Monday, June 30, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: In Flag City USA, Good, Old, White Folks, Aren't Racists, They Simply Believe in Tradition

A select quote from the Washington Post story, "In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying:"

"People in Findlay are kind of funny about change," said Republican Mayor Pete Sehnert, a retired police officer who ran for the office on a whim last year. "They always want things the way they were, and any kind of development is always viewed as making things worse, a bad thing."

When people on College Street started hearing rumors about Obama -- who looked different from other politicians and often talked about change -- they easily believed the nasty stories about an outsider.

"I think Obama would be a disaster, and there's a lot of reasons," said Pollard, explaining the rumors he had heard about the candidate from friends he goes camping with. "I understand he's from Africa, and that the first thing he's going to do if he gets into office is bring his family over here, illegally. He's got that racist [pastor] who practically raised him, and then there's the Muslim thing. He's just not presidential material, if you ask me."


I guess change is scary. This fear is compounded by the fact that conservatives have an intolerance for ambiguity and struggle to process new information--some researchers, in their less polite moments, would argue that conservatives have authoritarian personalities (in layman's terms they are attracted to "strong" leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Premier Bush aka Cheney's Number Two).

This story reminds me of the time when my parents upgraded from rabbit ears to cable. This change caused quite a bit of frustration in my childhood home-all these buttons, that big heavy clunky cable box, with the wire connected to the remote, and more than five confusing for older Americans. Then my dad discovered the Playboy station so things were okay--I also loved the Playboy station because you could manipulate the fine tuning on the cable box in order to make the station clearer. I am sure many a young boy's masturbatory fantasies were given both fuel and fire by some fine adjustment on yee' old cable box.

I also fondly remember the anxiety when we upgraded again from records, to cassettes, and then to compact disks. Pops was scared again, but low and behold--and once he figured out how to put the CD in with the label facing upwards--things were once more copacetic.

It seems older folks are still scared of Obama. Perhaps our brother needs to partner with the AARP? I can see it now, a legion of gray ghosts fanning out across Florida, small town USA, and Manhattan, spreading the truth, and working against the concerted disinformation campaign targeting Obama (and by the way see this great article on one of my favorite people, Danielle Allen, and her research on the Obama smear campaign--I love to see smart (actually genius level) black folk doing their thing).

But, lest I be accused of picking on the elderly, Americans in general don't appear to be too bright. This is the reason I don't support democracy. For your examination, here is some recent public opinion research demonstrating the wisdom of the masses:

1. 7 percent of Americans believe Elvis is still alive.

2. 13 percent of Americans believe the Da Vinci code is real.

3. 39 percent of Americans believe in Creationism (boy our schools have utterly and truly failed haven't they? And not just the young black ign'ts, but white folks too).

4. 33.3 percent (that is one third by the way) of Americans believe in UFOs, witches and astrology--hey UFO's are real, just ask my man Riley Martin--you didn't know that black apartment dwellers also get kidnapped by aliens? You best get up to speed people!

5. 41 percent of Americans believe that Saddam had something to do with Al Queda and 9-11. Goodness.

Ohh the good, old days, we all long for them. We had manicured lawns, well behaved children, all the race mixers kept their love private, those Negroes knew their place, everyone spoke English, and those foreigners stayed on their own side of the tracks, water, fence, ocean, continent, etc.:

And most importantly, John Wayne--not that demi-God Chuck Norris--was the order of day:

We lost a giant....

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the recent loss of one of our greatest political analysts and commentators. He was a giant, a tireless inquisitor who never ceased to wrangle with the political elite. He was known for his meticulous preparation, and he made sure that his shows were imbued with his hard work and indelible energy.

I’m talking, of course, about George Carlin. What? Did you expect me to say someone else?

I have a feeling that Carlin is looking down on us and smiling.

If he were alive, Carlin would tear into all of those who attempt to eulogize him: first, because the “speak no ill of the dead” rule is stupid: why should your opinion of someone be dependent on whether he or she is alive?; and second, these same pseudo-journalists are responsible for ouranti-intellectual culture, for the weak “everybody’s a winner” ethos, for the boomer yuppie narcissism and corporate tyranny that Carlin made it his life mission to deride.

If any non-black cultural critic should receive honorary respectable negro status, it’s Carlin. He deserves it because of his mastery of the language, his unparalleled bullshit-meter, and his refusal to blindly accept the platitudes and senseless conventions that people rarely challenge.

At the risk of (racking up demerits on) my negro card, I consider Carlin the greatest stand-up comedian who ever lived--greater than the Cos’; greater than Pryor; greater than Bruce (Bruce gets an honorary negro card too for all the shit the law put him through).

Sometime in college, I adopted Carlin’s detached, misanthropic worldview. He, more than any other, understood the fundamental paradox of humanity: that without collectives, we could never survive as a species and as a collection of societies; yet the idea and practice of groups (and groupthink in particular) spawn the other-ing that is responsible for the most loathsome human behavior.

Despite his seeming contempt for his fellow humans, in his final interview, Carlin acknowledged that he does care about people—his disdain, he argues, is based on our squandered potential. This contradiction resonates with me as a self-proclaimed respectable negro. While I am uncomfortable with all forms of collective identity, I care about people as a whole, and I have a special interest in black people, no matter how much we fuck up in the aggregate. Though I’ve been wrestling with their implications for years, I still haven’t worked out a consistent position on linked fate and the black utility heuristic. Who knew being a negro was so psychologically taxing?

7 Dirty Words gets the most attention, but these three bits are among my favorite Carlin pieces, and are, I think, representative of his genius.

1.) A brilliant, parsimonious deconstruction of the 10 Commandments:

2.) An honest look at our country’s culture of war and history of racism:

3.) A bit about the euphemistic “soft language” that pervades modern English:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Ain't Gone Here in a Long Time---Cal Thomas has made an Enemy of this Respectable Negro

Shame on you Mr. Thomas.

Again, I shake my head in disbelief. As you all know, I don't do religion. I don't get religion. And, frankly, I don't understand religion. That having been said, this is the type of posturing and speech that makes me most concerned about the fate and future of our republic. While we may flirt with, play with, and are touched by the closeness in our secular State of faith and government--what is for me a too close union of religion and the public and political spheres--we also, among most at least, possess a political culture, that says "no mas," "out of bounds," and "we ain't going there" in regards to our moving even closer to an American Theocracy.

