January 28, 2008

"Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime."

That's how Toni Morrison described Bill Clinton. But now, she's supporting Obama, and it's not necessarily a contradiction. He's definitely blacker than Hillary Clinton, and Morrison never said that the blackest candidate ought to win. Her standard is somewhere in here:
In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it.

Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace - that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.
Translate that purple prose, please.

Finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. I suspect that reflects a theory of government I'd object to if I could see through the incredibly annoying writing.

ADDED: If Frank J. wants to call Toni Morrison "a racist dumbass of monumental proportions" with any credibility, he ought to proofread his own writing. His headline — "Just So Someone Says It Publically" — has a gross misspelling. And whining about a class where he had to read "Beloved" and got a bad grade on his paper for "saying exactly what I thought of Toni Morrison," he tries this quip: "Man did I need a Tom Clancy novel as a pallet cleanser after that." Frank, a "pallet" is a narrow hard bed. Perhaps the pages of a pulpy novel are useful to soak up after an episode of bedwetting.

AND: Yes, yes, I know I typoed "necessary" for "necessarily" in the second sentence of the original post. (Now corrected.) If you want to criticize someone for bad spelling, you can never make a typo? I guess not. But Frank J. called Toni Morrison "a racist dumbass of monumental proportions," which was an incredible insult, and I thought he needed some push back.

128 comments:

rhhardin said...

Can't see for forest for the trees, plus adjectives.

Roger said...

I'm not sure that prose is going to play well here in Memphis!

Joan said...

I'd say she was going for "treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease", plus adjectives (TM rhhardin).

Personally I reject the idea that wisdom is some kind of found item that you can't earn. Wisdom comes with experience. I agree that knowledge acquisition doesn't necessarily lead to wisdom; we all know book-smart idiots. But hearing an inexperienced person praised as "wise" rouses my skepticism; nearly always, I find myself reacting to Obama's purported wisdom the same way I respond to my kids' wilder ideas. None of them really understand enough about the way things really work to know why their ideas, which sound fabulous, won't produce the results they're aiming for.

joe said...

The naivete is all Toni's, if she thinks a product of the Chicago Democrat machine is the brilliant, wise idealist who is going to fix the world.

AllenS said...

If this Obama love doesn't stop, I think you'll see Bill be the next Clinton to shed a tear in public.

former law student said...

If age = wisdom, let's crown McCain right now.

There have been a lot of tree politicians, whose focus on individual issues offends everyone who realizes that actions have consequences. As a recent example: Taxes too high for your dad's buddies' liking? Cut taxes. War you lied your way into costs more money? Increase spending? Where's the money coming from? Rob the Social Security Trust Fund. Social Security actuarially unsound? Clamor for "reform".

Smilin' Jack said...

Translate that purple prose, please.

Here's a start: "searing vision" = he's got X-ray eyes, just like Superman.

I really don't get Obamamania--it's like people have never seen a black guy asking for change before.

rastajenk said...

I guess they've never been in the downtown of any decent-sized city, then: guys asking for change all over the place, there.

George said...

It's easy:

She sees America as a "poisonous landscape," and each person or place as a "ravaged tree."

However, Obama sees America as a lovely, fertile, glowing place, at least based on his logo, feminine in its pastel ovateness.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw.

(Rush, The Trees, 1978)

Doyle said...

Are you under the impression that you're a good writer? Or a qualified writing critic?

Roger said...

Doyle--more important stuff: can the Giants beat the Pats Sunday?

Doyle said...

No, and I hope they don't. I'm actually a Patriots fan.

Doyle said...

I do like Eli, though. Hope he doesn't throw 4 picks or anything.

Paddy O. said...

"Or a qualified writing critic?"

Is there a certificate for this and yearly board examinations?

I would be qualified this year but I forgot to send in my yearly dues and so I'm off the list until I sort it out with the qualifications committee. Hopefully, the union will take up my cause so I can get back to work.

AllenS said...

Ann, I have a lot of pallets out here. They are made of wood slats spaced apart and used for stacking things on top of them for easy moving. A folklift is usually used to lift them up to be loaded easily. I use them for stacking split wood on top to keep the wood off of the ground. Beds?

Zeb Quinn said...

"Author Toni Morrison said her endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate has little to do with Obama's race"

Like I'm believing that all day long. What she's saying is that if you adjust the facts a bit, that if he were instead a blond-haired blue-eyed surferboy from Hawaii, who made president of Harvard Law Review, who finagled his way into the Illinois State Senate, and then into the US Senate, whereupon he immediately began running for president, she'd still be glomming onto him over the Hillster. Yeah, right.

Meade said...

"Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime."

The poet calling the cad, well, "black."

SteveR said...

