Posts Tagged ‘white ethnics’

I would imagine by now most people are aware of my aversion to using ethnic groups as sports mascots and how deeply bewildered I am by the fact that my home town’s football team happens to be the Redskins. I’m not even going to entertain the idea that the name isn’t racist– the very fact there is a debate over if ‘it is or isn’t’ shows the invisibility and disenfranchisement of Native peoples in the United States.

Often I illustrate how offensive this name is by saying something like: “Could you imagine if it were any other minority group? People would be up-in-arms over the San Fran Chinks or the Tri-State Area Jews.”

Tickle me surprised when I find out that there is in fact a Dutch football club nicknamed the Jews. According to Ye Olde Wikipedia:

This nickname for Ajax fans dates back to before World War II, when Amsterdam was home to most of the Netherlands’ 140,000 Jews and the Ajax stadium itself was located near a Jewish neighbourhood. Most Dutch Jews were killed by the Nazis during the occupation, and today very little remains of Amsterdam’s old Jewish quarter. But the tradition at Ajax survived.

The truth of this account is still up for debate.

Sociological Images has an interesting dissection of the appropriation of Israeli political symbols by Ajax fans and this NYT article spotlights some of the more sinister anti-Semitic antics of both rivals and fans. This includes Nazi salutes, people shouting “Hamas! Hamas!” and hissing to imitate the sound of gas entering a death chamber. Let me be the first to say: Keep it classy, European futball fans.

And what of the Ajax fans who are actually Jewish? Well, many of them reportedly find the atmosphere so hostile they are unable to attend matches. Quoth a former member of the board of directors: “A lot of Jews all over the world believe that Ajax fans are proud to call themselves Jews, but it’s a kind of hooliganism.”

The outsider status fans feel by labeling themselves Jews has become a badge of honor, they think of themselves as being part of a distinctly oppressed subculture and gain a sense of group cohesion from that. The only problem is that they aren’t actually members of this oppressed ethnic group and appropriating the symbols and rhetoric of that struggle for the sake of sport is totally . Despite Ajax’s best efforts to nip this thing in the bud (spurned not by the rampant antisemitism, but by a chant calling a star player’s girlfriend a whore), decades of identification can’t be stopped–I mean, honestly, do you expect all those gentiles with the Star of David tattooed on their shoulder to just drop it?

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Palin’s debate strategy was dog-whistle white rural populism. Pure and simple Nixon playbook. Worked for him, worked for Reagan (Philadelphia and the welfare queens, set in the context of a long, racist record.) Race is significant but it isn’t everything: Bush Sr. could pull off the racism but couldn’t fake folksy next to Bubba Clinton. It’s a 2-part game essentially:

1) I am like you

2) They are not like us

The first part is the aw-shucks shit-kickin’ Where I’m from stuff. For the second part, they’ve added religion to the Obama equation to create a sort of compound Nation of Islam slash black liberation theology slash atheist character; (no one said it was internally coherent.)

Here’s a clarification: This approach is different from economic populism. Why? Economic populism can be translated directly into policy. Whether you agree or disagree with the arguments, saying CEO’s make too much money or that oil companies don’t need tax cuts is policy-translatable. If you talk about the middle class in your home town in terms of putting pay caps in the bailout or changing the tax structure, you can campaign on those details. And it’s a fair debate as to whether they’re good policies.

But this isn’t about that, this is I was born in a small town for everyday hard-workin’ ‘muricans from Main Street. It’s instinctively anti-intellectual, blames “eastern elites” for most everything, and features bow-tied pundits and New Yorkers unironically whining about “cosmopolitanism.” (PS this historically means “Jews.”) The leading lights of the party attack community organizers, and the party insists there’s no racial overtones even while the Pied Piper of Douchebaggery compares the profession to “thugs.”

Palin brought out I am like you in full force last night. (She didn’t bring They aren’t like us for two reasons: First, it works better in TV ads and speeches where it can’t be directly challenged; and second, obviously Biden is not the target.) So wrap yourself in a flag and a tractor for some highlights from the debate transcript:

…Joe Six-pack…

…hockey moms…

…let’s do what our parents told us…

…middle class of America which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives…

…Main Streeters like me….

…great American hero General Petraeus…

… dictators who hate America and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms…

…Oh, yeah, it’s so obvious I’m a Washington outsider….

…we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there, brought to Washington, DC….

… god bless her, her reward is in heaven, right?…

…And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people…

…my connection to the heartland of America…

…America is a nation of exceptionalism…

…I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter, even, of the mainstream media…

…East Coast politicians…

…average, everyday American family like mine….

I don’t know if anyone remembers this, but watching the debate I just pictured the McCain strategists sitting around a table chanting “ONE OF US! ONE OF US!” as debate preparation.

So in terms of “winners?” I think Palin held up quite well considering they’d lowered the standards to the point where, as a friend of mine said, “the only way she can ‘lose’ is to call for the extermination of the Jews.” That said, it wasn’t a game-changer. She still looked like a student who’d pulled an all-nighter prepping for comps.