When I hear this not so coded speech from the Right, especially during an election year, I can only shake my head:


Do They Think Jesus Was a Liar?

By Cal Thomas
Syndicated Columnist/FOX News Contributor

I am shocked and appalled over a newly published survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It finds most Americans believe there are many ways to salvation besides their own faith. Most disturbing of all is the majority of self-identified evangelical Christians who believe this.

Apparently they must think Jesus was a liar, or mistaken, when he said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” Look it up.

This theological ignorance is a product of several things. It is surely a product of biblical illiteracy by people who don’t read, or selectively read scripture. It is also fallout from the political correctness vice that says you are intolerant if you believe anything to be true, because people who have another truth, or no truth, might feel bad and experience rejection.

If they feel rejection now, wait until they hear “away from me, I never knew you.”

Tolerance is a good thing. People should tolerate and respect people of different faiths, or no faith. But watering down your own set of professed doctrines in order to appeal to the lowest spiritual common denominator is akin to Peter denying Christ three times.

If there are many paths to heaven, Jesus suffered and died for nothing. He could have stayed in heaven, sent down a book of sayings and avoided crucifixion. Orthodox Christians have always believed – and their Bible teaches them — there is only one path to heaven and it is through Jesus Christ and him alone. One can believe whatever one wishes, but you can’t be considered a Christian without believing in this fundamental doctrine.

Christian churches have a lot of work to do in addressing biblical illiteracy, ignorance and, yes, heresy, in their midst. They might want to pay more attention to fixing what’s gone wrong among their members before expending too much energy on politics and politicians.


Please listen and learn from Kevin Phillips and Gary Wills:

I haven't used this phrase in a few months, but Mr. Thomas it may be time for you to get a well-deserved ass whoopin' in the style and form that only King Kong Bundy (especially when he was body slamming midgets) could deliver:

As B.I.G. said, "keep religion and politics completed separated," well he didn't exactly say that, but you do get my drift.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: Yes We Klan! Obama's Success Fuels White Hate Group Recruitment

It seems that the crazy grandmother in the attic is accompanied by the slightly less crazy aunt in the living room.

As reported by the Washington Post, Obama's campaign has led to an upsurge in recruitment activity among white supremacist groups. It seems that Obama, the lovable, deracialized, and post-racial, Halfrican, is a threat to their deeply held belief that America has been, should continue to, and will always be, the white man's country (how about that for honesty? sort of refreshing isn't it?) In the Washington Post piece, we learned that recruitment activity is up; Obama has been a proverbial lightening rod for white hate group organizing; and Obama's safety is again in question:

While racial terrorists are afflicted with anxiety and worry about the prospect of a black president--and are actively strategizing about how to respond to Obama's candidacy--the American public marginalized these groups, and their old fashioned racism as curiosities, mere curios if you would have them, and ultimately antiquities of a not so distant past.

For example, white supremacists make great fodder for daytime television and tabloid style news shows:

These mouth breathers are "entertaining," and "funny," because they are walking, talking, anachronisms:

Moreover, these dinosaurs are the perfect source for comedy because they speak to the anxieties present in America's political and racial subconscious:

We know these folks are real. We know they are dangerous. And frankly, we should all be more aware of how violent and murderous these racial terrorists are, and continue to be, in the present:

White supremacists are the crazy grandmother in the attic who is kept medicated, locked up, and gagged lest she embarrass the family. In our racially enlightened, colorblind present, a moment in which we have transcended race, this old fashioned bigotry (what one of my favorite, left, Marxist, race theorists once labeled as dominative racism) is passe. America defeated the Jim Crow regime, equal opportunity is available to all. We don't kill and lynch black folk anymore. Racial violence is intolerable. And the cult of multiculturalism and politically correct speech ensures that anyone who would give voice to racism is not so gently dismissed from the public square. In fact, colorblindness is so triumphant that the problem of race, the challenge of the color line, has now been perverted into one where our primary crusade now involves grappling with "reverse racism," and the self-destructive behaviors, as opposed to social structures, that largely explain black poverty and relative social and economic disadvantage.

These conventions do a great deal of work for our society because by so narrowly defining white supremacy and racism, the bar is raised so high, the definition made so specific, that we are all good liberals. Ultimately, the family keeps crazy grandma around precisely because she is a reminder of their sanity. However, this same family has a harder time controlling the slightly less crazy aunt.

To this point, the Washington Post and ABC News, recently conducted a poll where one third of respondents admitted to racial bias. In keeping with well-documented trends in racial attitudes and public opinion the poll indicates that: race relations are generally described as improving; that there are more friendships across the color line; and general attitudes about the prospect of a black president are moderate to high. Predictable.

But here is what caught my attention: "About a fifth of whites said a candidate's race is important in determining their vote, but Obama does no worse among those who said so than among those who called it a small factor or no factor...and "Nor are whites who said they have at least some feelings of racial prejudice more or less apt to support Obama than those who profess no such feelings."

Hmmm...this is worrisome. So folks have deeply held racial attitudes but don't act on them? We have long known that racial attitudes are a proxy for other political attitudes. In this case, we are expected to believe that Obama as a candidate can override these deeply held beliefs. The public isn't always consistent, nor are they always rational and predictable, but this inconsistency causes me no small amount of pause. When we factor in the Hillary supporters, many of whom are deeply upset and resentful (and some will either stay home or vote for McCain) towards Obama, these waters become further muddied. Moreover, given that in our racially egalitarian, colorblind society, respondents know what to say and how to respond to surveys on these issues, could it be, God forbid, that folks are lying? That these respondents are saying what is socially desirable as opposed to what they actually believe?

