Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yee-haw

One of the ironies of literature is that the Stage Irishman -- a parody of the real thing -- should have been the creation of Irish writers. But Irish though they were, these writers saw themselves as broader figures. British, or in some cases, citizens of the world.

It could be said that the English comedy of manners from the Restoration to the rise of Romanticism was the creation of brilliant Irishmen, George Farquhar, William Congreve, Charles Macklin, Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The only sign of ‘Irishness’ in these writers was their affection for that comic personage - bibulous, irascible, generous, eloquent and sentimental - who came to be known as the ‘stage Irishman’.

These writers were typically educated at Protestant grammar schools and Trinity College Dublin. They gravitated to London, centre of the literary universe, and quickly became absorbed into that imperial consciousness. Swift, Steele, Burke and Sheridan were active in British politics. When Burke wrote about the miseries of Ireland it was in terms of a global responsibility that took in the French Revolution and the revolt of the American colonies. It was the duty of Augustan literature ‘with extensive view to Survey Mankind, from China to Peru’, and that perspective is reflected in the essays of Steele and the fiction and poetry of Goldsmith - though some critics have seen the withering of an Irish peasant community in his Deserted Village (1770).

Something of the same social dynamic may driven Barack Obama's portrayal of the Stage Pennsylvanian. His remarks before an upscale, California audience painted a picture of an instantly recognizable stereotype.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

The Stage Irishman was invented by some Irish writers in part to create a mythical society to which -- thankfully -- they did not belong. A pointed contrast to themselves. But the fact the stereotype was a fictional creation did not prevent it from being taken seriously. As described in the paragraph below the Stage Irishmen came to places where a real Irishman might never be seen. It would be interesting to study how much of the actual perception of Irishness was colored by fiction.

All the rage on London stages and in English music halls during the Irish Diaspora that followed the famine of the 1840s, this version of the Stage Irishman reached new heights of popularity—and new audiences, including theater­-goers in Dublin and New York—in the plays of Dion Boucicault, the Anglo-Irish theater impresario, who wrote The Colleen Bawn (1860), Arrah-na-Pogue (1864), and The Shaughraun (1874)—each of which provided him a star turn as the wily, sentimental Irish peasant. Due largely to the pervasiveness of Boucicault's plays, versions of this stock character, by the early twentieth century, had become a staple of the American stage and of vaudeville across the country.

Fiction taken as fact can be dangerous. It is now nearly forgotten that in the years leading up to World War 2, Allied soldiers were told that Japanese soldiers would shoot badly because of their poor eyesight. Doubtless they believed the Japanese had buck teeth too and would have difficulty eating. Singapore's last governor, Sir Thomas Shenton, was alleged to have told the British Army, on being told that the Imperial Japanese Army had landed in Malaya, 'well, I suppose you'll (the army) shove the little men off.'" The reality was rather different. It was not until 1942 that Allied navies achieved night-fighting parity with the Japanese Navy -- and that, only through the use of radar.

So the two questions raised by Barack Obama's Stage Pennsylvanians are a) does he believe in the existence of the stereotypical reality and b) does he need to believe it? Those are two separable questions which are both interesting in their own right.




The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

28 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't think the stereotyping is the whole problem. It's an insight into how BOb would tilt as President if we were to elect him to be that.

He'd be anti-gun and pro-illegal immigrant, for one thing, and both of those are major causes for concern among a huge swath of Americans.

Then when he starts taking potshots at people's religions (all the while still backing his own racist minister), those are all HUGE red flags that have nothing to do with people's little feelings being hurted.

4/12/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Fred P. said...

PLEASE WATCH AND EMAIL THESE LINKS OUT **NOW** TO YOUR FAMILY, CO-WORKERS AND FRIENDS AHEAD OF THE NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA AND PUERTO RICO PRIMARIES!!

