May 22, 2007

"Maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn."

This line, from yesterday's blogger conference, is making quite the sensation. And rightly so! McCain hilariously combines two embarrassing things about Romney:
McCain made his comments after he was asked his opinion about GOP rivals opposing the Senate measure.

Referring to Romney's stance, McCain said: "Maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes because it's changed in less than a year from his position before."

Then, with a chuckle, he made his cutting quip that referenced two embarrassing episodes for Romney in the past six months.

Romney has faced criticism for calling himself a lifelong hunter even though he joined the National Rifle Association in August and officials in four states where he has lived said he never took out a hunting license. Defending himself, he said in April, "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints, if you will."

Also, The Boston Globe reported late last year that several illegal immigrants, including at least one from Guatemala, worked at the lawn care company that worked on Romney's two-and-a-half acre property in a Boston suburb for a decade. His aides have said that Romney was not aware of the workers' status, and that the owner was in the country legally.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said his boss' opposition to the immigration measure has been clear. Madden counter-punched McCain, saying: "It seems that certain candidates who brokered this flawed plan are having a very difficult time grappling with or coming to terms with the political fallout that has ensued in a substantive manner."
Hey, that "counter-punch" isn't even mildly amusing!

How much can a great joke help a candidate or persuade people about an issue? Can you think of some good examples of jokes that worked beyond just being funny? The main one I think of is Reagan's line: "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. " That defused the serious issue of his age (or so they say).

McCain's great joke is kind of different, because it initially strikes us as bizarre. You need to know about two news stories to get it. And it's got the image of threatening to shoot people, which can disturb and confuse anyone who doesn't understand the joke and which resonates badly with McCain's own negative.

Reagan's joke was warm and flipped his own negative to a positive. It wasn't the slightest bit nasty toward his opponent, Walter Mondale, who wasn't too young himself. Saying it, Reagan seemed entirely good-hearted. McCain said something negative about the other guy, and it seems to express McCain's own negative aspect of anger. The joke puts a picture a crazy gun-waving character in your head. The ordinary person, who is more likely to know McCain's reputation as a hothead than the varmints and Guatemalans background stories, may instinctively put McCain's face on that crazy guy.

When I heard the joke, the part that seemed most discordant to me was that it named a specific ethnic group. Normally, in the immigration debate, we speak of Hispanic people. Why is it suddenly Guatemalans? Once you read the background news stories, you know exactly why he said that and it becomes especially funny. But all those things you think in the lag time between hearing the joke and getting the varmints-and-Guatemalans background are a big drag on the political effectiveness of the joke.

IN THE COMMENTS: Froggyprager thinks the need to explain the joke is the reason it will be politically effective:
The bloggers will talk about it, people need to figure out what it means, then the main stream media will highlight the problems with Mitt that McCain wants to point out to the world.
So the joke's weirdness gets your attention, then you require an explanation, and then everyone -- like me, here -- has to talk about the joke and how they understood it, and that generates a new story about how everyone's been talking about it. And the two stories that are harmful to Romney get retold and retold in the process.

John Stodder writes:
The joke is very "inside-baseball." It's perfect for McCain's real audience, his erstwhile supporters in the media who "get" all the references. The mind that gestated that joke is the same mind behind McCain's misguided political strategy. He's such an admirable guy, but unfortunately, he is afflicted with the same inability to talk to normal people as the other longtime senators in the race, Biden and Dodd.

Romney is starting to remind me of someone I'm sure he'd rather not be compared to: John Kerry.
Uh-oh. From Massachusetts too.

40 comments:

JSinger said...

1) I really can't get that excited about the immigration bill either way. Illegal immigration has a life of its own, and it's going to continue regardless of what law gets passed, and in another 10-15 years, we'll be back to another round of "OK, amnesty again, but this time we're *serious* about future enforcement!"

2) I'm completely unaware of the Romney gardener issue. He was supposed to have done what, exactly, checked green cards for anyone the contractor brought over to his house? As one of his constituents, I'd rather he'd spent his days fixing the Big Dig, not hanging out at his house waiting for the landscapers to show up.

Kevin Lomax said...

"He was supposed to have done what, exactly, checked green cards for anyone the contractor brought over to his house?"

He wasn't supposed to do anything. Just the media cracking skulls again on an issue the leaders don't have the will to do anything about.

