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Bloggingheads
05-26-2008, 07:02 PM

privatepress
05-26-2008, 07:41 PM
Whiskey? Apple juice?

graz
05-26-2008, 07:46 PM
I really loved the joy and respect that these smart guys shared today.
McWhorter was gracious in allowing Glenn his mourning for Hillary.
Glen was respectful, if sceptical of John's optimism for the inevitability of America dealing with and moving forward. Even if it is incremental - it will be significant.

John had the allergies and Glenn commiserated by washing down his own coughing with some bourbon or scotch. I applaud that form of empathy.

graz
05-26-2008, 08:39 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11372?in=00:31:17&out=00:31:35

Say it is so!

Baltimoron
05-26-2008, 08:41 PM
Here's another sublime patch of honesty (http://bloggingheads.tv/maulik/offsite/embed.php?id=11372?in=00:22:57&out=00:34:56).

Finally, two pundits attack the MSM for feeding ridiculous racial opinions that harden caricatures of demographic groups, like old folk, crackers, and Louis Farrakhan Muslims. But then, John McWhorter hypothesizes about a balkanized cultural politics, where groups based around race are comfortable with their exclusion criteria. Politically, this assumes that the current political party structure is fixed, and that the Dems will retain their multicultural platform, and the GOP its white-blind small business cum social conservative big tent. Culturally and economically, different groups might co-exist, but politically, party realignment could shift coalitions.

I asked Piscivorous to lay out his criticism of Obama's ability to be president. I don't think he's a premium pick, but then neither are the other two. I wouldn't criticize him for racism, but I think he's reticent to take that beating. Similarly, Whatfur (who still owes me his right arm for forgiveness) expressed racial views, and not racist ones. it still means he's a moron in the sense he doesn't want to learn his mistakes. This is not politics, although people with all sorts of prejudices make political judgments.

The more sunshine the better, and bhTV finally does that instead of repeating the personality-based, scandal-riden, episodic crap so many 'heads are wasting our times on these diavlogs with. Confine the crap to Week in Blog, and let more WcWhorter's and Loury's shine.

Anyuser
05-26-2008, 09:09 PM
I'd really like to hear these guys remark on Dreams from My Father, and I guess I'm surprised they haven't yet. The entire book is about the theme of the second half of this diavlog: the compulsion to embrace/transcend race, and whether a black man's race constrains his ability to encounter the world. So, John and Glenn, that's your assignment: read Obama's first book and let us know what you think.

These two are my favorite BHTV pair.

Wonderment
05-26-2008, 09:42 PM
I'm a little surprised we didn't get a more in-depth analysis of whiteness. Maybe next time.

When speaking of "white" people, it seems useful to be aware, especially if you're a linguist like John, that the referent is of dubious existence.

"White" people invented "whiteness" as an instrument of domination. Prior to "whiteness" we simply had ethnic, national and religious identities: Scots, Catholics, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, etc.

In the US, the dissolution of ethnic/national identities in the "melting pot" left primarily skin-color differentiation as a marker of identity. But there was no shared culture to back that up. "Whiteness" is a purely racist construct.

So it's hard to imagine what Appalachians would be organizing around as "whites" other than the conviction that they're not blacks. They are not bonding around religion or ethnicity; it's simply non-blackness.

I think we're better off sticking with the Obama ideal: America is becoming increasingly post-racial (as racISM declines). The pockets of resistance are in under-educated areas like Appalachia. Age, as John mentions, may be a factor, but the young population that favors Clinton in Kentucky is probably composed of young people as racist as their grandparents.

threep
05-26-2008, 10:01 PM
Guys, guys, guys. PBR is for white hipsters, not white hicks.

bjkeefe
05-26-2008, 10:10 PM
Guys, guys, guys. PBR is for white hipsters, not white hicks.

You think? I'm of the impression that it became "cool" out of motivations of irony (and because lots of people in their late teens and early twenties don't really know what good beer tastes like).

IPAs ... now that's what the real hip crowd drinks.

I do think that Glenn and John established their own hipster cred by refusing to subscribe to TNR anymore, though.

StillmanThomas
05-26-2008, 10:12 PM
My perennial favorite 'heads in another wonderful conversation. John, always the idealist, sees great things ahead for race relations--a deepening and "complexification" of the conversation. Glenn, a little more scarred, a little more world weary, keeps his "let's wait and see" attitude.

I'm less than a year younger than Glenn, but somehow I feel the same optimism that John gives voice to. Of course, I'm white, and no matter how scarred I am, I never suffered from the curse of being "young, gifted and black" in America. I've been waiting 40 years to hear a leader who gives me goose bumps like Dr. King used to. Obama does that for me, and I'm so excited for the future. I agree with Glenn that the right-wing sleaze machine will make it ugly, but I also agree with Andrew Sullivan that, like lancing a boil and letting the poison run out, it has to be done, no matter how painful it is. I'm convinced that many on the right will become absolutely horrified by what they see their allies doing. Minds will be changed this year. Many good people will awaken.

I honor Obama for his courage in being willing to go through it. Courage and faith--those are sadly such rare commodities among our nation's leaders. I also honor Glenn and John for their wisdom and their faithfulness to us here at bhtv. And I envy John's students at Columbia.

bjkeefe
05-26-2008, 10:21 PM
Bokonon:

I'm convinced that many on the right will become absolutely horrified by what they see their allies doing.

Nice. Almost as inspiring as John was. I share your hopes, but also, Glenn's doubts.

StillmanThomas
05-26-2008, 10:35 PM
Nice. Almost as inspiring as John was. I share your hopes, but also, Glenn's doubts.

Thanks, Brendan. I believe this is a watershed year, the changing of the guard. Out with the old; in with the new. The FEC's data processing set-up is not powerful enough to handle all of Obama's donors. This movement is like pouring "new wine in old wine skins." Something's got to give.

bjkeefe
05-26-2008, 11:05 PM
Bokonon:

The FEC's data processing set-up is not powerful enough to handle all of Obama's donors.

Heh. Yeah, I saw that story.

Another way to think about it is a little more gloomy (my specialty!) -- it indicates just how much everything in the government has turned to crap during the last eight years of Bush rule. I expect that the reason they couldn't handle big datasets has something to do with loyalty oaths and ideological purity tests that the IT contractors had to pass.

beren
05-26-2008, 11:09 PM
After John's enthusiastic description, I regret not going through a Great Books curriculum college.

StillmanThomas
05-26-2008, 11:21 PM
I expect that the reason they couldn't handle big datasets has something to do with loyalty oaths and ideological purity tests that the IT contractors had to pass.