Zeb, Who'd danced on Ellen too.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You ask yourself, how much more black could he be? And the answer is none, none more black.

(Nigel Tufnel, 1984)

AJ Lynch said...

This weekend Obama said and I am paraphrasing.."we are wasting X dollars a month on Iraq and it could be better spent on such things as bringing broadband to rural areas".

Did not sound like a nugget of wisdom to me. Was he pandering for the rural, white vote?

madawaskan said...

I bought into Obama years ago..

I kept the Newsweek with him on the cover-that said he would build a bridge across the divide.

Now this story of me calling his office it has an unusual similiarity to when I use to call Ted Kennedy's office.

A relative of mine was the longest serving ambassador to Rwanda.

He was aged and going blind and mercifully he didn't have to see how the Clinton/Gore team who conned him into signing a letter of support for ignored Rwanda.

Let's say I was an "idealist" Democrat.

Well...finally some merciful soul at Ted Kennedy's office said "you know you really should call a Republican."

A Republican about Rwanda.

Think about that I was shocked.

And it turned out that Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Dan Mica of Florida had those evil evangelicals pestering the hell out of them about Rwanda and they were actually trying to do something about it.

Fast forward to Darfur and Obama.

I call Obama's office because I fell for the bridge prose and I'm thinking that he might realize that the UN has been worthless, is a den of fraud and abuse and that he should cross the lines in just this one area.

Let me tell you something-

His staff is absolutely brilliant, alluded to the fact that he might just do it-or wanted to.

Well you know maybe Obama was playing the long game and he didn't reveal his hand.

But you have got to wonder just how long he has been doing this, particularly given his voting record not in the US Senate but in the Illinois senate.

So maybe he has been biding his time....

Now Dick Morris has said that Obama has put the Clintons in a double bind during his acceptance speech-about wether or not the race is about race.

But-there is something the Clintons did.

They called him on "The Dream" they brought him home to the hate.

Just in case you "thought" you heard him welcome Reagan Democrats home, just in case you thought he might work with Republicans they the Clintons forced him to re-educate you.

Obama has room for everybody except the military too stupid to actually believe in what they are doing.

If you are military and you believe in what you are doing-

Pity.

Pity the military wants that?

It should be insulting, and Republicans should feel that ultimate threat but they are too busy with their border wars, and gay or abortion eliminating rules, and damn it pork busters.

That's all too important and if the wrong guy gets nominated they are sittin' it out.

I don't know what is worse for the military-well ya I do either way we could end up with the "pity" and we will be the Democrats new minority.

Jeebus what fun.

Paul said...

Brilliance plus creative imagination...you mean like Karl Marx?

Wisdom = intelligence + experience leavened by character.

P. Rich said...

Toni Morrison, Black word merchant ordinaire, is attracted to Barack Obama, another Black word merchant. Witness:

"...creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom."

"Imagination" is defined as a creative ability. And underlying this pronouncement is the fallacious notion, shared among a multitude of Obama and Clinton supporters, that wisdom requires absolutely no knowledge or understanding, that it will magically surface on demand.

Morrison's assertion is precisely the type of bilge you should expect when the ignorant and verbose pretend to insight.

Hoosier Daddy said...

.."we are wasting X dollars a month on Iraq and it could be better spent on such things as bringing broadband to rural areas".

Wonderful. That way we can waste X dollars a month so Billy Joe Jim Bob too can enjoy quicker downloads for “Chicks with Big Boobs” and other sundry sites.

Then again, the Federal Government (that’s us taxpayers) will be subsidizing ourselves to go to digital over analog TV.

Bread and circuses didn’t die out with the Coliseum I guess.

Ann Althouse said...

AllenS said..."Ann, I have a lot of pallets out here. They are made of wood slats spaced apart and used for stacking things on top of them for easy moving. A folklift is usually used to lift them up to be loaded easily. I use them for stacking split wood on top to keep the wood off of the ground. Beds?"

Yes, that is also a meaning for the word "pallet," with a root in the idea of a bed. (Similar to the "bed" of a truck, probably.) Frank J., however, was not referring to forklifting. He meant "palate."

Doug said...

Wow, first we had whatzisface from Vodka Pundit laying into the dumbass Iowans for voting for Huckabee, now we've got Hoosier Daddy snorting that rural rednecks are too dumb to put the Internet to any good use.

Please remind this poor dumb Alabamian: Which party is it that has no respect whatsoever for red-state voters again?

madawaskan said...

I worded this wrong-should read

Obama has room for everybody except the military who are so stupid they actually believe in what they are doing.

According to The Book of Democrats.

madawaskan said...

Democrats-

You gotta love how Obama is building on the hopes and dreams of America to absolutely crush the future of Afganistan and Iraq.


Don't you just love it!?

George said...

