, and busting out blackface as a joke for the crowd? If he wouldn't do that, then he himself knows it's not right.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 30, 2006 9:27:06 PM | 20

i would have thought the context apallingly clear

i would also have thought that billmons trajectorie is open to one & all & his efforts to thwart the cheney bush junta are a matter of public record

the point being web dubois attacked the very pieties that mask white skin privilege, & malcolm made it perfectly clear that the real question was one of - social & economic relations

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 30, 2006 9:40:24 PM | 21

the image I would have used to portray blitzer would have been of Mr Hanky

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 30, 2006 9:42:41 PM | 22

Billmon's eloquent opposition to the Cheney-Bush junta is beyond question. I'm generally a fan of Billmon's incisive posts. But this Blackface Blitzer post simply missed the mark and plunged the dagger once again into the gaping wound on the American soul: the wound of racism. And I'm guessing that Billmon knows it, too.

Here's Billmon in his own words:

I have an unpleasant confession to make. I am a Southerner. Born in the south of southern parents, with Confederate veterans and slaveowners on both sides of the family tree. For all I know, there may even be a few Klansman hanging in the lower branches as well -- by their necks, I hope.

I'm also, in some deep subterranean sense, a racist -- for one cannot grow up in the world of my childhood and not be marked by its imprint. Believe me, I know: I've spent my entire life trying to get away from it.

I admire and applaud the honesty of those words. I wonder if Billmon still remembers them.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 30, 2006 9:52:32 PM | 23

recommend stuart & elizabeth ewen's new book, typecasting: on the arts and sciences of human inequality. here's part of what they write about the jazz singer

This was a story about Jews beginning to become white, or nearly white, in a society that had, to that time, fiercely rejected the idea. It is not disconnected from stories of other immigrant groups -- Irish, Italians, Slavs, and so on -- slowly passing through the threshold of difference into the fortunate sanctum of white America. While few would achieve Jolson's spectacular success, more and more former outsiders were beginning to gather under the umbrella of a more inclusive definition of America.

Inclusion, however, still had severe racial limits. In many ways, this situation was dramatized by the dressing-room episode, when Jack nonchalantly puts on blackface makeup. It was at this moment, when Jack first blacked up -- one of the most objectionable scenes in the movie -- that he took on a white rather than a Jewish identity. Historically, minstrel entertainment was perogative of white America. Behind its surface of humor lay often violent claims of white superiority. When Jack -- or Jolson -- assumed this perogative, he broke from the marginal condition of his Hebrew lineage and embraced the status of being an American white man, if only an assimilated one. This was the Faustian bargain that faced many offspring of foreign parentage, people who were previously defined as unacceptable. In order to truly become an American, one needed to internalize the notions of racial inequality that had, for so long, been implicit to the American heritage.

the book covers a lot of u.s. history of stereotyping & racism in both the arts & "sciences" and is quite informative. "jim crow" was actually a minstrel character created by a whitefella in 1828, portraying an "inherently foolish and irresponsible slave who served to validate the perpetuation of white control."

Soon, across America, itinerant minstrel troupes sprang up, providing local white audiences with farcical visions of black people that highlighted their untrustworthiness, laziness, and illogical trains of thought. Groups such as the Christy's Minstrels, Dockstader's Minstrels, Buckley's Serenaders, Sweeney's Minstrels, and other ensembles presented an image of slavery as a comfortable and happy home for human chattels. All of this minstrelsy was couched in a pseudo-black dialect that provided verbal evidence of black inferiority.

...

While costume was an essential element in minstrelsy, it was the use of language, more than any other element, that sets blacks apart from the ideals of "civilized" white society. Songs, written by such composers as Stephen Foster -- a Northerner from Pittsburgh with no firsthand knowledge of Southern life -- were an integral part of the minstrel show. In their lyrics, garbled "negro" language was fused with white ideology. A central tenet of this ideology was that blacks sought servitude and longed for the familiar security of plantation life. They were, as the story went, incapable of surviving amid the burdens of liberty.

...

Between the 1840s and through the Civil War, blackfaced white entertainers put counterfeit words into the mouths of African Americans, transforming the conditions of human oppression into a widely popular aesthetic. To some extent, this bogus interpretation was a response to an authentic and compelling black voice, remarkable in its expressiveness, that was becoming increasingly vocal during the same period.

examples of songs the authors cite are stephen foster's 1851 song, "old folks at home"

Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.

All up and down de whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.

All de world am sad and dreary,
Ebry where I roam,
Oh! darkeys how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home.

"oh carry me back to ole virginny," "dixie," and stephen foster's 1848 song, "oh! susannah," "the story of an enslaved black man who has left Alabama in order to reunite with his 'true love,' sold away to another owner in Louisianna. Leaving 'wid a banjo' on his knee, the man recounts the perils that haunt such illicit travels."

also interesting (at least to me, since i refuse to watch the film) is that the main black characters in birth of a nation were all played by whites in blackface. the fella who wrote the novel that the film was based on, the clansman, one thomas dixon, was "a close friend and former classmate of President Woodrow Wilson."