If he doesn't check status of the contractor's employees he is hiring illegals and should be hung. If he does, he's racial profiling because they looked like they were from south of the border. Likewise, a hangable offense in our politically correct culture.

He can't win. They play the same game with Walmart and their contracted cleaning crews.

Alphaliberal - grow up. Post this crap on your own blog.

Palladian said...

"But Ann Althouse is silent before this assault on American freedom. She only has criticism for Democrats."

Why do Althouse's most boring commenters always expect her to comment on everything? I can imagine these same boring commenters screaming at the hot dog vendor or the bus driver:

"Mr Hot Dog Vendor is silent before this assault on American freedom. He only hands over hot dogs!"

Contrary to what your indignant logorrhea suggests, this is not your blog. If you don't like what's posted here, go find another blog that does post about it. There are only 1293847583 screeching lefty blogs out there to choose from.

Something about your indignant tone, your tendency to cut and paste long quotes and your slight inability to form coherent passages of English lead me to believe you might have commented here before in one of several different guises. What is it that makes this blog so appealing to you?

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian: I deleted the comment you responded to.

Roost on the Moon said...

I'm with you 100% on this, Alpha, and the Churchill quote was great, but if you are going to post that comment on every blog that isn't talking about detainee rights, then you've really got your work cut out for you. And I imagine it'll annoy more people than it convinces.

The analysis of the joke was great. I think the slight meanness of it might hurt McCain a little in the long run, but he's already something of an underdog, and because he's going to pay the political price for his hothead reputation anyway, he might as well use it to score points when he can.

The attention it's drawing to Romney's political foibles is going to echo through to the primaries. That is, the hypocrisy with the hired help and the phoniness of his hunting persona, combined with his recent and fishy hard pull right on social issues, form talking points that are really going to stick.

(Romney's a phony. He's a blue-state blue-blood. He hires illegals to take care of his mansion, and pretends to be like you and me...)

Plus, the archetype is already fresh in our minds, via the now almost universally despised John Kerry. Its going to be easy to make Romney look like a pandering clown.

McCain might suffer a little, but I think this is an indication that the other candidates are going to be reinforcing this view of Romney. Last month, I would've picked him to win the nomination. Now I don't think he has a chance.

Jeff said...

One thing about differentiating Guatemalans from Mexicans is that the Mexican government is heavily anti-immigrant, especially against Guatemalans and other poor border crossers. They treat Guatemalans in a way that would draw diplomatic protests if the US treated Mexicans in a similar fashion.

Roost on the Moon said...

It's also an interesting twist on the idea that if you need to explain a joke, it isn't funny.

In this case, the joke is funny enough that it has got people explaining. And what they're explaining are the multiple ways in which Romney is a privileged phony.

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha: No more thread hijacking. I am vigorously deleting you now because you've become an egregious offender here. If you want to push your issues, do it on your own blog. I'm setting up the topic here and you're screwing it up.

SteveR said...

If he had said "Mexicans" instead of Guatemalans (even if accurate) it would have probably been viewed as offensive, by some.

If you have to get an explanation, its not that funny. So I don't think it worked.

Joan said...

See, I didn't think McCain's comment was funny at all. I listened to the audio, and it came off as not especially mean, just a bit of a sarcastic comeback, softened at the end with a little laugh. I had heard about neither of the two news stories that McCain was referring to, so the varmint stuff and the Gautemalan reference evoked a "What is he talking about?" reaction more than anything else.

McCain's campaign is dead in the water now over this immigration bill. It's disgusting how they're trying to ram it through for a vote before anyone even has time to understand it. Clever quips that go right past the majority of the electorate's heads aren't going to save McCain now.

Richard Dolan said...

McCain's crack about Romney was funny in the same way that the best political attack ads are funny: it used Romney's own words to make him look ridiculous (or worse). McCain's line was a nice example of sarcasm dressed up as humor to cut through a lot of pretense, like the wind surfer ads in the 2004 campaign that used visual images to do basically the same thing to Kerry. Letterman does it all the time, and it always gets a laugh. Humor like that makes an impression; rooted as it is in fact, it's very hard for the target to shake it off.

Reagan's line was different in that he was poking fun at himself, and by doing so, was able to get people to relax about his age. It worked by making Reagan look so comfortable and confident in himself that he could joke about a fact that others saw as a handy tag for his biggest weakness. Dole tried to do some of that in the '96 campaign, but could never pull it off.