Tres paranoid, my friend. ;-) Actually, it's much more prosaic than that. MS Excel can only handle 64K rows in a spreadsheet.

bjkeefe
05-27-2008, 12:14 AM
Tres paranoid, my friend. ;-) Actually, it's much more prosaic than that. MS Excel can only handle 64K rows in a spreadsheet.

As I understand it (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10609.html), that is only true for older versions of Excel.

And that fact that my government is still using Microsoft products is in any case not a source of comfort.

bjkeefe
05-27-2008, 12:15 AM
After John's enthusiastic description, I regret not going through a Great Books curriculum college.

I had that thought, too, but I know I would have hated it back then. Might be nice to take the class now, though.

tarajane
05-27-2008, 12:51 AM
I feel Glenn's pain of mourning, and share his stubborn belief in Hillary Clinton. As ever, these guys are great to listen to -- the best of the bloggingheads!

graz
05-27-2008, 12:54 AM
I had that thought, too, but I know I would have hated it back then. Might be nice to take the class now, though.

http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/denby/
Here's a little something on point.
I remember reading Denby's book and getting a vicarious charge out of revisiting the classics. It reinforced that I barely visited them in the first place.

look
05-27-2008, 01:43 AM
http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/denby/
Here's a little something on point.
I remember reading Denby's book and getting a vicarious charge out of revisiting the classics. It reinforced that I barely visited them in the first place.
An interesting book, that I'm only one-third of the way through, is Harold Bloom's Genius. It covers 100 writers with introductions that give insight to the writers' times, influences, and psyches. The chapters are relatively short, and give one an 'in' as far as getting an idea where it would be a good place to at least start. Here's an excerpt from the chapter on Kafka.

The longish parable "The Great Wall of China" remains a superb introduction to Kafka, and to some degree can be regarded as an extended Jewish joke, but this is the comedy of Prague Jewish literary intellectuals three generatons ago. We know that when Kafka read aloud the openings of 'The Metamorphosis" and The Trial to his circle, everyone was swept by laughter and the the hilarious Kafka scarcely could continue. We don't laugh at those scary beginnings, and we cannot recover the precise irony of the group surrounding Kafka. But who, without Kafka, would think of the Great Wall as the Chinese Tower of Babel?

http://www.amazon.com/Genius-Mosaic-Hundred-Exemplary-Creative/dp/0446691291

Happy Hominid
05-27-2008, 01:50 AM
Well... he WAS coughing!

Happy Hominid
05-27-2008, 02:01 AM
I get John's point about the Appalachian people being more likely to vote Obama than McCain in a General Election, but he misses the point that for a certain percentage of them this is simply not true. Let's use some completely arbitrary numbers as an example. IF 28% cast their votes for racial (as opposed to expressly racist) reasons and if 25% of those were indeed racist (even though that is not what they indicated to a pollster) you might have 6% or more who would otherwise have voted for a white Democrat Presidential nominee, instead giving their vote to the Republican. This could be enough to toss a state to the GOP. So while John could be correct, by and large, he could still be wrong about the net result of "some" racism.

graz
05-27-2008, 02:30 AM
I get John's point about the Appalachian people being more likely to vote Obama than McCain in a General Election, but he misses the point that for a certain percentage of them this is simply not true. Let's use some completely arbitrary numbers as an example. IF 28% cast their votes for racial (as opposed to expressly racist) reasons and if 25% of those were indeed racist (even though that is not what they indicated to a pollster) you might have 6% or more who would otherwise have voted for a white Democrat Presidential nominee, instead giving their vote to the Republican. This could be enough to toss a state to the GOP. So while John could be correct, by and large, he could still be wrong about the net result of "some" racism.

I think that John's larger point about party loyalty may be true. But you are right that he glossed over the numerical aspects of the issue.
I want to believe his more general point about the greater percentage of White Appalachians being race conscious instead of racist. It seems difficult to prove or discredit. But I find his theory appealing. Yet this could still lead one to draw the conclusion that the advantage goes to the White guy.

Of course, WV and KY were wins for GW in 2000/2004

graz
05-27-2008, 02:34 AM
QUOTE=look; "An interesting book, that I'm only one-third of the way through, is Harold Bloom's Genius. It covers 100 writers with introductions that give insight to the writers' times, influences, and psyches. The chapters are relatively short, and give one an 'in' as far as getting an idea where it would be a good place to at least start."
http://www.amazon.com/Genius-Mosaic-.../dp/0446691291

look:

Thanks for the link.
I enjoy this sort of second hand observance of the classics.
It seems more legit than my original Cliff notes approach.

otto
05-27-2008, 03:06 AM
Thumbs up for Glenn's bh.tv pose. The camera looks up at him, he looks across the screen, it's a very usual shot for an interview -- and it works very well.

deebee
05-27-2008, 09:32 AM
I find that my former immersion in the Great Books must have been internalized to the extent that now when I view the external scene, I find that each player bears some resemblance to one or another Shakespearean or other literary character.

Can't really imagine how different life would appear if I hadn't spent a lot of quality time with my book buddies in times past so I salute John McWhorter's desire to share them with others on a regular basis.

tarajane
05-27-2008, 09:40 AM
"Blackness as an argument."

John relegates this to the past and doesn't think it has impact now but I don't think we're past it, not when I hear people on TV say things like -- how can the democrats take this away from the first viable black candidate, there will be riots in the streets."

Sometimes I've wished Obama were white so that Hillary's all out effort to defeat him were not viewed as an attack on the black community. I'm sure her foes have wished she weren't a woman so that they could fight her tooth and nail without running the risk of being viewed as opposing the advancement of women. In that sense I don't think it's possible to totally escape from "blackness as an argument" or gender as an argument in this election season.

Further, it seems contradictory for him to say that blackness as an argument is non-existent when it seems to be the biggest ingredient of his support for Obama. I haven't heard him get excited about anything else Obama has to offer as a candidate, except maybe youth. It seems that what most excites him about an Obama presidency is the effect he anticipates on the nature of how we perceive race in this country. In the past he's said things like, "he's qualified enough." And he's mused on the positive impact of Michelle and the two little girls in the White House. I understand that, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. But it does pretty much pose the question of how passionate he would be about a white guy candidate who held all the same positions on issues that Obama does. My guess is, not so passionate.

To me, as a Hillary supporter, I agree that what excites him are positive things. And they do have to do with race. The positive effects he envisions would be among the very few reasons I'd find to vote for him if she is not the nominee. So I would say that blackness is, in fact, an argument for Obama -- one of the few arguments that really sells him to me.

bjkeefe
05-27-2008, 10:36 AM
Very well said, tarajane.

Namazu
05-27-2008, 12:06 PM
I started reading TNR at age 13, but given the increased demands on my time, I hope someone will let me know when they commission a piece that takes on the notion--recently promoted by Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezkinski--that the promotion of "human dignity," rather than freedom, should be at the core of our foreign policy. If we go down this road, building "self-esteem" in the Third World can't be far behind.

uncle ebeneezer
05-27-2008, 12:17 PM
Threep...NICE.

