Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama as Curious George: Chickens Coming Home To Roost

It’s absurdly offensive, of course: the t-shirt with a picture of Barack Obama in the guise of “Curious George,” the little monkey in a classic series of children’s books.

Patrick McIlheran, however, points out why people on the left have no moral standing to criticize it.
Anyhow, if he were displaying such transgressiveness in an art-school exhibit and his political polarity were reversed, you’d have the beautiful people flocking to his defense.
And then there is this:
Then again, this would be more obvious if we weren’t just wrapping up eight years in which comparisons of national leaders to chimpanzees were just ordinary political dialog from many of the same people all enthused over Obama. What goes around...
Click through to the linked pages to see what he’s talking about.

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28 Comments:

Anonymous mrslovett said...

I don't even have a break a sweat responding to this one, because blogger Liss has already done so. Comparing Obama to a monkey is not the same as comparing Bush to a monkey because there is no "racial history of marginalizing whites by comparing them to monkeys." This t-shirt is yet another entry in the Obama-as-scary-wild-black-monkey-man meme that is being used to play on deep-seated, knee-jerk racism rather than discuss actual issues. And yep, it's racist.

More from Liss: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/05/wrong.html

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/05/double-whammy.html

6:06 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

mrslovett said...

I'm afraid you are as politically correct as always.

You somehow think it's OK to call a political figure a monkey if it's a white political figure.

monkey-man meme that is being used to play on deep-seated, knee-jerk racism rather than discuss actual issues. And yep, it's racist.

And calling Bush a monkey is a dandy way of discussing issues!

You somehow can't see the nastiness of your leftist buddies.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous francis said...

Is seems that your analysis of politics never goes beyond the level of alleging hypocricy on the part of some individual or group. This isn't a very sophisticated analysis, and shows and no acknowledgement or awareness of the nuance and complexity of social and political issues. I would expect more from a political science professor at my alma mater.

10:02 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

This isn't a very sophisticated analysis, and shows and no acknowledgement or awareness of the nuance and complexity of social and political issues.

Kindly explain what nuance or complexity can justify calling George Bush a monkey.

I think when you say "nuance and complexity" it means you are going to produce some excuse for bigoted behavior on the left.

It's my job to teach students to be intellectually consistent.

Being consistent isn't always fun, since it might require one to rethink ones biases.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous gary said...

From reading your blog, it's obvious that you are a church-going christian. I have a couple of questions for you. Are there black members of your congregation? If so, would you wear this shirt to a gathering with them at your church--and if not, why not?

This goes beyond some petty allegation of hypocricy by of the left--it's a matter of common decency. Portaying this as some sort of political tit-for-tat is repugnant.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You somehow think it's OK to call a political figure a monkey if it's a white political figure.

Neither are "ok" but they're not the same.

There is a long, racist history of denigrating blacks by equating them with monkeys. Now maybe that's not what the t-shirt guy intended, but it doesn't make it not true.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous salvatore said...

Just curious--I'd like to know why you don't post the actual picture on your blog instead of linking to it.

11:50 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I have a couple of questions for you. Are there black members of your congregation? If so, would you wear this shirt to a gathering with them at your church--and if not, why not?

Yes there are black members, and no I would not wear the t-shirt.

Didn't you read my post?

I said the t-shirt was "absurdly offensive."

Now, do you think it's offensive to compare George Bush to a monkey?

1:06 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

There is a long, racist history of denigrating blacks by equating them with monkeys. Now maybe that's not what the t-shirt guy intended, but it doesn't make it not true

And how does it justify calling George Bush a monkey?

I'm looking for consistency from you politically correct types.

You have all sorts of excuses for using vile invective, and then screaming when you see similar invective directed at your side.

Let's have some consistency, please.

1:08 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Just curious--I'd like to know why you don't post the actual picture on your blog instead of linking to it.

Read my post.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And how does it justify calling George Bush a monkey?

I'm looking for consistency from you politically correct types.

You have all sorts of excuses for using vile invective, and then screaming when you see similar invective directed at your side.

Let's have some consistency, please.


Is that a joke? You do realize you cut out the part of my comment that said "neither are 'ok'"

At no time did I justify or make an excuse for calling George Bush a monkey. I’m just saying the “Obama as a monkey” stuff is worse because of the racial history associated with it.

