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February 27, 2009

Comments

"Wack"

word to your moms

Hilzoy, you very nearly owed me a new keyboard and monitor.

Honestly, my first reaction on reading this quote earlier this morning was that The Onion was stretching credibility a bit. Did you happen to see Steele's quote that prompted this?

Apparently, his characterization of the last 8+ years of the GOP's criminal negligence was "my bad".

"My bad."

Words fail.

Give her some slum love.

Here's the thing: she really should have said "You da man," not "You _be_ da man." African-American Vernacular English simply drops the copula ("are" in this case) for most statements of fact, such as this equation (Steele = The Man). Including the verb "be" (not conjugated--at least she got that right) speaks to a habitual or commonplace condition, but not a permanent attribute of the subject. So she's saying that Steele is often or regularly "The Man," but not always. It's kind of like damning with faint praise, I guess.

It's amusing, sure, but I'm also pleased in a way that one of the worst reps from the party of bigotry and xenophobia 1) had the opportunity and 2) made the attempt. Regardless of how cynical the motives or clumsy the execution, it's evidence of progress for the country. Try to imagine Jesse Helms saying what she said.

I'd like to see more of this. For many reasons. ;)

It's amusing, sure, but I'm also pleased in a way that one of the worst reps from the party of bigotry and xenophobia 1) had the opportunity and 2) made the attempt

True.

Unlikely as it appears, they MIGHT learn something. Ain't gonna learn if they never try.

So the GOP's brilliant idea for countering Obama's popular appeal is to painfully mimic antiquated "Black" lingo? Because, I guess, in their twisted worldview Obama's only possible appeal is his Blackness, and if they could only offer a Black face of their own they could nullify Obama's only advantage? That's truly offensive.

Including the verb "be" (not conjugated--at least she got that right) speaks to a habitual or commonplace condition, but not a permanent attribute of the subject.

If by "habitual" or "commonplace" you mean established and ongoing, I think the correct expression would be "You been being the man".

Try to imagine Jesse Helms saying what she said.

I think Jesse's statement would have been "Waiter, where's my drink?". Or maybe "Here, take my keys and park my car around back".

So, you know, we'll take progress wherever we can find it.

Regardless of how cynical the motives or clumsy the execution, it's evidence of progress for the country.

No it's not. Older generations have been unsuccessfully attempting to mimic hip slang in order to relate to youngsters for at least a hundred years, and probably since the beginning of language.

To the contrary, the only thing it's evidence of is that the GOP /still/ doesn't get it. At all. Like Charles said above, they think that in order to appeal to the youth vote that deserted them in droves and counter a popular black president, what they need to do is learn AAVE.

It says a lot more about what they think defines a black American than any desire to mend their ways.

So the GOP's brilliant idea for countering Obama's popular appeal is to painfully mimic antiquated "Black" lingo? Because, I guess, in their twisted worldview Obama's only possible appeal is his Blackness, and if they could only offer a Black face of their own they could nullify Obama's only advantage? That's truly offensive.

See, ie, Sarah Palin: Her ovaries will attract erstwhile Hillary supporters!

Echo Creamy and Gwangung to an extent, but c'mon. This attempt to talk to any folks in "their language" is condescending and silly. (Unless, umm, they actually speak a different language.) Here's a hint: talk to folks of different races the exact same way you talk to folks of your race. If you can't do that, then the problem is partly with you .... not them.

And, yeah, there is a little bit of implicit indictment here for the "professional voice" (vs. "neighborhood voice") that many people of color have to cultivate. I don't mean to come down hard on this concept, because people have to live in the real world and the need for a professional voice is real. But the fact that many folks have two distinct voices is not a mark of progress. And I'm sure I'm not the only guy who's familiar with, for instance, the mild-mannered African-American professional who cultivates a blacker-than-thou voice* for his off-the-job hours (it's almost always a he). Kinda like the accountant who rides Harleys, we all know that it's a bit of a put on.

*Granted that it's easy to be blacker than I, since I'm the palest of the pale. My people lived in caves, far from their natural enemy (the sun).

Yeah, between Palin and Jindal and Steele, it is really obvious that the GOP is exclusively focused on superficial marketing. The Dems rejected their woman for the ticket, so let's put a woman on our ticket! The Dems elected a hugely popular black president, let's put our black guy in at the RNC! The Dems have a minority as their standard-bearer, so let's get our own minority as ours and have him give the SOTU rebuttal!

