Thursday, September 17, 2009
It took awhile for the message to sink in, but rednecks all across this great land finally seem to have realized that someone of African-American descent was elected President last November.
Apparently, they don’t like it.
Hence the Tea Party rallies, Joe Wilson’s ludicrous outburst during Obama’s measured health-care speech, the blogosphere rantings and the ongoing talk radio fomentations.
A look at the New York Times best-seller list tells the story. The number one book in the country, Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption, portrays President Obama and his team as “tax cheats, petty crooks, influence peddlers and Wall Street cronies.” Others in the Top Ten include A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O’Reilly; an anti-Obama screed called Catastophe… and How To Fight Back by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann; and Liberty and Tyranny, a “manifesto” from right-wing talk show host Mark R. Levin.
Even Maureen Dowd has gotten hip to the racist jive, writing recently in the New York Times that Obama “looked nonplussed” when Wilson, who led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag flying in his state capitol, “yelled ‘You lie!’ at a president who didn’t.
“But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!’” Dowd added.
DIFFERENT RULES APPLY FOR WHITE PEOPLE. ALWAYS HAVE, ALWAYS WILL.
In other words, Obama – who has studiously avoided playing the race card through his remarkable career in public service – is now being called uppity.
Race matters. Now more than ever.
Forget politics: Take a look at sports and pop culture.
Serena Williams was universally denounced for violating protocol by verbally abusing a lineswoman who made a bad call in the semi-finals at the U.S. Open. It was a terrible call, but that didn’t stop the professional moralists of the chattering class from passing judgment on Serena for losing her cool, even though she congratulated Belgian phenom Kim Clijsters afterwards, and it was clear that her wrath was directed at the errant officiating, not her opponent.
While television commentator Mary Carillo piled on about Williams’ clearly inappropriate conduct, no one called out co-anchor John McEnroe for his unbroken, albeit endearing, run of extended public tennis tantrums.
Let’s face it: Different rules apply for white people. Always have, always will.
The Williams sisters have never tried to hide their ghetto fabulosity in the country club world of professional tennis. If you play it cool, like Tiger or Arthur Ashe, and downplay what are euphemistically called “cultural differences,” you’re invited to the party. If not, a $10,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct is “a joke,” and professional tennis officials should be drawn and quartered for not inflicting further discipline. Lynching parties, anyone?
The tongue-clucking about Serena’s admittedly kind-of-scary outburst was nothing compared to the absolute love fest lavished on Clijsters, the gorgeous blonde who ultimately won the competition. When Clijster’s adorable daughter came out from the stands, Carillo acted as if she’d been Kim’s obstetrician. It was a nice moment, marred only by the fact that it was accompanied by the continued, now-ritualistic bashing of Serena’s bad self.
The cultural psychodrama continued.
Instead of watching Clijster’s blonde-on-blonde triumph over Caroline Wozniacki for the championship, Serena was at the MTV Awards in Radio City. Looking perky despite it all, she joked about not having to worry about stepping over the line at the notoriously tasteless ceremonies. Williams didn’t have the chance to make another foot fault, though, because Kanye West was on hand to take her off the hook.
When Taylor Swift was honored for Best Female Video, Kanye couldn’t resist putting in his two cents for Beyoncé.
It was a moment, as they say, a boorish low point even by the standards of Kanye’s checkered career (although he still gets props for his post-Katrina call-out of George Bush). Beyoncé saved the day after winning the Best Video of the Year award by inviting Taylor onstage to let the startled songstress complete her acceptance speech. It was a nice gesture, though it would have been nicer if Swift had gotten around to thanking Beyoncé, too. (John McCain might have acknowledged Obama’s gracious mention during his health-care address as well, but at least he had the good sense to repudiate Wilson’s antics.)
Nevertheless, apologies, and happy endings, are in the air.
Serena apologized, belatedly, and the Williams sisters went on to win the doubles championship. Kanye apologized, too, admitting to Jay Leno: “It was rude. Period.”
Oh yeah, Roger Federer cursed at an official before being upset by Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s finals.
But hey, that’s OK. After all, Roger’s white.