Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Hey Conservatives – Could We Talk Real Quick?

Let’s get right to business here, folks.

I’m sure most of you are aware that, last Monday, Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked about Trump’s mouth being Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster.”

This prompted outrage among many conservatives, and lead to the Twitter hashtag #fireColbert, along with calls to boycott CBS advertisers. Today, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission, for our non-American readers) announced it was starting an investigation into Colbert’s joke, “following up on complaints” of obscenity/indecency/profanity. As much as that sucks, it’s not the FCC I want to call up to the dock today. It’s the folks who got them involved.

Conservatives (who might accidentally stumble across this blog) – let me address y’all directly:

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Many of you have cited that the joke was homophobic:

I gotta ask ya, Conservatives –

– since when do you give a **** about homophobia?

A sizeable chunk of the past twenty years has been dedicated to the battle to stop gay marriage, which was – to hear you talk at least – the breaking of the seventh seal. I mean seriously, we have had millions and millions of dollars and countless work-hours poured into this battle. Gays were, as you once claimed, destroying the moral fabric of the nation with the indecent and immoral behavior. To sanction it as a nation was to spit in the face of God!

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Unlike rejecting refugees, widows, orphans, and the poor, of whom the Bible makes absolutely no mention.

Suddenly Colbert takes a swipe at Trump, and you’re all indignant? “Oh, how dare Colbert say something hurtful towards gays-whose-right-we-have-been-actively-and-rabidly-campaigning-against-for-decades!”

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Seriously – the very existence of gay folks has been cited as causing hurricanes. Major conservative figures (in the current ****ing administration) have equated homosexuality with bestiality. The “homosexual agenda” was a baleful warning used by conservatives for years.

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So again, when did this change of heart come about? When did you suddenly start caring about gay folks?

Gimme a break.

But while we’re on the subject of staggering hypocrisy, can we talk about political correctness?

You know- that thing you claim as the bane of modern society. Proof that this generation is weak and pathetic. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard phrases like “Millennial crybaby”, “liberal snowflake”, “there’s no safe-spaces in the real world!”

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Again, you guys support Trump – a guy who does not joke but boasts about “grabbing pussy.” Who has called women “gold diggers”, “bimbos”, and “dogs.” Who grotesquely mocked a disabled reporter.

By any measure or definition, Trump is a foul, loud-mouth ****nozzle. Compared to him, Colbert’s statements would barely register as “locker room talk.” Instead of calling for a boycott, why aren’t you rallying around Colbert for “telling it like it is” or “not being afraid to speak his mind” or any number of the shoddy excuses used to defend Trump’s garbage?

You get why this seems a little hypocritical, right?

Of course, much of this is predicated on the belief that Colbert’s joke was homophobic.

I don’t think it was.

For the joke in question to have been homophobic, it would have had to mocked, stereotyped, condemned, or disparaged homosexuality. We can all agree on that definition, right?
Then show me the part where Colbert did that.

He used the phrase “cock holster.” He suggested that Trump and Putin had a homosexual relationship. Was he attacking them for being “gay”? C’mon. He was attacking them for having a bizarre political alliance in which Trump fawns and swoons over a reprehensible autocrat. Colbert never said “being slavishly enamored with a man is wrong.” Colbert said (at most) “being slavishly enamored with Putin is wrong.” And that’s a sentiment I’d like to think we can all get behind.

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The joke was made all the more biting for Trump’s absurd sensitivity to his sexuality and Putin’s infamous persecution of gays (by the way, Conservatives, where’s your condemnation of that?).

But maybe – for a few of you, at least – it’s not the imaginary homophobia but the crassness of the remark which has you riled up. If that’s the case, well you still don’t have much of a leg to stand on. “Cock holster” is definitely a sharp term, but it’s definitely not new to TV.

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You didn’t call up the FCC then, why are you doing it now?

And if you think this is the crassest or most foul thing on television, then hoo-boy, you need to watch more TV. Hell, go to FOX and you’ll get a whole bowl of curse salad with raunch dressing.

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At your own peril – some thing cannot be unseen.

But maybe you’re none of those people.

Maybe you’re part of that small group who do have a modicum of self-awareness are at least arguing “If someone said this about Obama, they’d be fired within the hour.” That is at least a coherent argument.

