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Tilting at Windmills

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July 31, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

DOG WHISTLES....Newsday's John Riley, after watching John McCain's latest ad montage linking Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, is perplexed by his choice of celebrities:

Anyone with even a vague sense of pop culture knows that Britney and Paris are yesterday's news. Here's a link to Forbes' Celebrity 100. Paris and Britney don't even make the list any more. Instead, the top 10, in order: Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Angelina Jolie, Beyonce Knowles, David Beckham, Johnny Depp, Jay-Z, The Police, JK Rowling, Brad Pitt.

So, they didn't pick other big celebrities, who were either men, or black, or married. What they picked was two sexually available white women.

But it must have been a coincidence, because we know John McCain wants to run an elevated campaign focusing on the serious issues that America faces.

Meanwhile, Adam Serwer acidly notes the Obama campaign's ritual denunciation of rapper Ludacris for writing some offensive lyrics about John McCain and Hillary Clinton:

I hear that one of the goals of the transition team is plans for a new federal agency that will deal exclusively with issuing apologies on behalf of Barack Obama for anything black people do that offends you.

Indeed. Gonna be a long campaign.

Kevin Drum 11:07 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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Comments

I don't buy the "sexually available white women" theory. They were trying to compare Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton: in other words, they were trying to paint him as a rich, out-of-touch narcissist who is famous for no good reason. For that purpose, you wouldn't use Oprah or Tiger Woods, both of whom are extremely accomplished people. Hell, even old white people admire Tiger. And if they had used Beyonce, the target demographic wouldn't have known who she was. Probably would have thought it was a picture of Michelle "the fist of terror" Obama.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah... I think the dog whistle metaphor is the right way to look at this ad. To those who would be more inclined to take the racist point of view and vote accordingly, the ad works beautifully to get them out to the polls. But of course, it does it while preserving deniability. "What? Us racist? Of course not - we just picked two celebrities seen as vapid and devoid of substance. Could have been anyone."

Ross Douthat in particular is being a little disingenuous.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on July 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

This is how it's going to work for the next three months:

John McCain will put out blatantly racist "dog whistle" ads.

In response, the bought-and-paid-for Republican shills of the corporate-owned mass media (a.k.a. the "political press corps") will harshly criticize Barack Obama for even appearing to suggest that John McCain has engaged in appeals to racism.

McCain knows that he can say anything and do anything, and the corporate-owned mass media will cover for him.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 31, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I figured the choice of the two airheads was to diminish Obama's intelligence. Sort of like MoDo calling him Obami. But after the "Call Me" ads in Tennessee which were so effective, it probably was sexual.

Posted by: jen on July 31, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Reading back over my last comment, it sounds like I'm praising the ad as being effective. So I should clarify that it really isn't. It's desperate, and unlikely to motivate anyone who isn't already predisposed against Obama (for racist or non-racist reasons).

But at this point turning out their base is all they've got, since they won't convince anyone on the issues between now and November.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on July 31, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

OK, advocates of the dogwhistle theory, I'm open to persuasion. Tell me which celebrities represent "shallow narcissist" better than Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? Whom should McCain have used in the ad, to avoid the dogwhistle problem?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and the choice of women also sends the message that Obama is effeminate compared with manly John McCain. So that's another reason why those two might have been chosen.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Wait, so it's OK to call Hillary Clinton a 'bitch'?

Now you tell me.

Posted by: Newt Gringrich's Mother on July 31, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"perplexed by his choice of celebrities:"

Drugs and cheap sex.

Posted by: Matt on July 31, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Tell me which celebrities represent "shallow narcissist" better than Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?

I don't think you could come up with a better exemplar than Dubya himself.

Yeah, they just HAD to pick Britney and Paris, because attacking Obama as a shallow narcissist (something for which there's zero objective evidence) forced them to. Right.

Personally I'm surprised it's taken this long to get the dogwhistle fired up. We can expect a veritable symphony of the things from here to November.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

The Fabulous Mr. Toad -

Here's one off the top of my head: Tom Cruise

Posted by: Callimaco on July 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta say that I agree with Mr. Toad on this one. If the target demographic is folks 50 or over, they are going to know about the latest falls that Brittney and Paris have had. They won't know who Knowles, Beckham, Depp and Jay-Z are, and unless they have been exposed to youngsters lately probably won't have a clue about Rowling.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 31, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think that the McCain camp got this deep into the weeds about what Brit and Paris might represent. Steve Schmidt and crew just knew that they had been portrayed in the press as the worst, empty-headed celebrity trash. Put their images out there with Obama so when the voters think Obama the images of Brit and Paris also also jump into the voters' minds. In addition, it sure got the MSM all flapping about the ad as "News." It's the free image messaging in the MSM. Ask Karl.

Posted by: EL on July 31, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

JimBOB,

I didn't say Obama was a shallow narcissist. I've been supporting him since before Iowa, and have given him more money than I could really afford.

My point actually had to do with political advertising. If the McCain campaign is trying to send lower-income whites the message that Obama is out of touch, effeminate, and self-absorbed, which celebrities could they compare him to that would convey that message to that audience better than Britney Spears and Paris Hilton?

I await a reasoned answer.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares?

It's summertime...not like a lot of people are actually paying attention.

We're all outside hiking, camping, swimming, hunting, sunbathing....basically NOT watching TV.

Posted by: mfw13 on July 31, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Callimaco,

Actually that's a pretty good one. But wouldn't Tom Cruise make a lot of people think of his tough-guy roles like Top Gun and A Few Good Men rather than Scientology or jumping on Oprah's sofa? Besides, his life is shallow (or seems so to me) but it isn't a public train wreck like Britney's, and he doesn't flaunt his wealth and superficiality like Paris (and she also made that nasty reality show about farmers). I still think they're better.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see -- Obama tours the world and addresses admiring crowds of hundreds of thousands of people.