The lead editorial in USA Today yawns at Obama, saying that he and Clinton are policy clones of each other and that he has zero foreign policy experience and zero executive experience....

"....Voters would do well to look beyond the unmistakable appeal of Obama's rhetoric..."

EnigmatiCore said...

Doug, I can't speak for Hoosier, but VodkaPundit is not a Republican. And he tends to not have a lot of respect for voters in general.

garage mahal said...

Obama has room for everybody except the military who are so stupid they actually believe in what they are doing.

Then how do you explain the donations from active military to date is Ron Paul and Obama, respectively? Doh!

former law student said...

Republicans-

You gotta love how Obama was influenced by the 2000 model W.:

I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here. I mean we're going to have kind of a nation-building corps from America. Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That's what it's meant to do and when it gets overextended, morale drops.

Middle Class Guy said...

Caroline Kennedy- Obama
Ted Kennedy- Obama
Toni Morrison- Obama
Dick Durbin- Obama
Delahunt- Obama

The Dems are falling like Dominoes for Obama. Hey, maybe the titular head of the party, Bill Clinton might, hopefully, put both of his big feet in his mouth again and come out for Obama too. What would Hillary do then?????????

Doyle said...

Democrats-

You gotta love how Obama is building on the hopes and dreams of America to absolutely crush the future of Afganistan and Iraq.


Way to conflate the necessary botched war with the unnecessary botched war.

Maybe we shouldn't have pulled all our resources from the former to start the latter.

EnigmatiCore said...

Doyle, exactly how easy would it be to execute the war in Afghanistan if we did not have the bases in Iraq?

I read Woodward's "Bush at War", and got the distinct impression that our early efforts in Afghanistan were greatly hindered because we needed to get the cooperation from certain eastern European nations in order to even get started, and that approval both came at a price and also was not open-ended. In order to be able to stay the course in Afghanistan, we probably need to be in Iraq.

Doyle said...

In order to be able to stay the course in Afghanistan, we probably need to be in Iraq.

Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

Hoosier Daddy said...

now we've got Hoosier Daddy snorting that rural rednecks are too dumb to put the Internet to any good use.

My snorting was less about dumb rednecks and more about using taxpayer money to make sure everyone has universal broadband. Sorry my satire wasn't up to standards.

Just for the record, even though it should be obvious by my nom de plume, I live in Indiana, one of those flyover states which get lumped in with a lot of dumb red necks.

Balfegor said...

His headline — "Just So Someone Says It Publically" — has a gross misspelling.

Oh Fie! As far as my opinion of Morrison as a writer goes, though, she seems like an intelligent and competent writer, but one who leaves me completely unmoved. This is true of most of the (little) modern literary fiction I've slogged through, though, so it's probably less a Morrison problem than an American Lit Fic problem.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Yeah that makes a lot of sense."

It does. Mainly because we have yet to master the art of teleportation.

Doyle said...

Well we also have yet to master the art of meeting our stated objectives for all these wars that John McCain promises will continue.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It does. Mainly because we have yet to master the art of teleportation.

Actually we have. Ask Kucinich. The aliens gave him the blueprints when they were having a BBQ at Shirley McClaine's place last year.

EnigmatiCore said...

The same wars that Hillary says she won't continue, but in fact will?

Roger said...

"Just for the record, even though it should be obvious by my nom de plume, I live in Indiana, one of those flyover states which get lumped in with a lot of dumb red necks." Hoosier doncha know there's a big difference between northern and southern rednecks? something to do with grits, NASCAR, first cousins, and deer hunting, I think.

Doyle said...

At least he didn't believe the Iraq War was a good idea, which is a fantasy that cost a lot of lives.

Doyle said...

The same wars that Hillary says she won't continue, but in fact will?

Yes, which is why I'm nauseated that a Clinton nomination remains a real possibility.

peter hoh said...

I'm late to the party. Apologies if someone already said it, but we've got another Althouse jab involving bodily fluids.

TMink said...

Democrats are obsessed with race aren't they? The blackest candidate should win? This is very different from Louis Armstrong saying "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice."

I thought it was supposed to be us southern rethuglicans who are obsessed with race.

Trey

EnigmatiCore said...

Hate to break it to you-- Obama probably will, too, should he be elected.

Doyle said...

I thought it was supposed to be us southern rethuglicans who are obsessed with race.

Only when the issue is the horrible oppression of white college applicants.

PatCA said...

"That something is a creative imagination.."

That's it! I knew there was something different about him that I didn't like, and there it is: he's a creative. Do we want an artist as president? I don't. He should be a writer instead and leave governance to others.

PatCA said...

Also, I would like to ask her what she means by "the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it."

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier doncha know there's a big difference between northern and southern rednecks? something to do with grits, NASCAR, first cousins, and deer hunting, I think.