We will not know until November how these dynamics will play out. But, indulging my fantasy of being Negrodamus, I will make one simple prediction: while Obama is ahead in the polls and logic would dictate that history is on Obama's side in his campaign against McCain (heir apparent to a highly unpopular incumbent president, with consumer confidence at record lows, and gas prices on the rise), latent white racism, that less crazy Aunt in the living room, is going to make herself known come voting day:

Reasoned worry or overwrought paranoia?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gordon Gartrelle Says: Six-Degrees of Separation for John McCain--He is a Bad, Bad, Bad, Man

In the spirit of our "Six Degrees of Barack Obama" game, here is a chart (click here for better resolution) of some of John McCain's personal and political relationships (one doesn't get to the top without getting their hands a little dirty do they?). So friends and readers, which relationships did we miss and that should be subsequently added to our chart for Republican presidential nominee Mr. McCain?


For 5 and a half years, McCain lived in close proximity to Charlie, the Commie bastard VietCong. He made a pro-Vietnamese “confession.” What a weak-willed, anti-American pansy. Even worse, he apologized to the PC police for calling his Commie hosts “gooks.”

McCain>>Cindy McCain>> Jim Hensley

According to John, Cindy McCain is a cunt (black people don’t use that word either). But beyond that, she seduced John while he was still married to his disabled wife. Jezebel. Her father was Jim Hensley, owner of Hensley & Co., a major Anheuser-Busch beer distributor. Jim Hensley gave John his first major job (aint nepotism grand?). Anyway, Hensley was a crook, convicted of falsifying invoices, likely to bootleg liquor. Hensley had some shade-tree criminal associates of his own--mob ties, in fact. Bootlegging, ties to organized crime? Who did he think he was, a Kennedy?

McCain>>Bridget McCain>>JMJB, JMB

One day, Cindy McCain just up and adopted a little girl from Bangladesh. John was none too thrilled. Because this little girl, Bridget, is brown and hails from a country that harbors Muslim terrorist groups like the JMB and the JMJB, her addition to the McCain family might prove to be a political liability. Amazingly, it might have been better for John if Bridget actually had been his half black, illegitimate baby. Didn’t seem to hurt Strom’s reputation with the base.

McCain>>Governor Bob Riley>>Jack Abramoff

McCain is buddies with Alabama Governor Bob Riley, and something tells me that this explains the fact that McCain withheld information linking Riley to corrupt Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

John McCain>> G Gordon Liddy

Liddy, right-wing talk radio star, Watergate co-conspirator, ex-con, and all around-scumbag, held McCain fundraisers at his home.

McCain>>Charles Keating Jr.

Should have made the cut but for reasons of space did not--but still worthy of being included.

McCain was one of the Keating Five, and helped Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan out of a jam after Keating had contributed tons of money to McCain’s campaigns and paid for several of the McCain family’s Caribbean vacations.

McCain>>John Hagee>>Hitler

McCain sought the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, who gave bizarre, anti-Catholic sermons. The mainstream media barely noticed. Then Hagee went and said some shit about God sending Hitler to carry out the Holocaust in order to lead the Jews back to Israel…where, when the rapture is upon us, they will have to repent and accept Jesus or spend an eternity in the fires of Hell. Note to AIPAC: these people are not your allies.

McCain>>Richard Quinn

Should have made the cut but for reasons of space did not--but still worthy of being included.

Richard Quinn, described as a “senior political consultant” to McCain, is a former editor and a current owner of Southern Partisan, a Confederate apologist publication that among other things, frequently denies the horrors and injustice of slavery. In addition, Quinn vehemently opposed the MLK Holiday on the grounds that:

…its purpose is vitriolic and profane. By celebrating King as the incarnation of all they admire, they [black leaders] have chosen to glorify the histrionic rather than the heroic and by inference they spurned the brightest and the best among their own race. Ignoring the real heroes in our nation's life, the blacks have chosen a man who represents not their emancipation, not their sacrifices and bravery in service to their country; rather, they have chosen a man whose role in history was to lead his people into a perpetual dependence on the welfare state, a terrible bondage of body and soul.

Said Quinn about David Duke’s political aspirations,“What better way to reject politics as usual than to elect a maverick like David Duke? What better way to tweak the nose of the establishment?” Way to pick ‘em, Johnny boy!

McCain>>George Wallace Jr.>>Council of Conservative Citizens
McCain endorsed Alabama Governor George Wallace Jr., who in turn, spoke at several events hosted by the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (the reinvented White Citizens Council).

McCain>>George Wallace Jr.>>George Wallace
Jr.’s father, (O.G.) George Wallace, was, as we all know, a staunch segregationist turned opportunistic “friend” to black folks (somebody please find a link to the scene in Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls where Wallace dragged his black servant assistant before the camera to prove that Wallace was no longer racist).

Does this one even need an explanation?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Outrage! Not Only Muslim Women Banned by Obama-Bat Boy has also been Excluded from Pictures by Obama Staffers

As was reported today, the Obama campaign has been carefully selecting who gets to sit behind him during campaign rallies, and subsequently to appear in media coverage of these events. Apparently, several Muslim women were prevented from sitting behind Obama during a campaign rally in Detroit because their head scarves would "send the wrong signal" to those who may see the photo--this is polite speak for how Obama's detractors could potentially use the photo to smear the Democratic candidate.

I am of two minds on this one. The secularist in me doesn't "get religion," and sees this as no more offensive than a campaign staffer carefully crafting a photo op based on any number of participants' attributes. The pluralist side of me finds this problematic because if McCain for example excluded black people from his photo ops (because it would alienate some of his base) folks would rightfully be upset. But again, rightly or wrongly (and this is chess not of my favorite phrases) Obama's supporters should understand the political environment in which Obama is running. Perhaps, one may have to make personal sacrifices in order to see their candidate through to victory.

However, these young women were not the only people to have been excluded from Obama's campaign pictures. Apparently, Bat Boy, that legendary figure of Weekly World News fame has also been politely told by Obama staffers, that while his support of Obama is welcome, and in fact, desired, that Bat Boy should not be featured in pictures with Obama because their appearing together could hurt Obama's chances for victory.

In a recent interview, Bat Boy shared his feelings about being excluded from Obama's campaign events. The story follows.

Bat Boy was barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent him from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to Bat Boy, but he feels betrayed by his treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”

Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate’s message.

When Obama won the North Carolina primary amid questions about his ability to connect with white voters, for instance, he stood in front of a group of middle-aged white women waving small American flags.