He must be a shallow, arrogant, air-head narcissist, like other famous people who do that.

Like, for example, the Pope.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 31, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

SecAn,

Yeah, it's a stupid meme with no basis in reality. Sort of like "John Kerry faked his war wounds" or "Al Gore thinks he invented the Internet" or "Max Cleland is a coward." The difference is that Obama is a much stronger candidate than any of the above, so I really think it's going to backfire this time.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

"I hear that one of the goals of the transition team is plans for a new federal agency that will deal exclusively with issuing apologies on behalf of Barack Obama for anything black people do that offends you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many black people fervently want Obama in the White House. Many of same manage to place Obama in an uncomfortable position with their statements. Preachers, Ludacris, Jesse Jackson, etc. For those lacking diplomacy yet favoring his election what's wrong with a little SHUT THE FUCK UP! once in awhile? Hmmm?

Posted by: steve duncan on July 31, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Fabulous Mr. Toad - I think if they had used Cruise along with either Spears or Hilton they would have avoided the dog whistle accusation and gotten what they wanted in terms of shallowness and superficiality. But by using two white women known for sexual promiscuity they walked right into the dogwhistle accusation. John Riley at Newsday has this one pretty much right.

Posted by: Callimaco on July 31, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Next up in NYTimes, thanks to SecularAnimist: "Does Obama consider himself to be the next Pope?"

Posted by: Kenneth Cavness on July 31, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Callimaco,

Yeah, I don't dispute that. I'm just wary of rushing to give a racial explanation when there's a perfectly good non-racial explanation. That's for political reasons, not because I'm really naive enough to give Republican campaign strategists the benefit of that particular doubt.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Fabulous Mr. Toad - That's sort of the point of a dogwhistle, there can be alternative explanations. There was a pretty good post about that yesterday here.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-dogwhistles-by-digby-ive-been.html

In short: the fact that there are other explanation doesn't mean there isn't also a dogwhistle.

Posted by: Callimaco on July 31, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't buy the "sexually available white women" theory. They were trying to compare Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton: in other words, they were trying to paint him as a rich, out-of-touch narcissist who is famous for no good reason.

As Callimaco said, Spears and Hilton are known for one thing: sex scandals. Spears gets her picture taken without her underwear on. Hilton has sex videos being sold on the internet.

Why not pick Jennifer Aniston? She's been famous for much longer than Spears and Hilton combined. Or George Clooney? Plenty of conservatives despise Clooney for his politics and would be happy to hate on Obama for Clooney's support.

Again, the fact that they specifically chose two young blonde women best known for their sex scandals -- women who aren't Obama supporters at all -- is what makes it all whistle-y.

If you want to bash Obama with a young, cute, blonde celebrity, why not Scarlett Johanssen, who's been in People magazine and other tabloid rags talking about her Obama-love? Heck, they even had the mini-scandal where she was boasting that she got e-mails from him. That seems like much more fertile ground than Hilton or Spears ... unless you're going for the dog whistle.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

When a party has a forty-year-old record of vicious race-baiting politics, it doesn't get the benefit of the doubt. End of story.

(And here's an irony: Britney and Paris are both Republicans.)

Posted by: lampwick! on July 31, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Toad

You are accepting the premise that they started by wanting to portray Obama as a shallow narcissist and then picked Brit and Paris to illustrate the point. I think it went the other way round - they picked Brit and Paris to make the dogwhistle point ("Obama wants to fuck your white women!"), and then came up with the "shallow narcissist" bit as a cover story.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I don't dispute that. I'm just wary of rushing to give a racial explanation when there's a perfectly good non-racial explanation. That's for political reasons, not because I'm really naive enough to give Republican campaign strategists the benefit of that particular doubt.

Plausible deniability, my friend. It's why they talked about "forced busing" and "welfare queens" in the 1980s and not "black people are going to your schools and stealing your money!" They have to leave that little iota of doubt so well-meaning people can say, "Well, sure, it came across that way, but I'm sure they didn't really mean it." Which is also what makes it so hard to fight.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Callimaco

As usual, Digby says it better than I could. Toad, don't miss that link.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Two signs that the McCain camp is adrift:

1. Their new campaign slogan "Country First" is already trademarked by an Indian Nationalist group, countryfirst.org, with a platform encouraging pride in "Made in India" labels, and a wonderfully kitschy website which includes a statue resembling the Iwo Jima flag raising, but the flag is Indian!

2. McCain is kicking off their new slogan with a Country First concert. The headline act? John Rich of Big & Rich

Posted by: The Retrospectivist on July 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

@ Callimaco: Yeah, I know what the point of a dogwhistle is. I also know that most people don't hear them (hence the name), and that if we go around crying "dogwhistle!" the response from the electorate will be, "You people are nuts -- I didn't hear anything!"

@ Mnemosyne: I just don't think any of the people you've mentioned display the bad side of celebrity anywhere near as effectively as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. Come on, George Clooney? "Cool, Barack and Danny Ocean!" Jennifer Aniston? Really? What's negative about her?

@ Lampwick: I couldn't agree more. And yet, they still get that benefit from most people. How do you figure?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Dog whistle: Something you need REALLY sensitive ears to hear. Sounds about right, as a metaphor. The only interesting question is if this is the kind of sound that is audible only to lefties with years and years and tens of thousands of dollars of "sensitivity training" - or if it's a more specifically Obamaniac phenomenon. As in, the only campaign who actually bring up race in this, um, race is the Obama one.*

But, probably not the point Kevin's trying to make here...


* What did he say in Berlin: "I don't look like other president's who've come here" - whatever, dude, we got it. We got it the first 1000 times you brought it up, too.

Posted by: not now on July 31, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

@ JimBob: That's a bit of an oversimplification of my position, but I notice you don't give any reasons for your view. I've been asking people to come up with a celebrity with name recognition and negatives as high as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, and nobody's been able to do that. (Of course, maybe that just makes it a brilliant dogwhistle.) Care to play?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

of course, the funny thing about this is that the Hiltons (dunno about Paris specifically) support, and I think have contributed to, the McCain campaign.