Well we do deer hunt up here too but yeah you have a point. I mean we prefer biscuits and gravy over grits and we usually settle for second cousins.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Democrats are obsessed with race aren't they? The blackest candidate should win?

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"

Keep dreaming eh?

Elliott A said...

Most members of the electorate do not even know who Toni Morrison is. Or care. Applying outcomes based criteria to the current state of the African American community in the US, Clinton couldn't have been whiter, except that he plays saxophone well. By all accounts, they went downhill during Clinton's years. So to quote Phil Ochs, "And it really wouldn't interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends."

Doyle said...

The blackest candidate should win?

This is mindbogglingly dumb.

ricpic said...

Toni am a gasbag.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Snell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it.

I think she's calling for a national boy ranger camp in Terry Canyon.

The phrase that causes my eyebrows to lift is searing vision. Obama and searing vision definitely do not go together. Maybe happy vision, or optimistic vision. But searing? No. Cormac McCArthy Obama is not in the running.

Stephen Snell said...

P. Rich

word merchant ordinaire

Brilliant. You are a better writer than she. I despise the adulation of rank mediocrities like Morrison and Kent-Dorfmanesque zeros like Cornel West and Kristin Gore. To West's credit, though, he helped steer my sister away from leftism--we were talking and she mentioned him, was surprised I knew who he was, and asked, "I'm concerned that the professor talks about how brilliant [West] is but his writing just seems to string fancy words together and doesn't say anything."

Frank J. is awful. If he were a TV show, he'd be that idiotic polygraph hour. I've always found his "humor" somewhere between pedestrian and cheesy. Without Instapundit, he'd be sleeping under a bridge, cyberically speaking.

Madawaskan,

Nice point re: the hellstorm that Obama wants to unleash on Iraq by precipitously bailing. Is there such a thing as a war of passive aggression?

Doyle,

Please go back to rooting for whatever team you rooted for prior to becoming a Patriots frontrunner. The thought of your support potentially being in the same galaxy as mine makes me want to go for a swim in undiluted bleach. If you claim to be a longtime fan, you are the exception that proves the rule that Pats' fans are not boobs.

And a quick helpful hint, Doyle: it's poor form to inflict yourself on a community that doesn't want you. So in addition to leaving this site, you should look into an uncharted desert isle.

walter neff said...

Senator Clinton would win Toni's vote if she would just qoute that great racial uniter, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, who said:

Sure, I look like a white man. But my heart is as black as anyone's here.

Kirby Olson said...

Are there any trees in Darfur?

Doyle said...

Please go back to rooting for whatever team you rooted for prior to becoming a Patriots frontrunner.

Sorry, no can do. Been a Pats fan for as long as I've been a football fan (about 12 years).

Stephen Snell said...

In recognition of that last response, I am suspending my anti-Doyle activities until I... resume them?

While here, I have to thank the good hostess for calling out FrankJ. Someone prominent needed to say it.

Go Pats... and Oshkosh must be destroyed.

walter neff said...

There are trees there, but if they fall, no one will hear it, no one will care. It would disturb the narrative.

AJ Lynch said...

Let me get this straight - a blogger named Frank J. is being criticized because he can't spell very well.

Shoot Ann - how does his spelling compare to your students today? From what I have seen, college students tend to suck at spelling too.

Ralph said...

finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape
I don't know if she intended it, but to me that's a high-falutin' swipe at Bill C and his midnight basketball politics. The wisdom and creativity bits (two words I wouldn't associate with either Clinton), likewise. Guess her infatuation is over.

I believe we are beginning an era of personal spelling.

Ralph said...

I see he's fixed the spelling errors.

walter neff said...

fick you two pall.

Middle Class Guy said...

Does anyone really care about the opinion of an author? Especially one who is so steeped in racial identity politics?

People should really stick to what they know, writers should write, actors should read cue cards, and celebrities should keep looking good through the marvels of plastic surgery.

Middle Class Guy said...

joe said...
The naivete is all Toni's, if she thinks a product of the Chicago Democrat machine is the brilliant, wise idealist who is going to fix the world.


Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee are the products of the historically, thoroughly and totally corrupt Arkansas political machine; one screwed the world up and the other is aiming to do it again.

Paul said...

"except that he plays saxophone well. "

Now THAT is among the most ridiculous things I've heard in a long time.

Lawgiver said...

In 1941 before Harry Truman became vice president he said,

"If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word."

Later he stated, "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.
I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way."

And,

"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."

I can't imagine any democrat saying things like that now, but if they did, man I would vote for them in a heartbeat.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter neff said...

"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."

Hillary and Bill say that every day. Just about Barack Obama.

Frank said...

Write one post before you finish your morning cup of coffee...

I spelled Toni right, though!