It’s also a really bad one.

Regardless of alleged hypocrisy of the networks (more on that in a minute), do you really and truly want the FCC to get involved here?

I don’t think you’ve thought it through.

Invoking the FCC is invoking a federal regulatory committee. Not exactly the greatest move for folks whose platform has “get-the-government-out-of-our-business” as one of its oldest planks. Do you really and truly want the FCC – the government – to actively decide which jokes do and don’t count as “appropriate?” Go ahead and lock in your answers – whatever you say now can and will be used against you at a later date.

When Huckabee is serving as a voice of reason, you know things have gotten weird…

Of course, if you do want to demand the government dissect and analyze all jokes, I still don’t think you’ll have a leg to stand on. I mean, why would a host get censured for making the same joke about Obama instead of Trump?

One about Obama wouldn’t make sense – not a “Putin’s cock holster” one, anyways. While I don’t think anyone – particularly not Obama – should be exempt from ribbing or ridicule, Obama didn’t have a strangely close relationship with a violently homophobic Russian tyrant. If he did, then yeah, that joke would work. Out of that context, it’d just be plain weird. And for the record, folks did take shots at Obama.

O-bomb-a:

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Barack Osama (alternatively, “Barack Husein Obama”):

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“Not Born In America/Secret Muslim”:

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Presented not as satire but as serious speculation

Limbaugh’s use of a song titled “Barack The Magic Negro”:

Glenn Beck’s insistence that Obama was a Socialist:

As a Socialist myself, please stop calling Obama a Socialist. We don’t want him either.

Again, you don’t exactly have the high ground here.

But you know what? You don’t need to have it.

I’m not a liberal or a conservative (and no, that doesn’t mean I’m moderate or apolitical – there’s more than two flavors out there). Other than keeping the FCC at bay, I don’t really have a horse in this race. While I thought Colbert’s joke was damn funny, I don’t think you have to, and I even think you should boycott if you so choose (as much as I disagree). Just don’t pretend to be doing it because Colbert was “homophobic” – he wasn’t. Don’t pretend that you care about gay people – you don’t. Don’t pretend you’re championing the cause of etiquette and decency – you aren’t.

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You want to influence the flow of our culture to reflect the values and opinions you hold personally. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. It’s OK to be upset by characterizations you find to be unfounded, unfair, or unrepresentative. That’s what I do every single time I sit down to churn one of these rants out.

But if you are gonna do that, then for ****’s sake, own it.

Otherwise shut your **** holsters.

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If you were to have told me eight years ago that Pam Poovery would be one of my favorite characters, I would’ve said “Yeah, that makes a ton of sense – she’s awesome.”


Images retrieved via BBC World, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube Imgur, The Boston Globe, Tumblr – Fair Use.

 

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Grading Obama

There’s a tendency in this country to speak of ex-presidents with the same generosity one would use to speak of the recently departed. A “funeral parlance” (if you’ll forgive the awful pun) that leads folks to look on the old administration with rose-tinted glasses. Considering the replacement, that’s going to be doubly true this year.

Not at Culture War Reporters, though.

Here’s our final grade for Obama,

Note: The issues selected here are based upon the principles we here at CWR seem to touch on most frequently. We hope to make this a regular tradition, provided the United States still exists in four years and that this writer will not have been imprisoned or sent to work on a lunar penal colony.

Economic Equality:

Advocates of the president will be swift to point out that the unemployment rate at the beginning of the president’s term was in the double digits, and has since fallen to about 4.9% after years of slow but steady recovery. And there absolutely should be credit where it’s due- the Obama administration has seen the recovery of the economy. Can I whine about it not being enough though? You bet I can.

While many Americans are finally back to work, the positions they find themselves in are often low-paying with little to no security. While that’s not entirely the president’s fault, the president himself has been agonizingly slow (and bafflingly conservative) in advocating a raise for the minimum wage. While the extremely wealthy are paying slightly more in taxes, taxes have also risen for folks making less than $250,000 a year (which is the overwhelming ****ing majority of us) with the majority of the president’s proposed reforms having ended in defeat. All in all the extremely rich continue to enjoy unrivalled luxury and unchallenged control of US politics and wealth.