President Woodrow Wilson selected Griffith's three-hour epic as the first movie ever screened at the White House (ironically named, no?) Perhaps he was motivated, in part, by the film's conspicuous use of quotations from Wilson's five-volume History of the American People, published in 1902 as Wilson began his eight-year tenure as president of Princeton University. Repeatedly cited in the film's section on Reconstruction, Wilson's texts added intellectual authority to the idea that black citizenship was a disaster and defined the Ku Klux Klan as the saviors of civilization.

One quote from Wilson that appears in the film decries the chaos that followed the enfranchisement of the black Southern population. "In the villages," Wilson intoned, "the negroes were the office holders, men who know none of the uses of authority, except its insolences." (Wilson and Griffith both insisted on spelling Negro with a small n.)

The only solution to this catastrophe, Wilson concluded, was a righteous white rebellion against the bedlam of emancipation. "The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation ... until at last there had spring into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country."

While generations of cinema scholars have chosen to ignore the film's vitriolic content -- fixating instead on Griffith's notable formal innovations -- the movie, in its context, was a wholesale assault on America's free black population. Using the Civil War and Reconstruction as its setting, Griffith's portrayal of the aftermath of emancipation employed primarily blackface white actors to present a picture of black America that was consumed with a lust for white women, intrinsically unreliable, and incapable of exercising the privileges of citizenship. Emancipation, the film argued, through a mix of simple visual representations and lengthy historical texts, constituted the "veritable overthrow of civilization in the South," a phrase also taken from Wilson's tome. At a moment when Jim Crow laws were at their zenith and lynchings common, the film championed a white reign of terror against free, inherently unruly, blacks as the only hope for the nation.

Posted by: b real | Oct 30, 2006 10:18:49 PM | 24

Well, like everyone else here, I'm a huge fan of Billmon's writing. I stop at the Whiskey Bar every day for insightful commentary. First of all, I hope this controversy does not push Billmon into taking some time off. That being said, I don't think this was a very good idea. The target of his ire was obviously Blitzer and his fans. However, Billmon's obviously no dummy, so he had to know that many decent people would be offended by what he posted, regardless of the context.

When I saw that graphic this morning, I got the point he was trying to make, but I cringed at both the imagery, and what I knew was to come in terms of backlash. I don't think Billmon should take down the graphic, since what's done is done, but I think he should consider an apology (as if anyone cares what I think). Not for the point he was trying to get across, but for anyone who was offended by such visceral imagery. Personally I think the analogy of the "house slave" made his point perfectly, but found the accompanying graphic unnecessary, if not objectionable. And no, I am neither a "PC liberal" or a "right wing apologist", I'm a marxist myself, but that really has nothing to do with anything, as far as I can see. I wouldn't expect Billmon to say that Ken Lay had "Jewed" people out of their money, and this is on par as far as I'm concerned. But hey, who hasn't posted something they later regretted? Think about the folks who are genuinely upset by this and why, own up to your mistake, and get back to the brilliant commentary.

Posted by: Major Woody | Oct 31, 2006 1:47:21 AM | 25

If you think blackface is funny, you also think slavery is funny
Kai@11

Funny you should mention this "slavery" problem. Some people are of the opinion that:

• slavery is a bad thing
• people who claim that slavery is enjoyable are advocating more slavery
• political unfreedom is a pathway to real slavery (ask 2 million prisoners)
• we are losing our freedoms, such as habeas corpus and nine of the ten rights specified in the Bill of rights.

Whcih brings us full circle: slavery is bad and should be fought, loudly.

So fuck the people who pretend to love it, especially when they know that they themselves are on the edge of the abyss. I think that was the actual message. Is there something in this reading of Billmon's words and image you want your fellow citizens to disagree with?

I sympathize with the discomfort, but Billmon's reply seems about right. Yet, you have not replied to it. Would you agree that it is better to fight than to accept the already true loss of our freedoms? Have you noticed we're pre-Magna Carta these days? Or do you care about actual, existing slavery? I do, and I dislike it.

Does Blitzer dislike his paymasters?
Do the people who pay him to lie a democratic people into subservience? Do they object to slavery, or would they like us all to sing along as we work for 50 cents an hour? Actually, business school theory is pretty united on that question, so let me ask you one that you can answer:

Just what do you think we will gain if we dis-remember that middle class white American males often get paid to ventriloquise the powerless?
Mercy?

Posted by: citizen | Oct 31, 2006 2:06:21 AM | 26

citizen,

This discussion isn't about the heinous crimes of the Bush-Cheney regime, which I suspect we agree on. We're talking specifically about blackface and its grounding in white supremacy and non-metaphorical kidnapped-from-Africa slavery, whose legacy remains with us today and which you so easily skip over in your first sentence. Moreover, those of us who aren't white don't need to theorize about being losing our civil liberties, people of color have lived it.

Obviously Blitzer is a moronic sycophant in a corrupt corporate-political establishment. You'd be blind not to see that. Again, we're talking about blackface here, which Billmon deployed to make Blitzer look ridiculous by invoking the racist stereotype of a house n***** so stupid and emasculated and confused that he can't figure out why the master's wife is mistreating him. Billmon's post (and its apologists) are essentially saying: "Blitzer is such a pathetic suck-up to the Bush junta, so lacking in brains and balls, that he's like one of them house n*****s! Yeah, good one! Haha!" It's a knee-slapper.