Uh, oops?

Posted by: DH Walker on July 31, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I expect that McCain chose Hilton and Spears simply because he's out of touch and out of date, and the most current celebrities he could think of are those that peaked ten years ago.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on July 31, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I've been asking people to come up with a celebrity with name recognition and negatives as high as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, and nobody's been able to do that.

And my point is that your question is irrelevant, and plays into the false framing their side used in bringing up all this crap. The reason I don't "care to play" is that it's a mug's game, built to help them win.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I would just like to take this opportunity to reject and denounce the ignorant comments of "not now."

Mnemosyne, I hear those dogwhistles too. "Law and order," Willie Horton, "state's rights" -- I know what those things really meant. But they worked. They fucking worked. And you're right, they worked in part because of denial, which creates plausible deniability. That is, there are some people who hear the dogwhistle consciously (and respond positively or negatively to it) but there are others who hear it only subliminally, and respond to it without being conscious that it was even there. Now here's the question. How do you make those people hear something they don't hear, don't want to hear, and in fact don't want to believe anyone can hear?

And here's the other question: when the people writing the ads probably have their own share of denial, how do you know they intended to sound this particular dogwhistle, rather than unintentionally setting it off? If your answer is that you assume that they intended it because Republicans have been doing that shit for years, how do you explain that to the people it has been working on for years because they don't hear it?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Toad, you began with:

I don't buy the "sexually available white women" theory.

In saying that it's a brilliant dogwhistle, I guess you've changed your mind. Right?

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

How do you make those people hear something they don't hear, don't want to hear, and in fact don't want to believe anyone can hear?

You probably can't. Deep-seated racism isn't generally amenable to rational argument.

What the GOP is aiming for is to use the racists as a base, and then use the ambiguous nature of the dogwhistle to reach out to moderates who would be repulsed by overt racism.

when the people writing the ads probably have their own share of denial, how do you know they intended to sound this particular dogwhistle, rather than unintentionally setting it off?

Spare me. These folks know EXACTLY what they are doing. They are paid big bucks to do it, and they know both what it is and how to do it most effectively. We know this because they keep doing it over and over.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 31, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Seeing that the man who engineered the openly racist ads against Harold Ford is also responsible for the McCain ads, I have no doubt that there is a subliminal dog whistle here (of course, subliminality is the whole point of the dog whistle theory).

I also think Mr. Toad is right. It just so happens that an overwhelming majority of Americans will immediately recognice Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears, and for mostly the wrong reasons. It's also true that the majority of the public will not understand the dog whistle reference, and using it can backfire as voters assume it is another "liberal tin-foil hat conspiracy theory".

In other words, this is best left alone. It's fine to criticize the use of those images, but find another reason to criticize it. Maybe by pointing out, as Jake Tapper did today, that it is John McInsane who hosted SNL, and who appeared on 24 AND Wedding Crashers, etc. Or, as someone pointed out the other day, wears $500 Ferragamo shoes.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on July 31, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The only interesting question is if this is the kind of sound that is audible only to lefties with years and years and tens of thousands of dollars of "sensitivity training"

Or, you know, common sense. Racism actually does exist in American culture. Being aware of it isn't rocket science. Hell, I see it, and I haven't spent one red cent on sensitivity training. What's your excuse?

Posted by: DH Walker on July 31, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne, I hear those dogwhistles too. "Law and order," Willie Horton, "state's rights" -- I know what those things really meant. But they worked. They fucking worked. And you're right, they worked in part because of denial, which creates plausible deniability.

Dogwhistles are the political equivalent of gaslighting someone. You're telling a lie, but in such a way that if you're called on it, you can come up with an alternate explanation for your actions.

Now here's the question. How do you make those people hear something they don't hear, don't want to hear, and in fact don't want to believe anyone can hear?

I wish I knew. Human nature is such that even if you point these things out, a certain percentage of people will refuse to believe it. Like those 20-percenters who are still convinced that George W. Bush is doing a great job as president. Republicans have been pulling this shit for almost 30 years and it works every. damn. time.

I mean, they managed to convince people that John Kerry wounded himself in Vietnam. They wore band-aids to mock his Purple Hearts and didn't care that they were denigrating every other veteran who'd been awarded a Purple Heart. How do you fight against people with no scruples and no conscience? It's like trying to win against the serial killer in Se7en.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Politics as usual

John McCann does not have an original idea in his agenda. The advertisments against Barack Obama, who is gaining political advantage, shows him as a air-head like Britney and Paris. Not only for the "white" majority that view Paris and Britney that way, but to gain the rasists votes for John McCann.

Posted by: mischak49 on July 31, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

While I expect we will see plenty of racial dog-whistles, I don't buy into this one as belonging to the set of racist dog-whistles. They are clearly hoping to build some unconscious resentment neural networks into voters minds. And BS and Paris are good choices, young attractive, thin (visuals not that different from Obama). And don't most of us have a bit of resentment towards those who have been able to coast on celebrity-hood. Because this is politics, Obama has to campaign heavily on emotion, and lightly on policy, so maybe the shallowness meme will stick. Or maybe Obama will feel compelled to counter by trying to exude gravitas, and blow it!

The goal is to generate a general level of discomfort with the candidate, not to make sense.

Posted by: on July 31, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what that Fortune list is based on. At least on the major websites, I see a lot more links about Paris and, especially, Britney than about anyone else on Fortune's top ten, with the possible exception of Angelina.