On the Republican side, a Hispanic New Hampshire Democrat, Roberto Fuentes, told Politico that he was recently asked, and declined, to contribute to the “diversity” of the crowd behind Sen. John McCain at a Nashua event.

But for Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics and to embrace all elements of America.

“I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to,” said Bat Boy. “The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with me or with other supporters who are 'different'"

In Detroit on Monday, two different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that Bat Boy wouldn’t be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding him, one bluntly political and the other less clear.

That incident began when the volunteer asked one of Bat Boy's friends if he would like to sit behind the stage. The young man said he would but mentioned he had a friend.

The men said the volunteer, a 20-something African-American woman in a green shirt, asked if his friend looked and was dressed like the young man.

The friend said no.

The volunteer “explained to me that because of the political climate and what’s going on in the world, it’s not good for Bat Boy to be seen on TV or associated with Obama.”

Bat Boy's friend, said: “I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you serious?’”

After recovering from the shock of the incident, Bat Boy went to look for the volunteer and confronted her minutes later.

Bat Boy, felt “disappointed, angry and let down,” he later wrote.

Bat Boy was “let down that the Obama campaign continuously perpetuates this attitude towards those who are different — as if being merely associated [with] someone like me is a sin.”

Bat Boy's friend was “shocked” by the contrast between Obama’s message and their experience.

Bat Boy complained to the campaign, and after those complaints and an inquiry from Politico, Obama’s director of advance, Emmett S. Beliveau, called him to apologize.

An Obama aide also noted that the campaign has no policy against the candidate’s appearing with Bat Boy.

Bat Boy said he was glad Obama had apologized, but he was not entirely satisfied.

“I think this is a much bigger deal than maybe they’re perceiving it as,” he said, noting that Obama had placed a personal call to a television reporter he’d dismissively called “Sweetie.”

“An apology from him personally would be better,” Bat Boy said, then reconsidered. “If they are true to their word, I think it would suffice to have an invitation to their next rally and have seats behind him and show up on TV.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Matters of Text and Subtext in Battlestar Galactica's "Revelations"

I am still digesting Battlestar Galactica's "final" episode, "Revelations." While other sites have summarized the plot, and detailed the happenings of what was an amazing 60 minutes of television, in my thinking through of Revelations I am going to take an alternative route. As I have previously made clear through the voluminous praise which I have already lavished on the show, Ronald Moore in his reimagined BSG has on more than one occasion surprised, shocked and amazed me through the boldness of his storytelling and his repeated and brazen courtship with "jumping the shark" (a phrase which is television speak for that definitive point of no return from which a television show will never return to form--James's death on Good Times; The Fonz literally jumping the shark in Happy Days; Mr. Drummond getting married on Different Strokes).

To this point, Moore has never failed to maintain the show's momentum and to elevate the quality of its storytelling and vision. Consider for a moment the risks taken by BSG: Kill Starbuck--no problem we will bring her back as a herald; split the fleet in order to follow prophecy--a small feat easily remedied; a coup against the President, a rigged election, mutiny?--easily fixed; an occupation and temporary peace with the Cylons, a New Caprica which is actually a thinly veiled metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq--could be a disaster, but why not? And now, during the final season of this much too prematurely canceled television show, Moore gives the viewers what they have always wanted. He completes the quest, brings our characters some closure, and the ragtag fleet arrives at their supposed new home. But of course, it is never that simple.

Here is the real joy of Battlestar Galactica. Because it is serious, smart, genre television there are rules of format, plot, and narrative to be obeyed. Because it is so good at being what it is--sophisticated and challenging fare, Battlestar Galactica is conscious of both plot and subplot. Or alternatively stated, Battlestar Galactica consists of two parallel and overlapping narratives.The first consists of what is plainly visible (robots chasing humans; a version of the television show Wagon Train now set in outer space). The second consists of what is visible, but not often as clearly stated (Exodus retold; monotheism versus polytheism; existential questions of existence and being; the dire consequences of technology mated with sentience). In short, Battlestar Galactica rewards careful viewing, because it is through this close attention to detail that the tension between text and subtext are made readily apparent (random thought: BSG also reminds me of the movie Collateral and its explanation of how to properly listen to Jazz):

Battlestar Galactica's subtext has always been one where difference and race are central. The finale provided more evidence for this claim. For example, the pain of awareness, of finding out that a close friend, a family member, a colleague, or a partner is the Other. And moreover, that you have hated, killed, and despised this Other, and where this engagement and intimacy (because do not delude yourself for intimacy is indeed a prerequisite for hatred) only amplifies the pain of regret and remorse. He or she has lived this lie of sorts, forced for whatever reasons to conceal their true selves. When Tigh "outs" himself he embodies the gay or lesbian friend finally unburdened from the mask of pretending. By contrast, when Tory embraces her Cylon nature she falls prey to the temptations of moral superiority, a feeling often smug and off-putting to others, when one realizes they are indeed different, that they are the Other, and are now righteous in their new found identities.

Again, Battlestar Galactica is a show whose center of gravity rests upon questions of difference, inclusion, and on the broader struggle to reconcile who we are, with who we imagine ourselves (and by extension our community) to be. The final five have played a dangerous game of racial passing. Tigh, Tory, Tyrol, and Anders are now discovered, and in a moment of release, of almost cathartic freedom they can now simply "be." In "Revelations" these moments of peace were among the most compelling and well acted. For example, Tigh wanting, yearning to confess to Adama and to make peace with his identity through an act of suicidal self-sacrifice. The relief in the glance between Tyrol and Anders when they were arrested by the Colonial Marines was palatable in its moment of acceptance, of a liberation born of not having to pretend any longer, that it resonated for anyone straining, as many of us do, under a lie--a lie so great that it almost compels us to pray that it will be discovered, and we then will be unburdened.

Race and racial difference are the most powerful subtexts operating in Battlestar Galactica. The idea that race is "real" is the lie that has motivated the war between humans and Cylons. Both species are virtually identical, yet have a deep belief in the permanence of their biological and philosophical differences. As humans our differences are only skin deep, a function of melanin, geography, happenstance, and genetics. However, we have embraced race and racial ideologies and their accompanying (and for some comfortable) sense that race is real and fixed, rather than arbitrary and contingent. This idea is so compelling that the modern world is largely based on this one, true, lie (notice the emphasis).