Ann comments: "McCain said something negative about the other guy, and it seems to express McCain's own negative aspect of anger." Perhaps there was something in McCain's tone that suggested anger, or perhaps there is a gender difference at work here. To me, McCain's joke sounds like the kind of remark a guy would make, only partly in jest, to an acquaintance in need of being brought down a peg or two. That happens in social settings, often involving sports, where one guy is sounding like a phony or a jerk and needs to be made aware of how he's coming across. And politics is the blood sport par excellence. The "anger" angle here just sounds like the conventional wisdom about McCain inserting itself where it doesn't really fit.

MadisonMan said...

Varmint. The word makes me chuckle. I'm amazed that anyone uses it anymore.

froggyprager said...

Seems to me to be a smart politically effective joke. The bloggers will talk about it, people need to figure out what it means, then the main stream media will highlight the problems with Mitt that McCain wants to point out to the world.

Roost on the Moon said...

"I had heard about neither of the two news stories that McCain was referring to"

And now you have! I hadn't heard about the laborers yet either. I'd say its working.

PatCA said...

I understood both of the news stories, and I still think it was meant as an insult, just like Chertoff's "humorous" riposte to the opposition, or Graham's bigot comment, or to those opposed to the Dubai ports deal or Harriet Meyers.

You are right that Reagan's joke was effective because it came off as warm and humorous, and not on a hot button issue--but to me McCain's was pure venom. He was waiting for an opportunity to take his shot at a rival, and he did. It came off badly.

But that's me. Humor is in the eyes of the beholder.

Steve S said...

If the joke ends up with media play of Romney's ridiculous remark about being a lifelong hunter and going after "small varmints" (as it appears it is doing), then it's effective. McCain may have an image problem with being angry, but I'd say that's fairly well settled among the electorate and unlikely to change many people's minds about him.

On the other hand, Romney is still introducing himself to voters nationally, and anything that reinforces the initial narrative--that he values expediency above all else--can be damaging.

Plus, like madisonman said, the word "varmint" is just plain funny (especially when uttered by someone like Romney).

vet66 said...

McCain is way off. Being from Arizona also, I disagree totally with McCain and Kennedy regarding what is a whitewashed verson of amnesty. I just paid my auto insurance and guess what, I am paying for uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists.

Romney would have hired an illegal to run the Guatemalans off his property. Those pesky triggers are brutal on a manicure and illegals work cheap!

Invisible Man said...

You are right that Reagan's joke was effective because it came off as warm and humorous, and not on a hot button issue--but to me McCain's was pure venom.

Pure venom? Isn't that a bit overboard. I know that people's bias's tend to slant what they find humorous, like conservatives with the Daily Show, liberals with Red Eye and humans with the Half-hour Hour Comedy whatever on Fox, but calling a pretty mild joke about Romney pure venom is a little over the top. I doubt you would even consider Guiliani's response to Ron Paul pure venom, and Guiliani looked as though he his next move was to carve Paul's heart out with a spoon.

Personally, I found it pretty funny but I was aware of both stories so maybe it was just one of those insiders jokes that you just have to get. I have a feeling that the '04 blueprint for mocking Kerry is just going to mercilessly haunt poor Romney and this is just the beginning. You will see some sharp elbows between the different candidates, but between Romney's hair, ripe-for-comedy faith, sheer phoniness and the faux-toughness of Tom Cruise, candidates will find that mocking him will be even easier than taking him head on.

John Stodder said...

The joke is very "inside-baseball." It's perfect for McCain's real audience, his erstwhile supporters in the media who "get" all the references. The mind that gestated that joke is the same mind behind McCain's misguided political strategy. He's such an admirable guy, but unfortunately, he is afflicted with the same inability to talk to normal people as the other longtime senators in the race, Biden and Dodd.

Romney is starting to remind me of someone I'm sure he'd rather not be compared to: John Kerry.

If I knew anything about hunting, think of the money I could have made as a hunting-excursion organizer for would-be future presidents:

"Yes, that's right friends, I'll make sure you have a bona-fide hunting license, custom tailored hunting jackets, hats and boots, and photographers ready to capture all the big moments, like you bagging your first deer. For a nominal extra charge, our photographer will photoshop any member of your family into the picture. Recapture those memories you never had!"

Thorley Winston said...

"He was supposed to have done what, exactly, checked green cards for anyone the contractor brought over to his house?"