Do you deny the inherent racial component (intentional or unintentional – I’m making no judgment on the guy’s motivation) in calling a black man a monkey?

1:37 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

While it is in no way high-brow to call George W. Bush a monkey, it is clearly less offensive than it would be to call Barrack Obama a monkey.

The monkey comparison with regard to Bush is a send-up of his poor use of the English language, stumbling persona, and, in the opinions of some, his questionable decision making.

Do you think that the monkey comparison to Obama is pointing out these same flaws, Professor?

1:55 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

The monkey comparison with regard to Bush is a send-up of his poor use of the English language, stumbling persona, and, in the opinions of some, his questionable decision making.

Do you think that the monkey comparison to Obama is pointing out these same flaws, Professor?


Oh . . . maybe his apparent lack of understand of what Jeremiah Wright was saying, his connections with terrorists (at least through aides) his damagoging various issues, his elitist disdain for working class people, etc.

The simple fact is that you think it's OK to compare Bush to a monkey since you don't like Bush.

You like Obama better, so you don't like it done to him.

But not everybody shares your left-leaning politics.

Anybody who compares a figure like Bush or Obama to a monkey should be shunned, and considered a bigot.

2:35 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Do you deny the inherent racial component (intentional or unintentional – I’m making no judgment on the guy’s motivation) in calling a black man a monkey?.

You yourself admit you don't know what the follow intended.

Do you deny the liberal/left bigotry of calling Bush a monkey?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You yourself admit you don't know what the follow intended.

Do you deny the liberal/left bigotry of calling Bush a monkey?



His intent is not the point. As I said earlier, intentional or not, the racial connotation is inherent and true. Just because he didn’t intend to make a racist reference doesn’t mean he didn’t.

Can you answer the question, please: Do you deny the inherent racial component in calling a black man a monkey?

Here, I’ll even answer yours. I don’t think I’d call it bigotry, but do I deny the liberal/left hatred of Bush? Of course not. By calling him a monkey they’re mocking and disrespecting him. It’s neither mature nor high-minded nor anything I’d condone, but it’s not the same thing as calling Obama a monkey.

2:46 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Oh . . . maybe his apparent lack of understand of what Jeremiah Wright was saying, his connections with terrorists (at least through aides) his damagoging various issues, his elitist disdain for working class people, etc.


Obama's foibles are not of the bumbling variety typical of a monkey comparison. The Jeremiah Wright thing is not the same as your typical Bushism. I would describe it as a character flaw. Monkey's are not known for their character flaws. Nor their terrorist connections, I might add. Or for demagoguing various issues. Monkeys are also not really eltists.

Thank you for supporting my point Proffesor.

The simple fact is that you think it's OK to compare Bush to a monkey since you don't like Bush.

I did not say that is was OK to compare Bush to a monkey, although I will admit that I think it's a pretty tame insult and I do not in fact like the President.

You like Obama better, so you don't like it done to him.

I do not like Obama. Here are some specific things about him that piss me off:

1. He will porbably allow for card-check votes in union drives

2. He is openly hostile to free trade, although his top economic advisor is not. (Austin Goolsbee)

3. He supports ethanol subsidies.

4. He is crooked, and involved with Tony Rezko.

5. He believes in government provided universal health care.

But not everybody shares your left-leaning politics.

As previously stated, I am a libertarian. We're not really left or right so much as above everyone.

Anybody who compares a figure like Bush or Obama to a monkey should be shunned, and considered a bigot.

What about people who compare popular actor Jim Carrey to a mnokey? Should they be shunned?

2:54 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

no, it is not offensive to compare george bush to a monkey, and i'd like for you to explain why it is so.

on the other side, it is easy to explain why it is offensive and racist to create a shirt of this type. history is important and relevant. context is important and relevant. the fact that this analogy has been used to dehumanize and denigrate an entire race of people for hundreds of years makes this shirt offensive and racist in a way incomparable to the quasi-analogy of george bush.

i'll make you a deal. i'll walk around the Marquette neighborhood in a t shirt comparing george bush to a monkey, and you walk around the same neighborhood wearing a shirt comparing obama to a monkey. i think you'll quickly realize that there is a real difference between the two.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McAdams,

A few quick points.

