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Monday, February 25, 2008

TurbanGate 


According to the Times of London, the Democratic race has been "blighted" over the now famous pictures of Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress, complete with turban. Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin catalogues numerous examples -- most of them hilarious -- of American politicians dressing up in, er, native garb. There are a lot of them; most of them look substantially more clownish than Senator Obama.

The question is, in light of Michelle's carefully unearthed precedent, why has the sneaky dissemination of Obama's turban photo "blighted" the campaign? Presumably it is because it deceptively appears to substantiate the untrue rumors circulating on the internet that Obama is a Muslim. Put differently, if the intent was merely to mock Obama (in the same way we mock Nancy Pelosi for her Muslim headscarf), there would be no grounds for outrage. Instead, the intent was probably to fuel the rumor, to substantiate a falsehood.

Meanwhile, we have the curious spectacle of a black man, running to be the nominee of the party of multiculturalism, "smeared" by a claim that he is a Muslim. Of course, if the Democrats mean what they say about "diversity," labeling him a Muslim ought not smear him in the first place.


17 Comments:

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Tue Feb 26, 12:55:00 AM:

I'm sure the "smear" was aimed at dumb Americans who do believe all of those emails about Obama being a closet Muslim.

But worldwide, Muslims know that he is a Muslim becase his father was a Muslim, which automaticly makes Obama a Muslim.

If he has decided to denounce Islam, then he is a fallen Muslim who in some sects of Islam, must either come back to Islam and repent or he must be killed.

The picture to Muslims will mean something entirely different than what it means to most Americans.

Papa Ray  

By Blogger whiskey_199, at Tue Feb 26, 02:42:00 AM:

Oh the good times keep coming.

Apparently, Obama bought his house at below market value (a LOT below) in complex three-sided transaction between himself, Rezko, and Nadhmi Auichi. Saddam and Khadaffi's BANKER. Under investigation in Britain for NHS fraud, barred from FRANCE for corruption, BCCI, etc. etc.

At the same time the house purchase was going on, Obama tried to get Auichi into the US (he's barred for corruption).

Do NOT mess with Hillary!  

By Anonymous jeremiah, at Tue Feb 26, 05:23:00 AM:

I'm having a little trouble with that "Democrats mean what they say" concept.

Isn't this the same party that considers the black vote theirs to keep but in reality does embarrassingly little to truly advance capable blacks?

Isn't this the same party that considers the Jewish vote theirs to keep but in reality often finds itself in league with anti-Semites of all stripes?

Isn't this the same party that considers itself the party of the working class, yet always finds a way to tax and spend that class into greater and greater dependency on government largesse rather than individual accomplishment?

Just checking...  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Tue Feb 26, 09:53:00 AM:

I would assign this in the catagory of "The Press loves a horse race" rather than "Oh God, what have we done?" Implying remorse indicates they might have morals, a character defect in their line of work.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 26, 10:02:00 AM:

Hillary should make every effort to raise the Rezko/Obama house purchase and keep raising it. She has nothing to lose, and the US media simply refuses to talk about it (preferring to gobble on about how great Obama is). Those media guys are totally in the tank for Obama.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Tue Feb 26, 10:06:00 AM:

Hillary will not raise the house issue if she had any shady issues with the purchase of her own house. Since the house issue has been known for a while, and she has not raised it yet...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 26, 10:20:00 AM:

This is fresher news by far; click the link. If the Times of London is the only media outlet that will report on this I'll be amazed, no matter how overtly the MSM wants to support Obama.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Feb 26, 11:48:00 AM:

The aim is to place an image in the "brains" (so-called brains) of 80% of the American public who absorbs information passively, uncritically, and tell them not only is this guy an n-word, he may be a...gulp...Muslim (though he's not). An alien, hailing from a brown, non-English speaking culture or ally (the latter concept comes from the neocon breakfast with Dubya two years ago). In some circles, he might as well have been wearing a dress and a pair of Jimmy Choo wedges.

I think it's a great campaign weapon. The thing of itself, the photo, is a wonderful testament to diversity and how white dickheads don't automatically deserve th keys to the kingdom. We are a stew of people, not a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Nevertheless, it's the USE and INTENT and placement that's insidious. Don't try to do the usual right wing coy polka here, okay TH...you know exactly what I mean.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Tue Feb 26, 12:01:00 PM:

Meanwhile, we have the curious spectacle of a black man, running to be the nominee of the party of multiculturalism, "smeared" by a claim that he is a Muslim. Of course, if the Democrats mean what they say about "diversity," labeling him a Muslim ought not smear him in the first place.