In all likelihood, I agree with much of your political perspective on what's happening in America today; that's beside the point. There's no progressive-minded reason to invoke blackface and its deep legacy of racism in order to articulate that analysis. The fact that racial stereotypes remain the most potent vehicle for mockery is a cultural tell-tale. Also, please see Billmon's own words, which I quote above, in which he confesses to being a "subterranean" racist who has not escaped his Southern upbringing.

Once again, let me ask you directly: Please walk into a bar full of black patrons, or a black church, in a black neighborhood, and bust out your blackface joke. See what people think. If it's not offensive, you should have no discomfort. Best of luck.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 31, 2006 3:43:18 AM | 27

So this is what will finally destroy Billmon.

Er, OK.

Keep writing B.

We're well beyond the point of anything making any kind of moral or ethical sense anymore. I cringed at the sight of your graphic myself. Eh, I said, I get the point. Didn't like it, but got the point.

So, what is to be said about this phenomena of so many not getting it? This is the question. To think, racists obsequiously concerned with racism! Stranger things are about to happen. . .

Posted by: YP | Oct 31, 2006 5:27:08 AM | 28

Moreover, those of us who aren't white don't need to theorize about being losing our civil liberties, people of color have lived it.

get over yourself. every race has had its own members be slaves of others. black does not equal slave.

this is a tempest in a teacup, the target is the despicable blitzer not anyone else.

would you have had the same reaction if the photoshop had been that of a smarmy Arab? didn't think so.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 31, 2006 5:34:15 AM | 29

would you have had the same reaction if the photoshop had been that of a smarmy Arab?

Yes, I would've. And from reading Billmon (which I do fairly religiously) I would suspect he wouldn't ever would stoop to such an image, given today's political climate.

I would like to make it clear that I admire Billmon's writing enormously. In fact, with very few exceptions (Juan Cole etc) he was the only progressive blogger with enough courage and cogently about the Lebanese war this summer. So yes, he is fighting racism on many fronts as he says.

But here is a point which has not been made just yet. The right has been almost successful in creating a playing field in which they can deploy racist imagery to whip up the redneck base with "plausible deniability" while feeling free to attack "liberals" who use overtly acist imagery--not to appeal to fear and loathing--but to make a more abstract politcal point.

The point is that what "well meaning" people (and I include Billmon in this catagory) is that they are using images (akin to saying that Ken Lay "jewed" a lot of people out of a lot of money) that should never have been concieved in the 1st place, much less laid such a footprint in our culture.

No, this will not ruin Billmon (who was brilliant on Christoper Lydon last night debating a wingnut about Santorum) but I would hope that he would really think about this.

This is not the first time or the second that this image -- of Minstrel in Blackface (think Shylock folks) has popped up in leftist political discourse. And it is not accidental.

As Billmon wrote awhile back: "But Jung believed, and I tend to agree, that coincidences often reveal deeper psychological truths -- about that which is observed and not just the observer."

I agree. We all need to take a hard look at ourselves sometimes.

Posted by: Sunrunner | Oct 31, 2006 8:18:59 AM | 30

what a lot of fucking shit.

Posted by: DM | Oct 31, 2006 8:51:43 AM | 31

Clearly, Billmon's considerable intellectual gifts have not rubbed off on his secret admirers.

Obviously if the target were Arab, it would be equally offensive, perhaps more so in the current political climate.

In any case, the point here isn't to "do in" anyone -- and I have no idea why that would happen anyway, I mean, are we so fragile that a few critical comments every blue moon constitute emotional trauma? In the eyes of the apologists in this thread, anything short of cultish unanimous adoration is hurtful? Please. On the whole Billmon's a great writer with lots of horsepower upstairs, so I seriously doubt this will even mildly dent his blogging fender.

The point is to call a spade a spade, and to call something racist, racist. It's not a particularly big deal, since as Billmon points out in his response, racism goes on "every second of every minute of every hour of every day". Blackface obviously deploys racism as a weapon of mockery and to say otherwise is simply innaccurate.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 31, 2006 9:31:49 AM | 32

was the epochal play by eugene o'neill,'the hairy ape' racist because there is no doubt transgression at play here

equally the souther sharecroppers of james agee are they too not a little stereotyped

are the americans described in dreiser, dos passos or sinclair inexistant fpr they too crossed boundaries

i have my quarrel with billmon & we have spoken of white skin privilege in relation to the war in iraq - but he is clearly even in his own terms not a racist

to paraphrase billmon - to be able to live with black cadavers filling the screen of your televisions during katrina & in nearly every city of those united states, to live with the stupefiant number of prisoners - nearly three million - who are generation after generation of black youth forever closed behind bars

no no - the racism of a people is a sensous & practical act it is the recognition & acceptance of your own privilege

let us be frank here if those united states did not rely so much on corrupt & venaal jurisprudence & an even more lethal system of incarceration - ther would have been a race war or a class war a long time ago

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31, 2006 10:39:27 AM | 33

Blackface obviously deploys racism as a weapon of mockery and to say otherwise is simply innaccurate.

So then, Kai, no negative sterotypes of any kind could ever be invoked? I think that fits the definition of political correctness far more accurately than your use of the word "racism", which you present as a single fixed standard (of which you alone are the arbiter).