A.) Why are you forming some causal relationship between calling Obama a monkey and calling bush a monkey? There wasn't one before this blog post, so when people point out that calling Obama a monkey has recial overtones, why do you counter with questioning whether or not it's ok to call George Bush a monkey, AS IF, these are the same people?

B.) Obviously nobody should be called a monkey, but to rekindle the aforementioned racial history is a whole lot more offensive than calling our commander-in-chief a monkey (or picturing him as such). While you seem as if you disagree with the notion, the idea that a deeply racist action is somehow "chickens coming home to roost" for left-wing people calling our president a monkey is preposterous.

C.) To further prove that one action is racist while the other is a joke, have you ever taken a good look at President Bush? THe monkey caricature isn't just a shot at the guy's intelligence, he actually LOOKS like a monkey!

Your far-right blog along with some of the far-left blogs never cease to provide me with a daily chuckle. I can't believe some of the stuff you write here lol.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem...Can you answer the question, please: Do you deny the inherent racial component in calling a black man a monkey?

5:27 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

A.) Why are you forming some causal relationship between calling Obama a monkey and calling bush a monkey? There wasn't one before this blog post, so when people point out that calling Obama a monkey has recial overtones, why do you counter with questioning whether or not it's ok to call George Bush a monkey, AS IF, these are the same people?

They are both equally deserving of respect.

Or if you will, equally deserving of disrespect.

10:16 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

B.) Obviously nobody should be called a monkey, but to rekindle the aforementioned racial history is a whole lot more offensive than calling our commander-in-chief a monkey (or picturing him as such). While you seem as if you disagree with the notion, the idea that a deeply racist action is somehow "chickens coming home to roost" for left-wing people calling our president a monkey is preposterous.

The business about "racial history" is just a politically correct excuse for a double standard.

It's also part of history that secular leftists are intolerant of Christians (which Bush is) and scoff at Texans (which Bush is).

You leftists have a bit bag of double standards, based on politically correct victimology.

10:19 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

i'll make you a deal. i'll walk around the Marquette neighborhood in a t shirt comparing george bush to a monkey, and you walk around the same neighborhood wearing a shirt comparing obama to a monkey. i think you'll quickly realize that there is a real difference between the two.

OIC. You are saying that blacks in the neighborhood would beat me up, but that Marquette students (many of whom are Republicans) would tolerate your nasty bigotry toward Bush.

That's a racist comment on your part!

You are playing on the stereotype of black people being violent.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good lord. It's easier to get an honest answer out of my 3-year-old son. Are you seriously going to ignore my simple question?

Let's try a 4th time:

Do you deny the inherent racial component in calling a black man a monkey?

Yes or no.

And before you give me your whole "double standard" schpeel, let me again state for the record that I neither condone nor support either action. My point is simply that the two insults are not equivalent, that one is worse than the other. One is tinged with racist connotations, the other is not.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

I didn't say a single word about anyone doing any type violence. You're the one who made that connection. You're response reveals quite a bit about you.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has a point, how about an answer to the question. Do you deny the inherent racial component in calling a black man a monkey? That should be a straight forward yes or no answer.

4:12 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Do you deny the inherent racial component in calling a black man a monkey?

The fact that the average Klansman, circa 1958, might have readily referred to blacks as monkeys don't mean it's inherently anything but insulting.

If you happen to hate blacks, you may call them monkeys.

If you happen to hate Bush, you may call him a monkey.

Both are equally bigoted.

7:32 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I didn't say a single word about anyone doing any type violence. You're the one who made that connection. You're response reveals quite a bit about you.

Your comment implicitly but clearly involved a physical threat.

It's interesting how quickly you politically correct people will invoke racial stereotypes when it's convenient.

7:34 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I'm cutting off discussion on this thread . . .

. . . because everybody has had their say, and it's clear that the politically correct people here want to adhere to a politically correct double standard.

That is what distinguishes new-style politically correct liberals and leftists from old-style liberals and modern conservatives.

The former believe in different standards for favored minorities. It's OK to deride and attack Christians, white males, fraternity guys, gun owners and NASCAR fans.

But if somebody says something negative about a favored minority, they scream to high heaven.

Folks . . . if you aren't willing to support a single standard, you and I have nothing to talk about.

7:39 PM  

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