My grandfather used to drink PBR because it was super-cheap. Then me and my friends used to hold our noses and swallow down PBR in college because of cost concerns (back in the 90's) along with Millwaukee's Best, Strohs, Nat Lite etc. Then last year I was in Denver and my buddy who is real into hardcore-punk took me to some bars that had PBR on tap. Just the other night I went to a relatively "hip" bar out here in LA and everyone was drinking PBR. Funny how trends work.

Happy Hominid
05-27-2008, 12:51 PM
But I find his theory appealing. Yet this could still lead one to draw the conclusion that the advantage goes to the White guy.

Of course, WV and KY were wins for GW in 2000/2004

I find it appealing too and there may indeed be a large measure of truth to it. I think you could do studies that would confirm or disprove it. It wouldn't be easy, but it can be done.

Advantage white guy... yeah. But you can lose all of Appalachia and still win the election. "Race" seemed to be more of an issue for Obama there than anywhere else, including the deep South. I think Obama could make swing states out of states that have never been considered such.

graz
05-27-2008, 01:03 PM
I think Obama could make swing states out of states that have never been considered such.

This is his path to victory. I don't believe that either BO or HC would take WV or KY - fwiw.

Markos
05-27-2008, 01:54 PM
As a person who has been hoping we will actually have the "national conversation on race" that Lani Guinere (sp?) and others have called for, I especially enjoyed this diavlog because it started getting into questions that are relevant to the needed conversation, such as white people's relationships to being white, etc. Having two black men raise some of these questions has a kind of Nixon-going-to-China quality. To have a truly honest and thorough discussion about race requires that both sides let go of knee-jerk accusations of racism every time somebody ventures beyond the often too quickly reflexive and arbitrary boundaries of "political correctness."
Getting beyond our problems with race requires, I think, more than simply electing a black president - though that certainly ought to help (even though I voted for Hillary). It will require more conversations like this between people of both/all races.

uncle ebeneezer
05-27-2008, 02:47 PM
I think this:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11372?in=00:27:53&out=00:28:33

was a really great point about the MSM that often times goes unmentioned.

John McW is the man.

Wonderment
05-27-2008, 03:01 PM
To me, as a Hillary supporter, I agree that what excites him are positive things. And they do have to do with race. The positive effects he envisions would be among the very few reasons I'd find to vote for him if she is not the nominee. So I would say that blackness is, in fact, an argument for Obama -- one of the few arguments that really sells him to me.

I agree with this, although I'm not a Hillary supporter. I think, everything else being equal among candidates, there are good reasons for voting for a woman and a African American.

Barack is attractive, however, for a variety of reasons beyond blackness. He is not only black. He is black with powerful connections to the developing world -- Kenya and Indonesia. He is black with significant experience working on inner city poverty (the several years he spent as a organizer in Chicago). He is a very sophisticated thinker in ways Hillary is not (read his books compared to Hillary's.)

In other words, if Hillary had grown up in Brazil or if her dad had been Chinese, she would also be a much more attractive candidate, as she would if she had spent say 5 years in the Peace Corps

I'd also be more impressed if she had not first came to our attention as somebody's wife. I actually think we had a far better female candidate with Shirley Chisholm, whom I supported for president in 1972. She was also the child of black immigrants, but she became a Congresswomen on her own, not as anyone's spouse, and in retrospect she would have been a better -- and far more historic -- candidate than McGovern.

look
05-27-2008, 03:56 PM
Thanks for the link.
I enjoy this sort of second hand observance of the classics.
It seems more legit than my original Cliff notes approach.[/QUOTE]As someone who owns Shakespeare for Dummies, I can't really condemn a Cliff's Notes user.

;)

But in our defense, is there anything more guaranteed to provoke procrastination than having to read something for a class? And as Denby points out in your link, books become more relevant as you age and apply your life experience to the author's thoughts.

look
05-27-2008, 03:59 PM
I find that my former immersion in the Great Books must have been internalized to the extent that now when I view the external scene, I find that each player bears some resemblance to one or another Shakespearean or other literary character.
Well, don't keep us in suspense...who is who in the current political drama?

uncle ebeneezer
05-27-2008, 04:06 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11372?in=00:35:25&out=00:35:29

graz
05-27-2008, 04:26 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11372?in=00:35:25&out=00:35:29
And Classical!
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11372?in=00:19:04&out=00:19:10

Happy Hominid
05-27-2008, 10:51 PM
I agree 100%.

Whatfur
05-28-2008, 06:14 AM
Thoroughly enjoyable diavlog.

I asked this once of Megan M. and now ask the same of John Mc. ...talk to me of this man you support. Talk to me of Obama. There are some out here who have a really hard time understanding the hopeity and change much less reaching out and grabbing it. Here again was an opportunity to enlighten us (so to speak)...complete with almost a dare by Glen to do so...yet the moment once again past. In all honesty, I can feel Mr. McWorter's enthusiasm and those things he does share about the what he sees and feels about the Obama candidacy are not small things if they actually came to fruition...but these things are still mostly ethereal. Do Obama supporters actually have anything of substance to share with us? What has he actually done to exude confidence in reaching the ethereal?

I truly believe that the only way Obama is going to win this thing is to convince those hanging onto the tree during the flood that they can let go because there is another tree the current will take us to whose roots are are just as deep. Currently I see something like a Christmas Tree...it smells good, looks good but the stand it sits in is seemingly small.

willmybasilgrow
05-28-2008, 07:57 AM
Second!

I'd really like to hear these guys remark on Dreams from My Father, and I guess I'm surprised they haven't yet. The entire book is about the theme of the second half of this diavlog: the compulsion to embrace/transcend race, and whether a black man's race constrains his ability to encounter the world. So, John and Glenn, that's your assignment: read Obama's first book and let us know what you think.

These two are my favorite BHTV pair.

harkin
05-28-2008, 08:19 AM
Do Obama supporters actually have anything of substance to share with us? What has he actually done to exude confidence in reaching the ethereal?

John nailed the Obama-think as well as anyone I've heard so far:

He's not old, and he's not white. I mean, what else really matters?

Seriously, I can think of many reasons to not vote for Obama, and a few to vote McCain, and none of them have anything to do with prejudices regarding race (or age); does that make me post-racial? (if so, maybe I was post-racial as far back as 1992, when I wrote in 'Colin Powell' for Pres on my ballot)

Does anyone here even doubt the uproar if a conservative had expressed doubt for BO by saying he's "a little too young and a little too black"?