Ronald Moore as a master manipulator of his audience is certainly privy to how science fiction as a genre has always spoken, in often veiled ways, to the illogic, hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of colorism, in general, and white supremacy, in particular. As I watched Battlestar Galactica, I could not help but consider how this Star Trek veteran (Moore was a writer on Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation) has mined science fiction lore and signified on its narrative conventions. For example, the tensions between the Cylons and the humans evoked the classic Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" where two beings, and their respective civilizations, destroyed each other over (what is to the viewers) an absurd difference in skin color:

The conclusion of "Revelations" where we arrive at Earth and see the Brooklyn Bridge destroyed, one of the few identifiable landmarks on a now irradiated planet, is an unsubtle wink to the Statue of Liberty reveal during the climax of The Planet of the Apes. Again, a reference in the subtext (or perhaps more explicitly the text) to a movie which itself was a thin allegory for the racial tensions tearing apart 1960's America:

Ronald Moore in his fake climax sent an additional signal which further solidified and demonstrated a mastery of his craft. The false reveal, the sense of rushed urgency where at the 45 minute mark of the show all seems resolved, the characters celebrate, and all things end well, is a montage common to the prematurely canceled television show. The studio pulls the plug, and the writers and producers have to rush to a neat conclusion which resolves (but usually not in a convincing fashion) the loose ends. Not here. Instead, Moore's conclusion was the proverbial middle finger to the Sci-Fi Network ("Sure, you can cancel the show, but I won't give you what you want"). I liked that--sharp and biting, but also calm and cool. Now, we only have to wait until 2009 to see how BattleStar Galactica really, and truly, ends.

Some thoughts:

1. Who is the final Cylon? I still vote for Gaeta, although, it could be the collective consciousness of the Basestars. Outrageous, impossible? Could the 5th Cylon be a collective Cylon identity? The Cylon so to speak?

2. Who or what destroyed Earth? And is Earth really the 13th colony? Could it be that the other Cylons reached Earth before (maybe following Starbuck) and nuked it?

***A quick addendum***

Perhaps, we need to also consider the role of time travel in Starbuck's visit to Earth? One could hypothesize that she returned to Earth in the past (which would explain its "healthy" state) where she then met the final five. Starbuck remained there, her ship was preserved (thus explaining why it was identical to the one she left with). Centuries or thousands of years could have passed and the "new" Starbuck was sent back to find the fleet by the final five at a time just before the apocalypse occurred, and the final five escaped Earth. Therefore, a great amount of time could have passed on Earth and a far shorter amount of time would have passed from the perspective of the humans in the fleet.

3. Starbuck is "the herald of death"...hmmmm, did she bring death to Earth by setting into motion a series of tragic events? or is she bringing death to the fleet? If so, who?

4. Again, I say the smart money is on the fact that the Cylons and humans are basically the same. The Cylons and humans inter-bred, began a new line of humans, and then sent them off to the stars. How ironic if Earth was in fact the source of life on Caprica?

5. What to make of the "head-Six," "head-Leoben," and "head-Baltar?" Are they angels guiding the fleet, leading them to their destinies? Could it be that this is another nod to the original plot, the Iblis character, and the ships of light? Again, perhaps Adama's sometime confidant Romo Lampkin is actually one of the final five? Or is Romo a new incarnation of the Iblis character and he has been manipulating events all of this time?

6. Is StarBuck dead or alive? Yes, she is "alive" but is this the "real" Starbuck?

7. September 11th is now fixed in our collective memory and visual lexicon isn't it? Starbuck looking at the pictures of those lost in the human-Cylon War, and those eerie images of a devastated New York, show that we indeed are never going to be same again, are we?

8. In my opinion, the peace and resolution between the rebel Cylons and the humans was too quick to take hold. We must not forget that old feelings and old hatreds die quite hard. And what of the mechanical Cylons? Where is their allegiance? What will be the consequences of Baltar's proselytizing to the Centurion on the basestar?

9. When Cavill and the other Cylons make their inevitable return, who will side with whom? Will there be a Cylon Civil War Part 2? Will some of the rebel Cylons return to their people? Or will some of the remaining Cylons join the rebel upstarts on Earth?

10. How would you choose to end the show? Should the human/cylon fleet realize that home is where you lay your head and simply put down roots on a new planet? Or, should they find a way to return to Caprica and reclaim their collective home? For the curious, Aint it Cool News has a great suggested timeline of events here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: Barack Obama is Down with the 'Cos

Funny ain't it? Those voices of anger, upset, discord, and general dismay at my man the 'Cos seem to be silent and (un)critical of Obama's Father's Day speech where he demands that black men act like men and not like boys. Obama's call to action is compelling because it represents a simultaneous appreciation for the fact that while history, social structures, and racism impact the lives and life choices of black people, that we as people of color also have agency and free will. Consequently, the members of these communities are not excluded from the both consequences of, and burdens necessitated by, personal responsibility. Perhaps, the similarities in their messages aside, Obama's critique of black men simply does not reach the minimum threshold necessary for Cosby haters to engage him in battle.

How ironic, if Cosby was demonized because he dared to air the black community's dirty laundry, how much grander is both the attention given, and the stage afforded, to presidential candidate Barack Obama? Makes one think, does it not, about consistency of ethic and purpose, or perhaps a lack thereof, on the part of Cosby's critics?

While Cosby was attacked for "picking on the black poor," etc. etc. etc.--the extra emphasis signifies my dismay and disgust at how some critics attack Cosby while secretly agreeing with his message--Obama's speech will likely be heralded by these same critics as one more example of his presidential character, intellectual sharpness, and potential for real statesmanship and leadership.

Where are the haters? Where are the critics? Is Obama's criticism of those black men whom believe that parental responsibility ends and begins with ejaculation all that different from the warnings and challenges made by Billy Cosby? Where are those very public critics of Bill Cosby who while throwing stones at his proverbial glass house, themselves live a comfortable distance away from the crime, social dysfunction, and breakdown in morays common to underclass communities?

As Obama said, brothers need to step up. Brothers needs to act like men and not act like boys. As a public service, we respectable negroes are going to provide these wayward young ign't cum-droppers (that is Gordon's phrase not mine) with some role models for black fatherhood.