Didn't I?

walter neff said...

Also about any dame that Slick Willie slid his slick willie into.

rdkraus said...

Tried to read Beloved.

Slogged through about 75 to 10 pages, and gave up.

Unreadable.

Why should anything she says influence me?

George said...

MCGuy--

The quote

"....Voters would do well to look beyond the unmistakable appeal of Obama's rhetoric..."

comes from today's USA Today editorial, advising people to examine how thin Obama's resume is.

I wasn't making a comment one way or the other about Clinton.

rdkraus said...

OOPS - Posted 75 to 10 instead of 75 to 100 (pages).

What a dope I is.

LOL

Hoosier Daddy said...

I can't imagine any democrat saying things like that now, but if they did, man I would vote for them in a heartbeat.

Well in modern US history, old Harry I think still holds the record for lowest in popularity polls (if those are taken seriously anyway) although Bush is running a close second.

But as we all know, history has a way of making saints out of yesterday's villians.

Revenant said...

I've never been clear on why, exactly, Morrison's opinions are interesting to anyone. Was there a time when she was widely-read? Do boomers fondly look back on her early career and listen to what she's saying now because of that nostalgia?

Growing up in the 70s and 70s, my only exposure to her was through that silly "first black President" line. Which pretty much got her filed under "nitwit" in my internal card catalog.

Kyle said...

Talk about tossing rocks in glass houses. Check your use of the word necessary in the first para. Pointing out how stupid others are because of spelling and/or grammar errors is a risky business, since one can easily find that they've made such mistakes before. Doing so in such an arrogant way only makes you look more foolish.

Ralph said...

since one can easily find that they've
Touche, and right back at you.

titusoffs said...

Good afternoon fellow republicans.

I had a wild Saturday.

I went home with a guy. When I woke up I was in between two guys in their bed with both of their arms around me and a persian cat sleeping on my head.

Their bathroom was full of all "Cat in the Hat" crap-lunch boxes, postcards, stuffed animals, pez dispensers, toilet seat cover and stenciled cat in the hat painted wall-it was really scarey.

I didn't know where I was, how I got there and what I did. Very sad.

Well I found out I was in Brooklyn Heights. Did you see me Althouse? I was doing the walk of shame on the streets of Brooklyn Heights at around 12:00 on Sunday morning. My hair looked like Edward Scissorhands.

I arrived back to the safety and fabulousness of Chelsea to two very angry rare clumbers. I am still trying to repair the damage with them but they are still pissed off at me.

I had two martinis and one vodka tonic. I guess I can't drink that much.

Veeshir said...

I would just like to note the hilarity of getting on FrnakJ's case for misspellings. He's not called FrnakJ for nothing.

Especially, as FrnakJ points out in his update, there's an egregious misspelling in your post as well.
But then, it's de rigeur in any Internet posting where you make fun of someone's spelling/grammar for there to be some stuppid mispellling?

AJ Lynch said...

Revenant:

Good question why Morrison is even quoted.


Incidentally, today, Al Sharpton was quoted as calling himself "one of the most outspoken people in the country".

Yes (I thought) Sharpton is outspoken but no more than the commenters at Althouse. Too bad we don't have the MSM megaphone and access that Sharpton has.

Middle Class Guy said...

George said...
MCGuy--
comes from today's USA Today editorial, advising people to examine how thin Obama's resume is.

I wasn't making a comment one way or the other about Clinton.


I misread. Sorry. Doing too many things at once and the coffee is gone.

Blake said...

I can't see the dark, mysterious forest for the stately, majestic trees.

Joan said...

Ralph: good catch!

Freder Frederson said...

comes from today's USA Today editorial, advising people to examine how thin Obama's resume is.

Considering that George W. was a one and a half term governor (from a weak governor state no less) who had nothing but a string of bankrupt and failed business ventures prior to that, complaining about Obama's lack of experience is pretty weak.

Then again, considering the disaster that has been the Bush administration--you might have a point.

Lawgiver said...

Well in modern US history, old Harry I think still holds the record for lowest in popularity polls (if those are taken seriously anyway) although Bush is running a close second.

True, FDR had been in the White House for about 12 years when Harry took over. The republicans hated him because there hadn't been a republican president since 1933 and the democrats hated him because he wasn't FDR. Of course he was hated for many more reasons than that but there is a similarity to today's politics. Bush isn't the Ronald Reagan many republicans had hoped for and democrats just hate GWB for being the second Bush to be elected. Truman dealt with a lot of issues; WWII, nukes, Korea, rebuilding Europe, the start of the cold war, etc. Bush has a full plate but I think Harry had a much tougher challenge and as a consequence he will probably keep his "most hated" title.

Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Bravo Sir Archy: I havent seen the Levellers cited by anyone in quite a while--it does indeed pay to be dead for these two and a half centuries.