It's also strange to realize that one of my co-workers, who stereotyped blacks recently as [paraphrasing] 'sitting on lawn chairs down on MLK Blvd, sipping forties and playing cards', has a kindred spirit in John with his bingo-playing, Pabst-sipping white version.

I can just hear that imaginary white woman saying "if that young black man is elected president in November, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself".

[cue Appalachian Spring]

David Thomson
05-28-2008, 08:41 AM
The discussion between Glenn Loury and John McWhorter failed to address the intellectual shallowness of Obama. We are finding out that he is a poorly read man. It is becoming increasingly obvious that he likely entered Harvard University because of that school's affirmative action policies. The only thing that Obama has mastered is the ability to manipulate white guilt.

otto
05-28-2008, 09:25 AM
He also wrote became editor of the Harvard Law Review only because of HLS's affirmative action policies, and wrote a well reviewed book in his twenties also because of those policies.

(He actually wrote it himself, unlike the 'author' of It takes a Village - Harvard may be held accountable for that as well).

In fact, you're right -- Barry may be the least well educated politician ever to run for office in the history of the United States!

handle
05-28-2008, 01:58 PM
Sit back and witness the awesome power of not having had anything to do with Bush.
Y'all wanna blame the left and the hippies for Vietnam and the turn against Iraq in public opinion, but the real problem is right (no pun) in front of you: Average, working middle America. I don't know if general Patton actually said this, but the line from the movie says it all for me: "Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser." Since we like black and white thinking ("fur us or agin us", "love it or leave it") the absence of a clear victory can only be seen as a loss, no matter how many times you move the goal posts, you are not fooling a large number of people any more.
Desert storm was a perfect model, clearly defined objectives, clear instigation by the enemy, and allied support. We got in, achieved our goals, and most importantly, got out, having restored order.
Afghanistan, could have followed this model, but was sidelined for Iraq, which fits none of these criterion. Six years of declaring progress starts to smell like a big waste.
Do your worst, whutfur, tear my logic apart, It won't make any difference what so ever, because you've lost the hearts and minds of the American people. You won't change my mind, and you missed your opportunity with them.
Americans will elect the non-loser, no matter what.

Whatfur
05-28-2008, 02:20 PM
Sorry handle...

Are you trying to say that Obama is pretty much the "anti" candidate and that there is no substantial reason to vote for him or for him winning the election other than that he is not George Bush, or Lyndon Johnson?

You may be right...I just keep wishing there was more.

handle
05-28-2008, 02:31 PM
There's more, but "not" let alone "anti" is probably gonna do it for him.
I'm not real exited about his chances for an effective admin. given the amount of resistance he will surely receive. But not giving us Bin Laden? Hard to bury that one...

graz
05-28-2008, 03:17 PM
I asked this once of Megan M. and now ask the same of John Mc. ...talk to me of this man you support. Talk to me of Obama... Do Obama supporters actually have anything of substance to share with us? What has he actually done to exude confidence in reaching the ethereal?

trolling(informal) computing:
an e-mail message or posting on the Internet intended to provoke an indignant response in the reader.

"Sorry handle... You may be right...I just keep wishing there was more.":
disingenuous adjective:
that innocent request is just part of a disingenuous act; insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious; hypocritical.

We've seen this act before. How many posts before the what? fur starts to fly again?

Speaking of sorry. How about an apology to Brendan?
Re:The Week in Blog: Battle of the Bills.
You know, since your such a Gentleman.

uncle ebeneezer
05-28-2008, 04:00 PM
Whatfur/Harkin: you're focussing solely on "what he's done" but that's only part of the bigger equation for many voters. While experience is certainly an important consideration for choosing which candidate to support, it is only one of many, and in my opinion, it is often given far more weight than I think it deserves. I made this argument back when everyone was using "experience" to try and convince me why Hillary was better than Obama. I was unconvinced (not only at Hillary's claims to experience, but also to whether they, if assumed to be true, make her the stronger candidate.) I also think that the benefit of millitary service is vastly overinflated as well.

One of the biggest factors I look at in a candidate is what are they going to (try to) do as President? When I look at the direction McCain wants to take us (I'll never surrender in Iraq, bomb-Iran etc.) it is exactly the opposite of what I want to see happen. I don't care if he's the most experienced and politically crafty candidate in the history of the world. He wants to take us down roads that to me spell obvious disaster. Just the fact that he still doesn't see Iraq as a bad decision, and would rather play on our desire to "win" rather than cut unnecesarry losses by considering alternative options, makes it absolutely impossible for me to support him. I would far prefer a wet-behind the ears senator who knows the difference between Sunni's and Shia, might have a better grasp of the economy, and wants to go back to the practice of "diplomacy first."

There are other people out there who I think would have been even better for our Presidency than Obama (Gore for example) but that's not how this thing has played out.

My view is that being President isn't so much about experience or intelligence, but about judgement. There have been great presidents with little experience and ones with marginal intelligence, and conversely there have been Presidents who were very smart but didn't have the most stellar terms in office. In my view, Iraq and the way we approach the world is the most important issue. Obama has the right outlook, McCain doesn't. I don't care if Obama doesn't have as lengthy a resume, he does things in the areas that are important to me and he says he wants to do some things that I think are long overdue. I can't say that I speak for all (or even most) Obama supporters, but I just thought I'd raise the point that experience isn't the end-all-be-all factor to everyone. Cheers-- Uncle Eb

Whatfur
05-28-2008, 09:11 PM
Whatfur/Harkin: you're focussing solely on "what he's done" but that's only part of the bigger equation for many voters. While experience is certainly an important consideration for choosing which candidate to support, it is only one of many, and in my opinion, it is often given far more weight than I think it deserves.
...
I can't say that I speak for all (or even most) Obama supporters, but I just thought I'd raise the point that experience isn't the end-all-be-all factor to everyone. Cheers-- Uncle Eb

With all due respect Eb, one could pretty easily counter that this is exactly the retort one would make if one was backing a candidate without experience...not to mention that it would be the riposte of someone who cannot effectively or convincingly quantify those things I keep hoping someone can provide. Don't feel bad as you are in good company.

There is another experience aspect that is talked about less. Negative ones. Mistakes that a person makes over the years that one learns from. Now there obviously have been a couple that have been flushed out during this campaign, but I think you would agree that without the spotlight on things like say Rev. Wright, those failures would not have been realized. However, I am really referring more to those things that accummulate over a lifetime. It just seems to me like Obama has a whole slew of accumulation left to do. Should Obama be POTUS while he is doing it?

I will venture a guess that at this point you might want to go back to McCain supposedly not learning from Bush's mistakes and continuing down the same road in Iraq or elsewhere...but I would certainly want to argue that (although waffling a bit on the stance), Obama's expressed desire to withdraw troops immediately would result in a huge human and national security catastophe and would duplicate mistakes that ignore the lessons of history...and we are discovering that history is not Obama's strong suit...either.