I think it actually backfires on McCain because most people won’t get the Guatemalan reference (which was lame for the reason you stated) and more than likely they’ll think that McCain is saying that by coming out against the immigration bill McCain favors, he was mocking Romney’s call for securing our boarders by comparing him to people that think we need to take up arms if necessary to secure them.


I’m not sure how McCain gains any ground by reminding likely Republican voters of an issue that’s very near and dear to large block of them and where he’s seen as being on the other side. It not only reinforces the perception (which is overblown if not outright wrong IMO) that McCain has contempt for conservatives but by mocking Romney for taking a conservative stance on this issue, it may serve to help voters who detest McCain identify further with Romney.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

The first joke/insult by one candidate of another candidate that comes to mind is this one by Gerald Ford:

Ronald Reagan doesn't dye his hair, he's just prematurely orange.

I'm not old enough to know how Reagan or the public responded to this. Does anyone recall?

Revenant said...

It seems tone-deaf of McCain to mock Romney for flip-flopping on this issue when Romney's "flip" puts him closer to the mainstream of the Republican Party. Does it do McCain any good to underline the fact that while Romney is shifting his position in order to appeal to Republicans, McCain is resolute in giving the finger to the vast majority of the party?

JSinger said...

(Romney's a phony. He's a blue-state blue-blood. He hires illegals to take care of his mansion, and pretends to be like you and me...)

I don't know about you, but when the exterminators come to spray for termites, I don't stay home and demand to check their green cards. I doubt if John McCain does.

Romney is starting to remind me of someone I'm sure he'd rather not be compared to: John Kerry.

Here (scroll down) is Romney's appearance on one of our lower-brow fishing shows. Does that remind you of John Kerry? On the other hand, he clearly has no interest in fishing or hunting, and isn't served by advisors telling him to pretend he does.

Joan said...

JSinger, thanks for posting the link to that clip. I didn't get to the water skiing part, but the fishing part was expectedly hokey. What was surprising was, in the interview, how un-Kerrylike Romney was. When Charlie Moore is chatting him up and praising him for the Olympics, Romney's response is genuine and immediate: "A lot of good people made that happen." I found him talking about the lake house his family had when he was a kid genuine also, so I didn't take away that impression that he's not at all interested in fishing (no comment on hunting, though.)

vrse said...

First, it doesn't make sense to refer to Guatemalans as a "specific ethnic group." Guatemalans, much like Mexicans, descend from Aztecs, Mayans, and other Native American cultures. Save for different flags and passport, the two groups are "ethnically" the same. So tighten up your diction, especially if you want to criticize Greenwald's writing.

Second, and more disturbingly, how is it "hilarious" to shoot people of "a specific ethnic group"? People laugh about the "Varmint" and the "Guatemalans" but neglect the in-between act: "shooting Guatemalans."

See, dumb right-wingers just don't understand humor. There's a way to push the envelope while being edgy and witty. Idiots like McCain think that because Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle get to push the envelope, then it's okay for them to use similar language in any form whatsoever.

That's why walnuts McCain feels free to go on the Daily Show and tell Stewart "I brought you back a gift, an IED." He probably figured, "hey, it's the daily show, Stewart says shocking stuff all the time, so why can't I"; not realizing that the IED joke is simply mean, rude, and in my opinion, disrespectful to those whose lives have been changed by IEDs. The same goes for "Bomb Iran."

In this case, the joke would have been somewhat funny if Romney were a closet racist who secretly dislikes Guatemalans, or Hispanics for that matter. In the alternative, it would make sense, though still fall short of being funny, if instead of Romney, we were talking about Tancredo, for instance.

However, the "shooting of Guatemalans" is but a facilitator. In a way, McCain availed himself of dumb, racist, and classless imagery -- i.e. the shooting of Guatemalans -- to make the joke work.

This is not just poor joke writing, it reveals yet another side of McCain's ugly personality; and the fact that you find this joke "hilarious" reveals yet another ugly side of yours.

Roger said...

It really is QUXXO incarnate! its the bad law school professor who doesnt "support the rule of law" schtick.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

vrse wrote:

People laugh about the "Varmint" and the "Guatemalans" but neglect the in-between act: "shooting Guatemalans."


Okay....but McCain didn't mention shooting; that's completely your invention. What McCain said is this:

In the case of Governor Romney, you know, maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes, because it's changed in less than a year from his position before. And maybe his solution will be to get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn. I don't know.