Obama’s Pastor Celebrates 9/11 (explicit)
Only 5 Days After 3,000 Americans Killed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzhl-endvco

Obama’s Racially-Divisive Pastor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUbUBTlmAiA

Obama Disrespecting U.S. Flag and Anthem

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8QCkgg5Kjo

The Audacity of Barack Obama

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwjnT4eJJvs

The Audacity of Barack Obama 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeC8BE-2T_k

Is Obama Wright? - Pastor Wright & Senator Obama

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72B3tUAqpo4

Obama’s Pastor - 9/11 Fault of Israel Association

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnI431s1r6s

Obama - Cult of Personality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP7lUGn7HWk

Name Obama’s Accomplishments if you can #1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o

Name Obama’s Accomplishments if you can #2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzFOOcEQtP0

Barack Obama: There Will Be Bamboozling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuB_W8o_UsU

The Two Things Senator Obama Accomplished

http://www.floppingaces.net/2008/02/27/obamas-empty-change-message/

The Jeremiah Wright Lifetime Achievement Award

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prhnc2fxAzg

Gaza Strip Palestinians Campaigning for Obama

http://youtube.com/watch?v=21YF7ggCG6g

Barack Obama: Doesn’t Want his daughters ‘punished’ with a baby

http://youtube.com/watch?v=eNzmly28Bmg

4/12/2008 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Another stereotype that Obama frequently promotes, but hasn't been called on yet, is the "soldier-as-victim" stereotype. The poor, benighted soldiers forced to fight in a war they secretly oppose must be "rescued" by enlightened politicians like himself.

This allows him to disguise his liberal contempt for soldiers as a phony compassion, which plays far better in stump speeches then the "baby killer" mantra of the Jane Fonda leftists.

4/12/2008 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The essential problem with Barack Obama’s speech is his condescension – and not taking the views of rural people seriously.

It’s like the joke about the wife who is upset that her husband is keeping old newspapers strewn on the floor. So she complains to her husband that she doesn’t want the old newspapers on the floor. In reply, he asks her, “What’s really bothering you?”

When people support gun rights, it might mean they want to keep their guns. When people oppose getting their jobs shipped overseas, it might mean they don’t want local jobs shipped elsewhere. When people oppose abortion, it might mean they regard a fetus as human life. When people embrace religion, it might mean they really do believe in God. When people oppose illegal immigration, it might mean they want their nation’s laws to be enforced. Sometimes, what you see is what you get.

Yes, Senator Barack Obama, many Americans feel embittered. Some people feel embittered by elitist snobs who put words and sentiments into their mouths, blithely assuming that the actual issues people care about are a distraction from the “real problem”.

There is a real inequality in American life that is hidden from view and a powerful source of resentment. It is the inequality that exists within the minds of those in the mainstream media, an inequality often indistinguishable from cultural arrogance. Some Americans don’t like being told there is something wrong with us if we don’t immediately adopt fashionable clothes, fashionable music, fashionable language, and fashionable ideas merely because somebody from the media attempts to use the bandwagon effect on us. The problem isn’t necessarily the ideas themselves, for the ideas themselves constantly change, but the fact that a so-called “avante garde” assumes there is something wrong with the rest of humanity if it doesn’t follow their supposedly illuminated path.

Yes, Senator Barack Obama, some Americans do feel bitter, bitter against your blithe assumption that you are somehow morally superior. Yes, Senator Barack Obama, some Americans do feel bitter to hear themselves get lectured to on morality when you are hardly spotless yourself. However, Senator Barack Obama, not all Americans feel bitter against your smug self-righteousness. Some Americans are laughing at you instead.

4/12/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

You can speak on terms of equality with anyone, if you do it on a certain wavelength. Talk to fishermen, Mangyan tribesmen, garbage scavengers or hired killers. But to open the wavelength you have to know -- it's hard to fake it -- that in some sense whatever the differences in education, wealth or handsomeness are between you, you are equal. It comes through. Slumming doesn't do it.

But communicating in the upscale direction can be a little problematic. Because the key communication channel you sometimes have to open in order to communicate is not a protocol between equals but a password into an inner circle. Equality is not a virtue here. Some types of wealthy people have spent a lifetime trying not to be a corncob smokin', banjo strokin', chicken chokin' type of person. If they want to be reminded of that world at all it is only in the sense they no longer belong to it.