Roger said...

And then you go and delete your post!

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

Passing the Litchgate affords the Ghostly Student an Æternity for Study and Reflection.  That I thus have been able to deepen my slight Tincture of Learning since departing this Life so many Years ago, is indeed a Consolation.  I confess, however, that my paltry Abilities to play the Critick do not much extend to the flower'd Branches of Rhetorick.  Therefore, 'tis with Trepidation, Madam, that I accept your Invitation to explicate Miss Morrison's encomium of Mr. Obama.

Were we to prune Miss Morrison's Silva Rhetoricæ of fœtid Blooms, we might discover three Branches:  Upon the First, a Rosy Flow'r of Praise sprouts for Mr. Obama, compleat with Petals for every Virtue; upon the Second grows a Flow'r of Wisdom, copy'd from a Schoolboy's Commonplace Book, & ordin'ry as a Daisy; upon the Last & most Sinister Branch, a Nightshade alarms the Tourist.

Miss Morrison would have Mr. Obama plant a new Eden, or rather, a Garden of Earthly Delights, replacing of the ancient Forest of British Liberty.  That this Silvan Glade be occupied from time to time by unworthy Men, does not render it ravag'd; it only appears thus to Those who would grow a Garden trimm'd of every Thorn & Herb.  Long Experience hath shewn that the Levellers' Eden does not nourish the Tree of Liberty, whose Branches are Shelter for Men who would not trade their Freedom for a Mess o' Pottage.

Not believing that the Rational & Sensible Mr. Obama would take the slightest Notice of Miss Morrison's silly Maunderings,

I remain, Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Blake said...

Even ghosts must edit from time-to-time.

gullyborg said...

I honestly can't see the relevance of the spelling in FrankJ's post. Nor do you state why, other than to complaing about spelling, you link it.

Did you link it because you agree with his actual point, that Morrison is a bad writer and a racist bigot?

Did you link it because you want to defend Morrison against FrankJ's viscious attack?

Or are you just making fun of FrankJ because you can?

As for me, I had to read Toni Morrison for a required college course, and I agree with FrankJ completely.

rhhardin said...

I started being an excellent speller after a few years of copying out Derrida into notebooks word for word as a speed check ; and so I finally began to intuit that it was independent and not independant.

Proof reading is another matter. The Paris in the the spring effect is amazing, and you can't see the wrong preposition that your fingers have inserted until several hours later, when you've forgotten what you said.

Fingers have their own opinions.

Revenant said...

Considering that George W. was a one and a half term governor (from a weak governor state no less) who had nothing but a string of bankrupt and failed business ventures prior to that, complaining about Obama's lack of experience is pretty weak.

But you think George Bush did an absolutely horrible job -- that he was utterly incompetent both as a political leaders and as commander in chief of the armed forces. So when we point out that Obama and Clinton have even weaker credentials than Bush did, what we are saying is that they have even fewer qualifications than a guy you think was completely unqualified.

You can only dismiss that argument as "weak" by conceding that Bush actually *was* qualified for the job -- and qualified enough that even a less-qualified person still counts as sufficiently qualified. :)

PatCA said...

"Most members of the electorate do not even know who Toni Morrison is. Or care."

Until Oprah made Sula a Book Club choice and produced Beloved.

ricpic said...

An ode read, by Toni,
I lay me down upon my pallet;
Not near so hard as phony
Specious words under my palate.

ricpic said...

An ode read, by Toni,
I search relief upon my pallet;
Not near so hard as phony
Specious words against my palate.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

What Morrison missed is that Black Trash saw White Trash and discovered a kindred spirit.

White Trash is mostly rural and Black Trash is mostly urban, but their dysfunctional attitudes and their self-identification as "victim" are identical.

Ask any really black person from the British Commonwealth what (s)he thinks of "African" Americans and you'll understand immediately about Black Trash. If you find one who respects Bill Clinton, let me know.

former law student said...

A Hurt song for Ann's return from Austin:

Up the country where it cold sleet and snow
Goin’ up the country where it cold sleet and snow
I’m goin’ up the country where it cold sleet and snow
No tellin’ how much further I may go

Make me down a pallet on your floor

Make me down a pallet on your floor

Make me a pallet down soft and low

Make me a pallet on your floor

Revenant said...

Until Oprah made Sula a Book Club choice and produced Beloved.

I doubt "Beloved" helped much; it tanked at the box office, big-time.

Ann Althouse said...

gullyborg said..."I honestly can't see the relevance of the spelling in FrankJ's post. Nor do you state why, other than to complaing about spelling, you link it."

Look, I think Morrison is overrated and I am sympathetic with all the students and former students who've had her novels inflicted on them, but she's not a "a racist dumbass of monumental proportions" and I wanted to criticize Frank J. for saying that.

