Philocrites : Scrapbook : August 2008 Archive

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Democrats, beware the sympathy backlash for Palin

Quoted 08.30.08:

The Obama campaign and its supporters won't win very many hearts and minds attacking [Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah] Palin for her personal life or even lack of political experience — she's simply too compelling of a figure. So let's stick to the issues when discussing Palin: her denial of human causes of global warming, her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and evidence of her possible corruption. There's more than enough there without descending into the attacks that are only all too common when it comes to female politicians.

Dana Goldstein, TAPPED 8.30.08

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama should unleash Hillary Clinton on McCain

Quoted 08.27.08:

[Hillary Clinton] knows what it's like to be slapped around by Republicans better than anyone in this country, and, whatever bipartisan strides she has made in her senate years, she still has the taste for Republican blood. . . .

Better still, playing the attack dog would lessen the need for Hillary to fake enthusiasm for Obama. All her anger and resentment and disappointment of the past 20 months — hell, the last 20 years — could be channeled into gutting McCain like a trout. People expect Hillary to rage against the Republican machine. For years, she has been their whipping girl, just as for years she has stood as a symbol of perseverence and strength for many Democrats — especially women. Instead of having her run around trying to sunnily convince women or working-class whites of what a swell guy her former opponent is, Obama's people should just wind her up, point her in the direction of these constituencies, and let her rip John McCain and his whole lousy party a new one.

Michelle Cottle, The Plank 8.27.08

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The big-tent fundamentalism of Rick Warren and Joel Osteen

Quoted 08.21.08:

Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and the business-friendly fundamentalism of the post-Christian Right era don't set off liberal alarms the way the pulpit pounders such as John Hagee, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson do. The irony is that the agenda of this new lifestyle evangelicalism is more far-reaching than that of the traditional Christian Right: the Christian Right wanted a seat at the table; lifestyle evangelicalism wants to build the table. It wants to set the very terms in which we imagine what's possible, and to that end it dispenses with terms that might scare off liberals. It's big tent fundamentalism — everybody in.

But the ultimate goals remain the same. True, Osteen steers clear of abortion for the most part, and Warren, every bit as opposed to homosexuality as Jerry Falwell was, prefers to talk about AIDS relief. But both men — and the new evangelicalism as a movement — continue to preach the merger of Christianity and capitalism pioneered three quarters of a century ago. On the surface, it's self-help; scratch, and it's revealed as a profoundly conservative ideology that conflates church and state, scripture and currency, faith and finance.

Jeff Sharlet, The Revealer 6.14.08

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Obama the 'Magic Negro'

Quoted 08.13.08:

Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. "He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia.

He's there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest. . . .

Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

David Ehrenstein, Los Angeles Times 3.19.08 (via TAPPED 8.13.08)