They don't seem to get how transparent and insulting it is. And as long as they keep focusing on style over substance, they'll keep on losing.

Slightly off topic, but was it only me that noticed that Obama's cadence and certain pronunciations have returned to their pre-campaign Chicago elite norms in his speech to Congress? That's what's wack. I kind of enjoyed his sermonizing.

Wow. Words fail.

Maybe she watched Airplane! lately.


If only she had talked that way on Hardball, she might not have dug herself into such a deep hole.

Sho'nuff.

Okay, so I'm not the only one who remembered that Airplane! bit. Win.

EXPLANATORY
IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary "Pike County" dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a hap-hazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.

I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.

Echo Creamy and Gwangung to an extent, but c'mon. This attempt to talk to any folks in "their language" is condescending and silly.

Oh, I agree, and I agree that the overall thrust is that they're trying to be hip and with it--and failing miserably.

But this shows at least that they KNOW they have a problem and that they're out of touch with people that they want to speak to. That's an improvement over their prior utter obliviousness and actual contempt for others.

I will continue to be amused by their flailings to connect. Rather they do that and not just try--there's a chance the sheer embarassment will provide an impetus to improve.

i thought it was particularly touching when george will leaned over to newt gingrich and said "true dat!"

unfortunately, newt was trying to keep his pants from sliding further off his ass at the time, and so was unable to reciprocate the proffered dap.

KB gets points for a Mark Twain reference. For my money, I found myself thinking of Harry Turtledove, but that's because I've been reading his books by the armload recently.

Maybe we should just throw her in the briar patch and take our chances.

I don't think you can blame Rep. Bachman for trying. She is just following Mr. Steele's lead. Last week he told the Washington Times, "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

I think she only looks as silly saying things like that as he would, perhaps less so.

http://moronmeter.com/michael-steele-taking-the-gop-old-school/

it was the 'gwine's in hilzoy's post that brought jim to mind.

plus the fact that her evocation of various dialects and historical strata of dialects was clearly guided by exactly the same scrupulous care that guided twains.

so i just wanted to say, on her behalf, that it wasn't really that she was trying to represent one dialect and failing.

And, yeah, there is a little bit of implicit indictment here for the "professional voice" (vs. "neighborhood voice") that many people of color have to cultivate.

It ain't just people of color that have to polish up their diction for prime time.

As Kirk Lazarus said...

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19413.html> Politico :


(Oh, and as for Stephen Colbert's challenge to Steele Thursday night to come on his Comedy Central show and have a rap-off on conservative issues? Steele says bring it on.)


oh yeah, this can't miss [/seinfeld]


"arrows cost money, use up the Irish"

Good show! Decidedly top hole.

it was the 'gwine's in hilzoy's post that brought jim to mind.

Yeah, ironically that's exactly the bit of vocabulary that brought Turtledove to mind. The Congaree dialect in his books is heavy with that particular anglicization.

I rather liked getting to deploy "hep cat", which (iirc) was dated slang back when I first encountered it in the 60s.

Were I to characterize Bachman's behavior in the parlance of the early 80's, I'd be torn between calling it "frontin'" and calling it "perpitratin'". Certainly there was nothing thorough or solid about it.

My first thought on seeing "gwine" is Uncle Remus.

The jim, jam, jump, the solid jive Makes you nine foot tall when you're four foot five, Hep-hep! Hep-hep!

circa 1930-1935 or so

Well, you gotta come on like GI's You dig the repeat with me and sigh Put it right on the lee high Then you can really get by, oh my

We the cats shall hep ya
So reap this righteous riff
Now you're hep I'll betcha
So reap this righteousriff

1945, maybe

"I rather liked getting to deploy 'hep cat', which (iirc) was dated slang back when I first encountered it in the 60s."

Hep cat:

The Hep Cat is a 1942 Warner Bros. cartoon [....]
Hep:
[...] Hip, like cool, does not refer to one specific quality. What is considered hip is continuously changing. The term hip is said to have originated in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in the early 1900s, derived from the earlier form hep. Despite research and speculation by both amateur and professional etymologists, the origins of the term hip and hep are disputed. Many etymologists believe that the terms hip, hep and hepcat (e.g., jazz musicians' now cliched "hip cat") derive from the west African Wolof language word hepicat, which means "one who has his eyes open".[1] Some etymologists reject this, however, and have even adopted the denigration "to cry Wolof" as a general dismissal or belittlement of etymologies they believe to be based on "superficial similarities" rather than documented attribution.[2]

[...]

