Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why can't I cast away the mask of play and live my life?

Great minds think alike

Or, actually, eccentric individuals with questionable pasts but really sincere interests in the welfare of this country, think alike.

See? I’m only two sentences in, and I’ve managed already to 1) muddle my point, and 2) compliment myself.

And what the freak am I even talking about?

Well, for those of you who saw Teddy K’s speech last night at DemCon, you may have already noticed that it paid homage to the very same speech that I referenced in this post.


Not that it makes any difference to the PUMAs. Their acronym stands for Party Unity My Ass, which is pretty clever, I guess. I’m sure they think it is. But I wonder if they’ve thought about something else - mainly, that puma is another word for cougar.

Is this really an inference that they want to make? I wouldn’t, if I were them.

Also, I lost count of how many times the talking heads made reference to the Huxtables, the family from that awful ‘80s TV fixture, The Cosby Show. As in, the object of Michelle Obama’s speech was, according to the heads, to make her family seem more like the Huxtables.

Wow, that analogy is like an M.C. Escher painting – no matter which way you turn it, it takes off in a different direction, but brings you back to the same place.

A racist place.

I’ll show you what I mean.

The easiest explanation for the analogy is that the heads are grasping for an example of a black pop culture family that whites would actually know by name. Yeah, whitey can say he’s sad that Bernie Mac died, but that don’t mean he knows who the McCulloughs were. And sure, there are other well-known black TV families, but I don’t really think Michelle would want to take part in a comparison of the Obamas to the Sanfords, or the Jeffersons, or the…whatever that family was called in Good Times…I think it had something to do with dynamite.

And why can’t Michelle Obama’s speech inspire whites to compare her family to an appropriate white pop culture family?

Aw, see? Right back to the racist place.

Okay, let’s try a different tack.

Why the Huxtables? Weren’t the kids kind of bratty/stupid, and the wife kind of a know-it-all bitch? Yes, but the dad on that show, see, he was not a clown. Yes, he mumbled a lot and wore clown sweaters, but the point of the show was that he was the sane one in the family, and his wife and kids were all crazy, see?

So in a sense, The Cosby Show was really quite groundbreaking in that it allowed millions of white men all over the US to identify with a black man.

And in that way, Bill Cosby succeeded in becoming a Good Negro.

You know, a Good Negro: Floyd Patterson. Jackie Robinson. Sammy Davis Jr. Michael Jordan. Nipsy Russell. Wayne Brady. Hootie. The non-angry, non-threatening, and definitely non-horny version of black America. When The Cosby Show was a hit, there wasn’t a single beer-swillin’ mullet-sportin’ n-word-spewin’ redneck in the en-tire US of A that wouldn’t have gladly groveled at the feet of Bill Cosby. Well, okay, maybe not grovel at his feet, but they definitely would’ve wanted a picture taken with him.

Obama has got to become that guy. He has to become the exception. He has to become the Sammy Davis Jr. to this nation of Archie Bunkers. Or else he has, quite frankly, a snowball’s chance in hell.



10 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

Who was that comedian in the 70s that talked about when black people started appearing in commercials and said, "See, black people have B.O. too."? Was it Pryor?!

SkylersDad said...

GKL, I think that was Pryor, but my memory ain't what it used to be...

Vikki, if only Obama would wear bad sweaters and recite crappy poems like Nipsy Russell, he might have a chance.

Michael said...

Obama needs to become that guy, or he needs to get the message out that he really is that guy? The latter, I think.

mrgumby2u said...

I too, hit on the connection between the words PUMA and cougar, and thought that would be a perfect little in-joke if you were a Republican rat-fucker who wanted to get an extra little dig it at the gullible victims who signed up for the phony McCain supporting organization you'd set up.

jcat said...

The good news is that the holdouts are white women. Puma's are just a subset. I want to believe that in the end sensibility will rule the day. The great unknown are the independents as usual but a high percentage of these lack college education. So we'll see, maybe it's more like a snowballs chance on a warm summer day.jcat

Dad E said...

I remember when "Roots" played on TV. Afterwards, Americans of African descent got angry at seeing the injustices done to them. The program sparked a external expression of anger laying below the surface.

I see the same sort of reaction now by some PUMA women. To them, Hillary not winning the nomination is a reminder of the long time sexism towards women and they are pissed. To them, it was never about the issues nor making sure McCain didn't win. And when Hillary cried, their emotions took over and reason has not return if it ever was there.

So now we have to wait and she if they think twice about throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Spooney said...

I have a name for any Hillary supporter (man or woman) that actually plans on voting for McCain: a McCunt

kirby said...

Heh, heh. Spooney makes me laugh.

I heard this morning that Kennedy had been in a Denver hospital that morning dealing with kidney stones, which just blows my mind.

Dad E said...

Teddy is not a perfect man, but as someone with a constant, passionate, everlasting commitment to better the lives of those economically disadvantaged, there is none better. I doubt there will ever be a better senator.

Considering all the tragedy the man has dealt with, his perseverance is an inspirational model.

I got a little misty eyed watching him.

We're on this Earth together,
And if we would be brothers,
Fight not just on your own behalf
But for the sake of others.

SJ said...

America's fascination with patronizing black people in the guise of "not being racist" will never cease to amaze me. In my part of the country (way, way South), all the wonderful stories to prove that they aren't racist start with, "My family had a black man who worked for us for 20 years. He was like a member of our family; we treated him like one of our own family...."

And then they feel they can go on with their whitey lives, clear conscience.

Thanks for speaking out about the Huxtables though. Well spoken, very.