To his credit, when Barack Obama spoke to the California elite about the working class, it was with a fundamentally benevolent, but condescending message. Them poor folks, clinging to their Bibles and their guns, need our help. But preternatural politician that he is, Obama could not help but adapt himself to his circumstances. Couldn't help leaving whatever persona he really lives in to occupy however briefly those of his listeners.

And so he pitches his message, almost conspiratorially, at them. He speaks to the California elite as one of them. Someone who understands. And trots out his Stage Pennsylvanian. So that they can understand and respond, hopefully with pity, to save them hillbillies from their miserable selves. Hopefully to respond with nobless oblige, but probably with calculation, with a view to how to make a buck, as they have done all their lives.

A lot of commentators have hit Obama for being elitist. But while this is probably true, this is not the problem. Obama will become whoever he is talking to at the moment. In that case he was was with the rich. In that instant, he was with the billionaires and hence, he could stare down with them, as to the manner born, at the rubes. But when he gets in front of a factory worker audience, he'll be a different man and wax just as eloquent in lambasting the top-hatted, morning coated, striped pant-clad Capitalist Boss.

'Elect me'. 'I am the one'. This is his constant message. But the unspoken question is: who are you? Who goes there? And back comes the answer: 'I am the one'.

4/12/2008 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I think the definition of prejudice is when someone looks at you and then immediately assumes he knows who you are, how you think, and what opinions you have.

If Barack Obama wants people to overcome their prejudice, he could start with the man he looks at in the mirror.

4/12/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I live a few miles from Pennsylvania, -- or "Pencil-tucky," as it is occasionally referred to locally -- and of necessity frequently drive through that benighted state. The other day I was forced to stop in one of those small towns to buy gas. Fortunately it were on a Tuesday for that is the only day of the week they sell gas in Pennsylvania. This town had 400 people and 395 teeth. When I went inside to pay, the clerk said "Howdy Stranger," in a tone that was, well, bitter -- maybe 'cause he can only work one day a week.

Over by the pickle barrel, a gentleman sat in a wooden rocking chair, chewing tobacco and staring at me -- clinging to his gun and his religion. Thank God he was a Palestinian. Palestinians have a lot of experience with bitterness, religion and guns, so you gotta figure they can handle it better.

To get to New York City, I got to drive clear across Pa. I could go around, but driving through West Virginia is hardly an option. Hell, down there they are not only clinging to guns and religion, they are drunk on illegal hooch while they are doing it.

OK, I could fly over Pennsylvania if they ever finish the safety checks, but I'd have to go to the Pittsburgh airport to do that. Does going to Pennsylvania to fly over Pennsylvania make sense?

4/12/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The problem goes deeper than the condescension. What was Obama doing in Billionaire's Row, at the Getty Mansion? Raising funds. That's the problem.

The policies of the Democratic Party are aimed at punishing the white middle/working class. What does it matter to Blacks or White Billionaires if Pennsylvanians, Stage or Not, have guns, cling to religion, don't like hip-trendy gays, minorities of the week, or whatever? How does that affect the lives of pampered white Billionaires or Black "activists" (pampered Black millionaires) or poor Blacks?

It doesn't. Whether a Pennsylvanian has religion, or is a trendy gay atheist, has a gun or abhors them, doesn't matter in the least to the lives and interests and power of the Democratic coalition on display in Billionaire's Row.

It's a matter of finding and creating an enemy, a scapegoat, a group of people who can be punished and led and told what to do with impunity. Barack Hussein Obama rejected the idea that someone could tell Rev. God Damn America that he's wrong, but stupid "typical white persons" in Pennsylvania are dumb racist, bigoted hicks who "cling to religion."

Today in the WSJ, Richard Florida argues that having a "mega city" filled with hip cool gays and trendy art designers will create wealth ... well somehow. As long as everything is as dense as Manhattan. But the average homeowner must be moved out of the suburbs and into an urban row house, to be "cooled up" and presumably, "gayed up."

