Which is the better way to diminish a man:  Having his wife publicly castrate him, or repeatedly comparing him to cartoon animals in print and on t-shirts?


Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is responsible for naming Barack Obama “Obambi” — and she gave him that castrating nickname because, she argues, he wants to be put on a pedestal and be petted:

But often he reverts to Obambi, tentative about commanding the stage and consistently channeling the excitement he engenders. At times, he seems to be actively resisting his phenom status and easy appeals to emotion. When he should fire up, he dampens. When he should dominate, he’s deferential. When he should lacerate, he’s languid.

Last week, a more insidious, than castrating comparison to a cartoon character mocked Barack as a bar tender in Marietta, Georgia began selling “Obama in ’08” t-shirts starring Curious George as Obama. 

The outrage over comparing Barack to a monkey ran into the streets of Marietta while the bar owner told everyone to “get a sense of humor” because he “wasn’t being Racist” — he just thought Obama has “big ears like a monkey.” 

The same day, a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show said her daughter thought Obama looked like Curious George, too, and Limbaugh laughed.  Later — and shockingly — Limbaugh apologized to Barack.  Limbaugh claimed when he laughed he “didn’t know Curious George was a cartoon monkey.”

Must Obama swallow these character insults in comparisons to cartoon animals as part of his run for the democrat nomination — or is he allowed to be publicly angry and fight back against this outright Racism

How soon will Macaca re-appear as the ultimate nasty label?

We’re used to exaggerated editorial cartoon characterizations of political people, but if one of those cartoonists drew Barack as a monkey, would there be more, or less, fury at the affront?

We’ve already seen Barack branded in the mainstream press as a Muslim based on his middle name as well as having his courtesy in dressing in traditional African garb to honor his hosts made fun of as being un-American.

Last week, Bush clumsily compared Barack to Nazi appeaser Neville Chamberlain and that false accusation was — finally! — blown up by the mainstream media.

Yesterday, Obama had to defend his wife — again! — on her purposefully “misunderstood” comments on her public moment of being a proud American:

The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say
whatever they want to say about me, my track record,” Obama said. “If
they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this
campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the
notion that you start attacking my wife or my family.

I suppose the reason Barack is mocked with belittling names and comparisons to monkeys and cartoons is because he is dangerous.  He has a message that is sinking in and finding purchase within people that stirs emotions and thoughts that were never before considered.

Evidence of his threatening popularity to the current status quo can be found in this image from Portland, Oregon yesterday where over 75,000 people gathered in the name of Barack Obama.  Is this a movement or a tidal wave?

For those of us eager for change and to express a new hope, we only need to focus in on the center of that crowd of 75,000 and see what we want in our future:  Love, family, and a fresh approach to leadership that can never be dulled by pet names or diminished by cartoon comparisons.

16 Comments

  1. Slap away, arin! I admit, I too, laughed at “Obambi” when I first heard it, but that name has taken an extremely negative life of its own on the internet and I don’t think that was Dowd’s real intention in the labeling.

  2. Curious how when things start to go bad for people, they resort to just about anything to get themselves out of their hole. Name calling, muck throwing, etc – and yet with all this, at this point it is nearly impossible for Senator Obama to lose. I used CNN’s projector and gave Senator Clinton 75% of EVERYTHING – the rest of every single primary, and the rest of the superdelegates – and even with only 25% of each, Senator Obama comes out with 2040 delegates and HRC has under the required number of delegates.
    She has never, ever gotten 75% of ANYTHING. 75,000 people coming out to PDX tells us something huge is coming this way.

  3. Gordon —
    I agree with your analysis. So why does Hillary stay? She only stays to hurt Obama. She wants to run again in 2012 and not 2016. If she can bloody him up now so he loses to McCain, she can run as the “new wave” savior of the party in 2012.
    If Obama picks her as his second, I will not vote for him because that choice will mean he’s as big a fake as Hillary and he never really stood for anything.

  4. I think it’s pretty much agreed by all that he isn’t going to pick her as a #2. A lot of people are saying that she is staying to transition her followers to him “in case” she doesn’t get the nomination, which she already knows she has lost. She has recently spoken about the importance of voting for the nominee “no matter who it is” because she admitted that voting for Obama would be a far superior choice to McCain.