In 1947, Harry "The Hipster" Gibson wrote the song "It Ain't Hep" about the switch from hep to hip':'

Hey you know there's a lot of talk going around about this hip and hep jive. Lots of people are going around saying "hip." Lots of squares are coming out with "hep." Well the hipster is here to inform you what the jive is all about.

The jive is hip, don't say hep
That's a slip of the lip, let me give you a tip
Don't you ever say hep it ain't hip, NO IT AIN'T
It ain't hip to be loud and wrong
Just because you're feeling strong
You try too hard to make a hit
And every time you do you tip your mitt
It ain't hip to blow your top
The only thing you say is mop, mop, mop
Keep cool fool, like a fish in the pool
That's the golden rule at the Hipster school
You find yourself talking too much
Then you know you're off the track
That's the stuff you got to watch
Everybody wants to get into the act
It ain't hip to think you're "in there"
Just because of the zooty suit you wear
You can laugh and shout but you better watch out
Cause you don't know what it's all about, man
Man you ain't hip if you don't get hip to this hip and hep jive
Now get it now, look out
Man get hip with the hipster, YEAH! Got to do it!

Here's Calloway doing that first song.

Can't find Cab doing the second; here's the Joe Jackson (audio only) version.

okay, now, you're all feeling good about using the very language you condemn the Republicans for having used in their, albeit, unsophisticated way?

frauds.

The fact that they used it in an "unsophisticated" way is exactly what they're being ridiculed for, redwood. This isn't about some words having magic that makes you a bad person for having them come out of your mouth or keyword regardless of context.

You know, it says a lot about the state of the modern GOP that people have to regularly tag direct quotes with a disclaimer that says this is not The Onion.

The music this made me think of is Real Compared to What?

Here's Calloway doing that first song.

Any discussion of hipster lingo just ain't gonna be complete without some Slim and Slam.

The fact that they used it [?] in an "unsophisticated" way is exactly what they're being ridiculed for, redwood. This isn't about some words having magic that makes you a bad person for having them come out of your mouth or keyword regardless of context.

can you say what it is that the Republicans are being ridiculed for?

Because what I see here is a bunch intellectuals using Ebonics to bond with each other in their attempts to ridicule Republicans for trying to speak Ebonics.

"Because what I see here is a bunch intellectuals using Ebonics to bond with each other in their attempts to ridicule Republicans for trying to speak Ebonics."

I'd like to know in which comment I used Ebonics. Thanks.

OT, but more yay:

The Obama administration moved on Friday to undo a last-minute Bush administration rule granting broad protections to health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other health care that goes against their consciences.

redwood: I didn't ridicule Republicans, I ridiculed Michele Bachmann. We have already bonded with each other here; we didn't really need this post to do it.

And as long as they keep focusing on style over substance, they'll keep on losing.

I think you have it backwards, catsy. The Reagan Revolution GOP pretty much *always* focused on style over substance, or style dressed up as substance. They did that because the raw substance is not very popular.

of course raw substance is popular, that's why we see so many personal interest stories in the media and, moreover, that's how hilzoy is able to deny that she's ridiculing Republicans.

She knows will privilege the more substantive.

But the distinction between style and substance is false because without style there is no way to distinguish one individual from the next.

come on, hilzoy, you need to get you class up to speed on these basics.

Gary: OT, but more yay:

Really? I thought that was a good way to split the difference – don’t force doctors to do procedures they morally disagree with.

Are you against conscientious objectors in the military (for example)?

"Are you against conscientious objectors in the military (for example)?"

Conscientious objectors in the military don't prevent women from getting health care and prescriptions, so no.

Doctors aren't the main people affected, so far as I know, btw: the primary concern are pharmacy employees refusing to give contraceptives, and other early-responder health care providers refusing to provide treatment. I don't think there are many situations where doctors today are forced to perform abortions. If you know otherwise, please do correct me.

OCS: I'm against conscientious objectors in the military now that we have an all-volunteer force. I was for them when we drafted people, but since we don't any more, I think the time for conscientious objection is when someone decides whether or not to enlist -- though I do favor letting them quit on conscientious grounds.

Likewise with doctors. -- Although I think that if one had a joint practice or worked in a hospital, and there were other doctors who could do the procedure one objected to, it would be natural for those other doctors to do them, and for the conscientious objector to make up the difference in other work. I also think it's fine to refer people elsewhere, in non-emergency situations, at least when 'elsewhere' is not massively inconvenient.