Democrats listen to this and eat it up. It's how deep the rot has become. And it's not about personality. Obama could have said what he said and it would not have excited much interest if his platform was social conservatism, hawkish defense, and clean, non-corrupt government getting tough on crime and building stuff.

Notice what Obama said for his proposals. Roll back tax cuts (irrelevant to billionaires directly, they want control over the public purse). He's not proposing the "old school" Democrat solutions of building lots of infrastructure, cleaning up government, making people more productive. He's talking about welfare plus I guess lots of Downtown Loft conversions for really cool people.

That's the Democratic Party. Obama's remarks are a feature not a bug.

4/12/2008 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Fiction taken as fact can be dangerous.

It becomes harder every year to distinguish between the two, fiction and fact, and they both come at us at the speed of light. They demand a response long before a rational evaluation can even be assessed.
In the current presidential cycle, seemingly in it's eight or ninth year, each candidate instantly has a retort or criticism for a gaffe or even near gaffe ...it's really sick ..the machines have taken away any thoughtful reflection and replaced it with instant deflection ...some true, but mostly half truths of outright lies. The sans culottes don't have a chance.

Both Hillary and Obama are being exposed as lacking an absolute essential to be an effective leader ..character.

4/12/2008 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Fiction taken as fact can be FATAL

The Titanic...unsinkable.

4/12/2008 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger deepinjuncountry said...

Obama is lost. He doesn't belong anywhere. No daddy, whacko mommy, only stolid granny. He's empty inside, a Telemachus searching all his life for the hero nobodaddy Odysseus. And all he found was Wright, a calculating embittered mulatto like himself. Obama's problem is that he doesn't know any real people, only thespians in clerical and political garb. He's less than an empty suit, he's an empty person.

4/12/2008 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

Zombietime's report and pix on Obama's visit to Billionaires Row are great, by the way.

Is it just me, or does the guy in the Brawley sweatshirt look just like Robert Redford? The eyes are blurred, I know, but ... the mouth and chin and nose and wrinkles are his, dead-on.

Why would two younger chicks be staring adoringly at a beach-bum type at an event filled with suited bazillionaires, unless the beach-bum type were also The Sundance Kid?

And who but a Hollywood star would show up at such an event dressed like a beach bum?

Just a thought.

4/12/2008 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Genji said...

deepinjuncountry: Nes. Yo.

Let's hope that the next few months become OB's Nighttown Nightmare.

Having said that, he's just so much 'better' at being all things to all people than the Clintons (who got 8 years out the same trick) - it never ceases to amaze me that the electorate could be sucked in by either of those two.

I accept that democracy is the worst political system except for all the other alternatives, but sometimes one's faith is severely tried.

Wretchard, very good point about the different requirements for successfully communicating up and down. Today's members of the 'englightened class' are more likely to meet a (self-selecting entrepeneurial) Batak on the shores of his volcanic lake than any West Virginian (insert stereotype here).

Bataks amuse me no end. The ones who have not become muslim eat dogs. Until no more than 150 years ago, they customarily killed and ate their parents once they became infirm in old age. They talk very fast and are famously argumentative. Consequently, in modern Indonesia, they famously fill two important niches in society - most of the Jakarta bus drivers are Batak, as are the cream of the Indonesian legal system (Best that Money Can Buy(tm)) on both sides of the bar.

4/13/2008 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

"The policies of the Democratic Party are aimed at punishing the white middle/working class."

Yes. And cleverly disguised as "we're on the side of the working man" rhetoric. Unfortunately, too many still fall for that ruse.

The ratio of Democratic to Republican voters here in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA) is 5 to 1. Thanks to the unions, Democrats have had control here for generations. There hasn't been a Republican mayor since 1933.