In any case, you are correct experience may not be the "end-all-be-all", but I personally am more comfortable with someone who has some.

uncle ebeneezer
05-28-2008, 11:39 PM
Whatfur, and I could counter that you are making the predictable retort for a candidate who lacks vision or ingenuity. I'll take someone who shows questionable judgement in choosing a personal pastor vs. one who backs the wrong war and can't keep track of the major parties involved in said war.

To each his own. W had a good amount of experience as a governor and a father who was a foreign policy wonk, and yet he consistantly flopped anytime he had to use his own judgement.

Marc S.
05-29-2008, 01:38 AM
To say that West Virginians are just ignorant instead of racist is to say that they are just dumb, not mean. Maybe West Virginians are smart than Mr. McWhorter thinks.

I'm an African American that can be considered a "McWhorter/Obama" type.

Nothing in my resume, name, or telephone voice, indicates a specific ethnicity.

Twice this year, once before the WV primary, and once after it, I've gone on job interviews for regional positions based in large North Eastern cities that required frequent overnight trips to West Virginia only after I showed up for the interview.

The work load and the training requirements changed, too.

Both times the recruiters were dumbfounded as to why my credentials, which were more than enough, even after the initial telephone interviews, came into question.

This was with two different recruiters, and two different companies.

When Senator Clinton says "think of it as a hiring decision," I now have no doubt that she means "You aren't actually thinking about voting for a Black person, are you?"

I know, because I'm living it.

Wonderment
05-29-2008, 01:59 AM
When Senator Clinton says "think of it as a hiring decision," I now have no doubt that she means "You aren't actually thinking about voting for a Black person, are you?"

I think it's even worse than that. She isn't even aware of how statements like that -- and several made by Bill Clinton -- play in the African American community.

For the "first black president" and his spouse this has been an incredibly clueless and insensitive campaign.

pod2
05-29-2008, 02:18 AM
I have to say that I was kind or disappointed in the pass that Loury gave to his co-interlocutor in this episode. To say that it is not racist when W Virginians say that "I'm not going to vote for Obama because he's a Muslim" or "He's some kind of radical leftist" kind of misses the point of racism. Racists do not often come out and say, "I don't like that guyi because he's black." They often CLING to other superficial, incorrect, or stereotypical attributes to excuse their racism. "He's a muslim," "He's a radical" (even though he's closer to Bill Clinton than Hillary), "He doesn't share our values" (compared to a non-apologetic feminist who would kick these W Virginian men in the balls and send them off to do the dishes). These are often empty justifications for their own bigotry and racism. People who will not vote for (or hire, or sell a home to) black men often develop elaborate justifications for their prejudice. Citing their justifications, as McWhorter does, does not disprove the influence of pervasive racism.

pod2
05-29-2008, 02:32 AM
I love that the concept of "whiteness" was finally raised in bloggingheadsland.

I am disappointed that neither diavlogger brought up what, for many, is THE active definition of racism, particularly in a conversation that purported to deal with the possible END OF RACISM IN OUR TIME. For more than a few of us, racism is defined as prejudice (unconscious or conscious) plus power. Thus, the feeling of racial solidarity among white people is qualitatively different from similar solidarity among black people. It has to do with power. It is not possible to talk about the two groups without acknowledging the fundamental fact of POWER. When women meet to discuss the dynamics of sexism in a male-dominated investment banking firm, it is not the same as when a group of men meet to talk about the problem of uppity women within the firm. When a group of black prospective homeowners meet to discuss entry into a white Chicago suburb, it is not the same as when a group of white families get together to resist the unwelcome, but inevitable incursion of black families into their neighborhood. Power matters, and any discussion of race or racism without dealing with power (or his invisible partner PRIVILEGE) cannot tell the whole story.

Whatfur
05-29-2008, 07:23 AM
Whatfur, and I could counter that you are making the predictable retort for a candidate who lacks vision or ingenuity. I'll take someone who shows questionable judgement in choosing a personal pastor vs. one who backs the wrong war and can't keep track of the major parties involved in said war.

To each his own. W had a good amount of experience as a governor and a father who was a foreign policy wonk, and yet he consistantly flopped anytime he had to use his own judgement.

If by "vision or ingenuity" you refer to Obama's obvious ability to create the following he has with words without deeds then I can certainly understand that. However, I am not sure anyone in the U.S. Senate over the last couple decades has approached the job with more vision or ingenuity than John McCain...often times to the detriment of his standing in his own party. A number of these visions happened during the time Obama was sitting in the same chambers voting nothing but left, left, and left...while occasionally putting ink on bills without dripping any sweat on them.

As far as W, well yes McCain is going to have to fight against the meme of the left trying to paint him as Bush III despite the truth of him pretty much being the anti-Bush most of the last 7 years. I guess the main tie is the war itself an not the running of it...as McCain has "consistantly" argued for different tactics than the Bush administration. You and others want to forget the vote on the use of force in Iraq because it now is convenient to do so, but in reality until that failure from Vermont discovered he could gain a following by bashing Bush and the war...most everyone else was on the same page as Bush (let me know if you want me to trot out the Kerry or Clinton videos of the time). But that is the past, you and your candidate I thought want to think towards the future...right??? McCain wants to finish whats been started in Iraq and turn what y'all paint as a negative into a positive. Obama wants to turn tail and bail leaving the "vision" in his rear-view mirror. One of those choices will definately require a bit more ingenuity.

-asx-
05-29-2008, 08:18 AM
As far as W, well yes McCain is going to have to fight against the meme of the left trying to paint him as Bush III despite the truth of him pretty much being the anti-Bush most of the last 7 years.

Dude,
You're funny.

According to CQ (http://www.progressivemediausa.org/2008/05/27/john-mcsame/), Senator John McCain has voted with President Bush 100% of the time in 2008 and 95% of the time in 2007.

If McCain and Bush are so different, how come you love them both? I will admit feeling enormous sympathy for you, and people like you. You've invested so much in Bush for so many years, it must be devastating to be confronted by the fact of his complete failure. I didn't know you prior to 2001, but I suspect you were a much less angry and overwrought individual prior to the collapse of the Bush presidency and the massive damage he inflicted on this country with your enthusiastic support.

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 08:47 AM
However, I am not sure anyone in the U.S. Senate over the last couple decades has approached the job with more vision or ingenuity than John McCain...often times to the detriment of his standing in his own party.

Any examples?

I'll give you McCain-Feingold as at least demonstrating good intentions (without taking a stand on the bill itself).

He talked a good game about opposing torture for a while, but seems to have flip-flopped on that in the past couple of years. Ditto the Bush tax cuts.