MJ Rosenberg sums up an appropriate response to this:

Yeah right. And if during Joe Lieberman's campaign, the GOP circulated a photo of him in tallis and yarmulkah, that would also have been fine on the grounds that there is nothing "divisive" about a photo showing "him wearing traditional Jewish clothing." Or JFK clutching rosary beads. (The Obama slur is even worse. Obama is not a Muslim while Lieberman is a Jew and JFK a Catholic).  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 26, 03:15:00 PM:

If Obama gets a pass for being one generation removed from being a Muslim (as Papa Ray indicated, that may not be the orthodox interpretation in much of the Muslim world), then do white Americans get a pass for what happened six generations ago regarding slavery?
I didn't think so.

Another coy right-wing polka dancer  

By Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck", at Tue Feb 26, 03:52:00 PM:

"The Obama slur is even worse. Obama is not a Muslim while Lieberman is a Jew and JFK a Catholic"


Well....none of them are really *slurs*, are they. These types of leaks are, in fact, completely innocuous taken at face value. But they have the interesting quality of allowing you to be angry at their release because of the way 'others' will take them.

Consider the Willie Horton ad. It told a factual tale, but the belief was that simply the picture would set off some sub-sector of the electorate (and I suppose it did).

It sort of comes down to "don't reveal that (factual) image, because certain people are too stupid to handle it". Apparently we are not capable of noting only that the subject once wore a turban (or released an African-American or met a criminal or expressed amazement at a bar-code reader, etc).

To some degree, getting all hot and bothered about these images is what the mental health folks call "projection", and reveals more about the interpreter than the image.

What's fun is that, up until now, it was assumed that Rove was behind anything this redolent of 'the glass with Iocaine Powder'. Then again, maybe he is....  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Feb 26, 04:44:00 PM:

Mindles: Exactly.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 26, 04:51:00 PM:

If he is, then he better get cracking. Rasmussen says McCain has a good chance of winning the popular vote while losing in the electoral college. Yikes! Quel choc!! That can't happen, can it....



(before all the Dem posters on the site have a heart attack, I'm just kidding)  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Tue Feb 26, 05:30:00 PM:

Well....none of them are really *slurs*, are they. These types of leaks are, in fact, completely innocuous taken at face value.

Well, disputing what's beyond "face value" is really what's at issue here, right? Because there's actually, you know, context to all of this junk, like a sustained email campaign trying to smear Obama as anti-Semitic and generalized hatred of Muslims among the American population. Innocently shrugging at the release of this photo in blissful disregard of all this is a bit too cute.

Consider the Willie Horton ad. It told a factual tale, but the belief was that simply the picture would set off some sub-sector of the electorate (and I suppose it did).

Nicely conceded.

It sort of comes down to "don't reveal that (factual) image, because certain people are too stupid to handle it". Apparently we are not capable of noting only that the subject once wore a turban (or released an African-American or met a criminal or expressed amazement at a bar-code reader, etc).

Not necessarily. The message is more that, if you try to legitimize a bunch of slander out there about Obama being some kind of Manchurian candidate, you're going to get called on it. Combatting disagreeable speech with more speech, etc.  

By Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck", at Tue Feb 26, 05:39:00 PM:

But, HP, it requires the viewer to admit that image as *evidence* of the separate assertion that he is a Manchurian Candidate.

So it's still a case of "nothing wrong with this image, but some s**head will use it in a prejudiced act of confirmation bias"

No doubt some of these things are leaked with precisely these intentions. Others are just pictures and demonstrate no conspiracy other than the one thrust on them by eager dishonest partisans. Wouldn't the best reaction be to ignore them or stick to the Jack Webb recitation instead of reporting the meta-story endlessly?

Shoot, I wore a turban once. Also one of those Russian fur hats. There are pictures.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Tue Feb 26, 05:48:00 PM:

Wouldn't the best reaction be to ignore them or stick to the Jack Webb recitation instead of reporting the meta-story endlessly?

Maybe, but doing could cause you to lose an election. See Dukakis, Mike.  

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