Posted by: Virginia on July 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is just a trickle of the racial undercurrent to come. Most of it will be carefully targeted in rural areas and among white evangelicals and Rust Belt ethnics. An observant reporter taking a back-roads trip from, say, Scranton to Green Bay in early October could find all kinds of slime.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on July 31, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

OK, so MeLoseBrain has me convinced. If Terry Nelson's shop did this ad, the dogwhistle was intentional. Also, it appears that the ad was originally planned to include an image of Tom Cruise, but that image was taken out. That's rather suspicious as well. But I still don't think it's wise politics to go around saying "I hear dogwhistles" like the kid in 6th Sense. Much less getting outraged about them. Let's figure out how to use them ourselves, maybe?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't think any of the people you've mentioned display the bad side of celebrity anywhere near as effectively as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. Come on, George Clooney? "Cool, Barack and Danny Ocean!" Jennifer Aniston? Really? What's negative about her?

Good God, man -- you're making everyone else's point for them. What, pray tell, is the "bad side of celebrity" if not public sex scandal & a "musical career" based exclusively on the unabashed eroticization of (for the most successful years of her "career") a legal minor turning in highly sexualized performances while tarted up in the barest fraction of a schoolgirl uniform? And whose current "celebrity," such as it is, is the result of repeatedly staged crotch shots??? What's negative about Jennifer Aniston, indeed. That's exactly the problem. The reason someone like Tom Cruise/George Clooney/Jennifer Aniston weren't chosen is precisely the same in each instance -- they aren't young, blonde girls/women with sleazy reputations.

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug, maybe I'm being thick, but I don't get your point. Are you saying the only way a celebrity can have a negative reputation is by being a young, promiscuous white woman? Really? Christian Bale doesn't come to mind, or John Belushi, or -- shit, just type "rapper convicted" into your google bar.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Its ironic coming from a guy who uses reform like Robert Downey Jr. uses rehab.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on July 31, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Point well taken. But, um... the Police are in the top 10 celebrities? Did I wake up in 1985 again?

Posted by: Matt on July 31, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Can we all agree to now simply call him John McGarbage?

Posted by: New Name for John McCain on July 31, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is just a trickle of the racial undercurrent to come.

Another little current showed up today: McCain campaign accuses Obama of playing race card

Because, apparently, Obama is supposed to go through the entire campaign and never point out that he's, you know, black. How is McCain's campaign supposed to set up whispers about Obama being all scary and black when the guy admits to it up front?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is this ad aimed at McCain's base or independent voters who we are told time & again will decide this election. It makes a difference in how we should perceive & criticize this ad. If it's aimed at his base that spells trouble for McCain because his base should be secured by now. If it's aimed at undecided independents it's pathetic & pointless because I can't imagine vapid racists or pop culture-haters being undecided at this point.

Posted by: David H. on July 31, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

... maybe I'm being thick, but I don't get your point. Are you saying the only way a celebrity can have a negative reputation is by being a young, promiscuous white woman? Really? Christian Bale doesn't come to mind, or John Belushi, or -- shit, just type "rapper convicted" into your google bar.

No, that's not what I'm saying, FMT. I'm saying that, for the demographic at which the subtext is aimed, the "celebrities" the McCain folks chose are off the charts on the titillation/mortification charts. They aren't trying to exploit a negative reputation, per se; they're trying to exploit a very particular type of negative reputation, and one that's going to speak to the reptilian brain.

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Tell me which celebrities represent "shallow narcissist" better than Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?"

Kevin Federline?

Ryan Seacrest?

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 31, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin! Drink more coffee.

Why on earth would a campaign want to put pictures of Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt, or ANY of those celebrities in an ad with McCain?

He is trying to make the point that celeb itself is bad, so he needs bad celebs.

The dog whistles here are coming from TPM and you and Gitlin and all you jerks making bogus claims of racism going on A SINGLE DATA POINT that only people who look for dog whistles could imagine to be racist.

Truly shameful, and it's going to bite us in the butt when most people listen to this and have to come to a decisions:

Who is racist or bogus? McCain for showing Spears and Hilton?

Or

Kevin Drum and other liberals that think that is somehow a racist ad?

Say, I wondered what these jokers had to say about the "periodically gets her claws out" stuff.

You can attack this ad 100 different ways. The lamest, cheapest, least productive way is to claim this ad is racist.

Shame on you Kevin.

Just say "No Thank You" to stupid talking points handed down for yor repetition.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I hear Spears has already objected to the ad.

Another Republican for Obama?

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 31, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's possible that those two women were chosen for comparison for 'racist dog whistle' reasons. That said, I really don't think it's in our interest as Obama supporters to cry 'racism!' at every subtle thing like this. It's impossible to prove, and I suspect it actually drives voters away... the fear of a lot of middle-of-the-road white folks (who, like it or not, make up a big part of the vote) is that Obama and his supporters will use accusations of racism as a hammer to beat down criticism during his term. (there have already been proxies who have arguably gone down that road.) We need to send a clear signal to white people that this fear is baseless. In that spirit, seeking out subtle racism whereever it might bloom is not good politics, and not smart politics. This isn't a sophomore course, it's a presidential election.

Posted by: Shag on July 31, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, 'He's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name,' you know, 'He doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.'"

Sounds a lot more he's making a racial or age related argument than claiming a commercial with Spears in it is racist.

Urban Dictionary lists "dead presidents" as a reference to money often used in rap songs.

Who's holding the whistle now? Who's playing the race card?

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell is Ryan Seacrest and when was he last arrested or jailed for drunk driving?

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell is Ryan Seacrest and when was he last arrested or jailed for drunk driving?

Obama was arrested and jailed for drunk driving? How did I miss that? If that's true, then the comparison to Britney and Paris makes a lot more sense.

Do you have a link to the news story? Did it happen recently, or was it a few years ago? Or did you just pull it out of your ass as usual?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I guess we're a long, long way away from the rarefied world of sheep trials and the exquisitely trained border collies exquisitely attuned to their masters' whistles.

I had the great good fortune to see four border collies and one Australian shepherd herd cattle a few weeks ago. I get it now.


And dog-whistle, the British political term, is based on the whistles and calls used with the hyperintelligent, highly trained sheep dogs featured in the hugely popular and watchable sheepdog trials.