Example Number One
I am a man! (This is an inside joke for my smart mark, professional wrestling fans) Kamala as father figure, cultural critic, and Lothario:

Example Number Two
Black Town.Net--they need no introduction:

Example Number Three
Black men, yield and kneel to the wisdom of ATLAH:

Example Number Four
Enter Panthro, a brother, a strong black man, and the coolest of the Thundercats:

Example Number Five
The ultimate soul brother, the black male role model of role models, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader:

The only reason Vader has white kids is because in a moment of weakness, he decided to share his black love with a Caucasian temptress...they are black men's kryptonite after all:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday Five: 5 Derogatory Terms for White People That Black People Don't Really Use

When rumors of a video showing Michelle Obama using the term "whitey" surfaced, my first thoughts were, "bullshit." My skepticism stems from the fact that, outside of George Jefferson, whose lines were written by white people, black people do not use the term "whitey." The only people who use "whitey" are corny, self-deprecating white liberals and dim-witted white conservatives who believe that black people blame whites for all of their problems. As a matter of fact, black people don't really use any of the derogatory for white people, probably because white privilege renders them ineffective. Thus, I present the subject of this week's Friday Five. The following five items are racial slurs against whites that black people don't actually use outside of Hollywood and talk radio.

1. Whitey

2. The Man

3. Honky

4. Mr. Charlie

5. White Devil

Any others?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chauncey's World of Ghetto Nerds: R. Kelley is Found Innocent...Long Live the Chewbacca Defense!

Senior, Chicago-based ephebophile (as opposed to pedophile--I like showing off my vocabulary) R. Kelly was acquitted (although certainly not found innocent) of child pornography charges earlier today.

I offer no comment on the verdict. However, I have been fascinated by the various defenses offered by Kelly's attorneys. As detailed by Slate's wonderful coverage of the trial (coverage which detailed R. Kelly's sex acts on a "Space Jam" themed basketball court, perhaps he is either a "furry" or a connoisseur of hentai?), Kelly's counsel deployed several lines of defense which included such strategies as: "The 'Little Man Defense;" "The Shaggy defense;" "The Sparkle Defense;" and the "The Ghost Sex Defense."

Whatever their labels in the R. Kelly trial, these defense strategies were actually mere iterations of the greatest, most infallible, and fool-proof legal strategy of all time, The Chewbacca Defense:

It works every time, all the time...

We ghetto nerds love us some Chewbacca--the man, the myth, the legend, the icon:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: "You Know I am Not A Racist, But..." or Alternatively Titled, "Why I like Honest Racists"

When I read articles like the following on Obama and white racial attitudes, I just smile because some folks are so predictable.

These comments where race is coded--and not even subtly--go into either of the following 2 columns. One: my "I have black/gay/non-Christian/Other friends" preface column. Two: the "It's not that he/she is black, it is that {insert comment here}...

The following piece, appropriately titled, "Racial attitudes pose challenge for Obama" has some great examples of racism by proxy/laziness/evasion. For example:

1. "I don't think our country is ready for a black president," Susick, who is white, said in an interview in the paint store where she works. "A black man is never going to win Pennsylvania."

Decoded: I am not ready for a black president, but I am not honest enough to tell you that. Moreover, if the rest of us aren't ready, then it really is the force of numbers and I share no personal responsibility for how my one vote really doesn't matter (do my political scientists friends get the joke? aren't I witty?)

2. Susick said her personal objection to Obama is his inexperience, not his color. "It has nothing to do with race," she said.

Decoded: "He better not try to date my daughter."

3. A few, like Susick, suggested the nation needs more time to prepare for a black president — and perhaps a woman as well. "I don't think we're ready for either one yet," said Doug Richardson, 62, a contractor from Latrobe. Obama "just hasn't impressed me," he said over midmorning coffee with a friend at Denny's. "His middle name bothers me a lot." That name is Hussein.

Decoded: The Denny's proof is in effect here, i.e. eating at Denny's is an a priori indicator of white racial hostility towards people of color. Plus, "I don't think we're ready" really means "hell no, I ain't ready." And of course, he isn't impressive, and he has that damn funny middle name--I love this latter observation because Mr. Richardson isn't bright enough to shut up while he is ahead. Ain't prejudice and stupidity (to the degree they can be separated) grand?

4. "I think he's a snake oil salesman," she said. "He's a little too slick and smooth."

Decoded: "We like our politicians stupid and simple, just like El Presidente Bush. Plus, Obama may just be a pimp or a thief. And you know, those coloreds carry knives, oops, wait a minute, they carry guns, it's them Mexicans that carry knives."

5. "He just doesn't appeal to me, and not because of race, definitely," she said in an interview in which race had not been mentioned.

Decoded: It isn't his race=it is his race.

6. "To me, it was almost a code," Akers said. "'He doesn't wear a flag pin.' It seemed like code for 'He's not one of us.'"

Decoded: He isn't one of us? Huh, not human? Not qualified? Not intelligent? Not accomplished? Ooh, yes, flag pins, now that seals the deal because blind nationalism and unwavering patriotism is always synonymous with good leadership.

7. Dixie Pebley of Johnstown, 71, explained her distaste for Obama, saying, "black doesn't bother me, but Muslim does." When reminded that Obama is a Christian, she conceded the point, but added: "He was born Muslim and raised Muslim, that's enough for me. He just scares me to death."

"He doesn't taste good, no I mean that literally! Because he is really a Muslim he doesn't eat pork. This means Obama doesn't eat bacon. Therefore, he is all dried out, and wouldn't make a good meal at all!"

Now you know why I prefer honest bigots. They are much less work and because of their honesty, that species of mouth breathers generally respects you enough to tell you how they really feel:

The entire story follows here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sometimes We Can Only Shake Our Heads In Disbelief: Albinos Hunted and Killed In Africa To Obtain Their "Magical" Powers

Police officials are at a loss to explain precisely why there is a wave of albino killings now. Commissioner Paul Chagonja said an influx of Nigerian movies, which play up witchcraft, might have something to do with it, along with rising food prices that were making people more desperate.
“These witch doctors have many strange beliefs,” he said. “There was a rumor not so long ago that if you use a bald head when fishing, you’ll get rich. There was another one that said if you spread blood on the ground in a mine, you’ll find gold. These rumors come and go. The problem is, the people who follow witch doctors don’t question them.”
From the New York Times: in Tanzania albinos are now being hunted, killed, and their body parts sold as magical fetishes and medicinal aids. Damn, I never thought I would get to write that sentence .