Apart from that, I can't think of anything that he's done except to jump in front of cameras to talk about being against earmarks, an attitude that is either pure grandstanding or shows a misplaced sense of priorities -- in the big picture, earmarks are lost in the noise.

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 08:53 AM
pod2:

I think you're right, certainly about at least some of these voters: saying "he's a Muslim" or "he's a radical" is just a convenient excuse. And even in the case of those who could pass a lie detector test about their reasons, I'm pretty sure the reason such beliefs are so easily embraced is explained by their attitude towards his skin color.

Whatfur
05-29-2008, 08:55 AM
Dude,
You're funny.


Thanks! Many people who actually know me say the same thing. And you should work for eharmony as you certainly know love when you see it.

Funny too that I mention 7 years and you respond with data from "progressivemedia" for less than 2 years. I was not really talking about voting record anyway...was I?

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 09:00 AM
...
Apart from that, I can't think of anything that he's done except to jump in front of cameras to talk about being against earmarks, an attitude that is either pure grandstanding or shows a misplaced sense of priorities -- in the big picture, earmarks are lost in the noise.Unless earmarks are seen as part of attitude. One can always justify spending on a certain set of desires, by saying it is only a couple million/billion which is "lost in the noise" when considered in the context of the larger budget, but a billion here a billion there and pretty soon we are talking about real money. Not to say the least how they contribute to the corruption that is inevitably associated with the kind of money thrown about so blithely.

Whatfur
05-29-2008, 09:22 AM
Any examples?

I'll give you McCain-Feingold as at least demonstrating good intentions (without taking a stand on the bill itself).

He talked a good game about opposing torture for a while, but seems to have flip-flopped on that in the past couple of years. Ditto the Bush tax cuts.

Apart from that, I can't think of anything that he's done except to jump in front of cameras to talk about being against earmarks, an attitude that is either pure grandstanding or shows a misplaced sense of priorities -- in the big picture, earmarks are lost in the noise.

McCain-Kennedy -- Immigration
McCain-Liebermann -- Environment
McCain-Schumer -- Healthcare
McCain-Murtha -- Treatment of Prisoners in American custody

I would be happy to produce some more examples (there are dozens) as soon as you back up your own statements here. Where has he flip-flopped on torture? Being against the Bush Tax Cuts and then recognizing their success are two different things. You need to explain "without taking a stand", what is that suppose to mean? What are spent on earmarks could finance small countries...and certainly a good place to start in cleaning up under the table deals by both parties that are contrary to good government.

Obama--????? ????
Obama--????? ????
Obama--????? ????


???? <--lost in the noise or non-existant?

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 09:57 AM
Whatfur:

Thanks for your examples.

Whatfur
05-29-2008, 10:06 AM
Whatfur:

Thanks for your examples.


You are welcome, Brendan.

And Thank YOU for backing up your...oops...sorry...never mind.

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 11:27 AM
You are welcome, Brendan.

And Thank YOU for backing up your...oops...sorry...never mind.

Hey, if your life is so sad that you can't even answer a question without feeling like you have to trumpet some sort of "victory," by all means -- carry on.

Whatfur
05-29-2008, 12:19 PM
Hey, if your life is so sad that you can't even answer a question without feeling like you have to trumpet some sort of "victory," by all means -- carry on.

Just trying to prompt you to better explain yourself...sorry.
I don't consider it a victory...should I?

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 12:33 PM
Just trying to prompt you to better explain yourself...sorry.
I don't consider it a victory...should I?

Nice backpedaling.

graz
05-29-2008, 02:24 PM
Unless earmarks are seen as part of attitude. One can always justify spending on a certain set of desires, by saying it is only a couple million/billion which is "lost in the noise" when considered in the context of the larger budget, but a billion here a billion there and pretty soon we are talking about real money. Not to say the least how they contribute to the corruption that is inevitably associated with the kind of money thrown about so blithely.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/01/21/short-on-economic-underst_n_82529.html
http://firedoglake.com/2008/05/28/mccains-cronies-phil-gramm-r-enron-and-his-ubs-lobbying-problem/
How does McCain's Phil Gramm relationship square with proper attitude or stack up against the relative worth of earmarks.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 02:36 PM
Senator Gram is Senator Gram. If the guilt by association has some meaning to you then that is how it stands up.

graz
05-29-2008, 02:41 PM
Senator Gram is Senator Gram. If the guilt by association has some meaning to you then that is how it stands up.

Why would you disassociate them? Does McCain operate in a vacuum?

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 03:18 PM
I don't disassociate them if you mean Senator Gram and Senator McCain. If one were to dissociate from all the politicians that feed in the pork trough there would be few that on could actually associate with. Can you point to an ear mark of Senator McCain's that troubles you? I would be clad to discusses it with you and see if I can abate your fears.

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 03:22 PM
Senator Gram is Senator Gram. If the guilt by association has some meaning to you then that is how it stands up.

Pisc:

It seems to me that there's a little more than just casual association going on here. Gramm is McCain's top economic advisor (http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/05/todays_must_read_346.php), as I understand it. I have also heard his name bandied about as a possible Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration. So, he's on the inside, close to the candidate, and an important player in the campaign and possibly the government. I think it speaks to McCain's judgment in selecting people to work for/with him. Either you concede that McCain doesn't have a problem with the sorts of things that Gramm has been doing since leaving the Senate, which kind of puts the lie to his image of being an outsider/maverick, or you concede that he takes no time to vet his close advisors. Either one is troubling, especially on the heels of the half-dozen or so lobbyists that came to light last week.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 03:26 PM
Sorry don't care to play your take it or leave it proposition. If it is Senator Gram's economic philosophy is you wish to take issue with, which has little to do with feeding at the trough, have at it, but save you silly either or games games for someone else.

bjkeefe
05-29-2008, 03:30 PM
pisc:

Way to duck the question. I expected nothing more.

graz
05-29-2008, 03:31 PM
I don't disassociate them if you mean Senator Gram and Senator McCain. If one were to dissociate from all the politicians that feed in the pork trough there would be few that on could actually associate with. Can you point to an ear mark of Senator McCain's that troubles you? I would be clad to discusses it with you and see if I can abate your fears.
No, I would rather ask you a good-faith question about the approach that Gramm took towards deregulation of the banking industry? As it is likely (you might quibble - but hypothetically) McCain will adopt the measures - if not the man - Gramm employed to catastrophic effect. Are you confident that McCain has a sound economic policy?

graz
05-29-2008, 03:37 PM
Sorry don't care to play your take it or leave it proposition. If it is Senator Gram's economic philosophy is you wish to take issue with, which has little to do with feeding at the trough, have at it, but save you silly either or games games for someone else.