Here's the thing about dog-whistles: it's not about audibility (although, yes, dogs can hear in ranges inaudible to humans). it's about training. The handler actually knows his dogs. He has special whistles for them, which then work in unison to herd sheep in a certain fashion.

Not all dogs are trained to know all whistles. I myself don't understand the "watch out: radical Muslim" whistle. But I can see the dogs respond. I myself can't hear the "be alert: lightweight celebutante president wannabe" dog-whistle. But I can see the trained border collies respond: it's partly instinct, partly pack behavior, and largely controllable, by the dog-handler.

This raises an interesting dilemma for the McCain handlers, the erstwhile masters of the dog-whistle. How on earth are they gonna win the sheep trials with internally inconsistent code. Is Obama a radical Muslim? A notorious blonde celeb of yesterday? An elite globalist who sips herbal tea? That's a welter of contradictory dog-whistles. Not enough given our economic and energy problems.

At some point, you'd think the dogs will just give up, confused and tired.

Posted by: paxr55 on July 31, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Check out the brain on Mr Toad: "But I still don't think it's wise politics to go around saying "I hear dogwhistles" like the kid in 6th Sense."

Posted by: not now on July 31, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Not now: not now.

Paxr55, I always thought the metaphor was one of those whistles that only dogs can hear. You know, it's like a coded message for the faithful, so when you're Ronnie Reagan giving your speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, you say "states' rights" when what you really mean is "rolling back the civil rights movement," but the people you're targeting get the point that you're on their side. Your version of the metaphor is interesting too, though.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

You would think that McCain would want to avoid attention to skinny rich blonds with drug problems.

It isn't Obama who finished at the bottom of his class, cheated on his wife with skanky white women and dumped his family for one.

Just saying.

Posted by: Artemesia on July 31, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nemo, "Obama was arrested and jailed for drunk driving? How did I miss that? If that's true, then the comparison to Britney and Paris makes a lot more sense.

Do you have a link to the news story? Did it happen recently, or was it a few years ago? Or did you just pull it out of your ass as usual?"

Once again nemo, no one is saying the comparison makes sense. The point is precisely to compare him to "bad celebrities" regardless of how stupid a comparison that is.

What people are saying is that there is nothing racist about such an attack. It's a dumb line of attack, but it's not the racist dog whistle that you pretend you can hear. Of course, your own personal philosophy is based on crying wolf and crying victimhood and crying racism and sexism, so it's completely unreasonable of me to think you would ever see otherwise.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Mr. Toad. Affirmation is always nice.

I'll persist: Dog-whistle as a term that in political writing originates in Britain, drawing on sheepherding with highly trained border collies.

How usage morphs here, in the United States, depends in part on the users. In the end, for me at least, the way U.S. practitioners deploy the dog-whistle in campaigns brings us back to the British understanding. A dog-whistle is an exquisitely crafted signal understood by both dog handler and his dogs.

As I say, I haven't a clue what the whistles mean. But I sure can see dogs hustle and toward what end. It's not that mysterious.

Posted by: paxr55 on July 31, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

How on earth are they gonna win the sheep trials with internally inconsistent code. Is Obama a radical Muslim? A notorious blonde celeb of yesterday? An elite globalist who sips herbal tea? That's a welter of contradictory dog-whistles.

Maybe, maybe not. They'll stick with any & all, so long as those dog whistles don't backfire. If the message is perceived as contradictory among target groups, it'll stop. But if it polls favorably, they'll do it all the way through election Day.

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least it's clear that McCain didn't write that ad.

Otherwise he would have used Mae West and Marilyn Monroe.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on July 31, 2008 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55, I wasn't trying to be patronizing. Sorry if my comment came off that way.

I don't know how the term originated, but sheep trials don't seem like the best metaphor for the type of coded messaging we see in politics. That's because the shepherd whistling for the sheep dog is doing so in full hearing of everyone. Only the dog responds, but everyone hears the signal. That's not true of the race-baiting ads, which leave people debating whether there's any racial message at all. Some hear it, some don't.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Just as Britney and Paris are shallow celebs who are YESTERDAY'S NEWS... So will be the empty suit Obama! YESTERDAY'S NEWS!

Posted by: DawgTown on July 31, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Your reactions tell me that the "Britney + Paris = Obama" ad is working. Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by: Karl Rove on July 31, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Urban Dictionary lists "dead presidents" as a reference to money often used in rap songs.

Maybe you can point out, jerry, where Obama used the term "Dead Presidents"? Oh, that's right, he didn't. Nice try, troll.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on July 31, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Once again nemo, no one is saying the comparison makes sense. The point is precisely to compare him to "bad celebrities" regardless of how stupid a comparison that is.

So why only white female celebrities with sex scandals? Why no Kevin Federline or Ryan Seacrest? Why none of the inexplicably famous kids from "The Hills"?

Oh, right, because McCain's daughter is bestest buddies with the kids on "The Hills." Can't even begin to imply that maybe they're famous for doing nothing.

What people are saying is that there is nothing racist about such an attack.

No, what you're saying is that there's nothing racist about the attack. But, then, you would claim there was nothing racist about a McCain ad that featured Obama eating watermelon and fried chicken, so you're not exactly the objective observer you're trying to claim to be.

McCain's ad agency brought out a companion piece to their racist Harold Ford "Call me" ad, and they got caught. Now like any kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they're trying to claim that what it looks like isn't really what it is. Boo hoo.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Jerry? You don't start whining that your opponent is "playing the race card" over remarks the guy has been making for months unless you realize you just stepped in it and you've got to try and make yourself look like the victim before people realize what you're up to.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Because, comparatively speaking, no one knows who Ryan Seacrest is. No one knows who Kevin Federline is.

Because frankly, my dear, most people think K-Fed has been a much better parent than Spears.