  5. I still think, Gordon, that she wants the second spot because it gives her an edge in as the next nominee. It would be a disaster for Obama to pick her, but she could hold her loyal voters from him as ransom for that spot. I think that will definitely be the drumbeat we hear the first week in June: “Heal the ticket. Hire Hillary.”

  6. David,
    I think Obama should take it in his stride and not let it prey on his mind. He probably knows already that these things will help him more than harm him.

  7. Good point, Dananjay! I wrote an article on my Obama blog saying that he needs to pick his VP RIGHT NOW and not wait for her. Make a bold pick. It will surprise everyone and show him he is in charge of his own fate.

  8. I find all of this quite distasteful.
    “They” conjure up one thing after another.
    I find nothing funny about any of it. It borders on name-calling and the monkey thing is downright discriminatory whether it’s Curious George or not. You do not call a black man a monkey period!!
    I don’t know whether I will end up voting for Obama but I find him to be a very classy and elegant gentleman. And if this is the only thing they can find, then “they” must be scared out of their boots!!

  9. “Distasteful” is the perfect word for it, Donna! You’re right that comparing Black people to monkeys is derivative and, frankly, cruel.
    When Hillary crows that Karl Rove is “for her” you realize she is not living in the real world where that could ever be a good thing for the greatness of the union.

  10. David,
    I don’t read The Times anymore. Who allows such drivel to be printed? There’s nothing of substance to what she’s saying.
    There’s such a lack of intelligent discussion and it’s sickening.
    I’m just about ready to stop watching Fox News because Sean Hannity and his sidekick are just plain stupid! It’s Abbott and Costello. There’s no intelligent discussion. It’s all partisan and it’s all about destroying people. It’s Dumb and dumber. There’s no critical thinking here.
    I know a lot of people don’t like Bill O’Reilly, but he’s actually been very fair to all the candidates. There’s some critical thinking going on there.
    None of these candidates are perfect. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Maureen Dowd, whoever she is, should be ashamed of herself!!
    Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustrations
    and engage in some intelligent thoughtful discussion here at the Urb!

  11. Donna —
    I agree there is a severe lack of perspective on mainstream television. I won’t watch Fox. I find Bill O’Reilly offensive in every way. Phil Donahue handed him his head during their “conversation” on Iraq.


    Michael Moore did the same thing:


    I am liking “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. I think they’re generally pretty fair to everyone. Joe Scarborough is conservative and Mika is more liberal. Pat Buchanan and Harold Ford, Jr. are regulars and they’re all pretty kind to each other while offering some smart insight without being sassy about it.

  12. True, David! And maureen dowd’s observations about him make me wonder if he’s just preparing himself not to get drunk on power. a wise thing to do under the circumstances.

  13. Dananjay —
    Maureen sees herself as a modern-day Mark Twain or a more contemporary Garrison Keillor. She tries very hard to be funny twice a week in her NYTimes editorials and she most always fails. There’s nothing worse than trying to read something trying to be funny when it never really is…

  14. David–
    I think it was a passionate debate between Phil and Bill and I didn’t see that Phil handed him his head. But Phil did very well. It was intelligent discourse for sure. The kind of debate I like to see. Phil didn’t back down. Good for him!
    I watched a few seconds of the Moore thing and that was enough for me. I don’t think Bush has done a good job, but I also don’t believe he’s the enemy. 911 was unlike anything we’ve ever encountered and that left us vulnerable to some very poor decisionmaking.
    Didn’t Moore do that expose on healthcare and contended that Cuba had better healthcare than we do? How ridiculous!! Does anyone want to go live in Cuba? I think not!
    Not familiar with Morning Joe but I’ll check it out–

  15. Hi Donna —
    I’m sure Bush will go down as the worst president in the history of the United States. He has been an unmitigated disaster on every front: Safety, health, education, art, etc. He has stripped us of our beauty, our youth and our future.
    Moore was courageous to take on 911 and he’s doing Part II right now. His documentary on health care was important because it opened up an ugly fact: Americans have lousy healthcare compared to other countries.