Former Law Student: I think that song whenever I see the word "pallet." I like the Jim Kweskin version too, but it's the perfect Mississippi John Hurt song.

reader_iam said...

"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings. ... [Emphasis added.]

Wow, from (NY) NOW, as recorded here.

The mind wanders, and then wonders.

rcocean said...

"Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace - that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom."

Sorry, but purple prose or not, I like this. As for Toni being a "Dumbass" - she's not a "Dumbass" she's a novelist.

Good novelists write well and have great imagination and insight into human behavior. But most of them are unbalanced egoists who can't be trusted with children, sharp objects, or a checkbook. Their flashes of genius are paid with an inability to understand the mundane realities of human society.

Thats why we elect lawyers.

Middle Class Guy said...

reader_iam said...
Wow, from (NY) NOW, as recorded here.


Does anyone still pay attention to those antediluvian dodo birds?

reader_iam said...

That's funny--the comparison of NOW to the early patriarchs. Was that intentional?

Dodo birds are positively modern, by comparison.

(Eh, couldn't resist. What the hell.)

reader_iam said...

Dodo birds "were," of course--given that they're extinct, but only by 325-ish years.

Beth said...

I'm amused by Frank J.'s claim that he had to choose between getting an A and writing what he thinks about Toni Morrison. Yeah,

reader_iam said...

Beth: Yep.

Kyle said...

since one can easily find that they've
Touche, and right back at you.

?!? Your point?

Ann, I guess I don't see how an ad hominem attack (and a pretty pointless one at that) constitutes useful push back against inflammatory statements. Explain why you disagree with him; don't make attacks that are prone to so-are-you counterpoints.

Beth said...

Sorry, I hit publish too early.

My doubts aren't based on his typos -- my experience has been that A students can write a great paper saying exactly why they don't like a novel or an author.

reader_iam said...

Beth: Yep.

(But not just that.)

Revenant said...

my experience has been that A students can write a great paper saying exactly why they don't like a novel or an author.

My experience was that I could either write a paper saying what I really thought about the book we were studying, or I could parrot the professor's opinion at him. The latter invariably got me an "A"; the former usually got me a low "A" or a "B". My advice to college students (then and now) was to never exhibit any independent thought, because neither the professors nor the teaching assistants actually gave a rat's ass what undergraduates think about literature or philosophy. Most importantly: if you parrot back what they've told you, they really have no choice but to give you an "A".

My guess would be that Frank J encountered her writing in one of those political indoctrination classes colleges usually require of freshmen -- the ones we used to call "White Men Are Evil 101". You can't get an "A" in one of those classes without praising the gay, female, and/or non-white authors being studied.

reader_iam said...

Well, Rev, anecdotes are anecdotes ... and by definition they're anecdotal.

I can remember challenging, as part of a small group of students, on the floor of the Faculty Senate, the position of that august body (it had to do something it didn't want to allow on campus, which isn't really the point, as is not either my opinion then or now--they differ--on the issue). As part of that, I stood up and gave examples of "what "could" be considered as "offensive exposure to"" from a number of the classes that I was taking at the time in front of the very professors from whom I was taking the courses.

It's shocking, I know, but I still got whatever grades I deserved in the relevant course, including an "A" in the class of the professor whom I'd most challenged publicly, and articulately and eloquently, with careful and meticulous citation. That approach, by the way, was the same I took in writing for that class. Was I more careful and diligent due to the other factor? Did I take more care not to commit in my paper what I'd, in effect, accused him of? You bet. You bet. But that was part of the life lesson.

You gotta please The Man. You don't necessarily have to sell your soul to do that.

I'm shocked, Rev, that this is a revelation to you, or that you would give any advice to younger generations even close to otherwise.

And--may I just say this one time only?--I think it's irresponsible to encourage and enable victimhood excuses of this type. On/from any side.

Signed,

reader_iam

rhhardin said...

I never had to express any opinion on Toni Morrison, nor have I read any of her.

My category for her is Books Women Buy.

If somebody I read recommended her, I'd read it. It's sort of an early and excellent link-in arrangement.

I can recommend Thyloas Moss though, who gets a link-in from Harold Bloom (The American Religion) for Warmth of Hot Chocolate

...[God] doesn't
figure many possibilities are open to him. I think
he's wise to bide his time although he pales in the
moonlight to just a glow, just the warmth of hot
chocolate spreading through the body like a subcu-
taneous halo. But to trust him implicitly would
be a mistake for he then would not have to maintain
his worthiness to be God. Even the thinnest,
flyweight modicum of doubt gives God the necessity
to prove he's worthy of the implicit trust I can
never give because I protect him from corruption,
from the complacence that rises within him sometimes,
a shadowy ever-descending brother.