No, my dear, your claiming I would dismiss a "watermelon" attack is another of your racist smears.

Anything someone says that you dislike and they are sexists and racists. It's what people hear and read all day long at your favorite blogs. They're racists! They're men! They're sexists! They're wifebeaters! They're pedophiles.

That dearie is what other people call playing the race card and it is why people snicker at you when you're not in the presence of your friends.

I've heard it was the same guy who made both ads, and then it turned out apparently it wasn't. Can you please provide a link showing it's the same ad agency? I'd be more likely to be persuaded then. Also of help would be knowing who was on the team and the size of the agency.

Thanks Nemo.

Hey MeLoseBrain, calling people troll is the first refuge of the incompetent.

Visit nemo's link and it's an analysis of Obama's remark that "You know, 'He's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name,' you know, 'He doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.'

So as the article goes, how does Obama differ from the dollar bills. Well,
He's younger, alive, and white.

You're right he didn't say "dead presidents", that was my MeLoseBrain moment. But he either said that McCain was going to denigrate him as being young and alive or that McCain was going to denigrate him as being white.

As I said, it looks like a much worse race card play than McCain's alleged one using Hilton and Spears.

But that HAS been the mark of the bots. Hillary was racist, Ferraro was racist, everyone is racist, but Obama's sexist remarks are ignored.

Anyway, cut down the name calling of troll. It marks you as a moron with little way to actually make your point apart from bullying.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

If I may belabor this point, Mr Toad, the thing is that most of us do not, in fact, hear the signal, as you say. We hear a sound. Only the handler and the dogs understand the whistle.

Posted by: paxr55 on July 31, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nemo, the article you linked to is interesting, but in my brief read, I don't see how it makes your point that Obama has been saying these things for months.

But I actually concede that's likely. Obama said many sexist things about Clinton, and Obama has made several claims, unfounded, that McCain would play the race card.

Go after McCain, there's a trillion ways to do it. But in general people dislike the boy who cried wolf and dislike people who see racism (and sexism) everywhere they look.

When you can show a pattern of these commercials, let's talk. Until then, the Spears/Hilton commercial does not prove what you claim and makes you look like the boy who cried wolf and a dishonest manipulator.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

If I may belabor this point, Mr Toad, the thing is that most of us do not, in fact, hear the signal, as you say. We hear a sound. Only the handler and the dogs understand the whistle.

Right, that's a point I made about dog whistles during the primary.

Dog whistles are very much different from coded speech.

When George Bush referred to Dred Scott cases at odd moments, that was coded speech and there was good evidence on the net of people often using those court cases as ways to argue against abortion rights.

So George knew what he was saying, his audience knew what he was saying, and we could "listen" by using google and see many many references of what "Dred Scott" meant to the anti-abortion crowd.

But Spears and Hilton means Obama wants to fuck white women? That's not coded speech. That's a bizarre deconstructed claim. Since there is no evidence for it, we're left to trust Nemo that she can hear it and that we can't.

Rational people call bullshit on that.

If you want to make a completely circumstantial case in a claim of racism, you need good evidence and a strong pattern.

Otherwise it is a good thing that you are open to a claim that you are playing the race card.

Because as a society we generally don't like smears and libel and slander. Us liberals use to not like that either, but there is a perncious group of liberals who do use it whenever they can. (It's one way I use to measure how they ain't actual progressives.)

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Not to beat a dead dog, so to speak, but with the dogwhistle I'm talking about, nobody but the dog hears anything, literally. I think that's a little closer to political dogwhistling than the sheep trial is, because at the sheep trial nobody denies that there was a whistle, and that it was a coded message to the dog. Political dogwhistling has that additional layer of denial and deniability, so that the handler can say, "What whistle?"

Neither one is a perfect metaphor, however, because with political dogwhistling even the dog might say, "What whistle?"

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 31, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jerry,

The Harold Ford interpretation has been accepted by the New York Times Editorial Board, Bill Press and a lot of other pundits. The boat has sailed on the notion that Obama is crying wolf.

The thing you have to remember is that the Harold Ford "Call Me" ad was produced by the same guy who produced the Britney/Paris "Celebrity" ad. Of course, McCain isn't blatantly calling Obama an oversexed young black man who will take advantage of young blond women, but his people chose two young blond women celebs who are mostly known for their sexual antics. They clearly aren't the 2nd and 3rd best known celebs in the world. They both fell off the list a year or more ago. The current top celebrities are Oprah and Tiger Woods. For some reason the same guy who did the "Call Me" ad chose Britney and Paris, go figure.

It is time for McCain to talk about issues, if he dares.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 31, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

... calling people troll is the first refuge of the incompetent.
Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Addressed to Kevin:

... what's this post but concern trollery on your part?

I know your dignity is important to you, I'm sure you really don't want to lose it by writing concern troll posts.
Posted by: jerry on July 27, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Harold Ford interpretation has been accepted by the New York Times Editorial Board, Bill Press and a lot of other pundits. The boat has sailed on the notion that Obama is crying wolf.

Well there you go Ron, if the New York Times says something on it's editorial page it's true!

Like I said, I've heard the commercials were made by the same person, but then I heard that wasn't true. If you can show me they were made by the same company that says something. If you can show me the same people were involved that says something more.

So far, none of the quotes I've seen from various pundits making the blogosphere rounds make those claims. They just immediately condemn the guy as racist. Later on to backfill, people have said, it's the same guy, it's the same agency. I haven't looked very hard, but in what I have seen, I have seen that shown.

As I said, if he is a racist, there will be proof and a pattern, but one commercial with little other evidence is not that.

Junebug, I think it's long been established you're an idiot. You're also an idiot that has never understood satire. I wasn't calling Kevin a concern troll was I? As I said at the time to explain it to you, I told him that his claims that McCain needs to worry about his dignity made his argument weak and sound like concern trollery. There are lots of other ways to attack McCain. Being upset that he acts like a meany politician is pretty weak. Have your mommy explain when she tucks you back in.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jer? The reason you can't get custody isn't because you're a victim of the massive plot to keep fathers down. It's because you're fucking nuts. Oh, and your child support payment is late again.