But when no such options are available, I think you do your job. It's always possible not to become a doctor, not (in the case of abortion) to become an ob/gyn, etc.

Another Harry the Hipster quote might be pertinent here:

"Who put the Benzadrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?"

I thought that was a good way to split the difference – don’t force doctors to do procedures they morally disagree with.

Health workers aren't forced to do procedures they morally disagree with. They can choose which jobs they take, and if they take a job and find that it doesn't suit them, they may find another.

The same applies to conscientious objectors in most cases. If one doesn't apply for a position in an organization that is dedicated to the mission of waging war, for example, one rarely is asked on the job to kill.

The penalty for deciding that one has no stomach for the position one has accepted is more severe for a soldier in many cases than it is for, say, a pharmacist.

I have yet to hear of a pharmacy in any nation where the pharmacists at the front window had guns trained on them from behind to deal with the case in which they lost their will to courageously continue to fill prescriptions.

Doctors aren't the main people affected, so far as I know, btw: the primary concern are pharmacy employees refusing to give contraceptives, and other early-responder health care providers refusing to provide treatment. I don't think there are many situations where doctors today are forced to perform abortions.

If you want to focus on pharmacists then I generally agree with you. But you’re kind of asking me to trust the administration that they intend to limit it there. Uhm, no.

But you’re kind of asking me to trust the administration that they intend to limit it there. Uhm, no.

Why? This is not a change from pre-Bush times, far as I can tell.

personally, i think that doctors who feel strongly about vegetarianism should be allowed to deny all treatment to carnivores.

"so what if he's coding? it's probably cause of all the meat he ate. im not resuscitating his meaty ass, and you can't make me: it's my *conscience*.

"If you want to focus on pharmacists then I generally agree with you. But you’re kind of asking me to trust the administration that they intend to limit it there. Uhm, no."

No, I'm not. I'm talking about now and the past: since when has there been a rash of doctors being forced against their will to perform abortions? I already asked you this, and if you're concerned, I don't understand why you haven't responded: I don't think there are many situations where doctors today are forced to perform abortions. If you know otherwise, please do correct me.

Health workers aren't forced to do procedures they morally disagree with. They can choose which jobs they take, and if they take a job and find that it doesn't suit them, they may find another.

I think I’ve tried that whole free market argument here without much luck. Substitute something about unions/benefits and how if the worker does not like their work conditions “…and find that it doesn't suit them, they may find another.” But I do appreciate your support on at will employment!


Hil: I’m generally supportive of your volunteer force argument, but… there are plenty of jobs in the military where you are not generally expected to kill people. Talking doctors anyway, medics come to mind. That seems to be a traditional role for conscientious objectors in the military. And there are many many examples where they excelled and were highly decorated. Why deprive the force of that?

It's always possible not to become a doctor, not (in the case of abortion) to become an ob/gyn, etc.

Really? You can’t picture a potential world class ob/gyn that may never go into that specialty just because they would be forced to perform a procedure they morally disagree with? I hear that specialty is in short supply these days. This doctor should become a Podiatrist instead?

Substitute something about unions/benefits and how if the worker does not like their work conditions “…and find that it doesn't suit them, they may find another.”

OK, I can do that. If a worker applies for a job at a union shop, but does not wish to pay union dues, said worker can, after a frank exchange of views with the union workers, find another position to which to apply.

Easy enough.

there are plenty of jobs in the military where you are not generally expected to kill people

If a "conscientious objector" wants to be part of an organization dedicated to killing, but simply does not want to be on the front lines, you are not dealing with a conscientious objector, you are dealing with a coward. Different rules apply.

Gary: No, I'm not. I'm talking about now and the past: since when has there been a rash of doctors being forced against their will to perform abortions? I already asked you this, and if you're concerned, I don't understand why you haven't responded: I don't think there are many situations where doctors today are forced to perform abortions. If you know otherwise, please do correct me.

Well part of the reason for not responding is this whack (can I say that?) blog software. It doesn’t show my comment for a while, then it shows it out of order, then all of a sudden your comment shows up in the middle where it was not there a few minutes ago. So, I blame the software. As a software developer, I take great pleasure in that.

On your question though, google “medical school” + abortion.

Now I’m done as I have to get up at 3AM and it was really dumb of me to even touch this topic.