Does the fact that McCain didn't actually mention "shooting" change your analysis of the joke?

boston70 said...

The joke was funny and I am sure there will be many more directed at Romney in order to identify him as a major flip-flopper.

John Stodder said he thought Romeny was starting to look like Kerry? Hell, he passed him up in the flip flop area months ago.

This joke is something that you need to explain to people who aren't watching the election closely yet. Once it explained these individuals can easily form an opinion in their minds.

As far as the comment by Romney, "small varmints if you will" almost sounded foreign or worse yet Kerryish and French.

The problem with Rommey is that he has tried to reinvent himself over the past few months drastically and there is just too much baggage to be successful for him to portray him as the authentic conservative.

His pandering to the social conservatives has been especially disturbing as he never spoke like this as a governor or candidate for public office in Mass. The new social conservative Romney surfaced around sometime in 2004 or 2005 about the time he knew he was out the door and on to a national election.

Romney either lied to the state of Mass when he was running in terms of his values or he is lieing to the nation about his values. Either way his values are whatever he believes will get him elected.

He would be the best candidate to run against the democrats though Those youtube videos of him are a goldmine.

ricpic said...

Dasn't make a joke nowadays. Who knows what invisible fine tuned bien pensant trip wire you might trip?

Revenant said...

First, it doesn't make sense to refer to Guatemalans as a "specific ethnic group." Guatemalans, much like Mexicans, descend from Aztecs, Mayans, and other Native American cultures. Save for different flags and passport, the two groups are "ethnically" the same.

That claim makes no sense. The Aztecs and Mayans were separate and distinct ethnicities, as were the "other Native American groups". So how did they magically become "ethnically the same"?

Thanks for the extended listing of jokes you didn't get, though.

SteveR said...

Yeah kinda like how Palestinians, Jordanians, and Saudis are all just Arabs.

Zeb Quinn said...

And Romney came back today with a very good response: "I guess it just shows that, even when he's wrong, he's amusing."

vrse said...

Revenant,

You don't make any sense. Way before Mexico and Guatemala existed, their territories were populated by people descendeding from these cultures. A line was drawn by Spanish conquerers following a criterion other than ethnic distinction. The two populations have the same origins, thus, it doesn't make sense to identify them as different ethnicities.

Revenant said...

Way before Mexico and Guatemala existed, their territories were populated by people descendeding from these cultures.

Both territories had native inhabitants, yes. But what is now Guatamala contained (for example) most of the Mayans and virtually no Aztecs, while Mexico contained virtually all of the Aztecs and (pecentage-wise) few Mayans -- plus, of course, countless cultures in its north and west whose ancestors never went anywhere *near* Guatamala. The two territories ended up with significantly different native populations simply because that's where those native populations happened to live. They're only ethnically identical if you assume "one red man's the same as another".

Thought experiment: let's say aliens invade and arbitrarily divide up the world into two territories: "North of the Equator" and "South of the Equator". Will those two territories be ethnically indistinguishable from one another? Obviously not -- they'll be quite different, even though the aliens didn't care about ethnicity when they drew the border, simply because of the way cultures and races are positioned on the globe.

A line was drawn by Spanish conquerers following a criterion other than ethnic distinction. The two populations have the same origins, thus, it doesn't make sense to identify them as different ethnicities.

The second sentence makes absolutely no sense in light of the first sentence. Drawing an line on a map without regard to the ethnicity of the inhabitants doesn't magically make the people on opposite sides of it ethnically indistinguishable. Guatamalans have a culture and ancestry which is quite distinct from that of Mexico. The parts they have in common are those they share with Spain -- and I'd assume you're not about to claim that there's no ethnic difference between Mexicans and Spaniards.

vrse said...

Revenant, you moron. Your "thought experiment" is idiotic. Think "aliens" dividing Iowa and Ohio into separate countries and calling them different ethnicities.

Althouse, your readers are dumb. Feel proud of yourself.

Revenant said...

Think "aliens" dividing Iowa and Ohio into separate countries and calling them different ethnicities.

Obviously the closest you've ever come to a Native American was "Lone Ranger" reruns on television.

The Aztecs and the Mayans -- to name just TWO of the groups you've lumped together under your typically lefty "all brown people are the same" policy -- were vastly different from each other. Different gods, different languages, different governmental structures, different philosophies. Claiming that they're as similar as Ohio and Iowa inspires nothing but laughter in those of us who actually know something about other cultures. Oh, and to clear up another misconception you're probably under, they didn't really use "heap big trouble" to mean "bad", either.