I believe intent must come into making that determination. I do not believe Billmon's intent was to express ill will towards blacks. You may take it that way, but it and of itself that is meaningless, as there are countless examples in today's society of people being offended over countless things, real or not. We have lots of the professionally offended in the country these days, both on the Right and the Left. People choose to be offended; it is not a fixed standard.

Yes, I found Billmon's use of blackface to make a very clear point, a perfect description of Mr. Blitzer's role in the media, to be very telling and effective. From Billmon's honest portrayal of himself and his awareness of subliminal racist programming as a child, I don't consider his depiction a jab at anyone but Mr. Blitzer. Blackface minstels existed. There were horrible white men using the untold misery of helpless victims to make a buck. I don't think Billmon was promoting these horrible white men. You do believe that, and you believe that makes Billmon a racist. I don't think he was, and that it does not make him a racist. That gives us a difference of opinion. You are certainly entitled to that opinion, but please stop making pronouncements of racism as if it were a fixed standard of fact of which you are the sole arbiter.

Posted by: LittlePig | Oct 31, 2006 10:54:07 AM | 34

are we so fragile that a few critical comments every blue moon constitute emotional trauma?

Yet are you not taking that same fragility upon yourself?

Posted by: LittlePig | Oct 31, 2006 10:59:04 AM | 35

I did not laugh, I did not cringe, I went on to read the next text. Neither the reference nor the man meant anything to me.

How is this relevant?

Well, what I think Billmon does and does extremely well, is tap into pre-existing references and putting them together for satirical effect. In this case the reference (despite the might of american culture) does not extend to me, so it means nothing.

It is obvious that most of the quick-references a culture contain says something about said cultures power-relations. But does necessarily mean that they reinforce the power-relations? Perhaps it does. On the other hand there might be ways of using them to free them from their original meaning and thus taking a weapon out of the hands of those who wish to preserve said power-relations.

In the first case you can never use references to power-relations in humour without reinforcing stereotypes. To take it further what kind of humour does not refer to power-relations? Or is it just that it is ok when used from the bottom-up and in that case whose bottom?

In the second case references is only reinforcing power-relations (in this case rascism) if they are done in a particular way, in a particular context. But this is were it gets messy as the context varies between readers.

So to make a longwinded comment shorter: the rascism (or sexism or classism or ageism) of a particular statement might depend on the listeners context instead of the speakers and thus make it bloody hard on the Internet.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 31, 2006 11:42:39 AM | 36

I believe intent must come into making that determination.

And your definition of "intent" is? Because anyone who knows anything about human nature would have to understand that intent is not a fixed point.

I would agree that it Billmon did not consciously intend to insult and belittle black people. His conscious intent was to portray Blitzer for the fawning fool that he is. But as he has admitted (and I laud him for his ability to be so honest in this regard) he is not 100% cured of his white priveleged southern upbringing. His inner racist (and this is not the same thing as saying he is overt Racist with a capital "T") leaked out in this instance. Sure, he made his point, but he also tripped over his sword.

I have been called out on my internalized prejudices by people more times than I care to remember. It is not pleasant. But I am a better person for it. It could not have happened if I did not allow myself to hear things about myself that I did not want to see about myself (it is human nature to want to think of oneself as "good") One thing which Billmon has acknowleged and which I think goes to the root of the problem is that he can "honestly" say that he has not been able to cross the divide and actually be friends with black people. Which is really too bad, and I wish he would work on that. And because he has not, he has been shielded from some of his all-American racial blind spots. If Black people are "other" and not living, breathing people in your day-to-day life, it is hard to empathize with their expressions of pain. To really "get" what they grapple with on a day to day basis. To Billmon's credit, he does understand this about himself. But that does not mean that he doesn't have a ways more to go.

But in all honesty, I am not interested in saving Billmon from his own internal racist--I have enough to do to deal with my own. But there is another issue here, which is that the right has become very adept at twisting racist discourse to suit their own purposes. Which is why Ken Mehlman can get up on national TV and say with a straight face that the Ford ads are not racist, since they were only "telling the truth" (ie, Ford DID go to the Playboy Club). I don't know how else Billmon could've made the point he was making about Blitzer, but he is a verrrrry bright guy, and I am sure if he really thought about it, he could've come up with another angle. One which would not have provided ammunition to the facists in their attempt to keep us all down and out.

Posted by: Sunrunner | Oct 31, 2006 11:57:23 AM | 37

But as he has admitted (and I laud him for his ability to be so honest in this regard) he is not 100% cured of his white priveleged southern upbringing. His inner racist (and this is not the same thing as saying he is overt Racist with a capital "T") leaked outin this instance. Sure, he made his point, but he also tripped over his sword.

OK, you're getting onto me over the subjectivity of intent, and then in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH you speak of Billmon's "inner racist" as objective fact. You can't have it both ways. Just because Billmon is aware of his own psychological situation, you can't state as a fact (as you do) that this particular case is "his inner racist" leaking out. You can think that, and it's pretty clear you do think that, but you speak definitely of something you just admitted wasn't definitive. You think it's racist. Fine, that's great, we disagree. But lose the objective voice and stop playing Lord High Arbiter.

I am not interested in saving Billmon from his own internal racist

The word that sentence brings to mind is "Hubris". It is not in your power or mine to "save" anyone but ourselves. Presuming that power upon yourself, as that observation does, does not help your argument.

