Monday, January 07, 2008

Religionism Trumps Racism?

Christopher Hitchens in Slate joins in the Obamontificating, suggesting that Barack's victory in Iowa (less the victory itself, more the accompanying hubbub) is not a triumph of race, but a failure of our presumed war against "uplift, and deceptive optimistic windbaggery" ....

I'm with him on the "God Is Not Great" tip, but he throws baby after bathwater when he eschews other aspects of Obama's import on racial politics to highlight our collective blind spot for black people with sketchy church affiliations. (can I get an amen!) Suggesting that going to this church makes Obama Al Sharpton with a proper haircut? Eh. Some good points are made, but they all suspiciously direct to his book.

Anyrace, I'm surely out of my depth, but do think I prefer "optimistic windbags" over "drunken-grump windbags." Hmm, actually that's not true. But I still want to stand up for positive people, cause they give us drunken-grumps something to complain about. Yay! I mean, hrrumph!

Identity Crisis [Slate]


  1. Anonymous1/07/2008

    Yeah, Hitchens is a bit grumpy.

    As to the worry about church affiliations, the fact of the matter is that the GOP candidates are flogging their faith to the base, whilst the Dems aren't, and Romney's response to the concerns of evangelicals about his Mormonism was hardly Kennedyesque. Romney wants it both ways...ignore the Mormonism in the places where it bugs you, Dear Fundamentalist, but be assured that he sees the world pretty much the way you do.

    That's a much different ballgame than what we see with the Dems. Even if Obama's church holds views that rile Hitchens' views of rationality, it hardly follows that Obama's going to be pursuing the sort of theocratic agenda that the GOP has been pushing at us for years. It just doesn't fit his record, his base, or his candidacy.

    Hitchens misses the boat completely on the half-black/half-white bit. The historical fact of the matter is that anyone with one black parent is going to be treated and related to as a black person in this country. Hitchens ignores the "one drop" notions of race that have dominated the racial dynamic in this country for the past 300+ years.

    As to the "harping" on Barack Obama's race, the fact of the matter is that his election as the first black president would be a matter of historical significance given our country's tortured history. Barack Obama's race is not enough reason to vote for him, he knows that, and he's bringing a lot more to the table than the fact that he's black. But the fact that that fact resonates with people is itself significant in that it suggests that perhaps we're not nearly as "resolved" on this stuff as sometimes we'd like to imagine ourselves to be.

  2. Anonymous1/08/2008

    The fact that a black man with an awkward name won lilly-white Iowa is pretty amazing to me.

    No matter how you look at it.

  3. Anonymous1/10/2008

    I really enjoy/want to emulate the any"" formation. I think your ideas are great, but you should further explore this same linguistic aspect of your work cause mothafuckas comin' wit new slang are the real gzas(geniuses, for tha square bears) of the writing game.

  4. Anonymous1/11/2008

    I guess I'm missing something here. What does Obama's church have to do with anything? So he goes to church. So what?


    I think Hitchens needs a stiff drink and a good f**k.


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