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Final Grade: D+

Continue reading

Shame Day: Efrain Rios Montt and Thein Sein

We try to stay topical here at CWR, and with both of these individuals making headlines, we’ll be splitting up our time railing on both of them.

Let’s start with General Efrain Rios Montt, former Guatemalan dictator. Montt has just managed to get his April 19th conviction overturned by a constitutional court.

What was he convicted for?

Genocide. Continue reading

Obama: the brand

Jim Messina was an undergraduate when he managed his first campaign, and has won every race since then. He’s now manager of the Obama reelection campaign and going to great lengths to maintain his record.

source: huffingtonpostMessina has purportedly read volumes of US election history, but he spent the first months before beginning the Obama campaign in earnest meeting not with successful senators and former campaign managers, but with CEOs and senior execs of Apple, Google, facebook, Zynga, and DreamWorks. While Obama looks for support from left side of the House and Senate, Messina’s also brought Stephen Spielberg and Vera Wang into the campaign. Messina’s campaign, he says, is more based on wunderkind business strategies (Zynga and facebook, for example) than any elections from previous centuries.

The most interesting part to me of Messina’s campaign is the part focused not on intellectual persuasion, but attachment-building via branding. To contrast this with Mitt Romney’s campaign, look at the merchandise pages of each of the candidates’ websites:

Romney’s store has:
2 types of bumper stickers
a window decal
2 buttons
4 different t-shirts (2 of the with just the semi-unrecognizable logo on them)
a baseball cap
a lapel pin, and
(regrettably) a heather grey quarter-zip-up sweatshirt

All of his products are on one page, and most of them look like print-screened logos on shirts from AC Moore.

Obama’s store includes:
iPhone cases,
Earth Day packs,
“I bark for Barack” magnets,
v-neck shirts for women under 45,
calendars,
yoga pants,
a $95 Monique Pean scarf,
a Vera Wang bag, a $95 “Thakoon Panichgul“, whatever that is,
dog bandanas,
dog sweaters,
Joe Biden mugs,
Obama jerseys,
rubber bracelets,
pint glasses,
aprons,
bangles,
cufflinks,
baby bibs,
grill spatulas,
soy candles,
golf divot tools,
and a six-pack cooler.

There’s also about a billion different types of tshirts, buttons, and bumper stickers, and a “for Obama” series: women for Obama, nurses for Obama, veterans for Obama, African Americans for Obama, Latinos for Obama, Hispanics for Obama, Asian American & Pacific Islanders for Obama, and environmentalists for Obama.

Romney’s shirts say, at most, “Romney” or “Believe” – one of Obama’s shirts says “Health Reform Still a BFD.” Granted, Romney is aiming at a different demographic (LL Bean fans, eg), but Obama’s 19 pages of merchandise make Romney’s 1 page look pitiful, from a branding point of view.

The Obama campaign’s brand-focused strategy is closely integrated with its other image-focused tactics: assigning Romney the cold, out-of-touch persona, for example.
While critics of the Bain capital narrative put out by the Obama campaign said that things like negativity and party inconsistency (Bill Clinton’s subsequent praise of Romney’s management skills, eg) rendered the move moot, an article in Bloomberg said that Messina may not have been so concerned about persuasion at that point: “Messina is adamant that the Bain attack succeeded among the uncommitted voters he’s concerned with, who ignore pundits and are only now beginning to form opinions of Romney.”

For a lot of voters, Romney’s business and managing experience are just off the table. The Bain Capital anti-campaign put on by the Obama team wasn’t so much a persuasion for some voters as an excuse to keep holding their current opinion. K street and the hill will argue about the relevance and logical holes in different arguments, and about the influence of different political figures voicing their opinions, but humans decide things more based on instinct than consideration, I think.

David Plouffe, a political strategist, commented: “When people say, ‘How’s the Bain thing playing?’ it doesn’t matter what the set of Morning Joe has to say about it.”

Voters’ behavior and attitudes are hugely dependent on their initial impressions of politicians. People will take things like the Bain story how they want to, based on what they’ve already consciously or unconsciously decided. And some might criticize the Obama campaign for putting a lot of money into what seems like frivilous merchandise, but things like brand and image aren’t meant to persuade – they’re meant to create a stronger identity and community within the already-present supporters. Such branding is what made Facebook, Google, and Apple such monstrosities – and they are precisely where Messina went for advice.