And yet we have: a burdensome tax code, crumbling infrastructure, job loss, population loss (except for seniors, who require more and more social service expenditures from an ever-shrinking base of working-age taxpayers), business HQ loss, over-regulation, layers of redundant borough-based government, legacy debt, and a bankrupting amount of public-sector union pensions to fulfill. Oh yeah, did I mention the damn tax code?

Mismanagement by Port Authority (read: golden parachutes for senior executives) has driven that agency to the brink of insolvency. County executive Dan Onorato's "fix"? A 10% tax on served drinks in Allegheny County. Oh yeah, did I mention that Mr. Onorato is a Democrat?

The people here (I am a non-native, so I'm allowed to say this) are by and large wonderful, friendly, hard-working, loyal, and ... frugal. (Scots legacy?) Frugal is a virtue, given the sucky economy hereabouts.

It's just too bad that such good people have been so ill-served by so many incompetent politicians for so long. Then again, these good people keep pulling the lever again and again for anything with a (D) after it. I think it's part misguided loyalty (tradition), part scare tactics aimed at seniors, and part union peer pressure.

Obama is going to be at the Pittsburgh Convention Center on Monday talking to about a thousand steelworkers. I'm curious to see what the reaction to him will be now that the "cling to their guns and religion" remarks have hit the news cycle.

Personally, I have never bought into his rhetoric. I don't need his (standard DNC) kind of help: the kind that costs me, at present, 35% of my already sub-$40K income, with more to be confiscated if he gets to implement his so-called cures.

I just need to be left the h*ll alone by the pocket-picking pols of both parties. If there weren't trillions of tax dollars flowing into Washington, the special interest lobbying problem would take care of itself. "Special interests" won't go away until the pork trough does.

I'm not cynical about this country or our future. And I'm not "bitter" over the specific difficulties of this region, maddening as they may be. I love Pittsburgh and will stay here as long as I am able. The natural beauty of the region is amazing (someone on the advance team should have warned Senator Obama that Hills + Deer = Hunters), lots of cultural and educational opportunities here, and yah, there are the Steelers.

To be insulted by Senator Obama as a bunch of snarling, gun-clutching trogs and then be asked to drink more of the same statist, tax-sucking poison that has afflicted us so badly is the height of absurdity.

4/13/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

Wretch -

In college, I once asked one of my professors why the greatest theatrical comedy writers (Farquhar, Sheridan, Wilde, Shaw) were all Irish.

He proceeded to give me a thoroughly intellectual answer about comedies of manners, and how it took an outsider to recognize and pierce the shibboleths, etc. etc.

And then I went to a second professor, an Irish-American named Keenan, and remarked to him what the first professor had said.

Keenan's immediate response? "Or maybe it's because we're just funnier."

4/13/2008 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Obama is displaying the heart of modern liberalism (which is the opposite of the meaning of the word 'liberal') by portraying everyone as bitter and depressed. Democrats and liberals in general are bitter about America, and they feel righteously hateful toward anyone who disagrees with them. Even our elected government is an evil regime that must be defeated. A war approved by 75% of Congress is treasonously described as "Bush's War." It's all of a piece with the self-loathing they feel for themselves, which they project as America losing international esteem over the last few years, as if the world held us in high honor after we meekly accepted declarations and acts of war against us perpertrated by Al Qaeda all through the 90's. See, a humiliated, weak, self-defeating America would match so much better with their own view of America.

The problem with Obama's condescension is its very contemptuousness, there is none of the lovable traits of the Stage Irishman - irascible, generous, eloquent and sentimental....

Obama was about to lose Pennsylvania anyway, now he's going to lose it big. His remarks to the billionaires was his lofty way of shedding the opinions of these low-life white trash from any tarnish they might throw on his regal splendor among the 'enlightened' who follow him slavishly.

McCain is going to crush this guy because a majority of Americans do not hate America or hate themselves, and they are repelled by this self-loathing defeatism.

4/13/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/13/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Tony said:

"McCain is going to crush this guy because a majority of Americans do not hate America or hate themselves, and they are repelled by this self-loathing defeatism."