Posted by: LittlePig | Oct 31, 2006 12:20:03 PM | 38

LittlePig,

Thanks for responding with serious comments. I don't mean to come off as the sole arbiter of what is and is not racism; rather, I try to listen to more knowledgeable people, especially people of color whose life experiences lend valuable insight on the matter, in order to learn about the issue. I try to correlate what I've heard with my own life experiences, and apply that learning as best I can. I'm not interested in an imagined academic ideal of all-encompassing dialectical consistency, I'm interested in interacting with the world in a manner that advances the interests I value.

So don't let me or anyone on the internets be the arbiter of racism: as I already suggested, go walk into a bar full of black patrons, or a black church, in a black neighborhood, and bust out your blackface joke. Do this a few times and you'll have a decent idea of the general consensus on this matter. In my view, that's a more effective gauge of whether or not blackface constitutes racism than arguing theoretical points online.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 31, 2006 1:11:01 PM | 39

Back during the initial weeks of post-Katrina news coverage, you all might recall that alot of rightwingers were up in arms about the possibility of the black community getting together and disparaging the shit out of Shrub. The vibe I got from all their rhetoric was, "This wasn't Bush's fault so you darkies bettah hesh up your mouth and know your place." This vibe was then later confirmed when news got out that a handful of armed Gretna police said to a bunch of predominately black Katrina survivors, "They be no Superdomes heah!"

At this point, I knew what the jig was. Growing up in a city with a lot of blacks and latinos, I know exactly how they're going to react and how justified those reactions will probably be ... and I mentioned it in another part of the internet. I said, "Watch out, folks. When black people hear shit like 'They be no Superdomes here', it's only a matter of time and opportunity when they'll stand up and shout back in defiance 'And they be no house niggahs here!' without caring one whit who it may offend."

I got raked over the coals for being a racist, race-bating, and the whole roasted chicken that Billmon is getting bludgeoned with right now but, as time unfolded, I ended up being right because the moment - that opportunity - when the black community shouted "They be no house niggahs heah!" in defiance to the Bushistas was during Coretta Scott King's funeral. Granted, nobody speaking at her funeral actually said those exact words ... but I sure as hell heard them loud and clear. Repeatedly, too. So did the majority of Americans. And so did Bush and the rest of the racist rightwing Bigotsphere, evidenced by their squirming and howling -- they had the audacity to act with fradulent shock and awe, caterwauling about how improper and rude it was for the black community to "get all uppity" and use CSK's funeral as a soapbox.

And now, Billmon used blackface to blast the hell out of the white, bearded, persistantly vegetative, corporate slave fruitbat commonly known as Wolf Blitzer and getting simular rations of shit from both sides of the sandbox. Clearly, too many Americans have just as many problems wrapping their heads around nuance and irony as they do with truth and reality.

Posted by: Sizemore | Oct 31, 2006 2:33:32 PM | 40

Not too often I have to actually get up from the computer and do something else before attempting to address something on a blog...

Sizemore - read over what you just wrote. Then read it again. Then maybe ask yourself if what many (not all) black people are hearing/seeing in the actions of (some, not all) middle class white liberals who feel a need to use historically racist imagery or to culturally apppropriate symbols of marginalized non white cultures, all in the service of using them as props in arguments - in online squabbles or as political points, etc - against other middle or upper class white liberals... maybe ask yourself if what some people are hearing is not some version of-

'They be no Superdomes here'

And that is why they (we) are not being silent.

Posted by: Nanette | Oct 31, 2006 3:32:58 PM | 41

Sizemore,

I'm glad you had the insight to see that Katrina showed something racist happening in the USA. And I'm sorry you got "raked over the coals" for this unusual observation (though I'd have to ask, raked over the coals by whom?). But I, for one, can't detect any meaningful parallel between speaking up on behalf of the marginalized victims of Katrina, and speaking up on behalf of Billmon's use of blackface. If anyone is having problems wrapping their head around nuance and irony, it's you who can't discern the difference and the implications thereof.

Posted by: Kai | Oct 31, 2006 7:25:24 PM | 42

One thing which Billmon has acknowleged and which I think goes to the root of the problem is that he can "honestly" say that he has not been able to cross the divide and actually be friends with black people.

I really do not see how being friends with Black people proves anything.

I am informed of genocide against Armenians and I empathise to the deepest. But I have never met an Armenian and it would not change a thing even if had twenty Armenian friends.

Moreover, all peoples deserve respect, consideration & fairness regardless of race or group. Each individual must be recognized as such regardless of attribute.

So long as one treats each Black person (or Hispanic or Chinese or ...) as an individual and respects him/her and is fair, thats good enuff.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 31, 2006 9:02:02 PM | 43

Idiots....

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1, 2006 1:16:17 AM | 44

How to translate discussions of racism. Usernames have been deleted to protect the innocent.

Tangentially speaking (with regard to the illustration Billmon provides), I urge bar patrons to see Al Jolson's movie The Jazz Singer - the first time I saw this, I found the scene in which Jolson puts on blackface shocking and thought-provoking.

Translation: Oh, man! There is about to be some serious fussin' and fightin' up in this here piece!

Blitzer: "Ah-Sir Cheney!"

Cheney: "Yes, Sir Blitzer?"