Posted by: the delighted to be divorced ex-mrs. jerry on July 31, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

I wasn't calling Kevin a concern troll was I? As I said at the time to explain it to you, I told him that his claims that McCain needs to worry about his dignity made his argument weak and sound like concern trollery.

Of course. *Kevin's* not a concern troll, but he's posting concern trollery. It's all perfectly clear now. And why are his comments concern trollery? Because McCain's never claimed to be a straight shooter, or made himself to be about principle over politics. Roger that.

Wake me when you can post something other than revisionism, hypocrisy, & ad hominems. Without them, your comments are nothing but strings of "I," "a," & "the."

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Because, comparatively speaking, no one knows who Ryan Seacrest is.

No one knows who the host of the number one show on television is?

No one knows who Kevin Federline is.

Everyone knows Britney Spears, but no one knows her ex-husband?

Really, you've gotta do better than that. Next you're going to be telling me that no one's ever heard of this Angelina Jolie person we keep talking about.

McCain is pissed because Obama's been on the cover of People magazine twice, and McCain's having a little Margo Channing hissy fit and accusing Obama of letting people know he's a black man. Somebody get him a waaaaaahmbulance.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, this cracked me up:

The Obama campaign declined direct comment on the celebrity charge, but said it was another example of a McCain negative attack. "On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Sen. McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, 'Oops! He did it again,'" a campaign spokesman said.
Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like the ad hit the mark. It is interesting because so many of the supposedly smart people (including some republicans) initially thought it was either stupid or a mistake.

Spears and particularly Hilton were perfect choices for empty celebrities. The "dog whistle" argument is simply a partisan effort to try to intimidate McCain into backing off such clever ads in the future. Anyone with objectivity will not think that the purpose of the ad was to make a point about "sexually available white women" or anything racial. It was to make a point about celebrities who have not accomplished anything (a little unfair to Spears)

Obama ought to stop talking about race. His supporters should stop calling attacks racist when they are not. I think McCain probably is on to something in trying to characterize the election as between a celebrity without accomplishment and a leader with experience. I realize it did not work for Hillary in the early primaries, but it did in later primaries and, now, Obama is much more the celebrity and McCain is much more experienced than Hillary and able to make arguments on policy that Hillary could not do.

This election will move back and forth over the next three months, but right now it is going bad for Obama.

Posted by: Brian on July 31, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone with objectivity will not think that the purpose of the ad was to make a point about "sexually available white women" or anything racial.

And now we can put the issue to bed, because our resident expert on objectivity, Brian, has weighed in.

Come back when you've got something better than a logical fallacy to make your case.

Posted by: junebug on July 31, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

Something you might no realize about negative ads.They drive up the negatives of the aggressor as well as the victim. They only work if the aggressor has negatives to burn. They don't work as well if the candidate is perceived as being unfair. To work at all they have to have a grain of truth.

In this case the public is quickly concluding that McCain is unfairly attacking Obama. His negatives are going up. He is jeopardizing his position with independents.

He is doing it by making claims nobody believes for a minute. Truthfully do truly think Obama is an empty suit totally lacking substance? Neither does anybody else.

Do you really think celebrity is a bad word in America? Neither does anybody else.

The Harold Ford dog whistle is the best thing McCain has going for the attack.

Sadly, performances like today will further damage McCain with his base -- the working press.

My guess is McCain will walk away from this crap first thing in the morning.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 31, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/:
"I don't pretend to be a jargon-gargling semiotician. Nor do I pretend to be a dean of media studies, though I'd be happy to accept an honorary degree if there was a little "moolah" attached. But I have watched enough television during incarceration to have a few points to make about the McCain campaign's new anti-Obama "celebrity" ad.
1) Obama looks so cool, upbeat, and confident in the ad that his smiling, waving, striding presence provides a "lift" that doesn't simply contradict the admonitory tone of the voiceover text, but visually drowns it out through sheer pow of personality. It'd be like trying to warn teenagers in the fifties about the dangers of rock and roll, then showing concert footage of Elvis at his most charismatic--great way to create converts, guys!"

Wolcott (and others) are right. Obama just looks so cool that the "message" of his face overwhelms completely the whiny voiceover complaining about him.
Like that $4 gas ad. It's all Obama's fault, they're trying to say--but as the cheering voices rise, it's like the ad goes to another ad, one produced by Obama, highlighting his popularity and acclaim.
And now I'm wondering if McCain's ad shop has got some Obama boys and girls working undercover . . .

Posted by: Steve Paradis on July 31, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ron,
I don't think the theme is that Obama is an empty suit; he obviously is a smart guy. The theme is that he is a celebrity without accomplishment, while McCain is a leader with experience. It seems like an effective ad to me and, in view of all the anguish over it, it must be effective.

Down the road, I think we will see ads based on Obama deciding he should be president (announcing his candidacy) after about 150 days as a senator. His obvious high level of self regard is a weakness and, in case you haven't been watching, it already has stuck to him.

You say an effective ad must have a grain of truth. Doesn't Obama as a celebrity have that?

Steve,
I agree Obama looks good in this ad and in some other McCain ads. I guess the McCain folks are okay with, or even intend, to portray him as a good looking and cool guy. But speaking of whistling, I think you are whistling past the grave yard if you think this ad helps Obama because he looks cool.

Posted by: Brian on July 31, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think McCain probably is on to something in trying to characterize the election as between a celebrity without accomplishment and a leader with experience.

I forget, which one of the two hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 2002 and appeared on the show twice this year? Who had cameos in Wedding Crashers and on "24."