Please don't assume this. Barack Hussein is a very dangerous man. Through out history, demagogues like Hussein have destroyed great nations. Hillary is losing to him because she did not respect his hidden danger.

4/13/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

You asked:

"So the two questions raised by Barack Obama's Stage Pennsylvanians are a) does he believe in the existence of the stereotypical reality and b) does he need to believe it? Those are two separable questions which are both interesting in their own right."

I think the answer to both is yes.

It has to be, otherwise Obama's synapses can't touch. It's imperative that anyone who likes guns, religion, small towns with mostly kinfolk, hunting, fishing, who could give a shit what happens in big cities or DC, is deeply bummed out about abortion, etc etc. be in some sense a pathetic character. To like those things or have those feelings a person has to be bitter and depressed while unconsciously looking for outside help to cure their despondency.

Secondly he needs to believe it otherwise there's no reason for his public service or core beliefs. It's those people out there clutching their guns who are the root of the Black diaspora. Without them his wife is "mad" and his spiritual guide a bigot and racist.

They need saving. While Obama is running against Hillary they are still part of the larger mantra of it takes a village to be led by elites.

Obama's awakening, should he have one, will come when he realizes these "hayseeds" are what make America, America. As to his wife's hysteria and his preacher's bigotry that victimology lesson is probably never coming. It is so deeply ingrained in the Black community that only its conservative members have escaped it. Those, the Sowell's of the world, we can count on two hands.

4/13/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Yes sir, Eggplant,

That is good advice. I've seen my grown men friends swooning at this new Savior. Of course, these are the same guys who believe Global Warming and Bush Lied, Obama is a step further down that crazy lane.

Now that Pennsylvania is getting its 15 minutes of fame, let's remember that the Philly area has the highest concentration of colleges and universities in the US. Deerhunter country starts up about 20 miles outside of Philly.

Speaking of guns, Philly is the murder capital among Big Cities now. Little too much clingin' to guns in big towns, too, I guess.

McCain's primary weakness against this poseur will be the economy. If we're in a recession, American voters are likely to just flip the switch, the hell with it. Scary, I agree, with Obama in the wings.

4/13/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Being a Pennsylvanian, I take offense to every element of this sophisticated burble of right-thinking sympathy. Do we need this kind of patronizing "support"?

Are Pennsylvanians more bitter than other folks? I know some bitter ones, I suppose, but I know more who are optimistic, striving, energetic and cognizant of how the world works.

There is a big difference between the rural gun culture and the gun culture in Philadelphia. It's not irrational to defend your home. And it's not irrational to use guns for recreation. Pennsylvanians have always been hunters. It has nothing to do with loss of jobs in the steel industry. There is no reason, other than the fuzzy thinking of people who would prefer not to know where their meat comes from, to stop hunting. It is still a source of food, as are our vegetable gardens, and there's nothing antediluvian about it. Think of it as "free-range" everything.

Why use the word "cling"? It implies irrational adherence to a meaningless tradition. Wrong and impolite. Cling to religion? How bizarre is that? Why would someone cling to a church that promoted irrational and emotionally damaging themes? For decades even. I do know someone like that.

As far as the anti-immigrant thing goes, it's crudely patronizing to suggest that it is solely the product of a damaged, downtrodden working class psyche. There are legitimate arguments for controlling immigration. You may think it's wrong, but you have no right to think it has no intellectual policy basis. It is, after all, the law of the land. The stereotype is Hazleton. But in fact, the factors that the mayor of Hazleton cited, such as criminality, have all improved dramatically since many of the illegals have moved on.

Pennsylvania has its share of bigots and lawbreakers. I don't think we're over-represented on that score, however.

4/13/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

And now, for a change of pace from Obama's Stage Pennsylvanians ....

Real Pennsylvanians

Wonder if Obama's ever been camping as an adult? Y'know, pitch the tent, haul out the Coleman cooler, roll out the mat and unfold your chair, make the good ole foil dinner with the kids.

Rain is kind of a pain in the a** but unavoidable here in Southwestern PA. Plus, the smell of the woods after rain is great.