And you know, sometimes stereotypes persist because they contain a grain of truth.

Perhaps, we should inaugurate a series of posts where we thank God above that we respectables negroes were brought to America?

And in other "how sub-Saharan Africa is so messed up that sometimes we secretly thank God that the boat dropped us off here" news:

1. Penises are being stolen in the Congo and these foul stealers of men's organs are being lynched! This story gives me some peace of mind because at least I know there is an explanation for where my penis disappeared to...

2. You know they burn witches in Kenya don't you? Well, now you do...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We Respectable Negroes do Indeed Predict the Future--Obama made Possible by Hollywood?

It seems that we are indeed Negro Nostradamuses. A few months ago, Zora observed that Bro'Bama's candidacy was enabled by Hollywood's fictionalized portrayals of black men as the president of the United States. Now it seems that CNN is channeling our respectable negro-powered, future-predictive powers.

From CNN (Zora's original post follows)

Black presidents nothing new to Hollywood

By Lola Ogunnaike
CNN's American Morning

(CNN) -- Voters will determine if America is ready for a black president come November, but Hollywood, often ahead of the national curve, made up its mind about the issue ages ago.


Dennis Haysbert played the accomplished President David Palmer in "24."

On television and in film, black actors as acclaimed as James Earl Jones and as obscure as Tommy Lister have played commanders-in-chief.

Sammy Davis Jr. was only 9 when he assumed the top office in the 1933 satire "Rufus Jones for President." The film was as short as its adorable star.

But those 21 minutes were all too long on racial stereotypes. Chicken, watermelon, dice playing -- funny back then to many. Now, not so much.

Fast forward a few decades and the notion of a black man in the Oval Office provides ample joke fodder for comics such as Richard Pryor and Chris Rock.

On one episode of "The Richard Pryor Show," the comedian's short-lived '70s variety hour, he played a president hosting a press conference. During the sketch, he tells a corps of reporters that he'd seriously consider Black Panther Huey Newton for the job of FBI director -- and nearly decks one journalist who inadvertently insults his momma. And when he's asked about his fetish for white women, he jokes, "They don't call it the White House for nothing."

In the 2003 film "Head of State," Chris Rock's president, Mays Gilliam, is an even more exaggerated caricature. His populist talk is glazed with hip-hop slang. Gilliam, a community organizer, is also partial to baggy jeans and Kangol caps and looks less like the leader of the free world than the latest signing of Def Jam Records. His running mate, played by Bernie Mac, thinks NATO is a person and not an acronym.

Gilliam is catapulted onto the public stage after the sitting president dies in a plane crash. It is not the first time a black man on screen has risen to power amidst calamity. Video Watch how Hollywood has been featuring minority presidents for decades »

In "The Man," James Earl Jones receives the big gig after the entire cabinet perishes in a series of freak accidents. In "Deep Impact," Morgan Freeman has to calm the nation as he contends with wayward comets threatening to destroy the planet. And in "The Fifth Element," set in 2263, Tommy Lister's President Lindberg has to battle asteroids and an enemy appropriately named The Great Evil.

It's not until the hit series "24" that things start looking up for the black president. Dennis Haysbert's character, David Palmer -- in the first season a senator running for the presidency -- is handsome, composed and ready to lead on Day One. His race is a non-issue as he grapples with modern-day threats such as terrorism, bomb scares and a social-climbing wife.

Yes, he's eventually assassinated, but only after he leaves office. And Palmer's equally self-possessed younger brother, Wayne, takes the reins shortly thereafter.

Will these depictions make any difference to Barack Obama's candidacy? Who knows? But what was once the stuff of joke and fantasy could be months away from being the real thing.


Zora on Film: Has Hollywood Helped Pave the Way for Obama?

After voters have seen several black presidents on screen, are they more likely to elect one in real life? NPR's Michele Norris recently raised this question to Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts aka The Notorious PhD. "I'm a bit hesitant to say that because James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert played a president on a TV show or in a movie, it means Barack Obama can be president," Boyd responded. "I think that's a bit of a stretch."

Boyd goes on, though, to say that such representations — especially those like 24's, beamed weekly into American living rooms — "may have unconsciously made some things in society seem less troubling" than if there'd been no pop-culture pictures of a black president.

I'm betting that a lot of folks will take issue with Dr. Boyd's response. Leaders within the African-American community have been pushing for decades to have more positive representations of Negroes in the media. The result is that we regularly see African-Americans playing the roles of well-to-do professionals who are in positions of power. (For some reason, television casting directors love seeing African-American women in the role of judges -- the Law & Order spin-offs must be the most consistent employer of middle-aged, black female extras in the industry.) The irony is that the majority of the most blatant stereotypical imagery we see in popular culture today is produced by ourselves and for ourselves --> T_ler P_rry.

With Hollywood favorites like Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby and Will Smith, we've been looking pretty damn good on television and film over the last two decades (local news broadcasts not included). Some might say, too good. The problem is that the progress we've made on the cinematic screen does not reflect the progress we've made on the street. Liberals in Hollywood are producing symbols that are not grounded in reality. These symbols may actually be negatively affecting African-American progress.

The power of the media in shaping American perceptions of reality has been a regular theme on this blog. Because we are still a very segregated nation, most white Americans get a lot of their information about black Americans from the television. In places with marginal black populations like New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Utah and New Mexico, media images are even less likely to be balanced by real life interactions with African-Americans. If all they're seeing is images of well-off, powerful Negroes, then tales of black poverty and racial discrimination must fall on deaf ears.

I live in a small, New England town where I can count the number of African-Americans on my fingers and toes. All of us are professionals who are associated with the local college. We are surrounded by a lot of deep and profound poverty. It is nearly impossible to talk with Whites who have grown-up in this area about racial inequality and discrimination. From what they can observe, African-Americans have actually moved ahead of Whites. Most of them barely have a high-school education, so you can forget about discussing symbolic imagery and media manipulation with them.

