Oh Noez

Obama Photo Causes Stir, AP:

A photograph circulating in the Internet of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama dressed in traditional local garments during a visit to Kenya in 2006 is causing a dustup in the presidential campaign over what constitutes a smear.

The Associated Press photograph portrays Obama wearing a white turban and a wraparound white robe presented to him by elders in Wajir, in northeastern Kenya. Obama’s estranged late father was Kenyan and Obama visited the country in 2006, attracting thousands of well-wishers.

The gossip and news Web site The Drudge Report posted the photograph Monday and said it was being circulated by “Clinton staffers” and quoted an e-mail from an unidentified campaign aide. Drudge did not include proof of the e-mail in the report….

Ah, the joys of our enlightened, thoroughly modern society…Obama has no substance, ’tis true, but he does have lots of ‘color’ and he does like the Moslems and he hates the Jews. Yeah. Bring on the substantive debates…

Stamp Lota

A live-blog on the election results from Pakistan.

update, the morning: The morning – here – shows that PPP is within sight of a 2/3rd majority in the NA. The ANP will form a govt. in NWFP. In Baluchistan, PML-Q has most votes but between PPP and Independents and BNP there are enough votes to form a govt.

One: Musharraf got voted out everywhere. PML-Q, as I wrote earlier, was the only party that ran a campaign on their “record” and its major figures, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Sheikh Rashid, Wasi Zafar etc., were main characters in the Musharraf soap-operatic democracy. They are all out on the national scene. I think that the recent economic pains – lack of flour in the market, rising costs of water and electricity – had a lot to do with PLM-Q’s defeat.

Two: PPP is the only national party in the country.

Three: GO ANP in NWFP!! Our State Side Analysts will have to come up with a new storyline.


Yea, that’s right! That’s right! We bad!

78835134.jpgThe assumptions nested in our electoral punditry are astounding. What’s more astounding is that we do not question them, especially when they barely conceal true, noxious racialist thinking. Why, for instance, is Don Imus a pariah, when Dick Morris and Chris Matthews can proceed without pause with lines of questioning based on the assumption that blacks only vote for blacks, women only vote for women and rednecks will vote for anybody who’ll wave the Stars & Bars? At least Imus, while admittedly tone-deaf, was trying to be amusing when he called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.”

Since New Hampshire’s Democrats got wept away by Hillary’s histrionics, the big polling firms, whose self-esteem obviously has recovered since futzing-up two presidential elections in a row, have been navel-gazing: How could we have gotten it so wrong? they wonder. Many have begun to blame the “Wilder Effect,” which states that voters will lie if asked whom they support in a multi-racial election, because they fear not supporting the non-white candidate will cause them to appear bigoted. Some claim the Wilder effect was named for Virginia governor Douglas Wilder, whom polls cast as an easy winner in the 1994 race for U.S. Senate. Wilder went on to lose, despite the polls. NB: This is a completely true historical fact: The Wilder Effect was actually named for Gene Wilder, who was clearly the least favored of the pair in 1970’s Richard Pryor / Gene Wilder buddy movies, like Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.

The Wilder Effect is to margin-of-error what The Bell Curve is to IQ–a plausible explanation, but one that calls into question immediately the point of view and motive of the explainer. Is an explanation racist, as offered by a dottering old scientist, out of touch with modern racial sensibilities, and by virtue of his status, unused to necessarily qualifying his arguments so as not to piss off everyone within a quarter mile, a la James Watson? Is a provocateur’s jab sexist, like Larry Summers’ attempted discussion seeding that questioned female scientific aptitude? Why, probably yes. Yet Watson and Summers harmed none save extremely valuable and cherished disciplinary illusions, like the one that equates tact and education, and class illusions, like the petit bourgeois taboos against speaking frankly in terms of difference. For his part, Imus deserved to be kicked off the air, not because he was a racist, which may be so, but because his act was weak and unfunny.

But folks, noxious carcinogenic speculation–and our laziness in identifying and shouting it down–is one of the Republic’s primary problems. God knows why people say one thing and do another. But most of the time, notions that people act in certain predictable ways based on the color of their skins or the architecture of their genitalia are wrong and those who find such reasoning attractive should have their arguments fully vetted. It’s also wrong for us to allow America’s overpaid, under-thinking big-mouths to consistently prune and water the meme that people act in certain predictable ways based on the color of their skins or the architecture of their genitalia. It’s quite dangerous to do so, in fact. That James Watson declines in obscurity while Manhattan’s ignorant cable news presenters go about their destructive business is a crime against clear thought, common sense, and the notion that social norms ought to have any consistency at all.