Only to a city boy like Obama would the concept of the Pennsylvania outdoorsman be an exotic novelty, an incongruity, even; to him, it must be a recent development born of economic distress. You buy the $150 tent at Wal-Mart cuz you can't afford the $1500 vacation to Myrtle Beach.

While a tent is a great value (and I did mention that Pittsburghers tend to be frugal types, didn't I?), some people do buy the tent and go camping, fishing, and hunting because they actually prefer those kinds of things to the spas and clubs. And/or because it's a tradition in their family. And/or because the woods offer you a kind of peace and privacy you can't get most other places. And/or because there's no togetherness like six-sleeping-bags-on-the-tent-floor togetherness.

4/13/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Tony said:

"McCain's primary weakness against this poseur will be the economy. If we're in a recession, American voters are likely to just flip the switch, the hell with it. Scary, I agree, with Obama in the wings."

Tony has nailed it.

Historically after a major economic down turn, Americans almost always turn their brains off and vote for the opposition party. Under that scenario, the Democrats could nominate Beelzebub himself and then get him elected in the general election.

This is an incredibly dangerous situation.

4/13/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The key to "prejudice" is the prejudging, be it based on skin color, religious affiliation, or your views on gun ownership.

I can easily see somebody who uses the phrase "bitter rednecks" using other phrases like "lazy Hispanics", "greedy Jews", "drunken Irish", etc.

It's one thing to walk a mile in another man's shoes, it's another to say you needn't bother because you understand him so well already.

4/13/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Bogie Wheel,

We spent our summer vacations in Black Moshannon State Park. We took everything that could fit in a hatchback. It was wonderful, and we met some wonderful people.

4/14/2008 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger mark said...

As an Irishman, I'd be the last to argue that the stereotypes of the various Irish types don't have a wee bit of the truth in them.

My favorite line, from that bitter exile O'Casey, from "Juno and the Paycock," I believe. "Aye, Joxer, t'was a glorious wake. Five, maybe six, a-retching on the holy stones!"

O.k., here comes the transition:

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Please note that Obama's words are quite self-revelatory, cutting two ways. Mutatis mutandis, the words y apply equally well to him and to (let's stereotype) many of his supporters. Substitute "gun-control" for "guns," "intolerant atheism/ moral relativism" for "religion," and "open-borders" for "anti-immigrant" and the mirror image is exact.

Regarding "antipathy to people who aren't like them"? Well, that fits Mr. Obama's supporters to a "t." I see quite a fair bit of antipathy from the left for the right. Hateful antipathy, often.

So Mr. Obama's comments seem to be a classic example of "projection." It takes one to know one, as my Irish mother often said.

I thought at first Mr. Obama was really trying to rise about an us-them divisiveness.

My wife is going to vote for Obama anyway. She doesn't follow the news or read blogs. She's a good barometer regarding Obama's base. I could score lots of points on the home front via a timely conversion to the Obama party. (I could fib, but the truth would out. I don't do the Blarney sufficiently well.)

I'm stocking up on the poteen, for sure.

4/14/2008 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Eggplant, for Dems Under that scenario, the Democrats could nominate Beelzebub himself and then get him elected in the general election.

You must be talking about 1980, when Ronaldus Magnus assumed office, when the Republicans could nominate a minor god and win.

At the time, Carter was in full-blown Democrat surrender mode, losing wars on 4 continents, complete with the Mr. Rogers cardigans in the cold White House.

1980: Ronaldus Magnus v Carter in Electoral College: 489 v 49.

Most Americans understand we must win wars, as our granpappies did. We're not in surrender mode now, as much as the MSM tries to depict this administration as losing - compared to what?

I can't believe American voters will vote to surrender. Color me hopeful.

4/14/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Tony,
Don't forget Carter also "fought" Russian agression by crushing the hopes and dreams of American Olympic athletes by not letting them compete. In light of Hillary and Obama's recent calls for Olympic boycots, it seems Carter's foreign policy may again be in vogue.

4/14/2008 06:56:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger