October 29, 2008


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While I'm Thinking About It

They're taking our terminology!

It started back in April. The LA Times ran ran an op-ed piece that set forth the claim that the word "elitist," when used to criticize Barack Obama, was a nice-sounding code phrase for "uppity."

"Elitist" is another word for "arrogant," which is another word for "uppity," that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves.

Those are David K. Shipler's words.

The problem is, "elitist" has been a favorite term of Right Wing Talk Radio to describe left-leaning folks in California and New York who look with disdain upon those poor, benighted, backward souls who live anywhere else and (SHOCK! HORROR!) actually vote Republican. And when the piece was published, Obama had already given the speech in San Francisco where he said that these bitter Americans (exact quote time here) "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." And he didn't know anyone was recording this speech, so it's probably his real opinion, too.

Gee, giving a speech in San Francisco that disparage folks? Sounds elitist to me, regardless of skin color.

And now, Adam Serwer, writing for The American Prospect, is doing it again, this time making the claim that "socialist"--a very handy word to describe certain types of political beliefs now that "communist" has no power left to it--is racist code.

Is it? Is it really? Because by that logic senator Bernie Sanders is being racist against himself when he uses that word to describe himself.

Or is it that by making such claims now, Serwer and Shipler (and, presumably others will join them) are they trying to set a precedent so that any criticism of an Obama administration can be dismissed as the rantings of a bunch of bigots? Because it seems that's where things are headed.

Anyway, that's why I've been describing Obama as "Marxist" recently.

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