Blitzer: "Would you care for a little dash of sherry?"

Cheney: "Yes, thank you so much!"

Blitzer: "Over the lips and past the gums ..."

Cheney: "Look out, abdomen -- here she comes!"

Translation: You know, this reminds me of when I was a kid and I'd watch Abbott and Costello, Amos and Andy, and Honeymooner's re-runs every Sunday morning instead of going to church. Those were good times, good times.

RUBBISH!

Billmon's comments are not 'racist'!

The Neocons are trying to turn this planet into one huge 'plantation'. Is that a racist comment?

I don't know what the RW blogs 'glom' onto... I don't go there...

Translation: Did I just give them the what for or what?

Note to Sunrunner and Nannette. Now, my roots are AShanti - sunburnt to ebony. Grandfather sat in the sun too loong.

I saw the image. Got the message and had to be helped off the floor,my sides busting with hillarity. Not. racist. at. all.

Billmon nailed Massa - the media geneflects. Time they be liberated.

Translation: Isn't diversity beautiful? It's like a eating a chocolate koala bear that melts in your mouth only to crap rainbows in your brain.

Sunrunner, how many different names did you use in this thread to raise you one 'voice'?

Not very kosher...

Translation: Beavis: You know how you make a sock-puppet? You take a sock and put your hand up its butt!

Butthead: You said "butt!"

can you think of a more apt analogy for blitzer - who apparently thought that he was safe because of his relationship, only to be surprised when lynn cheney pulls the same screeching harpie routine she uses to beat on the rest of the media?

Translation: Chillax, compeneros. It's not easy being Billmon and updating an A-list blog every day. If you think it's so easy, why don't you do it?

As one of mixed race I give my voice whole-heartedly to Billmon. What he did was very funny, and Wolf Blitzer deserved it.

There are light years between Hamsher's use of blackface and kow-towing Blitzer. (Oooh, a mixed race metaphor! Go tell it on the mountain.)

Translation: Isn't diversity beautiful? It's like a eating a chocolate koala bear that melts in your mouth only to crap rainbows in your brain.

in any case malcolm x was not beyond using the stereotype of the house & the field negro - in a inherently refined rhetorical gesture

i think you will find that there are those great man such as we dubois, marcus garvey - who were not naive in trangressing such stereotypes

billmon is a lot of things - some of which - we differ greatly - but he is not & could not be called a racist, to any degree & any such attempt to label him so is of such stultifying stupidity - it would be wiser counsel to honour yr silence

Translation: I reject your insinuation there, Ned. I will have you know that I marched with King in Selma, Ned. You can be an Al Sharpton Democrat if you want, but I'm proud of my civil rights record. The only K's in my biography stand for a King and two Kennedys. Hero K's.

i would have thought the context apallingly clear

i would also have thought that billmons trajectorie is open to one & all & his efforts to thwart the cheney bush junta are a matter of public record

the point being web dubois attacked the very pieties that mask white skin privilege, & malcolm made it perfectly clear that the real question was one of - social & economic relations

Translation: You must be mistaken. I RSVP'd for the VIP room guest list at least a week ago.

the image I would have used to portray blitzer would have been of Mr Hanky

Translation: Can't we all just get along?

Funny you should mention this "slavery" problem. Some people are of the opinion that:

• slavery is a bad thing
• people who claim that slavery is enjoyable are advocating more slavery
• political unfreedom is a pathway to real slavery (ask 2 million prisoners)
• we are losing our freedoms, such as habeas corpus and nine of the ten rights specified in the Bill of rights.

Whcih brings us full circle: slavery is bad and should be fought, loudly.

So fuck the people who pretend to love it, especially when they know that they themselves are on the edge of the abyss. I think that was the actual message. Is there something in this reading of Billmon's words and image you want your fellow citizens to disagree with?

I sympathize with the discomfort, but Billmon's reply seems about right. Yet, you have not replied to it. Would you agree that it is better to fight than to accept the already true loss of our freedoms? Have you noticed we're pre-Magna Carta these days? Or do you care about actual, existing slavery? I do, and I dislike it.

Translation: Oh god, mommy and Daddy can you please, please stop fighting? How do we expect to get this wagon train across the desert flats if we can't stop fighting amongst ourselves? How can we ever hope to be a family again?

get over yourself. every race has had its own members be slaves of others. black does not equal slave.

this is a tempest in a teacup, the target is the despicable blitzer not anyone else.

would you have had the same reaction if the photoshop had been that of a smarmy Arab? didn't think so.

Translation: You know, for almost an entire century the Irish subsisted entirely on a diet consisting largely of potatoes. You can look it up.

Also:

Translation: "Me, me, me," it's always about your problems and your feelings. What about the Arabs? Would you be all in an uproar if, for example, someone photoshopped a burka on a white woman? Thought not.

what a lot of fucking shit.