I'd say you've got shit for brains, but frankly that'd be an insult to manure.

From Inwood said...

No one has come up with an answer to Prof A’s query:

"Can you think of some good examples of jokes that worked beyond just being funny? The main one I think of is Reagan's line: 'I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.' "

If we expand this to quips, mots, then I think my answer would be the same: I can't think of any except Reagan's "There you go again".

I can think of one that hurt: Candidate Dewey's put down of his train engineer who started the train too soon almost causing severe injuries. The consensus seemed to be that this reinforced people’s feeling that Dewey was mean, remote from the real world of the common man & had no idea of noblesse oblige. (Which was a pretty harsh judgment of the man on the wedding cake!)

And then there was candidate Blaine's "Rum, Romanism, & Rebellion" gaff.

Candidate Bob Dole, both in '76 & '96 was clever but came across as a mean-spirited wise guy.

Candidate Adlai was very clever (St Peale is appalling...) but way too intellectual it seemed to most.

FDR's mean remarks were apparently spiked by the press.

Unable-to-run-for-a-third-term Ike's quip about needing more time to present candidate Nixon’s accomplishment as his VP was deadly to Nixon where he, prima facie, had all the serious experience to Kennedy's none.

And VP candidate Bentsen (a MSM certified good Texan) sure got a great shot on VP candidate Quale in '88. (I always thought that Quall should've answered: Nor is Your Presidential candidate a Jack Kennedy")

But, most candidates stay away from the joke, quip, mot, non-cliché zinger about their opponents or train engineers because they are warned that one can never be sure how such wit (or lack thereof) will play among the rest of the world Outside The Beltway & no focus group can help them there. ("My God, Barry (Goldwater) is gonna run as Barry!)

So saying, I think the world outside true politically junkies “will little note nor long remember” this exchange. About on a par with Hoover’s dismissal of FDR as a “chameleon on Scotch plaid”.

From Inwood said...

OOPS I forgot FDR's "Martin, Barton, and Fish" quip.

And maybe Nixon's remark about not returning "checkers", the dog

vrse said...

Revenant,

Okay, I'm going to break it down for you. I do this simply because I concede that I may have not been as clear as I would have liked. And because as a brown person myself, I can't let your idiotic rants go unanswered.

It sounds like you're under the impression that Mayans = Guatemalans and Aztecs = Mexicans. Therefore, it makes sense in your wise mind to think of the current populations as descending from different cultures. Wrong. There were Mayans living in what is now Mexico and even more Aztecs living in what is now Guatemala. But even if your premise were true, I'm not sure that descending from different cultures translates into different ethnicities. Look up the definition of "ethnic," you might learn something.

Second, how stupid do you have to be to analogize the Mexico/Guatemala cultural or ethnic divide, if there is one, with the north/south latitude? For starters, each latitude contains multiple cultures and ethnicities, so yes, dividing them and arbitrarily assigning labels does not make sense. But that's not the case here. The lines were drawn with members of both cultures living on both sides of the Mexico-Guatemala border. Even more important, by the time the lines were drawn, the Spanish had already begun to mix with the native populations. WHEN THE BORDER was drawn, there was little difference between those living in what is now Chiapas or D.F. and those living in what is now quetzaltenango or Zacapa. Therefore, it doesnt make sense to speak of Guatemalans as ethnically different than Mexicans.

Again, you're a moron, not for being ignorant on the subject, but for speaking so authoritatively and pompously when you haven't the slightest clue about the subject. Much like Althouse, you opine carelessly about stuff without having the slightest clue. I still love her post on Panthera's Dimebag Darrell; just to mention one of the many random posts that comes to mind.

blake said...

vrse, Revenant:

You guys are both missing the point: In humor "specificity > genericity" to a very high degree.

If he had said "drive those Hispanics off his lawn", that would've been less funny. Worse, "drive those illegal aliens".

Similarly with "small varmint gun". Besides referencing his previous comment "small varmint" makes the whole thing work.

It's like Paula Abdul tripping over her dog. It's funnier if you name the breed. "A celebrity tripped over her dog" versus "Paula Abdul tripped over her Schnauzer."

Comedy 101. Up there with the "rule of threes".