As in a tasty mix of talk

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From Piltdown Man to Magic Negro: Evolve!

Chip Saltsman's distribution of a gift CD featuring the song, "Barack the Magic Negro," has been construed my many as a window into the knuckle-dragging soul of the RNC.

It’s true that Republicans have used racial fears to divide public opinion and manipulate votes over the past 44 years. According to Simon Rosenberg, head of the Democratic organization NDN and one of the most well-versed party figures on racial politics: "They (Republicans) don't have another play in their playbook that doesn't start with the exploitation of racial divisions. Whether it is Willie Horton, or welfare queens and tax and spend, or the way they have dealt with immigration... They are going to have to reject 44 years of GOP politics in order to have any chance in the 21st century America."

One of six candidates running for Chairman of the RNC, Saltsman isn’t the first to snigger and wink to the tune of Magic Negro. Rush Limbaugh aired the song on numerous programs during the 2006 Imus debacle. Saltsman is, however, emblematic of the core stupidity of racism, both in and out of the Republican party.

Racism plays along with progressive views on equality, but at its unevolved, Piltdown Man core, it clings to the assumption that “White” culture, and the power it wields, is inherently superior. This flawed, secret assumption is the engine that generates all the double-speaking, ends-justifying, duplicitous errors made by bigots like Saltsman. For example, it provides Saltsman apologists with justification for his racist act. According to one high-ranking Republican, “…if we are going to fall apart in pieces every time someone yells racism than we are going to lose the next four years.... Because that means that the left is allowed to talk about race but we are not. There has got to be a way to talk about the president's agenda without falling into this trap."

It’s too bad that The Huffington Post, which published the comments, didn’t reveal the identity of this “high-ranking” Republican. If only we knew who it was we could explain… speaking slowly and using very small words… that “Magic Negro” and “race” and “the president’s agenda” are not related concepts. Talk about the President’s agenda all you want, Republicans, but please… before assuming chairmanship of the RNC, learn to differentiate the racist lyrics of “Magic Negro” from a serious discussion of race. It also would be helpful to realize that the President’s agenda is not related to “race” merely because he isn’t White.

As for Magic Negro… the term originated right here in Hollywood, to describe black characters who save the world for Whites. The term dates back to the late 1950s, around the time Sidney Poitier sacrifices himself to save Tony Curtis in "The Defiant Ones." Spike Lee, who satirizes the stereotype in 2000's "Bamboozled," goes even further and denounces the stereotype as the "super-duper magical Negro." For a Black perspective on the term and its cultural significance, visit The Black Commentator.

Can we persuade bigots in the Republican Party and elsewhere that their secret assumption of White superiority is an unevolved throwback to caveman mentality? Perhaps we can by example:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when anthropologists began uncovering fossil proof that early man originated in Africa, establishment science ridiculed their discoveries based on the belief that modern (white) man must have originated in Europe because of his superiority over black and brown races. This assumption was reinforced in 1908 by the discovery, in England, of Piltdown Man, a skull fossil with a more modern appearance. In 1953, however, scientists revealed that the Piltdown Man fossil was, in fact, a hoax… it had been pieced together from a 600-year-old modern cranium, an orangutan jaw and a chimp tooth. The identity of the scientist who perpetrated this hoax is still unknown, but one thing is certain: He committed an immoral act to avoid accepting that Africa is the birthplace of man.

The Republican National Committee is holding a series of debates in January where members will discuss their ability to reach out to minorities and expand the party.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crawl Back into Your Hidey-Holes

What shall we all do as Bush rewrites Presidential history and Obama prepares to release a report on his connection or non-connection with Blagojevich’s Senate seat yard sale?

I know…let’s follow the lead of Media Mouths in chewing the bone of what Obama knew, or who he might know who knew, or if he ever stood with a wide stance in an airport men’s room stall next to someone who knew or did business with the corrupt Illinois Governor.

Sniffing along the media trail, let’s demand with righteous indignation to know the exact circumstances of any contact the Obama transition team may or may not have had with Blagojevich…did any one of them know what was going on under the manhole cover that serves as his office door? And if they did, is it illegal that they knew? Or thought they might know? Or knew on a subconscious level which they denied even to themselves, but which our intrepid talking heads are determined to ferret out?

More importantly… how did these news hounds develop such an obsession with minutia that they finally crawled out of the hidey-holes in which they’ve cowered for the past eight years?

Where was their keen and penetrating inquiry into the crimes against humanity perpetrated by George Bush & associates, right out in the open for all to witness?

Who among them stood before the cameras and demanded more proof… or any proof… that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs? Even the SNL writers parodied Colin Powell’s lame, chart-and-pointer assertion that shadows on a satellite photo constituted “proof” of nuclear weapons.

Why didn’t these media profiles in courage pursue, with a tenth of the vigor they reserve for Obama, the deeply disturbing but genuine story of Abu Ghraib? Couldn’t one of them have prevailed in his or her determination to know, “Isn’t torture a violation of the Geneva Conventions which the U.S. helped formulate and agreed to, and doesn’t our abandonment of the provision against torture constitute a war crime?

Which of these inquiring minds spoke out against Bush’s expansion of Presidential powers, which would have been arrogant had he ever had a curious thought but, since he didn’t, bordered on insanity?


The cowardice of media journalists for the entire duration of Bush’s scofflaw Presidency invalidates their posturing as they now lamely, belatedly, attempt to reclaim their chops. Feasting on the dog crap one lazy politician dropped on the sidewalks of Illinois is no way to reassert credibility. But here’s a lead worth pursuing… why has the media worn blinders for the past eight years?

Imagine, just for the investigative exercise of it, that it was a Democratic administration responsible for the missteps of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Barney. By now, Republicans would have impeached everyone who wandered into sniffing distance of the administration, including the White House’ biting, bad dog.

Hear that, Nancy Pelosi?

All of you media posers who now pursue the Obama/Blagojevich non-story, do us a favor… crawl back into the same hidey-holes you called home from the 2000 election until now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Got Holiday Spirit?

It seems that some of us do not get excited over the prospect of baking the holiday cookies, hanging the holiday house lights, and surfing the holiday net to purchase the holiday gifts.

If you align yourself with the Grinch end of the holiday gamut we run every December, you may suffer from SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Also called winter-onset depression, SAD symptoms usually begin in late fall or early winter and go away sometime after the Oscars are awarded.

SAD is more common in women than in men. (Duh! Who bakes all the cookies? Wraps all the presents? Trims the tree? Returns all the the gifts that are the wrong color-shape-size?) Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn't start in people younger than 20 years of age... in other words, the young have limited immunity because they haven't finished accumulating the holiday memories that will later make them ecstatic or suicidal during the holidays.

But take heart: You, too, can get goose bumps on your arms and tears in your eyes as you drift into a sea of holiday nostalgia. It's easy. Just steal three minutes from your day and click the link below. If there are kids in your family, invite them to pull up a chair. Be sure to click the site each time it prompts you.


(If you celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, you may need to do independent research to find a similar feel-good site.)

Here's a holiday spirit tweaker... share your best or worst worst holiday memory with other readers. Misery... and joy... love company!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Old Fat Naked Women for Peace

I think old fat naked women are beautiful in their own right and should be the subject of great works of art... right up there with Botticelli's seashell nymphs.

But I realize there is an element of society that fears the power of naked women old enough to say "no," or, "stop that," or, "the war games are over, collect your guns and clean up this mess." Annoying as it is that our culture prefers to see naked women with every last vestige of normal humanity airbrushed away, Birth-of-Venus style, this foible provides an opportunity just begging to be exploited... and that is exactly what the peace organization Righteous Mothers has done.

You may not want to watch this video while drinking coffee, unless you don't mind seeing it sprayed over your monitor through your nose... you will be laughing and "right-on"ing so much there won't be any available space in your esophagus for swallowing.

Thanks to Sistuh Toni Eddleman for sharing.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's about Love

If you were among the readers who commented on my blog about the passage of Prop 8, you will recall the soulful remarks of Raisin in the Sun... a friend who helped us realize the true impact of this hateful assault on the core of gay and lesbian identities.

Many of you offered Raisin encouragement and support... and now he is giving back, by composing the melody, writing the lyrics, and providing the vocals for a gorgeous song, It's About Love.

Have a listen. You will be moved, and amazed that Raisin, who has a voice like creme brule by firelight, isn't already a recording star.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Bum Steer...Michael Moore on the Auto Crisis

Forget about understanding the arcane intricacies of the Wall Street bailout... that Gordian knot of lies, scams and greed that is our stock market must, like divine mystery, be taken on faith as we worship before it on bleeding knees, tithing, double-tithing, and triple-tithing to save our financial souls.

But the American auto industry is a different matter. We know people on its payrolls. We see (and smell) the vehicles it manufactures everywhere we go. Some of us even drive them, if we aren't sensitive to ridicule. So, we should be able to understand what it wants and needs from Congress, as well as how this this will benefit Main Street... right?

TA-DA! Yes we can! Thanks to the genius of America's most undersung hero, Michael Moore! Here is the Great One's' take on the polluting, gas-guzzling, stinking mess that is the Big 3 Auto crisis, and I quote:

"1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.

"2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)

"3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.

"This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure -- and millions of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally could pull us out of this recession.

"In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of work. But... if you throw everyone out of work, who's going to have the money to go out and buy a car?

"These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet. What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots."

Thank you, Michael! To read more of Moore's ideas on this subject, visit You can also watch him expound tonight on the Keith Olbermann Show.