Friday, February 02, 2007

Remember What I Said About the Comma?

Joe Biden didn't just pause between “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American" and "who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"... He paused long enough for the reporter to interrupt.

You don't have to believe me. You can listen to it.


PeskyFly said...

One more time: it doesn't matter. It's still custom made for swiftboaters, especially since Biden's made equally stupid comments in the past.

Taken at its worst it still reflects a cultural verite. But one that may not be addressed.

A white idiot that can't make a good english sentence can be president. A brilliant black man/woman with dreads and who says
ax" instead of "ask" can't. To allow that these cultural prejudices exist is, for some reason, considered racist. This is something I just don't effing understand.

America might be ready to elect a black president providing he/she reflects white values. That is NOT a racist statement, it's a statement of fact. To ignore it does notihing to change it. To kick somebody for admitting this-- wherever the comma goes-- is dunderheaded.

Kate said...

Hey guys, what's going on on this blog over here?

Freedonian said...

The reason the white man that can't speak in complete sentences got elected is that he sounds every bit as stupid as some of the people voting for him. He comes from a party that frowns on intellectualism and is highly suspicious of anyone that sounds "too smart". It's the party that constantly allows superstition to trump science and wishful thinking to be accepted as fact.

The brilliant black man/woman with dreads that says "ax" instead of "ask" faces a much higher standard--- They're running in a party that actually puts a premium on intelligence. Turn G-Dub into a liberal, and he's not surviving any Democratic primaries.

And I don't think it's so much that a black candidate has to reflect white values-- It's that they have to not represent black values exclusively. That's what makes Barack Obama a mainstream candidate where Jesse Jackson was not. He made a good early showing in the Michigan primary during his second run, but he did it by solidifying the black vote while the white vote was split several ways. Once other candidates were weeded out, he was beaten by that political powerhouse Mike Dukakis. What Barack has that Jesse didn't was crossover appeal.

Freedonian said...


That depends. What do you mean?

Kate said...

Nothing, just haven't stopped by in a while. Thought I'd say sup.

For whatever it's worth, I feel like people aren missing the lesson in Biden's mispeak or screw up or dangling participle or whatever the hell this was. The reaction to this goes to show that race is still too volatile and pertinent an issue. If media is jumping all over this, do you honestly think that the public as a whole is going to be able to ignore the race of the candidates and focus on issues and platforms in the voting booth?

bob said...

"To ignore it does nothing to change it."

Who's ignoring it?

"To kick somebody for admitting this-- wherever the comma goes-- is dunderheaded."

I don't understand whether Pesky's defending Biden, or what? Is Pesky giving Biden credit for understanding what he [Biden] said?

It's plain what Biden said. Even with a comma/period, he derided all the prior black nominees as "[not] mainstream," then went on to describe Obama as all the great things a presidential candidate tries to be if that's somehow a great, "storybook" surprise. Why would it be a surprise? I guess we might have to look at the previous clause, sentence, or whatever for context, wouldn't we? Biden's saying, "Gosh, Obama doesn't even look or sound like one."

Or, you might ignore the period some people want to place between two incomplete sentence fragments and conclude that he's saying that all prior presidential candidates were inarticulate, unclean, ugly, etc. If you omit the comma/period, it's actually the lesser crime because then he only disses a handful politicians rather than a whole race.

No matter how you slice and dice it, there's no clear indication that Biden's actually pretending to read the minds of the voting proletariat. No, I think you have to conclude that what's coming out of his mouth is exactly what's in HIS brain. HIS value judgements.

And it's not as if this is the first time. Atrios and others have pointed out an occasion where he stereotyped Indian-Americans, and where he made a stupid remark about slave states.

The guy isn't making commentary about a social ill or the state of American politics. He IS a social ill; he IS the state of politics.. And, frankly, he is very typical of a lot of politicians (left and center as well as right) who haven't done quite a good enough job of applying their blackface.

Kick him until he gets it. No, kick him until he shuts the fuck up, because I do not want this idiot spouting about foreign policy or anything else while speaking to the media as a putative representative of the reality-based community.

PeskyFly said...

No Bob, he's the state of the union-- and the union's a mess.

The "he doesn't talk like one" pov is pervasive left and right because not to "talk like one" is to talk like another-- the white status quo.

What I'm saying is simple: scold the fuckups, kick the fucks.

Biden's a little of both, but here he intended no harm, and stated-- whethere we like it or not-- a cultural truism.

We won't elect a black man who won't put on the white man's monkey suit.

bob said...

I can't argue with your truism, that's for sure.

I also don't dispute (in fact I vehemently agree with) a point I think you are making -- that jumping all over people for un-PC remarks is not very helpful. It shuts down discourse, pushes attitudes back underground -- and we'll never make progress that way. I tried to make the same point about the alleged Corker racist mail-out and ads.

That said, Biden is an idiot for a lot of reasons, and I'm only too glad to have an obvious reason to call his ass down.