"Well part of the reason for not responding is this whack (can I say that?) blog software. It doesn’t show my comment for a while, then it shows it out of order, then all of a sudden your comment shows up in the middle where it was not there a few minutes ago. So, I blame the software."

Steve, you responded to my comment the first time; you just ignored the second half of it. Here's the relevant paragraph I wrote:

[...] Doctors aren't the main people affected, so far as I know, btw: the primary concern are pharmacy employees refusing to give contraceptives, and other early-responder health care providers refusing to provide treatment. I don't think there are many situations where doctors today are forced to perform abortions. If you know otherwise, please do correct me.
If you didn't see part of this, it isn't the software, it's your eyes.

"On your question though, google 'medical school' + abortion."

Thanks, no: I take it there is, in fact, no rash of doctors being forced to perform abortions. So it's not, in fact, a real problem.

(Medical students are not doctors.)

I keep waiting for Boehner to follow Robert Downey Jr's lead and go for the full Tropic Thunder.

He's already got an artificial skin color. All he needs is the 12" GI Joe short-afro hair.

...never go full Bachmann

Well I put medical school abortion in my search engine and thisis a bit of what I found:

Espey et al. (2005) (3) surveyed Obstetrics and
Gynecology clerkship directors to determine the extent
of abortion education in U.S. medical schools. They
found that 17% of schools had no abortion education at
Vol. 8 No. 2 Abortion in Medical School Curricula 159
all and that in many other schools, coverage was
minimal (3). One organization, Medical Students for
Choice (MSFC), is currently surveying medical schools
in the U.S. and Canada about their individual curricula.
The preliminary results of MSFC's study of the
reproductive health content of preclinical medical
education found that nearly 40% of the more than 50
schools surveyed do not teach any aspect of abortion in
the preclinical years (4). Indeed, the study found that,
on average, more class time is dedicated to Viagra than
to abortion procedures, pregnancy options counseling,
or abortion law and policy (4). This glimpse into U.S.
and Canadian medical curricula reveals that abortion is
not a standard component of preclinical education.


So any way nothing jumped out that said "Large numbers of Doctors forced to teach/learn abortion techniques." or anything like tha.

Hil: I’m generally supportive of your volunteer force argument, but… there are plenty of jobs in the military where you are not generally expected to kill people. Talking doctors anyway, medics come to mind. That seems to be a traditional role for conscientious objectors in the military. And there are many many examples where they excelled and were highly decorated. Why deprive the force of that?

That's what I was going to say, but desisted because I don't have enough first-hand knowledge of the military to know whether it made sense. OCSteve does, so I'll second him.

Not only that but lots and lots of OB/gyn doctors don't do abortions. It is complelety normal for them to specialize exclusively in pregnancy and birth. There are states in the US with as little as one doctor providing abortin services and lots and lots of ob/gyns that aren't abortin providers. (I think that S. Dak has only one abortion clinic but it might be none.)

"Not only that but lots and lots of OB/gyn doctors don't do abortions. It is complelety normal for them to specialize exclusively in pregnancy and birth."

Of course. Which is why I pointed out that there is, in fact, no rash, recent or otherwise, of doctors being forced to perform abortions against their conscience. It's a completely imaginary notion.

OCSteve: I stand corrected. ;) The conscientious objectors of my youth were trying not to be in the armed forces at all, so I was imagining people who had joined the army deciding suddenly that they were pacifists and begging off. I have nothing whatsoever against medics.

That said: it's part of many soldiers' jobs to do things pacifists would object to. I do not think that the time to reach the conclusion that you can't do those things is after you've taken one of those jobs. Similarly here -- though as I said, I also think that any decent co-worker would do what s/he could to keep people from having to violate their consciences. So the cases I have in mind are those in which you are, say, the only doctor in a large area, and you refuse to perform a procedure.

Also, iirc, this procedure was not written to apply only to, e.g., abortions. As I wrote at the time, it covers anything anyone has a moral or religious objection to, and it covers not just refusing to perform that service, but also refusing to give referrals. It would let a Christian Scientist doctor decline to do anything, without penalty. And that's nuts (imho.)

Seems like some percentage of ob/gyns would need to know how to *do* an abortion, for cases where the fetus dies in the womb and needs to be removed.

Catsy saith:

...The Dems rejected their woman for the ticket, so let's put a woman on our ticket! The Dems elected a hugely popular black president, let's put our black guy in at the RNC! The Dems have a minority as their standard-bearer, so let's get our own minority as ours and have him give the SOTU rebuttal!