See also For All Newborns

rhhardin said...

Thylias not Thyloas

Doug said...

If the rest of FrankJ's oeuvre is any indication, I think his inability to get an A in the class had less to do with a refusal to "praise the gay, female, and/or non-white authors being studied" and more with the fact that he can't mount a criticism of a writer any more complex than the epithet "dumbass," and seems unlikely to string together a coherent sentence under any circumstance. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Synova said...

"...he can't mount a criticism of a writer any more complex than the epithet "dumbass," "

Perhaps.

But do the non-criticisms that receive A's have to be more complex than "dumbass?"

I do think that students are often conditioned not to disagree with teachers and assume that they can't. On the other hand, who am I to say that a particular person is wrong in their particular assessment of a particular situation?

Personally, I think that "creative imagination + brilliance = wisdom" could probably earn the word "dumbass." I know too many foolish old people to think that age equals wisdom, but of those I know who are wise creativity and brilliance are not words I'd ever use. Creativity and brilliance could equally result in truly monumental levels of foolishness.

Wisdom, seems to me, requires a complex understanding of myriad connections and often doesn't translate to eloquence. Most often not, I'd say.

It is not a demonstration of wisdom to fail to understand large systems and I can think of one instance where Obama demonstrated incredible and blatant failure to be wise and that is when he insulted Pakistan in abject ignorance. Someone thoughtful or wise does not behave without considering that he is talking about people with their own priorities and concerns. Someone who is *wise* does not fail to understand that acting tough in one venue is too narrow a view.

I will say that for all the criticism of how Bush has ruined our world reputation Democrats, and Obama is no exception, seem curiously unaware of the portent of the world stage. They seem to think domestically, which isn't bad but is a limitation. And is bad when someone decides to show what a tough guy he is and declares that if he gets to be president, dangit, he'd tell the Pakistanis what-for and he'd get things done.

Where in that is wisdom?

Where in that was an understanding of foreign sovereignty or national pride?

But Obama is likable and can conjure up visions of vast panoramas, a nice change from focusing on individual "trees," and can inspire his audience to nearly religious raptures.

Yay for him.

Just please dear God don't send a situation where he has to actually function on the world stage.

doctorfixit said...

I'm with Frank J. She's a racist dumb-ass

Daryl said...

Shorter Beloved:

White boys rape black girls.
White men rape black men.
Black boys have sex with farm animals.
Main character is a crazy infanticidal bitch.

There, now you don't have to bother reading that trash.

I, too, had to read that book in school, along with "The Bean Trees," a book in which the only male character who wasn't a liar, cheat, degenerate, drunk, junkie, or violent jerk was a:

1 - illegal immigrant
2 - who didn't speak English
3 - who didn't ever say anything
4 - who followed his wife around like a dog on a leash

Every time a man opened his mouth in that book, he was revealed to be some sort of asshole. Try selling a book to high schools that does the same thing for women. Not going to happen!

The only time I got to read about heroic white men was in history class (the NONFICTION part of my lower education).

If someone wants to call Toni Morrison a twit, more power to them. Wisdom is not brilliance + creativity. There are plenty of brilliant, creative artists who couldn't wise their way out of a paper bag. She has a gift for making stupid shit sound interesting if you don't think about it too much. That doesn't make her a great writer, a great person, or even a person worth listening to in general. She's a fraud and a sham like Jesse Jackson, who is also a good speaker. She says she wants to elect the blackest person possible and then she says it's not about color. If someone was saying that about whiteness, I don't think you'd be so confused or so hesitant to challenge them.

Obama, on the other hand, is such a good speaker that he can avoid saying anything of substance, rather than saying substantive things that are stupid but nonetheless sound good to the uncritical ear. It's one thing to applaud substance-free "inspiration." It's quite another to applaud and endorse substantive statements that are wrong.

As a LAW PROFESSOR, surely you are attuned to flowery-sounding sophistry. Surely you agree that Toni Morrison is saying stupid shit. You only react in knee-jerk fashion to the directness with which Frank J. says what you must feel in your own heart.

Ann Althouse said...

Daryl, didn't you see the part of my original post that called her writing "purple prose" in need of translation. I called it "incredibly annoying."

Frank J. wants to call Toni Morrison "a racist dumbass of monumental proportions."

See the difference?

Joan said...

Kyle, obviously needing a quick grammar review, said
since one can easily find that they've

and expressed astonishment at the followup:
Touche, and right back at you.

I'll elaborate.
"One" is singular, "they've" is plural. The correct wording is "since one can easily find that he has." Note you should not, in formal writing, contract "he has" to "he's," although it happens frequently in speech and casual writing.

My advice is to avoid using "one" altogether. It sounds stilted.