November 19, 2007

"Is America ready for a President with a lisp?"



I got to this via James Taranto, who calls this a "homophobic line of attack":
It is unimaginable that a mainstream network would give this sort of treatment to, say, Barney Frank or John Edwards. We're not going to feign outrage again; the truth is that we find this all sort of amusing. But it is a reminder of just what a sham left-wing political correctness is. People who claim to oppose "homophobia" or other forms of prejudice often turn out merely to want a monopoly on it.
I guess he sort of has a point. But it seems to me Mo Rocca is mostly making fun of himself. Also he says nothing about homosexuality, and other political figure with a lisp he refers to is Winston Churchill — who, like Giuliani, is quite macho.

23 comments:

Revenant said...

I hadn't noticed that either Giuliani or Churchill lisped.

Richard Dolan said...

"I guess he sort of has a point." That qualifies as a fine example of damning with faint praise (could you have made it any fainter?).

Taranto offers a nice quip -- people complaining about prejudice "turn out merely to want a monopoly on it" -- that's clever and has more than a grain of truth to it. Unfortunately for Taranto, this video doesn't provide any support for it. Like Hillary's neckline, Rudy's lisp is now fair game for everyone from Leno to the Huffingtonians. Fake outrage isn't likely to succeed here, even if it can sometimes work to silence one's opponents (e.g., Hillary's success with the "stop throwing mud" theme). But I don't think anyone is likely to get much mileage by using this video to spin Rudy's critics as prejudice pimps. Based on this video, I don't assume that Mo Rocca is even a Rudy critic just because he's focusing on Rudy's lisp for a few laughs.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Neither had I, Revenant. But Churchill did claim throughout his life that he suffered from a speech impediment. He also said that he improved his public speaking & enunciation while young by speaking with a handful of pea gravel in his mouth.

As for Taranto: Oh, quit whining! (He'll probably say that is somehow gay-baiting as well.)

Blake said...

He's right in the sense that the situation couldn't be reversed without howls of outrage.

But sometimes a lisp is just a lisp.

christopher said...


I got to this via James Taranto, who calls this a "homophobic line of attack":

It is unimaginable that a mainstream network would give this sort of treatment to, say, Barney Frank or John Edwards.


Well, of course, you nit. Frank and Edwards are not members, as is Rudy, of The Official Party of Homophobia.

Earth to Taranto (and Ann): Rocca was making a point about hypocrisy.

ricpic said...

Percy Dovetonsils for president would give me pause. But Giuliani? Piece a' cake.

SteveR said...

He was born that way.

jeff said...

"Well, of course, you nit. Frank and Edwards are not members, as is Rudy, of The Official Party of Homophobia."

Therefore they can make gay jokes. Everyone knows that.

"Earth to Taranto (and Ann): Rocca was making a point about hypocrisy."
Actually he was just making fun about the way Giuliani speaks. I'm not sure you have that many as gay friendly as Giuliani on the democrat side who are running for president.

downtownlad said...

Let's see. The Wall Street Journal Editorial page has said that all gay people fall on a range of 1-10, with 1 being regular gay guy and 10 being pedophile rapist. Ann - maybe you could provide input as to where your gay friends and realtives lie on that scale?

Considering that, I don't think the Wall Street Journal Editorial page has one ounce of credibility when it comes to talking about homophobia.

Although on a scale of homophobia, with 1 being just your regular old bigot and 10 being someone who favors putting gays in camps and putting them to death, I'm pretty sure James Taranto is a 6.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Blake wrote: But sometimes a lisp is just a lisp.


I think of Hillary when I thay: A thigh is just a thigh.

MadisonMan said...

Never noticed it.

downtownlad said...

By the way - Is Taranto implying that gay people have lisps?

If so - he's a homophobic bigot.

Invisible Man said...

Me thinks, James Taranto doth protest too much.

Palladian said...

Lots of gay people do have lisps. Lots don't.

So, does anyone else think that Mo Rocca is gay, gay, gay? If so, I'd like to offer my hand in marriage.

Mutaman said...

I especially admired Rudy's machismo when he volunteered for the marines and was in combat in Viet Nam. Or maybe I'm thinking of somebody else.

Dando said...

...who, like Giuliani, is quite macho.

Giuliani macho?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Richard Fagin said...

Thay, there, Mahmoud, how about a nithe big, fat neutron bomb up your ath for being thuth a worldwide nuithanth?

Sure I'll vote for him. I'd vote for the president of Queer Nation if he'd give Mahmoud a neutron bomb up the ath.

rightwingprof said...

"Mo Rocca"

Who?

Joseph Hovsep said...

Homophobic? That's really a stretch. Its gentle self-deprecating humor, it does not suggest at all that Rudy is gay, and the other cultural lisp references are not gay. And I think the media would treat a similar humor bit about John Edwards similarly. Likewise, if Mo Rocca held himself out as a serious political commentator and called Rudy a faggot like Ann Coulter did to Edwards, there would be justified outrage here.

This does raise interesting questions for me though: Why are lisps associated with homosexuality or lack of masculinity? Are gay men really statistically more likely to have lisps? If so, is it biological or some kind of cultural thing? Assuming there is a link and its biological, why would that trait develop specifically in gay men? Just seems a weird phenomenon to me.

froggyprager said...

I don't think most people notice the lisp because his New York Italian accent is more noticeable. I think that the public likes President’s with accents, Carter, Clinton, Bush, Kennedy, it makes them more authentic.

I don't understand the gay thing, the piece made fun of the way Rudy speaks and Rudy is not gay.

reader_iam said...

If that's a true lisp, then I am a slow speaker.

LOL.

Joe said...

I heard Mo Rocca's riff and the problem was that it just wasn't funny. It was stilted and awkward and didn't make a whole lot of sense. How he did his bit--a fake interview--shows just how little material was there. (My guess is that it sounded funnier as scripted, but like most of Saturday Night Live, it just didn't work live.)

Trooper York said...

Wasn't Mo Rocca the guy George Allen was making fun of when he got in all that trouble? I didn't know that he was gay. That explains why it became such a big issue.