Translation: Oh, wow, sorry; that was just me. I had a bean pie for lunch.

was the epochal play by eugene o'neill,'the hairy ape' racist because there is no doubt transgression at play here

equally the souther sharecroppers of james agee are they too not a little stereotyped

are the americans described in dreiser, dos passos or sinclair inexistant fpr they too crossed boundaries

i have my quarrel with billmon & we have spoken of white skin privilege in relation to the war in iraq - but he is clearly even in his own terms not a racist

to paraphrase billmon - to be able to live with black cadavers filling the screen of your televisions during katrina & in nearly every city of those united states, to live with the stupefiant number of prisoners - nearly three million - who are generation after generation of black youth forever closed behind bars

no no - the racism of a people is a sensous & practical act it is the recognition & acceptance of your own privilege

let us be frank here if those united states did not rely so much on corrupt & venaal jurisprudence & an even more lethal system of incarceration - ther would have been a race war or a class war a long time ago

Translation: When I was a much younger man, I had occasion to spend a summer season cleaning hotels in the Polish mountain resort of Zakopane. It was the off-season and the Poles had in large measure retreated to their traditional summer haunts. It was there that I met a lovely young Peruvian girl of Indian extraction, a mere slip of womanhood who labored at the resort just as I did. Like a tender brown stalk stretching and bursting to moist maturity in the alien heat of the greenhouse, she had somehow found herself transplanted from the Andes to a harsh northern clime magically rendered temporarily more temperate and nurturing, this as if only for her.

We grew close, she and I, but as she was but a young mountain girl prone to flights of fancy, I found the strength to restrain my natural urges, thinking it best to preserve her from any heartbreak that an ill-advised affair might cause. I turned my full attention to her education, where I took great satisfaction in introducing her to a newer, broader world of arts and letters, to music and history, the words of great writers and thinkers. She, in turn, taught me of her people, of the great god VIRACOCHA who weeps eternally, and APU-PUNCHAU whose name can only be uttered silently. She taught me what it meant sit silent on a mountain peak, the moon and the indigenous fauna my only companions. We went on like this for several weeks, our give and take a veiled intimation of our shared desire, and on my last night she appeared at my door, grateful, naked and unashamed, eager and yet waiting for a sign that only I could give. I knew I would never see her again so I reached out to her, and I can say we shared pleasures that late summer evening unlike any other pleasure I have known, experienced things together that I only can recall at the risk of trembling.

Aymara. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her, that I don't weep at the hint of her name, so sweet and salty on the tip of my tongue.

I believe intent must come into making that determination. I do not believe Billmon's intent was to express ill will towards blacks. You may take it that way, but it and of itself that is meaningless, as there are countless examples in today's society of people being offended over countless things, real or not. We have lots of the professionally offended in the country these days, both on the Right and the Left. People choose to be offended; it is not a fixed standard.

Yes, I found Billmon's use of blackface to make a very clear point, a perfect description of Mr. Blitzer's role in the media, to be very telling and effective. From Billmon's honest portrayal of himself and his awareness of subliminal racist programming as a child, I don't consider his depiction a jab at anyone but Mr. Blitzer. Blackface minstels existed. There were horrible white men using the untold misery of helpless victims to make a buck. I don't think Billmon was promoting these horrible white men. You do believe that, and you believe that makes Billmon a racist. I don't think he was, and that it does not make him a racist. That gives us a difference of opinion. You are certainly entitled to that opinion, but please stop making pronouncements of racism as if it were a fixed standard of fact of which you are the sole arbiter.

Translation: C'mon! Cut a 'bro a deal. I think we can all agree that it really is the thought that counts.

So to make a longwinded comment shorter: the rascism (or sexism or classism or ageism) of a particular statement might depend on the listeners context instead of the speakers and thus make it bloody hard on the Internet.

Translation: I can't be bothered with this. I know it sounds harsh, but I have to say that ultimately this is your problem.

OK, you're getting onto me over the subjectivity of intent, and then in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH you speak of Billmon's "inner racist" as objective fact. You can't have it both ways. Just because Billmon is aware of his own psychological situation, you can't state as a fact (as you do) that this particular case is "his inner racist" leaking out. You can think that, and it's pretty clear you do think that, but you speak definitely of something you just admitted wasn't definitive. You think it's racist. Fine, that's great, we disagree. But lose the objective voice and stop playing Lord High Arbiter.

Translation: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Watch where you point that thing, fella. It might be loaded.

Also:

Translation: I'm just going to keep saying it until you get it through your head: You are. Not. The Boss. Of Me.

Back during the initial weeks of post-Katrina news coverage, you all might recall that alot of rightwingers were up in arms about the possibility of the black community getting together and disparaging the shit out of Shrub. The vibe I got from all their rhetoric was, "This wasn't Bush's fault so you darkies bettah hesh up your mouth and know your place." This vibe was then later confirmed when news got out that a handful of armed Gretna police said to a bunch of predominately black Katrina survivors, "They be no Superdomes heah!"

At this point, I knew what the jig was. Growing up in a city with a lot of blacks and latinos, I know exactly how they're going to react and how justified those reactions will probably be ... and I mentioned it in another part of the internet. I said, "Watch out, folks. When black people hear shit like 'They be no Superdomes here', it's only a matter of time and opportunity when they'll stand up and shout back in defiance 'And they be no house niggahs here!' without caring one whit who it may offend."