It has everything to do with feeding at the trough.
It is what Republicans call free market principles.
Which is to say: Game the system in favor of the corporate interests.
And when the shit hits the fan, the same government will bail out the industry.
Which is really like double taxation for the citizenry. Nice deal if you can get it. And Phil Gramm can deliver.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 03:39 PM
No, I would rather ask you a good-faith question about the approach that Gramm took towards deregulation of the banking industry? As it is likely (you might quibble - but hypothetically) McCain will adopt the measures - if not the man - Gramm employed to catastrophic effect. Are you confident that McCain has a sound economic policy? which policies are you specifically asking about or should I take a stab in the dark and guess?

graz
05-29-2008, 03:42 PM
which policies are you specifically asking about or should I take a stab in the dark and guess?

D-e-r-e-g-u-l-a-t-i-o-n as referenced in the link.
Your to smart to play dumb.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 03:53 PM
Seems a bit disingenuous to one on hand admit that I have a least a couple of functioning brain cells and then to insist that I define the issues you find troubling and wish to address. When one starts arguing it is nice to know from what point one is starting. Deregulation of the banking industry is fairly vague the origins of which started in early 1980s and has continued off and on until today.

graz
05-29-2008, 04:00 PM
Seems a bit disingenuous to one on hand admit that I have a least a couple of functioning brain cells and then to insist that I define the issues you find troubling and wish to address. When one starts arguing it is nice to know from what point one is starting. Deregulation of the banking industry is fairly vague the origins of which started in early 1980s and has continued off and on until today.

I raised it, so I am not going to hang it on you - that would be unfair.
I was hoping you might offer a defense of McCain/Gramm policies.
I am confident that if you wish to examine the record you would be able to comment.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 04:08 PM
Even a prize winning Bluetick tracker needs a scent and a place to start looking for it. the provision of a link as a starting point doesn't seem like an excessive request.

graz
05-29-2008, 04:28 PM
Even a prize winning Bluetick tracker needs a scent and a place to start looking for it. the provision of a link as a starting point doesn't seem like an excessive request.

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/07/foreclosure-phil.html
Have at it fwiw.

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 06:35 PM
I can finally understand where you are coming from. while it is a creative piece of witting, Mr Corn's pieces always are, there is the usual oversimplification and hyperbole of Mr. Corn's particular point of view as usual. As I believe that there is as need to balance regulation and oversight with the need to allow for the conduction of commerce. As Senator Gram is being given sole credit for the "Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999", for this is I think this is what Mr. Corn is referring to but it is hard to tell from the lack of documentation or reference, there are different perspectives. Clinton, Republicans agree to deregulation of US financial system (http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/nov1999/bank-n01.shtml) says of it's passage During the final hours of negotiations between the House-Senate conference committee and White House and Treasury officials, dozens of well-heeled lobbyists crowded the corridors outside the room where the final deal-making was going on. Edward Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, told the New York Times, "If I had to guess, I would say it's probably the most heavily lobbied, most expensive issue" in a generation....Differing versions of financial services deregulation passed the House and Senate earlier this year, and the conference committee was called to work out a consensus bill and avert a White House veto. The principal bone of contention in the last few days before the agreement had nothing to do with the central thrust of the bill, on which there was near-unanimous bipartisan support.

The sticking point was the effort by Gram to gut the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 anti-redlining law which requires that banks make a certain proportion of their loans in minority and poor neighborhoods. So it seems there was plenty of blame to go around in this one so to assign sole liability for the final state of the regulatory ability and level and oversight ability to Senator Gram seems a bit of an over stretch.

The second allegation concerns the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act" I would refer you to Testimony of Patrick Parkinson Deputy Director, Division of Research and Statistics September 8, 2005 which states (http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/testimony/2005/20050908/default.htm)Overall Evaluation of the CFMA
The Federal Reserve Board believes that the CFMA has unquestionably been a successful piece of legislation. Most important, as recommended by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/otcact.pdf) in its 1999 report, it excluded transactions between institutions and other eligible counterparties in over-the-counter financial derivatives and foreign currency from regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).I hope that you notice that this act grew out of the 1999 Presidential report of then President Clinton.

Does this mean that everything was fine and dandy with the act? No as clearly the the Enron debacle and fraud shows. Would tighter oversight and more regulation have prevented it? Perhaps perhaps not. It is pretty difficult to catch fraud when your auditor is essentially in collaboration with you in foisting it. I have not done a comparison of the report to the legislation so I can't address Mr Corn's allegation that Enron wrote part of the legislation but then I don't imagine that Mr. Corn has done such an analysis either and he provides no corroboration of his claim.

do I like the that Senator Grams wife went to work for Enron, not particularly but it is not unusual in American politics and if thee were some nature of illegality with it I sure that the FBI would not have been overly shy about perusing this matter, as this would have been a corruption coup they couldn't pass up.

graz
05-29-2008, 06:49 PM
I can finally understand where you are coming from. while it is a creative piece of witting, Mr Corn's pieces always are, there is the usual oversimplification and hyperbole of Mr. Corn's particular point of view as usual. As I believe that there is as need to balance regulation and oversight with the need to allow for the conduction of commerce. As Senator Gram is being given sole credit for the "Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999", for this is I think this is what Mr. Corn is referring to but it is hard to tell from the lack of documentation or reference, there are different perspectives. Clinton, Republicans agree to deregulation of US financial system (http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/nov1999/bank-n01.shtml) says of it's passage So it seems there was plenty of blame to go around in this one so to assign sole liability for the final state of the regulatory ability and level and oversight ability to Senator Gram seems a bit of an over stretch.

The second allegation concerns the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act" I would refer you to Testimony of Patrick Parkinson Deputy Director, Division of Research and Statistics September 8, 2005 which states (http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/testimony/2005/20050908/default.htm)I hope that you notice that this act grew out of the 1999 Presidential report of then President Clinton.

Does this mean that everything was fine and dandy with the act? No as clearly the the Enron debacle and fraud shows. Would tighter oversight and more regulation have prevented it? Perhaps perhaps not. It is pretty difficult to catch fraud when your auditor is essentially in collaboration with you in foisting it. I have not done a comparison of the report to the legislation so I can't address Mr Corn's allegation that Enron wrote part of the legislation but then I don't imagine that Mr. Corn has done such an analysis either and he provides no corroboration of his claim.

do I like the that Senator Grams wife went to work for Enron, not particularly but it is not unusual in American politics and if thee were some nature of illegality with it I sure that the FBI would not have been overly shy about perusing this matter, as this would have been a corruption coup they couldn't pass up.

I don't want it to go unmentioned that I respect your thoroughness in responding here.
I also agree with much if not all of your post.