They don't seem to get how transparent and insulting it is. And as long as they keep focusing on style over substance, they'll keep on losing.


Yes, and if I may bring up one of my least favorite moments of Obama's extraordinary campaign:

So who's the Party of Ideas now?

Not that these are very remarkable as Ideas, but the Republicans' ideas didn't amount to much on the intellect scale, did they? At least, these are right. And the complete failure of the Republicans to catch on probably carries some message.

Redwood:

of course raw substance is popular, that's why we see so many personal interest stories in the media and, moreover, that's how hilzoy is able to deny that she's ridiculing Republicans.

She knows will privilege the more substantive.

But the distinction between style and substance is false because without style there is no way to distinguish one individual from the next.

I can't agree or disagree because I have no idea what you're trying to say here. The sense I meant 'style vs substance' is comparable to 'symbolism vs policy'. I don't want to let this go, because I do think this is a key point about the late GOP dominance. If Reagan (to some extent) or W Bush (to a huge extent) had campaigned to do what they actually did, they would've lost their elections. I think the last 25 years have seen the elevation of what might, at one time, have been scoffed at as fairly cheap demagoguery, into a veritable pillar of a major political party. It's no wonder the party which did it (the GOP) is collapsing (for the moment). As Ruffini (and others) have rightly said (link not working!), gimmicks don't work forever, no matter how grand a gimmick it is.

For W Bush, jonnybutter, I trust you're talking about slogans such as "healthy forests" and "no child left behind" when he knew perfectly well that he would let the private sector chop down the forests and had no intention of funding the Disabilities programs?

To give your philosophically flawed style v. substance, symbolism v. policy, distinction credit, I'd agree that Americans generally don't sufficiently familiarize themselves with the substantive terms of the nation's complex and boring debates, such as the ones about energy and budgets. (but that's why we have angel hilzoy ; )

But I don't think that distinction supports the claim that Reagan and Bush "...did that because the raw substance is not very popular."

For example, human interest stories, such as the one about the eight-baby-birthing mother involve virtually no secondary substance. Or at least, I can't see the concepts being discussed let alone how they're being discussed, i.e. not beyond the question of denying another female the possibility in the future, which is really just a rudimentary question of force.

So for me, it is not that Americans (generally) don't indulge substantive stories, it's that, unless their business is effect by an issue, they don't learn the substantive terms of complex issues that are outside their special areas interest.

our polis is a politics of professions, not poets as it should be.

our polis is a politics of professions, not poets as it should be.

I still don't understand you're talking about. You seem to be saying that people like and are interested in anecdotes, therefore they are intersted in substance. And you say that *my* distinction is philosophically flawed! Anecdotes are not poetry.

I was also thinking about the difference between poetry and prose ('professions and poets'?), however. I'm saying that Reagan and Bush2 used poetry (as opposed to prose) in an unethical way, i.e. to mislead or excite an inapposite emotion - demagoguery.

I never said that ordinary people weren't interested in substance, BTW. I said if Reagan, and especially Bush, had campaigned openly on what they were going to do, they would've probably lost. If Reagan had said that he was going to make the tax code much more regressive, decrease revenue and simultaniously dramatically raise spending, creating a mountian of debt - it would have hurt him politically. Yet that is surely what he planned to do all along. Instead he talked about welfare queens and used other tacks to tap into resentment, and posited the rottenness of the very *idea* of government (while striving to take over a particular government).

I don't think I'm saying anything very controversial, but it is important. Modern Republicans have had to lie, mislead, distract, and de-contextualize their policies in order to sell them. I think you could - roughly speaking - call that favoring style over substance.

I am also not saying that 'campaigning in poetry and governing in prose' is wrong - to the contrary! But the ethical way to do that is to not lie or mislead. There's a whole school of conservative postmodern theorists who misunderstand Plato (rather profoundly) to have meant that one must lie to the polis not when one must, but as a matter of course, because the polis can't handle the truth. That's a laughably willful misinterpretation of the 'golden lie' idea. The lie has to tell a truth, and not just *any* truth.

Hey Bachmann,
Try this, "Some of my best friends are negroes."
This clown Steele is as black as Amos n'Andy.

If Bachmann had only (as did even my Republican relatives) watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0_amkcZZ3s>this, she'd have at least gotten her ebonics right......

So much self-consciousness (everywhere) is SO painful to see.

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