As for Senator Biden, he was fine. No runs, no hits, no errors. It wasn’t his debate to win or lose. He’s a known quantity, and no one would’ve tuned in to watch him debate Tim Pawlenty or Field Marshal Turkmenromney. The only unscripted moment was when he got choked up about being a single dad:

“The notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise two kids alone,’’ he said, “[that] I don’t know what it’s like to have a child you’re not sure is going to — is going to make it — I understand.’’

(Thing is, Biden has has cried before.)  The Senator was notably disciplined.  As Klein points out: While it may have been frustrating at times, it does speak well about Biden’s commitment to the ticket.)

So, summary? Palin beat expectations, but nothing consequential happened.

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Here’s the highlights of the first evening:

David Gregory blathered that the Obamas are trying to make Americans comfortable with them. Because you know, we’re voting on dinner guests. Says Michelle has a “threshold test,” and that there are “questions about her.” I have questions about David Gregory, but no one asks me.

-I love me some populist Jim Webb, but tonight he name-dropped our “Jacksonian base.” Really? We’re trailing among likely Indian-killers?

-There is nothing like hearing Mike Barnicle say “I’m a strong black woman.”

-Scarborough was down on the floor concern trolling about Obama’s poll numbers when Olbermann countered with a different poll in which McCain has lost seven points among likely voters since last week. Olbermann then asked Scarborough if he could actually back up what he’s saying. It got awkward right quick.

-Bill Maher on MSNBC: “People get stupider every election cycle, they think offshore drilling is going to lower the price of gas and they think Obama the black guy with the single mother is an elitist.”

-(Former) GOP Rep. Jim Leach spoke as the token convert. Leach is a good man, even if Loebsack is better. In his losing campaign, the 30-year incumbent refused to take not only PAC money but any money raised outside of his district. He also insisted that the national GOP drop a mailer it had planned attacking his opponent on gay marriage. Leach was always a good egg and it was nice to see him somewhere he belongs.

-Teddy Kennedy is a lion. And I’m not ashamed to say he makes me cry. Go re-watch this too.

-Chuck Todd very positive on Pelosi. “Hasn’t been polarizing,” won and expanded Congressional majorities “unlike Gephardt,” “has done a lot to shift this party towards Obama.” Matthews asks whether that makes her and Clinton rivals, because Matthews sees politics as prison film. Todd notes that the two leaders of the party, Pelosi and Howard Dean, “don’t owe the Clintons anything.”

-Pelosi is a bad speaker but she got her headline quote in: “John McCain has the experience…of being wrong.” Also notes that she’s the first Italian-American Speaker of the House. We don’t really think of white ethnics as having barriers today, but it’s worth noting that her and a central-casting Irish Catholic were two of the stars of the night.

-JIMMY! Comes out with a cameo to “Georgia On My Mind.” This is worth watching.

-Gene Robinson says the press is overstating the disunity narrative. Norah O’Donnell discusses Bill’s “psychodrama,” and Pat Buchanan calls this a “deep wound” because HRC wasn’t vetted for VP. Rachel Maddow notes that the self-identified Democrat used in a McCain tv ad was interviewed and said she thought McCain was pro-choice. Buchanan counters that this “doesn’t matter,” to which Maddow calls Clinton dead-enders “post-rational.” I can’t wait for September 8.

-Tom Brokaw and Sibelius look like brother and sister.

-Michelle Obama’s brother is the head basketball coach at Oregon State. This led to the first and last time anyone shouts GO BEAVERS at a convention. GO BEAVERS!

-Michelle = Winner. She nailed it. Look at the immediate article from the often-terrible Associated Press:

DENVER (AP) — Michelle Obama declared “I love this country” Monday as she sought to reassure the nation that she and her husband Barack share their bedrock values and belief in the American dream.

In the first major address at the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama said she and Barack Obama feel an obligation to “fight for the world as it should be” to ensure a better future for their daughters and all children.

The Obamas two daughters, Sasha and Malia, joined their mother on stage after the speech as Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” blared from in the convention hall.

You won’t get a better AP opener than: “Michelle Obama declared “I love this county…” Howard Fineman: “I think Michelle dug herself beautifully out of any hole she may have dug herself… it was classy, it was humble…” Fineman used the word “beautiful” four times in two sentences. These assholes matter, so yeah. Beautiful.

-General truth, Democrats pwn music. Saturday, Obama came out to U2’s City of Blinding Lights. Biden followed to Springsteen’s The Rising. Carter of course had his usual Georgia on my Mind, while Michelle rocked Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely? For comparison, John McCain tried to use Jackson Browne and got himself sued.

mireille: I wish Michelle could talk about policy
and didn’t have to shuck and jive for family and girl issues
me: Biden is like, I’d hit that. Not actually hit it, because I have a good record on violence against women.
But hit it like, you know.
mireille: quote of the night mischa

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