But I also enjoy taking shots at easy targets like Gramm.
I agree that isn't always possible to be completely objective.
So Corn's take reinforces my presumptions.
A better question is to what degree can we predict the likely policies and outcomes of the future Obama or McCain administrations based on their choice of advisors?

piscivorous
05-29-2008, 06:55 PM
Heh shoot away who says you shouldn't have some fun during this season of silliness. I for one am trying to find the humor in this election cycle myself.

harkin
05-29-2008, 08:36 PM
Apple juice

Baltimoron
05-30-2008, 03:11 AM
Amazingly, this makes it to the Comments section of Wright/Kaus!

Who cares? We should all buy what he was drinking!

pod2
05-30-2008, 02:52 PM
pod2, your synopsis of the issue of "whiteness" is really quite excellent.



Could you expand thoughts on the subject with a discussion of how "class" it relates to power, privilege, gender and race?

There are a many people who are included in the "whiteness" category who though they are "white" are quite powerless and destitute of privilege.

Please consider further discussing Glen's point about the rightness or wrongness of a feeling of racial solidarity among that unhappy subset of "white" people.

I really think this is a quite important subject if we stand any chance of moving to move toward a post racial and equitable society.

Richard,
Thanks for the compliment, if you weren't being facetious.

Of course conversations about class have to include power as an important, if not determinative element. In discussions of class warfare, to the extent that it's mentioned in polite company in the US, it's often framed as if it's a battle between equally matched factions. Those who are used to planning the economy resent it when all the rest of us try to have a say in what decisions are made and how these plans are carried out. I find that cries of 'class warfare,' when they come as part of an objection to pro-working class activity or rhetoric, roughly mirror those who loudly decry the 'racism' of Jeremiah Wright.

As for how class intersects with race vis a vis privilege and power, there are obviously, within a society as complex as the US, a whole bunch of ways that any individual or group may be privileged, empowered, or not. An upper middle class black heterosexual male has obvious advantages in power, influence, and status over an unemployed, destitute gay white man. And yet, this destitute white individual does have the luxury of turning on the tv and finding incredibly diverse representations of people who look like him. He doesn't have to worry about "representing" his race in a job interview. He does not get shot to death by the police as he tries to go home from work. If he shaves and puts on a nice shirt, he does not get followed around by store security in the mall. You get the idea, and I'm sure this isn't news to anyone. The advantage of white skin extends broadly into the criminal justice system. If you're white and someone in your family is kidnapped, raped, or murdered, there is a better chance of the perp catching serious jail time. If someone in your family does drugs, there is less chance that they will be doing a 20 year prison term for a nonviolent crime. Etc. etc. into education, housing, mortality, health.

Being female or working/lower class or homosexual or undocumented have a different array of disadvantages for each, ranging from abstract stereotype threat-like cultural representation ones (see the Fatal Attraction debate within the Gratuitous Disrespect Edition diavlog comments section) to health and economic ones. I don't see that one kind of disadvantage (or oppression, dare I say) trumps the other, but they do have different attributes and characteristics, and they intersect in complicated and ever changing ways. Racism and sexism are somewhat unique in that it is more difficult to 'pass' as a member of the dominant culture-- gay men can come out of the closet, but black men don't have a closet where they can pretend they're white. Physical, melanin-based characteristics that are the catalyst for activating racist stereotypes are unavoidable and unambiguous markers of otherness. To tip the scales a little bit more, consider that most Americans have a woman somewhere in their immediate family, and that this serves to mitigate the power of the Other-based prejudices or misconceptions of sexism. Most Americans do not have an African American in their immediate family, however.

As for racial solidarity among white Appalachians, it comes out of a proud lineage that has crippled possible progress in the labor movement for nearly 100 years. The efforts of many to use or develop racist tropes to refocus economic and class-based gripes about the existing order have been a recurring and successful aspect of union busting for a while. Focusing working people on untrustworthy brown skinned people (works just as well with the immigration issue) instead of letting them focus on the people and institutions that actually control their workplaces and their economic well being is quite sensible, even though it's disgusting. And Obama kind of combines the two targets of this working class ire-- the brown skinned other, and the elitist manager who goes off to Harvard and then comes back ready to downsize, outsource, and get more 'efficient.' Just because these tropes are completely pernicious and untrue in this case doesn't mean they aren't powerful.

I'm not sure whether this is what you were asking, but that's part of my answer anyway.

piscivorous
05-31-2008, 10:07 PM
Are there any stereotypes you didn't manage to get into that comment.

pod2
06-01-2008, 08:40 PM
Are there any stereotypes you didn't manage to get into that comment.

I'm not really trying to defend my comment here, I'm just curious.

Do you mean stereotypes that I deployed and cited as true, or do you mean the stereotypes that I cited as powerful, even though they are destructive, irrational, false, and racist/sexist?

I would appreciate quoted examples of either.

vandelayexim
06-02-2008, 05:47 PM
I'm a little surprised we didn't get a more in-depth analysis of whiteness. Maybe next time.

When speaking of "white" people, it seems useful to be aware, especially if you're a linguist like John, that the referent is of dubious existence.

"White" people invented "whiteness" as an instrument of domination. Prior to "whiteness" we simply had ethnic, national and religious identities: Scots, Catholics, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, etc.

In the US, the dissolution of ethnic/national identities in the "melting pot" left primarily skin-color differentiation as a marker of identity. But there was no shared culture to back that up. "Whiteness" is a purely racist construct.

So it's hard to imagine what Appalachians would be organizing around as "whites" other than the conviction that they're not blacks. They are not bonding around religion or ethnicity; it's simply non-blackness.

I think we're better off sticking with the Obama ideal: America is becoming increasingly post-racial (as racISM declines). The pockets of resistance are in under-educated areas like Appalachia. Age, as John mentions, may be a factor, but the young population that favors Clinton in Kentucky is probably composed of young people as racist as their grandparents.

If you're wondering what may bind people together in Appalachia, you may want to check out Sen. James Webb's book "Born Fighting." Particularly he discusses the culture handed down by the Scots-Irish.

Fitzmas Elf
06-22-2008, 11:31 AM
John -

As a Columbia College grad, I agree with your wife's summary that students can joke about Plato and Marx with classmates, as everyone has read (or at least turned his or her mind to) these and other classic authors. However, it sounds like you might have great expectations for the capacity of 18-22 year olds to think great thoughts when reading the greats. While I remain beyond grateful for the education I received at Columbia which started me off in my adult life of intellectual discovery, I certainly look back to my own and my classmates' initial encounters with the Dead White Men (as we called them) and realize the limits of our ability to digest and engage with the ideas that they presented. No matter how high their SAT scores may have been, keep in mind that you will be working with very young adults who are at the beginning of their adult intellectual formation. I certainly remember that a number of us were relatively clueless and not necessarily turned into brilliant stars at our first pathetic attempts to slog through Hegel. So . . . don't get your hopes up too high for your first class in CC.