Oh, yeah, that's right. But it's Obama who's the desperate celebrity trying to cling to fame, not McCain. Riiiiight.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 31, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mne,

You change the subject. I said the theme of the McCain ad was "celebrity without accomplishment versus leadership with experience." You respond by arguing that McCain could be portrayed as a "desperate celebrity trying to cling to fame," which is not the theme of the ad or even something that could be effectively tagged on McCain.

Like it or not, fair or not, the celebrity without accomplishment (or perhaps experience) can be applied to Obama. It obviously cannot be tagged on McCain.

Obama and you guys are trying to tag McCain as too old and/or senile. That has a chance of sticking. Thus, the high level debate will be, in part, celebrity without accomplishment/ experience versus too old and senile.

Posted by: on July 31, 2008 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

There is also a funny quote by Obama from a Washington Post profie in February 2005, "I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse." If McCain's people are smart, they will figure out a way to use it.

Posted by: Brian on July 31, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Because, comparatively speaking, no one knows who Ryan Seacrest is.

No one knows who the host of the number one show on television is?

No one knows who Kevin Federline is.

Everyone knows Britney Spears, but no one knows her ex-husband?

Really, you've gotta do better than that. Next you're going to be telling me that no one's ever heard of this Angelina Jolie person we keep talking about.

McCain is pissed because Obama's been on the cover of People magazine twice, and McCain's having a little Margo Channing hissy fit and accusing Obama of letting people know he's a black man. Somebody get him a waaaaaahmbulance.

Sorry Nemo, not all of us spend our time switching channels between American Idol when not getting Brazilians and bitching at feministe about the rotten menz.

American Idol: that's like you watching an Ann Althouse? How many people are really watching America's top show these days? I've never seen it, but I've certainly had Spears crammed down my t00bs whether I wanted it or not.

Anyone with a brain and any amount of intellectual honesty would not be arguing over who is more likely to be recognized: Hilton or Seacrest. Federline or Spears. Especially amongst the target audience.

Hey Junebug, I wanted to remind you that backyardigans is on.

Posted by: jerry on July 31, 2008 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

I said the theme of the McCain ad was "celebrity without accomplishment versus leadership with experience." You respond by arguing that McCain could be portrayed as a "desperate celebrity trying to cling to fame," which is not the theme of the ad or even something that could be effectively tagged on McCain.

The theme of the ad is that people only like Obama because he's a celebrity. McCain has been a celebrity much longer than Obama has. Complaining that people like Obama and that he's popular makes McCain look as desperate to cling to fame as David Hasselhoff.

Sorry Nemo, not all of us spend our time switching channels between American Idol when not getting Brazilians and bitching at feministe about the rotten menz.

Nice try. "Well, I don't watch 'American Idol,' the number one show on television, so clearly no one else in America does!"

Again, your guy whined because his popularity is being eclipsed by Obama's, and now he looks like even more of a douchebag. Poor ittle baybee. Maybe someone should give McCain some milk and cookies.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 1, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.slate.com/id/2196190/

Hitchens gets the last word on Obama:

"In fact, the worst you can say of Obama's position on Iraq (...) is that he was a member of that quite large and undistinguished group that constituted the president's fair-weather wartime friends.

"Shortly after Baghdad had fallen at a then-cost of perhaps 100 U.S. fatalities, he said publicly that there was no serious difference between the Bush position and his own. It was only by retro-engineering his politics, and pointing to a speech he had made in Chicago very much earlier in the Iraq debate, that he was able to create the idea that he had been both braver and more prescient than his rivals for the nomination."

Posted by: on August 1, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

My guy? My guy is Obama. That's in spite of the idiots bots like you deciding that anyone that disagrees in the slightest with Obama must be a McCain supporter.

You're truly a douchebag Nemo, especially for reinforcing that meme.

It's bullying actions and statements from you and other Obamabots and have people truly wondering -- is this what Obama really stands for?

Here's your Idol viewers:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24456737/
21 million this year, 36 million last year.
And apart from Ann Althouse, the audience designed to be teenagers and folks under 40. It's this year that the median age is 42 that upsets the network.

How many Americans are there?
301 million as of 2007.

So roughly 9/10ths of America has not seen the show that you worship and find to run your life.

What are the chances that a person interested in McCain has seen Nemosyne's Idol? Probably pretty damn slim.

And since your a feminist, I am certain you can tell me how many times Spears or Hilton appears on the network news, the cable news, the print news, or on commercials, or videos.

It's not even close, babe. And you ain't so stupid you don't know this. You're arguing in bad faith because your feminist training has told you that arguing in bad faith is a legitimate tactic in the war on da menz.

Posted by: jerry on August 1, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else hear all of jerry's posts in the voice of Frank Burns?

Posted by: shortstop on August 1, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

My guy? My guy is Obama. That's in spite of the idiots bots like you deciding that anyone that disagrees in the slightest with Obama must be a McCain supporter.

Uh-huh. Because all Obama supporters argue that when he said, "I don't look like those other presidents on dollar bills," he was really talking in urban slang about "dead presidents." That's some stellar support there, jerry.

And I'm still amused by your contention that no McCain voter has ever seen "American Idol." Now who's perpetuating stereotypes? Not to mention that you think the only way a TV show can be a "real" number one is if every man, woman and child in the entire United States watches it. You really make me laugh.

Yes, yes, I'm sure it will be my fault when you suddenly decide in October that you just can't support Obama after all and will be forced -- forced, I tell you! -- to vote for McCain because all of those feminists were just so mmmmeeeeaaaannnnn to you online.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 1, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne is a femmunist? Didn't know that. Anyway...

Drum/TPM/Atrios/Assorted PA losers - check it out, guys, the "dogwhistle" talking point is no longer operative. You really should pay more attention. The new new meme is that McCain is "cynical". Got it? Use that from now on. Please don't make me tell you again.

Obama calls McCain campaign cynical but not racist http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080802/ap_on_el_pr/obama

Posted by: dude on August 2, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Zena on August 16, 2009 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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