I got raked over the coals for being a racist, race-bating, and the whole roasted chicken that Billmon is getting bludgeoned with right now but, as time unfolded, I ended up being right because the moment - that opportunity - when the black community shouted "They be no house niggahs heah!" in defiance to the Bushistas was during Coretta Scott King's funeral. Granted, nobody speaking at her funeral actually said those exact words ... but I sure as hell heard them loud and clear. Repeatedly, too. So did the majority of Americans. And so did Bush and the rest of the racist rightwing Bigotsphere, evidenced by their squirming and howling -- they had the audacity to act with fradulent shock and awe, caterwauling about how improper and rude it was for the black community to "get all uppity" and use CSK's funeral as a soapbox.

And now, Billmon used blackface to blast the hell out of the white, bearded, persistantly vegetative, corporate slave fruitbat commonly known as Wolf Blitzer and getting simular rations of shit from both sides of the sandbox. Clearly, too many Americans have just as many problems wrapping their heads around nuance and irony as they do with truth and reality.

Translation: It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

Also:

Translation: Why can't you people ever keep your minds focused for more than a minute on the bigger picture? Sheesh.

One thing which Billmon has acknowleged and which I think goes to the root of the problem is that he can "honestly" say that he has not been able to cross the divide and actually be friends with black people.

I really do not see how being friends with Black people proves anything.

I am informed of genocide against Armenians and I empathise to the deepest. But I have never met an Armenian and it would not change a thing even if had twenty Armenian friends.

Moreover, all peoples deserve respect, consideration & fairness regardless of race or group. Each individual must be recognized as such regardless of attribute.

So long as one treats each Black person (or Hispanic or Chinese or ...) as an individual and respects him/her and is fair, thats good enuff.

Translation: You know, just because I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one, doesn't mean that I won't give that Harold Ford a fair hearing. That's the least that boy deserves, is what I'm saying here.

Posted by: ebogjonson | Nov 1, 2006 8:23:14 PM | 45

Ebogjohnson:

I wouldn't want my daughter to marry Harold Ford. What a sleazeball. I can't think of any politician who wouldn't make me want to break out the shotgun.

Minstrel is a weird American tradition, but it's not just about racial insult, it is also about the strange envy that white America had for despised minorities. This pathology is inherited from Europe and probably came from at least the time of the Arab conquests when Europeans started to fantasize about those swarthy, exotic, sexually dangerous types: moors, jews, gypsies, the dark savages unbound by repressive whiteness. There is a theme throughout 1000 years of european culture that at least I don't think appears in any other culture to the same degree.

And minstrel itself is an odd reminder of how strange human culture can be since the shows popularized black american musical culture throughout the world. It may have been intended as a mockery, but the line from minstrely through white performers performing attenuated black music to the current world-wide dominion of black American music is pretty straightforward. Minstrel was a popular success becuase is catered to racism, but also because it stole superior music.

Posted by: citizen k | Nov 1, 2006 9:05:07 PM | 46

ebogjonson: Hilarious.

Posted by: Kai | Nov 1, 2006 9:11:30 PM | 47

ck don't feed 'em

Posted by: | Nov 1, 2006 9:26:30 PM | 48

Translation: You know, just because I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one, doesn't mean that I won't give that Harold Ford a fair hearing. That's the least that boy deserves, is what I'm saying here.

ebogjonson, you are so off the hook you should be commited.

And if baby-girl learns at least this much from Daddy, she'll be allright.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 1, 2006 11:35:13 PM | 49

Minstrel is a weird American tradition, but it's not just about racial insult, it is also about the strange envy that white America had for despised minorities. This pathology is inherited from Europe and probably came from at least the time of the Arab conquests when Europeans started to fantasize about those swarthy, exotic, sexually dangerous types: moors, jews, gypsies, the dark savages unbound by repressive whiteness. There is a theme throughout 1000 years of european culture that at least I don't think appears in any other culture to the same degree.

And minstrel itself is an odd reminder of how strange human culture can be since the shows popularized black american musical culture throughout the world. It may have been intended as a mockery, but the line from minstrely through white performers performing attenuated black music to the current world-wide dominion of black American music is pretty straightforward. Minstrel was a popular success becuase is catered to racism, but also because it stole superior music.

We're not in much disagreement on the above, although that particular complexity makes blackface, like, complex in my mind, as opposed to, say, appropriate. There's a tossed off line in my post about what I find objectionable re the blackfacing - "There are ways working class whites used the embodiment of black men as a from rebellion against Victorian mores, but that, as they say, is another story" - that touches on this angle and definitely could have used more thorough discussion.

(There is a book called "Everything but the Burden: What White People have Taken from Black Culture" whose title sums up the bulk of my thinking on this issue.)

I do think, though, that envy and desire are another story re this particular fracaso. Wouldn't you at the very least agree (especially in light of the above) that blackface is a particularly powerful and also cursed double-edged sword? (+50 attack with 75% chance of damage to the other races in the users party?) This horse is pretty dead, but no one has made a real case for why using it here was worth the trouble/risk of picking that sword up (for Wolf Blitzer?! I mean, really) beyond asserting Billmon's progressive bona fides, testifying to the chuckle the image provoked, and complaining that a prohibition on the use of the technique somehow constitutes a major infringement of some suddenly inherent rhetorical right. "Sure" on the first score, "I guess" on the second, and re: the last, all I can say is that that's just your white privilege acting up. Stay off it, apply some ice for any swelling and you'll be right as rain in the morning.

Posted by: ebogjonson | Nov 2, 2006 9:12:45 AM | 50

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