All of the positive images of African-Americans are surely feeding what social theorists would term realistic group conflict. This is especially likely in this time of economic difficulty with the competition for jobs and benefits growing more fierce each day. We should not have been surprised at all that Obama lost in New Hampshire. Bill Clinton wasn't surprised. He knew immediately why Obama lost and sought to nourish the seeds of conflict with his comments on the "race card." The Clinton camp knew that they couldn't win the South Carolina battle, but they are looking long-term at the war. For all of Obama's talk about "hope," he has to also acknowledge (at least among his strategists) that he also inspires a lot of fear.

With all of the black presidents we have seen on screen, only African-Americans are more likely to elect a black president. For them, the symbols represent possibilities that were perhaps unimaginable before: "Maybe we can win? Maybe we can be successful?" For other groups, the media symbols of Negro success are more likely to inspire fear, or apathy at the very least. I would argue that the lack of support for Obama among Latino Democrats is further evidence of this.

Does this mean that we should go back to being portrayed as maids and field hands? Of course, not. We do, however, have to make sure that we are portrayed in a balanced and realistic manner. It doesn't serve any of us to live in a "fantasy land."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A World of Ghetto Nerds Tribute to Barack Obama's History Making Nomination as the Democratic Nominee for President!

Talk about an earlier post being rendered temporarily irrelevant by the tide of history. We will get serious at some point later on, but right now let's enjoy the moment. Brother Obama, the only presidential candidate that in my short life I (like a few in our fair city) have had 1 degree of separation from, here is some ghetto nerd, random goodness that goes out from us to you:

Obama is to Hillary as Han Solo is to Greedo:

Warm it up Bro'Bama:

Do it to death!!!!

We/You/I love music:

Love from Chi-town..even if it is from R. Kelly (but the art is greater than the man):

This is once in a lifetime--I hope not!

Are we free falling?

Maybe we just want to celebrate:

We've got to give it up to you:

Did you learn the rope-a-dope from Muhammed Ali?

But we are all gonna need some soul power for you to win:

Let's change it up because you have universal appeal--and rock is black music after for now we are thunderstruck:

Why not?

Freddy Mercury seems appropriate--at least for the moment:

One more, because we respectable negroes can't get enough of this song:

The professional wrestling smart mark version of the U2 song played before and after Obama's acceptance speech:

Today is a good day to be a proud American because sometimes we do better than we should, and certainly better than we deserve:

In true geek fashion, perhaps Barack Obama is our generation's Rodimus Prime?

Congrats Mr. and yes, I mean Mr. Barack Obama!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: Six Degrees of Separation for Barack Obama: He is one Respectable Negro who is in Big Trouble!

While we celebrate the fact that Obama has effectively clinched the Democratic nomination, we should also be mindful of the dirty tricks, circuitous logic, and swift boat style attacks that will await Bro'Bama. In an effort to help the brother out, as well as to anticipate the attacks of McCain, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, et al., I have prepared this handy flowchart (be sure to click on it for better resolution).

Given that Obama is deemed by the Right as having been/will soon be associated with every type of miscreant, radical, and "troublemaker" (that is Conservative speak for "intellectual") it seemed appropriate to detail some of these relationships. As this (less than comprehensive) chart makes clear, Bro'Bama is in big trouble...

The Barack Obama Six Degrees of Separation Life Chart

Some "dangerous" relationships

1. Barack Obama-->Michelle Obama--> Princeton University
(where she wrote her "unpatriotic" senior thesis)--> Cornel West
(a dangerous Democratic Socialist who makes lots of money on the lecture circuit and from his hip hop cd's)-->either Karl Marx (Cornel has probably read Marx)--> or even worst to Black Jesus (the Black church is going to be the end of Obama isn't it?):

2. Michelle Obama-->Black people (yes, "real" black people)...

3. Obama-->1960s radical and (now) Professor Bill Ayers-->Father Pfleger-->Reverend Wright (via Trinity Church) and to Louis Farrakhan ('nuff said)-->Libyan President Muamar Quaddafi (remember Farrakhan was getting bankrolled by the now cross-dressing and somewhat insane Libyan leader-->the terrorist organization Hamas-->Yasser Arafat-->Osama Bin Laden. This one could be the end for Barack because Osama is far worse and far more dangerous than Black Jesus...

4. Obama-->his white, hippy, race mixing mother (she had a thing for the brown folks)-->Marx (she is an anthropologist by training)-->Dirty Hippies. We all hate dirty hippies:

5. Obama--> his African, lapsed-Muslim, apostate, father-->Hamas-->Arafat-->Al Queda. This is an easy one because many Americans already believe Obama is a Muslim, that Muslims are all terrorists, and that Obama could be a closet supporter of Islamic terrorism (or alternatively that Obama's father and by extension Obama could somehow be targets of suicide bombers because of dad's status as an "apostate"). The Right has been on this one since jump street so they will only increase their emphasis of this point in the coming months:

6. Obama-->his African father-->his African extended family-->Shaka Zulu. I love Shaka Zulu and in fact believe that any link to Shaka should give a candidate instant credibility. While all folks may not agree with the power of Shaka, I couldn't resist sharing it:

This chart is less than comprehensive. For example, I left out the noted scholar Rashid Khalidi and how from Obama to Khalidi one can go instantly to Osama and Al Queda (because of course, anyone that is critical of either the Israeli occupation or of political zionism is anti-Semitic:

One could also instantly go from Marx to just about anything that the Right would find threatening, problematic, scary, or unsettling (full employment, yikes!!!), but that link was too obvious.

Respectable Negroes and our friends, who else should we include in version 2.0 of our Obama Six Degrees of separation chart? And, what relationships should we include in our John McCain Six Degrees of Separation chart?

In short, if this handy chart is at all telling, I think Barack Obama, presidential candidate to be, is in some perilous waters. Your thoughts? Is there a way to fix this "problem"? Who else should he disassociate himself from? Should he just withdraw now? Should Obama change his name to "Berry," disappear, and then come back in a decade or so with a new persona? An "Obama-lite" without baggage, attachments, or "troubling" relationships?